Read Campus Tramp Online

Authors: Lawrence Block

Campus Tramp (7 page)

She closed her eyes. His hand touched her breast and she reached out a hand to touch him but he pushed her hand aside.

“Lie still,” he told her. “Lie very still.” She did as he told her and his hands were light and skillful, touching and stroking her breasts and working her into a quiet frenzy. His lips were busy planting small kisses on her eyelids and lips and ears. Then he unclasped and unzipped her black skirt and drew it down over her hips. She was wearing thin white silk panties and she wondered whether he could see her through them now, but she forced herself to remain motionless on her back, her eyes still closed, her arms still at her sides, her heart beating like a time bomb minutes away from a shattering explosion.

He began to stroke and caress her legs, starting at her ankles. He touched her knees, then her thighs, and it was with an effort that she kept herself from reaching for him and hauling him down on top of her. Every touch of his sure hands had the desired effect and excited her as she had never been excited before, and she wondered how a man could know so much about women, could be so certain of the ways to arouse her and work her into a frenzy.

When he took off her sweater she arched her back to help him and then raised her head. Her long hair got tangled up in the sweater for a second or two; then it was free and his hands were all over her, touching her. He removed her bra a second later and his hands on her bare breasts were fire upon silk. He held them and squeezed them, pinching the nipples until they were harder than they had ever been. His mouth kissed the hollow between her breasts and his cheeks burned against the sides of her twin globes of smooth flesh.

He kissed her breasts in turn, kissing with his lips and tongue, kissing and licking and sucking at her breasts and sending her pulse racing still faster. She couldn’t control her breathing any longer and she was panting audibly.

“Don!”

“Shhh. Lie still.”

Her panties slipped slowly over her hips and thighs and calves and the silk was smooth as a caress on her bare flesh. Now he was stroking her thighs again with one hand while he undressed himself with the other, but when she looked up and saw him lying naked beside her she was afraid again, afraid of being hurt, afraid of doing something she had never done before.

She stiffened, and he noticed it at once.

“Lie still,” he said again. He touched her all over with his hands—her face, her lips, her breasts, her stomach, her thighs and her knees. Then he touched her where he had never touched her before and she opened up to him, ready for him, needing him, wanting him, her whole body and being hungry for him.

The shock of the initial stab of pain was almost too much for her and she wanted to cry out. For a moment there was only the pain and then she wanted to scream because she didn’t know what to do but lie still like a corpse. Then the pain lessened and pleasure came to replace it, and her body moved instinctively with her hips rolling and her thighs churning in a slow and perfect rhythm.

Slow. Slow and gently, and almost too slow at first, agonizingly slow, with their bodies moving together and the pleasure flooding through her like water through a ruptured dam. Her hands held him to her and her fingernails dug into his back.

Faster.

His chest was crushing her breasts and her legs were like a vise around him. Her breath was so labored that breathing was an effort and she longed to stop breathing, to cease everything but lovemaking itself, to make love forever and to have forever the pleasure she felt now.

Faster.

Nothing had ever been like this, nothing she had ever experienced before. Nothing
could
be like this, nothing in the entire world; and if it didn’t stop she would go crazy, but she didn’t want it to stop, not yet, not ever, because God it was so good, so good and so wonderful and so unbelievable and so perfect, so wonderfully unbelievably perfectly good.

Faster.

Faster …

They ended together. It was so good that she couldn’t even stop to think how good it was, could only enjoy it and love it and feel it in every part of her body and mind. Soaring all the way to the highest peak in the world and then pure peace, with him soft and limp and exhausted in her arms and so wonderful to hold, so hard against her softness, and their sweat making their bodies slippery and the tiredness leaving her completely at rest, completely at ease.

It was so comfortable. It was so good, and that was the only word for it.
Good.
Good, and there was no better and no best.

Good.

She said
Don
very softly and very quietly, and she liked the way it sounded. Then she said
Donald Gibbs
just as softly and just as quietly, and she liked the way that sounded, too.

Good.

Very good.

After a few moments he started to raise himself from her but her arms held him in place. He tried again and once again she held him.

“Don’t,” she said.

“I must be hurting you.”

“You’re not.”

“Aren’t I heavy?”

“I don’t mind.”

They remained that way for a long time.

He was standing by the side of the bed buttoning the cuff of his shirt and she smiled up at him sleepily.

“I have to go now,” he said.

“Don’t go.”

“I have to put out a paper.”

She groaned.

“Great business, newspapering.”

She raised herself on one arm, ready to accompany him, but he pushed her back down on the bed and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“Stay here,” he said. “Sleep here. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

She closed her eyes and her mind started to spin lazily. There was something she had to tell him, something very important, but she couldn’t remember what it was.

Then she remembered.

“I love you,” she said.

But he was already gone.

CHAPTER FIVE

THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED were a period of change, change as complete and drastic as the change that had been consummated in Don’s room that night. Now that Linda’s virginity was a thing of the past, it was no longer fitting and proper that she live the life of a virgin. She was a woman now, a whole and complete woman, and it was time for her to begin to live like a woman instead of like a girl.

The following evening she told Ruthie. She went to her room looking for the other girl, anxious to tell her, aching to tell somebody of what she had done. Ruth was the obvious one to tell—a girl admittedly experienced herself, a girl who wouldn’t moralize or condemn, and a girl who was Linda’s best friend at school.

“You didn’t come home last night,” Ruth said.

Linda tensed at first. Then she relaxed and a smile spread over her face.

“I know.”

“Where were you?”

Linda smiled in answer.

“Oh,” Ruth said. “With a guy?”

The smile grew wider.

“Offhand,” Ruth said, “I would guess that something or other has been lost in the course of the past evening.”

“Not lost. It wasn’t worth keeping.”

“Okay,” Ruth agreed. “Sacrificed on the field of honor. Except I think honor’s a fairly confusing term in this context. What I’m getting at is that some guy finally got in your pants, right?”

“Right.”

“Who was it?”

“Guess.”

Ruth thought for a minute. “Must have been that guy you’ve been dating. What was his name—Joe Gunsway?”

She shook her head.

“Wasn’t that his name?”

“That was his name, but he wasn’t the one.”

“He wasn’t?”

“Nope.”

Ruth shrugged. “Better tell me then. I’m all out of guesses.”

“It was Don Gibbs.”

Ruth’s eyes went wide. “Honey—”

“He’s just wonderful, Ruth. I’ve never met anybody like him before. He’s sweet and polished and—”

Ruth took a breath. “Okay,” she said. “Maybe he’s Central Ohio’s answer to Marlon Brando. Maybe what I’ve heard about him is a lot of crap—I don’t know. But you better be careful, honey.”

“What … what did you hear?”

Ruth took a second or two before replying, choosing her words carefully.

“I’ve heard,” she said at length, “that he breaks girls’ hearts for the sheer hell of it.”

Joe turned out to be somewhat harder to tell. The big thing with him, of course, was not to tell him that she was no longer a virgin, but to clue him in on the fact that she didn’t want to date him any more. For a little while she considered just turning him down when he asked her out and letting him figure things out for himself, but this didn’t seem to be the right way to go about it. Even if Joe wasn’t the man for her, it was only fair to be decent to him. He was a nice enough guy, even if he wasn’t her stick of tea.

She didn’t even wait for him to call her. Instead she called him at his dorm, waiting impatiently while one of the other boys in the dormitory called him to the phone. The fact that he lived with others in a dormitory while Don had an off-campus apartment to himself seemed to her to sum up the difference between the two of them.

“Joe,” she said right away, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to see you any more.”

There was a long, stunned silence. When he finally spoke he sounded as though someone had hit him over the head with a sledgehammer.

“Why?” he said.

“There’s someone else,” she said, feeling like a character in a bad movie.

“But I don’t understand, Linda. I’ve been seeing you all the time. How could there be somebody else?”

“There is, Joe. And I’ll be seeing him regularly from now on.”

“But … how long have you known him?”

“Just one day.”

“One day? Why, I saw you yesterday, and—”

“I saw him after you left last night, Joe.”

Silence.

“Linda, if you’ve only known him one day you can’t be sure he’s the right guy for you. You’re only a freshman, for God’s sake. You ought to be dating a lot of guys so you can take time and make up your mind.”

She felt like telling him that she knew Don Gibbs better after one night than she could know him if they went together for twenty years.

“Linda—” his voice was strained “—just tell me who it is, will you?”

“What difference does it make?”

“Just humor me,” she said, trying to make it sound light. “I think I’ve got a right to find out who beat my time.”

“All right,” she said. “It’s Don Gibbs.”

“You must be kidding!”

She assured him that she wasn’t.

“Linda, that guy’s poison! Why, he’ll try to … he’ll be trying to—”

“To what?”

He didn’t answer, and she decided that he was not only behaving like a child but making something of a pest out of himself. So she decided to get rid of him once and for all.

“To seduce me, Joe?”

He didn’t say anything.

“For your information,” she told him, “he already has. And it was wonderful!”

She put the receiver back on the hook before he could say a word.

Time seemed to fly by at the speed of light. For all practical purposes she moved in with Don at his apartment. Much as she would have liked to pack her clothes and move in completely and permanently, the administration of Clifton College would have looked askance at such an arrangement. Instead she had to be hypocritical about it, which was something he hated. She kept almost all her clothes and books at the room she had been sharing with Ruth and went to her dorm to change and to keep up appearances. But she spent her nights at Don’s place and spent her free time wherever he was.

Friday she had awakened just about the time that Don returned to the apartment with a copy of the newspaper in one hand. She oohed and ahhed over the paper, proud of it and proud of him for having gotten it out on time. Then she wanted to make love and cook breakfast—in that order—but Don turned out to be too tired for the first and not hungry enough for the second. Instead he went to sleep and she went back to her room to tell Ruth. Then for the next week it seemed as though Don was with her all the time. Over the weekend and on through the early part of the week he didn’t have much to do—the real work on the
Record
came Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, and until then all he had to do was his classwork, which he seemed to get through with his eyes closed. The rest of the time he would lounge around on campus or sit in the
Record
office or spend drinking innumerable cups of coffee at the Landmine.

Linda spent her time with him. She wanted to be with him every minute of every hour and she didn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t. They were in love, she told herself, and there was nothing more natural than that she should be with him as much as she possibly could.

He cut his classes; therefore so did she. He slept days and stayed up nights; to be with him she did the same. She missed the weekly quiz in Spanish Monday morning and cut an important English class Tuesday, but this didn’t seem to matter at all. Don got by without attending classes—he didn’t seem to study at all, either—and if she was going to be his woman she could manage to do the same.

“Kitten,” he told her, “you’re going to bust out if you don’t start getting to classes. Admittedly the academic standards aren’t sky-high around this emporium of learning, but they do flunk people out from time to time. Don’t you think you ought to get to bed now so you’ll be able to get up tomorrow morning?”

They were sitting over coffee at the Landmine. Linda picked up her cup and took a sip of it. Then she set it down in its saucer and grinned at him.

“No,” she said. “I don’t.”

“You don’t?”

She shook her head.

“Why not?”

“Because you’re awake.”

“What’s that got to do with it?”

“When you sleep, I sleep. When you stay awake, I stay awake.”

“Then how do you pass your courses?”

“Same way you pass yours.”

“I get lucky.”

“So I’ll get lucky.”

His face grew serious. “Linda,” he said, “I’m not going to act like an angry parent, and after I finish saying this I’m not going to bring the subject up again. What I want to say first is that you stand a good chance of getting the boot from Clifton if you don’t watch out. If they don’t boot you for academic failure they might boot you for shacking up with me. Whether or not you get booted is your business and not mine, but I want you to know the score.”

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