by Vikki Anderson
Suzanne was never going to marry a man without money. She was going to be rich, famous and own a ranch in the southwestern United States, probably Texas. She was now eighteen years of age, single and planned to stay that way for at least ten more years!
She wanted to visit England someday and then move to Texas. Texas was the biggest state on this continent and she always received the best. Her mother told her if she married in Texas, none of her relatives would be able to see her or be able to congratulate her on the marriage. She nonchalantly scoffed, “Mom, by then I’d be so rich, I’d buy you a jet and fly the whole family there free of charge.”
Her mother never took her seriously because she was dating Peter Larsen. Peter was one of the town’s hoods or hippies, you could never tell which. He belonged to a motorcycle club, wore a helmet and a leather jacket, but on the other hand, he had long scruffy hair and wore beads and looked like he rarely bathed! It was a real challenge for the town’s people to decide whether a boy or girl was walking down the street. Oh yes, in the summer he also wore “shades” so no one could see his face and figure out what he was up to.
Suzanne liked him a lot for some strange reason, but would never consider marrying Peter even if he would’ve asked her; because he didn’t possess the wealth she had wanted.
Suzanne was certainly much different than Peter. She always attended twelve o’clock mass on Sundays with her best friend, Linda. Peter didn’t believe in God or church. One day in the early fall, Linda couldn’t go to mass because she didn’t feel well. So, Suzanne walked down the small country-like road alone in the bright sunshine. She felt wonderful and was very happy that day.
David Ross, a British boy, moved in with his Aunt Jenny a few houses down the block, two weeks ago. He had lived in town about a year now, but his Aunt needed the help to get around the house, so David volunteered. David had liked Suzanne ever since he had moved into town and Linda noticed this.
As Linda was on her way to Suzanne’s house to pick up a new CD, she saw David and Suzanne talking while walking home from church. David only lives three houses from Suzanne’s home and he had tried desperately to figure out what mass she had gone to on Sundays so that he might have met her personally.
He didn’t know Suzanne was going out with another boy or he would have never asked her out. At first she refused, but she could see that she was hurting this sensitive boy. After all, he was a stranger in this country.
Suzanne had never met a foreigner before, especially one from England. Oh, David was so cute and she was sure Peter would like him and perhaps introduce him to the right people in town, if Peter knew any.
“Oh, hello, Suzanne,” said Linda smiling with a trace of sarcasm in her voice.
“Hi, Linda. David, this is my best friend, Linda.”
“Hi! Suzanne, I came over to borrow your CD. You said I could hear it, remember?
“Sure, come on in and I’ll get it for you. David, can you come in for a minute? I’d like you to meet my mom.”
“That would be brilliant.”
They went up Suzanne’s front walk and then into her huge and obviously professionally decorated estate which looked like a small mansion.
“This is a beauty of a house, Suzanne.” David noticed everything in her home no matter how insignificant it was.
“Thank you, David. Sit down; I’ll be right out with the CD, Linda. It’s in my room.”
Linda spoke with David trying to let him know that Suzanne was almost going steady with Peter. “David, did you just meet, Suzanne?”
He quietly answered, “Yes.”
“Oh, I haven’t seen you around? Where do you live?”
“I just moved in with my aunt. She’s getting older in years and needed the help.”
“You could probably come here anytime you wanted to and Peter would never find out.”
“I’m sorry, Peter?”
“Oh, Suzanne didn’t tell you she is going steady?”
“No, she didn’t.”
Suzanne walked in, “Here’s the CD, Linda. I hope you like it.”
“I’m sure I will. Goodbye, Suzanne.” Then she looked at David and nodded her head. “David.”
Linda left the house with a smile on her face. Suzanne knew something was up, but she couldn’t imagine what. “I’m sorry, but mom must’ve gone shopping. Would you like a Coke or something?”
“No, thank you. I’d better be leaving.”
“All right, stop over anytime, David. You’re welcome here.”
“I will, thank you.” But before he left, he asked, “Suzanne,” he hesitated.
“Yes? What is it?”
“Are you going steady?”
“No, but I do have a boy friend, why?”
“Linda said you were going steady with a boy named Peter, I think.”
“No, he never asked me to go steady with him.”
“Then is our date still on?”
“It was never off,” she smiled. “It was very nice meeting you.”
“It was my pleasure, Suzanne.”
Nine o’clock, while Suzanne was watching TV, the phone rang. It was Peter. Suzanne was so happy. Now she could tell Pete about the exciting day she just had.
“Having strange boys in your house?”
“No, Peter, I had a new neighbor in my house… He comes from England and his name is David. He lives right down the block from me…how did you know about him?”
“Linda told me. She also said you were walking home from church together.”
“So? Look, we have a thing going.”
“We’re not going steady, Peter. I am free to go out with anyone I want to.”
“You’d better not go out with him, or you’ll be sorry.”
“Peter, why are you so upset? You were never jealous like this before?”
“Suzanne, I want you to go steady with me.”
“Want me to go steady with you? You’re supposed to ask me, but I’d refuse anyway. You can’t order me around like this, Peter!”
“I can’t, huh?”
“No, you can’t…”
“Just go out with that kid and you’ll see who can’t.”
Suzanne couldn’t say anymore; so she slammed the phone in his ear. If she wanted to go out with someone, she would. She didn’t need permission from a boyfriend.
The next evening David came over at eight o’clock sharp. He knocked on the door and Suzanne’s mother had answered it. “Are you David?” she asked being very pleased at what she had seen at the front door.
“Yes, ma’am. Is Suzanne ready? She did tell you of our date, didn’t she?”
“Yes, yes, come in. She’ll be ready in a minute.”
David went into the library which had ceiling to floor bookcases in it. He waited patiently while Suzanne’s mother discreetly looked him over. Finally, Suzanne had come down the stairs from her bedroom where she had been putting the finishing touches on her hair. “I’m ready, David.”
“You look super.”
“Look smashing, fab, you know, you’re a knock out.”
“She laughed, “Oh, thank you. Where are we going?”
“To the cinema.”
“Yes, if that’s ok with you.”
“Of course, it is,” she answered David and then looked at her mom, “We’ll be home around two, Mom, okay?”
“Yes dear, have fun.”
They left and went into David’s car which was parked in the driveway. Suzanne loved foreign cars.
“Did you get permission from your boy friend to come along with me?”
“Permission? No. I didn’t get permission from Peter. We aren’t hanging around with each other anymore.”
“Did you have a fight?”
“Yeah, I even slammed the phone in his ear!”
“Was it because of me?”
“Well, uh, no…”
“You’re just the first American girl that I’ve really liked. I don’t want to cause trouble between you and…”
“David, I’m glad you asked me out on a date. I like you and Peter is not my concern any more. I’m just a little upset.”
“You like him a lot, don’t you?”
She couldn’t answer. She didn’t want to hurt David’s feelings; yet she still loved Peter, ever so much. But he would never change. That relationship would never lead anywhere.
“If I’m upsetting your friendship, I will not ask you out again.”
“David, anytime you want a date, just phone. I like you, I said that before, and I meant it.”
The evening slipped by too quickly. They again were at Suzanne’s driveway, only this time they were saying goodnight.
“You know, if all American girls were like you, this country would be the best country in the world.”
“Thanks, David. Maybe I’ll see you in school tomorrow.”
“I’ll look for you. What period lunch do you have?”
“Same as yours,” she smiled. She had noticed the day he transferred to school. “Thank you for a special evening, David.”
“It was my pleasure.”
“Can I say hi to your folks tomorrow?”
“Oh, I don’t have any. They died about a year ago in a plane crash going on vacation to Las Vegas.”
“You had no way of knowing.”
“Well, I’d better go in. I’ll see you tomorrow, David. Thanks again for a very nice time.”
“Are you sure it’s all right I’m seeing you?”
“Yes…David, you’re one of the nicest boys I’ve ever known and I had fun tonight.’
He grabbed her hand and walked her to the front door and waited until Suzanne unlocked the front door and went inside.
“Well, you’re certainly home early for a change,” her dad’s voice boomed.
“Yeah, dad. David thought you might get worried; so, we only got a dessert and coffee at the diner. He’s so nice, and when I think of all the time, I wasted with Peter…” The phone rang. “I’ll get it!”
“Babe, I’ve got to talk to you.”
“Peter? I said I didn’t want to hear from you again.”
“Don’t hang up or I’ll come to your house and make you listen to me.”
“Hah, will you?”
“I heard you went out with that English kid tonight.”
“Well, Linda said you went to the movies together.”
“Linda? How does she know all the latest news on the spot? Is she your special spy reporter of something?”
“Don’t you know? She wants to get me jealous so I’ll go back with her, and Suzanne it’s not working.”
“So, go back to Linda. You two make a great pair.”
“Suzanne, you mean everything to me and you know it. Come on; put that kid in his place.”
Again she slammed the phone in his ear.
“Who was that, dear?”
“Peter, mom, he won’t leave me alone.”
“Honey, out of the two young men, I hope you decide on David. Your father likes him already without meeting him because he got you in by eleven.”
“I’m going to bed, mom,” as she passed the living room going up to her room she yelled, “Night, pop.”
“Good night, dear.”
The next day at school, David noticed Suzanne sitting on a wooden bench reading a book on her lunch break in a small park across the road from the college. He coyly sat on the seat right next to her. “Suzanne?”
“Oh, hi, David,” she said smiling, “Gee, pop likes you a lot already because you got me in so early last night.”
He just smiled.
“Hey, what’s the matter?”
“I couldn’t sleep last night.”
“Because, well, I was thinking of you.”
“And I was thinking of you too.”
“Really, Suzanne. I kept asking myself if you liked me or if Peter would get you back. I know we’ve only been on one date, Suzanne, but I think we make a fabulous couple. I never said this before and it’s hard for me to say, but I would be honored if you would consent to becoming my wife.”
Suzanne almost dropped her book.
“You’re old enough, aren’t you?”
“Yes, but…” She didn’t know what to say. “David, I only have three years of college left. I just couldn’t. I’m eighteen, David. How old are you?”
“I’ll have to think about it.”
“Please, Suzanne, think the question over carefully as I don’t want you to regret your decision. But I have loved you so very much for the last year since I noticed you in Biology class the first day of school.”
During her afternoon classes, Suzanne day dreamed. She couldn’t concentrate on Algebra or Chemistry class at all. She was wondering what the reaction of her parents would be.
She went home, and at the dinner table she brought up the subject of marriage. “Mom, pop, David asked me to marry him today.”
Suzanne’s father almost choked on the piece of steak he was chewing, but Suzanne’s mother remained calm. “Did he say he loved you?”
“Yes, and he asked me to think it over carefully because he doesn’t want me regretting my decision.”
“John, keep quiet!” said Suzanne’s mother to her husband. “Honey, do you love him?”
“I think so, but in two days I can’t tell for sure. I don’t know.”
“The choice is yours dear. You’re eighteen years old and you certainly have a mind of your own. Your happiness is all that really matters. You can go with our blessings.”
“Thanks a lot,” she answered sarcastically, “Can’t you forbid me or something?”
“No, then if you ever found out you did love David, you’d hate us one day for telling you to stay away from him. This decision must be your own.”
Suzanne had a difficult time deciding between marriage and continuing college to be become a writer. She couldn’t watch TV or do her homework at all. She imagined what it would be like to be married to David, but she still was unsure. He couldn’t be serious. This had to be a joke, didn’t it?
She went to bed early, tried to sleep, but couldn’t. David was all that was on her mind, David. She realized she didn’t even know his last name. And she had never kissed him; so, she really didn’t know much about him at all. What was she thinking?
Meanwhile, David was lying on his bed, not able to fall asleep either wondering whether Suzanne would say yes. Hoping she would. He did love her so much. What would he do if she said no?
Suzanne had made up her mind. She was not going to marry him. It was a silly idea to marry someone because he said he loved you. But she thought on; Peter never hinted his love for her. She didn’t want to be married to someone like him who was practically penniless and had no manners at all!
Early morning came and she got up for school and tried to be earlier than usual in hopes of not seeing David. She left the house and got into her car, but David was outside on his porch and he had called her. “Suzanne, wait a minute.”
No. She couldn’t face him now. She wasn’t certain yet.
“Would you mind driving me to school?”
“Uh…sure.” He got into her car and started to ask a question, but Suzanne interrupted him before he could start and said, “David, please don’t ask me again. I haven’t decided.”
“That’s all right. Take all the time you need.”
“Thank you. David?”
“I don’t even know your last name.”
“Ross, David Thomas Ross.”
“Suzanne Ross, hmm, that’s not bad. David, if I ask you to do something, would you do it for me?”
“Certainly, if I can.”
“David, this is hard for me to ask, but we’ve never kissed and I have to know…”
“Of course. How silly of me,” he said, leaned over to kissed her.
Now she was thoroughly confused. She parked the car in the school parking lot and they both got out; David carried Suzanne’s books. Who else but Peter would be at the back entrance of the school, waiting for Suzanne. She was afraid for David’s sake.
“Suzanne, didn’t I tell you not to hang around with this creep?”
“Leave Suzie alone or I’ll kill you,” Peter yelled.
“Will you? That’s a laugh.”
“Peter, stop picking on David. I love him, not you.” David looked at Suzanne and held her hand. Suzanne felt a sudden surge of strength within her that she never had before, “Peter, David and I are engaged and you have nothing to say about it, so leave us alone!”
David was so happy, but didn’t show his surprise to Suzanne’s answer to his marriage proposal in front of Peter.
Engaged? Yeah, like that’s going to happen…” He walked away angrily.
“Suzanne, you’ve made me so happy accepting my…”
“David, I’m afraid I didn’t mean it. I just had to say that so he’d leave us alone.”
“Oh,” he said as his dreams were almost shattered, “does that mean your answer is no?”
“David, I really haven’t decided. Marriage lasts a life time. I’m not the type that wants to have several marriages when times get rough. I want to stay with the one I marry for a lifetime, and so that’s why I have to be sure. I’m so confused. If I had a week to think about it, I’d be sure.”
“Okay then, until next Tuesday.”
David had to stay after school to complete a lab project; so Suzanne went home alone. Peter and a couple of his friends waited for David to come out of the school so they could teach him a lesson.
Peter and his two buddies jumped David as he came out of the Senior Door. The two boys who accompanied Peter held David down while Peter could punch him over and over again anywhere that Peter could reach. avid couldn’t get free to protect himself. He was simply out numbered.
After what seemed like an eternity to David, Peter let him go and he fell onto the sidewalk; he hit his head, and then didn’t move. His face was completely covered with blood. Peter and his friends quickly raced off on their motorcycles.
Professor Reed, an English teacher, had come out of the school to leave for the day, when he saw David lying there, motionless, helpless. “Oh my God,” he whispered to himself. He dared not move David, but he called 911 with his cell phone.
The ambulance along with the First Aid Squad rushed to the school within a matter of minutes. David was put on a stretcher and immediately transported to the hospital.
Suzanne and her parents were having dinner when the phone rang. “I’ll get it,” yelled Suzanne as she raced to the phone hoping it was David.
“No, it’s Pete.”
“What do you want?”
“You don’t have to worry about marrying that creep; he’ll never bother you again.”
“Peter…what did you do?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Peter, if this is a joke…”
“No joke, babe, now you’re mine again.”
“Peter, I would never be yours and if anything has happened to David, I’ll tell the cops it was you and I mean it.”
She went back to dinner and was so nervous.
“What is it, dear?”
“Mom, Peter said he did something to David, oh Mom, if anything happened to David I’ll just die. Didn’t an ambulance pass here a few minutes ago? Oh, God!”
“Take it easy, Suzanne,” insisted her father, “we don’t know if they were going to get David.”
Just then David’s elderly Aunt Jenny knocked on the door. Suzanne answered it not knowing who this strange woman was, “Suzanne?”
“I’m David’s Aunt Jenny and I must ask a favor of you, dear. David’s been badly hurt and he’s in St. Joseph’s Hospital, I cannot drive…”
“Come with me,” she said as she turned to her parents not having to say a word; her mother knew Suzanne would go so she calmly said, “Be careful, dear. If we can be of any help…”
“Thanks, Mom.” She ran out of the house and pulled the car out from the driveway and drove straight to the hospital. David was in the emergency ward, and cleaned of all the blood stains on his body and had been put into a hospital gown. He was tightly bandaged around his chest because three of his ribs were broken. The doctor was alarmed that David might have a contusion or a concussion, but at present it was too soon to tell. He was semi-conscious and kept repeating Suzanne’s name.
When Suzanne and Mrs. Ross arrived, they were allowed to see David for only a few minutes. The bandages and black and blue swollen face made him look as if he were on his last legs.
“Suzanne,” he muttered.
“What, David? I’m here, right next to you…how are you feeling?”
“David, take it easy, you’ll be all right. David, you don’t have to talk, just get well. You have to get well. Please, David? If you get better, I’ll marry you. Did you hear that David, I want to be your wife. Please dear God, don’t let him die,” she cried.
She left the room and went into the waiting room while Mrs. Ross talked with David. She saw a policeman in the room and asked, “Are you here because of David Ross?”
“Well, you’ll find Peter Larsen and a few of his friends responsible for David attack.”
“Are you sure?”
“He called my house about 15 minutes ago and told me. He lives at 516 Hanson Drive right here in town.”
“Thank you, miss.”
“Just put him in jail! He’s dangerous and he has to be stopped.
“Oh, I’ll have to write down your name for my report.”
“Thank you, miss,” he left to pick up Peter for questioning with the car siren blaring and the overheads spinning from white to red and blue.
Suzanne went back to David’s room where his aunt was holding his hand and crying. “David. Get up for me. I love you, David! You said you love me, so wake up!” They were asked to leave the room, David needed oxygen and the nurse needed to perform more tests.
“We can get married, Mrs. Ross. I can get a job, quit school. We can live in town and David can get a job too. They have lovely apartments in town that are very reasonable.” Suzanne kept reassuring Mrs. Ross.
“Apartments in town? Don’t you know who David is? He’s David Ross. His father is Richard Charlton Ross of Ross International Shiplines. My nephew is worth millions, Suzanne, and all this time I thought you were after his money and name.”
“Oh, Mrs. Ross, I didn’t know…he never told me.”
“He told me he was going to take you to England to see his home town of Manchester. He said he would give you anything you could ever want. He just wanted to make you happy…and now this.”
Somehow David’s being rich didn’t matter to Suzanne. She had found out that she really loved David and only wanted his swift recovery. If he would accept her now after what she had put him through.
“Just being married to David would make me happy, Mrs. Ross. I don’t care about his money,” she sobbed.
Later that night after dropping Mrs. Ross off at her door, Suzanne received a phone call from the hospital. The covering doctor called to say that David was improving and he was fully conscious now. They let him speak to her on the phone for a few minutes and she now felt fine; she was crying, but fine.
David said he would be recovering in the hospital for three weeks. Suzanne assured him she’d visit every day. She just hung up the phone, went to bed, thought of what would happen to Peter, and how wonderful it is to love someone, especially someone as wonderful as her David (and it didn’t hurt that he had money just like she always wanted!)