May 1978

“Hi, Honey, it’s Brian.  What are you doing Saturday?”  The warm, friendly voice on the phone was enough to set Honey’s heart skipping. 

“Let me check my calendar,” she replied.  Pulling her pocket-size calendar from her purse, she quickly thumbed through the pages.  “I don’t have anything planned.  What were you thinking about?”

“The weather’s supposed to be nice.  How about a picnic at the Public Garden?” he suggested.

“That would be perfectly perfect,” she agreed, staring outside at the drizzling rain.     

“I thought we could rent some bicycles and ride over there along the river.  After we eat, we can ride across the bridge and I’ll take you around my neighborhood.”

“I’d love to do that.”   They exchanged news of their families before saying good-bye.  As soon as she hung up the phone, Honey hugged herself in excitement.   It’s got to be sunny Saturday, it’s just got to, she thought.  It’s just got to!

At Christmastime, they’d discovered a mutual attraction that had flared during the great snowstorm that had paralyzed the city and kept Honey from leaving for Christmas break for nearly a week.  But in the past few months, they’d both been so busy they’d hardly talked.  Between Brian’s crazy schedule and her studies their free time rarely matched up.  He was a fourth-year medical student, with a near-fulltime job as a lab technician, and had been invited to visit several of the residency programs to which he’d applied.  As a result, he’d juggled his schedule to accommodate several lightning-fast trips around the country.  She had a full schedule of classes, since she’d decided to add a couple of social work classes in her final semester, in addition to helping with the Brownie troop at the Home of the Innocents.  She’d started helping with the troop after Christmas and had recently concluded a successful cookie sale.

In just two more months, Brian would start his residency program, wherever it might be.  Even if he stayed here—in Boston—she’d hardly see him.  Whatever they had, wherever their relationship was going, they needed to discover it in the next two months.

Rain continued to fall off and on all week, but on Saturday morning the sky was a bright, clear blue.  Honey dressed carefully.  May in Boston wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t summer by any means.  She found a pair of lighter-weight jeans, a tee shirt, and a lightweight hooded jacket.   The clothes were simple and appropriate for picnicking in the park, but flattering and not overly worn.  She’d embellished the jeans with multicolored patches down the right outside seam, and once dressed, she turned around before the mirror to see how the outfit looked.  Finally satisfied, she pulled her hair back into a smooth ponytail.  Brian likes my hair down, but riding a bike and exploring around the city doesn’t go with that too well.

Just as she applied a thin film of strawberry-flavored lip gloss, the phone rang.

“Your date’s here, Honey,” said the student desk clerk.

Brian and Honey finished their picnic lunch and disposed of the bags and cups in a nearby trash receptacle.  He scanned the sky and pointed to a bank of gray clouds to the east.  “We may be getting some rain from that direction,” he observed.  “If we’re going to ride across the river, now is the time.”

Honey nodded eagerly.  “Yes, let’s go,” she agreed.  The weather was pleasant but not overly warm, and since the sun had been obscured by clouds she’d started to feel a little chilly in her light jacket.  The exercise of bicycling would warm her up.

They had just crossed the Longfellow Bridge over the Charles River when the first drops started to fall.  Brian, who was in the lead, turned his head and shouted back to her, “We’ll head for my apartment!  It’s closer than yours now.”  Both of them pedaled faster, but the gentle shower quickly escalated to a downpour that pelted them with sheets of water.  They were forced to slow down due to the slippery road as well as the poor visibility.  Finally, Brian dismounted from his bicycle and waited for her.  “Traffic’s too heavy to ride in this liquid sunshine,” he said with a wry grin.  “Let’s just walk the bikes.” 

She nodded and jumped off her own bicycle.  They ran along, holding onto the bikes, for what seemed like miles.  She half-wished they could just duck into one of the businesses that lined the street, but since they were both soaked to the skin, there was really no point.  Finally, he stopped in front of a slightly shabby brick rowhouse on a side street off Central Square. 

“Here we are.” He waved to indicate the building.  “I’ll take your bike.”  She released it and he ran up the steps, carrying her bike, then returned for his own ride.  “Come on, we’ll go inside and get warmed up.”

Honey hadn’t been to his apartment before, and she was curious as well as wet, so she followed readily.  He parked both bicycles in the building’s lobby, in a nook tucked under the stairs.  She noticed there were two other bicycles there already.  Someone had placed layers of newspaper on the floor, anticipating the rain.

“I’m upstairs,” he said, taking her hand.  They headed up the steps as quickly as possible in their wet clothing.  On the third floor, Brian stopped.  “Here we are.”  He dug in his wet pocket for his keys and unlocked the door, then held it open as she entered the studio apartment ahead of him.

Standing on a throw rug just inside the door, she glanced around with interest.  Everything was neat, although rather bare.  A battered sofa faced the front windows, with a tiny portable television sitting on bookshelves underneath the window.  The bookshelves were made of concrete blocks and planks—classic college student furniture.  A table made from a small wooden barrel flanked one end of the sofa, and an old floor lamp stood at the other end.  Thick medical texts books lined the makeshift bookcase, with a scattering of novels—required reading, she supposed.  The tiny kitchen boasted a drop-leaf table that swung out from the wall, and two chairs.  On the other end of the long room stood a couple of old hospital privacy screens.  She supposed they were used to conceal the bed.

“Where in the world did you get those screens?” she asked.

“Oh, the hospital was converting some four-bed wards to semi-private rooms, and getting rid of some stuff,” he replied.  “Hey!  You need to get out of those wet things and warm up.  Your lips are turning blue.”

“I don’t want to drip all over your floor,” she protested, shivering.  It was chilly in her wet clothes, especially now that she wasn’t moving. 

“Don’t worry about that,” he told her.  “I’ll clean it up.”

“Um, I don’t have any clothes,” she reminded him, blushing.

“I’ve got some sweats you can put on.”  He strode back behind the screens, and his determined voice floated back to her.  “I’ll take your wet things to the laundry and dry them.”  In a moment he reappeared with a heavy gray sweatshirt, sweatpants, and crew socks.  “Go into the bathroom and put these on.  In fact, take a shower while you’re in there.”

“Okay.”  Obediently, she entered the surprisingly large bathroom, which had an ironing board set up under the window, and a wooden drying rack hung with T-shirts and jeans. 

“Turn the water on, it takes a few minutes to heat up,” Brian called through the door.  She turned on the hot water faucet and stripped off her wet clothes and sneakers as quickly as she could, shivering as she handed them out to him.

“Do you have a towel?” she asked, opening the door a crack.

“Right!”  A minute later, he slipped a neatly folded towel in to her, and then she heard the apartment door click shut,  She pulled the curtain around the old claw-footed tub and activated the shower, letting the spray get warm and adjusting the water temperature before stepping into the tub.  Once she was under the hot water, her shivering stopped and she soon warmed up.  The hot water felt so good, she briefly considered staying under the shower for a long time, but then she thought about how Brian might have to pay for his hot water.  She sighed and finished up as quickly as possible, stepping out into a now-steamy room.  She dried herself and dressed in the clothing Brian had given her.  It was an odd, and exciting, feeling to wear the same clothes he wore (although she was sure the clothing was clean!), and with no underwear.  Finding a comb, she detangled her wet hair as well as possible, deciding to leave it loose instead of redoing her ponytail.  Now warm and relatively dry, she straightened the bathroom back to its former state and took a seat on the couch.

Brian loped up the stairs dressed only in his boxers.  While loading Honey’s clothing into the dryer, he’d decided to go ahead and dry his own clothing at the same time.  Why didn’t I think of that while I was still upstairs? he asked himself.  I could have changed while Honey was in the shower.  He knew the answer, though.  When he was around Honey, it was hard to think straight.  He wanted her so much, and it just wasn’t the best time in either of their lives right now to take the giant step of marriage.  And if he was chosen for a residency in some other state, would she even want to go with him?  He didn’t know how she’d feel about moving farther away from her family, even temporarily—and he couldn’t ask her to do that.

He entered the apartment and closed the door with a little more force than strictly necessary.  It was a temperamental old building and sometimes the door didn’t latch just right.  But the apartment was silent.  Honey didn’t greet him, and he saw no sign of her.  Where could she have gone in such a short time?  Mystified, he approached the front windows and looked outside.  It was still raining outside—surely she hadn’t decided to walk back to her dormitory. 

As he turned around, he caught sight of the sofa.  Honey was curled up on it, one of Aunt Alicia’s afghans covering her.  She was fast asleep.  He hadn’t her noticed at first because the back of the sofa blocked his view of the seat; he also tended to keep that afghan piled in a heap on the sofa.  He dropped to his knees and leaned over her, tracing the line of her cheek with his finger.  As the finger reached her lips, he outlined them and then placed a tender kiss where his finger had been.  She stirred and stretched, opening her beautiful hazel eyes, clouded with sleep.  As she took in his closeness her eyes widened and her mouth opened in a question.

“Where are your clothes?”

His face flamed, and he knew it was fully as red as his sister’s ever had been.  He glanced down at his hairy chest, plaid boxers, and bare feet.  “Um, er... that is, I put them into the dryer with yours.  Excuse me while I get into something more comfortable.”  He straightened up and was struck by what he’d just said.  “I didn’t mean that the way it might have sounded!”  Once again, he felt tongue-tied, and moved quickly to fetch some clothing from his bedroom.

“Wait!”  Honey jumped up from the sofa and grabbed him before he could make it behind the screens.  “Turn around—I didn’t get to thank you properly for warming me up!”  She reached up and looped her arms around his neck, bringing his face the few inches down to meet hers.  As he tasted her lips with the faint remnants of strawberry-flavored lip gloss, they parted and he lost himself in the moist warmth of her mouth.  Sensation flooded his body as he tasted her and ran his tongue over her teeth and tongue.  As Honey’s fingers twined themselves in his dark wavy hair, he covered her face and neck with moist, hot kisses.  His hands found their way under his sweatshirt to the smooth skin of her back… and encountered no hindrances of bra fasteners.  She moaned and pressed herself against him as her tongue and lips found his ear and made their way down his neck.

“Honey... I... you... ”  He mumbled the words against her still-damp hair that smelled like flowers and sunshine, even on this rainy day.  Once again, he was unable to find the words for what he wanted to say.   His groin throbbed and the blood thudded in his ears with his heartbeat.

“What, Brian?”  She dropped her arms and stepped back.  Her lips were swollen and her face was flushed from rubbing against his faint stubble.  Her eyes were huge.

“I love you.”  There.  He’d said it.  “I love you so damn much, and I want to marry you—if you’ll have me—and it’s not a good time to get married right now.”

“I love you, too, Brian.  You’re so important to me... You’re the most important person in the world.  Why do we have to get married?”   She reached for him again, catching his hand in both of hers.  “I’m on the Pill, Brian.  I’ve been on it for months, to regulate my cycle.  You don’t have any social diseases, do you?”

“No!  Of course not,” he retorted, shocked at her frankness.  “I mean, I’ve never been with anyone else.”

“Okay, then.”  She let his hand drop and pulled his sweatshirt off.


At the sight of her slim body and small but perfect breasts, he felt hot all over again, and reached for her.  “Maybe we’d be more comfortable in my bed.”   

She dropped the sweatshirt onto the floor.  “Let’s get rid of those damp boxers,” she suggested, tugging at the offending garment.  “And these sweatpants are kind of bulky.”

Brian obligingly slid the gray sweats down over her hips and she stepped out, just as he stepped out of his boxers.   Honey was staring at the part of his body she’d never seen, and reached out a trembling hand to touch him.  “I’ve always wondered how it would feel to be together that way,” she said.  Her face and voice were once more those of the innocent girl he’d always thought her.

“We don’t have to do anything,” he reassured her.  It was the hardest thing he’d ever said.

“No, I want to.”  She reached for him and wrapped her arms around him, placing kisses along his collarbone and up his neck.  “I love you and I want to be with you.”

“I love you, too.  I want you like nothing I’ve ever wanted before.”  He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bed behind the screens. 

The rain continued to beat against the apartment’s windows as the sky grew darker and darker.  

Morning sun flooded the apartment.  Honey opened her eyes to find Brian stretched out in the bed next to her, one arm flung across her hip.  A smile curved her lips.  It’s not raining any more, she realized.  And then she remembered how her life had changed since yesterday.

I never dreamed making love could be so wonderful.

Author’s Notes

2585 words

Many, many thanks to Janice, Jo, Bonnie and Pam (Fanfrom76) for speedy and thoughtful edits!  I had just dumped 24,000 words on my three regular editors, and couldn’t bring myself to ask them to edit more just now.  Janice, Jo, Bonnie and Pam were kind enough to step in and did a fantastic job.  Any mistakes remaining are mine and not theirs!

Thanks to the Circle Writing Event team, Misty, Dana, and Susan.  This is another CWE #3 entry, and was inspired by pictures #8, 38, and 31.  I’d made a whole set of graphics using #8 but trashed them because I realized the image would be an instant spoiler!  Image used for the graphic header is from istockphoto; umbrella and background tile from Microsoft Clip art gallery.    

Story title comes from the 1967 hit, recorded by family pop group The Cowsills.  Brian and Honey would have remembered the song, but it was an oldie for sure by May of 1978!

The Boston Public Garden is approximately 1.8 mi from Simmons College.  I had a terrible time figuring out where Brian lived for this story—it’s quite possible he has moved since Merry Little Christmas!  My heart was set on their bicycling across the Longfellow Bridge, and they needed to be closer to Brian’s apartment when the rain started.  The riverfront area has undergone a major revival in the past thirty years, so I hope the location is at least slightly believable!

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2012 by MaryN/Dianafan. Images from Microsoft Clip art and and manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2012.

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