Yearbook Editor Sylvia Lagnon approached her friends sitting at their usual table in the cafeteria. They called themselves the Kellogg Street Gang because most of them lived on the same neighborhood street.
"Okay, you've got to keep this on the down low because it's supposed to be a surprise, but guess who was voted 'Class Couple'?" Sylvia said as she slid into a chair.
"Pack and Betty, of course," Helene laughed. "What's the secret in that?"
"Correct," Sylvia admitted, surprised at how easily Helene had guessed the right answer. "But nobody can say anything yet."
"Does this mean we get to have our picture taken together?" Pack joked as he wrapped his arm around Betty's shoulders who was sitting next to him as always.
"Of course," Sylvia said. "We'll be taking photos of all those voted best whatever," Sylvia reported.
"Don't tell us all the winners," Betty requested. "It's fun to be surprised."
"Well, congratulations on you guys getting voted in," Sylvia said as she stood. "Only you didn't hear it from me."
Sylvia disappeared as quickly as she had arrived and the rest of the table razzed their friends Pack and Betty for their obvious recognition. The Class Couple had been together since Freshman year, the stereotypical happy boy-girl next door duo who were well liked and admired throughout the school.
Pack, who wore the number twenty-four on the uniforms of all three sports he excelled in (football, basketball, and baseball), was among the most talented and successful athletes at Hillsboro High. Betty was the dedicated, determined and supportive cheerleader, always there for her guy. Pretty in a wholesome way, Betty was well liked, involved in several school activities, and accepted by all as a good person who went out of her way to be kind to others. She was also a notably gifted artist who spent plenty of time working on her painting and drawing skills.
How could those two not be voted class couple? They were a match "made in Heaven" as Betty often phrased it.
Betty leaned over in her chair and kissed Pack on his cheek. "Congratulations, Hon."
"You too," Pack replied warmly, giving her hand a squeeze.
"Can we all throw up now?" Chris Benzel joked as the rest of the gang watched their friends exchange their lovey-dovey pleasantries.
Not only did the Class Couple play the part but they looked the part. Betty had long curly blond hair, a shapely body, a killer smile, and a wonderful personality. The athletic Pack had been graced with handsome features to augment his likeable personality. It was hard not to like the couple.
The bell rang and the gang broke from the table to go their separate ways. Betty gave Pack a quick embrace before heading off in another direction with some of the gang.
"Well, that was darling," Angie grinned as she walked out of the cafeteria with Pack.
"The challenge for me is to make it the rest of the year as Class Couple without breaking up," Pack mumbled with frustration.
"Trouble in paradise?" Angie asked, slightly surprised.
Angie was a member of the Kellogg Street gang too, friends with both Pack and Betty. She lived two doors down from Betty who lived two doors down from Pack! Angie wasn't quite as high in the popularity ranks because she had a reputation of getting in trouble writing erotic poetry and pushing the envelopes in other ways and she wasn't as attractive as some of the girls, wearing her black hair in weird style that resembled Moe Howard's from The Three Stooges, and she wore out of fashion glasses that made her look like a mad scientist.
"Four years is a long time to be perfect together," Pack remarked.
"She won't have sex with you," Angie determined.
Pack threw his friend an annoyed look. "Are you going to write a poem about that?" He asked sarcastically. "You're notorious for your candor and explicitness."
"But I'm always discreet," she said.
And yet there were rumors about Angie. Bizzy Andrews insisted Angie once gave him a blow job in the back of his car, not even taking off her glasses. Pack didn't like hearing such stories. He had known Angie since elementary school and he liked her. Pack was the one who encouraged her writing at an early age (back when her prose was innocent and naïve) and he was one of the few who defended her when she got suspended for three days for slipping a controversial poem into the school newspaper, arguing that people read too much into her work and assumed its true meaning when it was clearly full of obscure references that could have meant anything.
"You can't say you're surprised, can you?" Angie asked Pack. "You knew she's a church going Bible thumper. Did you honestly think she was going to put out for you? She comes from a religious family. She'd die first."
"Leave me alone," Pack muttered as he veered off a side hallway to get to his next class.
Angie was right, of course. Betty was unusually pious, modest, well behaved and disciplined. It wasn't a big deal when they were younger because Pack knew he wasn't ready for sex anyway but now that they were high school seniors and there were all sorts of rumors and innuendos about other couples "doing it", in more recent times Pack felt his teenaged hormones and temptations kicking in.
But Betty refused to go beyond making out (almost chastely even then). She definitely wouldn't allow Pack to touch her in any vulnerable places and she was not interested in showing him anything revealing or "personal" as she put it. She was also unwilling to touch him in any "inappropriate" way.
Pack didn't consider himself a pervert or overly sexual but he found himself resenting Betty for being what some might call a prude. He didn't like to think of her in that way because he honestly liked being with her. She was fun, interesting, intelligent, upbeat, supportive, talented, enthusiastic, honest and loyal, but she was not sexually motivated and that left Pack feeling less than, unappreciated not to mention left out. He knew he was being selfish and self-centered but he couldn't deny how he felt.
Betty mostly pretended that sex wasn't an issue between them. She liked to think that Pack respected her, valued her, and honored her and that he was willing to make the "sacrifice" which, she told him, was the ultimate show of love.
Pack had no choice but to pleasure himself alone privately late at night even though Betty insisted that was a "sin against nature".
Not surprisingly, Betty wasn't big into parties – especially those that featured drinking and other bad influences. That wasn't a big deal for Pack because his Student Athlete Code of Conduct made it difficult for him to participate in such activities without risking getting suspended from sports for disciplinary reasons. Pack was therefore content with movies and other outings with Betty, sometimes with her sisters in group events. He was also a regular at Betty's house for family night and other activities. They were good people and Pack enjoyed being a part of Betty's life in that way but sometimes he felt like he was still a kid doing kid stuff instead of transitioning into more mature adventures.
Betty was a disciplined painter and artist, determined and dedicated in her art and devoting plenty of time to her talent. That meant that Pack spent a lot of his free time sitting around Betty's sun porch watching her work. It was sweet and dear in the beginning but sometimes now he found the tradition to be boring and exhausting.
One Saturday night, Betty was occupied with a "girl's night out" and when some of the guys mentioned that Moses was having a keg party at his house, Pack decided to take a risk, break all the rules, and make an appearance, hoping nobody would rat him out to the football coach.