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Rick Gets a Date

Rick followed Jane with his eyes. He was sitting on the bus as it was going to school that morning and Jane had just boarded. It was only about a mile more to the school, but he got to at least see her long curly blond hair as she walked unsteadily down the aisle of the school bus as it started moving again. Rick had been on the bus for almost an hour now.

He lived out in the country on a rock farm. They called it that because the only crops they seemed to raise were rocks. They did have some pasture land and a few head of cattle. And a rock barn built by his grandfather from the rocks collected on the upper 10 acres at the top of the farm.

Rick and his brother and sister, and their mother all lived with Rick's grandfather and grandmother. His mother had divorced his father a couple of years ago because his dad was a drunk. He would say he was going to quit and then he would get drunk and get in real bad arguments with Rick's mother and Rick just wanted it to stop, and finally it did when his mother just left his dad and got a divorce.

They had lived in another state so his father decided he didn't want to send any money so Rick's mother was on welfare for awhile and then she found work as a waitress and they got by.

Anyway, he spent a long time each day going to and from school. And the highlight of each day was when Jane was on the bus. Rick had a terrible crush on her. They were only 15 and he had no way to take her out even if he ever got the nerve to ask her for a date. He could not drive until he was 16 and could afford a car of some kind. He didn't think his mom would let him use hers. It was too important for getting to work and shopping in town.

That morning when he arrived at school he got off the bus and noted in the parking lot a new car he had not seen before. He was not good with car types, but he could see it was about 10 years old and it was an orange color. Also it was a ragtop. He wondered who had got a "new" car. Then he saw who was sitting in the driver's seat.

His cousin Harry had turned 16 just 2 months ago and he had been looking for a car he could afford. It was him sitting in the car. Rick walked over. The bell would not ring for about 10 minutes.

"Hi Harry. Wow, you got your car! How much was it? Where did you get it? How does it drive? I love convertibles. I guess you're glad you got your license so quick. How does Lacey like it? Has she seen it yet?"

Lacey was Harry's girlfriend. They had not really been dating so much as meeting and going out behind the gym once in a while to make out. Now they would be able to go to the drive in theater and make out. Lacey was a redhead and she was Harry's first love. Like Jane was Rick's, but Rick had not had the nerve to do anything about it yet.

So Harry spent the next 10 minutes explaining that the car was a 1953 Mercury and how he would have to work on it himself, but that was cool, cause Harry had been working on cars with his dad for years, and anyway he loved to mess around with cars, so this one was perfect, cause it needed to be worked on all the time, at least so far.

Then the bell rang and they went in to homeroom. That's where most kids did the homework they had been assigned the day before, but Rick always did his at home, so he had nothing to do for 50 minutes but daydream about Jane and make plans for when he asked her out on a date. He doodled on his notebook and drew pictures of girls with long curly hair and he made up an insignia for himself and just messed about waiting for the first class.

The day passed. During the day he finally came to a decision. He was going to ask Harry if he could double date with Harry and Lacey with Jane. Harry knew about Jane. Rick talked about her all the time when they were together. Rick only lived about 5 miles out of the small town. His mom drove into town every weekend to visit her sister, Harry's mom. The bus took so long cause it had to travel over half the county picking up students.

It was decided. Rick was going to call Jane and ask her out for that Saturday. They would go to the drive in theater in the bigger town about 10 miles farther east from their little town of 500. The bigger town was the county seat and had maybe 10,000 people and lots more to do. Harry said that Lacey had said that Jane had told her that Rick was cute. So that was good.

Jane was a sweet girl. But she was sweet to everyone. So Rick was not really sure if she would go out with him. He knew she had stopped seeing her last boyfriend who was a basketball player and old enough to have his own car. But he was a bully. Rick hated him. He hated that Jane had liked him. But that was over. Everyone said that Jane had become fed up with Billy, her old boyfriend. Billy the bully Rick called him behind his back.

That evening Rick spent about an hour talking to himself in his head. He was having a conversation with Jane when he would call her. He was trying to plan out what he would say if she said this or said that or whatever. At last he got up his courage and dialed her number.

"Hello."

"Hi, this is Rick. I'm calling for Jane if she's available."

"This is Jane, Rick. Don't you know my voice? Giggle."

"Oh you sounded older. I thought you were your mother."

For some silly reason Rick thought this would make her feel older or something. He didn't really know what he was thinking. Oh, hell, so he just continued.

"So, anyway, Jane, you know I was wondering if you would like to go to the movies with me and Harry and Lacey on Saturday. I don't know what's playing but it might be fun, you know? So anyway, would you like to go?"

"Oh, well, okay, I guess so. I guess I could go. Okay. Yeah we could do that, Rick."

"So anyway, you know it starts when it gets dark but, you know, we would go about 6 o'clock and maybe, you know, stop at the drive-in burger place in town and get something, okay?"

"Oh, well, yeah, okay. So I guess you would pick me up at 6 or so, I guess. So okay. I guess I'll see you then."

"Okay, so I'll see you then. Okay, bye Jane."

"Bye Rick."

Oh wow! He was elated! Wow! Jane was going out with him. It was a dream come true. Wow!

So it was planned with Harry and Lacey that they would pick up Rick out in the country and then they would all three pick up Jane there in the little town and they would drive into the county seat. And they did. That Saturday it went as planned. They were on there way to the Dairy Freeze and then to the movie. Rick was living a dream. He did not try to hold her hand or anything, but he was in the back seat with her.

They didn't talk a lot. Lacey tried to talk to Jane over her shoulder and Harry chatted with Rick as he drove but Rick and Jane didn't have much to say to each other. Rick was horribly shy. Maybe Jane was shy too. But she was still acting sweet. That was Jane.

They had burgers and fries at the drive-in and finally went to the drive in movie. They found a place to park about halfway between the screen and the concession stand and parked. Then they put the speaker in the window and rolled it up to hold it. The show was going to start in about 15 minutes. Lacey said she was going up to get some drinks and popcorn. Harry gave her some money. Jane got out and went with her.

In 10 minutes Lacey came back alone. She was crying.

"I'm sorry Rick. She said to say she was sorry. She's with Billy. He was up there and told her to go to his car and she did. I'm sorry."

Rick was shocked. What the hell! This was bad, very bad. He was an idiot. He was a fool. What the hell! There was nothing to do. Rick was 110 pounds and 5 feet 6 inches. Billy was an athlete. He was about 160 pounds and was at least 6 feet tall. What the hell!

"Harry, please, let's just go man. Let's get the hell out of here man. Ah hell. Let's go!"

Harry took out the speaker, started the car and they left. The ride home was quiet. Harry was his best friend. He was not saying anything. Lacey was as sweet as Jane had seemed. She tried to talk to Rick but he didn't want to hear anything.

"Let it go, Lacey. It's a bitch and that's it. Let it go!"

The next Monday when Jane got on the bus Rick did not bother to watch her long curly blond hair. He would speak to her in school. She apologized and he accepted, but he never looked at her the same again. Even when she broke up with Billy again later that year he did not even react. He was over it. At least outside. Inside she lived in his heart for years and years after that.

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