Dorothy, Merri and Arabella walked into Minson’s Diner and took seats in the back, in the large round booth that they liked best. They had decided to have ice cream before they walked down to the theater to see Superman. The movie had just come out and the guy who was in it, Christopher Reeve was really cute; they were all in agreement about that even if they didn’t agree much on other things.
“So, Dorothy, you gonna ask Clark to the Sadie Hawkins dance next week?” Ari said as she blew on the end of her straw and sent the wrapper across the table to flutter down to the floor.
Merri scowled at her and bent to pick it up and Ari laughed and shrugged at her friends obvious irritation.
“Lighten up, Merri!” she laughed. Merri balled the piece of paper up and threw it at her friend who batted it away with another laugh.
“Of course not,” Dorothy protested, shocked that Ari would even suggest it.
“Why not? The guy is a hunk, and any girl would like to be going with him.”
That idea struck a sour note in Dorothy. Sure, she and Clark liked each other, but they weren’t going steady or anything and besides, she wasn’t allowed to go out with him. Her mother would kill her if she did something like that. But she had to admit, if only to herself that she would like nothing better than to go to the dance with him.
“We’re not an item or anything, Ari,” Dorothy stated for the record.
Ari watched Dorothy through lowered lashes and continued. “Well, you know, if you’re not going to ask him I just might! And look, I’m going to have the chance right now!”
Dorothy looked up and saw the powder blue Chevelle pull into a parking space and watched as Clark and his best friend Kip climbed out and headed into the diner. He saw her and smiled, nodding his head in her direction and then he and Kip slid into a booth on the other side of the room. Dorothy hoped he couldn’t see her blush from over there, but she could tell by the way he grinned that Kip had noticed.
“See, Dorothy, this is opportunity knocking, girl. Better go ask him or I’m going to!”
The scathing look that Dorothy sent her friend warned her that she better not but Ari only laughed as she slid out of the booth. “Hey, I gave you the chance!”
Dorothy’s eyes narrowed as she watched Ari, who fancied herself a real bombshell, walk across the room with an extra wiggle in her hips. Merri’s eyes opened wide and she said, “I don’t believe this!”
“I do. Traitor!” Dorothy muttered. She jumped when she heard a snap and realized that she’d broken the plastic spoon that came with her strawberry ice cream soda.
They both watched as Ari stood there and talked to the boys and they could hear her giggle all the way across the room. Dorothy couldn’t see Clark’s face but she watched as Kip’s eyes nearly bugged out as they listened to what Ari had to say. He looked at Dorothy and gave her a lop-sided grin and a wink and Dorothy wanted to slide under the seat, down below the table and out of eyesight of both the guys.
“Come on, Dorothy. I say we leave her here right now! We can go to the movie on our own!” Merri was quick to defend her friend and really, how could Ari do such a thing? It was outrageous, even for Ari.
Before they could do anything Ari sauntered back across the room and slid into the booth wearing a Cheshire cat grin.
“Well, I did it. I asked him to the dance.” Her eyes sparkled as she spoke and she licked her lips in anticipation as she waited for Dorothy to react.
“Fine, whatever,” Dorothy said, determined not to reveal that she was mad. And maybe a bit hurt too but she’d never let it show.
“Yeah, that boy jumped at the chance to go to the dance. I’d say he’s pretty excited right about now. I told him you’d figure out a way to explain to your mom that you and he were going to the dance…together.”
“Wha - what? Me?”
“Well you didn’t think I’d go out with him did you? Hey, I’m Johnny’s girl!”
Merri started laughing then, mostly at the look of shock and surprise on Dorothy’s face.
“You asked him to go to the dance with me?” Dorothy managed to stammer.
“No. I told him you were asking him to go to the dance with you. Big difference there, Dorothy.”
Dorothy looked up in time to see Clark and Kip heading their way, carrying their sodas.
Was it too late to crawl under the table? Most definitely.
“Ladies,” Kip said, smiling broadly at them and giving a slight bow. “So, we hear you’re going to see Superman. So are we.” He looked at Clark, evidently waiting for him to ask them to ride with them. Clark was staring at Dorothy, their eyes locked and apparently he hadn’t heard anything else.
“Great!,” Ari said. “We’ll ride with you! That will be two extra blocks we don’t have to walk.”
“Move out to the way pip squeak so that Clark can slide into the seat next to Dorothy who seems to have forgotten how to speak. Maybe she can try a little non-verbal
communication,” Kip said, watching as another pink-tinged blush swept over Dorothy’s face.
As she moved Ari said, “Pip squeak? I’d watch that mouth of yours, smart ass.”
“Yeah? Gonna have Johnny beat me up or something?” he teased. His eyes were sparkling because Ari was really irritated with him and it was fun to watch.
Before Ari had a chance to respond Clark said, “Pipe down, will ya Kip? Can’t we just all get along and have fun?”
Dorothy, who still hadn’t managed to get a single word out was intensely aware of Clarks leg against hers under the table and his arm resting along the back of the seat, mere inches from her shoulders. She felt stupid, she couldn’t think of a single thing to say to him, or anyone else for that matter. God, she hoped she wasn’t drooling or something! Her fingers swept across her mouth quickly to make sure all was well.
She sat there quietly and sipped her strawberry soda, glad that the ice cream had all melted since she’d broken the spoon. By the time they were ready to go she’d finished it. She prepared to dig through her purse to pay for it and Clark said, “I got, Dorie.”
She smiled at him and said, “Thank you!”
Kip looked at her and teased, “She does speak!” and then immediately shut up at Clarks dangerous glance in his direction. You could only push a buddy so far, or a buddy’s girlfriend for that matter.
Outside Kip crawled into the back seat, sitting firmly in the middle. “Come on in ladies, and I trust you know to which two of you I’m speaking! I’ve got an arm for each of you!” he said, both arms spread along the top of the back seat.
As they climbed in and got settled Ari said, “You slide that hand any further down the front of my shoulder and all you’re gonna have left is a bloody stump!” Kips hand immediately slid upwards a few inches.
Dorothy sat in the front seat and watched as Clark closed her door and walked around the car. She debated; did she stay on her side or slide over next to him? The decision was made when he sat behind the steering wheel and stretched out his arm to her. It fit around her perfectly and she sighed as she rested her head against his shoulder. In the back seat three pairs of eyes and three smiles could be seen in the rear view mirror Clark noticed silently.
In the theater, they settled into seats and Clark and Dorothy shared some popcorn as they waited for the movie to begin. Johnny came in and took a seat next to Ari and the two of them immediately locked lips while the rest of the group threw popcorn at the them and laughed. Johnny and Ari were the couple selected to most likely be parents at 16 and it looked like it might be happening way too quickly. Thank heavens the movie started soon Dorothy thought.
None of them saw Martin come in after Johnny or that he took a seat farther back where he could watch Dorothy. He felt angered as she snuggled with Clark during the movie and when he kissed her once or twice he almost came out of his seat.
Who the hell does that guy think he is? She’s mine. MINE!
But he remained silent. Nothing else he could do. His time would come. He knew it.
Ari rode home with Johnny, who also had Martin with him. “How come you didn’t sit with us at the movie?” she asked when he climbed into the back seat.
“Just didn’t feel like it. Too much kissing going on,” he said, but he didn’t sound like he was joking she thought.
“So you sat back where you could watch, you perv?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said and refused to say anything else.
“You’re weird…” she said. She didn’t like Martin at all, but he was one of Johnny’s stoner friends and they hung out a lot. It was creepy though, the way he was always on the sidelines, watching. She scooted closer to Johnny and tried to forget about Martin in the back. She wished he’d just go away.
They stopped to get hamburgers on the way home. Kip and Merri were getting a bit friendlier Dorothy noticed and smiled. Merri had liked Kip for a long time and despite his smart ass attitude he was a good guy. She was going to spend the night at Dorothy’s house and she couldn’t wait to talk with her friend about it.
When they got close to the park that was near Dorothy’s house she said, “Clark, stop here. Merri and I need to walk the rest of the way.”
Clark gave her a questioning look. “You know, we could just say that we ran into each other, Dorie. It is true after all.”
“I know, but Mom is really weird about it. Please, Clark? Just pull over, okay?”
He nodded and parked next to the curb before getting out to open the door for her. He pulled her close for a moment and gave her a soft kiss. “I don’t want to let you go.”
“I know. Me either.” She stepped back and saw that Kip was making a move on Merri and she waited for a moment for it to break up. “Hey, we gotta go, Merri.”
“Yeah, okay,” her friend answered, obviously hating the thought. “See you, Kip.”
“Yeah, you will,” he said with a smile. “You bet you will.”
The girls waved at the boys as the Chevelle took off and they started to walk down the sidewalk. That was when Dorothy saw Mrs. Baker, watching from her porch. Great, the neighborhood telegraph system was going to be activated. Just great!
“Hello, Dorothy,” she said with a wave to the girls. “Nice day to walk home?”
Merri muttered, “You know, for such a nice old lady she sure has a sarcastic mouth on her.”
“Yes, ma’am, it certainly is. How are you today, Mrs. Baker?”
“Just fine, dear. Is your mother coming to the neighborhood planning party tomorrow?”
Dorothy mentally rolled her eyes. Each year the neighborhood got together and planned a theme for the Christmas decorations. She knew that without a doubt that the cat would be out of the bag then because her mom was chairman of the committee this year. “Yes, I know she’ll be there.”
“Good! I know she’s going to be a fine chairman. See you later, Dorothy!” She waived gaily as she stepped into her house.
“She’s probably already on the phone. My mom is going to kill me, Merri.”
“Well, let’s enjoy the glow for as long as we can,” she said with a grin. She saluted Dorothy and added, “For those about to die…”
Dorothy groaned. Yep, die. For sure.
Ben pulled into the parking garage at the loft where Mick lived, not sure if he was happy that Mick as home since he saw the Benz in its usual parking space. Carl had told him what had happened to Clark Griffin but that wasn’t why he was here. Hell, he didn’t know for sure why he was here if he were honest.
He had such mixed feelings about Mick. He was a good guy, he knew that but he operated on the outside of the law at times and that really went against what Ben believed in. There had to be laws and citizens had to obey them. But how can you expect a vampire world to follow human expectations, human law? Policing their selves was a little bit too much like vigilante justice, but what else could they do?
You couldn’t really expect them to operate under human laws, in a system that didn’t know of their existence, and that’s what bothered him the most. He and Carl had spent endless hours debating the subject and could spend countless more and would never completely agree on it.
When Carl was turned, how would that change things? How would it change him? There were attributes about vampirism that were great, Ben admitted that but there were drawbacks too. Carl also admitted that but was still determined to be turned. He wanted forever with Cami he said and was willing to make the sacrifice to do so.
Cami was a great girl and Ben liked her a lot. She was a bit shy, but she also had quite a sense of humor when you got to know her. Still, forever was a mighty long time.
A sad pain suddenly gripped him; he would have taken forever with Michele if he’d had the chance. God, how he loved her - yes, still loved her. Her radiant smile, her belief in fighting for what you believe in, the way she loved, him, the world in fact. All of that gone, lost to him. He’d love her until he died.
Upstairs he wasn’t surprised to see Mick open the door before he had a chance to knock on it. “Ben, hi. Come on in”
“Hi, Mick.” He looked across the living room and spied Beth and her mother sitting on the couch. “Is this a bad time?”
“No, not at all. How are you?” He could tell that Ben was tense about something, but then Ben often seemed to be tense. “Would you like a drink?”
“Yeah, that would be good. Scotch?”
“You got it. Do you want to come on into my office and we can let the girls watch their movie?”
“Sure.” Before he headed into the office he stepped into the living room and said, “Mrs. Griffin, I heard about what happened. I’m so sorry about it all. How is your husband?”
“He’s wonderful actually.” She smiled at the nice looking young man. He always seemed slightly edgy, even at Mick and Beth’s wedding where she first met him. “Hopefully he’ll be home soon.”
“Yes, I hope that’s possible. Beth, how are you?”
She grinned at him and said, “I’m great. Trying to get back into the swing of things, after the um, kidnapping.”
“You have a heck of a life, Beth, but then I always thought so.” They both laughed a bit, remembering how it always amazed him when someone seemed to be after her for some reason. In the old days, BV. Before vampires…
“Yes, at times. It’s never dull though, I guess that’s something!”
He nodded and he and Mick decided to head into the office to chat. He heard the movie come back on and glanced back to see some movie with Colin Firth in it. What did women see in that guy? Michele had been crazy about him in that Pride and Prejudice movie.
He and Mick took seats in the office after the door closed and Ben looked at him across the desk and said, “Mick, I want to talk to you about my mom.”
To be continued…