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 ten 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 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 fifteen 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 sixteen 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 ten 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 sixteen just two 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 ten 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 ten 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 fifty 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 five 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 ten miles farther east from their little town of five hundred. The bigger town was the county seat and had maybe ten thousand 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.
"Hi, this is Rick. I'm calling for Jane if she's available."