Chapter 1

In hindsight, asking Susan Andrews to the End-of-Summer Blowout was probably not a good idea. He should have waited until he’d actually bought a car before asking Susan out, rather than just telling her he was getting one. Instead, Billy Peterson had blurted it out right there in front of everyone in the parking lot at the soda shop.

She was sitting on the hood of Jack Winter’s new DeSoto. Well, it was new to Jack; it used to be his dad’s. Sure, there was a little rust here and there, but it rode just fine and it was Jack’s. What did Billy have? Nothing, that’s what.

But he did have gumption. Which he doggedly mustered up to casually lean against Jack’s rusty old second-hand DeSoto and, toying with the hem of her skirt that was teasingly splayed out to just within reach of his hand, asked Susan if she’d go to the Blowout with him. Susan looked down at him, snatching her skirt out of his reach as though he were some beggar, and spat out “On what? Your bicycle?!” She laughed loudly at him—as did everyone else—although he did catch a few of the guys flinching.

He jumped on his bike and pedalled home furiously, fuelled by his anger, chased all the way home by Susan’s snide remarks.

Alone, he sat on the front step for hours, gazing up at the stars, sending up futile wishes to the heavens. The Blowout was next week and he had nothing. No girl, no car and no hope for either.

Completely dejected, Billy sighed and stood up, brushing his pants clean, ready to go inside, when he heard the crunching of distinctly female footsteps on the drive.

The End

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