By JD Rockel
In early October, the first quarter of the semester brought a series of exams. Ella and Jerry were both slammed with studying and agreed to focus on schoolwork. Fortunately, the exams were spread out among the classes over a two-week period. That helped both of them get through the exams with good grades.
Toward the end of the second week, Jerry found Ella by her locker first thing in the morning. “What do you think, Beautiful? Should we plan to meet next Thursday after school?”
Jerry had turned beautiful into a pet name for Ella. He continued to use ‘Ella’ when they were in casual conversation. But whenever he passed her in the hall or stopped to talk he called her Beautiful.
“My answer is a resounding YES, Jerry. I want to tell you how much I appreciate the way you have let me focus on the exams. It’s beyond my imagination that you would think so highly of me to put our time together on hold so I could focus.”
“Well, not to burst your admiration bubble, but I needed to focus too. We have four years ahead of us. There’s no reason to get into trouble with our grades. That would likely keep us apart much more than a week or two. I want to be with you, and I don’t want anything to come between us. Especially not school.”
Ella broke the school rules and gave Jerry a quick kiss. Her spirit was flying high as a kite, and it would be difficult to focus on her last exam.
“Any chance you could come over to my house on Saturday? My mom said it would be OK for us to watch videos and talk.”
“I don’t see why not. I’ll check with my dad tonight and let you know tomorrow. Good luck on your last test.”
“Thanks, see ya.”
“See ya, Beautiful.”
Jerry left, the bell rang, and Ella wasn’t sure where she was. Her head was spinning with the joy of romance. She could only hope that Jerry truly felt the same way. Everything was going wonderfully.
Ella ran to her Algebra class. Emily was already there. They had kept the seating arrangement they started with on the first day.
“You look amazingly happy Ella,” Emily said with a grin from ear to ear. “Let me guess, things are going very well with Jerry despite the exams.”
“You are right about that Emily. Am I that obvious?”
“Yes, but I have a special knack for seeing how a person is feeling. You are bright yellow like the sun today.”
“Bright yellow like the sun? Not red like a sunburn?”
“No. Red is anger. It’s a long story. I’ll tell you someday.”
“I can’t wait Emily. That’s a bit weird, but I’ll listen when the time is right.”
“Mom, Dad, are there plans for Saturday?”
Renata spoke first, “I plan to be home on Saturday.”
“I have a driving/shopping date with Rosa,” Tony added.
Perfect, Rosa won’t be here.
“That’s fine,” Ella replied. “Mom, is it OK if Jerry comes over for a while to watch videos?”
“OK? That’s wonderful! I will get to meet this wonderful friend of yours.” Renata was bubbling over which scared Ella a bit.
“Mom, you’re gonna be normal, aren’t you?”
“Yes, dear. I’m sorry. I will be normal. This is just an exciting moment for a mom. I get to meet my daughter’s first real boyfriend. Tony, do you think you could take Lee and Sofie with you?”
“I suppose so. Rosa’s never complained about them being along in the past.”
“Dad, what time are you and Rosa leaving?”
“Ten o’clock. She wants to get in a full day of mall shopping.”
“So, you probably won’t be home till four?”
“That I don’t know. I will certainly be exhausted by then, but I don’t know about Rosa. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t want you to meet Jerry just yet. You might scare him away the first time you meet him. He will be nervous enough without you telling him you have a big gun collection.”
“But I don’t have a gun collection, big or small.”
“I know, but it’s the kind of thing a dad would say to strike fear in the boy his daughter is dating.”
“True enough. How about I call if we are coming home before three.”
“Perfect! Dad, you’re the greatest.”
“Never accuse me of being insensitive. Besides, I know Mom will be keeping an eye on you two.”
“I don’t expect we will leave the family room, Dad.”
“Even better. Have fun.”
Ella pulled out her phone and called Jerry.
“Jerry? It’s Ella.”
“I could tell. I have a smart phone, remember?”
“Of course, you do. You probably have my picture and our favorite slow dance song programmed in.”
“Sorry, I didn’t get that far, but that’s a good idea.”
“Hey, everything’s set for Saturday. What did your dad say?
“He’s fine with it. I can ride my bike over.”
“Mom will be home, but my dad will be gone. So, it should be pretty safe for you. I can talk my mom down if she gets too nosy.”
“I’m fine either way, but I appreciate you caring about me so much. You’re the best.”
“No, you’re the best.”
“No, you’re the best.”
“No, no, you’re the best.”
They laughed together.
“Jerr, do you want to bring a favorite video or two. I’ll pick my two favorites and we can choose from them.”
“Great idea. Do you want me to bring anything? Chips, soda, candy, a roast?”
“A roast? You are CRAZY sometimes.”
“I try. By the way, I think I will be ready to show you my surprise Thursday night.”
“You sure we can talk about this on the phone? My dad may have connections to the NSA or something.”
“If anything, your mom probably knows a geek that can intercept the cell phone. I’m pretty confident we are safe though.”
“I’m sure you’re right. But, yes, I’m really psyched to see what you have prepared for us. I have to admit I’m a bit scared though.”
“Well, you’ve been so very nice to me all this time. You might actually be a psychopathic serial killer who is luring me in for the kill.”
“If I am luring you in, I promise it’s not for the kill.”
“OK, now I am scared. You must be a psychopathic serial rapist.”
“I’ve never raped anyone!”
“Sure, but there has to be a first time.”
They both laughed again, but Ella was still apprehensive.
“Please trust me, I won’t rape you. I won’t molest you. But most of all, I won’t ignore you.”
“That makes me feel much better, Jerr. Thanks. I am looking forward to Thursday so much.”
“Me too, Beautiful.”
“See you at school tomorrow. We can finalize a time for Saturday then.”
“See you, Beautiful. Bye.”