I own Vinny & Nina & nothing else(: Just a fan!
If Stephanie Zinone wanted a cool rider, that's what he'd be.
It all started when they were freshmen in high school. He'd see her walking to school everyday, until one day he decided to offer her a ride.
"Hey, Steph," he said, stopping his motorcycle and cutting her off from her walk.
"Hiya Johnny," she popped her gum at him.
"Want a ride?" he offered.
"You want me to show up to school on that thing? With you?" she asked, tilting down her sunglasses to squint at him.
"Yeah, what's wrong with that?" he asked.
"My cousin would kill you!" she answered, referring to her cousin, a senior and a member of the T-Birds.
"I'll risk it," Johnny said, flashing his signature smile.
"It's your life," she shrugged, climbing behind him and wrapping her arms right around his waist.
"Nogerelli!" called a voice in the cafeteria a couple of weeks later.
"Oh, uh, hiya Vinny," squeaked the younger boy, scared to death, "I didn't, uh, think ya even knew who I was."
"Yeah, well I make it my business to know everyone who rides around with my little cousin on the back of his bike," the older boy said, gripping down on his shoulder, and hard.
"Oh, uh, alright," the boy said, sure he'd be taken outside and beaten up any minute now.
"Lucky for you, Steph likes ya, and you seem pretty harmless, so I guess I'll let it continue. But just remember, if you mess things up for her, that's it, alright?" the boy mimicked slicing his neck open.
"I got it," Johnny choked out, nodding feebly.
"Good. Listen," the boy said, handing him some money, "If you're gonna keep taking her around on your damned bike, you better take her out too. You're making her look cheap."
"Oh, you got it Vinny," the boy replied grateful the exchange was coming to an end, "Thanks!"
"What's wrong with you Stephanie?" yelled Johnny that weekend at the diner.
"Would you quit hollerin'? What's your problem?" she returned, bitingly. They were dating, but Stephanie Zinone wasn't one to pull punches just cause a guy was buying her a burger.
"You can't eat that thing without ketchup," he said, looking at her incredulously, "Come here, let me show ya."
So he poured on the ketchup and when she took a big bite of the burger she was surprised to find it did taste much better that way.
"You're right," she smiled, mouth full, "This time."
"You're lucky you're cute kid, 'cause you've got no class," he laughed.
"Oh, and you do, Mr. Nogerelli?" she countered, cocking her eyebrows at him.
"Sure, Zinone, loads of it!" he laughed.
"I like it when you call me Zinone," she said, "It fits me much better than Stephanie anyway. Stephanie's too girly."
"What, now you're not even a girl?" he asked, handing her a bunch of napkins to clean off her face.
"I'm a girl, just not a very feminine one," she replied, sticking out her tongue at him.
"I guess I like tomboys," he said, leaning over and kissing her. She tasted like ketchup, and he didn't even mind.
"Your mother is a saint, Johnny Nogerelli," Stephanie said, smacking the boys arm, "And I won't hear no different. She puts up with you, doesn't she?"
"Oh, you're just saying that 'cause she likes you. You should hear her, go on about you," Johnny said, before giving an exaggerated version of his mother's voice, "When's Stephanie coming over for dinner? She's so pretty, you lucked out, Johnny. I swear she likes you more than me!"
"She's right though," Stephanie poked him in the side, giggling "You are pretty lucky."
"A little vain are we Miss Zinone," he countered, tickling her in turn.
Stephanie couldn't respond, she was laughing too hard. The tickle fight turned to kissing, as it so often does, and then continued on from there. There's no need to bore you with the details, however, because it didn't process very far. Stephanie interrupted to say she'd love to come for dinner and that pretty much killed the mood for Johnny.
As they rose in the ranks of Rydell High, their relationship turned into more of a partnership, or at least that's how she felt about it. He knew she wanted someone cool, so he tried to be someone cool for her, and everyone knows the coolest people around were the T-Birds. Well, dating the cousin of a T-Bird was a good way to get noticed by one, so long as you stay on his good side, so he got in with them, and Vinny's girl, well, his soon to be fiancée actually, if you believe the rumors, took Stephanie under her wing and modeled her after herself.
Vinny's girl was the one to convince both boys that Steph could keep working at her dad's gas station and still be Pink Lady material. In fact, Nina, that was her name, liked to work on cars too, she'd been the one to build the pink Studebaker that the girls drive now, in shop class no less.
Steph looked up to Nina like the sister she never had, and they were best friends. She even ended up being godmother to the couples second child, Dominic, in the years to come.
Sure she loved him, who wouldn't? He was everything a first love should be, sweet and as innocent as she was. They experienced all their firsts together, and she'd always have a place in her heart for him, but after a while it was all just too familiar.
She loved him, but she wasn't in love with him. She wanted new experiences, new adventures, and Johnny just wanted to keep doing the same thing over and over for the rest of their lives. Bowling with their friends on Tuesdays, dinner with his parents and hers after church every Sunday, and Saturdays at the movie theater were fine for high school, but for the rest of their lives? Stephanie wasn't sure she could commit to that.
She tried to talk to Nina about it, but the girl was a little preoccupied these days, with a new husband to take care of, a home to keep, and a baby on the way, she hardly had time to help her friend. This only made her more sure that she didn't want to marry Johnny, at least not right after high school.
Maybe she'd go to college, or get a job, who knows, maybe she would end up with Johnny, but either way she needed to be alone first, at least for a little while. At least their senior year! She knew it, but she also knew she'd have a hell of a time telling Johnny how she felt. She was not looking forward to that conversation, that's for sure.