Smoking was illegal in Iowa, but that didn't mean that anyone abided by that rule. Even in the town of River City people smoked, secretly that is. It's just the fact of life that when laws are made, someone's going to break it. For many of the men "on the wrong side of town," it was something that was done daily. Not many were caught because seemingly no one cared about those people. And if anyone was ever caught, it was just another thing to gossip about.
Now Tommy Gjilas was smart, so he knew that in other states the kids smoked tons. He was sixteen and if kids younger than him smoked he didn't see anything wrong with it. He was also a bit of a sweet talker and easily got out of troublesome situations. He was kind of like a younger Harold Hill. It was easy to get a pack of smokes too. His father sure didn't give a damn about him and it wasn't like the old man didn't have enough already. He took a new pack every day or so. That's how Tommy ended up leaning against the wall to the large apartment complex he lived in. Smoking like he had done it for years.
No one took the time to bother and stare at Tommy or even mutter a hello. Everyone minded their own business because they were all too busy to care anyway. He wasn't even a smidge scared that someone might scold him for smoking; it was all too common in the South part of town. Besides, the only people who did care would never step foot in this neighborhood. He was very glad that Zaneeta would never find him smoking; he didn't think she would like that at all. And somehow, him smoking would get back to Mayor Shinn and he would finally have an excuse to put him jail.
"Tommy!" His friend Grant called as he walked towards him.
"Hmm?" He wondered and took a drag.
"I found a way we could do the wood prank-"
"I'm gonna stop you right there," Tommy interrupted," because I know we could come up with something better. I had this idea that we could switch the shampoo at the barbershop with dye. Simple enough and highly effective."
"You never cease to amaze me." Grant said with slight disbelief in his voice.
"That's me!" He said cheekily. "Want a smoke?"
"Nah. You know if I got caught smoking I'd either be beaten every day for the rest of my life or thrown out of the house."
"Your loss then." He said simply and took a long drag on his smoke before stamping it on the ground and lighting a new one.
"You know one day you're gonna get caught. What'll you do then? Zaneeta'll never be able to see you again and no one up North would even talk to you."
"One day I'll get caught, but today is not that day. And since when have I ever cared about their opinion?" Tommy said rather proudly.
"Oh, I know you care. When you confessed you were going steady with Z, you practically said, 'Your majesty! I want you to approve of our relationship or else I might die!' Don't even try to deny it." Grant exclaimed smugly.
Tommy was not amused. "Whatever kid. Anything I've said before doesn't apply now. I don't need the old fool's approval. If he wasn't so close-minded I might actually care. But he is, so I don't."
"Hn. Yeah right." Grant muttered under his breath. "Yeah but what about Zaneeta? You'd lose her for sure."
"Oh Jesu-Jeely Kly! I was supposed to meet her at the footbridge! You gotta watch?"
"Yeah it's 6 o'clock exactly."
"Damn." Tommy threw his cigarette on the ground and stuffed the rest in his pocket. "I gotta go buddy, meet me behind the barbershop at midnight. Oh and tell Julian and Ervin, got it?" Tommy asked.
Grant nodded his head and Tommy bid him goodbye before he took off running. Grant couldn't help but laugh at Tommy's misfortune and went to go find Julian.
The mayor's eldest child found herself sitting all alone in the forest, as it was too early for other couples to come to the footbridge. Of course, she really wasn't a couple. If Tommy was here they would be. And had her boyfriend arrived on time she wouldn't be sitting on a nearby bench and sighing every other second. Her head sprang up as she heard the footsteps of someone running. There up ahead was Tommy panting and a little sweaty. He looked around for her before he met Zaneeta's eyes.
He grinned and walked to her. "Hey Zaneeta! Sorry I was late, I lost track of time."
"Ye gods Tommy! You know I can't be with you too long or else Papa will get suspicious. Now we only have a little more time to spend together." She said to him.
Tommy only grinned wider. "Then, we'll make it worthwhile." He said pulling her close to him.
She blushed at this sudden sign of physical affection. It didn't help that their faces were only a couple inches away too. Sure they had hugged and held hands before, they had even kissed a couple of times but Tommy had never been this abrasive before. He grabbed her small hands and held them in his own. He smiled down at her, warmth in his eyes. She was hypnotized and couldn't help but smile back. "You're beautiful when you smile." He complimented.
It was a sincere compliment, she knew, but she also knew that he wanted something. "Tommy, I'm flattered, but stop trying to seduce me into getting something. Ye Gods!"
"You're a clever girl Zaneeta, I probably shouldn't have tried that. I'll just come right out and ask you then. Does Mrs. Shinn have any dye?" He asked.
"Yeah, why? "
"Do you think you could get some to me? Before midnight?"
Concerned, she looked into his eyes. "Tommy, what are you planning?"
"The less you know the better."
"What?" She asked indignantly.
"No one will be able to hold you responsible if you don't know what's going on. I don't want you to get into trouble with your dad." He responded honestly.
"Fine, I'll get you the dye. Just make sure to get it back to me as soon as possible. I'll meet you after dinner outside the library." She hadn't really wanted to drop the subject so easily. The kind of pranks he pulled were rather mean but they weren't enough to put him in jail. She worried that one day, his pranks would end him up there.
"Thanks Zaneeta, I owe you one. Now where were we?" He said mischievously and pulled her close once more. She stood on her tip toes and he dipped to her lips for a kiss.
Kissing was something very new to Zaneeta, but she could tell that Tommy had kissed other girls before her. And it was a little awkward because Tommy almost had to hold her so she would meet his lips. She was smaller than a lot of the girls her age and Tommy was considered tall for a guy so it was a little odd. She closed her eyes as she began to sink into the kiss. It was soft and gentle but over a little time grew to be more aggressive and firm. Zaneeta, remembering that she had to go soon, pulled away.
"I have to go Tommy." She said to him.
"Alright." He said a little reluctantly but then smiled widely at her. "Don't I get a goodbye kiss though?"
She rolled her eyes at him and went in to peck his cheek. "I think that's all the kissing we should be doing for now." He scowled slightly. "What if someone were to catch us, hmm?"
"I say, let 'em watch! Everyone knows we're going steady and I'm proud to say it!" He exclaimed loudly.
"Ye Gods! I bet papa can hear you talking all the way from his office right now. I'm proud of our relationship as well but I don't think parading it around town is the best thing to do at this moment."
"Alright. I'll meet you after dinner and have the dye back to you tomorrow morning."
"Okay, goodbye Tommy!" She called over shoulder as she left him.
"I love you Zaneeta!" He called to her.
Zaneeta stopped in her tracks for a second, not believing what she had just heard. Not knowing what to say back to him, she ran even faster out of the forest. Tommy furrowed his eyebrows. He had no idea that he had said anything wrong and shrugged. He walked off to the library to hide out there until it was time to meet Zaneeta again.
A/N: Hello! I recently saw the Music Man at my school and the idea for this story was running through my head the whole time. So I'm trying it out. Plus, I don't think anything was resolved with Zaneeta's and Tommy's relationship. I'm a little rusty with my writing so bear with me. I really like how it's starting out and hope to finish this story up with a maximum of 15 chapters(that's a little far-fetched) and a minimum of 8. It's going to go through a couple different storylines but hopefully it won't be too confusing. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and remember to review!