Love and the Happy Days
This story is set during the episode 'Richie almost Dies' when Richie is in a coma after a motorcycle accident. I always wondered how Leather was able to spring a love song from her heart…
He's in a bad way. That was her first thought on hearing 'Red' was hurt. 'Red' was Fonzie's nickname for Richie in good humor moments. She knew he was in love with Lori-Beth and that was ok with her; but there was still something about him that made her strong and sad at the same time.
She had done time in reform school after lifting Fonzie's wallet; that was how they met. When she had show up in Milwaukee working on her music act he had still been angry with her. He later told her in private that the only reason he had given her any social support with her public performance was because Richie had asked him to do so. He had confided that Richie had been something of a nerd in his eyes when they met but Fonzie had grown to trust and respect him; so much so that he had agreed to give her the benefit of the doubt and see if she had really changed. Of course, the fact that Officer Kirk had been on her case had annoyed him but as Richie pointed out they were a lot alike; both wore leather and considered themselves a little outside the normal bounds. But finally, it was Richie's opinion of her and her talent that had swayed Fonzie to her side and by extension everybody wanted his approval so they got behind her as well.
She still remembered what a hardcase the 'Fonz' had been and wondered once more how Richie had earned that much respect from him. She learned also that he was glad he had listened to his buddy because Leather had a real talent for music and had changed for the better. Fonzie had actually said he was proud of her although it was up to her to be proud of herself and what she accomplished with her life.
All of this flashed through her mind while she sat in the chapel at the hospital. She had never been really religious; after all it had only been her and her sister to look after each other so who else was there? Now as she sat in the chapel she wondered: was God really there? And did He care about Richie or her?
"God? I don't know if you're really there but if You are then I need to talk to you. I have a friend. His name is Richie Cunningham and he is hurt bad. Please help him; people like him are pretty scarce and they are needed everywhere to help people like me find their way." At this point Leather started to notice the tears streaming down her face. "Please, I can't speak for everybody but I know I need him and I bet others do too. I love him so much; I know he doesn't love me back, I doubt if he ever notices me except when we play a gig together, but I don't care. I need him and so does everybody else. Please give him back."
Leather then sat back and in the privacy of the chapel and just let her tears fall.
Richie was awake the next day and said he was hungry which the doctor said was a good sign. She was happy that she had her good friend back; she knew he would never notice her but she would always love him; even if she found someone else, to her, Richie Cunningham would always be her first love.
Was I the only one who wondered about Leather's reaction to Richie standing up for her in her first appearance?