Paradise

Ariel is pregnant, Willard's mama is sick, there's a new stranger in town, Rusty's getting restless, Ren gets the surprise of a lifetime, and Chuck is out for revenge. Ever wondered what happened after they all decided to cut footloose?


Chapter One - Secrets

"Ariel! Would you hurry up in there?" Rusty shouted.

She was standing outside the bathroom in the Moore home. It was past eight o'clock, and just that afternoon they'd graduated from high school. Rusty could practically taste the freedom. Now they were late for the graduation dance they'd thrown together to be held at the grain mill.

"I know it doesn't take you that long to wash your hands!" she called, having heard the toilet flush at least ten minutes ago.

"Just a minute!" Ariel replied, her voice sounding muffled through the door.

She was leaning over the bathroom counter, staring at her hands. Or, rather, at what was in her hands. This couldn't be happening. It was impossible. Except she knew it wasn't. It was very much so possible, and that was what made her feel sick to her stomach.

Rusty sighed with frustration. Ren and Willard had dropped them off at Ariel's place so they could change. Then they were going to hitch a ride with Urleen, Wendy Jo, and the other girls, but they'd gotten so bored waiting that they'd already left.

"That's it, I'm coming in!" she declared, jiggling the bathroom door handle and barging in.

Ariel stood up quickly and tried to hide the object behind her back, but Rusty had seen it already. She blushed, realizing her mistake in rashly barging in. But she couldn't pretend not to have seen it.

"Ariel?" she asked quietly. "Is that what I think it was?"

She nodded. "Yes, it's a...pregnancy test."

"Let me see it."

Ariel shook her head, tears burning in her eyes. Rusty went over to her friend and gently pulled her arms out from behind her and pried her hands off of the white stick. She looked at the two vertical lines, indicating that she was, indeed, pregnant.

The silence was suffocating and Ariel couldn't stand it any longer. "Rus - "

"Well this is great!" Rusty exclaimed in an attempt to prevent her best friend from wallowing in despair.

Ariel looked confused. "Wha - "

"Now we'll have a mini-Ariel or mini-Ren running around here!"

"Keep your voice down!"

Rusty ignored her. "It's been a while since Bomont's had some little ones."

"No, you - "

"Your guys' baby will be the first of the new generation!"

"But - "

"You know, I don't think Travis and Urleen are that far behind you two, if you catch my drift."

"Rusty - "

"Hey now." Rusty put her hands on her hips and mock glared at her. "You didn't even tell me that you two jumped in the sack."

"We - "

"You know, as your best friend, you're obligated to tell - "

"Ren and I haven't had sex!" she shouted, then clapped a hand over her mouth, fearing that her parents might have heard her.

Rusty's expression morphed into one of absolute shock. She dropped the pregnancy test so quickly one would think it had burned her.

"But that means..."

"The father isn't Ren," Ariel said quietly, turning away from Rusty. Her hands gripped the edge of the countertop and she squeezed her eyes shut. "It's Chuck."

~ everybodycutfootloose ~

Ren felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket, so he excused himself from the dance floor and went outside. The caller ID was Rusty.

"Hey Rusty," he greeted. "Where are you two?"

"Hiya Ren. I'm sorry, but we can't make it. Ariel came down with a really bad flu."

Ren frowned. She hadn't been displaying any sick signs earlier. "Okay, well, do you want me to come by?"

"No, she doesn't want you to get sick too. Mrs. Moore is making her some soup and I'm just going to sleep over since I might have it too."

"Alright. Tell her I wish her well," he said.

"I will. And Ren?"

"Yeah?"

"Tell Willard I'm sorry and that I love him."

Ren chuckled. "I will."

"Thanks Ren. Bye."

"Bye."

Ren hung up and was sliding his phone back into his pocket when he turned around to see Willard walking over.

"Was that Ariel?" he asked.

He shook his head. "Rusty. Ariel came down with the flu, so she's going to sleep over there tonight."

Willard nodded slowly.

"Oh, and she said that she's sorry and that she loves you."

Ren cracked a grin as Willard blushed and tried to hide his smile. Then Ren stopped smiling and gave his friend a serious look.

"Have you told her about your mama yet?"

Willard shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. "No."

"Willard, you have to tell her!"

"I know that!" he exclaimed. "It's just that it's never the right time to tell her. What am I supposed to say? 'Hey Rusty, want to go bowling? Oh, and by the way, my mom is dying of leukemia.' I don't think so."

Ren sighed. "Willard, I know it's hard, but there's never going to be a right time. Tell her when it's just the two of you. Take her out somewhere and tell her."

Willard nodded and they fell silent again. The music from the mill was so loud they could hear it from outside.

"I don't know about you, but I don't feel like going back without the girls," Ren said.

"I agree."

"Want to get out of here?"

Willard grinned crookedly. "Now Ren, don't think that just cause the girls aren't here that I'm gonna sleep with you."

Ren punched Willard in the arm and they started laughing.

"Let's get some burgers," Ren said, and they walked out to Willard's truck.

~ everybodycutfootloose ~

Rusty was lying on Ariel's bed, staring at the ceiling. It was midnight, and she couldn't sleep. She turned over on her side and looked at her friend's back.

"Ariel?" she whispered. "Are you awake?"

There was silence, and Rusty was about to turn back around when she heard, "Yes."

Ariel turned to face her friend, who was looking at her with concern.

"You have to tell Ren," Rusty said.

"I know."

"By the end of the week, or else I will."

Ariel glared. "You wouldn't dare."

"Yes, I would!" Rusty hissed. "Listen, if you don't tell and somebody figures it out first, he's going to know it's not his baby. And the only other person you were with was Chuck, and if he finds out you're having his baby..."

"All hell is going to break loose."

"Amen, sister."

Ariel rolled on to her back and looked out the window of her room. The stars dotted the dark blue sky. She prayed that if Bobby was watching over her that he wasn't disappointed.

"Have you and Willard...you know?"

Rusty shook her head. "We want to wait," she mumbled around a yawn.

"Ren and I do too," she said. "Chuck and I were only together for the sex. And I was fine with that, back then. He was just another way I could rebel against my father. But Ren..." She smiled to herself. "Ren is more than that. I want our first time together to be special."

Ariel put her hands on her stomach and sighed. She could tell Ren. He would understand and would be there for her no matter what. And she knew she had Rusty and Willard's support as well. As for the rest of the town...well, the scandal of the preacher's eighteen year old daughter having the baby of a high school drop out out of wedlock might be bigger than Ren taking on the council to repeal the public dancing law.

And who was she to be having a baby at eighteen? All her dreams of the future, all the adventures she and Rusty'd had planned since they were kids, were all gone now. She would be a mother in nine months, and no doubt Ren would stay with her and provide for her and the baby that wasn't his. His future would be ruined as well.

"Rusty, I'm scared," she whimpered, but she could tell by the girl's even breathing and still form that she was already asleep.


So, my local theatre recently put on the musical Footloose and it inspired me to write a what happened next story. This won't be very long (around twelve chapters or so) but it will be jam packed with intensity and drama.

I also decided to set it in present time, not in the 80's. So there will be cell phones, as you saw already, and probably some modern slang.

Please tell me your thoughts!

~Ki