I hopped out of the truck that had taken me from Mobile, Alabama to Gennesse, Idaho.

"Thanks, Phil." I said. I shut the passenger door and pulled my bags out of the back. Phil waved and sped away.

"Home, sweet, home." I mumbled, sarcastically and walked up to the door.

This would be my twenty-sixth home in my whole sixteen years. Yup, twenty-six. My mom walked out on my Pop and I when I was real young, maybe 3? Anyway, we were always moving to different cities in Oklahoma, because of our whole money situation. My Pop passed away just before I turned 14 in a car wreck, so I moved in with my grandparents. They ended up in a nursing home, so I moved in with my older cousin in New Orleans. She decided she couldn't take care of me so she sent me to my aunt in Mobile. She got pregnant and now I'm here in Gennesse with Uncle Gary. Jesus, ain't that a story n' a half.

I knocked on the door and looked up at the house. It seemed okay. You could obviously tell he didn't spend a million bucks on it or anything. I liked it though, it was cute. A tall, plumpish man opened the door. "Donnie!" He boomed.

Oh Lord. I thought to myself.

"Hi, Uncle Gary!" I said, trying to return the favor of his enthusiasm. He hugged me.

Uncle Gary is my Dad's oldest brother. I didn't even really know who he was. I mean, I've seen pictures of the guy and stuff, but I never met him before this. My Dad was the youngest but the first one out of all of them to settle down. Uncle Gary never married. Dad told me he was real dedicated to his work.

"It's been awhile, huh?"

"Tell me about it!" I said.

I walked into the house. It was, well, I guess it was home. There was a couch in what I guessed was the living room with a television and a small kitchen beside it. Uncle Gary led me down a hallway.

"Here's your room." He said, opening a door. The room just had a double bed and a dresser with a mirror. It was good enough.

"It ain't a lot, but do what ya want with it." Uncle Gary said. He was leaning against the door.

"It's great!" I said, trying to reassure him it was alright.

"Donna, we have to go over a couple things." He said, sitting on my bed. He got this serious look on his face.

Oh God, please not the sex talk.

"Alright." I sat beside him.

"You don't have a curfew, but I'd like to know where you are. I work seven days a week, so I'm not gonna be home during the day. If you ever need any money, just ask. And well, that's it."

"Alright. Sounds good." I said. He got up and turned to me.

"I hope ya have a good time here, Donna." He said.

I smiled at him. " Thanks, Uncle Gary. Ya know, I do too."

Uncle Gary smiled awkwardly and left the room. I watched him walk out and I wondered what his excuse would be for shipping me off. I had a tendency to think like that, but I'd have to tell myself not to. So, I smiled to myself and put my stuff away. The room smelled old, so I opened up the window. I looked outside, you could see down the street. Most of the houses looked the same as Uncle Gary's. Way down far you could get a bit of what I guessed was the main strip.

I finished unpacking and called to Uncle Gary, "I'm gonna go for a walk."

"Alright, call the house if ya need anything." Uncle Gary said, staring at the TV.

"Will do." I said and I walked out the door.

It was really nice outside, so I didn't mind walking around. I walked straight down the street until I got to the strip. I saw a little diner and decided to check it out. I dug through my purse until I found a dollar bill. The joint was crowded with teen aged kids. I slid in an empty booth and lit a weed.

Before the waitress even came, this red head chick came and sat opposite to me.

"Hey! I'm Jessica! You're new, aren't ya?"

I laughed and took a drag on my cigarette. "How'd ya know?"

"It's a small town."

"Wanna cigarette?" I said, taking out my pack.

"Oh yeah! You smoke?"

"I'm try'na quit." I said, trying to be serious, but then I started laughing. Jessica looked at me and started laughing too.

"Not gonna happen." I said.

She chuckled again, "No kidding, huh?"

"Well, I'm Donna, you can call me Donnie though."

"It's nice to meet you, Donnie. It's weird you seem tough, but you're dressed as girly as a petunia."

I laughed, "All show no go, huh?"

She laughed too and smoked to the butt of her weed.

We continued our small talk for a little while, when I asked: "Any cute guys 'round here?"

"Well, my boyfriend and his friends," she said, then looked at her watch, " should be here any minute, his friends are pretty cute, They're nice guys."

"What're they're names?" I asked.

"Vern is my boyfriend and there's Teddy, Chris and Gordie."

"Cool. Mind if I stay?"

"Of course not! I thought you was gonna anyway!"

I laughed, "Alright, thanks."

"They're all single, I think. Except of course Vern."

I nodded, "Oh yeah?"

Just a couple minutes later a pack of guys came in. The one at the front was a big, tall guy. He looked like a football player. This was the boy that Jessica ran to yelling, "Vernie!" He took her into his arms and hugged her, she kissed the side of his face. Another boy had dirty blond hair, slicked back. He was wearing big, thick-framed glasses that were black, like Buddy Holly style. He was a skinny boy with a funny face. The other boy had short, brown hair. It was slicked back a little too. He had a cute little face, and when he smiled you just wanted to pinch his cheeks. The last boy was the one who really caught my attention. He had dirty blonde hair. Buzzed at the sides and long-ish on the top. How they wear it in the army, some what like a flat top, but not flat on top. He looked like a tough guy, really hot. He had small blue eyes, but boy, I didn't think I could ever stop lookin' into them. His smile was so sexy, it just gave me butterflies. He had a real skinny face, if it was on anyone else they'd probably look like an oddball, but it suited him nicely. It made him look more manly, I thought. He wore a shirt that showed off his muscles and a cigarette package in the sleeve of his shirt, with one in his ear.

I smiled at all the boys.

"Come sit!" Jessica said to the boys as she sat in the bench. They all slid into the bench while Jessica started to say, "Everyone this is Donnie, this is everyone..." She was about to say there names but I stopped here.

"Lemme guess...Vern,Teddy, Chris and Gordie?" I said, looking at all of them.

They all had a look of awe on their faces.

"How'd you know that?" The brown haired boy said.

"I'm a physic." I said, nonchalantly.

"No shit!" said the boy with glasses.

"Oh yeah!" I said.

"That's pretty cool." The hot one said.

"No kidding." said the boy with glasses.

Jessica started laughing, and I couldn't help myself either.

"Yeah, I am kidding. I ain't physic, Jessica here told me your names before ya came."

"Oh..." They all said. Like they were disappointed.

"Well, this is Teddy," she pointed at the boy with glasses.

"And Gordie," she pointed at the brown haired boy.

"And Chris." Finally, she pointed at the hot one.

I said 'hi' to each one after she named them. I tried to be extra friendly to Chris.

I shook all their hands, "Nice to meet y'all."

"Where'd you come from?" Teddy asked.

"Just got here from Alabama, but I grew up in Oklahoma."

"Unreal, you're from the South, huh?"

"Right on."

"Cigarette?" Chris offered to me, and then to everyone else.

"No thank you." I said.

Jessica looked at Chris, "She's trying to quit."

I laughed .

"Oh yeah?" Chris said.

"Yeah...never gonna happen though." I laughed , again.

"Amen to that." Teddy said, taking a drag.

We all laughed together. Jessica seemed to fit in real well with this group of boys and she seemed real gone with Vern, too. I thought it was cute.

A waitress came over and took our order, 6 cokes.

"New girl don't smoke, huh?" she said, setting down her cokes.

"Matter o' fact I don't." I laughed.

I caught Chris looking at me and I smiled at him.

We talked a little more.

"So where're your girls at tonight?"I asked to the single boys.

They all chuckled.

"They're not 'round here, that's for sure." Teddy said.

"Yeah, I'm still looking." Chris said, I smiled at him.

We all sat in the booth, sipped our cokes and talked for about an hour, until the diner closed up. Then we all went our separate ways.

"I'll catch you all later, huh?" Vern said, hopping in his car.

Jessica hopped in his car too. "Gimme a ring later, huh Donnie? We'll get together real soon." Jessica said.

"Will do!" I said, as they pulled away. I smiled and turned to walk home. Chris caught my arm, lightly.

I turned around, looked and smiled at him.

"Can I walk you home?" He asked.

I smiled at him, even bigger this time, "Of course you can!"

He chuckled, "Well alright."

We talked as we walked. It was nice to talk to Chris alone. In a group, you can't really get to know just one person, at least without seeming like you don't wanna talk to anyone else.

It seemed like we'd been talking for just a couple seconds when we made it to my doorstep.

"Thanks for walking me home." I said, sweetly.

"My pleasure, anytime." He smiled at me.

"It was nice meeting ya, Donnie. We should hang sometime."

"Yeah, we should." I smiled. "Well, bye."


I went inside and locked the door. I smiled all night. I felt sort of stupid feeling so giddy about Chris, but boy, did I feel giddy!

When I got into my room I pulled my journal out of my drawer and made an entry.

"Dear Diary,

Today was my first day in Gennesse. As soon as I got here, I unpacked my bags and went to a diner nearby. I met this real nice red-haired girl named Jessica. She reminds me of my old friend Susie back home, so I could see myself becoming good friends with her. Well, her boyfriend came by with some of his pals. That's when I met Gordie, Teddy and Chris. They're a nice enough group of guys. Especially Chris. He walked me home tonight. I think I could hit it off with Chris. But, I'd like to have some one-on-one time with him so I could get to know him better. Well, I'd better get into bed, I'll try to write soon.


Donna Grace Phoenix

I put away my journal, dressed in my pajamas, got into bed, and dreamed about seeing Chris again.

I woke up the next morning to Uncle Gary hollering, "C'mon Donnie, breakfasts on!"

I walked out into the kitchen. Uncle Gary was sitting at the table drinking coffee. I looked at the clock. It was close to 10 o'clock.

"Mornin'." I said, tiredly.

"Good morning."

I sat down across from him.

"When'd you get in last night?"

"Maybe 9 or 10."

"What'd you do well you were out?"

"I met a group of kids my age and we were just hanging out at the little diner just down the street."

"What kids were they?"

"Um...I didn't get any of their last names, but their first names are Jessica, Vern, Teddy, Gordie and Chris. "

"How'd you get home?"

"Chris walked me. Jesus, Uncle Gary, you writin' a book?"

He chuckled a bit, "Well, I gotta go to work."

"See ya later!" I called as he walked out the door.

I got up and started searching the fridge and cupboards. As I poured myself some cereal the telephone rang.


"Hey, Donnie. It's Chris."

I smiled and sat down. "Hey Chris!"

"So, you wanna do something today?" He asked, coolly.

"Yeah, sure, what were you thinking of doing?"

"I don't know. Maybe we could go on a walk or something and then just go from there."


"I still gotta get ready," Chris said.

"Me too."

"So, I'll come n' get ya in a half hour or so, that good?"

"Yeah! See ya then!" I said, excitedly. And I hung up the telephone.

I squealed and ran to my room. I started getting ready, but tried not to rush so I didn't end up looking like a retard. When I was finished, I went into the living room and turned on the radio.

I was humming to a song and cleaning up around the room when someone started banging on the door. Obviously, it was Chris.

"It's me!" he yelled.

"I'm comin', I'm comin'." I laughed.

I opened the door. Chris was standing there, smiling. I smiled back at him.

"Hey!" I said.

"Hey." Chris said, in a sexy voice. And boy do I mean sexy.

"Well, are you ready to go?" I asked, sweetly.


I smiled at him and shut the door behind me.

We walked beside each other. "So...how's it goin'?" Chris asked.

I smiled and said, "It's goin'. Still getting used to the area. What 'bout you?"

"Yeah, me too. Except I'm not still gettin' used to the place." He chuckled.

We talked some more, kept the conversation going while we walked. I don't even know where we were walking, we just were. Talking and walking.

We made it to some look out over the city, Chris sat. He took my hand and pulled me with down with him. We smiled at each other. We seemed to do that alot already, huh?

"It's a nice view." I said.

"I thought so, too."

"You come here often?"I asked.

"Naw," He looked at me. "Not often. Sometimes with Gordo...but other than that, not a lot."

"It's a cool place." I looked around. "One of the only places I know right about now."

I laughed.

"Oh, yeah." He smiled, "How're you liking Gennesse?"

"I'm liking it just fine. I mean, I haven't really seen or done anything yet, but yesterday was a good start. I had a lot of fun."

"Yeah it was, wasn't it?"

"Yeah." I agreed.

We talked for forever...I started getting hungry at some points, 'cause it was time to eat, but I ignored it and kept talking to Chris. I couldn't believe that we just sat there and talked for so long. But, I guess it is pretty believable considering we knew nothing about each other.

We were both lying down when Chris sat up and said, "Why don't we go grab something to eat, I bet it's getting late."

"Yeah, I'd like that."

He helped me up. We ended up walking to the same diner we'd been to the night before. I guess there weren't a lot of other places to go around here. We sat down in a booth and ordered two burgers and two cokes.

"Jesus, I can't believe it's 4 o'clock." Chris said.

I nodded, "No kidding, I think you got to my place at like, 11."

He laughed. "Guess we're having a pretty good time then, huh?"

"Guess so!" I smiled. "Ya know, I'm glad we did this."

He looked at me and smiled, " Me too, I like hanging out with you."

"I like hanging out with you too." I smiled.

We finished eating our food, so we were just sitting and talking, as usual.

"Wait...how'd you get my telephone number today?" I said, suspiciously, after I thought about it.

He laughed, "Oh yeah. I called Jessica to ask her, 'cause I remembered she told you to call her later."

"Oh shit! I was suppose to call her."

"I don't think she'll mind, I told her I wanted to take you out some place today."

I smiled, and I could feel myself blushing. He smiled back at me, like he knew what I was thinking.

"Did I really make that good of an impression, that you wanted to ask me out?" I laughed.

He laughed too, "You seemed like someone I wanted to get to know. You still do."

I smiled, "I'll be honest, I thought the exact same about you."

"Then it worked out pretty good, huh?"

"You bet!"

It was getting pretty late, so Chris walked me home again.

"Well, thanks for taking me out today. I had a great time." I smiled.

"No problem, I did too." He said,"Maybe we all can get together tomorrow, cruise around or something."

"Yeah, that would be , I'll see ya later." I said. And I kissed his cheek.

"Yeah, see ya later." He smiled and we went our separate ways.

I smiled to myself as I walked inside. The first thing I did was call Jessica.

"Hey, Jessica?"

"Hey, Donnie! So...ya went out with Chris, huh?"

"Yeahhhhhhhhh..." I giggled.

"How'd it go?"

"It was actually really fun. Chris is a really nice guy, I like him."

"He is a nice guy, I think you guys would go good together."

"I'm glad. So, how was your day?" I asked.

"It was good, Vern and I were wondering if you and Chris wanna go out tomorrow. Did Chris show ya around today?"


"Alright, that's what we'll do. We'll just cruise around and show ya Gennesse!"

"Sounds good! What time should we meet at?"

"1 o'clock? Vern!" she called, "What time should we meet Chris and Donnie at tomorrow?"

"One's fine!" He called back.

"Yeah, 1:00, at the diner. Is that alright with you?"

"Yeah, that works fine for me, I'll call Chris and talk to him about it."

"Ok, so tell me about this date of yours. I laughed and sat down, I told her about our 'date'. I told her how he took me to the look out, and we stayed there awhile, and then how we went to the diner after, and how I kissed him on the cheek when he dropped me off.

"Awwwwwww!" Jessica said, "Sounds like you two had fun."

"Yeah, I had fun."

"Alright, I'll let you go." Jessica said.

"Yep, see ya tomorrow."

I hung up the phone, and then picked it up again to call Chris.

"Hey, Chris?"

"Hey, long time, no talk." He chuckled.

I laughed, "No kidding. I was just calling to ask you what you're doing tomorrow."

"Nothing, I don't think."

"Well, I was talking to Jessica and her and Vern wanted to know if we wanted to go cruise around with them. Jessica wanted to show me around the place."

"Yeah, sounds good. I'll come."

"They wanted to meet us at the diner at 1:00."

"Ok, I'll pick you up quarter to."

"Alright, thanks."

"Talk to you later." And we hung up.

I went into my bedroom and laid out all my stuff for the next day. Man, did I get bored easy. I was just roaming around the house when I decided I'd go to the corner store and pick up a soda and a magazine or a paper or something.

I walked out of the house and locked the door behind me. As walked out to the sidewalk, I looked around. I saw someone walking towards me and I looked closer. It was Chris.

"Chris?!" I called.

He waved and jogged up to me. "Hey." He said, throwing the butt of his cigarette on the ground.

"Hey, what're you doing?"

"I was gonna come see you." He said.

"Were ya? I was just goin' to the corner store to grab a magazine and a soda."

"Well, I'll come with ya."

"Alright." I smiled.

We walked to the store.

"I was so bored. There's nothing to do in that house. You can only listen to the radio for so long. I don't know what I'm gonna do if it's this boring all the time."

"You can call me. I'll do something with ya. I don't mind you calling, ya know."

"Well, I'll take ya up on that offer sometime."

"Sounds good." He smiled at me.

"What were you coming to get me for anyway?" I asked.

"I just wanted to see if you wanted to come over and watch TV or something."

"Oh, well I'd love that." I said.

"It's a date." He chuckled I looked up at him and smiled, then put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around me. I wished he'd never let go of me. I think he knew that or something, 'cause he didn't all the way to the store. And in the store, he'd have his hand on my back. I swore Chris was my guy. It just felt so right with him. Jesus, I'm saying this stuff and I've known the guy for what...24 hours? I just smiled at him, though. I should enjoy what I've got not worry about it.

We walked to Chris' place when we got out of the corner store. He lived in a small house, it reminded me of my Uncle Gary' walked through the front door and into Chris' house. It looked like a teen aged boys house. I spotted Teddy sitting on the couch watching TV. Cool! They had a TV, I wonder where they got the money for that!

"Hi, Teddy!" I said. Teddy looked back and grinned.

"Look who it is, the famous Donnie." He said. I laughed and looked at Chris, and then back at Teddy.

"Famous, huh?"

Chris led me to the couch to sit with Teddy. "Oh yeah," Teddy said, "You're pretty famous 'round here already. With Chris, I mean."

Chris' face got red and he threw a pillow at Teddy.

"D.D.T, you shit heap." He tried not to laugh. But, I did.

"What, and look like you?"

"Oh, big shot?"

They started tackling each other for a couple of seconds until Chris looked up at me and stopped.

"Well, I guess I didn't mention I live with Teddy."

"Nope, but that's pretty cool. It's just you two, huh?"

Chris put his arm around Teddy, "Just the two of us."

"Well, you got yourself a fine place."

"You're funny." Chris said.

"Really, I mean it."

"Well, thanks."

Teddy got up, "Well, I'm gonna bug out. I'll catch you guys later."

"See ya later, alligator." Chris said.

"After awhile crocodile!" Teddy replied, shutting the door behind him.

Chris switched the channel. He said out of the blue, "This is Teddy's place. His parents moved to Georgia or something and they left him all this. When my folks kicked me out, I came to live with him. Teddy's a real cool head for that. I don't know what I'd do without him."

"Yeah, that is a nice thing to do, and I'm sorry to hear about your folks kicking you out."

"Don't be. What about you, what made you move here?"

"Well, I moved in with my Uncle, my aunt sent me here from Mobile. In Alabama, huh? I don't know how much longer I'm gonna be here though."


"'Cause ever since my mom walked out, and my dad died, I've moved to a million different places. By now, Uncle Gary's just a number."

He moved closer to me. "Wow, I'm sorry to hear that."

I smiled. "Well, let's just enjoy ourselves rather than talk about all this sad junk."

He smiled and put his arm around me. I snuggled up to him. It felt so good with Chris, but I kept telling myself that it was silly that I was thinking and feeling these things. But, as I've said many times before, I'd have to reassure myself, and say that it was ok. And to enjoy it. So, I calmed down and watched TV with Chris.

It was getting pretty late by the time I said I should start heading home.

Chris shut off the TV and got up. "Alright, let's go."

I stopped him, "You don't gotta walk me, Chris, it's fine."

He laughed, "I know I don't have to, alright? I want to."

I smiled and nodded as he opened the door for me.

"Jesus, it gets cold, doesn't it?" I said rubbing my arms.

He took of his jacket, and put it on me. "Here."

I smiled at him, "Thanks." I looked up at him, "You're a real gentleman, Chris."

He smiled and gave me a look.

We got to my house, "Thanks for walking me home again." I chuckled.

"My pleasure."

"Well, good night." I smiled, and I turned around to walk inside.

Chris pulled me back and kissed me. Oh man, it was so romantic. I've dreamed of things like that.

When we pulled away. I kissed him again, but not for as long.

We stood there, just centimeters away from each others faces. I gazed into his eyes.

"I wanted to do that so bad when I dropped you off before." He smiled.

"Good night, Chris." I wanted to kiss him again, and I got a feeling he wanted to, too.

"Good night."he replied. I walked into my house and just smiled. Had to give the guy a little something to look forward to tomorrow.

My house, my guy. I liked it.

Are we going steady now? I thought to myself. I'll just wait until he gives me his ring, then I'll know for sure.

When I got in Uncle Gary was sitting on the couch reading a paper with the radio playing a football game or something.

"Hey Uncle Gary!" I said, cheerily.

"Hey, where were you?" He said. He turned down the radio and put down his paper.

"I went to Chris' house to watch TV."

"Oh yeah? Chris who?"

"Chambers...you know 'em?"

"Uh-huh, he lives with Duchamp, right?"

I tilted my head, "Duchamp..."

"Theodore or Teddy."

"Oh yeah, Teddy. He's a nice guy. What do you think?"

"Yeah, they're good kids, I guess."

I wondered what he meant by that, but I didn't want to know. I didn't want what other people knew about him to ruin how I felt about him.

"Well, I'm gonna go to bed. I was planning to go out again tomorrow, alright?"

"Alright. Good night."

I half smiled and went into my bedroom. I opened up my journal again and attempted an entry.

Hey Journal,

Today was another good day. I went to a lookout thing with Chris at the beginning of the day and we talked awhile there. Then we went to a diner to grab a soda or whatever. Then I went home, and since I was real bored so I decided to go to the corner store to grab another soda and a paper or something and I saw Chris. He was coming to see me anyway, so we went together. He had his arm around me and all that, I don't know why, but I love stuff like that. So then we went over to his place to watch a bit of TV. He walked me home afterwards, and he kissed me. He kissed me! I'm in love! I swear, I am. I could shout it all over this one horse town, I love Chris Chambers! I don't know what love is, but I'm learning, I really am. Going out tomorrow with him and Jessica and all that. Catch ya later!

Yours truly,

Donna Grace Phoenix

Once again, I woke to Uncle Gary hollering that he was going to work.

"C'mon Donnie, get up! I made breakfast for ya!"

"I'm comin', I'm comin'." I said, as loud as a person who just got up could.

He met me in the hallway.

"I'm goin', have a good day." I smiled at him as he gave me an awkward hug. I had to laugh.

"Bye, Uncle Gary." I chuckled.

I went into the main room. On the table was some pancakes. Laid out was strawberries, syrup and my cutlery.

I smiled and sat down to my gourmet meal Uncle Gary had left. I smiled as I ate and thought about what I was going to wear on my date with Chris. I was excited to see him and Jessica and everyone again. I was especially excited to see Chris, although I had seen him just hours ago.

Everytime I even thought about him, or pictured his smile I just had to smile. And I just had to hold my stomach 'cause the butterflies in there would just flutter like it was their job. I started hurrying to finish my breakfast so I could start getting ready for my day out. For some reason, I called Jessica in a panic.

"Hey, Jessica. It's Donnie. Can you talk?"

"Of course, whatsa matter?"

"Can I be honest with you?" I tried chuckling. "I am so nervous, what should I wear."

"Didn't you just go out with Chris yesterday?"

"Well, yeah..."

She laughed on the other end, I heard muffled noises of what sounded like Vern yelling something.

"Oh, Donna, Donna, Donna." She giggled. "I'm gonna come over to your place, alright?"

"Yeah, that's fine." I said, fanning my face with my hand and I laughed.

We hung up the phone. I really don't know why I was so nervous. I'd been out with Chris before. I turned on the radio. Then it dawned on me that the last time I'd seen Chris was when we'd kissed, and the only other thing I said was 'bye'.

A bit later Jessica knocked on the door. I yelled for her to come in. She walked in with a big smile on her face. "Someone's gotta be calm right?" she laughed.

I smiled too, "No shit."

She followed me into my room. "And so it begins." I chuckled as we walked in.

Jessica had helped me pick out my outfit and gave me tons of advice.

"Ya know Donnie," she said, pulling my shoes out of the closet, "Chris doesn't go for girls a lot. I'm tellin' ya. Vernie always used to tell me that Chris would always say 'I ain't gonna waste my time on any broads I'm not sure of'. Boy, did he keep his word. I haven't ever really seen him with any."

I smiled at her as I slipped on the shoes. "Oh yeah? It's nice to hear that. I really do like Chris, Jessica. He is just the kind of guy I've always wanted."

She smiled sincerely at me. "I know what you mean. I am truly in love with Vern. I can say this with 100% sureness. If that's even a word."

We laughed, and we were both tearing up.

"But, it is a real beautiful thing. Love, ya know?"

"I could imagine. I can't wait to get to know Chris better."

She smiled. "You look great. Ya know what, I'm gonna head out. You should call Chris before we go out. Suggest you guys walk together or something just so you can talk it over, ya know?"

"You're a genius." I hugged her and we walked out of my room.

"Thanks, Jessica. I appreciate it."

" My pleasure. Meet us at the diner at 1." She reminded me and she left.

I sighed a breath of relief and called Chris.

"Hi, Chris?" I said.


"I was wondering if you wanted to walk to the diner at 1ish to meet Jessica and Vern."

"Yeah sure, should I pick you up at quarter to ?"

"Yeah, that's great!"

"Alright, see ya then."

"Can't wait!" I said, and I hung up.

I felt a whole lot better. Now, instead of being nervous I was so excited to see Chris, even hearing his voice gave me them butterflies again.

I was waiting outside on the front porch with my navy blue polka dot dress, black cat eye sunglasses, big white hat and white wedges.

I puckered and wiggled my lips to blot around the red lipstick. I looked up and around until spotted Chris walking down the street. He was coolly smoking a cigarette. I smiled a big smile. As soon as I saw him I ran up to him. He smiled at me and took my into his arms, I gave him a big kiss like I hadn't seen him in a million years.

He looked at me with a happy smile. "Hey, you."

I smiled and wiped his mouth with the side of my hand. "Lipstick."

We laughed. He stood in front of me and looked me up and down.

"Jesus, you're a real barn burner, ain't cha? You look great!"

"Why thank you!" I said, with my southern accent coming back.

I put my hands around his strong arm and we walked to the diner.

"I'm gonna be honest with ya, Chris," I said, I could see he was looking at me, but I looked at the ground, "I was nervous to see you again today. I was scared it was gonna be awkward or something."

I looked up at him, I couldn't translate the expression on his face. "Don't get me wrong. I was so excited to see you again. But, after last night I thought it was gonna be awkward that's all."

He laughed, "Have mercy it's not."

I smiled at him. "I think today's gonna be fun, I'm excited to see what this one horse town has to offer."

"I'm excited to show ya." He winked.

I smiled at him and held his arm tighter, I was surprised that was even possible. "I'm a woman, all these mood swings are messin' with my head.''

He laughed and kissed the side of my face. "I can deal with it."

"We'll see about that, now won't we?"

We were getting closer to the diner. "So, today I had Jessica over, and we was just talking about last night and all, so if she looks at you funny or something, that's probably why."

He laughed, "Alright, I'll be ready for it all."

"Hey, you candy asses get over here!" I heard Jessica squeal. I smiled at her and ran up to her.

"Hey darlin', how ya keepin' up?" I said, not letting my accent go just yet.

"Just fine and dandy." Jessica said, "Well, hop in!"

Chris jogged up and pulled the door open for me, "Ma'am." He said.

I laughed, "Thank you."

"Verno!" Chris yelled slapping Vern on his shoulder. "How's it goin', man? Gimme some skin!"

Vern did a handshake with Chris, "Oh man, this one's keepin' me goin' alright." He chuckled.

He started to go, "Burn rubber, baby!" Jessica squealed. And he did just that.

"Alright folks, and to your left here is the Bowlerama." Jessica said, holding her arm out to it like she was on a game show of some kind.

"And Old Man Nealson's Barber Shop." She continued, "You oughta be careful there though. You'd be better off cuttin' your own hair. He's the only barber in town and he falls asleep on the job half the time."

I laughed, "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. See I was thinking of becoming a hair dresser just so the people around here don't gotta go there."

"That's a good idea, you should. You can cut my hair."

"Alright! I already cut all the boys, can't ya tell?"

I ran my fingers through Chris' hair, "Oh yeah, for sure."

She smiled and turned back to the front of the car.

Chris popped open a beer, "Oh yeah, she does a real fine job."

"I bet." I said, stealing the beer out of his hand and taking a chug. He gave me a look, smiling.

We were driving around for a good hour or so when Vern stopped on a dead road. We'd seen what Genesse had to offer. At least 3 times.

"Well, I guess that's all to see." Jessica said, sadly.

''No foolin'." Chris said.

I smacked him in his chest, in a playful way though. And smiled at him.

"Well, it was a real fine tour, thank y'all."

"No problem, y'all wanna have a picnic?" Jessica said, randomly.

Chris laughed, "Sure!"

"Vernie, let's go to the field on West Gainsborough. We got s'more beers in the back and some sandwiches. I know you didn't eat lunch, Donnie. So how about it?"

"Sounds good, ya should've told me, I would've brought some stuff too."

"Shoot, don't worry about it, my treat!"

By this time, Vern was headed to the fields on West Gainsborough. I put my head on Chris' shoulder. He took off my hat and petted my head. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed Chris' touch. I saw Jessica in the rear view mirror looking at us.

"Aw, Vernie, lookit the love birds." She whispered to him. I heard Vern chuckle.

I just smiled and closed my eyes again.

"Jessica..." I said, out of the blue, my eyes still closed, "What on Earth made you think to pack a picnic?"

Vern laughed, "That's my Jessica for ya." He said.

Jessica smiled at him and rubbed his shoulder.

She turned around, "I don't know. I just live for the moment. That's our motto 'round here ain't it boys?"

I looked at Chris, "Yeah, it is. She's not joking." He said, in all seriousness,

"Well, I like that motto. It's a good one."

"Yeah, it is." Vern agreed.

"Well, I wasn't putting you down or nothin', I think it's a great idea, honey." I said.

Chris laughed, held my head and kissed it.

We made it to this random field in the middle of no where. I guessed it was the field on West Gainsborough. I mean, it was just a field with real green grass and tons of trees farther back. But, it was still nice. It was actually really nice.

"Ain't it just the prettiest thing you ever saw?" I said. Really getting the feel of it.

"Besides you." He said, his voice low.

I smiled at him, got on my tippy toes and kissed his forehead.

We helped Jessica get all the stuff out of Vern's trunk.

"Jesus, Jessica. You packing for all of Genesse, or what?" I asked.

"She don't ever pack lightly, I'll tell ya that!" Vern said. I liked how Vern always was talking about Jessica whenever he was talking.

"I can believe it." I said.

"Amen." Chris said, chugging the rest of his beer.

We sat down snacking on sandwiches Jessica had made, sipping sodas and beers and smoking cigarettes.

"This is a good time, huh guys?" Jessica said, calm, cool and collected. Jesus, first time I've seen.

"Oh yeah, the best." Chris said, puffing cigarette smoke out of his mouth.

Vern got up and walked to the car.

"Chambers, think fast!" Vern said, throwing a football Chris' way.

He got up and caught it.
"Oh, Vern you're asking for it buddy."Chris ran at him and then tackled him on the ground.

"Y'all be careful!" I laughed.

"You'd think they was twelve years old." She laughed, too.

"No kidding, are they like this all the time?" I said.

Jessica shrugged. And then she laughed. "Actually, they are." She smiled, dreamily. "It's cute though, ain't it?"

I smiled too and looked at Chris, who was sitting beside Vern with his arm around him, they we're laughing. Like regular pals. Chris looked at me and smiled, he was getting up.

I looked at Jessica, "Yeah, it is. Y'know, I never had any real friends, so it's nice to see y'all get along so good."

Chris jogged up to me, I walked up to him, "Done giving people the beats ?"

I giggled as Chris put his hand on my lower back. "Yeah, I'm done."

I grabbed the football out of his hand and ran screaming, "Oh no you ain't!"

"Donna Grace Phoenix, you're askin' for it!" Chris yelled, running after me.

Vern and Jessica we're cheering in the back ground. I laughed as Chris pulled me onto the ground. He kissed me. "Now can I have the ball?"

I kissed him again, "Now you can have it."

We laughed and got up. He tossed the football to me.

"Hey, y'all." I called to Jessica and Vern. They stopped kissing and looked at me. "Who's up for a down and dirty game o' football? Huh?"

Jessica was walking towards me, "You're joking, Donnie. Not these candy asses!" Vern ran up to Jessica and grabbed her from behind.

"Whadja say? Huh?" They laughed and Vern kissed the side of her head.

"You girls wouldn't wanna get your dresses dirty, now would ya?" Vern said.

I gave him a face. "Oh, Vern. You probably just don't wanna get your Ivy Leaguers stained. Ain't that the problem?" I joked back with him.

"Alright, alright. Let's do this. Jessica and Donnie, and me and Chambers."Vern said seriously, I just laughed.

"That's not fair!" Jessica whined.

"Cool it, Pops. We'll beat them bad." She dragged herself behind me. "You be QB, Let's go."

Chris laughed and shook his head, "You hear that, Verno? They're gonna beat us bad."

I squinted at Chris.

"Hut!" I threw the ball at Jessica. We were all running around, playing a wimpy game of football. It was a gas though, it really was. We all ended up laying on the floor, just beat.

"Jesus, ain't that a workout." I said.

Chris pulled at my dress, "Lookit your dress."

"A little washin' and it'll be good as new." I said, wiping it. "Just means I can't go out 'til I get it washed."

"That's a good idea!" Jessica said.

"What?" Vern said, a little startled by her enthusiasm.

"We should all go out tonight! Like to the Passion Pit or something. What do ya say?"

Vern shrugged, "I'm up."

Chris did too. "Alright, what about you Donnie?" He turned to me.

"Yeah for sure, just gotta get dressed first."

Chris shook his head and laughed. "Alright, drive-in movie tonight."

We ended up heading home after that. Vern dropped Chris and I off at my house.

Chris walked me to the door. "Come over to my place before?"

"Oh yeah, we're going at 7 right?"


We sat down on the steps. "Ya know, I really had a good time today."

Chris nodded, "I did too, it was fun."

"I like doing stuff like that, just hanging around in the middle of nowhere."

"Me too." He turned to me, "Ya know Donnie, you'd never know." He started, " Ya walk around dressed all fancy like, with your high heels and red lipstick and what not. Don't get me wrong, I find it real attractive."

I laughed, but he continued.

"I don't mean to sound like a fag or nothing, but I like how you don't mind getting your dress all dirty, and ya take off the heels, and you're playing football with us boys. You're just a real great girl, Donna. I don't know how else to say it."

I smiled again, with the most sincere smile I could do. I slipped myself under his arm and held him tight. And I stayed like that.

"I guess I'm just that kinda girl, ya know? Like, I don't mind passin' a football around and getting down n' dirty. I really don't mind sitting and listening to a football game on the radio neither, but I'll be honest with ya, half the time I ain't gotta clue what they're saying. But, as long as I'm fetchin' ya beers and you have your arm around me, I'll sit there as long as I gotta."

He looked at me like he wanted me to keep talking, so I did,"I'm the kinda girl who cries, Chris. Yes, I do cry. I might try and act tough or whatever but, really I do cry, maybe not in front of you. But, I do have feelings, and a lot of them. And sometimes it might seem like I'm rushing things. 'Cause ya know, you don't live forever. Jesus, I'd know that. My dad was only in his forties when he died. And you don't get any younger, so what the hell. Do whatever you feel like doing."

He was smiling, "Tell me more."

I laughed and shook my head.

"Well, I believe in love at first sight."

I smiled at him and he held my head and kissed it.

"And I believe that if it feels right, then nothing can be wrong. I believe that if someone can't handle you at your worst, then they don't deserve you at your best. I love it when you kiss my head, or rub my arms, or put your hand on my leg. Those little things mean so much to me. And I have no idea why. They're just the kinda things that chill ya, ya know? And if you really love me, and you show me that, I'm gonna love you back. Simple as that."

"Jesus, did it hurt?"

"What?" I said, really confused.

"When you fell from heaven."

I laughed and shook my head, "Nice line, Chris. How many girls you used that on?"

He laughed, but then looked at me seriously. "None, none at all. That's thing, Donnie. You're the only one. I've never felt this way about someone before. I've never been so sure."

I made a puppy dog face and kissed him. He got up, and helped me up, too.

He rubbed my arms, and I laughed. "See ya at 7, huh?"

I nodded, "See ya then."

He waved, lit a cigarette, and he was off.

I smiled as I watched him walk down the street, and then went inside. God, every time Chris left I wanted to chase him and grab him and kiss him like I was never gonna get a kiss from him again.

And I just thought to myself, I guess this is what love feels like, huh?

I floated around my house, putting my dress in the wash, and walking around in a robe. I hummed and whistled and doddled around until 7 o'clock came. I was sitting on the couch listening to the radio and filing my nails when Chris finally knocked on the door and walked in.

"Hey, you." He said.

"Jesus, I thought 7:00 would never come." I said, hugging him.

"Tell me about it!" He agreed and helped me put on my jacket.

I smiled at him, as to say, "I love that you're such a gentleman."

He threw a cigarette in his mouth and we were off.

"Ma'am." He opened the door of his old car. When I was sitting in the car he took my hand and kissed it. I tried not to laugh, but look at him longingly.

I lit a cigarette on the way, "We gotta meet Vern and Jessica by the snack stand, alright?"

"I know, I know. I got this, alright? Just cool it." He said, speaking with his hands.

"Ok, ok."

It'd been 3 days. 72 hours. 4320 minutes. 259,200 's how long I'd been with Chris. God, I said it so many goddamn times but it was just so miraculous to me how I've gotten so close with this man. How I'm so in love with this man. How already I felt like we was like an old couple, but young and in love still.

I wondered to myself what would happen if my mom never walked out. And if pop never died. What would my mama be like? I'm sure her and pop would always be fighting. I'm sure she'd be nothing more than a road side pig. If I was still in Oklahoma, I'd probably be married to Robbie and working at a diner. He'd probably be cheating on me. So I guess everything happens for a reason. I would probably be unsatisfied with my life. I gave Chris a squeeze.

"What's wrong?" He knew I was getting upset.

"I was just thinking if mama hadn't walked out on pop and I way back when, I wouldn't be sitting here today with you."

"Amen she did." He said, kissing my forehead.

"I've only known you for 3 days, Chris. And you've only known me for 3 days. Don't it feel longer than that?"

"Maybe we're soulmates. Maybe we were suppose to meet each other. Ya know? Maybe things were suppose to go this fast. God has a funny way of making things work out. Huh?"

I stared at him. "I believe that, Chris. I bet that's the way it is."

"It is, alright. So would you quit that worrying? Huh? Every thing's gonna be just fine." He held me tighter.

It was strange how Chris just knew I was so worrisome. And that right there settled me down, knowing that I had someone who knew who I was and loved me and would be there for me.

"You go ask 'em where their parked, huh?"

"Yeah, one second."

Chris dropped me off outside the snack shack to meet Vern and Jessica.

"Hey, y'all!" I shouted to get their attention. Having a Southern accent in the Northwest is an easy attention grabber.

"Hey, Donnie!" Jessica exclaimed, grabbing me for a hug.

"Hi, girl! Why don't you guys come hop in Chris' car and we'll go to our spot."

"Sure! How's it goin'?" Jessica said, making conversation as we walked. Vern came around her and put his hand on her back.

"It's good, my dress is in the wash." I laughed, looking at Vern.

"You still look great, honey." Jessica said.

"Why, thank you. Same goes to you. Lookit this girl, dressed to the nines. Vern, you better use them football skills you have to beat off them boys comin' at your lady." I said, hopping in the front of Chris' car.

Vern directed Chris to his spot and there was a spot next to him available.

They got out of the car and I called to them, "Hey! Y'all try not to suck each others faces right off, huh?"

Vern put his hands on his face, Jessica just rolled her eyes and laughed.

"They're gonna have to tell us to stop." Chris said, romantically. Pulling him onto me. I kissed him trying not to laugh.

Just then, as Chris and I pulled away from our 'romantic kiss' a tall boy in a red Varsity jacket like Vern's swaggered by. He had a happy grin on his face when he recognized us.

"Hey! Tessio, Chambers, what're you all up to?" He hollered.

"Well, we'll show ya." Chris said, and right away him and Vern grabbed onto Jessica and I kissing us.

He laughed and walked in between our cars, "Oh my God."

"Why, Christopher, aren't you going to introduce me?" I asked, sweetly. Giving him an innocent look.

"Dexter, this is Donna, Donna, Dexter."

"People call me Dex."

"People call me Donnie."

"I thought we were using each others full names." Chris chuckled.

We shook hands. "Pleased to meet you, Dex."

He had a goofy grin and short, buzzed hair. Like Chris', guess it was in style. It was super dark though. Dark brown. And he had bushy eyebrows to match.

"Pleasures mine, Donnie." He said, politely.

A little bitty girl came running up to him. Lord was that a funny sight. Dex took a girl half his size into his arms. She had big hair and a poufy dress to match. She had an awful pretty face though. Glass blue eyes and pale pink lips. She looked like one of them collectible dolls. The porcelain ones. She reminded me of Brenda Lee with her petiteness and all. She had the tiniest voice that was the bow on top.

"Dex, I came to bring you a dollar, for the snacks." She said, looking up at him then at Chris and I. She immediately smiled.

"Hi guys!" She turned to Vern and Jessica and they greeted her back.

"What a lovely day, huh?" She started. Dex was rubbing her little arm.

"Beautiful." I said, sticking out my hand. "I'm Donna Phoenix, nice to meet 'cha."

"Nice to meet you, too. Rose Goodwin. Pleasure."

"Well, we best get going, gotta get the snacks before the show comes on!" Dex began, "Pleasure meeting you, Donnie. We'll see ya around, huh?"

"For sure. The pleasures mine." I responded.

They sauntered away, Dex's hand placed lightly on her back, her holding on tightly to him.

"They're cute." I admitted to Chris, still watching them proceed to the snack house.

Chris rubbed my arm, and kissed the side of my head. I turned to him, "How in the world do they kiss."

He smirked. "Honest! She's like four foot, and he's gotta be taller than you, 6'4'' maybe?"

"Oh, Donnie," Chris argued, "She's at least five foot. But, he is taller than me. You're shorter than me, like a foot and a bit, but we still managed."

He kissed me. "See?"

"I see, I see. I was just making a statement, that's all."

I sipped my soda and began again, "They seem like nice enough folks."

"They are. Dex is a really nice guy, he's so polite and all. Got that Southern charm." Chris winked.

"And Rose is a sweet little girl. She is tiny. She looks like she's 10 years old."

"I'd believe it."

I throw a piece of popcorn at Chris saying, "You know a lot of people 'round here?"

He looks at me, "Yeah, most everyone."

"And you still didn't have a girl?"

He sucked in air and shook his head.

"Maybe they don't like you." I wink at him.

"I bet they don't." He jokes back.

"How's it goin' over there?" Jessica hollers at us, attracting the eyes of couples our age all around us.

"It's goin', Jessica. Y'all enjoy the show." I say, laughing.

Vern is laughing, too. Waving off people who are still staring at Jessica like she's a drunken mess of some kind.

It's getting pretty dark now, and the show is about to begin. You can feel everyone getting into drive in mode, people quieting down, getting closer to the person that they came with, getting ready to not pay attention to the movie at all.

By the time it is completely dark and the previews are over, everyone is lost in each other. I look around cause I know nobody's gonna see me. Yup, I was right. There are just legs flying around in each car.