“May I sit across from you?” Billy asked.
“It’s a free country, if Monique and Evangela don’t object,” I said. They motioned for him to sit. Billy sat beside Evangela. She sneered.
I glanced up at Billy from time to time. He was handsome today, clean, in a pressed, button-down shirt and nice jeans. He wasn’t wearing his black leather jacket. Maybe he wanted the clean-cut look to put me at ease or something. It wasn’t working.
“Her name is Linda. She is in the ninth grade. She did a big favor for me and she asked for a kiss as payment. That is all it was, I swear!”
Evangela and Monique looked at one another and burst out laughing. “Billy, Billy, Billy, you lied to Ronni about me better than that. You lied to Evangela much better than that. Is that the best you could come up with since this morning?” Monique asked.
“Linda? Ronni, dear, did she have short brown hair?” Evangela asked.
“Yes, she did. And she wore this fuckin’ fancy, fur-collared coat,” I said.
“Linda Tibbits,” Evangela said. We all looked at Billy. He turned white. “I think I’ll go pay her a visit, would you two like to come?” Evangela asked.
Suddenly Billy lifted his tray off the table then smacked it back down hard spilling his silverware and some food. We all jumped then froze.
“You can’t!” he shouted.
“WE can do as we please Mr. Loverboy,” Monique said. “You have no right to tell us anything!”
Billy turned to me, “Ronni, please don’t do this. Give me some time to prove what I’m saying. Give me the benefit of the doubt!”
His anger got my blood boiling! “You just showed me something I didn’t know was in you, Billy. Your temper scared me. You have never scared me before. Now, I don’t know whose story to believe, yours or Penny’s!”
Seeing his arm around this Linda this morning stabbed me hard through my heart. He didn’t want me to see that, I saw that in his eyes when he saw me. I caught him stealing.
I glared at him. “Billy, that kiss broke me in half. It fucking hurt! It broke my heart clean in half!” I started to cry again. I batted tears. I shook my head. I was seething angry and talked with my teeth clenched. “If you want the benefit of the fucking doubt, fine! You can have the benefit of the fucking doubt! But it better be good, or I’m done with you!”
“Don’t do this, Ronni,” Evangela said.
“That’s all I’m asking,” he said and leaned over. I was looking down at my plate and he tried to get me to look up, at him. I looked him in the eye chewing on some corn. “Remember what I told you in the hospital,” he said.
“Shit!” I said and stuck my fork in my fried chicken leg. Mentioning the hospital hurt. He said he loved me.
“I’ve never heard you curse so much,” Billy said. It is so hard to stay mad at him. Look at that face! He’s got that little curl on his forehead. I took the chicken and put it on his plate.
“I’m got my period today,” I said. He grinned a little. He thought I was joking.
I’m back in the doctor’s exam room staring at the calendar. It’s Thursday, the first of March, 1984. Tomorrow is my thirteenth birthday. A few days have passed since he first examined my scrotum and made this appointment for me to get the scan. After they let me put my clothes back