“You can earn the respect of your neighbors by being what you claim to be, being true to yourself. You don’t have to be a superhero, or rich, to be respected,” Billy said.
“You just find out which way you want to face and stay faced in that direction. You don’t have to be very vocal about it. People will see where you’re going,” I said.
“And, if you’re ever asked where you’re going and you tell them, it will match up with what they see. They will admire you,” Greg said. “Then you pass it on, teach it to your children, if you ever decide to have a family.”
Ouch. He didn’t mean to hurt. He simply didn’t know. I looked back at Billy with my head still on my arm and my eyes watered. He motioned for me to come here and I leaned back and laid my head on his shoulder and he cuddled me.
Just then Angel roared up beside us and glared into the car windows. He was driving on the wrong side of the road. He was searching for me. I peeked my head up off Billy’s shoulder and then Angel gunned the motorcycle and pulled around us.
“Right on cue,” Greg said.
“What are we going to do about him” Janice asked.
“There’s not much we can do, right now. My brother, Jim, won’t hear of firing him from this shop. I told Jim that we could put him down in Sellersburg at our shop down there. Jim wouldn’t hear of that either. That’s his boy.”
Angel wore his typical denim sleeveless jacket and dirty jeans and boots. His little sandy ponytail waved in the wind. He gunned it and backed down, gunned it forward and backed down, showing off. I could see him grinning at me and giggling. He mouthed some words.
“Did he just say, ‘I’m going to have you’ or ‘I’m going to get you?” I asked.
“He said something. I wish he would open his mouth when he talked. Why is he so hung up on you?” Billy asked.
“We’re almost home, Ronni,” Greg said. “It’s a quarter past nine. Do you want us to come in and smooth things over with Mama?”
“It’s just fifteen minutes. I don’t think she’s going to have a meltdown.”
Billy reached and turned my chin to him. He kissed me.
“I hope you had a nice birthday,” he said.
“Are you kidding me? This was the best birthday of my life. I’ve never gotten so many gifts before. I feel like a queen. I love you, Billy, thank you.”
We kissed again as we stopped in front of Mama’s house. Billy got out and came around and helped me out with my things. The porch light came on and Mama came to the door. She waved at Janice and smiled at me. We said our goodbyes and Billy said he would call me in the morning. Then I realized what Angel had said to me. I’m going to take you. I’m sure that is what he said. I paused for a second then headed for Mama on the porch. I couldn’t let on how scared I was.
I came in and Mama followed me and closed the door. “You’re a little late. I was worried.”
“I apologize, Mama. We were talking and lost the time. Greg looked at his watch and we all jumped up and ran out of the house. They didn’t want me to get in trouble.”
“Did you have a good time?” she asked.
“It was the best. They were so good to me. Billy had everything planned out perfectly.”
She hugged me. “Well, the others are through with their baths if you need to take a shower.”
“It’s been a very long day. I’m tired so I’ll pass for tonight. Did I tell you that a woman tried to assault me after PE today? She came into my shower, remember they let me shower by myself? Well, she came in and tried to grab me.”