The Truant Risk

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - GOING A.W.O.L.

Submitted: April 19, 2019

Reads: 141

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Submitted: April 19, 2019



KariAnn quickly told Judy the brilliantly simple idea she had, and a few minutes later they grabbed a couple catchers’ mitts and a softball to play catch out front of the Hall.  They tossed the ball back and forth for a while, and then gradually threw it a little harder and farther each time.  Finally the break she was waiting for came.  Judy threw the ball as hard as she could, and as it sailed over KariAnn’s head, she ran like she was chasing after it.  The ball had gone quite a distance, and no one even suspected anything until one of the girls noticed she was almost to the front gate on a dead run.

“Mother Andrew, come quick!” Rhonda yelled as she took off running after her.  “KariAnn is going A.W.O.L.!”  It was said that Rhonda, a former track hopeful at her old public school, could out-run any girl at Vista Maria, and it was well-known that she had chased after and tackled to the ground many a girl that had tried to run.  Looking over her shoulder, KariAnn could see Rhonda was rapidly on her heels and beginning to close the distance between them.  That was all it took to get her adrenalin shooting through her legs, and KariAnn ran like the wind leaving Rhonda a good length behind. 

They both had left the grounds and were now tearing down the side of Warren St.  Again KariAnn glanced back, and this time she saw Rhonda run over and hop into a car driven by Sr. Renee and Mother Andrew who had also joined in the chase.  Reaching the Great Scott store before them, KariAnn ducked into the parking lot and jumped into the back of an unlocked parked car just in time to hear their car drive right past her.  After laying low for a short time and catching her breath, KariAnn carefully peeked out the window to see if the coast was clear.  It was and she climbed out and headed towards the road.  Just then a black pickup truck pulled up alongside her, and the guy driving asked if he could give her a lift somewhere.  It seemed luck was going her way, and without giving his offer a second thought, she opened the door and hopped in.

“Where to beautiful?” he asked with a boyish grin.

“Anywhere as long as we don’t stay around here.” smiled KariAnn.

“Sounds like you must be in some kind of trouble.” the handsome young stranger was quick to figure out.

 “You guessed it.” KariAnn took a chance and admitted.

“Don’t worry little lady.  I’ll do what I can to help.” he promised.  “Tell me, you wouldn’t just happen to be a runaway from that girls’ school next door would you?”

“Yep, right again.” she confessed.  “I already have the sisters looking for me in their car, and by now maybe even the cops.”

“Then we’d better blow this neighborhood.” he said, immediately pulling out of the parking lot. 

“Hey, thanks for helping me.  My name’s KariAnn.  What’s yours?”

“Antonio.” he answered, “I live a couple streets over from where I saw you and picked you up.  You know, I’ve always heard that off and on girls were running away from there, but I never dreamed someday I’d be helping one escape.”

"Antonio.” she repeated, “Is that Italian?”

“Yes, and what might you be?” he countered.

“Irish mostly,” KariAnn replied, “with just a touch of Swedish on my mother’s side.”

“Well, that explains why you’re so pretty.” he flattered her, and a short time later they pulled into a small party store along the road.  Parking close to the door, Antonio stepped out, and for the first time KariAnn noticed how tall he was.  Wow, tall, dark and handsome, KariAnn thought to herself as she felt her pulse accelerating.  Before walking away, he bent down and asked her through the window if she’d like anything.  She could only think of one thing she really wanted, a pack of cigarettes.

“Yes, is there any chance you would please buy me a pack of Kool Longs?” she asked with a shy smile.  “I haven’t had a smoke in two months.”

“Sure thing, doll.” he winked, “I’ll only be a minute.”  Antonio returned a short time later with a bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine, and not one but two packs of Kool Longs.  “You like wine?” he asked pulling the bottle from the bag for a quick look at the label.  KariAnn nodded, thanked him for the cigarettes, and asked for a light.  After about the third drag, she could feel herself getting slightly light-headed off the cigarette since it had been so long since she’d last had one.  Antonio then spied a police car out his rear view mirror with its blinker on waiting to turn into the party store.  Quickly pushing KariAnn’s head down and instructing her to stay low to the floor, he then backed the truck up and headed for the other exit to the main road just as the cop car pulled in.  Once they were a few blocks down the road and Antonio could see they weren’t being followed, he told KariAnn she could sit up.

“We were lucky.  Looks like they didn’t see us,” he surmised, “but we had better take cover and get off the streets until it gets dark.  We’ll stand less chance of being seen then.”

“Do you have some place in mind?” asked KariAnn, who was starting to get off on the excitement of her adventure into the unknown with her handsome stranger.

“Well, I was thinking we could go to our place until we figure out what we’re going to do.  I live with my older brother, Frank,” he explained, “and as brothers go, he’s not half bad.  He’s not going to like what we’re up to, but I know he won’t turn you in.”

They were there in no time at all, and Antonio took out his key and unlocked the door.  The house was located mid-way down the beautiful tree lined street of their quiet, well-kept neighborhood.  The inside, to KariAnn’s surprise, was just as neat and tidy.  She had expected to see clothes tossed on the floor and draped over the furniture, dishes piled high in the sink, and an array of empty wine bottles and beer cans, but the place was as neat as a pin.

“I don’t believe it!” KariAnn mused out loud.  “Don’t tell me you guys have a maid.”

“Nope,” he laughed, “just a fanatically clean brother.  I’ve often teased him that someday he’ll make some lucky girl a fine housewife.  He even cooks!  As for me, I’ve been referred to as an incorrigible slob by my brother, and if you were to see my bedroom, you’d most likely condemn it like Frank has.  He makes me keep the door closed at all times so no one will see it.”

“Speaking of Frank, where is he now?” KariAnn asked as she followed him over to the couch.

 “Oh, he’s still at the garage.” Antonio replied, kicking off his pointed toe shoes and plunking his feet up on the coffee table.  “He had a couple more tune-ups to do when I left.  Frank’s the head mechanic at the Standard station, and me and a couple other guys work as mechanics under him.  I imagine he’ll finish up and be home pretty soon.”

Antonio reached out and placed her hands into his, and KariAnn caught his gaze looking her over.  KariAnn could feel her palms getting sweaty in his, and began to feel a bit uncomfortable, not because she could tell Antonio was attracted to her, but because she found herself equally attracted to him.

“So, KariAnn, tell me something about yourself.” Antonio said, breaking the brief silence.

 “Okay, what would you like to know?” she asked.

“I couldn’t help wondering what a nice girl like you was doing in a place like that, to pardon the cliché.  I mean, why did your parents send you away and make you go there?”

“Mom believes I’m boy crazy.” KariAnn began.

 “Are you?” Antonio chuckled.

“Well, at least no more or less than the rest of the girls I knew at school.  I guess mom figured if she could isolate me away from boys and surround me with girls, I’d stop thinking about boys.  Only that’s all us girls ever talked about.  It’s like telling a little kid they can’t like ice cream.  Of course you can make sure the kid doesn’t get any, but you can’t stop the kid from liking it any less.  You know what I mean?” KariAnn paused long enough to get a response.  When Antonio nodded, she went on.  “Actually there was a little more to it than that.  I had been in a few scrapes like violating curfew, skipping school, and I continued to see a guy my parents strongly disapproved of.”

“Why I never would have suspected you to be the hardened criminal type.” he said jokingly.  “So tell me, KariAnn,” Antonio said, becoming more serious, “what happened today to make you want to run away?”

“Today was graduation day, and although I wasn’t one of the graduates, I sort of had my hopes up on going home for at least my two weeks anyway.” she began to explain.  “While I was there, I busted my ass to keep my grades up, stayed out of trouble, and did everything I thought was expected of me.  It just didn’t seem fair mom saying no, because I felt I had worked hard and earned those two weeks to go home.”

“Any idea why she said no?” Antonio asked.  “Did she give you any kind of reason or explanation?”

“Only that it was still too soon for her to put her trust into me again, and to take a chance on letting me come home.  She said two months wasn’t long enough to convince her that I may have really changed.”

“That’s a rotten break,” he sympathized, “but what do you think, KariAnn, running away will accomplish?”

“Maybe nothing, but at least I got to get away from the school for a while and feel normal again.” answered KariAnn, trying to think of a positive point.

“How do you think your parents will take it when the school calls to tell them you took off?” he asked.

“I hope they worry their asses off!” said KariAnn coldly.

“That I’m sure they will.” Antonio said without doubt.  “How old are you anyway?”

“How old do you think I am?” she challenged him to take a guess.

“Oh, probably around sixteen or seventeen.” he took a stab.

“No, guess again.” KariAnn had been flattered he had thought she was that mature.

“Well, you sure as hell can’t be any older than that.  I’ll say fifteen then.”

“You’re getting closer.” she invited him to guess again.

“Fourteen?” he asked, hoping she wasn’t any younger than that.

“Close enough.  I’ll be fourteen next month.”

Suddenly the front door opened, and in walked Frank.  KariAnn was surprised to see that he was considerably shorter than Antonio who she figured towered at least 6’ or 6’1”.  Frank appeared to be somewhere in his late-twenties with just a hint of gray around the temples.  Although he was younger than her father, he seemed to wear that same drawn out, tired look on his face.

“Say, did you remember to pull that package of chicken out of the freezer when you came home early?” Frank shouted across the room to his brother while unlacing his work boots at the door.

“Yeah, I did.  It’s sitting out on the kitchen drain board.” Antonio yelled back, and then stood up when Frank walked over to them.  “Frank, I’d like you to meet my friend, KariAnn.  Would you mind if she stays for dinner?”

“Not at all.  It’ll be no trouble to set an extra plate, and I know there will be plenty.  You’re welcome to join us, KariAnn.” said Frank.

“Okay, thank you.” KariAnn accepted the invitation.  It was now after 6 o’clock, and KariAnn’s stomach, which was used to eating promptly at five, was beginning to talk back to her.  “Is there anything I can do to help like set the table or something?” she offered.

“No, it’s nice of you to offer, but you’re company.  Antonio will give me a hand.  Why don’t you turn on the TV while we get the chicken started.” Frank suggested, as he headed for the kitchen.

“I know there’s nothing on except the news right now, but I’ll be back before you have a chance to miss me.” Antonio said with a sexy grin, and then disappeared into the other room with Frank.

KariAnn turned on the local news, but she had too much swimming around inside her head to concentrate on watching TV.  She wondered if her parents knew yet she was gone, and if she’d live to regret this too like everything else she’d done in the past.  Although she had wanted to get back at her mom, KariAnn knew her mother wouldn’t be the only one hurt by this.  Life was so unfair she thought, but it was too late for second thoughts now.  As her mother would say, “You’ve made your bed, now sleep in it!”

KariAnn could hear the two brothers preparing dinner out in the kitchen, and wondered if Antonio was trying to think of a way to tell Frank about her.  She hoped Antonio was right about his brother being cool and not turning her in.  She began to relax though once she heard them laughing which she took as a good sign that everything was okay.  Before she knew it, a half hour slipped by and Antonio walked out to rejoin her in the living room.  “Miss me?” he asked, sitting down next to her.

“Maybe just a little.” she replied, again feeling the chemistry stirring between them, and with him sitting so close, it was difficult to think of anything else.

“I got to thinking it might be better if Frank didn’t know you are a runaway, so I decided to lie and told him I met you last weekend at a party.” said Antonio.  “Besides, we may not have to get Frank involved in this if the idea I just had works out.  I know a couple of girls who might put you up for a while.  Frank told me he is having the guys over for a poker game tonight, and I told him I was taking you to a show after dinner.  We can call them later and check it out, okay?”

“Do you really think they would?” KariAnn looked hopeful.

“Sure, they might.” Antonio encouraged her hopes.  “I know one of the girls has a little baby, and they may let you stay in exchange for babysitting now and then.”

“That sounds great!  I’d be happy to help out any way I could.” KariAnn assured him.

“You know, KariAnn, I really like you, and Frank said he likes you too.  I’m glad you accepted my offer to let me give you a lift, and I got a chance to meet you.” admitted Antonio.

“Well, you’re not the only one who’s glad we got to meet.  It’s not every day a girl gets rescued by such a handsome knight in shining armor.” KariAnn flirted.

“Handsome, huh?  I think I’m falling in love.” he flirted back, and then looking deep into her eyes for approval, Antonio slowly brought his mouth to hers and kissed her very tenderly.  His kiss, like that first cigarette she smoked, left her feeling a little weak and light headed.

Just then Frank walked into the room clearing his throat to announce his presence.  “Break it up you two love birds.” he teased, “Dinner is ready.”  The meal was delicious, and KariAnn helped clear off the table when they were through; while Frank filled the double sinks up with water and immediately started in on washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen.  After the last of the dishes were brought in and the leftovers wrapped and put in the frig, Antonio and KariAnn wished Frank good luck with his poker game and headed out the door.  Once in the truck, Antonio announced their first stop would be to talk to the girls and see what they thought of making KariAnn a roommate.  KariAnn couldn’t get over how easy everything seemed to be falling into place as if it were fate and meant to happen.

When Antonio finally pulled over and turned off the key, they were parked outside a small run-down off the highway motel.  KariAnn knew they were at the El Dorado Motel from reading the name off the neon road sign, but where the hell that was she had no idea.  “Well, KariAnn, this is it.” Antonio told her.  “Stay here a minute and let me see if they’re home.”

Doing as she was told, KariAnn watched Antonio walk over and knock on the orange door in front of him to room #6.  A girl with her hair up in rollers and wearing a bathrobe and house slippers answered the door and invited him inside.  KariAnn lit up a cigarette and rolled her window the rest of the way down.  It had somewhat cooled off since she took off earlier that afternoon, but it was still pretty warm and muggy out; and the occasional cool breeze that came in through the window felt good.  No sooner had she finished her cigarette, when Antonio came back out.

“I think I got you a place to stay, babe,” he said smiling, “but since they’ve already made plans for this evening, they won’t be able to meet you until later on tonight.”

“Oh, Antonio, that’s fantastic!” KariAnn said excitedly.  “I really owe you a lot, and I wish there was some way I could show you how grateful I am for everything you’ve done.”

“Just saying you’ll let me come see you, KariAnn, and take you out sometimes would be thanks enough.”

“You’ve got it.” she promised, and then confessed, “I was hoping I’d get to see a lot more of you anyway.”

“Then you can count on it.” Antonio assured.  “I told Penny and Margo we’d meet them back here around 1:30 a.m.  That will give them time to do what they’ve got to do, and us a chance to take in a drive-in movie.  What do you say?”

“Sure, I’d love to!  Anything good playing?” she asked.

“There’s only one way to find out.” he said starting up the truck.  “We’ll drive out there and see.”  You could see the flickering lights of the Starlight Drive-In way down the road.  It was now starting to get dark, and cars were lining up to get into the show.  As they came closer, KariAnn tried to read the marquee board.

“It looks like it says, ‘Sweden, Heaven or Hell’ and ‘Suburban Housewives’.” KariAnn read.  “And they’re both rated X!”

“Have you ever seen an X-rated movie before?” Antonio asked looking over at her.

“Can’t say that I have.” she answered honestly.  “How do you plan on getting me in when I’m not old enough?”

“Don’t worry, they probably won’t even notice.  They seem to check more for beer than hassling people for their ID.” Antonio said, inching up another car length in line.  A few minutes later, they drove up to the ticket booth and Antonio asked for two tickets.  It was as easy as he said it would be, and they pulled into a space nearby the concession stand and rest rooms.

“Now, if this speaker works, we’re all set.” Antonio said rolling the window up to hold the speaker and turning it on.

“Two and a half minutes till show time.” the speaker announced as the clock on the big screen counted down the remaining minutes.  “There’s still plenty of time to visit our snack bar for refreshments before the movie starts.”

“Good, the speaker works and the movie hasn’t started yet.” Antonio said turning the volume off and flicking on the radio.  Then he pulled out a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon from under the blanket on the seat between them that he smuggled out of the house before they left, and opened one for each of them.  “Compliments of Frank’s poker party.” he said handing her one.

“You know, Antonio, I can’t tell you how good it feels to get back out in the real world again.” KariAnn shared with him.  “I never realized just how many things I truly missed; one being the nighttime.  We were always inside long before dark and asleep by ten.  About the only real excitement I’ve had in two months have been in my dreams.  It seems all the things I missed most during the waking hours would all be there to cheer me up in my sleep.  Promise me, Antonio, if I’m sleeping, don’t wake me up.”

“You’re not sleeping pretty lady, and I’ll prove it.” he said pulling KariAnn to him and planting a long passionate kiss on her.  Just before their lips parted, KariAnn opened her eyes and saw his were open too and staring back at her.

“Do you usually kiss with your eyes open?” KariAnn asked him smiling.

“Do you know you have the prettiest smile and the most beautiful eyes of any girl I’ve known?” he ignored her question.  Then looking up and noticing the show had started, Antonio shut off the radio and turned the volume back up on the speaker.

The second movie, ‘Suburban Housewives’, was a little better than the first, but both definitely lacking in plot.  But then who ever goes to a porno flick for the plot?  Most of the cars appeared empty as couples necked and carried on low in the seats, but the steamed up windows provided proof that the cars were occupied.  Although Antonio was far from being the perfect gentleman during the show, he was careful not to come on too strong.  She sensed he really liked her and probably didn’t want to blow his chances with her later.  She was sure he could tell she wasn’t as innocent as she looked by the way she hotly kissed him and let him feel her up, but how would he take it if he knew she was still a virgin?

Starting up the engine and turning on the headlights, they followed the line of cars to the exit.  “Well, KariAnn, now that you’ve seen your first X-rated movie, are you ready to meet Penny and Margo?” Antonio asked, pulling onto the highway leading back to the motel.

“Yes, I’m dying to meet them!” KariAnn said enthusiastically.  “I can’t believe they’re actually willing to take a chance with a perfect stranger they know nothing about.  Do you think they’ll like me okay, Antonio?”

“Sure, they will.  You’re a very easy person to like, KariAnn.” Antonio tried to rest her fears.  “As a matter of fact, I already feel stronger for you than just ‘like’.  Do you believe it’s possible to fall in love at first sight?”

“Yeah, why not, I guess it is possible.” she answered both intrigued and excited by his question.  Again they pulled into the El Dorado Motel.  Before getting out, Antonio leaned over and putting his arms around her, held her close so that her breasts pushed up against his chest and softly kissed up and down her neck.

“Oh, Antonio, you’re giving me goose bumps all over.” KariAnn whispered.

“I’m glad to hear my kisses are so effective.” he replied, slowly kissing his way up to her mouth and tenderly slipping his tongue between her slightly parted lips.

“Wow, you’re a fantastic kisser, Antonio!  I’d be willing to bet you must have had a lot of practice to get so good.” KariAnn told him, still feeling his kiss tingling on her lips.

“You know, babe, you’re pretty good yourself, and I could also accuse you of the same.”  Antonio smiled along with her.  “Come on, we’d better go in.  I’ve already got a hard on, and if we stay out here any longer you wouldn’t be safe if the animal in me came out.”

“Okay, let’s go talk to your friends now.” she agreed.  Little did she realize at the time, that the next couple days would take her one step closer to entering the world of the dangerous big city streets, and would be the first of many experiences to follow that would burn into her memory forever.

© Copyright 2019 Katie McDougal. All rights reserved.


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