The Truant Risk

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

Chapter 6 (v.1) - ON THE RUN AGAIN

Submitted: May 05, 2019

Reads: 103

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Submitted: May 05, 2019



It had been nine days since her mother had brought her back, and the month of June nearing its end.  Today KariAnn would soon be presented with the opportunity she’d been waiting for to fulfill the promise she’d made her mother to run away again.  KariAnn figured that even if her mom was serious about what she said she’d do, she would never be able to accomplish turning dad against her.  Not dad!

The first time she ran away, she had deliberately wanted to hurt and punish her mother for her rejection, but this time having had a taste of undisciplined freedom, her motive would now be combined with the sheer thrill and excitement of doing whatever she wanted while taking whatever promise and adventure each day held in store.  She was determined to be her own boss from now on even if one by one each pleasure revealed its own disaster.  After all, gamblers always paid their debts, and she was born a gambler.

The brilliant afternoon sun beat down hotly making it a gorgeous day for the long awaited first swim of the summer when they opened each of the Halls’ pools today.  KariAnn felt a bit cheated she had to pass up the fun to instead soak in the tub for the last two remaining soaks of the ten.  As the girls put on their bathing suits, KariAnn gathered up the things she needed to prepare the downstairs tub.  She could hear the girls gaily hurry out the back door when they came down, and in the sudden silence that followed, it occurred to her that aside from Mother Andrew working in her office, she was finally left completely alone.  This would give her the edge of a good head start.

Quickly she tried to scheme up a plan.  She knew the doors leading outside were always locked when everyone was gone to prevent anyone from being tempted to sneak back in and steal something.  It would be easy enough to unlock them from the inside, but if she went out the back door she would surely be seen by someone at the pool, and the front door was right next to Mother Andrew’s office.  That only left her with the option of escaping from a window, which wouldn’t be easy.  In addition to a screen, there also was a heavy metal grating covering the window that interwove into one-inch squares.  The grating would have to come off if she were to make it to freedom out the bathroom window.

She made her way quietly into the kitchen and grabbed a butter knife, which would have to stand in for a screwdriver.  Hurrying back to the bathroom and locking the door behind her, she began untwisting the rusted screws that must have held it there in place for years.  The two screws that fastened the top eventually came out, but it took so much effort and much too much time to do it.  KariAnn figured she had quite a bit of time left before everyone would be heading in, but her hands were already sore from the brute force and strength she had to use to loosen only the two screws, and she hoped to be as far away as she could by the time they finally discovered she was missing.  Again she tried another screw, but the remaining four screws just wouldn’t budge.  She was getting nowhere.

Then a thought came to her, and she reached up grabbing hold of the top of the grate, and hung from it using her body weight to bend the grating down in half to where the middle screws still secured it.  It had worked, and she was able to climb out the top opening easily.  The bushes and scrubs outside the window served as a good cover while checking if the coast was clear before running for the gate.  This time no one saw her leave the grounds.

KariAnn thought of looking up Antonio when the sight of the Great Scott store reminded her of the first time they’d met and he offered her a ride.  She knew he also lived close by and she could probably find his house, but decided against it.  She didn’t want to impose on him again for help, and whatever sparks had been between them were no longer there.  If she was to make it on her own and not get caught, the big city she figured was her best shot.  It would be difficult to single her out among a lot of people, and the police surely have more important matters to give their attention than to look for a runaway who didn’t want to be found.

Once decided, she boldly stuck out her thumb.  Like the first time, a ride was almost instant.  The car that just went past was slowing down and pulling off onto the shoulder.  She ran up to catch it.  The young man leaned over to open the passenger door as she reached the car.  “Where to?” the driver asked.

"Detroit.  Are you going that far?” asked KariAnn smiling, amused at how easy and fast it was to get a ride.

“As a matter of fact, that’s where I’m headed.  Hop in if you don’t mind riding in this messy broken down old car.” he said as he picked a few things cluttering up the front seat and tossed them in the back so she could sit down.

“I assure you I don’t mind at all and thank you for letting me ride along with you.” she said gratefully.

“The pleasure is all mine.” said the stranger.  “I’m glad to have someone to talk to.  By the way, my name is Terry.”

KariAnn was on her way into the unknown once again, and her pulse raced with excitement.  She had no idea what she’d do once she got there, but that’s what made it so exciting.  Something would come up, she was sure of it.

“If you don’t mind my saying so, you seem kind of young to be hitching a ride, especially into Detroit alone.” he said without taking his eyes from the road.  “I bet your parents would have a fit if they knew you were going via your thumb.”

KariAnn studied him over a minute before answering.  Terry had an attractive face with the same black wavy styled hair as Antonio.  She had seen enough Italians now to be able to recognize one fairly easily, and Terry was without a doubt Italian.  The accent too was unmistakable.  “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a family anymore, and whatever I do is strictly my own business from now on.” she said and waited for his reaction.

“A runaway then no doubt.” he said, not seeming surprised as if he’d guessed it all along.  “You know I’m over 21 and could get in a lot of trouble if I were caught contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but lucky for you I thrive on taking chances.  Do you have a place to stay lined up in Detroit?”

“No not yet, but I was planning on working on it once I got there.” she admitted.  “I figured I could always sleep outside if I had to since it stays warm even at night, and during the day I’d look for a job and try to make some friends.”

“Sounds like you don’t mind taking a few risks either.” Terry said, this time looking at her.  “Maybe I know someone who can help you.  I have an uncle who owns a little pizzeria on Greenfield, and I can talk to him about giving you a job and finding you a temporary place to stay.  Are you interested?”

“Yes, I’m very much interested!  Thanks, Terry.” she exclaimed disbelievingly.

“I’ll take you there first, but if he doesn’t go along I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head.”

Arriving at the pizzeria, KariAnn stayed in the car and waited for Terry to come back for her.  He had wanted to tell his uncle first about KariAnn before bringing her in.  She pulled out a cigarette from the pack Terry bought her at the gas station along the way and lit it up.  She had only just arrived to Detroit, and already she was sitting in the parking lot of where she may start her very first paying job.

Fifteen minutes went by, and she nervously lit up another smoke.  Maybe Terry’s uncle didn’t need any help, and she was building herself up for a disappointment.  She wished Terry would come out and let her know something.  Just then Terry opened the back door waving for her to come in.  He was smiling.  “KariAnn, I’d like you to meet my uncle.” said Terry.  “I’ve told him about your situation, and he says he may have a job for you.”

“Why don’t you step into my office, KariAnn, and we can discuss it.  My name is Livio.  Please sit down and make yourself comfortable.” he said motioning to the chair in front of his desk.

“Well, I guess I’ll catch you both in a few minutes.  I want to say hi to the guys out back.” said Terry excusing himself.

“Okay, Terry.  See you in a bit.” smiled KariAnn.

“First of all,” Livio began after they were seated, “the job I have open is only part-time, but I can guarantee you at least thirty hours a week.  I need a girl to answer the phone and take down pizza and sub orders.  There will be an order pad and a list of the prices by the phone.  When a customer calls, write down their order on the pad and the price next to it.  Then add it up on the adding machine and tell them what it comes to.  Write their name at the top and find out if they will be coming to pick it up or wants it delivered.  If they are coming in, get the time they want it ready and get the address if it’s to be delivered.  Also jot down the phone number.  Do you think you can handle that?”

“Yes, I’m sure I can handle that.” KariAnn spoke with confidence.

“Good.” smiled Livio.  “I’ll try you out on a two-week probation, and if you work out, the job is yours.  The hours will be from 9 p.m. to closing at 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.  It pays $40 a week.  Have any questions?”

“Just one.  When can I start?” she asked eagerly.

“How about now?  You sure as hell can’t have anything else planned.” he humored her.  “Before we get started though, sit tight one more minute and let me give my old lady a call so I can let her know we’ll be having a house guest for a while.”

“You mean that in addition to a job you’ll also put me up?” asked KariAnn not believing her ears.

“Sure, I’ve got to protect my interests.” he explained, picking up the phone and dialing his home number.  “You wouldn’t do me much good if the cops see you wandering around looking lost and bust you for curfew.”

“I see your point.” she nodded.

Livio put his finger to his mouth to motion her silent when he heard the click of the phone being picked up.  “Sharon?  Hi, babe, it’s me.  Look, I’m calling to see if you’d mind me bringing a girl home I just hired.  Terry picked her up hitch hiking.  She’s a runaway and doesn’t have anywhere to go.  She seems like a nice kid, and I thought maybe we could help her out.”  There was a brief pause while he listened, and then he spoke again.  “Okay, I’ll tell her.  See you when we get there, and be waiting for us with a couple cold ones.”  After another pause, “Yeah, I love you too.  Bye.”

“What did she say?” KariAnn asked, already guessing the answer.

“She said she was looking forward to meeting you, and she would make you up a bed on the couch.” Livio answered.

“Boy, this really is too good to be actually happening.  I promise I won’t let you down or make you sorry for this.” said KariAnn gratefully.

“I believe you.  Come on, let’s go introduce you around.” he said walking to open the door.  The she followed him back to the kitchen where everyone was standing around talking.  Terry turned to look at them questioningly when he saw them approaching.

“Well, don’t keep us in suspense.  Did you get the job?” asked Terry.

“Yes!” said KariAnn all smiles and beaming from ear to ear.  “Livio said he’d give me a shot at it, but I’ll be on probation the first two weeks.”

“That’s great!” Terry shared in her excitement. “I’ve just got a feeling that somehow you’ll do alright.”

“I’m sure she will too.” added Livio.  “Ray, Ken, and Romeo meet KariAnn our new order taker and cashier.”

“Alright!” said the tall, cute, blue-eyed blonde named Ken.

“Welcome to the family.” joined in Romeo, the youngest of the three and also Italian like Terry and Livio.

“You have to watch out for those two wolves, KariAnn," Ray warned in jest, “Now take me, I’m a nice guy.”

“Like hell he is!” laughed Livio.  “Ray is the one you need to watch out for the most!”

Everyone laughed in agreement.  Then the telephone rang and reminded them it was time to go back to work.  “Well, KariAnn, seems like you’re a hit with the guys, now let’s see how you do on your first order.” said Livio indicating he wanted her to answer the still ringing phone.

"I’ll see you around, KariAnn, and good luck.” Terry said as he left.

KariAnn walked over and picked up the receiver with confidence as she answered, “Livio’s Pizzeria, can I help you?”  Picking up the pen and order pad near the phone, she took down the order and repeated it back.  “That was one 14” pizza with extra cheese, mushrooms, and ham, plus two Cokes.  Did you wish to pick this up or do you want it delivered?” she asked.  “Okay and what’s the name and address please?”  After jotting it down and also getting the phone number, she told the customer to hold on a minute while she totaled the bill.

“Very good, KariAnn.” praised Livio, taking the order from her and scribbling the prices on the side from off the top of his head and quickly adding them up on the adding machine.  “Tell them it comes to $6.32, and will be ready in about twenty minutes.”  Then he yelled back to the kitchen, “One 14” pizza with extra cheese, mushrooms and ham.”

“Is there anything else I have to do?” asked KariAnn aiming to please her new boss.

“After you tell Romeo the order, hang it up here on the wheel so he can refer to it, know how many pops to pull out of the cooler, and then staple the order to the box.  The only other thing you’ll have to do is ring the price up on the cash register and take their money.  Do you know how to use one and make change?” Livio asked.

“I know how to make change, but I’ve never used a cash register before.  I’m a real fast learner though.” she added.

“No problem.  There really isn’t much to it.  The important thing is accurately hitting the right price, and counting back the correct change.”  Livio gave her a quick run down on how to operate the old cash register, and then suggested she begin memorizing the price list whenever she wasn’t busy.

About twenty minutes from the time the order was placed, Romeo removed the pizza from the oven and boxed it up for Ray and Ken to deliver.  KariAnn was sitting by the phone studying the price list when Ken came over.  “How would you like to get out for awhile and ride along with us on a couple deliveries?” Ken asked.

“I’d like to, but who would answer the phone?” she replied, hoping he had already thought of that and had worked something out.  KariAnn not only was feeling a bit restless from lack of much to do, but she found herself very much attracted to Ken.

“Don’t worry, I already checked with the boss and he said he’d catch the phone while we’re gone.  Besides, this is Wednesday and we’re seldom very busy until the weekend.  So you want to come?”

“Yes, why not.” she replied, wondering if he could tell that she liked him.  They walked together through the kitchen and out the back door where Ray was already waiting in the car with several pizzas, which he stacked in the back seat to make room for KariAnn when he saw she agreed to come.  Before driving off, Ray grabbed a piece of pizza out of the top box and offered each of them a piece too.

“I take it this pizza we’re eating is the one Debbie ordered.” Ken surmised, knowing Ray wouldn’t dare do it otherwise.  “I just want you to know if Debbie gets pissed, I’m telling her this was all your idea.”

“Hell, my old lady’s not going to get mad, but just in case I’m letting you take it up to the door.”

“Ray, you fucker!” Ken said with a laugh.

“Yep, I ‘fuck her’ every chance I get.” Ray laughed back.

They dropped off the other two pizzas first and left Ray’s girlfriend’s half-eaten pizza for last.  Ray turned the car onto Prevost and parked in front of a middle class red-bricked house second from the corner.  “Why don’t you both come in with me and we’ll stay for a while.” said Ray, glancing in the direction of her house and looking to see if she saw them yet.

“Okay, but you’re handing her the pizza” Ken said giving the box to him.  “Do you mind, KariAnn, if we stop in for a while?  Debbie is a pretty cool chick and you’ll probably like her.”

“Sure, it’s fine with me.” said KariAnn.

Debbie wasn’t alone, and Pam, her best friend, also greeted them at the door.  “It’s about time, Ray, you got here.  It’s been almost a hour.” complained Pam who seemed more annoyed than Debbie.

“Sorry, but we had two other deliveries each on opposite ends of our route.” Ray explained.  “We figured if we stopped here last, we could come in for a while and visit.”

Ken saw Pam go to open the box and quickly added, “I’m afraid we also ate half your pizza on the way, but we planned on splitting the cost with you to cover what we ate.” said Ken pulling three dollars out of his wallet.

“That’s okay.  You know Pam and I have absolutely no willpower when it come to pizza, and you probably saved us both from gaining a couple extra unwanted pounds.” said Debbie, caring more about kissing Ray than about the pizza.  “New girlfriend, Ken?” she asked looking over at the girl they brought along.

KariAnn felt her cheeks redden as Ken winked at her and replied, “Not yet, Deb, but I’m working on it.”  KariAnn was overwhelmed that he was interested in her, and fantasized what it would be like to be his girl.  Ken was definitely a fox in any girl’s book as many of the guys she’d met recently, and she couldn’t get over how these dreamy-looking guys all seemed to flip over her.  She wished she knew what her magic spell was on them.

The girls hit it off from the start, and Debbie had invited KariAnn to come back.  Debbie was friendly and outgoing, dressed like a hippie, and wore her blonde hair long and parted down the middle.  She was an attractive girl even with her slightly bucked front  teeth, and being a few pounds overweight.  Pam on the other hand, flipped her shoulder-length brown hair under, wore make-up and painted fingernails, her clothes neat and stylish, and gave the impression of coming from a well to do family.

“What sign are you, KariAnn?” asked Debbie, shortly after they were introduced.  She was into astrology, and usually the first thing she wanted to find out about a person was what sign they were born under.

“I’m a Cancer.  My birthday is July 16th, and in just three more weeks I’ll be fourteen.” she answered.

“My older brother, Mike, is also a Cancer.  I’m a Pisces,” Debbie shared, “and turned fourteen back in March.  Cancer and Pisces are very compatible, although Pisces usually gets along well with everyone.”

Although they weren’t able to stay long, it was time enough for KariAnn to learn that Ken was twenty and an Aries, Ray twenty-one and a Gemini, and Pam a fourteen and a half year old Capricorn.  KariAnn was surprised Ray and Ken were so much older, but was not discouraged over the six year difference in her age and Ken’s.  After all he appeared to like her anyway, and the seven year gap between Debbie and Ray didn’t stop them.  Suddenly KariAnn chuckled to herself as she remembered how her mother thought Dave was too old for her, and he was only sixteen.

Returning to the pizzeria, the rest of the night simply flew by, and her new job seemed more like fun and socializing rather than work.  The guys joked and flirted with her as the hours ticked right by, and she was enjoying every minute.  Especially whenever Ken said or did something nice for her.  Debbie and Pam also stopped in to chat, and before they left KariAnn had easy directions to get to Debbie’s house which was only a little over a mile from Livio’s Pizzeria.

The wall clock struck 2 a.m., and everyone headed for the parking lot.  Before walking over to Livio’s car, KariAnn went to say goodnight to Ken.  As if he read her mind, he pulled her in for a small kiss.  “I’ll see you tomorrow night, and save all your kisses for me.” he smiled as she walked away to join Livio.

“I will!  Goodnight, Ken.” she waved.


© Copyright 2019 Katie McDougal. All rights reserved.


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