I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.
It was September of 1955, Denise Brown sat at her desk daydreaming about Billy "Red" Dice smiling at her when he dropped his sister off in front of Louis County High School in Oburnlake Florida. His sister Janet happened to sit right behind Denise in Teacher Mona Laughlen's English class. Billy had the coolest 1932 Ford Roadster with a rumble seat in the back. Denise dreamed that Billy was holding her hands as they danced in the moonlight to "Only You" by The Platters.
They were at the local lover's lane called, "Kissing Hill." Billy was so handsome in his blue jeans, leather jacket, and slicked-back red hair. Mrs. Laughlen noticed that Denise was the only student gazing forward without her book open. The teacher picked up her wooden ruler, tapped it on her desk, and said, "Miss Brown, eyes on your book." Denise immediately opened her book as there were giggles and chuckles echoing in the classroom. She read a few lessons about sentence structure and then right back to daydreams of Billy Dice. Mrs. Laughlen told the students she would return in 10 minutes and to keep studying. As soon as she shut the door, Janet pulled her comb from her sock and flipped Denise on the arm.
Denise spun around quickly and snapped, "That hurt Janet." Janet leaned forward and whispered, "I think my brother likes you." Hearing those words developed instant forgiveness for Janet and by the time the pain had subsided, Denise changed the word, "Like" to love, boyfriend, husband, father, grandfather, and wept at his funeral within ten seconds. Denise smiled wide and said, "Billy....likes me?" Janet leaned forward and whispered, "When he dropped me off today, he asked who the cute girl in the striped dress was. I told him your name and he told me to tell you he thought you were a doll."
Denise blushed a little and whispered back to Janet, "Wow...he thinks I'm pretty?" Janet stuck her comb back in her sock as she said, "Yes. He's picking me up after school today. Walk out with me and meet him." Denise put her hand over her heart and said, "Oh I will. I will." Mrs. Laughlen came in the door and every student's face turned down to their books. Denise looked at the words and paragraphs in her book but her mind was taking her to Kissing Hill again.
That day when the last school bell rang, Denise heard wedding bells. She rushed out of History class, down the hall, and found Janet. They walked out of the school together and down the long walkway to the street. Cars and buses were pulling up. Denise and Janet stood holding their books with folded arms. Billy pulled up right in front of them. He revved the engine, grinned, and said, "Hello ladies...hop in." Denise looked at Billy, blushed, and smiled as she said, "I don't know if I'm allowed." Billy asked, "How old are you?" Denise answered, "16 but I'll be 17 in December."
Billy grinned wide and said, "I'm 19. Add 16 and 19 and you get 35 when we're together. Come on. I'll give you a ride home." Janet nudged Denise and said, "Yeah. Come on Denise." Billy got out of the car, flipped up the rumble seat for Janet, and opened the door for Denise as he said, "Your chariot awaits." Denise smiled and got in the car. As Billy got in she said, "This car is so cool. I really don't like riding the bus. It's so square." Billy laughed and squealed the tires as he pulled away. He asked, "Don't you live on Green Creek Road?" Denise answered, "Yes, how did you know?" Billy smiled and said, "Well." Janet was listening through the open rear window and shouted, "I told him where you live. "Billy looked in the rearview mirror and said loudly, "Thanks, little sister!"
They all talked as Billy drove out of town and down Green Creek Road. As they came near Denise's home, she looked at Billy and said, "Just let me off at the bus stop. I'll ask dad and mom tonight if it's OK to ride back and forth to school with you and Janet. Janet leaned in and spoke, "Call me on the horn when you find out. Our number is JB 2-3389. Janet repeated the number as Denise wrote it down. Billy pulled over at the bus stop corner and said, "See you in the morning. Oh...by the way. Want to go with me and see a movie this weekend. Denise answered, "I'd love to." Just as Denise got out of the car they all heard screeching tires. Denise looked over and saw it was her father Anthony Brown. Anthony was a straight arrow, buzz haircut, suit-wearing salesman.
His car slid sideways as it came to a stop. Anthony jumped out of the car and ran to Billy's car, screaming at Denise, "Why in the hell are you in this greaser's car?" Billy got out of his car as Denise begged her dad to stop yelling. Billy said, "Come on man. I just gave her a ride home. I'd like to/. Anthony cut him off, pointed his finger in Billy's face, and growled, "She is not hanging out with greasers." Denise began crying and Janet spoke, "Let's go Billy. Sorry, Denise." Billy looked Anthony in the eyes and said, "Making her cry...not cool...not cool at all."
As Anthony guided Denise to his car, Billy turned his car around and burned rubber for half a block. Anthony pointed at the black marks on the road and grumbled, "See daughter, greasers are reckless drivers and ugly up the road with black rubber." Denise cried more as she got in the car and they went down the road to their lane. Anthony continued to scold and lecture Denise. She ran to her room as soon as they stepped in the door of their home. Denise's mother Bonnie asked what was wrong? Anthony grumbled, "She got a ride home with a greaser. Our daughter is not going to wind up with one of those rebellious punks." He then growled, "I have to mow the yard. Call me in when supper is done." Bonnie looked at him and said, "Calm down. She is home now."
Anthony mumbled some hateful words about greasers as he went out the door and slammed it shut. Bonnie went to Denise's door, tapped, and asked, "You ok sweetie? Can I come in?" Denise opened the door and hugged Bonnie. Bonnie patted her back and said, "Your father will get over his anger." They sat on the bed as Denise sniffled and said, "I'm almost 17 mom. I want to date Billy Dice. He's a nice boy." Bonnie held Denise's hands in hers and said, "Well your dad thinks he's a greaser. You know how he feels about rebellious youth. He can't stand the slicked-back hair and those hot rod cars." Denise wiped her tears and said in a surrendering tone, "I know mom. I know."
That evening, Anthony told Denise she was grounded for two months and told Bonnie to meet Denise at the bus stop every day after school to make sure she didn't ride with that greaser. Denise managed to call Janet that night and asked her to have Billy wait when he dropped Janet off at school.
The next day, Denise got off the bus at school and saw Billy waiting in his car across the street. She passed Janet as she quickly walked to the car. Billy leaned over and opened the car door for Denise. She sat in the car, dropped her books on the floorboard, looked straight ahead, and said, "I want to go to Kissing Hill." Billy gave her a surprised look and asked, "What about school? What about your dad?" Denise answered, "I don't like either one at the moment but I do like you...so let's go." Billy grinned and said, "Cool." As Billy pulled away, Denise waved at an astonished Janet.
In less than fifteen minutes, they were on Kissing Hill. He parked in a spot that overlooked Oburnlake. Denise got out of the car and stood by the right front fender. Billy got out of the car and stood by the left front fender. Denise looked at him and said, "Ever hear the song, "Only You" by The Platters?" Billy smiled and answered, "Yeah...cool song." Denise was conjuring every inkling of courage she had as she said, "I want to dance with you, Billy Dice. Hear the song in your mind and I'll hear it in mine. I want to dance." As she wiped a small tear, he stepped up to her and held out his hands. They danced in the grass as if they'd been partners for years.
Dancing turned into embraces and kisses. Billy and Denice went back into town. Billy took all of his savings from the bank and they headed north. Denice called her mother when they stopped in Georgia to eat. They drove to Jellico Tennessee and were married. Billy had family in Ohio where he found a job and they moved into a small apartment. They were a couple madly in love and blissful in life. Denise would call her mother from time to time but her father had disowned her. Billy and Denise had two children and they had children.
Years later in September of 2022, 86-year-old Billy and 83-year-old Denise had lived back in Florida for five years. Their parents had long passed on and Janet was in a local nursing home. It was a Thursday their 67th. anniversary of the day they left Oburlake. Billy pulled his old hot rod from the garage. He kept it in good shape all those years.
Denice used her cane as she walked to the car. When Billy opened the door for her she said, "I want to visit mom and dad at the cemetery. Billy smiled and said, "Whatever you wish my dear." There were no burning tires this time but the engine still sounded wicked. At the graveyard, Billy and Denise stood by her parent's grave. She said, "Daddy, you never spoke to me again after that day back in 1955. I hated you then. All these years I haven't liked you at all. I do however love you because you caused me to run away with Billy. I believe parents want their children to live happy lives above all. I have, daddy. I have and still live a happy life.
Denise said a few loving words to her mother as Billy held her hand. There was a sweet warm Florida breeze and the sky was filled with puffy clouds as Billy and Denise walked to the car from the grave. When they got in the car, Billy asked with a bit of sadness in his voice, "You have truly been happy...haven't you?" Denise touched his cheek, smiled, and said, "Let's go to Kissing Hill. I'll answer there."
© 2022 Tom Cornett