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1981: Jessie's Girl (Love in the 80s #2), page 1


1981: Jessie's Girl (Love in the 80s #2)

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1981: Jessie's Girl (Love in the 80s #2)

  1981: Jessie’s Girl

  Love in the 80’s: A New Adult Mix

  Lindy Zart




  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  About the Author

  Sneak Peeks

  1980: You Shook Me All Night Long

  1982: Maneater

  1981: Jessie’s Girl

  Copyright 2016 © by Lindy Zart

  This book is a work of fiction.

  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  Cover by Mae I Design

  Edited by Crystal Bryant

  Formatted by Indie Formatting Services

  Published 2016 by WaWa Productions

  For Catherine. Sleep now, and dream.

  I shoot upright in the bed at the sound of a fist against the bedroom door. Disoriented, I look around the darkness as a familiar male voice calls, “Get up, numb nuts, it’s time to bounce!”

  My eyes fly to the red digital numbers on the alarmclock and I vault from the bed, stumbling as I blindly search for clothes. Shit. I’m late. Really late. My bedroom is always a mess, and the present black doesn’t help me find my way around in it. I stub my toe on something and curse as it throbs in response.

  “Sam!” The pounding continues. “Come on. Everyone’s waiting in the car! Hurry up, man.”

  “One second,” I holler back to Jessie, tripping over a pile of clothes and slamming my forehead against the door as I fumble for the light switch. I blink my eyes to get them to adjust to the bright light, and wrench open the door. I take in Jessie’s smirking face and frown. If he looks this pleased about something, it probably doesn’t bode well for me.

  “What? What’s so funny?” I demand.

  “Nothing.” He snickers, shifting his brown eyes to the side.

  I follow the motion with my eyes and freeze.

  A tall, thin blonde stands beside Jessie, her blue eyes wide as she takes in my mostly naked body. Face burning up, I grab the first thing my hand touches from the dresser top and hold a sock before my groin. A small smile curves her lips as she looks from the sock to my face. The girl’s hair is a mass of feathered waves, held back with a pale pink headband. I take in her wardrobe of a collared cream blouse with buttons, flower-print slacks, and short tan boots that adorn her feet.

  Whoever she is, she’s a knockout.

  “Hey, hi, how’s it going?” My throat is raspy and changes pitch midway through my greeting, making me sound like a fourteen-year-old punk hitting puberty instead of the almost nineteen-year-old man I am.

  “Hi,” she replies, her voice high and smooth. My skin reacts with goose bumps.

  “Why are you still in bed?” Jessie runs a hand through his wavy brown hair, his bicep bulging with the gesture. He’s always finding ways to draw attention to his ripped muscles. As if no one can notice how freakishly large they are on their own. “We were supposed to be on the road ten minutes ago.”

  “I don’t know. I set the alarm. I must have slept through it.” I swallow, my eyes moving back to the blonde. She’s too pretty not to admire. “How did you get in the house?”

  Jessie rolls his eyes and drops his hand. “I know where the key is, man. Remember?”

  “Yeah. I’m just…still asleep.”

  “Wake the hell up! It’s time to party.” Jessie pumps the air with a fist and tosses his head back with a war cry.

  “Dude. Shut your yap,” I hiss and clap a hand over his mouth, looking toward my parents’ bedroom as their door opens.

  Jessie rubs his nose on my palm and I snatch it back. I glower at him as he smiles, amusement clear in his eyes.

  “What’s all the racket,” my dad demands, shuffling toward us. His fine red hair sticks up on top, the longer lengths clinging to his neck, and the ratty brown robe he wears is opened enough to see his pale chest and protruding gut. One day, that will be me. It’s a frequent thought that does not make me look forward to aging.

  “Good morning, Mr. Kent,” Jessie cheerfully calls, waving at my father.

  “It’s three in the morning. This isn’t morning, this is in the middle of the night.”

  “Three in the morning is three in the morning,” my friend points out.

  The girl watches my dad, her small, white teeth timidly gnawing on a pink, plump lower lip. I watch her, not really paying attention to the conversation between my dad and Jessie until my dad’s finger shoots forward and is close to jabbing me in the eye. I blink and step back.

  Pointing toward the stairs, my dad commands, “Get the hell out of here.”

  “Totally on that, Mr. Kent.” Jessie nods obediently. “Right, Sam? We’re on it.”

  “Um, uh, yeah.” I feel my face go red when the blonde smiles hesitantly at me.

  Muttering to himself, my dad makes his way back to his room. He steps into the room, the bedroom door slamming a second before my mom’s voice can be heard asking, “Is everything all right?”

  To which my dad replies, “Just our dumb-ass son with his dumb-ass friends.”

  I look at Jessie. “Thanks, Dad. You’re such a thoughtful, sensitive guy.”

  “I love you, Dad,” Jessie rejoins, kissing the air.

  “I hope I’m just like you when I grow up.” The wryness is heavy.

  Jessie laughs and slings an arm around the blonde. “Do you think they even remember about the trip?”

  “Who knows? Maybe after a few days they’ll realize I haven’t been around. Then again, maybe not. They’ve been counting down the days until I move out since I took my first breath—my dad told me so on my eighteenth birthday. It was his way of bonding.”

  “Parents are assholes,” Jessie commiserates.

  I shrug. “I’ll be down in a flash. The sock isn’t doing much for warmth.”

  “I like the sock. You should totally wear the sock. Shouldn’t he, Cat?”

  “Cat?” I repeat in confusion.

  The blonde smiles and offers a hand. “Hello. I’m Catherine Tate.”

  I shake her hand with my free one, noting the softness of it. “Sam Kent.”

  She tells me, “I don’t recommend the sock as an outfit.”

  “You know, I wasn’t sure?” I grin and look at my friend while jerking my chin toward Catherine. “What’s going on?”

  Jessie squeezes Catherine closer. “This is my girl. Lucky for her, huh?”

  “I was thinking that’s pretty unlucky for her. Are you coming with us?” I ask Catherine, hoping she says no. I have nothing against her—and that’s the reason I don’t want her along. She’s cute, and she seems nice, and her presence will complicate things.

  “Yes. Last night Jessie asked me if I wanted to go on a road trip with him and his friends. I admit, I was surprised to be invited along, but…” She lifts eyes as blue and deep as the ocean to mine—not that I’ve seen any oceans firsthand. “I’m not usually spontaneous. I think it’ll be fun to try it out once.”

  “It was sort of a spur of the moment thing. We got to talking last night at the bowling alley, and Cat and I found out we have this special connection. Her going on this trip with us seemed the natural way to go.” Jessie wiggles his eyebrows at me.
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  In routine Jessie Keller fashion, it is apparent he wants Catherine around because he wants to get in her pants. She’ll come on this trip, they’ll do it, and then when we get back, she’ll be history. My hands tighten into fists as I study the girl, wanting to tell her to stay the hell away from him. Not that it would probably do any good. Chicks dig Jessie, and even when he’s a dick to them, they hang around until he tells them to go.

  “I didn’t know you were dating anyone.” My tone is colder than I intended.

  Jessie levels a challenging gaze on me, daring me to say something against him. “I wasn’t as of yesterday, but as of last night, I am.”

  “You two just met last night, and you’re dating?” I lift my eyebrows.

  “Yes,” Catherine answers, brackets of unease surrounding her mouth as she divides her gaze between us.

  Jessie gives me a thumbs up sign while nodding enthusiastically. “We totally have a connection. Like, totally.”

  “Well, that’s really swell. Great news.” I slowly back into the room, thoughts racing. “I better put on some clothes. See you outside.” I close the door without waiting for a reply and let my head drop back, my neck taut at the position. The beating of my heart is fast, alarmed by Catherine Tate and my reaction to her.

  I curse and whip the sock at the bed. It was supposed to be four friends, no monkey business, having a good time. No drama, no girls—other than Hannah, but she doesn’t count. She’s one of us. Dwelling on it isn’t going to change anything, and it’s exactly like Jessie to think of himself before the group.

  Forget about it. It’s already done. With that mindset prevalent, I tug on a tee shirt that reads ‘Death before Disco’, a pair of jeans, and my Converses. I grab my bag, and after I make a quick stop in the bathroom, I call out a goodbye to my parents as I race down the stairs.

  It’s time to rock and roll.

  * * *

  Jessie and Catherine are making out from where they stand near the back of the car, arms around each other as they suck face. I shift my eyes away and meet intense dark brown ones under the ray of a streetlight. I can already tell Hannah’s in one of her moods, glaring at me from the front seat of the orange Renault 12 as I stride for the car. She says it’s her Hispanic heritage that makes her have a quick-fuse anger and sharp tongue, but I think it’s her.

  Hannah is a fighter, even when there’s nothing to fight.

  The crisp scent of mowed grass and overpowering lilacs and roses tease my senses. The neighborhood is made up of older folks and we’re probably the only ones awake except for the really old geezers who naturally get up at this time of the day and go to sleep by four in the afternoon. It feels like we’re in a strange place where there is no sun and only darkness—even the cool breeze as it sweeps through my hair and across my skin has an eerie cast to it. The leaves of the nearby trees rustle as well, and I take a moment to watch a crisp, green leaf drift to the ground.

  I’m usually going to bed close to this time instead of waking up.

  Hannah calls in her husky voice, “Catching up on some snoozing, sleeping beauty?”

  “My alarm didn’t go off,” I mutter, opening the rear door and tossing the bag in the back over the ones already there, and a large supply of beer. I elbow Dickie in the head by accident and apologize.

  “It’s all right, Sam,” he says quietly, shoving his large, square-shaped glasses up the bridge of his short nose. He has an unopened book on his lap, and I shake my head. He would bring books on this trip.

  “What book did you bring to read?”

  Excitement shines in his blue eyes, bringing animation to Dickie’s face that is usually kept hidden by his introverted nature. “It’s a book about time travel. The main character is a scientist, and he wants to find a way to make it back in time to when the Titanic sank—well, before it sank, actually. He had a relative on board and wanted to find out about a disease they had that is hereditary, and that’s the only place he knows where the relative was on a certain date. So he—”

  “I’m sorry, Dickie, but I’m already lost,” I interrupt, hearing what sounds like the adults talking in Charlie Brown movies instead of my friend. “The first sentence was enough. I’m half-asleep and my mind isn’t working like it should to hear this.”

  His face falls, and he sighs. “Sometimes it’s hard being the only one in a group who likes to read.”

  “I like to read,” Hannah states from the front.

  “Non-fiction books on sports. It isn’t the same.”

  “At least I read,” she says.

  “You’re right,” Dickie amends.

  “Sam likes to read too, but he doesn’t want anyone to know.” Hannah lowers her voice, eyes shining as they land on me. “It’s bad for his image if people know he has a brain and even likes to use it at times to read about historical stuff.”

  “Then people expect things, like that I should be smart. Who’s driving first?” I ask, anxious to get on the road.

  Catherine giggles as Jessie nuzzles her neck.

  “Gag me with a spoon. I can’t believe he’s bringing his latest bedroom friend.” Hannah puts her feet on the dashboard and trains her eyes straight ahead. “This is going to get lame real fast if the two lovebirds keep playing kissy face the whole time.”

  “You’re just jealous it isn’t you,” I tease.

  Hannah turns her head, her square jaw tight as she faces me. Her untamed head of black curls frames her face like a lion’s mane, and she’s just as ferocious when she wants to be. “No way. With Jessie?” One ebony eyebrow arches. “In his dreams.”

  She looks away as she swallows, flexing her legs. I admire the muscles of her tanned calves before reminding myself this is Hannah, and it’s pretty much like checking out my sister, if I had one. I’ve known her since we were both in diapers and I’ve witnessed her through all the awkward, embarrassing stages of her life, just as she has with me. For instance, she saw me shit myself when I was four. I was sick, but that doesn’t change how it all went down.

  Stomach clenching with displeasure at the memory, I move around to the driver’s side. “Looks like I’m driving.” I turn to face the couple and smack a hand to the top of the car, the cold metal sharp against my palm. “Let’s split, you two.”

  Jessie pulls away from Catherine. “Easy, man, that’s my baby.”

  “Think your baby will start?” I lift an eyebrow.

  “Of course,” he scoffs, shifting his gaze from mine, and making it clear he is not positive of this.

  “Think your baby will get us to Pennsylvania and back?” Hannah shouts from the car.

  It’s not even Jessie’s car. It’s his older brother’s and on loan to him per Jessie until Jacob comes up with the three hundred dollars he owes Jessie. I don’t want to say that Jessie took it this morning without Jacob knowing, but I think he did. Jacob’s a stoner, and chances are he won’t know Jessie or the car were ever gone until they come back. It’s a tiny piece of unpredictable metal that we all barely fit in, especially with an extra person, but none of us have our own car.

  “I think my baby will do whatever I ask it to,” is his response.

  “I thought I was your baby?” Catherine asks breathlessly, a pout on her face.

  “You are, but the car’s my first baby. You can be my last baby.”

  I roll my eyes and get in the car. Jessie is a big talker, but he’s good-looking and muscled enough that women don’t care. He’s an asshole more times than not too—another thing women don’t seem to care that much about. I once told myself I should be an asshole to get chicks, but it lasted all of two minutes before a girl with her arms full of books needed help opening a door.

  I don’t have the asshole gene in me.

  Inside the car, Hannah’s lavender soap smell wars with Dickie’s perpetual sweaty one, and all is as it should be. She drops her legs down and straightens in the seat, the red gym shorts she’s wearing tiny enough that whether or not her butt cheeks are entirely
covered is a question I heavily consider. The matching jacket is zipped and tight against her petite and toned frame.

  There is skinny, and then there is athletic. Hannah is the latter. Some girls make fun of her for being better at sports than most guys, but I think it’s a turn-on. Well, with other girls it is a turn-on. I don’t think of Hannah that way.

  Catherine and Jessie get inside, Catherine squeezed between Dickie and Jessie. I glance at Dickie in the rearview mirror. His fleshy face is red and his eyes are lowered. He’s so shy around girls he probably won’t say a single word to Catherine the whole trip.

  “You got the map?” I ask Hannah, adding, “You’re sitting shotgun—that means you’re the navigator.”

  “Of course I have the map.” She grabs a pamphlet from the floorboards and waves it around. “I’m your co-captain on this adventure. I have the map. I also get to run the radio.”

  “Whatever makes you happy.”

  “Yeah, Hannah, whatever makes you happy. That’s the most important thing—that you’re happy,” Jessie taunts.

  I catch the glare she aims at him with a lightning fast look. If the look was any lengthier he’d be incinerated. “Shut your mouth, Keller.”

  “Make me.”

  “Where to first?” I interrupt, craning my neck to look at the trio in back.

  Dickie clasps and unclasps his hands, the side of his body hugging the door to keep from touching Catherine. Jessie is slouched in the seat and has one arm slung around her shoulders. Catherine looks tiny compared to the guys, and offers a fleeting smile when my gaze turns to her. I blink and look at Jessie. I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone as pretty as her before.

  Jessie nods his head toward Hannah with a smirk lining his lips. “Ask Hannah.”

  “Ask Jessie,” she shoots back, crossing her arms. “It’s his car, right?”

  “You all know the only place I want to go to is Chicago to see the Cubs and Wrigley Field,” he complains.

  “And you know the MLB is on strike, so that’s a no go,” she reminds him.

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