Johnny's Fortune


They watched the other dancers and Johnny could barely stand it. He wanted to take Rosemary outside where he’d be alone with her. He’d barely brushed her lips with his and his sex had sprung to life. Yeah, wouldn’t Father Anthony love to see proof of that? The good Father would probably kick him out of the dance so fast his head would spin. Pulling Rosemary in front of him so they could still watch everyone, he wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her back against him. That was safe enough as long as he didn’t move his hips forward. If he did, his sweet Rose would be in for quite a shock.

After all these years he finally had her exactly where he wanted her—in his arms. In school he’d wanted nothing more than to ask her out. But she’d been part of the preppy group, not the ‘hoods’ as he’d been called back then. Asking her out would have ruined her, and that’s the last thing he would have ever done. He respected her too much for that. So he’d kept with his own. Only now…

Was she really so unaware of how she affected guys around her? She’d sat behind him in geography class in high school, and he’d walked out of class with a major hard-on every day. She hadn’t thought it odd he’d borrowed pencils from her in class every day? He had to have some excuse to talk to her, and lame though it was, it had worked. She’d smiled sweetly as she searched for her pencil bag and handed one to him, her chocolate brown eyes meeting his. Come to think of it, why in the world had she had so many pencils on her every day? Had she…? Could she have…? Nah. She hadn’t liked him. She’d just been polite. But then, he’d seen her write…

Well, they weren’t in school anymore, and he didn’t care if he was ‘the boy mothers warned their daughters about.’ Yeah, he knew his reputation—then and now. He’d worked hard to uphold it all those years, making a statement more to his father than himself. But now he wanted something else. More. He just wasn’t sure what that more was. Yet something told him Rose fit in that equation somehow.

Hell, wouldn’t Mr. Tarantino be proud of him? He actually remembered something from math class. Not that he’d ever really use equations, of course. He smiled. Couldn’t help it. Rose felt so good in his arms. Just like she was meant to be there. Yeah, he’d just have to do something about that. Swaying to the beat of the music, he moved some of her long, brunette hair aside and bent to kiss her neck. What he really wanted to do was run his hands through that thick mane of dark hair and claim her mouth with his. Slow, tantalizing. He’d have her moaning under his kiss. Make her want more—make her want him.

Why did they have to be at a CYO? Of all the places to be on a Friday night. If she’d gone to the Ivy-A-Go-Go with him like he’d wanted, he wouldn’t have to sneak kisses. No, he’d be all over her. And that probably wouldn’t be a good thing. He had a feeling if he moved too fast, he’d scare Rose away. That was the last thing he wanted to do.

With strains of Goodnight, sweetheart, well it’s time to go…echoing through the room, everyone gathered their coats or jackets and headed for the door. He helped Rose on with her gray wool coat, then took her long red scarf and wrapped it around her neck, letting the ends dangle. He reached behind her and lifted her hair, making sure none of it was caught in the scarf. Before she could protest, he clasped her hand in his and headed outside. The brisk December wind hit them full in the face and Rose shivered. She tried to pull back when he reached his car, but he urged her forward so he could open the passenger side door for her.

“You’re not going to give me grief about taking you home are you, Rose?” He cast her a look he knew showed he wouldn’t be taking no for an answer.

“I’ll be fine. I can take the bus. It’s how I got here.” She dug in her purse, looking for something, then held up and waved the slip of paper in his face. “See, I have my bus pass.”

“And I have my car. Much warmer and much safer at this time of night.” He ignored her further protests, moved her toward the Impala, helped her and closed the door. When he walked around to the driver’s side, he stopped and took a deep breath. “Don’t muck this up, Fortunato. For once, the stakes are too high.” He opened the car door and slid inside. Turning the key, he adjusted the heater so Rose could get warm. Then he turned to face her. “Do you have to head straight home, or can we go get something to eat? I’m dying for a hamburger and fries. All that dancing worked up my appetite. Eddie’s Diner is just a few blocks away.”

Rosemary stared out a window, then frowned. “What about your friends? They won’t want me hanging around.”

He slipped his arm along the top of the front seat and rested his hand casually on her shoulder. “In case you haven’t noticed, my friends left a long time ago.” He chuckled. “The dance wasn’t quite their cup of tea.”

Rosemary shifted in the seat until she faced him. “But how did they…? I mean, how will they…?”

“Get a ride?” he finished. “I imagine they hooked up with someone after they left here. I knew when we came they wouldn’t stay. They just thought they’d get a laugh or two.”

“And why did you stay, Johnny? Didn’t you just come for a laugh or two, as well?” She swept her eyes down, clearly not wanting to meet his gaze. Not really wanting to hear his answer.

“I stayed for the same reason I came.” Placing a finger under her chin, he tipped her face up and ran his thumb lightly over her cheek. “I wanted to spend the evening with you.”


“Why, what?” He slid closer to her on the seat.

“Why did you want to be with me? I saw you every day in high school, and you avoided me like the plague. Why now?”

Johnny embraced her. Ran his hand up and down her arm. “You were off-limits to me in high school, Rose. But we aren’t kids anymore. I’m not just the cool guy with the bad reputation in school and you’re not the lily white rose. We’re adults now. You graduated a year ago; I’ve owned my own shop for several years—and I’m going after what I want.” He lowered his head to her and gently moved his lips over hers. When she didn’t pull away, he teased and nibbled until she opened for him. Then he claimed her for his own. His hands moved inside her coat, wrapping his arms around her so she couldn’t pull back as he deepened the kiss. Her moan brought him to his senses and he edged back behind the steering wheel. Smart move, Fortunato. That was really playing it slow!

Pulse racing, he shifted gears and braved a peek at Rosemary. She looked stunned. Okay, stunned was okay. At least she wasn’t mad. “Come on, let’s go get that hamburger. Think I want a chocolate malt, too. If I recall correctly, you love chocolate. You passed chocolate around in class almost as much as you did notes.”

©2007 Leanne L. Burroughs




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