Chapter 24 2002 - Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman

Chrissy Mall was sixteen, and while she had many friends, not one boy stood about that would qualify as a boyfriend. Angela and I weren’t particularly encouraged about her starting to date, but she continually dropped hints about getting out a bit. She had taken her driver’s test, and failed, only to reschedule and finally passed it on the second try. An ever doting father, I purchased her first vehicle, but avoided the glamour of a sports car, and settled on a simple Corolla.

“Dad, I can’t be seen in that,” Chrissy complained.

“It’s transportation.” I countered, “and a lot more than other kids your age have.”

“Billy Woldson has a Mustang,” she offered. “A blue one.”

“You’re not Billy Woldson. You have a green Corolla.”

Billy Woldson was eighteen, and a senior at the high school. His classic good looks were an attraction to a number of the girls at the school, and Chrissy was no exception. She admired his blue Mustang, but him as well. He played on the football team, and though it was the off season, was still popular among his classmates. He was currently the student council president, and it appeared that a football scholarship would send him off to a college in another state.

The legend of Chrissy’s party had spread throughout the school, and though many of her classmates had crashed it, Billy had not. As it happened, Billy had noticed Chrissy, but in what might be a surprise to many, he was too shy to ask her out.

He confided in a friend who had crashed the party, and tried to extract some information from him.

“So what did you think of that big party last year? See a lot of action?”

“The place was overrun by girls, that’s for sure. And a surprising number of older women, as well.”

“Older women?”

“Well, older than us, anyway. Twenty-somethings. Nice.” He stared dreamily into the unfocused distance.

The conversation descended into the typical sex talk that ultimately occurs when young men start to talk about girls, and Billy sought a change in direction.

“What’s up with that Chrissy Mall, anyway? She sure has got to be stuck up, throwing herself a big party like that. I even heard some of her friends ended up getting a little drunk, and ended up getting kicked out of school for a bit.”

“That’s just a rumor. Actually, the whole thing was sorta lame. Once they cleared out the place after the concert, all there really was to eat was cake, ice cream and punch. I left pretty early. But then, I hadn’t been invited.”

“But, Chrissy, how did she look?”

“She was OK, but…” he paused at looked quizzically at Billy, “You got a thing for her?”

“No…” Billy was defensive. “Just curious. She’s cute, though.”

“You got a thing for her,” he stated decisively. “You should ask her out.”

“I’m sure she gets that all the time. Supposedly her dad was someone big at one time. She’s probably got guys lined up for the next year.”

“Look, I know she was just having fun with her friends at the party, and they were all girls. I don’t think she even has a boyfriend. Give it a try.”

Billy, secretly relieved that the competition was limited, still was nervous. With his hesitation, however, competition stepped in, in the guise of Craig Lopez.

Craig was a junior at the High School, and was one of the few boys in Chrissy’s circle of friends. Since he didn’t have a car, he sometimes relied on Chrissy to provide transportation to different school events. After spending a lot of time together, she began to visiting him at his job at a local grocery store. Their chats turned into more serious conversations, and the visits increased in frequency. When his birthday arrived in March, she surprised him with a kiss on the cheek. He in turn countered with a request for a date. They made plans to go to a movie, Catch Me If You Can, and enjoyed it. But it was Craig’s surprisingly forward moves that turned Chrissy against him, “I’m not a girl, but not yet a woman, and I’m not ready to take that step, yet.”

“Yet? Soon?”

“No, not soon.”

The incident soured their relationship, and soon she stopped stopping by the grocery store, going out of her way to find somewhere else to be.

Craig was so sure of himself, that he was ready to accept defeat. Rather, he started spreading the story that he and Chrissy did the deed, but he found her lacking in finesses, and dropped her. The stories rapidly spread through the school, getting back to her, and she was devastated.

Billy was devastated as well when he heard the stories. He had always considered that Chrissy was one of the “nice” girls. Not one to succumb to peer pressure. Not one to be the school slut, as she was now painted to be. But when elements of Craig’s tale began to fall apart, it also became apparent that Chrissy was truly the injured party, and Billy took this opportunity to assure her that she had his support.

Chrissy appreciated the new friendship that Billy was offering, and they started to hang out together. Word spread around school that she was now shopping her reputation, and hitting on the popular football star. Both of them were upset to hear the new set of rumors that were going around, and Billy redoubled his efforts to clear her good name.

Chrissy, in turn, turned to Billy for more emotional support, and they became more of a genuine couple. When it came to asking someone to the Spring Senior Prom, Billy was ready to pop the question.

“Of course I’ll go with you,” was Chrissy’s answer. “It will be fun!”

Chrissy couldn’t wait to tell her parents the news, but Angela was skeptical. “What do we really know about Billy? What are his parents lie? What part of town is he from.”

Chrissy assured both of them that Billy was a complete gentleman, and would treat her as a day.

“He’s already eighteen,” I noted. “When I was eighteen, I already had a reputation as a bad boy.” The facts were anything but.

“He’s not going to be you dad. He’s smart, athletic, and…”, she paused with a smile on her face. “He has a Mustang.”

“So Mustang boy has what in mind? I know what happens after the Prom. I’ve heard the stories.”

“There’s nothing to worry about, dad. You can trust me.”

“But you’re still my little girl, right?”

“I’m not a girl anymore, dad.”

“You’ll always be my girl, Chrissy.”

The time for Prom arrived, and Chrissy shopped with her mother for a nice gown. “Nothing too revealing, you don’t want to tempt your beau.”

“Mm! Please trust me, nothing’s going to happen.”

“I know, but you can never be too careful.”

“Are you saying that you did something after your Prom? Did you even know dad then?”

“Of course I knew your father; we grew up together. And no, I didn’t even go to Prom.”

“Then how can you know what’s going to happen?”

“I’ve seen TV. I’ve read the books.”

“Mom. That stuff doesn’t happen. It’s all just fiction.”

“Well, we trust you to make the right choices.”

“I will,” Chrissy assured her mother.

The big night finally came, and when BIlly arrived in his Mustang, I invited him in for the “interrogation.”

“You know how much I adore my little girl, don’t you son?”

“Yes, of course, sir. And I know how much she adores you. I’ve heard her tell plenty of tales about your exploits.”

It was I’s turn to be defensive. “She knows very little about my days with the band and on the road.”

“That’s not what I mean,” Billy said. “She told me about her birthday party, about breaking her arm when she was little, and a lot of the things that you did while she was growing up.” He paused for a moment, then said “Did you say you were in the band? I played trumpet before I got into football. Did you march in many parades?”

I was surprised that Billy didn’t know more about him, and was a little crestfallen. But he decide to not fill him in with the glorious past. “As a matter of fact, I was in the band. I played clarinet. We got first place in a number of parades. I remember one time…” He got lost in thought when he recalled his pursuit of what turned out to be his cousin Betty, but then further considered it to be an inappropriate story to relate to the young man about to date his daughter. He quickly changed the subject. “I remember one time,” recovering, “when we did a very complicate formation during half-time, and I ran smack into the person marching in front of me. It took a while for me to live that one down.”

They laughed together at the remembrance of other fumbles on the field. Billy related, “I had a similar time of the field. I wasn’t watching well enough and ran into one of our own linebackers. That play cost us the game.”

During their conversation, Chrissy made her grand entrance. The gown highlighted curves that neither I nor Billy had noticed before. I eyed them warily, but Billy was beaming. When he approached her at the bottom of the staircase, the iridescent shimmer almost made her glow, and the glow extend to her face, as she knew she was being noticed.

Billy stammered a bit when he offer the corsage that he had brought to accent her already beautiful image.When he went to pin it one her, I could barely hold himself back, his concern mounting about Billy making a move on his little girl. But Billy was a gentleman, and delicately pinned the delicate flower onto her gown’s strap.

As they drove off in Billy’s Mustang, I noted to Angela. “Not a girl, not yet a woman. But certainly a lovely young lady.”