Dotsy's Perfect Date With Rice Radcliffe (PG-13)

Dotsy knew Rice Radcliffe since grade school, a nice enough guy although she didn't think much about him. They were in several of the same classes and she knew kids who he knew and occasionally their paths would cross when they were teamed up in some project or were at the same party but she never thought about actually dating the guy.

Apparently, Rice thought (dreamed, fantasized?) about dating her though because he was always nice to her, friendly when he didn't have to be, and attentive in situations that really didn't call for it. And she'd catch him looking at her sometimes. She'd be walking down the hall and she'd feel a presence and she'd turn and there he'd be, standing at his locker looking at her or coming out of a classroom glancing at her, or standing with his friends watching her walk by.

Dotsy supposed she should have been flattered by his interest but she already had enough guys interested in her and she didn't need to be bothered with this guy who certainly wasn't in their league! She dated basketball player Pete Chandler Freshman year, football quarterback Lance Montgomery sophomore year, and Student Council President Steve Addison junior year. Now she had several 'A team' guys lined up for her following her recent break up with Steve and while she was in no hurry to get back in the ball game, she was comforted by the interest.

Rice Ratcliffe would never be one of the A team guys. Even his stupid nickname (Rice?) was kind of embarrassing although she realized that she was in no position to criticize him about his nickname when everybody called her Dotsy! He certainly didn't have the hunk look or the cute face. In fact, he was sort of plain looking and there was nothing about him that made him competitive for the popular crowd. He wasn't on the honor roll. He wasn't into sports. He wasn't involved in any extracurricular activities. When she thought about it, she realized that the guy was pretty much a nobody. Why in the hell would she want to date him!?

It wasn't as if she had been out on the perfect date. She used to daydream about walking on the beach listening to the guy telling her that he was madly in love with her, all cute and romantic directly out of a Disney movie. That never happened, of course, and she no got all that excited or nervous about dating. She almost threw up when she went out on her first date with Pete Chandler but she got over that pretty quickly and by the time she went out with Steve Addison three years later the thrill was petty much gone. Guys were guys and high school guys weren't all that seasoned in the romance department anyway, especially after the first or second date when they eased into the routine of 'going out' and lost interest in the whole flowers and candy wooing part of the game.

But Dotsy still watched goofy romantic movies on Hallmark and Lifetime, read women's magazines, and fantasized about the perfect date. Was it to much to ask for to have a Paul Newman/Robert Redford/Brad Pitt/Leonardo DiCapario type guy sweep her off her feet?

For now, Kenny Brenson would have to do. Kenny was a fellow class mate, baseball pitcher, and interesting guy and when he asked her out on a date she figured she had nothing to lose so she said sure. She had known him for a while and he seemed like a nice enough guy although it occurred to her that he was friends with that Rice Radcliffe goof. Ah, what difference did that make?

Dotsy didn't have a problem feeling comfortable around a guy like Kenny Brenson even though she spent hours throwing clothes around her room trying to figure out what to wear while simultaneously thinking of things they could talk about.

Baseball, of course. Kenny was a terrific player. And school, undoubtedly. They had that in common. She'd ask him who his favorite teachers were and where he was going to go to college and all that.

Kenny was supposed to pick her up for the 7:00 movie but he texted her and said the baseball game in Miller City was going into extra innings and he'd probably be late for the movie.

"I'll meet you there," she texted back.

"Great," he replied. "C U there."

She drove to the Greenville theatre and waited for him and she was just about to give up when the clock said 6:57 when she noticed that guy Rice Radcliffe walking through the lobby door. He was wearing jeans and a tee shirt with clod hopper boots that looked really geeky in the middle of May. He was holding a motorcycle helmet in his hand.

She glanced around, wondering if she should dart into the ladies room or hide behind one of the large movie cutout display boards but it was too late because she could see that his eyes were bearing right on her as he quickly approached.

"The bus broke down," Rice reported. "Ken's going to be late."

"You've got to be shitting me," Dotsy groaned.

"You look very nice," Rice told her.

She stared at him. "Did Kenny send you?"

"He wanted someone to wait with you until he could get here."

"You're kidding, right?"

"Na," he confessed. "I'm his friend and he knows I'm safe."

"Safe?"

"You know," he said, his face turning red.

"Maybe I should just go home," she sighed.

"I'll sit with you until he gets here," Rice volunteered.

"Well, this is awkward," she groaned.

"I know," he agreed.

It was clear that Rice felt just as uncomfortable as she did. Nothing had prepared them for the extreme unease of being together without the sound of a bell ringing or a locker clanging shut.

"Well, okay," She reluctantly agreed and she could hear Rice sigh with relief.

"Good," he said. "Kenny really wants to see you tonight."

He bought the tickets, got some soda and popcorn, and escorted her into the theatre where the movie had already started. They stumbled through the darkness until the found a couple of seats.

Luckily, the movie was funny enough but unfortunately Kenny never showed up. Dotsy glanced around the theatre as the credits rolled and the lights came up.

"Where the hell is he?" She demanded.

"I don't know," Rice admitted. "But I enjoyed watching the movie with you."

"Hey!" Dotsy protested, staring at him suspiciously. "Is this some sort of set up?"

"Huh? What?" Rice asked with confusion. "Oh, no, no," he insisted. "The bus really did break down."

"Are you sure?" She asked distrustfully. "Did he do this so you'd have a chance to be with me?"

"I suppose I am that pathetic," Rice agreed. "But no, this was legit."

He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and showed her Kenny's text.

"Then where the hell is he?" Dotsy complained.

"I don't know," Rice said again.

"Come on, let's get out of here," Dotsy sighed with defeat.

He walked her out of the theatre and waited while she used the rest room. By the time she came out, the lobby was pretty much empty and there was still no sign of Kenny.

"I had a nice time," Rice offered.

'This wasn't a date, Ratcliffe," she said with annoyance.

"I know," he sighed, clutching his motorcycle helmet nervously in one hand. "But I still enjoyed it."

"Well, goodnight," she replied. "I'll see you around."

"No, wait!" He shouted.

He reached out to stop her but he had one of the sodas still in his hand which he inadvertently knocked against her. It fell from his hand and dumped all over the front of her.

"Jesus Christ!" She yelled, stepping back and holding her arms up. "You spastic jerk!"

"I'm sorry!" He said, obviously horrified and he started blushing like crazy.

"Stay away from me!" She ordered when he tried to offer assistance.

The soda soaked her favorite blouse and it had also splattered on the front of her pants to make it look like she had peed herself.

"I'm really sorry," he repeated, looking anguished

"Just shut up," she growled. "Get out! Leave me alone!"

She rushed out of the theatre lobby in a huff and she never looked back.

###

When Dotsy arrived at school the next morning she half-heard the announcement about grief counselors being available in the library for anybody who wanted to talk to a professional but she didn't pay attention to that drivel because she had more important things to concern herself with. Mainly, what in the hell happened to Kenny Brenson the night before and why did he send that dippy Rice Radcliffe of all people to pinch hit for him in his absence?

She marched to Kenny's locker and saw him standing there looking grim faced, almost as if somebody had died.

"Why in the hell did you stand me up?" Dotsy demanded when she reached his locker.

"Huh?" Kenny looked in a daze as he glanced up at her.

His normally sparkly and dancing eyes were blank and red.

"Last night?" She asked with annoyance. "Where the hell were you!?"

"I….ah…..the bus….."

"Yeah, yeah, but what about after that?"

"After…uh…..I gave Davenport a ride home and then I got a flat and…then….."

"And then what, you bastard! You left me all alone with the geeky nerd. Did you know that I had to sit through the whole damn movie with that guy? How could you do that to me?"

"Dotsy…"

"The clod spilled soda all over me for Christ sakes!"

"Dotsy, please don't….." His voice broke.

"Where you trying to do that loser some sort of favor?" Dotsy demanded. "Or was it some sick joke on me? That was the worse night of my life, thank you very much. Why do you even hang around with that guy for anyway?"

"Dotsy, shut the fuck up!" Ken yelled.

She was surprised by his reaction. "What's wrong with you?" She asked, finally realizing that something was going on.

"You don't know?" He asked.

"Know what?"

"About the accident?"

"What accident?"

"Dotsy," Kenny sighed heavily. "That geeky nerd…..my friend…..a nice guy if you would have given him a chance….was killed last night."

She felt the blood drain from her face. "W…w…what?"

"Some drunk ran a read light over by Denny's," Kenny sighed. "Took Rice out on his motorcycle."

"He's…dead?" Dotsy squeaked.

"Yes," Kenny confirmed sadly. "I've been at the hospital and then his parents house most of the night."

"Oh my god," Dotsy said, feeling awful. "I….I don't know what to say."

"You were probably the last person who saw or talked to him alive," Kenny told her. "The accident happened a little after nine. He probably had just left the theatre."

"Holy cow…."

"You could have been nicer to him, Dotsy," Kenny said with ice in his voice.

She felt as thought she had just been stabbed in the heart.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go talk with one of those counselors."

She felt dizzy as she watched Kenny walk away. She knew she had blown it with him, talking so meanly about Rice so soon after his death. Even though she didn't know about it, that was no excuse. Kenny was right. She could have treated the nerdy geek better.

The rest of the day went by in a daze for Dotsy. She felt weird, she felt guilty, and she almost felt responsible. Maybe Rice was so upset about how she had treated him that he never saw the drunk coming. She felt bad when she overheard kids talking about Rice as though his death was some sort of joke or movie. They didn't know the kid so they were detached, desensitized and generally jerks about it.

Those who knew him were much more subdued. When Dotsy arrived in the couple of classes that Rice had been in the mood was dark, sad, and heavy. The teacher took a few minutes to mention and remember Rice before continuing with the class.

Dotsy was on the verge of tears all day. She really didn't know the guy but it freaked her out to know that she had been the last person to see him alive. She was surprised at how affected she was with the news of his demise. What was the last thing she had said to him….go away? Get out? Leave me alone?

She had been a rude and unkind bitch and now he was dead. It was too weird. He had bought the movie tickets, pop corn and soda (which he would later spill all over her) without complaint. He said he had a nice time when all she could do was obsess about Kenny not being there.

She kept thinking how young he was and how she had blown him off when he tried to be nice, polite, and friendly toward him. She had spent half her life waiting for the perfect date to show up and Rice probably thought she was the perfect date! Was that his idea of a perfect date? Some bitch screaming at him for spilling soda on her?

Dotsy tried to find Kenny at the end of the day but he didn't look much interested in talking with her when she caught up to him by his locker.

"I have practice," he muttered.

"I don't blame you for being mad at me," Dotsy said weakly as she walked with him down the hall.

"Dotsy, no offense, but I really don't want to hang out with you," Kenny replied.

She stopped short, shocked. "Why?"

He stopped too and coldly stared at her. "He really liked you, you know."

"Who?" But she knew exactly who Kenny was talking about.

"He thought you were the prettiest girl in the school," Kenny revealed. "He was practically obsessed with you. I even felt guilty asking you out."

"Why did you then?"

"I have no idea," He confessed. He stared at her with disgust. "It was the worse decision of my life," he said with anger before he bolted down the hall, leaving her standing there feeling the worse person on Earth.

Dotsy went home (still dazed) thinking about Rice who she didn't know very well and treated terribly moments before he died. She was drained of all emotion thinking about that. It was weird knowing he was dead and she was saddened by the reality of it all. She felt a hug level of guilt, sorrow, and grief she had never experienced before, not even when her own grandfather died. And knowing that Kenny hated her made it all the more unbearable.

Dotsy dragged herself into the house and was greeted by her concerned mother.

"Oh sweetie, I heard about the accident on the radio," she said, giving her daughter a penetrating stare. "Did you know him?"

"Yeah, I sort of knew him, Mom," Dotsy admitted.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Dear," her mother said with sympathy.

"As a matter of fact, I was with him last night," Dotsy revealed, although she had no idea why.

"What?" Her mother asked, shocked.

"I bumped into him at the movie theatre," Dotsy sighed. "I'm told I'm the last person who saw or talked to him alive."

"Oh, Dorothy." Her mother gave her a much needed hug.

"I don't feel very well," Dotsy said.

"Why don't you go upstairs and lay down, dear?" Her mother suggested. "Do you want some chicken soup?"

"I'm not very hungry either, Mom," Dotsy admitted. "I just don't want to think about anything or feel anything."

"Come on, sweets," her mom said, helping her up the stairs. "Lay down. Try to get some sleep."

Dotsy felt like a little girl again when her mother would give her such tender lover care when she was sick. Dotsy went into her room and lay down on her bed feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Her mother came in a moment later with a glass of water and a couple of pills in her hand.

"What's that?" Dotsy asked.

"Sleeping pills, dear," her mother replied. "Get some sleep."

Dotsy figured being out like a light would be the best way to avoid the guilt and remorse she was feeling so she gladly took the pills from her mother and washed them down with the water.

She fell back on her bed, burying her face into the pillow. Her mother rubbed her back for a few minutes until Dotsy began to drift off to sleep. It wasn't until her mother left the room that Dotsy allowed herself to finally open up, let go, and cry.

###

"Are you really crying for me!?"

At first, Dotsy assumed she was hearing things. Maybe a far off radio or television or something in her mind. A dream, perhaps, caused by the sleeping pills.

"Don't cry for me, Dotsy."

She lifted her head from the pillow and glanced around the room, feeling strange all of a sudden.

"Is someone there?" She asked suspiciously.

"Is it okay if I show myself?"

She jumped up onto the bed, clutching the pillow and pressing her back against the wall. "How did you get in here?"

"Dotsy, it's me," the voice said calmly.

"Who?"

"Rice."

She felt her knees go weak and she slumped down on the bed certain that she was hallucinating. Or in a strange sleeping-pill induced dream. The room was quiet for a few moments. Dotsy felt her heart racing and she wondered if she should bolt from the room screaming and yelling for mental health help.

"Dotsy?"

She glanced around, feeling frightened and terrified. "What do you want?" She stammered.

"Can I…..reveal…..myself?" He asked.

"O….O..O….kay," she managed to get out.

She saw a bright light appear at the foot of her bed and a moment later the image of Rice Radcliffe appeared before her.

"I…..I….Is it really you?"

"Well, it's my spirit anyway," he confirmed.

He was wearing what she had last seen him wearing…..the jeans, tee shirt, leather jacket, and goofy boots and he was holding his motorcycle helmet.

"You don't look dead," she said, peering at him.

"Well, I am," he said. "Believe me, you don't want to see what I really look like right now."

"W….What are you doing here? What do you want?"

"My guardian angel said I could have one interaction before I went," he explained.

"Went?'

"Yeah…you know…."

"To…heaven?"

"Yes."

She studied him for a long moment. "Hey, wait a minute," she realized. "Are you trying to tell me that you had one wish to make and it was to come see me!?"

"Yeah."

"Why?"

"I didn't want you to spend the rest of your life feeling guilty about what happened," he explained.

She gave him a suspicious look. "Is that the only reason?"

He seemed to blush. "Well, no, not exactly."

"Well, what then?" she asked.

"I wished we could have had that perfect date," he admitted.

"What?"

"I know it's not going to be a walk on the beach or any of that stuff but last night was the closest I got to a real date with a real girl in my entire life," he revealed. "I always thought you were the prettiest girl I'd ever seen."

"Ken told me," Dotsy acknowledged.

"You should probably give him a second chance," Rice said. "He's a good guy."

"That's what he said about you," Dotsy replied.

"You were the only girl I ever wanted," Rice said.

"Really?" She asked with amazement.

"Yeah."

"Well, oh, gee, thanks, Rice," she said feeling happy for the first time in a while.

"I died a virgin," he confessed.

"Huh?" She asked with surprise.

"I died without ever experiencing the beauty of a woman," he said. "I never even got to be naked with one," he sighed.

She peered at him again. "Is that why you came to see me?"

He looked sheepishly at the floor. "I could have just waited as an invisible spirit until you got undressed," he said. "But that felt perverted."

"Well, it is!" She agreed.

"Sorry," he mumbled.

"So, what? You want me to get undressed now?" She asked.

"Only if you wanted to," he said hopefully.

"This is really sick," she protested.

"I know," he agreed.

"What are you doing here, Rice?" She wanted to know.

"I was hoping we could have that perfect date," he admitted.

"Perfect date?" She rolled her eyes. "You're dead!"

"My spirit isn't" he clarified.

She glanced around. "Is your guardian angel around now? Watching us?"

"No, I've got to midnight, and then I'm gone," he reported.

"Gone?"

"You know, to heaven."

"Can anybody else see you? Hear you?"

"Of course not," he said. 'I'm dead."

"And I'm crazy."

"Being here with you really means a lot to me, Dotsy," Rice told her with sincerity.

"And you really picked me?" She asked with disbelief.

"You're the only girl I cared about," he said. "The only girl I ever wanted to be with. The only girl I ever thought about."

"Holy cow, Rice," she said with disbelief.

"I know," he said. "But why would you want to be with me? I was just the geeky nerd loser who dumped soda all over you."

"I'm sorry about that," she mumbled.

"Me too," he replied.

"So, you're really here…..physically?" She asked.

"Just for you," he replied.

She climbed off the bed and slowly walked toward him. She reached her arm out and felt him.

"You're warm," she said.

"The spirit is always warm," he explained.

"How come you're not naked?" She asked. "Why do you have clothes on if you're dead? You weren't born with clothes."

"I didn't want to double freak you out," he said. "But I really am naked."

"You are?"

"Clothes don't exist in the transporting spirit world," he told her.

"Show me," she dared, not sure if she believed him.

"Are you sure?" He challenged.

"Can things get any weirder?" She asked.

There was flash of light and now he was standing in front of her naked.

"Oh!" She reacted with unsuspecting surprise. She glanced up and down studying his body. "So that's how you looked," she said, blushing for some reason.

"Yeah."

"Not bad," she giggled, staring at his member.

"Thanks," he beamed proudly.

She noticed that there was no reflection of him in the mirror behind him.

"Hey," she marveled. "You're not there." She pointed to the mirror.

Rice turned and glanced at the mirror. "No, I'm not."

She checked out his butt before he turned around to face her again.

"Would you care to join me?" He asked.

"What?"

"Would you care to get naked with me?"

"You're kidding, right?"

"It would really mean a lot to me, Dotsy. You were my only dream girl."

"You came here to see me naked?" She frowned.

"It's hard to explain," he admitted. "But, yes." He looked embarrassed. "Please?"

"But why?"

"Because I would like to think that maybe if I hadn't died we somehow would have gotten together and been a couple and fallen and love and I would have been able to make sweet love to you and marry you and spend the rest of my life with you."

"I'm seventeen."

"I realize it was just a fantasy but now that it's never going to happen it's the one thing I told my guardian angel I wanted to experience in some way before I left this world," Rice explained. "I know it makes no sense and it's perverted and sick and all the rest of it but it's the truth. I think you're beautiful and I would love to see you in all your splendor."

"Holy cow, Rice."

"I know."

"You're really serious about this?"

"Wouldn't you be willing to grant a dead guy his final wish?"

"This is nuts," Dotsy said.

"Don't you want to make it up to me for last night?" He asked.

"Look, I'm sorry I said those mean things," she said.

"Getting bullied by you was the last thing that happened to me before I died," Rice reminded her.

"I really feel guilty about that," she admitted.

"Now's your chance to make it up to me."

"By getting naked…"

"Yeah." He shrugged. "Hey, I'm seventeen too. Can't you humor me?"

"So, this is what I get for being a bitch to you?" She frowned. "I have to humiliate myself in front of you?"

"It's not humiliation, Dotsy," Rice told her. "It's being open and honest and free," he said. "It's revealing yourself to me the way I've revealed myself to you. It's being connected before I leave."

She chewed on her lip for a few moments while considering his proposal, not sure what to make of any of it.

"Fine," she said with resignation. "I guess it's the least I can do since you're both dead and naked."

"I really appreciate it, Dotsy," Rice told her. "It's the nicest thing you could ever do for me."

She turned her back to him and peeled off her shirt, tossing it away. She unloosed her bra and let it fall to the floor. She unloosened her skirt and let it fall to the floor. She hesitated for a moment and then pulled her panties down and let them slide down her legs.

"You're as beautiful as I imagined," she heard Rice say with a heavy breath.

"You mean I have a nice ass," she said sarcastically.

"Well, yea!" He laughed.

She looked over her shoulder at him with bemusement. "Really?"

"Yes," he assured her.

She smiled with appreciation. "Thanks, Rice."

"Thank you," he assured her.

She turned and faced him, her hands by her side.

"Oh wow!" Rice exclaimed. "You are perfect!"

She blushed with appreciation. "Thanks, Rice."

"I wish I could have walked the beach with you, Dotsy," Rice said, his eyes watering up with tears. "I wish we could have had that perfect date you always wanted."

"You do?"

"With all my heart."

"So, what exactly is a perfect date to you, Rice?" Dotsy asked, taking a seat on the edge of her bed.

Rice took a seat next to her and she found it hard to believe she was sitting naked in her room next to a naked dead guy – if any of this was even real, that is.

"Well, it depends on what the girl likes," Rice answered. "Walks on a beach at sunset would probably be the ultimate. And romantic dinners at nice restaurants of course. Or watching girly movies with her. Knowing what you want would be the most important thing."

"Really?" She sighed.

"Like, if I knew you liked scary movies, we'd watch those so if you wanted to get close to me watching something romantic, scary, or funny, even if that didn't happen last night," he teased.

"I'm really sorry I was such a jerk," she said. "You're dead because of me," she said, her eyes tearing up. "The only reason you were out last night was to make sure I wasn't left alone and that got you killed."

"You're worth dying for, Dotsy," he replied.

She stared at him with disbelief. "Now that's the most romantic thing anybody's ever said to me."

"I think guys screw up when they expect a kiss or something at the end of the first date," Rice said.

"Says the guy who made me get naked with him!" Dotsy laughed.

"And if she smiles he can just take it from there."

"And if she doesn't?"

"Then she doesn't want to kiss him so he should say goodnight and walk away," Rice said. "If the guy wants a kiss he should compliment her, make her feel comfortable, but don't make it so obvious he wants a kiss because girls can pick up on that."

"You want to kiss me right now, don't you?" Dotsy asked, picking up on his telepathy.

"Yes," he admitted.

"I love it when guys get along well with me," Dotsy said. "When I'm able to picture myself doing anything with him. I wouldn't care where we were or what we were doing but if he's only interested in himself I'm done with him."

"I would have taken you to the park with a picnic and we could have looked up at the stars holding hands or whatever but really it wouldn't matter as long as I was with you."

She looked at him with amazement.

"Good dates are spontaneous with a flow of conversation," Dotsy said. "I like it when the guy is a gentleman and holds doors or pays the bill. That's always nice. It's
bad breath, a boring personality and aggressiveness that ruins a date."

"A perfect date happens when everything goes naturally and flows," Rice replied. "When the conversation doesn't lull too much and there's just the right amount of flirting," he said with a grin.

"As long as the guy takes the girl somewhere special, behaves like a gentleman, and is interesting," Dotsy said. "Maybe a nice sit-down dinner at cozy restaurant. Not somewhere super busy but not completely empty either. Maybe a movie before or after, a rose, some chocolate, and then a walk but I think guys mess up the most when they expect sex or something at the end of the night and then try and force the girl into it."

"Yeah," Rice agreed.

"I like a certain degree of transparency so that the guy projects honesty without losing his overall mysteriousness," Dotsy reasoned. "I like guys who make me laugh without stepping over the line or doing it too much at my expense."

"A woman wants to be treated like a gem," Rice said.

"But the best dates are when guys act like their true selves," Dotsy said. "Guys screw up when they bring out their ego."
"I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to do any of that with you," Rice sighed.

"I think we're doing it now, don't you?" Dotsy replied, looking at him with openness. "I don't get naked with too many of my dates, you know!"

They stared at each other for a long time.

"Are you going to kiss me now, Rice?" Dotsy finally asked.

He leaned over and kissed her sweetly and innocently. She returned the kiss with meaning, putting her hand up to his face and stroking his cheek.

"That was nice," Rice said when he broke it off.

"It was," she agreed. "But we aren't done, are we?"

"I don't know," he said, sounding embarrassed suddenly. "I was always shy, Dotsy."

"You don't look so shy now!" She laughed.

"This is different," he pointed out.

"Keep going," Dotsy whispered. "You deserve it."
He placed light kisses along her neck while she took his hand and placed it on her thigh.

"You can touch me if you want," Dotsy said, giving him permission.

Rice nodded and slowly lifted his hand up to touch her breast.

###

It was dark when Dotsy opened her eyes. She was lying on her bed naked but she was alone. She saw that the bedside clock read 12:01 and she remembered that Rice said he had to midnight.

She rolled over to make sure he wasn't still there and her heart dropped when she saw that he wasn't. She burst into tears when she remembered he was dead and she struggled to know if what had happened between them was real, or a pill-induced hallucination, or some sort of wild dream that seemed more real then possible.

She sat up on the bed and rubbed her eyes. What was she doing naked if it hadn't been real? Could she have imaged the best love making experience of her life? Was it just a fantasy that Rice Radcliffe had been the best lover imaginable?

She sighed but then she noticed the rose and mint chocolates lying on the pillow.

"Thank you, Rice," she whispered. "You were my perfect date."

###

Dotsy found Kenny at his locker on Monday morning.

"Would you be willing to forgive me?" She wanted to know.

"I don't know," Kenny admitted, staring at her coolly.

"I want to go to Rice's wake and funeral with you," Dotsy announced.

"What?" He asked with surprise.

"I want to be a part of it with you," she said. "He was your friend and I want to be supportive."

"You hated the guy."

"No I didn't," she said quickly. "I just didn't know him very well."

"And now you never will."

"I will if you tell me about him," Dotsy reasoned. "It would really mean a lot to me if you gave me a second chance." She paused for a moment. "Rice would have," she said quietly and knowingly.

Kenny smirked. "He would have," he agreed.

"Did he ever tell you that he wanted to see me naked?" Dotsy asked.

Kenny burst out laughing.