Did the others know I hitchhiked without them? That’s a good question. It isn’t like I hid it, but I never came out and talked about it, either. The two I went with most often only did it because I did. I’m not sure why they were willing to follow me like that, and I sometimes felt about my influence, but they seemed to crave it. The funny thing was that their parents loved me and saw me as a good role model. I always did know how to avoid the little things that would get me in trouble.
I knew they didn’t go out alone. Only the one who introduced me to the boy I came to love so much it hurt did that.
We had a competition going. Somehow she recognized me for what I was almost as soon as we met, maybe because I walked with her to the Exxon down the street where we bought cigarettes and I made out with the bored boy at the counter. In any case, she proposed that we see who could do the most guys each month. We knew from each other’s tallies that we each went out alone.
She wasn’t especially beautiful, but she had an athletic build and a smile like Mary Lou Retton, so there were definitely guys who were interested in her. She wasn’t looking for love at all, didn’t want to believe that word even existed, but she enjoyed sex and competition, which was enough to make us friends. If I went out with only one other girl, it would be her. She really didn’t know the others, or much care for them.
The two of us looked fresh-faced and innocent at school; she was as good as I was at making herself look like a good girl. In fact, we always looked like good girls. We didn’t dress like tramps or overdo the makeup.
She was the first one I hitchhiked with, and it didn’t even start out being the game it became. You may think it was stupid of us, but the first time we did it, it was because she missed her bus and the next one didn’t come for an hour. We looked at each other and put our thumbs in the air and got a ride almost instantly.
“You girls shouldn’t be doing this,” the driver said. His car was a piece of shit VW, but he was kind of cute. She was in the front seat and she turned to him and agreed that we shouldn’t as she stroked his leg.
“We were really in a bind, you see,” I said as I nuzzled his neck, “she needs to get home before her mother does, and she missed the bus.”
He was young, far too young to be giving lectures, and he looked more than a little shocked by us. His expression when she lifted her skirt made me laugh out loud. He pulled it back down and moved her hand away, which just made us both laugh harder.
“I have a girlfriend,” he said angrily.
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” she said, “but I bet you’d have a lot more fun with us.”
He was too nice to put us back out on the street where we belonged, but drove her straight home, then turned around and took me back to the school.
We laughed about him, but I was secretly jealous of the girl who got to keep him to herself. As we found out, not many guys will turn a chance like that down.