Word Count: 1693
Ginny Jean needed a knight in shining armor and Napoleon is there to save the day, but is there more to this story than meets the eye? My thanks to Sparky955 for her beta!
The more she thought about it, the angrier she got. “Face it, Ginny Jean, you are screwed,” she muttered and pulled her ruined dress closer. She knew now it had been stupid not to grab her wrap from the cloak room, but she was just so angry at that old Jimmy Paul for grabbing her like that. Grabbing her and tearing the sleeve of her brand new party dress.
“I hope you burn in hell, Jimmy Paul.” She half stumbled and winced at the pull in her ankle. Her shoes, so lovely and fashionable a few hours earlier were like torture devices now. And like her dress, they were ruined. She’d have to throw everything away when she got home.
A cold gust of wind made her shiver through her anger. “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” she raged. The trees waved their branches, taking the few leaves still clinging to them for a ride. It had been vanity that had made her accept Jimmy Paul’s invitation to the Harvest Dance. Everyone knew his daddy was the richest man in town and any woman Jimmy Paul set his cap for was sure to be treated like a queen.
“Guess I found out different. Girls like me get nothing for nothing.”
Ginny Jean had indeed felt like a princess when they were picked up in a black Lincoln Town Car, a uniformed driver behind the wheel. In the back, Jimmy Paul waited with a bottle of champagne and sweet words. He’d behaved like an angel on the way to the dance and for a little while, then he changed, getting demanding and possessive.
When he tried to drag Ginny into the bathroom, she’d fought him like a wild cat and raced from the building. Now every car she heard approaching, she thought it was him and was torn between running into the thicket and just hearing what sorry excuse he could come up with.
A car raced by, spraying her with water and she shrieked. The occupants yelled something and she was tempted to flip them off. With her luck, though, it would be Rebecca May, the minister’s daughter, and she’d go running to her daddy. And then the belt would be waiting for Ginny when she got home.
Instead she tried to gather the taffeta and chiffon lace closer as a shield from the rain and wind and kept trudging towards home. Suddenly, headlights blinded her and she squealed as she took an automatic step sideways and fell, tumbling into a ditch. The vehicle slowed down and then took off as if possessed. Another set of headlights made her shield her eyes, but then she felt relief as the car slowed.
“Ow,” Ginny moaned, trying to pick the gravel from her hand. “Hurts…”
“Ma’am, are you okay?” He hopped out of the car and half skidded down the slope to her side. He knelt down and the first thing that crossed her mind was how nice he smelled. You could tell this was a man who knew how to wear cologne, not just a little boy playing dress up. “Did that car hit you?”
“Almost, but I just sort of tripped.” He offered her a hand and she tried to stand, then whimpered. “Ouch, my foot.”
Within a blink of an eye, she was swept up and resting the back seat of a car.
“Illya, crank up the heat, will you?” Her savior talked to a blond man in the front seat, who nodded and leaned over to the controls.
“Is she all right?”
“Just half frozen, I think,” Ginny muttered, shivering. Instantly, the man had his jacket off and draped it around her shoulders.
“There. Now let me take a look.” He examined her ankle in the dim dome light. “Looks like you just twisted it. I don’t think it’s broken.” He slipped off her shoe and began to massage her ankle gently.
Ginny wiggled her toes. “That feels nice.” Suddenly a surge of panic rose in her gut and she realized she was in the back seat of a car with not one man, but two. “I should get home.”
“What sort of cads would we be if we sent you out on a night like tonight? Where do you live? We will take you home.”
“Napoleon. Mr. Waverly, the rendezvous.”
“He’ll just have to wait for us, won’t he? I’m not having this girl get mowed down tonight. She’s already had one close call.” He continued to rub her ankle.
“Your name is Napoleon?” Ginny hid her mouth as she giggled.
“Napoleon Solo, at your service and that is my partner, Illya Kuryakin.” He offered his hand and shook hers gently but firmly. She slid over and he pulled the door shut.
“I’ve never met anyone named Napoleon before.”
“And you probably won’t meet another like him ever.” The man, Illya, she corrected herself, said and shook his head. “When they made him, they broke the mold.”
“I live just a bit further down the road. My name is Ginny Jean Jensen. Thank you for stopping.”
“What were you doing out there on a night like tonight?”
Ginny decided to tell the truth. “My date got a little drunk and tried to take advantage of me. I clonked him and took off.”
“Good girl.” Illya, the guy in front, nodded. “More women should have your moxie.”
“I dunno.” Ginny sighed, leaning back against the seat. “His daddy is the richest man in town. I probably lost my chance at marrying him.”
“Trust me, Ginny. Sons of rich men do not marry the girls they take advantage of. You did the right thing.” Napoleon patted her hand.
“He’s had a lot of experience with that, ma’am. You’d be wise to listen to him.”
Ginny wasn’t exactly sure what Illya meant, but she didn’t care. For the first time in a long time, she felt safe and warm. The sound of the windshield wipers and the rain made her sleepy, then she remembered her manners.
“Well, I’m much obliged to both of you for stopping.” She sighed, then, seeing her dress for the first time. “Oh, dear, this is ruined.”
“This is not the weather for running around in a party dress.” Illya looked at her from the rearview mirror.
“I’m going to be in so much trouble when I get home.” She pulled Napoleon’s coat closer. “Daddy yelled at me and told me if I went to this party, not to come home.”
“I don’t think he meant that.” Napoleon released her foot. “Fathers are funny like that.”
“He usually means what he says.” Ginny sighed again. “I was just so sure that Jimmy Paul was the one. Now I find out he just wanted what all those other boys did. They came sniffing around like hound dogs.” She harrumphed and continued softer. “Didn’t make any difference, though. I’m a good girl. Not that anyone believes me.”
“We believe you.”
“We’re total strangers. Why lie to us?”
“So how far up the road.”
“Oh, gosh, I’m sorry. Stop at the cemetery.”
“The cemetery? Is there something you’re not telling us?”
Ginny Jean laughed at that. “I live just behind the cemetery. My daddy is the caretaker. My bedroom overlooks it.”
“Well, let’s just say none of my friends ever wanted to stay for a sleepover.”
“Ma’am, are you sure you don’t want us to see you to your door?”
“Naw, I’ll just slip in through the back and no one will be the wiser. Maybe by morning Daddy will have cooled off a bit.”
Illya nodded and pulled off the road. “You are certain you don’t need an escort?”
“You are kind, but no. I’ve lived here a long time.”
“Aren’t you afraid of ghosts?”
“No. I’m afraid of the living.” She leaned over and kissed Napoleon’s cheek. “Thank you for stopping and for believing me. It seems like forever since someone has.”
“Be safe, Miss Jensen.”
She climbed out of the car and she heard Illya say, “You are just going to let her go alone?”
“Yes, I think she know what she wants.”
She watched them drive off, the started to walk towards home. Even now, she would see a light beckoning to her. Mama promised to leave one burning for her. All in all, it hadn’t been such a terrible night after all.
She pulled Napoleon’s coat closer and then gasped. She was still wearing his jacket. Ginny spun and ran a few steps, but the car was long gone.
“Well, spit,” she muttered and then heard her daddy yelling to her. She waved back and heaned home.
“I still can’t believe this.” Illya Kuryakin was mad enough to chew up rocks and spit out gravel. “I can’t believe you left the contact information in the pocket of your coat.”
“I wasn’t expecting to meet a young lady in the moonlight.”
“There was no moonlight. It was raining.”
“Illya, just breathe. We know where she lives. We’ll just stop and ask for it back.”
Illya snorted, then pulled the car to a stop. “Are you sure about this?”
“These were the directions I got from the gas station.” Napoleon eyed the dilapidated house. “I am guessing this is why he snickered.”
“No one has lived here in a long time, Napoleon.”
“Just because it’s not out of Better Homes and Gardens, doesn’t mean anything. They might be very poor. That would explain why she was so worked up about her dress.”
Illya turned off the engine and opened the car door. “I guess as long as we are here.”
They carefully walked up the sidewalk, narrowly avoiding tripping on the weeds and garbage that littered it. Clearing his throat, Napoleon knocked on the door.
And now, dear readers, the ending is up to you. Did they find Ginny Jean or someone else at home? Is this just another hitchhiking ghost doomed to wander for eternity story? Or is it something else entirely? You have the choice. The ending is up to you. Or if you prefer, contact me and I’ll give you the one I prefer…