Fabulous Five 011 - Hit and Run

THE
FABULOUS FIVE #11

HIT AND RUN

BETSY HAYNES

A BANTAM SKYLARK
BOOK®

NEW YORK • TORONTO •
LONDON • SYDNEY • AUCKLAND

RL 5, 009-012

HIT AND RUN

A Bantam Skylark
Book
/ August 1989

Skylark Books is a
registered trademark of Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell
Publishing Group, Inc. Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and
elsewhere.

All rights
reserved.

Copyright © 1989
by Betsy Haynes and James Haynes.

Cover art
copyright
© 1989 by Ralph Amatrudi.

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For information
address: Bantam Books.

ISBN 0-553-15746-9

Published
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published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing
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and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New
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PRINTED IN THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA

O             0 9 8 7
6 5 4 3 2 1

CHAPTER 1

"What do you like best about Randy Kirwan?"
Melanie Edwards asked Jana Morgan as the two friends sauntered out of the
Wakeman Junior High cafeteria. "Romantically speaking, that is," she
added, and winked.

"For goodness' sake, Mel," said Jana, rolling her
eyes. "Can't you ever think of anything but boys?" It always amazed
Jana that Melanie had crushes on three or four boys at a time and was
constantly on the lookout for someone new.

Melanie grinned. "Sure. But why should I? Seriously
though, I'm trying to decide what the perfect boyfriend should be like, and
since you and Randy have been going together since sixth grade, naturally I
decided to check with you."

Jana couldn't help chuckling to herself. She couldn't
imagine Melanie's ever settling for just one boyfriend, perfect or not, but Jana
thought over Melanie's question anyway. She liked everything about Randy. How
could she possibly come up with one thing she liked best? "Well, he's
totally sincere," she offered. "And he's nice to everybody whether
they're popular or not."

"Is he a good kisser?"

Jana knew Melanie was teasing, but she blushed anyway. "Of
course, but there are lots of other special things about him, too."

"Come on. Keep thinking. I need a longer list than
this," said Melanie.

"Hi, you two. What's up?" asked Beth Barry as she,
Katie Shannon, and Christie Winchell came up behind them.

"Melanie is giving me the third degree about why I like
Randy," answered Jana.

"You're kidding," cried Beth. "What for?"

Raising one eyebrow, Katie turned to Melanie. "Are you
planning to steal him?"

"Of course not," Melanie huffed. "What I'm
doing is making a checklist so that I can evaluate cute boys and find out what
kind of boyfriends they would make. That way I'll know when I've found the
perfect guy. I need a couple of dozen items to check off, but so far I've only
gotten three from Jana. Randy's sincere. He's nice to people, and he's a
terrific
kisser."

"What!" shrieked Jana. "That's not what I
said."

Melanie widened her eyes, faking a look of innocence. "Do
you mean he's
not
a terrific kisser?"

Jana gave Melanie an exasperated look and turned to Beth. "What
about Keith?"

"He's understanding," Beth said softly, and Jana
knew she was referring to the problems they had had when Beth was in the school
play.

"Yeah," said Jana. "So is Randy, and he's
also loyal. You know. He doesn't flirt with other girls."

"Which he could do very easily if he was that type of
guy," added Melanie. "I mean, he is
sooo
gorgeous that any
girl would go bananas if he paid attention to her."

"Watch it," Jana cautioned playfully. "Do you
know what I'd do to any girl—including YOU—if I found out she was making a play
for Randy?" Grinning, Jana ran her index finger across her throat and made
a slashing sound. "Murder and mayhem!"

Melanie held up her hands in surrender. "I'm innocent.
I'm just making a checklist. Remember?"

"Well, you'll have to make your checklist without me
for the rest of lunch period," said Jana. The girls had stopped at the
door to the school ground and were about to go outside as they did most days
after lunch. "I just remembered that I left a book in the yearbook room
yesterday after school, and I need it in my next class. See you guys later."

Jana left her friends and headed down the hall toward the
yearbook room thinking about Randy. There was no other boy she had ever met who
could begin to compare to him, and Melanie would be lucky if she found someone
half so special. Jana smiled to herself as she remembered how she had had his
sixth-grade school picture blown up to poster size and had kept it thumbtacked
to her wall. Each night as she fell asleep, she could gaze at his handsome
face, dark, wavy hair, and sparkling eyes by the glow of her night-light.

There had been other things that had made their romance
special, too. For instance, they had gotten each other's name in the computer
matchup back in Mark Twain Elementary, and they both loved deep-dish,
pepperoni, green pepper, and mushroom pizza. She sighed. They had so much in
common it was as if their love was meant to be.

The yearbook room was deserted when Jana stepped inside, and
yet the chaos of trying to assemble a pictorial history of the school year was
visible everywhere. Schedules were taped to the walls. Boxes of pictures and
stacks of notes and lists covered the tables used by the various editorial
departments.

Jana headed for the long table she shared with her
seventh-grade coeditor, Funny Hawthorne. Somewhere under the piles of class
pictures was the Family Living book she was looking for.

Just as she passed the sports desk, an action shot of last
week's football game caught her eye. Stopping, she picked it up and felt a glow
of pride at the sight of Randy dropping back to complete a pass.

As she stood looking at Randy's picture, she was aware of
little snatches of conversation coming from students walking in the hallway,
but one voice drifted into the room and forced its way into her consciousness.

"Randy is such a doll. I'll just die if he doesn't tell
her about us pretty soon so that . . ."

Jana shot to attention, her eyes riveted to the open doorway
and the hallway beyond. Who had said that? The voice—a girl's voice—had passed
just out of earshot before she had finished speaking. What had she meant?

Dropping the picture, Jana raced to the door and looked out.
Her heart pounded as she scanned the hallway in the direction she had just
come. Except for two ninth-grade boys scuffing along, there was no one there.
This is silly, she told herself as she looked in the other direction. It's a
free country. Anyone can talk about Randy if they want to.

At that instant she saw two girls turning a corner at the
far end of the hall. One was short with dark hair, but the other one was tall.
Her long blond braid started at the top of her head and fell over her shoulder.
Jana froze.
Laura McCall.
She had been the one talking about Randy, and
the girl with her was Tammy Lucero, one of Laura's best friends and also the
biggest gossip in Wakeman Junior High.

Jana sank against the doorframe. Maybe she had
misunderstood. Maybe it was another Randy that Laura had been talking about.
But what was it that Laura wanted him to tell
her
?
And could the
her
possibly be Jana? She shook her head. Laura couldn't have been talking about
Randy Kirwan, that's just all there was to it. And she couldn't possibly have
meant that she was waiting for Randy to tell Jana that he liked Laura now
instead of her. Or that he wanted to break up with her. Could she?

CHAPTER 2

When the bell rang, Jana headed for her Family Living class
in a fog of hurt and anger. Was something really going on between Randy and
Laura, and had she simply been too blind to see it? Her heart ached, and she
sank into her seat in the classroom going over and over in her mind every
single thing that had happened between herself and Randy during the past few
days. They had talked in the halls and at Bumpers. They had gone to the movies
together on Friday night. He seemed the same as ever, she thought. He hadn't
acted as if he were trying to tell me something. Or worse. That he doesn't like
me anymore.

By the time school was dismissed for the day and she was
heading for her locker, Jana had been over every instance when she had even so
much as glimpsed Randy in the halls between classes for the past week, trying
to remember if she had seen him talking to Laura. She had replayed all their
conversations in her mind for any memories of his mentioning Laura's name. She
was just about to answer no to all of them when she remembered entering
homeroom one morning last week and seeing Laura and Randy standing together.
They were talking quietly, but was that all? The memory was hazy. It seemed as
if he was handing Laura something. A pencil? A piece of paper?
A note?

Jana swallowed hard and leaned against her locker, closing
her eyes to shut out distractions while she tried to conjure up a clear picture
of that moment. She couldn't. No matter how hard she strained to see into the
memory, the images wouldn't sharpen enough for her to tell what had really
happened.

Someone caught Jana by the arm. "Are you okay?" It
was Katie.

Jana turned to look at her friend. "Yes," she
said. "I mean no. I don't know what I mean." She shrugged and let out
a deep sigh. By this time the rest of The Fabulous Five had gathered around
her, and each of them gave her an encouraging smile. Melanie, Christie, Katie,
and Beth had been her best friends practically forever, and they had always
been there when she needed them. They had helped her back in Mark Twain
Elementary School each time her enemy Taffy Sinclair had tried to take Randy
away from her. Now Jana needed The Fabulous Five more than ever.

She shook her head as she tried to fight back tears. "I
think I'm losing Randy," she blurted out.

"Oh, come on. That's impossible," said Beth. "Whatever
gave you a silly idea like that?"

The others were nodding, agreeing with Beth.

"You guys didn't have a fight, did you?" asked
Melanie.

Jana tried to speak around the catch in her throat, but the
words jerked and bumped as they came out. "No . . . nothing like that . .
. but at lunchtime . . . when I went to find my book . . . I overheard . . ."
She stopped, fighting back another wave of tears. Wiping her eyes with the back
of her hand, she went on, spilling out the words in a single breath. "I
overheard Laura telling Tammy Lucero that she would die if Randy didn't tell me
about the two of them pretty soon."

"You're kidding," cried Christie.

"She's lying," Beth said firmly. She stepped
forward and put an arm around Jana.

"That's right," said Katie. "She just wanted
you to hear it and get jealous."

"She didn't know I heard it," insisted Jana. "That's
what makes it so awful. I was in the yearbook room, and she and Tammy were
walking by in the hall. There was no way she could have known I was there. And
now that I think about it, I can remember seeing Randy and Laura together in
homeroom one morning last week, and he was giving her something. A note, I
think. I don't know why I didn't realize something was going on between them."

No one said anything for a moment, and then Christie spoke
softly. "Now that you mention it, I saw them in the media center
yesterday. They were by the card catalog, but I don't think they were looking
up anything."

"Who knows?" said Melanie. "Maybe they've
been assigned to work together for a class."

"Right," said Katie. Her voice rose excitedly. "That
could even be why Randy gave her the note."

"Sure," Jana said without enthusiasm. "That
would explain everything except for what Laura told Tammy. If it was something
innocent like a school project, why would she act as if it was such a big
secret? And why would she be so anxious for him to tell me?"

No one had an answer for that.

"Come on," said Beth. "Let's go to Bumpers.
We can talk about it some more on the way."

By the time they left the school building, almost everyone
else had gone. Only the sound of an occasional locker banging shut echoed in
the halls. As Jana fell into step with her four best friends for the short walk
to Bumpers, she thought about Funny Hawthorne. Her friendship with Funny was
growing stronger every day, even though Funny was one of Laura McCall's best
friends and a member of Laura's clique, The Fantastic Foursome. Jana had a hard
time thinking of Funny as a part of the group that was constantly fighting with
The Fabulous Five. Somehow she didn't seem to belong.

Does Funny know anything about Laura and Randy? Jana
wondered. And if she does, will she risk her friendship with Laura to tell me?

Jana was still thinking about Funny when they reached
Bumpers. Kids were streaming into the popular junior high hangout, and she was
immediately separated from her friends by a group of eighth-grade boys
bulldozing their way toward the order counter.

"Rats," she muttered as she sidestepped around a
yellow bumper car with football players hanging over the sides and headed in
the direction she thought her friends had gone. She hoped they had found a
table somewhere in this madhouse.

Squeezing between the old Wurlitzer jukebox and a group of
girls made up of Lisa Snow, Sara Sawyer, and Kim Baxter, plus some others she
didn't know, Jana found herself staring straight at Randy. She stopped cold. A
chill went through her body, but at the same time heat blazed up her face. He
wasn't looking at her. He was looking at the person sitting next to him in the
booth. And he was laughing. The person was Laura McCall, and she was laughing,
too.

Jana whirled around and plowed through the crowd before he
could notice her and see the hurt look on her face. She ducked around booths
and bumper cars until she spotted Katie's red hair through a maze of faces on
the other side of the room.

"There she is," she heard Beth call as she got
near their table. "Over here, Jana," Beth yelled, and waved to her.

Jana sank into the chair they had saved for her and buried
her face in her hands. She wanted to cry. It
was
true. Randy really did
like Laura instead of her. Otherwise, why would he be with her now?

"Jana, are you okay?" asked Melanie.

"What happened?" demanded Beth.

Jana balled her hands into tight fists and answered through
clenched teeth. "It's Randy. He's sitting with Laura McCall."

"Oh, no!" burst out Christie. "That rat. Who
does he think he is?"

"Uh-oh," warned Katie. "You can ask him
yourself. Here he comes."

Jana could see Randy making his way through the crowd and
heading straight for their table. Her heart was pounding. "Well, he's not
going to sit with me," she said angrily. "I'm going home. I'll call
you guys later."

Sweeping her books into her arms, Jana jumped to her feet
and hurried toward the door. She could hear Randy calling her. "Wait!"
he cried. "Hey, Jana. Wait up!"

She didn't stop. The last thing she wanted right now was to
talk to him. She pulled open the door and ran into the afternoon sunlight.

Randy was right behind her. "Jana, will you slow down
and tell me what's wrong?"

This was it. The moment she had been dreading. She slowed
down and then stopped as he caught up with her, but she didn't turn around or
look at him. "I know you have something to tell me. Go ahead. Get it over
with."

"What are you talking about? I don't have anything to
tell you, and I don't understand why you're acting like this."

Jana spun around. "Oh, no? Well, I know better. I know
that you're just waiting for the chance to break up with me. So why don't you
just leave me alone and go back to your
new
girlfriend, Laura McCall!"
she cried.

Before Randy could answer, she whirled away again. Running
as fast as she could to get away from him, she headed across the street. Tears
blinded her. She didn't want him to follow. She only wanted to get away. To get
home where she could think and sort everything out.

Suddenly the air was filled with the sound of screeching
tires. Or was it someone shouting her name? She felt a hard jolt, and the
pavement rushed to meet her. Then everything went black.

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