The priests always kept an eagle eye to make sure there were, “No shenanigans!” Even so, the Sunday night under-fourteens disco was always a fun night with some of the Fathers getting on the dance-floor and shoogling their hips. Father Rawlings was so fat he could barely walk the length of the room, but he always got the shy boys and girls up and dancing together while Father McGonagle spun the records
Kate was waiting for Sam. Kate was always waiting for Sam. Samantha was gorgeous. All the boys wanted to be around her all the time. And even though they’d been best friends since Primary one Kate and Sam both knew that Sam’s friendship to Kate was more out of habit than anything else.
Father Rawlings spotted her and came over. “Well now, Katherine Gallagher, what are you doing sitting here all by yourself? Come-on now, let’s see if we can find you a dance partner.” Kate was raised to obey every order any Holy Father dished out. So she quietly followed her hand. “There,” said Father Rawlings, putting her hand and Jimmy Elliot’s together, “Off you go! Go on now, enjoy the dance the pair o’ you!”
When the disco ended Kate waited for Sam on the corner of Stanley Street. Suddenly she heard a voice behind her. “Hi there beautiful, what are you doing standing here all by yourself? Didn’t your Ma tell you there could be some really bad people out on the streets at this time of night?” He made his hands look like claws, growled, and laughed.
Kate blushed. “I’m waiting for my friend.” She looked at him; he had a nice smile and big green eyes, and they were looking straight into hers but Kate didn’t feel scared.
“Well, we can’t have a beautiful girl waiting here by herself all night long; how about I wait here with you till your friend shows-up?”
Kate, deciding to ignore all of her mother’s stranger-danger warnings said, “Okay.”
Whenever she was nervous Katherine Gallagher twisted the ends of her wavy, red, locks, and sometimes she chewed on them too. She was twisting and chewing as the two stood side by side against the cold brick wall.
“So, where’s your friend?” he asked.
“I think she’s saying goodnight to her new boyfriend.”
“She has a boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend?’
“No, I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend.”
“Aww, that’s not fair! But I’m sure your Ma and Da are only looking out for you.”
“I don’t have a Da. It’s just me, my little sister Rose, and our Ma.” Answered Kate. They talked for a while with him acting out Irish jokes and her laughing so hard she tinkled a little. “I need to go home. Ma will be worried.” Said Kate.
“Okay, why don’t I walk you home. Your friend’s new boyfriend probably walked her home and I can’t let you walk home alone now can I? How could I ever forgive myself if anything terrible happened to such a gorgeous girl?”
Kate felt funny inside, like butterflies were crowding her stomach. A good-looking boy wanted to walk her home! She could tell everyone that she had a boyfriend and he was nice and good-looking, and she didn’t want to say no. “Okay.” She replied.
“Here, take my hand Gorgeous.”
Kate blushed and put her hand into his. It didn’t feel like Jimmy’s. It was bigger and stronger. She felt safe as they walked to the bottom of Stanley Street and turned on to the Paisley Rd. She felt as if she were walking on air. Every time she looked up into his eyes the butterflies in her stomach did somersaults. He was talking but she couldn’t hear what he was saying for the pounding of her heart. When they got to her street he leaned in to kiss her. Katherine Gallagher about dropped in a faint.
Next thing she knew his arms were wrapped all the way around her waist and he was squeezing her real tight to him. She could feel her heart thumping against his chest as his warm lips pressed hard against hers. When he let her go she gasped for breath.
“Goodnight Beautiful,” he said drawing his finger down her neck. “Next time me and you are going to dance.”
“Thanks for walking me home.” Kate replied, still blushing from the kiss and wondering when she would see him again.
Kate skipped all the way to school on Monday morning. Samantha wasn’t waiting for her on Stanley street. She must have slept-in thought Kate. She’d just managed to run into Father Rawlings first period English class when the bell rang. “Quiet everyone!” said Father Rawlings. ” I have some terrible news.” Samantha Martin was found dead last night after the disco. The police are here to ask some questions. Those of you who attended the disco please form a straight line and follow me.
“It can’t be true! It can’t be true!” Screamed Kate hysterically.
Father Rawlings and the school nurse gathered Kate and led her to the headmaster’s office. And after she drank some of the water she’d been given the police officers asked her what happened at the disco. Kate told them about waiting for Samantha outside the disco and how Sam never showed-up, and after a while she walked home.
“So, you left the disco by yourself, but were waiting on the corner for Samantha so you two could walk home together and she didn’t show up, so you walked home by yourself? Is that right?” asked the Police woman.
“Well, no, I didn’t walk home by myself. A boy walked me home.”
“One of the boys from the disco?”
“No, I met him after the disco. He saw me waiting for Sam on the corner and he offered to walk me home cause it was dark.”
“Do you know this boy? Is he from your school or neighborhood?”
“No, he was just on the street.”
“Kate, what did this boy look like? Was he your age?”
“I think he was older than me. He had carrot-red hair and eyelashes, and he was taller than me, and he was really nice, and really good-looking.” Kate blushed.
Both officers turned deathly pale. They looked at each other with absolute horror in their eyes. The woman opened her satchel, pulled out a photograph, and placed it on the table in front of Kate. “Is this the man?”
“Yes, that’s him,” said Kate surprised by the photograph. “Why do you have a picture of him?”
“That’s all the questions for now Kate,” said the officer. “We’ll talk to you as soon as your parents are here.”
While Kate sat outside the headmaster’s office she heard the Father’s voice.
“He’s strangled how many!“