Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I got the idea for this while listening to the Mel Carter song of the same name. This could be my most dramatic story, here. Remember my story, "Just a Game"? Well, Linda Stanley makes her second appearance in this story. I didn't know where to take it though, until last night when I heard a song by the Poni-Tales called "Born Too Late," which is what I originally wanted to call this, but I changed my mind at the last minute

There had been a lot of changes going on since the Monkees time. They saw the start of the Mallards, and met Quackerjack, Reggie, and Drake. They had seen the wedding of Mike's father, Warren, to Carole Parkington, a younger woman. Mike learned he was half-witch, but is getting used to his powers. Peter had gotten married to Valerie Cartwright, and the two of them were taking care of Peter's 16-year-old nephew, Fluey. Mike's aunt Kate had relocated to California, and was now dating Dr. Joe Early. But there are things that just didn't seem to change. Davy was still a girl chaser, as was Jerry. Mike's temper still flared up, but he would take things more literally than he had before. Basically, everything was just about the same.

At least until one day when everything in Mike's world fell apart at the seams. The biggest change was yet to come.

Mike was sitting at the studio, reading over the Writer's latest movie script. He made a face, threw it over his shoulder, and zapped it into confetti. Jerry walked over to him and sat down in another director's chair.

"Hey, my pal," he said. "What's up?"

"Nothin' much, good buddy," Mike said. "The Writer's latest script is a clunker."

"I sort of figured that."

"You know, I've been thinkin'. There's been a lot of changes goin' on around here. I get this feelin' that a big one's comin'."

"What's bigger than finding out you're half witch on top of everything else?"

"I don't know, man. But I have a feelin' it's gonna come when we least expect it."

"Yeah, but I can honestly say some things are never gonna change."

"Like what?"

"Me, for example. You know how I dig chicks. Heh, heh. I'm probably never gonna settle down."

"If you do, it'll be the end of the world as we know it. But if you do decide to get married, I'm gonna be your best man, right?"

"Of course! I just have to find the right girl."

Mike nodded and laughed. He liked Jerry's warped sense of humor. The two of them picked up another one of the Writer's scripts and looked it over. As they were doing that, Hank walked into the studio. 

"Hey, guys," he said. "The Fireman's Picnic is in a few weeks, and since it's for family and friends, I wondered if you would like to come."

"Yeah, sure," Mike said. "That'd be great."

"It's next Saturday.  Feel free to bring a date if you want.  Bye."  And with that Hank left.

Jerry laughed. He'd have to scour his little black book for a date that day. But then, he decided to go stag for once in his life. Who knows? He'd probably meet a girl there anyway. 

That Saturday, the whole crew gathered at a nearby farm.  As Hank and Dan were cooking hotdogs, hamburgers, steaks, chicken and ribs on the grill,  Drake, Peter, and Valerie were on a stage playing a couple of folk songs for entertainment,

"Great picnic, Cap," Mike said while drinking some lemonade.

"Thanks, but it barely started,"  Hank replied while flipping a few burgers.

"Yeah, but it's quite a turn out."  As they were talking, a teenage girl approached Hank.

"Hi, Daddy," she said.

"Hi, sweetie," Hank said, wrapping his free arm around her. "Oh, Mike, you know my daughter Linda, don't you?"

"Yeah, vice president of the Davy Jones fan club," Mike said. "How could I forget? Her friends nearly killed Jerry."

"I've broken up with them," Linda said. "I just hang around with Fluey, and his friends."

"Oh good. You know they're friends of mine. They're good kids."

Linda nodded, and then raced off to join some of the other teenagers hanging around (mostly because their parents made them come to the picnic). 

"Cap, you've got a real beauty on your hands there," Mike started.  "I betcha she's a heartbreaker."

"Oh no," Hank said, shaking his head. "She's not old enough to date."

"Cap, she's sixteen," T.J. said, as he joined their conversation. "That's old enough to date."

"Not to me, it isn't," Hank said. "She's my only child, you know. My little girl. And a lot of those high school boys are a bunch of twits!"

"Fluey's not a twit," Mike said. "He may be related to Peter, but he's not a twit."

Mike left. He wanted to see what Jerry was doing, if he could find him. Jerry was walking around, trying to get through the crowd to find Mike. He stopped short once he saw a girl at one of the picnic tables. She was average height for a girl. Her brown hair came down to her neck and was turned up slightly at the ends, similar to Mary Tyler Moore's on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Placed in her hair was a white headband. She wore a blue plaid jumper underneath a white blouse and black shoes. Around her neck was a gold heart shaped locket. She had brown eyes, and a very sweet looking face. Jerry was immediately dumbstruck.

"There you are," Mike said, finally catching up with him. "What's up, Geat?"

"Do you know that girl?" he asked, pointing to the brunette. She finally caught sight of Jerry, looked at him, and then smiled. She seemed even prettier when she smiled. Jerry smiled back.

"That's Linda Stanley," Mike answered. "You know, Captain Stanley's daughter?"

"Davy Jones Fan Club?"

"Vice president. The rest of 'em almost killed you. I thought you knew her."

"Yeah, well, I may have seen her once, but never really got a good look at her. Wow, she's really something."

"Don't get any ideas, Jer, she's only sixteen. And besides, her father doesn't let her date."

Jerry couldn't believe such a pretty girl didn't have a boyfriend. He was entranced by her. He couldn't stop staring. Linda looked at him, and just smiled.

"Who ah you looking at, luv?" Davy asked, coming up to her.

"Him," Linda said, pointing at Jerry.

"Oh, the Geatah."

"Yeah. The Geator. He's cute, isn't he?"

"Well, to each 'er own. Personally, I don't think there's much to look at."

"Well, I think he's cute."

"I thought you 'ad a crush on me. Besides, 'e's too old for you."

Linda didn't answer that. She just stared back at Jerry, unable to take her eyes off of his. It was like that song by Jay and the Americans: "Some Enchanted Evening." Jerry swept through the crowd and walked up to her.

"Hi," he said.

"Hi," Linda replied.

"What's this I hear about your dad not letting you date?"

"Oh. He treats me like a little kid. He won't let me date, and every time a boy calls me, Dad grills him like a cheese sandwich!"

"I find that hard to believe that a pretty girl like you couldn't have a boyfriend. I bet they all line up at your locker every time there's a school dance!"

"No, they don't, actually. They all line up by Marcia Sheridan's locker. She's pretty and popular."

"Ah, Marcia Sheridan isn't half as pretty as you are."

Linda blushed and giggled. Drake saw them out of the corner of his eye, looked at Peter, and nodded. The two of them then began to play (you guessed it) "Some Enchanted Evening." The crowd began to dance. After that dance, Hank walked up to Linda and Jerry and cleared his throat.

"Ahem, ahem, ahem!" he shouted.

"Oh, hi, Daddy," Linda said. "We were just talking."

"And dancing," Jerry said. "I was just being friendly, you know. I wasn't gonna . . . . I mean, considering she's only sixteen and all . . . . ."

"I understand," Hank said. Then he took Linda's hand. "Come on, princess. Time to go home."

"Okay," Linda said. "Bye, Jerry."

"Bye, Linda," Jerry said.

Linda looked over her shoulder and smiled at Jerry. Jerry smiled back and waved to her. Then she and her parents walked through the door.

"You like her don't you," Mike said, not really asking that as a question.

"No, whatever gave you that idea?" Jerry said.

"Oh good. Because you know she's too young for you."

"Didn't stop your dad."

"Hey, Dad and Carole and you and Linda Stanley are different people. She's sixteen, you're twenty-six. Get it?"

"Got it."

"Good. It's just some infatuation or somethin'. All guys tend to take a look at a young girl, and flip out. In my dad's case, he married the young girl he flipped over."

Jerry just nodded. Besides, he knew she had a crush on Davy Jones, and she was one of those fans who was out of touch with reality. On the way back to the Stanley household, however, Linda was unusually quiet. She just kept staring out the window.

"Something wrong, angel?" Hank asked.

"Hmm?" Linda said.

"You're so quiet tonight, honey," Hank's wife, Christine, said.

"Oh," Linda said. "I'm just thinking."

"About Jerry Blavat?" Hank asked.

"Well . . . . no . . . . . I mean . . . ."

"Hey, it's okay, princess. I had a crush on Annette Funicello and Shelley Fabares at the same time. It's all right to have a crush on two famous guys at the same time. Davy Jones I understand. But Jerry Blavat however . . . ."

"Well, he's not that famous, Hank," Christine said. "I remember I had a crush on Ricky Nelson and Fabian. At the same time."

Linda giggled. Then she thought some more. Was this feeling just a crush? She had a crush on Davy, but when she was talking with Jerry, it felt different than the first time Davy had talked to her. When Davy had talked to her, she became a human Jell-O mold. She was weak in the knees and giddy as a school girl. But when she talked to Jerry, she was a little bit shy, but she found it easy to talk to him. She thought he was cute, funny, and awfully sweet. She wondered if it was really a crush.

The next day, Linda went to school as usual. Although, throughout the day kept doodling on a piece of notebook paper during all her classes. Erin leaned over to take a look during math class.

"What are you drawing?" she asked.

"Nothing," Linda said. Erin yanked the paper out of the notebook and looked at it. As it turned out, Linda was doodling Jerry's name all over her paper.

"Nothing, huh?" Erin asked. "Sounds like you've got a crush on my friend the Geator."

"Maybe I do, and maybe I don't," Linda said, although Erin had hit the nail on the head.

The bell rang after that incident. Linda grabbed her paper back and gathered up her books. At lunch, Erin met with Shawn, Fluey, Multi, Keith, and Laurie.

"Guess what?" she asked.

"What?" Fluey said.

"Linda has a crush on Jerry," Erin said.

"I thought Linda had a crush on Davy," Laurie said.

"Yeah, so did I," Fluey said.

"There goes the neighborhood," Shawn commented. "All I want to know is why Jerry? He's no Davy Jones."

"Yeah, plus he's a Casanova," Erin said. "I think he has as many girlfriends as Lawrence of Arabia!"

"So does Davy," Shawn said.

"Yeah, and Lover Boy over here," Laurie said, giving her brother a swat in the arm.

"Shut up, Laurie," Keith said. "Besides, how do you know she has a crush on the guy?"

"She was doodling his name on a piece of paper over and over and over again," Erin said.

"That's usually what girls do when they have a crush on someone," Fluey said. "My mother would write Rick Springfield's name all over her schoolbooks over and over again. Guys don't get like that."

The exact same moment, at the Screen Gems studio, Jerry was staring into a mirror.

"You think I should grow my hair out?" he asked.

"It's your hair, Geat," Mike said. "Do what you want with it."

"I wonder . . . . ."

"Wonder what?"

"I wonder if Linda likes guys with long hair better than guys with short hair?"

"Linda who?"

"Oh . . . . . . nobody."

"Jer, you can't fool me. You're talkin' about Linda Stanley, aren't you? Well, forget it. You're ten years older than she is."

"You're dad's more than twenty years older than your stepmother."

"Yeah, but my stepmother isn't sixteen. She's twenty-two."

"So? Don't you know love knows no age?"

"Well, I would agree with that, considerin' Drake got married to Pam when they were eighteen, Dad married Carole, and he's forty-seven and she's twenty-two, and I was twenty-one when I married a seventeen-year-old Phyllis."

"Exactly."

"But you're twenty-six and she's sixteen, so that's not the same thing, Jerry."

Jerry shrugged, and stared into the mirror. He couldn't shake Linda out of his head. No matter how hard he tried. Drake the studio's new make-up lady, Judy Dell, had arrived on the set after a lunch date just then.

"Hey, Mike," Drake said. "What's new?"

"Jer's a bit hung up over a chick," Mike said. "Hey, Jude, how old are you?"

"Mike!" Drake shouted. "You don't ask a lady her age!"

"It's okay, Drake," Judy laughed. "I'm twenty-nine."

"What do you think of an older guy moonin' over a younger chick?"

"I think love knows no age."

With that, Judy walked off. Mike turned to Drake.

"Well?" he asked.

"What would I know?" Drake asked, walking off. "When Pam and I got married, we were eighteen!"

Mike was even more confused than ever. He sighed and went back to reading the new script the Writer had given him. Later, Jerry was reading the script himself. Davy came up to him.

"You know Jer," he said. "Word on the street is Linda Stanley 'as a crush on you."

"Oh?" Jerry asked, putting down the script.

"Yeah. And let me tell you, it burns me up! She's supposed to like me!"

"Well, maybe she likes you in a sense of hero worship. Celebrity crush. That sort of thing. I mean, Drake told me he had a crush on Marcia Brady when he was a little kid. So Linda Stanley's got a crush on me, huh?"

Jerry sort of stared off into space then, smiling. Davy just stared at him. He recognized the look on his face. Pure lovesickness.

"Oh no," he said. "You're not . . . ."

"What?" Jerry asked.

"You're not. You can't be. You're not . . . . . . you ah! You ah!"

"I'm what?!"

"Jerry, I think you like that girl. And I mean really like 'er."

"So?"

"'Asn't it occured to you that you're twice 'er age?"

"Davy, if I were twice her age, I'd be in my thirties."

"Well, you ah twenty-six. That's close to thirty, now, isn't it?"

"What's the big deal, Davy? So I've got a crush on a teenager. It's no big deal. She'll be over me in a matter of days, and I'm sure I'll be over her soon enough!"

"I 'ope so."

With that, Davy walked off. Once he was out of earshot, Jerry smacked himself in the face.

"What am I saying?!" he shouted. "I don't want her to be over me now that I know she likes me! I don't care what all of them say. I'm nuts about that girl."

Jerry smiled as he thought about Linda having a crush on him. It was a strange, but he had a feeling that his meant more than all his other girlfriends. He decided not to think about it for the time being. He had a broadcast that night, and he wanted to figure out exactly what he wanted to do with it. That night at the club, he got the surprise of his life. Linda and Christine Stanley walked through the door of the club. Jerry pretended not to notice at first.

"Hey, Linda," Fluey said. "What are you and your mom doing here?"

"I talked Mother into bringing me down here," Linda said. "I told her that all my friends like the music, and she wanted to see what the big attraction was."

"Yeah, sure. You know you're here to see Jerry."

"Oh, I am not!"

With that, Linda walked over to a table. Her mother followed her. Fluey looked at Peter.

"I really do think she's got a crush on him," he said. "If she didn't, she'd be here before tonight!"

"Are you going to play matchmaker, Fluey?" Peter asked. "Because if you do, you're grounded."

Fluey just shrugged. Jerry put a couple of records onto the turntables and kept glancing at Linda. Every time he would catch her eye, she began fixing her hair. Jerry nearly dropped a record when he saw her smile at him. And when he smiled back at her, she felt like she was going to melt into a pile of gelatin.

"Is it just me, or does the Geator seem a bit out of sync tonight?" Carole asked.

"Oh, he's just got this thing for Linda Stanley, that's all," Mike said. "You know, Captain Stanley's daughter?"

"He's got a crush on her?" Warren asked.

"Yeah," Mike said. "And from what I heard from Davy, that she likes him. I tell you, it's sickenin'."

"Why?" Carole asked.

"'Cause he's too old for her! They're ten years apart!"

"So? Your dad and me are twenty-five years apart, and that didn't stop us."

"Maybe so, but she's just sixteen."

"Mike, it may not make much sense to you now," Warren said. "But believe me, these things find a way of workin' out themselves."

Mike still wasn't too sure. Anyway, Christine got up and walked around for awhile. Jerry put a record on and walked over to Linda.

"Hey," he said. "What's happening?"

"Nothing much," Linda said.

"I've never seen you at my show before."

"I never had a good reason to come before."

Jerry smiled. Linda nearly had a heart attack. And Jerry was practically walking on air. Mike stared at them. He didn't like the look on Jerry's face. He was staring adoringly at Linda, and any idiot could see she had the same look on her face. Jerry sat down and took her hand. Mike stood up, but Warren grabbed his hand.

"Mike, leave them alone," he said.

"Why should I?" Mike asked. "I don't think it's right for a twenty-six-year-old disc jockey to be flirtin' with a sixteen-year-old high school student!"

"Was it right for a twenty-one-year-old to marry a seventeen-year-old?"

"I don't know. Was it right for a twenty-three-year-old to marry and eighteen-year-old?"

Warren got a nervous look to his face. He hated it when Mike started on about his mother. Especially in front of Carole.

"Ix-nay on-hay our-yay other-may in-hay ont-fray of-hay Arole-cay," he muttered through gritted teeth.

"Okay," Mike said, defensively.

"I wish you'd lay off the pig Latin in front of me, Warren," Carole said. "I can't understand a word you say when you start on that. How Mike understands that, I'll never know."

Warren shrugged. Mike glanced over at Linda and Jerry. They were laughing over something or another.

"Listen," Jerry said. "I've got to get back up to the bandstand and put on another record. But before I go, I want to ask you something."

"Sure," Linda said.

"This may sound a bit too forward of me, but . . . . . would you be interested in going out with me tomorrow night?"

Linda felt her heart skip a beat. Her breath came out in short pants, and she could barely answer. Jerry nodded.

"Yeah, I thought that," he said, turning towards the bandstand. "I'll, uhh, I guess I'll take that as a no."

"I'd love to go out with you, Jerry," Linda said, in a rush. Jerry stopped in his tracks, and turned around.

"Yeah?" he asked.

"Yeah," Linda said, nodding.

"Okay, then. I'll pick you up at seven."

"Tomorrow night, seven o' clock. Got it."

"Okay. Great."

"Great."

Jerry went back up to the bandstand, feeling lighter than air. Linda felt as giddy as a school girl. Christine came back to the table just then.

"You look happy," she said. "Anything out of the ordinary happen?"

"Jerry asked me out," Linda squealed. "Oh, can I go out with him tomorrow, Mother? Please?"

"Of course! Your father may not be as open as I am towards you dating, but I say go ahead. You're old enough. And I don't care if that man is older than you are. You go have fun."

"Oh, thanks, Mom! You're the best!"

Linda began squealing her head off just then. Davy heard her and walked over.

"'Ey, luv," he said. "What's all the squealing about?"

"Jerry asked me out," Linda squealed.

"Oh. That's . . . . . nice."

"Are you insulted, Davy?"

"Well, a little."

"Davy, you know I'm your biggest fan. But that was before I got to know you better. Once I got to know you better, well, you don't make me go weak in the knees. But I'm still your biggest fan. I just don't want to marry you, anymore."

"I think I undahstand, luv. But why Jerry?!"

"I dunno. I think he's cute."

"You think 'e's cute. I 'ate to see what ugly is to you, luv."

Davy walked off just then. Linda shrugged and sat back down at the table. Mike stared at him.

"Lost your biggest fan, huh?" Mike asked.

"Nah," Davy said. "She's still me biggest fan. She just doesn't 'ave a crush on me anymore. You know Jerry asked 'er out?"

"Oh, that's nice," Mike said, taking a long sip of Coke. Then the words sank in, and he spat out his cola immediately, all over Warren. "He did what?!"

"Mike, please!" Warren shouted. "Control your outbursts!"

"Sorry," Mike said. "But this is just too much! He's much too old for her!"

"Oh, Mike!" Carole groaned.

"Mike, mind your own business," Warren said. "Jerry has a right to ask out whomever he wants to!"

"But Dad!" Mike shouted.

"I agree with Mike," Davy said. "This is just . . . . . weird. 'E's twenty-six, she's sixteen . . . . . it can't be legal."

"Besides, it's just an infatuation and a teenage crush," Mike said. "It'll never last."

"You are a rotten fortune teller," Warren said. "But leave them alone anyway, or you're gonna be hearin' from me, young man."

"Yes, sir."

Mike sarcastically saluted his father. The next day, Jerry kept running around the studio, driving everybody else crazy.

"Jerry, chill out a minute," Micky said. "Your date isn't until seven."

"I know, I know," Jerry said. "But I can't help being nervous. I didn't really plan anything, because I was so sure she'd say no. Or her mother wouldn't let her go out with me."

"Well, I'd relax a little," Quackerjack said. "You've been out with plenty of girls. Why are you so nervous?"

"I really don't know," Jerry replied. "What do you think I should do with my hair?"

"Comb it," the Monkees and the Mallards said in unison.

"Jerry, would you please relax?!" Mike shouted. "You're makin' me crazy. It's bad enough you've got a date with a teenager!"

"Hey, you married one."

"Oh, come off it, will ya?!"

Jerry ignored him, and began running a comb through his hair. At six, Reggie dropped in on Jerry, to see how it was going. At the time, Jerry was in the process of getting ready for his date. He was throwing things out of his closet, talking a mile a minute.

"Uhh, Jerry?" Reggie asked.

"Come on, Reg," Jerry replied. "I'm sort of in the process of figuring out what to wear on this date."

"Let me see how far you got."

Jerry walked out of the closet. All he had on was a white button down shirt and his boxer shorts. Reggie clicked his tongue against his teeth.

"You need serious help," he said. "Good thing I dropped in."

"I could use some help," Jerry said. "You've got a good sense of style."

Reggie smiled and stepped into Jerry's closet. He pulled out a dark blue jacket and threw it at him. Then he went over to the chest of drawers and began pulling things out right and left. He threw Jerry a pair of gray pants, and a bright red neck tie.

"Isn't this the same get-up we did posing for the Discophonics movie poster?" Jerry asked.

"Just wear it," Reggie said. "You look good in that."

Jerry shrugged and pulled himself together. Then Reggie whipped out a comb and began combing Jerry's hair. After that, he took some cologne from the table and spritzed him with it.

"There ya go," he said.

"Thanks, Reg," Jerry said. "I would've asked Mike to help me out, but he's kind of uneasy about this date."

"Hey, can't stand in the way of love. You're gonna sweep her off her feet."

"Thanks, Reg. You sure I look okay?"

"Yeah, you look great. Just go out there and knock 'em dead, kid."

"You know, Reg, sometimes I think you're weirder than Micky!"

Reggie laughed. Jerry walked out of his apartment, out to the garage, and got into his car. He drove off to Linda's house, got out of the car, walked up to the front porch, and rang the doorbell. Hank answered it.

"Hi, Jerry," he said. "I just want you to know, if you hurt my little girl, I'll hurt you. Get it?"

"Got it," Jerry said. "But you have nothing to worry about. I promise I won't lay a hand on her. I won't try to intoxicate her. I won't touch her."

"Good. Because if you do, I'm gonna knock your block off!"

"Oh, Hank!" Christine shouted. "Stop threatening him! He's a nice guy! Hi, Jerry, how are you?"

"Fine, Mrs. Stanley," Jerry said. "And you?"

"Fine, thank you. I'll go get Linda."

Christine left the room, giving her husband the Evil Eye. Hank just shrugged, and went back inside. Linda came to the door just then, wearing a white shirt, pink skirt, and black flats.

"Hi," Jerry said.

"Hi," Linda said. Then she turned to her parents. "I'm leaving now."

"Remember your curfew," Hank said. "I want her back by ten thirty on the dot."

"Yes sir," Jerry said, nodding. "And you have nothing to worry about."

"Good," Hank said. Then he turned to Linda. "Have a good time, princess. And remember, no drinking, no drugs, and no drive-in movies! I heard about this guy's reputation as 'Steam-Up-The Windows' Blavat."

Jerry's cheeks turned pink. He did plan on going to the drive-in, but now he had to rethink his plans. Fathers always could tell when their daughters' dates fool around with them. Christine smacked Hank in the arm.

"Hank, please!" she shouted. "Have fun, Linda. And remember, home by ten thirty."

"Okay," Linda said, and she and Jerry walked over to the car. "So what are we doing tonight?"

"Well, I wanted to go to the drive-in, but . . . ." Jerry said. "I don't think your dad will believe we went to the drive in and I didn't try to steam up the windows. So how about just catching a flick at the movie theater?"

"Okay."

Jerry drove to the nearest movie theater in town. An old horror film was playing, The Blob. It was one of those corny 1950's horror films. Throughout the film, Jerry had tried to strategically put his arm around Linda's shoulders, but every time he got close, he'd chicken out, afraid that somehow or another Hank would know. Linda had a slight feeling something was up, so she looked at Jerry, and noticed his arm was sort of outstretched. She knew what he wanted to do, so she took his arm and put it around her shoulders. Then she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"My dad wouldn't kill you for this," she said. "He'd only kill you if you tried to . . . . . . you know."

"Yeah. And I promised him I wouldn't touch you."

Linda nodded, and the two of them continued watching the movie. At all the right moments, all the girls in the theater would scream, and move closer to their boyfriends. Jerry enjoyed that moment. After the movie, it was almost ten thirty, so Jerry took Linda home and walked her to the porch.

"I really had a good time, Jerry," Linda said. "Maybe we can do it again sometime."

"Yeah, sure," Jerry said. "How about next Friday?"

"Okay."

"Great. Well, ahh, goodnight, I guess."

"Goodnight."

Linda and Jerry just looked at each other for a bit. Then the two of them leaned in, trying to kiss each other. Just as Jerry got close enough to smell Linda's strawberry scented lip gloss, the door opened.

"Ahem, ahem, ahem!" Hank cleared his throat, and rather loudly. Jerry grabbed Linda's hand just then and kissed it, instead of her lips.

"Uh, goodnight, Linda," he said. "Bye, Captain. Gotta jet."

Jerry dashed to his car, jumped in, and drove off. Linda giggled.

"Well, it's nice to see chivalry isn't dead after all," Hank said. "And it's a good thing it isn't, because if it was, then he'd be dead."

"Oh, Daddy!" Linda groaned. Then she walked inside the house, and up to her room, giggling like a school girl. She picked up her white teddy bear and squeezed it.

"I may never wash this hand again!" she squealed.

The next day at the studio, Jerry was really out of it. He waltzed around, singing to himself. The others just stared at him.

"He's been like that all morning," Drake said.

"Oh yeah," Davy said. "Cupid strikes anothah victim."

"Oh, man, he's got it bad," Micky said.

"What?" Bob asked, oblivious to the entire thing.

"Isn't it obvious, Bob?" Quacky asked. "Jerry's in love."

Mike's eyes grew wide, and he looked over at Quacky in shock. He knew Jerry was hooked on Linda, but he didn't think it could be love. In fact, he didn't believe it. He thought it was just an infatuation. Puppy love. There was no way it could be real love. And that's what Hank figured, too. In fact, Linda hadn't been doing well in school that entire week. She failed two tests that she could have aced, forgot to turn in her homework, and even came into class after the bell rang!

"Linda, something's up," Fluey said after school. "You're normally not like this."

"I know," Linda said. "But I just can't stop thinking about that date last week. And I have another one with Jerry this Friday. I can't stop thinking about him."

"Looks like love to me," Laurie said.

"Are you sure, Laurie?" Shawn asked.

"Yeah, it could just be a typical crush," Multi said, shrugging.

"Not necessarily," Fluey said. "I mean, she's showing all the signs Uncle Peter showed when he met Aunt Valerie. And Uncle Peter said ever since Jerry got back from his date with Linda, he's been kind of out of it. All he thinks about is Linda these days."

"But how do you know when it's love?" Erin asked.

"You just do," Shawn said, like she was an expert on the subject.

Everybody else sort of groaned. That Friday, Jerry was sitting in a director's chair, thinking. He wondered if his feelings towards Linda was just a crush, or if it was love. He wasn't so sure. He figured he'd ask an expert on the subject. And since Mike was so uneasy about all of this, he decided to go to Valerie.

"Let me get this straight," she said. "You want to know how you can tell love from a crush."

"Well, yeah," Jerry said. "I'd go to Mike about this, but he doesn't like the fact that I'm dating Linda in the first place."

"I see. Well, in Peter's case, it was love at first sight. I thought he was really cute, and sweet, and much nicer than Ronnie Farnsworth, who was my old boyfriend. After my party, we dated awhile, and then gradually, I knew he was the one."

"How can you tell when you meet the one?"

"You can't stop thinking about them, every time you see them you feel like you're walking on air, and you just get this feeling. You feel a way you've never felt before. But the clincher is the kiss."

"The kiss?"

"Yep. When the two of you kiss, something will happen. You'll see sparks, hear fireworks, bells, whatever, and then you'll know."

"Hmm. Thanks, Val. I think that answers my question."

Jerry stood up and left. And from what Valerie told him, he was sure it was love. He couldn't stop thinking about Linda, and every time he saw her, he felt lighter than air. It had to be love.

Throughout the next week, Jerry and Linda saw more of each other, and Linda saw less of her schoolwork. And Hank wasn't too happy with her. In fact, he got a call from one of her teachers at the station.

"It's almost the end of the school year, Captain Stanley," she said. "And Linda has fallen dreadfully behind, and I'm worried that she may have a hard time catching up."

"I see," Hank said. "She's been dating an older man, and all she thinks about is him, so that's the main problem. Don't worry, Mrs. Cassidy. I'll straighten her out."

Hank hung up the phone and went over to the table.

"What's with you, Cap?" Paul Dunbar asked.

"My daughter's been dating," Hank answered. "And her schoolwork's suffering because of it."

"Oh, you finally let her out at night, huh?" Dan asked. "That's great."

"Yeah, and it's only natural that you'd worry about her, Cap," T.J. said. "When my daughter turns sixteen, I'll be going through what you're going through."

"I didn't tell you who she was dating," Hank said. "Jerry Blavat."

Dan spat out a mouthful of coffee upon hearing that! He gave Hank a Look, as did T.J. and Paul.

"Jerry Blavat?" he asked.

"The Geator with the Heater?" T.J. asked.

"The Boss with the Hot Sauce?" Paul asked.

"Yep," Hank said.

"Isn't he too old for Linda?" Dan asked.

"Ten years too old, if you ask me," Hank replied.

"Leave them alone, guys," Paul said. "I mean, age doesn't matter, if they really like each other."

"Dunbar, go clean the latrine," Hank said.

"But I just cleaned it this morning."

"Do it again!"

With that, Paul ran for the latrine to begin cleaning it again. When Hank started yelling, you'd better do as he says, or else! That night, Jerry and Linda were at an Italian restaurant on yet another date.

"I can't understand why spaghetti is so romantic since it's so messy," Linda said.

"That's Italians for you," Jerry said. "So how's school?"

"All right. How's work?"

"All right."

The two of them hit a lull. It was driving them crazy. After dinner, Jerry drove Linda home. The two of them sat in the car for awhile. Jerry banged his thumbs against the steering wheel, just looking at Linda. Linda was fiddling with the radio. She played around with the station dial until an old Dean Martin song came on, "That's Amore." She looked at Jerry and smiled. Jerry smiled back. Then the two of them leaned closer, closer, ever closer until their lips met. The moment their lips touched something happened. Jerry could hear fireworks explode. Linda felt electricity. Then they remembered what Valerie had told him. Once they pulled away, they smiled at each other.

"That was great," Linda said.

"Yeah," Jerry replied. "I can't wait until we do that again."

Linda nodded. Then she closed her eyes and leaned into Jerry again. Jerry closed his eyes as well and both of them kissed once more. As they were in the middle of it, there was a knock on the window. Hank was standing there, looking ready to kill Jerry. Jerry got nervous and immediately got out of the car.

"Uh, hi, Cap," he said, his voice cracking.

"Hi, Daddy," Linda said. "You're not mad, are you?"

"No, I'm not mad," Hank said.

"But you're furious, right?" Jerry asked.

"Not even that," Hank said. "I mean, I figured it would happen sooner or later. After all, you're a boy, Linda's a girl."

"Oh," Jerry said. Then he got back into the car. "I guess I'll see you later, Linda."

"Okay," Linda said. Jerry drove off after that. Hank turned to his daughter.

"Is he really that nice?" he asked.

"Yes, Daddy," Linda said. "He doesn't try and get me drunk so he can . . . . . you know."

"That's good. Because if he does, he's a dead man."

"Oh, Daddy!"

Hank and Linda went back into the house. Linda went up to her room, shut the door, and let out a shriek of delight. She grabbed an old doll of hers that she tended to talk to every now and again, and jumped on her bed.

"He kissed me!" she shouted. "He kissed me! He kissed me, and I felt electricity! I knew it! I knew it! It's love!"

Linda hugged her doll, then threw it on the floor. Then she grabbed her teddy bear, gave it the biggest squeeze known to man, and squealed. She gave it a kiss on the nose. Then she hugged all her other dolls and stuffed animals, she was so happy. Jerry, in the meantime, was in somewhat of a state of shock. Reggie was waiting for him in the lobby of the hotel.

"So how was the date?" he asked.

"I kissed her," Jerry said.

"And?"

"And it was magic!"

Jerry let out a squeal of his own, spun himself in a circle, and flopped down on the couch. Reggie just looked at him, oddly.

"I kissed her, and fireworks went off," he said, dreamily. "Reg, it's love! I know it!"

"Wow," Reggie said. "Sounds like the first time I kissed Sarah. When that happened, I thought it was the fourth of July!"

Jerry laughed and he and Reggie walked over to the elevator. Reggie wanted every detail of the incident. The next day, Jerry was walking around the studio, lost in a fog. He danced about, singing to himself.

"Man, I thought he had it bad last week," Quacky said.

"You don't know the half of it," Reggie replied. "He kissed Linda last night."

"No! Really?"

"Yeah. And he said he saw fireworks."

A look of shock came over Mike's face. He couldn't believe that. He looked over at Jerry, who looked like one of the world's greatest living fools dancing around, singing to himself.  This whole thing just burned him up. 

"Reg said that Jerry and Linda kissed last night," Micky said to Mike. "Is it true?"

"Accordin' to him, yes," Mike said. "And he said Jerry said he saw fireworks."

"Oh man."

"I saw Linda and asked 'er the same thing," Davy said. "And she said she felt electricity."

"Double oh man," Micky groaned. "You know what that means."

"Yeah," Mike said. "It's love. But it can't be love!"

"But it is, Mike," Davy said.

Mike refused to believe it. Jerry was too old for Linda.  Micky then left the studio. He went to Rampart General Hospital and told Lynn and Carole the whole thing. Lynn laughed.

"Ohhh, I hear wedding bells," she said. Then she began to walk around, humming the wedding march. "Dum-dum-da-dum. Dum-dum-da-dum! Hey, I wonder if they'll let me be the maid of honor?"

Carole giggled. Micky gave Lynn the Vulture Look. He folded his arms across his chest.

"What?" Lynn asked, defensively.

"That's not funny," he said. "What's the cap gonna say when he finds out?"

"Oh, come on, Micky!" Carole shouted. "Linda's sixteen, and a very responsible girl."

"But Linda's too young to fall in love."

"Well, maybe Linda and Jerry are destined to be together,"  Lynn added.

Micky gave Lynn a horrified Look and dashed out of Rampart as fast as he could. He wanted to find Jerry and talk to him, so he went back to the studio. Jerry was still singing to himself.

"Jerry we need to talk," he said.

"About what?" Jerry asked.

"You and Linda! Did you really feel something when you kissed?"

"Did I feel something? Of course I did! I felt magic! I felt electricity! I felt like I was melting! Micky, this is much more than a crush. It's love!"

Micky smacked Jerry upside the head after that.

"What's the matter with you?!" he shouted. "Linda's only sixteen! She's too young to fall in love!"

"You sound like Sam Cooke," Jerry said. "Micky, this is love. I've never felt this way before."

"Jerry!"

"It has to be love. Why else would I feel electricity and hear bells and fireworks when we kissed? I felt something different when I kissed her. It's got to be destiny."

"Oh man!"

With that, Micky took off. Jerry didn't understand what the big deal was.  

As Micky was heading back to the studio, he ran into Hank.

"Whoa, what's the rush?" he asked.  "Is it time for the Carson 5k run yet?"

"No," Micky replied. "I just talked to Lynn and Jerry, and you're not gonna like what they had to say."

"What did they say?" Hank asked.

"Lynn thinks maybe Linda and Jerry are destined to be together."

Hank looked at Micky, slack-jawed and buggy-eyed.  The fuzzy headed Monkee cringed, waiting to see what the captain's reaction was going to be.  After a moment of silence it came.

"WHAAAAAAAAAT????!!!!!!"

The Scream Heard Round the World.

Micky quickly headed for the hills.  The scream was so loud that everyone over at Rampart General heard it. Dr. Brackett nearly had a heart attack, and Mike practically jumped a mile!

"What was that?!" Dr. Brackett shouted.

"Sounded like Captain Stanley," Lynn said.

"Somethin' tells me he found out Jerry and Linda saw sparks flyin' when they kissed," Mike said.

"Or it could be Micky told him what I told Micky," Lynn said.

"What did you tell Micky?"

"Something about Linda and Jerry being destined to be together."

"WHAT?!"

Mike gave her a Look that would stop a herd of mad stampeding buffalos dead in their tracks. Lynn looked a bit nervous. So, she stood up and decided to do her impression of Animal on Muppet Babies.

"Go bye-bye!" she shouted, and she dashed out of the hallway.

"Oh, Mike, what's the big deal?" Dr. Early asked. "So Jerry's ten years older than Linda. They're in love. Age doesn't matter in love."

"Just look at me and your father," Carole said.

"But Linda's sixteen!" Mike shouted. "That's too young to fall in love!"

"I don't think it is," Dixie said.

"Jerry doesn't realize he could get into trouble datin' a sixteen-year-old!" Mike shouted.

"Mike, it's not a big deal," Dr. Brackett said. "They've just been dating. Jerry hasn't taken advantage of her. You know he wouldn't do that."

"Why don't you guys get this?!" Mike yelled, and then he ran off. Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early, Dixie, and Carole looked at each other and shrugged.

Mike stormed out of Rampart, and went directly for Springfield Apartments. He stomped through the door, over to the elevators, and practically punched the button right through the wall. Reggie came up to him.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"I've gotta talk to Jerry," Mike said. "This whole relationship with Linda Stanley is a big mistake!"

"Oh leave him alone, Mike! Can't you see he's in love?"

"It's not love! It's just an infatuation!"

Reggie sighed. He decided to follow Mike to make sure he didn't go from a lecture to a massacre. He pounded on Jerry's door until it opened.

"What's up, Mike?" Jerry asked.

"We need to talk."

"About what?"

"Linda Stanley. Jerry, before you say anythin', I know you think you're in love, but you're not! You don't know what love is!"

"Mike, I know I've never felt the way I do about any other girl before. This has to be love. I've kissed plenty of other girls, and not once did I feel anything."

"Jerry, don't you understand you could get in trouble?!"

"It's no big deal, Mike! What do you want me to do?"

"Stop seein' Linda."

"I can't do that."

Mike glared at Jerry. Jerry glared right back at him. Reggie was staying out of this. He didn't want to get involved in a bloodbath. Mike then took Jerry's hand and sent an electrical current through him.

"Let's see if this'll change your mind!" he shouted. Jerry screamed in pain as Mike sent the shock through his system. After awhile, Mike let go.

"Well?" he asked.

"You can't tell me what to do!" Jerry shouted. "I'm not a little kid, and you're not my father! I can date whoever I want! You can electrocute me for all I care, but I won't stop seeing Linda! I love her!"

"No, Jerry, you don't," Mike said. "You can't love her! You don't know what love is! You wouldn't know love if it came up and bit you! You're too old for her!"

"I don't care! I still love her!"

Jerry slammed the door in Mike's face. Reggie dashed down the hall to get away from Mike before he blew a gasket. At school, Linda was telling her friends about the date, and the kiss. They didn't quite know what to make of it.

"Are you sure it's love?" Erin asked.

"Oh, come off it, Erin!" Shawn shouted. "I think that's just so romantic!"

"I felt electricity when I kissed him," Linda said. "It has to be love!"

"Well," Fluey said. "If it's love, then that's great."

"Yeah, age doesn't matter at all," Shawn said.

The others had to agree with that one, however, Erin, Keith, and Laurie weren't too sure. They were happy for Linda, but they were worried about what Hank was going to do when he found out. They would find out soon enough. Hank got yet another call from one of Linda's teachers. Her grades had been slipping.

"I've had it!" he shouted, slamming the phone down on the hook. "She hasn't been taking school seriously since she and Jerry have been dating!"

"Oh, settle down, Hank," Christine said. "The school year's almost over. All teenagers get like this."

"You haven't seen her latest science test. Look at it!"

Hank threw the paper at Christine. Linda had answered only two or three questions correctly, and she had doodled sketches of Jerry all over it. Her French test looked the same. Both had big, fat, red F's at the top.

"I tell you, Chris, that man's trouble!" Hank shouted.

"Well, what can you do about it, Hank?" Christine asked. "Linda's in love with him."

"In love?! She's only sixteen! She's too young to fall in love! And Jerry Blavat is too old for her!"

"Age doesn't matter, Hank Stanley, and you know it!"

"Maybe not for other people, but this is my only daughter we're talking about! And I say she's too young to fall in love!"

"Oh Hank!"

Christine was fed up with this same old argument. Linda walked into the house just then. She was out at a burger joint with Fluey, Multi, and Shawn.

"Hi," she said.

"Hold it right there, young lady, I want to talk to you," Hank said.

"Yes, Daddy?"

"Linda, ever since you and Jerry have been dating, I've been getting calls from your teachers. You know your schoolwork's been suffering."

"I know, Daddy, and I promise to try harder."

"If you hadn't started dating Jerry, you'd still be getting straight A's. All I see on tests are F's, and you haven't been finishing your homework!"

"What are you saying, Daddy?"

"I think you stopped this carrying on over Jerry Blavat. It's just puppy love. You've got to move on."

"It's not puppy love, Daddy. It's honest to goodness real love."

Hank just sort of stared at her. Christine came into the room just then, in order to stop her husband from doing something crazy.

"How can it be real love?" Hank asked. "You're only sixteen! You're too young to be in love, especially with a twenty-six-year-old man!"

"But age doesn't matter in true love," Linda said.

"Hank, I was sixteen when you and I first met, remember?" Christine asked.

"Yeah, Dad," Linda said. "Drake Mallard married his wife when she was eighteen, and Mike Nesmith married Phyllis when she was seventeen! And his father's twenty-five years older than his wife!"

"But I was nineteen when your mother and I met," Hank said. "Drake Mallard was also eighteen when he married Pam, Mike was twenty-one, and Carole Nesmith is an adult! You're just a child, Linda!"

"I'm not a child!" Linda shouted. "I'm sixteen years old! I'm not a little girl anymore! I'm almost a woman!"

"Almost is right. I'm sorry, Linda, but Jerry Blavat has got to go. I'm only looking out for your best interest."

"But Daddy, he's a great guy!"

"Honey, he's a womanizer! He can't stay committed! He's just infatuated with a younger girl, and all he wants is to just take advantage of you. I know his type, and they're all alike. He's a playboy, a Don Juan, a Casanova, a wolf, a . . . . ."

"Daddy, I love him!"

Hank stopped for a moment. He gave his daughter a surprised Look. He couldn't believe what just came out of her mouth.

"You what?" he asked. "Have you lost your senses completely?! He's an adult, and you're just a little girl!"

"I don't care!" Linda shouted. "And I'm not a little girl anymore! You can't tell me what to do!"

"As long as you're living under my roof, young lady, I can tell you what to do, and I forbid you to ever see Jerry Blavat again! I don't even want to hear his name, or his voice, so you'd better stop listening to that show of his, too!"

Linda looked at her father in surprise, burst into tears, and then made a mad dash for the stairs. She was halfway up when she turned back to Hank.

"Your the meanest, most rotten daddy in the whole world!" she wailed. Then she continued running up the stairs, and down the hall, into her room. Then she slammed the door shut. Christine wanted to run after her, but she turned to Hank instead.

"Henry Mitchell Stanley!" she shouted. "You are the biggest twit I've ever seen in my life!"

"But Chris," Hank said. Christine didn't let him finish.

"You're sleeping in the dog house tonight," she said.

"We don't have a dog house. We don't even have a dog!"

"Improvise!"

Christine stormed off. Hank just threw his hands up in frustration and started up the stairs. He could still hear Linda crying, so he knocked on her door.

"Princess?" he asked.

"Go away, Daddy!" Linda shouted. "I'm never speaking to you again!"

Hank decided not to push it. When a teenage girl gets mad, she could stay mad for a pretty long time. Linda figured he didn't understand about love, anyway. All she wanted was to be with Jerry. She knew he was the one for her. Couldn't her father see that? She picked up her teddy bear and hugged him.

"Daddy is so mean," she cried. "He won't let me see the man that I love! If I can't be near Jerry, I'll just die!"

Linda squeezed her bear as hard as she could. Then she stood up and went over to her closet. She pulled out a suitcase, opened it up, and started packing some of her clothes. She also put some of her books and CD's in, as well. She put her teddy bear on the bed, put on her coat, and left her room. Neither Hank nor Christine were around, so she walked down the stairs, and out the door. She was going to be with Jerry, no matter what. Luckily, she knew where his apartment was. However, it was dark outside, and the streets of Los Angeles aren't exactly the safest places to be at night. Although the Springfield Apartments were a nice place, they were still downtown, and a lot of whackos and sickos hangout in the streets, waiting for a sweet girl like Linda to come along. As she was walking, a guy with slick hair came out of an alley. He reminded Linda of Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley.

"Hey, baby," he said. "What's a sweet little girl like you doin' on this side of town?"

Linda ignored him and kept walking. The guy followed her, and some of his buddies gathered around as well.

"You know it ain't safe for a pretty little girl like you to be out here alone," another guy said. Linda wanted to continue walking, but another guy blocked her off.

"Whatcha got in the suitcase, gorgeous?" he asked. "Are you running away from home? Did Daddy make you mad?"

Linda didn't answer. She pushed past the guy and quickened her pace, but these jerks were right behind her.

"I think maybe we oughta protect her, boys," the ringleader said. "You know, baby, a girl like you could get hurt in a place like this all alone in the dark."

"Leave me alone!" Linda shouted, and continued walking. The ringleader grabbed her wrist.

"Yeah, who's gonna make me, baby?" he asked. "But I will leave you alone, if you and me go find a nice apartment, and have a little fun, okay?"

"Let me go!" Linda shouted.

"You heard her," a familiar voice said. "Let her go, you creep!"

"Who's gonna make me?" the creep asked. The voice stepped into a street light. It was Jerry.

"Me, that's who!" he shouted. "Leave her alone!"

"Make, me, Shorty."

Jerry clenched his fist and clobbered the guy in the jaw. Then he punched another one of the thugs in the stomach, another in the face, and he gave the last one a kick to the groin.

"Let's get outta here!" the ringleader shouted, and all of the thugs took off. Jerry ran a hand through his hair and turned to Linda.

"Are you okay?" he asked. Linda smiled, ran into Jerry's arms, and held him tight.

"Now I am," she said. Jerry smiled, wrapped his arms around Linda, and kissed her on the top of the head.

"Come on," he said. "Let's go back to my place and you can tell me everything."

Jerry took Linda's suitcase and the two of them walked to his apartment. There, Linda told him everything he wanted to know. He nodded and heaved a sigh.

"I know what you're going through," he said. "Mike sent an electric shock through me, as if to threaten me. He just doesn't understand that it's possible for an older man to fall in love with a younger girl. I feel like I'm in a production of Romeo and Juliet!"

"Nobody can see that we're in love," Linda said. "I just want to be with you, Jerry. I'd rather die than live one day without you!"

"I know. I feel the same way. But nobody here can understand that!"

"What are we going to do?"

"Elope."

Jerry ran into the bedroom, and yanked his own suitcase out of the closet. Linda watched him grab some clothes and records and cram them into his suitcase. Then he grabbed his coat, put it on, and took Linda's hand.

"We'll go to Vegas and get married tonight," he said.

"Sounds good to me," Linda said. "I don't care what my daddy says, Jerry. I love you!"

"I love you, too, Linda. That's why we should elope. We both love each other so much, we couldn't stand it if we were forced apart by my best friend or your father."

"Exactly. Let's go."

Jerry and Linda raced down the staircase and out to the garage. Jerry opened the trunk of his car and he and Linda put their suitcases in. Then they got into the car and were off.

"How long do you think it'll take us to get to Las Vegas?" Linda asked.

"Maybe a few hours," Jerry replied. "If we take the freeway. And don't worry about traffic. There's usually not much this time of night. If I'm doing my math right, we oughta be in Vegas by . . . . . . between eleven and twelve."

"Do you have money with you?"

"Plenty. Since we want to get married tonight, we can't do anything fancy, like have a themed wedding. We just need to get a marriage license, and find a chapel that specializes in spur of the moment weddings."

Linda laughed. She turned on the radio and just relaxed, not worrying what her father was going to say about this. She didn't care. Neither did Jerry. By eleven forty-five, the couple had drove into the Las Vegas city limits. They had to get some necessities before they could find a chapel. Neither of them had brought any formal wear with them, so they had to do some quick shopping. Jerry bought a plain gray suit, nothing fancy. Linda had found a white, sleeveless minidress, white gloves, and white high heels. Once the two of them got their clothes, they went to a jewelers to get the rings. They bought two plain gold bands. Then they made a mad dash to the courthouse for the marriage license. They were able to get that without any hitches. Then, they found a chapel that specialized in those spur of the moment weddings. Jerry parked the car, and he and Linda walked inside.

"Looks like another elopement," a man said.

"How could you tell?" Jerry asked.

"Sometimes, it's obvious. I see you two forgot something in the planning."

"What could we forget? We've got a license, we've got the rings . . . . ."

"What's a wedding without flowers?"

Jerry didn't even think of that. He figured no florist would be open at that time of night. But the man said it happened all the time, and the chapel always had flowers on hand. They managed to make a bouquet of white roses for Linda. They also gave her a wrist corsage, made of a white carnation, and a white rosebud. They gave Jerry a matching boutonniere. Within minutes, the two of them were all set. They had given their names to the man, who passed them on to the minister.

"All right," the minister said. "Let's get these two married! Hilda, start the music."

Hilda proceeded to play the ol' wedding march on the organ. Jerry and Linda came down the aisle. The minister folded her hands (yes, there are women ministers in the world, for those of you who might not be aware of that), and started the ceremony.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to join this couple in holy matrimony," she said. "If anybody here thinks these two should not be married, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."

The chapel was empty, so obviously, nobody could say anything!

"Okay, let's get to the good stuff," the minister said. "Do you, Jerry, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, to love, honor, and obey, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live?"

"I do," Jerry said.

"All right," the minister said. "Do you, Linda, take this man to be your lawful wedded husband, to love, honor, and obey, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"

"I do," Linda said.

"Okay, give me the rings," the minister said. Jerry pulled the rings out of his pocket and handed them to the minister. She handed one of them back to him.

"Now, Jerry," she said. "Take the ring, place it on Linda's finger and repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed."

"With this ring, I thee wed," Jerry said, sliding the gold band on Linda's finger. The minister gave the other ring to Linda.

"Okay, Linda," she said. "Take the ring, place it on Jerry's finger, and repeat. With this ring, I thee wed."

"With this ring, I thee wed," Linda said, sliding the other gold band on Jerry's finger.

"Very good," the minister said. "By the power vested in me by the state of Nevada, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

Jerry kissed Linda, and the two of them were officially married. They left the chapel and went out to the car. The parking lot was practically empty. Jerry turned on the radio. Mel Carter's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" was just starting. He looked at Linda and smiled. Linda smiled back, and the two of them danced to that song in the parking lot.

"I wish this could last forever," Linda said.

"Me too," Jerry replied.

Once the song was over, they got into the car and drove to the nearest hotel. There was no way Jerry was going to drive back to California that night. The nearest hotel happened to be Caesar's Palace, and they were lucky enough to get a room.

"We're only here one night," Jerry said. "So let's make this one night magic."

"How do you plan to do that?" Linda asked.

Jerry waved his eyebrows up and down and opened his suitcase. He pulled out a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne.

"While you were busy trying to find a make-shift wedding dress, I went and bought the champagne," he said. He took two glasses and filled them. "Don't worry, it's non-alcoholic. I promised myself I wouldn't get you drunk until you were twenty-one."

"You're sweet," Linda said, as Jerry handed her a glass. "What should we drink to?"

"Hmmm . . . . . how about the start of our lives together?"

"Okay."

Linda and Jerry clinked glasses, and drank. Linda kicked off her high heels and sat down on the bed. She gave Jerry an inviting look. Jerry smiled, and walked over to the other side of the bed, taking off his suit jacket. Linda leaned up to him, and loosened his tie.

"Unzip me, would you?" she asked.

"Sure," Jerry said, unzipping the dress.

Linda giggled. Jerry threw his tie on the floor and then unbuttoned his shirt. Linda stood up and pulled the covers down from the bed. Then she gave Jerry a look that simply said "Come hither."

"I love it when you look at me like that," Jerry said, walking over to the bed. He took off his shoes and crawled into bed. Linda giggled and climbed in as well. Then she put her arms around Jerry's neck and kissed him.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you, too," Jerry replied, running his hands through her hair. The two of them began to kiss. They were really getting into it.

"I can just see the excuse note now," Jerry laughed as Linda stroked his hair. "Please excuse Linda from school today. She's on her honeymoon."

Linda cracked up, and kissed Jerry's ear. Then she moved to his cheek, and then his lips. Jerry ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her passionately. He took his finger and twirled it around a strand of her hair. Linda cuddled up close to him and kissed him again. As they were kissing, Jerry leaned over and turned off the lamp. Then the two of them really got into it.

The next morning, they woke up in each other's arms. Jerry enjoyed the feeling. He planted a light kiss on Linda's cheek. She smiled, and ran her hand through his dark brown hair.

"Good morning," she sang. "What are we going to do today?"

"Head back to LA," Jerry said. "I promised Reggie I'd be at his birthday bash at the studio on Monday."

"Oh, but it's only May ninth. Monday isn't for three days!"

"Yeah. Well, maybe we can spend one more day in Vegas."

Linda giggled, and kissed Jerry's cheek. After awhile, they finally got out of bed, got dressed, and left the room. They told the desk clerk that they planned on spending one more night in the room. Once that was arranged, the two of them went sight seeing. Jerry couldn't take Linda into the casinos, so he had to make due with checking out the other attractions.

"I hear Siegfried and Roy are pretty good," Linda said. "How 'bout we go do that?"

"You just want to see those white tigers they use," Jerry teased.

"So? I like cats. I like any kind of cat."

"Well, you want to see those white tigers, you're gonna see those white tigers. Come on."

Jerry took Linda's hand, and they found out where Siegfried and Roy's show was. As it turned out, the act didn't do much for either of them, but Linda enjoyed watching the tigers. Then, they went back to the hotel room for a goodnight's sleep (but before they did that, they had a little bit of fun, if you catch my drift). The next morning, they packed up their stuff, and headed for the car. Jerry had a lot to do before he could actually go face the others. Once he and Linda were back in Los Angeles, they began to scour the real estate section of the newspaper, in order to find a house. Jerry's apartment was too small for the both of them, and there was no way they could live at Linda's house! Jerry found one that interested him, and called up the real estate agent to look at the house that very day. The house was in the suburbs, close enough to the high school, but far enough away from the noise of the city.

"And the beauty of this house is that it's perfectly furnished," the real estate agent, Ms. Richards, said.

"Great, we won't have to buy new furniture," Linda said.

"Not unless you wanted to," Ms. Richards said.

"And it's just a quick car ride to all the schools?" Jerry asked.

"Yes, sir. It is," Ms. Richards continued. "And it's a nice neighborhood, too. Like something out of the nineteen fifties. I tell you, Mr. and Mrs. Blavat, this is the ideal home for a young, newlywed couple like yourselves."

"Well, sweetie, what do you think?" Jerry asked, turning toward Linda.

"This is perfect," Linda said. "We'll take it."

"Only if we can move in today," Jerry said.

"It's a deal. Just sign here," Ms. Richards said, taking out the necessary papers. Jerry signed them. Then she left. Linda was a bit worried.

"Don't couples usually have to take out a loan to get a house?" she asked.

"I make over twenty thousand dollars a year," Jerry replied, sitting on the couch. "Trust me, I can afford anything we want. And since I work in the afternoons, you can still go to school, and I'll do all the necessary housework. And you can even go to college."

"If I wanted. I've always dreamed of just being a housewife. I don't need a career."

Linda smiled and sat down on Jerry's lap. He put his arms around her and hugged her. She took his chin in her hand and kissed his lips. It looked like everything would work out for the best. Monday, May 12, came along. Jerry drove Linda to school and dropped her off.

"I'll pick you up at three," he said. "And then we'll head for the studio. That's when Reggie's party starts, since Fluey and his friends are coming. I'll see you then."

"Okay," Linda said, kissing Jerry goodbye. "Bye."

Jerry drove off. Linda walked through the doors and down the hallway. Fluey ran over to her.

"Hey, Linda! Wait up!" he called. "Where have you been? We heard you ran away from home."

"Oh, Daddy made me mad," Linda said. "But I've managed to find a place to stay."

"I hope it's not Jerry's apartment. You'd be cramped in there."

"No, it's not Jerry's apartment."

"That's good. Whatever happened between you and your dad must've been terrible, considering we haven't seen you in school since Wednesday."

"I was a little busy."

"Oh. I'll see you later, then."

Linda nodded and went to her locker. The entire day went on. Linda was paying better attention in class, and was doing better on tests. She signed all her papers "Linda Stanley Blavat" however. The teachers were a little confused at that, but they didn't do anything about it. Three o' clock came. Jerry was waiting outside, just like he said. Linda jumped into his car, and the two of them headed for the studio. At the studio, the party was already in full swing. Mike had realized he'd blown it.

"You know, I think my dad's been right the whole time," he said. "Look at him and Carole. They're years apart, but they're still in love, right?"

"Glad you see my point of view, Mike," Reggie said. "Love knows no age."

"Yeah. Once Jerry gets here, I'm gonna tell him that."

At that moment, Jerry and Linda arrived at the party. Linda went directly for her friends, while Jerry approached Mike and Reggie.

"Hey, guys," he said. "Happy birthday, Reg."

"Thanks," Reggie said. "Where've you been these past four days?"

"Out and about."

"Oh," Mike said. "Well, I'm glad you're here, Geat, 'cause I got somethin' to tell you."

"Another lecture?"

"No. I wanted to tell you I've been a real jerk lately. I mean, I don't know why I got so bent out of shape when I heard you were in love with Linda. After all, I met Phyllis when she was sixteen, and I was nineteen goin' on twenty, anyway. And then there's Dad and Carole. I finally realized that love knows no age, like what Lynn, Carole, Dad, and Reggie have been tellin' me all this time."

"Uh huh."

"So anyway, I guess I have to say that I don't have a problem with you and Linda datin' anymore. You can go on and date her if you want."

"Well, I'm glad you see it that way, Mike. But Linda and I are dating anymore."

"But you walked in with her, didn't you?"

"Well . . . . ."

Jerry looked down at the floor and held up his left hand. Mike grabbed his wrist and got a good look at his ring finger.

"What in the world is that?" he asked.

"A ring," Jerry said. Normally, Reggie and Mike wouldn't have been too shocked. Jerry does wear rings on various fingers. But this was the third finger on the left hand, and the ring was just a plain band of gold.

"That's not just a ring, Jer," Mike said, holding up his own left hand. "It's nearly identical to my ring. That's a weddin' ring."

"Jerry, you didn't," Reggie said.

"I did," Jerry said. "May eighth. Las Vegas, Nevada."

Reggie and Mike were speechless. Jerry half expected Mike to blow a gasket. Instead, he folded his arms across his chest, turned away, and sort of pouted.

"You're not mad at me, are you Mike?" Jerry asked.

"Of course I am!" Mike shouted.

"Mad I got married to Linda?"

"No, you're in love, and Captain Stanley's somewhat of a drill sergeant. I'm mad 'cause you said I could be best man at your weddin'!"

Jerry breathed of relief. Reggie smacked him in the arm. Mike laughed and gave Jerry a whack on the back.

"Well, I never thought it could happen, but it has," he said. "Congratulations, man."

"Thanks," Jerry said. "I'm just glad you're not sore at me."

"Nah, what could you do? I mean, I sent a shock through you, and I'm sorry I did that. But when I did that, I didn't think it was right for you two to be datin', but well . . . ."

"I know. Love knows no age."

"Right."

At that time, Linda was talking to Micky about something or another. Micky kept staring at her hand. He wasn't sure, but he thought he saw something glittering on her finger. Finally, he took hold of her hand and looked.

"Linda, what's this ring?" he asked.

"It's, uh, it's . . . ." Linda stammered.

"A band of gold. Linda, don't tell me it's a wedding ring!"

"Uhm . . . . ."

"Linda, you didn't!"

"Well . . . . ."

"You did. Oh man! Your father's gonna climb the wall!"

"Well . . . ."

"Hey, Micky Baby, relax," Mike said. "It's no big deal."

"No big deal?!" Micky shouted. "How can you say it's no big deal?! Jerry's twenty-six, Linda's sixteen, they're married, they probably already engaged in intercourse, and . . . . . . . . Micky Baby?"

"Boy, talk about your delayed reactions!"

"Chill a minute, Micky," Lynn said. "They're in love, and Cap won't let them see each other, and these two crazy kids would rather die than live without each other. So it makes sense. It's like Romeo and Juliet."

"Right," Jerry said. "Except for the taking poison part."

"I just hate to think what's gonna happen when Cap finds out," Micky said. "And if I know him, the fur is gonna fly."

Within minutes, the entire room knew that Jerry and Linda were married. Davy nearly had a heart attack upon hearing the news!

"The Geatah?! Married?!" he shouted. "Now I've 'eard everything!"

"Well, it's not the end of the world," Quacky said.

"Right," Reggie replied. "It'll be the end of the world when Davy gets married!"

The two of them laughed. It seems that the only one who wasn't optimistic about the marriage was Micky. And he was just worried about what Hank was going to say (or worse yet, do) when he found out about this! And he kept on worrying about it the next morning at the station!

"So how was Reggie's party?" Dan asked.

"Full of surprises," Micky said upon visiting the station. "Jerry and Linda came."

"Oh yeah? Where were they?"

"Las Vegas, Nevada. They eloped."

"They what?!"

"You heard me."

"Not that I blame them," T.J. said, coming into the room. "Any idiot could see they're in love with each other."

"T.J., shut up," Dan said. "Cap is gonna flip his lid once he hears this!"

"Well, you're in luck. Cap's not here yet. He hasn't been the same since his daughter ran away to get married."

"T.J., why in the world are you on their side? Don't you know Linda's sixteen and Jerry's twenty-six?"

"Don't you know love knows no age, Dan? Think about it."

Dan thought about it. That's when Hank walked in, and it looked like he hadn't slept in weeks! He sat down at the kitchen table.

"Coffee. Now!" he demanded. T.J. got him the coffee, and a mug.

"You know I saw Linda yesterday, Cap," Micky said.

"Oh thank god," Hank replied. "Wait a minute. She wasn't with Jerry Blavat, was she?"

"As a matter of fact, she was."

"If he hurt my baby, I'm gonna . . . . . ."

"No, Cap, I'm sure he didn't hurt her. In fact, she seemed very happy with him. She's been with him for four days, and they looked very happy together."

"Oh. Well, I guess I've been a little harsh. I mean, I was mad she was failing school, which is so unlike her. I'm going to find her after school, and tell her she can still date Jerry if she wants to."

"Uh, that's not very likely to happen, Cap."

"Why not?"

"Well . . . . ."

"They got married," T.J. said.

"THEY DID WHAAAAAAT????!!!!!" Hank screamed. He shot to his feet, and began storming around the station. "I'M GONNA KILL HIM! I'M GONNA KILL THAT NO GOOD ROTTEN DIRTY SON OF A TWIT!"

Micky, Dan, and T.J. ran for cover. Hank stormed over to the phone. He grabbed it, and punched in the buttons as hard as he could.

"Wh-what are you doing, Cap?" Dan asked, nervously.

"Calling my lawyer!" Hank shouted. "I need a restraining order on that boy right now! Now, you get out of here,"  he started pointing at Micky,  "and both of you give that darn lazy good for nothing mutt a bath!"

Micky saluted and quickly left the station while, Dan and T.J. didn't ask questions. They just got up and ran off. They stopped in the living room to find Henry, who wasn't on his usual perch.

"He finally got off the couch," Dan said.

"I bet he didn't go far," T.J. said. "The couch is his favorite spot."

Both of them heard whimpering from underneath the couch. T.J. bent down and looked.

"Here he is," he said. "Henry, what are you doing under there, boy?"

Henry just whimpered. It had been obvious that Hank scared the poor dog silly! Dan got him out from underneath the couch, and took him outside. They also talked Ned and Paul into giving them a hand with bathing the dog.

"What's wrong with Cap?" Ned asked.

"T.J. told him that his daughter and Jerry Blavat eloped," Dan said. "And now I think he's going to sue."

Ned and Paul looked at each other. They were glad they were staying out of this mess! After awhile, Hank hung up the phone and stormed outside. He was getting straight to the bottom of this if it was the last thing he did. The others saw the look on his face, and made room.

"Clean up the station, you twits!" he ordered. "I want it clean by the time I get back!"

"Yes sir!" Paul shouted, saluted. "Right away, sir!"

Hank went over to his car, got in, and slammed the door shut. Then he drove off down the street. Dan and T.J. looked at each other.

"Boy, he's steamed," Dan said.

"I don't think I'll let my daughter date until she's thirty!" T.J. shouted.

Hank went to the Springfield Apartments, thinking Jerry would be there. He ran into Reggie and grabbed him by the shirt collar.

"All right, where is he?!" he shouted.

"Gah!" Reggie choked.

"WHERE IS HE?!"

"If you let me go, I'll tell you! I can't breathe!"

"Oh, sorry."

Reggie rubbed his neck, and caught his breath. He had never seen anybody this ticked off before, not even Mike!

"I assume you're looking for Jerry," he said.

"Darn right I am, you twit!" Hank shouted.

"You like that word, don't you?"

"Yes. I admit I do. NOW WHERE'S BLAVAT?!"

"He moved out a couple of days ago. I don't know where he is now."

"Well, if you see him, you tell him I'm taking him to court!"

"What?!"

"Don't think I don't know that he and my little girl went to Las Vegas to get married! I want him away from my baby once and for all! You tell him that, Bushroot!"

Hank stormed out. Reggie got a nervous look on his face and dashed outside and jumped on his motorcycle. He had to get to the studio as fast as he could. Jerry was sitting there, going over a script with Mike.

"Jer, Captain Stanley knows you and Linda got married," he said.

"How'd he find out?" Jerry asked, nervously.

"Probably Micky told Dan or T.J. or somebody, and one of them told the cap," Mike said.

"He's hopping mad, Jerry," Reggie said. "He told me to tell you that he's taking this whole thing to court."

"What?!" Jerry shouted.

"You're not serious!" Mike yelled. He stood up and went to the phone.

"Who are you calling?" Reggie asked.

"Captain Stanley," Mike said. "I'm gonna settle this thing once and for all."

Mike punched in the numbers. Paul ended up picking up the phone.

"Dunbar, it's Nesmith," he said. "I need to talk to Stanley."

"I hope you know what you're getting yourself into, Mike," Paul said. "Cap's pretty sore."

"Yeah, I know. I'm aware of that, Paul. Just put him on. Unless he's not there."

"No, he's here. But I don't think he's gonna want to talk to you."

"Put him on or I'll drop a water bomb on you right now!"

"How are you gonna do that from Screen Gems?"

Mike snapped his fingers. A water balloon appeared in midair, right above Paul, and clobbered him in the head.

"I'll go get the cap for you," he said.

There was a slight pause. Mike drummed his fingers on the wall, waiting. Hank finally got to the phone.

"Stanley, Nesmith," Mike said. "I want to know what your problem is."

"Simple," Hank said. "Linda's sixteen. Blavat's twenty-six. Don't you think that's a little strange?"

"I did at first, but they're in love! Any fool could see it!"

"But they didn't have to go and get married!"

"They never would've gotten married if you didn't blow your stack at Linda, and if I hadn't blown my stack at Jerry! This is as much your fault as it is my fault!"

"How can it be my fault?! I'm her father!"

"You're too overprotective! Linda's not a little girl, and she's in love! If you hadn't forbidden her to see Jerry, they wouldn't have gotten married!"

"I don't care if you try and change my mind, Nesmith! I'm still requesting a restraining order!"

Hank slammed the phone down on the hook. All Mike heard was the dial tone. He growled and punched in another number.

"Now who are you calling?" Reggie asked.

"Steve," Mike replied. "If Captain Stanley wants to play hardball, I'll play right back."

Steve Phillips is Mike's lawyer. Mike told him the entire story, and he agreed to take the case.

"I'm a sucker for romance," he said.

"Good," Mike said. "See, what Captain Stanley wants to do is get a restrainin' order, forbiddin' Jerry to go near Linda, and the two are just crazy about each other."

"Yeah, I understand. I'd know true love if I saw it. Don't worry about a thing."

Mike hung up and turned to Reggie and Jerry. He threw them the thumb's up sign. Jerry left and went to the high school. It was during study hall, so he could talk to Linda without interrupting a class.

"Your dad found out," he said. "He's gonna take this to court, and he wants to put a restraining order on me."

"Oh no!" Linda groaned.

"Mike's got his lawyer on it. We'll probably do this on a Saturday or something."

"I hope Mike's lawyer is a good one. I don't think I could stand it if Daddy won!"

"Me neither. But we've got to hope for the best."

Linda nodded. She and Jerry kissed each other goodbye, and Jerry went back to the studio. Saturday rolled along. Jerry's hunch was right. That's when the group arrived at the courthouse, in order to get this mess straightened out. Hank and Christine sat in the plaintiff's booth, with a well dressed woman with chin length blond hair that seemed to be glued to her head! Mike, Jerry, Linda, and Steve were in the defendant's booth, waiting for something to happen. Steve looked over at Hank's lawyer and nearly choked.

"Oh no," he groaned.

"What's the matter?" Mike asked.

"That's Mary Pason! She's the best lawyer in this town! She's never lost a case!"

"I'm sunk," Jerry groaned.

"All rise!" the bailiff shouted. "Superior Court Number Twelve of California. The honorable Judge James Anders presiding."

Judge Anders stepped up to the platform. He banged his gavel on the desk. Everybody sat down.

"Stanley versus Blavat," he said. "Counselors, please state your cases."

"Thank you, your honor," Mary Pason said, standing up. "My client, Captain Hank Stanley, has been a good father for sixteen years. His daughter, Linda, met a disc jockey by the name of Jerry Blavat, who happens to be ten years older than her daughter. The two of them began to date, which caused a slippage in young Linda's grades. Captain Stanley confronted his daughter, and told her she could not go out with the alleged disc jockey anymore. As a result, Linda Stanley ran away from home and eloped with the twenty-six-year-old Casanova."

"I bet Captain Stanley told her to say that," Mike whispered. Steve stood up.

"Your honor," he said. "The only reason Linda Stanley ran away from home was because she honestly and truly loves my client, Jerry Blavat. And he loves her. The two of them couldn't stand to be apart. It wasn't an act of rebellion from Miss Stanley, and it wasn't an act of sexual pleasure from Mr. Blavat. On the night of May eighth, Linda Stanley and Jerry Blavat went to Las Vegas to get married, only because they loved each other so much, they wanted to spend their lives together, and they knew that Captain Stanley would never give them his blessings. It was an act of true love."

Steve sat down and gave Mary Pason a Look. Pason looked at him and narrowed her eyes. Judge Anders was silent for a minute.

"Captain Stanley, you wish to request a restraining order?" he asked.

"Yes your honor," Hank said, standing up. "I don't want my sixteen-year-old daughter anywhere near that corrupt, loud-mouth, no taste, big toothed, badly dressed disc jockey!"

"Objection your honor!" Steve shouted.

"To what, Mr. Phillips?" Judge Anders asked.

"To the plaintiff calling my client names!"

"Sustained. There plaintiff will refrain from calling the defendant names."

"All right," Hank said. "But I still don't want him near her."

"May I hear your side of the story, Captain?" Judge Anders asked.

"Of course, your honor. I'm merely a father looking out for my little girl's best interest. She should be dating someone her own age. Jerry Blavat is ten years older than my daughter. They may call it love, but I know better. It can't be love! Sixteen is too young to fall in love. And many men get infatuated by younger girls. This is strictly what is happening here, and they have no right to be married."

"Mr. Blavat, what are your views on this?" Judge Anders asked. Mike stood up.

"If I may, your honor," he said. "Mr. Blavat wishes for me to speak for him."

"Proceed."

"Thank you. In the beginnin', I thought it was a bad idea, but then I realized that my wife, Phyllis, was sixteen when we met, and I was almost twenty. Then, when I was twenty-one, I married her, and she was seventeen. Then my father, who's forty-seven, married Carole Parkington, who is twenty-two. They are twenty-five years apart."

"What is the point of all this, Mr. Nesmith?"

"That love knows no age. If two people are enough in love, then they should get married and spend their lives together. Jerry and Linda may be destined to be together, too. But nobody is willin' to give those two a chance. I mean, anybody can see that they love each other so much, they couldn't bear it if they were driven apart. I know, your honor, if you'll look into your heart, you'll see the point I'm tryin' to make here. I always say that love is power. And it's the strongest power in the world. Nothin' on this earth can destroy love. That's all I'm sayin'."

Mike sat down. Steve gave him a pat on the shoulder.

"Nice speech," he said.

"I'll have to think about this," Judge Anders said. "Court will recess until an hour from now. Then I will have my decision."

Judge Anderson banged his gavel and stepped down. Mike looked at Linda and Jerry with a hopeful look on his face.

"You two just may have a chance," he said.

"I hope so," Linda said, holding Jerry's hand.

"I'll have you know you're wasting your time, Phillips," Mary Pason said, walking over. "I never lose a case."

"Oh, stuff it, Pason," Steve said.

Pason walked off, her high heels clacking with every step. There was something about her Mike didn't like. An hour later, Judge Anders returned to the courtroom, stepped up to the platform, and banged the gavel on the desk.

"After giving this serious thought, I have made my decision," he said. "Mr. Nesmith, and Captain Stanley, please step forward."

Mike and Hank stood up and approached the platform. Judge Anders folded his hands.

"Mr. Nesmith, you provided me with a very persuasive argument," he said. "I happen to agree with you. Love is the strongest power there is. It's more powerful than anything."

"Thank you, your honor," Mike said, looking smug.

"Cross your fingers, guys," Steve said. Jerry crossed his fingers, as did Linda.

"However," Judge Anders continued. "I have decided to rule in favor of Captain Stanley, considering his daughter is only sixteen years old. Captain Stanley, I grant your request for a restraining order against Mr. Jerry Blavat. Mr. Blavat is to stay away from Linda Stanley at all times. He may not communicate with her in person, or over the phone. Case dismissed, court adjourned."

Judge Anders banged his gavel on the desk. Hank threw Mike a smug look. Both Linda and Jerry were crushed.

"I told you I never lose a case, Phillips," Mary Pason said, and she packed up her paperwork and clacked out of the courtroom. Steve stifled the urge to throw the pitcher of water that was sitting on the desk at her. Hank walked over to Linda and took her hand.

"Come on, Linda," he said. "Time to go home."

"No, wait!" Linda shouted. "Can't I at least say goodbye?"

"We have to go now, honey. Come on."

Linda was ready to scream. In fact, she did. Hank practically had to drag her out of the courtroom. Christine just followed her husband and daughter in silence. Jerry just stood there, mouth hanging open. He felt his heart shattering into a million pieces.

"Linda!" he screamed, and then started running after the Stanleys. They were already in their car, and ready to drive off. Jerry ran after them, but Mike grabbed his arm before he could reach the street.

"Whoa, hold it a sec, Jer!" he shouted. Jerry squirmed to get out of Mike's grip, screaming Linda's name at the top of his lungs over and over again.

"Jerry, calm down a little," Steve said. "There's nothing I can do about this, man. The judge's decision was final."

"This can't be happening!" Jerry shouted. He stopped squirming as he watched the car disappear over a hill. He caught his breath, and dropped to his knees. Then he let out an ear piercing shriek, buried his face in his hands and began to cry uncontrollably. Mike stared at him in shock.

"Man, I've never seen him like this," he said.

"Can't blame him, though," Steve said. Then he sighed. "Jerry, really, I'm sorry."

Jerry didn't answer. He was too broken up. Mike pulled him to his feet.

"Come on, Jer," he said. "Calm down a little, okay?"

"No!" Jerry sobbed. "I don't want to calm down! I want Linda!"

There was nothing Mike could do about it. He just took Jerry down to the studio. The others wanted to know the outcome of the case. When they saw Mike and Jerry, they already knew what had happened.

"That bad, huh?" Reggie asked.

"The worst," Mike said. "The judge ruled in Captain Stanley's favor, only because of Linda's age. He couldn't care less if love is power or not."

"Jerry, ah you gonna be okay, mate?" Davy asked. Jerry wiped the tears from his eyes with his sleeve and looked at Davy.

"Probably not for awhile, Davy," he said. "I guess I'll talk to you later or something."

Jerry walked into one of the dressing rooms and shut the door. Davy was about to go after him, but Mike put his hand on his shoulder.

"No, Davy," he said. "Let him alone for awhile."

"But 'e . . . ." Davy started.

"Just let him go. He wants to be alone."

"All right."

Jerry spent the rest of the day holed up in the dressing room, his heart breaking into pieces. He felt as if Captain Stanley ripped his heart out and danced the flamenco on it. He couldn't understand why he didn't see that he and Linda were in love. Linda wasn't a barrel of monkeys herself. She had been wailing hysterically since they left the courthouse! The family happened to be at a restaurant, celebrating the victory. Linda was practically screeching.

"Come on, angel," Hank said. "It's not the end of the world!"

"Then how come it feels like it?!" Linda cried. Many of the patrons were staring at them.

"But honey . . . . . everybody's staring at us," Hank said.

"I don't care!"

Hank looked around. Nearly everybody was staring at them. Hank grinded his teeth and looked at his daughter.

"Linda, please," he said through gritted teeth. "You're embarrassing Daddy. Now stop that. Chris, help me out here."

"Hey, you're on your own, pal," Christine said. "I don't want to make my daughter's life miserable."

"You're the meanest daddy in the entire world!" Linda wailed. "I hate you, Daddy! I hate you!"

Now that caused the patrons to murmur to themselves. If Hank was embarrassed before, this was beyond embarrassed!

"We'll be waiting in the car," Christine said, taking Linda's hand. "Come on, baby."

Linda and Christine started to walk out of the restaurant. An older woman stopped them.

"What's the matter over there?" she asked.

"It's nothing," Christine said. "My husband just took my daughter's boyfriend to court, and put a restraining order on him. He dissolved contact between the two of them, and they're too much in love with each other."

A shocked look came over the woman's face, and she turned to Hank. She shook her head in disgust at him. Then she told her husband, who told the couple sitting behind them. They told the couple at the table next to them, who told the family next to them. Pretty soon, it was all over the restaurant.

"Check please!" Hank groaned, raising his hand. The waitress came, and gave him the check. He paid it, stood up, and left. The people just looked at him, and shook their heads.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" the older woman shouted.

"Imagine, forbidding his daughter to see her boyfriend, even though they're in love!" her husband shouted.

"You brute!" another woman yelled.

"I'd never treat my children like that!" her husband shouted.

"What a creep!" a teenage girl shouted.

"You jerk!" her boyfriend called out.

The entire restaurant began yelling at him just then. Hank ignored all of them. A little baby sensed all that was going on, and flung a spoonful of mashed peas at him. They hit him right between the eyes. He growled, and stormed out of the restaurant. He got into his car and drove off. Christine stared at him.

"What's that on your face?" she asked.

"Mashed peas," Hank said. "Some baby threw them at me."

"Good for the baby," Linda said.

Hank ignored her. Monday at school, Linda was practically lost in a fog. She wasn't screaming anymore, but she was still upset, and it was pretty easy to see. Everybody knew what had been going on, and the kids stared at her. A bunch of jerks pointed and laughed at her.

"Hey, Mrs. Blavat!" one called out. "Is Daddy making you get a divorce?"

Linda ignored all of them. The snobby girls kept whispering to themselves, and every so often, they pointed at Linda and giggled. Her friends thought that was just plain terrible.

"Why don't they just leave her alone?" Laurie asked.

"Because they're air heads," Shawna said.

Lunch time rolled around. Kids passed Linda's table, and giggled at her. The others didn't do much of anything, except shoot them all dirty looks.

"Are you all right?" Multi asked.

"What do you think, Multi?" Linda asked.

"I think this is eating at you like a pig come to supper," Fluey said.

"That's the dumbest thing I ever heard," Erin said, coming over to the table.

Fluey gave her a Look and went back to his lunch. Linda basically drummed her fingers against the table. The others showed up after a few minutes. Not one of them could find a thing to talk about. Fluey tapped his foot nervously. Multi banged his eraser on the table. Keith happened to be eating potato chips and he was crunching on them loudly. Shawna was sucking Coca-Cola through a straw, and doing it noisily. But nobody was talking that was for sure! Shawn finally spoke up, trying to change the subject.

"The prom's coming up," she said. "You guys going?"

"Yeah," Shawna said. And that was it. They didn't want to talk about who was going with who in front of Linda.

"I managed to talk Uncle Peter into performing," Fluey said. "Actually, The Monkees and Camille's group, Elusive Butterfly, are gonna be performing. You know they've been doing Shangri-Las stuff."

"Uh oh," Erin said. "Better tell them to lay off the Shangri-Las at the dance if Linda's going."

"Oh yeah."

Fluey forgot for a moment that most of the Shangri-Las songs usually dealt with breaking up and all the other sad parts of life. Or at least the ones he knew, anyway. They hit another lull. Lucky for them, the bell rang, to bail them out.

"Saved by the bell," Keith said, breathing of relief.

Screen Gems wasn't that much a hive of activity as well. Mike kept watching Jerry. He gathered Fluey, Multi, Shawn, Erin, Keith, and Laurie to give them an update.

"I'm startin' to get worried," he said. "He won't talk to anybody, he won't do his radio show, he's even refusin' to eat. This is hittin' him hard, but I'm not sure how hard. I'm afraid he might make himself sick."

"I don't blame him," Laurie said. "Captain Stanley practically ruined his life."

"I saw Linda in the library today," Multi said. "And it's easy to see that she's upset, too. Especially with the prom coming up."

"Has anyone asked her to the prom?" Keith asked.

"Laurie Partridge told me that this guy, Del Masters, asked her to go," Multi said. "Just to be nice."

"I talked to Del," Shawn said. "And he did ask her. He knows her heart belongs to Jerry, but he was just trying to add a little fun in her life."

"That's nice of him," Mike said. "I don't know how Jerry's gonna take it, but at least there's no romance between Del and Linda."

The next morning, Sarah dropped by the studio on the way to school. They found Jerry sitting in a director's chair, propped up on his elbow, staring into space. He never looked so miserable in his entire life. Mike walked over to them.

"He's been like that since Saturday," he said.

"I know what will cheer him up," Sarah said, holding up a plate full of cookies. "I I made him some of my grandmother's cookies for him."

"Good thinkin'," Mike said. "Those cookies of yours are impossible to resist. You have to be the best cookie baker in LA."

Sarah nodded and she and Mike walked over towards Jerry. They noticed his attire for that day: a bright green shirt. He had been wearing a lot of green lately.

"Nice shirt, Jer," Mike said. "You look good in green."

"Green's Linda's favorite color," Jerry said, in somewhat of a depressed monotone.

"Uh, I baked you some cookies, Jerry," Sarah said, holding the plate towards the melancholy DJ. Jerry just shook his head.

"No thanks," he said.

"Come on, Jer," Mike said. "Get out of this deep blue funk you're in. And you know you can't resist Sarah's cookies."

"Bet they taste like paint," Jerry replied.

Sarah looked a little insulted, but Mike cleared his throat and put his hand on her shoulder.

"Don't get insulted," he said. "He gets these sudden outbursts every now and again."

"Come on, Jer," Davy said, taking the plate from Sarah. "'Ave a cookie, mate. You 'aven't eaten anything in three days!"

"I'm not hungry," Jerry replied.

"Jerry, if you'll just . . . ." Mike started. Jerry jumped up and smacked the plate right out of Davy's hands. The cookies fell to the floor and crumbled into pieces, followed by the plate, which also smashed into pieces.

"For the last time," Jerry said, voice growing shaky. "I don't want any cookies, I'm not hungry, so leave me alone!"

Jerry stormed off after that. He leaned against the wall, and sighed. Davy, Mike, and Sarah just stared at him.

"Poor Jerry," Sarah said.

"I know," Davy said. "'E'd bettah break out of this soon. 'E looks 'alf stahved."

"I know, but there's not much we can do," Mike said.

Mike and Davy just looked at Jerry, leaning against the wall. He was gripping the front of his shirt, and had his hand to his head, like he was in the middle of running it through his hair.

"'E looks awful," Davy said. "Poor fellah."

"What becomes of the brokenhearted," Mike said. "Ever since I heard that song, I've always wanted to know the answer to that question. Now I know, and I wish I didn't."

Davy nodded. He looked over at Jerry, and sighed. He had no idea what Jerry was going through, but it was more serious than anybody seemed. He was suffering a broken heart. Since the disaster at the courthouse, the heartache grew stronger each day. Jerry could barely take the pain he felt. He stopped eating because of that. He wore Linda's favorite color every day, as if it could ease the pain of his breaking heart. It didn't. It seemed to make the pain more, since he thought about her night and day. He cried himself to sleep nearly every night. His eyes became red and swollen. The others weren't sure what to do about it. They all had tried attempts to cheer him up, but none of them worked. He rode his bicycle by Linda's house every morning, in hopes to catch a glimpse of her leaving for school. But every time the door would open and she would come out, Hank would be right behind her, and he'd have to take off. By Friday, it all came crashing down. Jerry still refused food. He listened to his copy of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" non-stop. The others were growing more and more concerned.

"I don't think he's doing well," Bob said.

"There's the understatement of the year," Micky said. "What do you suspect we do about it, Sherlock Nesmith?"

"I don't know," Mike said. "This is somethin' even magic won't fix. Captain Stanley's got a court order, and I can't appeal it right now. Jerry's in no condition to show up in court."

"So all we can do is just stand here and watch the heartache and pain eat away at him?" Camille asked.

"Until I can think of somethin' better," Mike said.

The others sighed. Jerry stood up from his perch and proceeded to walk around the studio, sort of aimlessly. He hadn't been sleeping well. Nightmares of Hank flooded all his dreams. Once or twice, he had stayed up the entire night and watched the late movie on TV. At that moment, he was on his way to the Writer's office to see if she had a new script in the works. He was about halfway there when he stopped. Mike ran over to him. He sensed something was wrong. Really wrong.

"Jer, are you all right?" he asked. "I mean, aside from the obvious."

Jerry didn't answer. He just raised his hand to his chest, and gripped his shirt. He let out a moan, and sunk to his knees. Mike knelt down next to him.

"Jerry!" he shouted. "Man, are you okay?!"

Jerry had only about an ounce of strength left in him. He moaned again, closed his eyes, and collapsed. Mike caught him before he could hit the ground. The others looked on, shocked. Micky and Reggie ran over to the scene.

"Is he all right?" Reggie asked.

"I don't think so," Mike answered. Micky put his hand on Jerry's forehead.

"Hey, I think he may have a fever!" he shouted. Mike put his hand on Jerry's forehead, once Micky took his off.

"I think you're right," he said. "I'm gonna take him to Rampart. They may know how to deal with heartsickness, 'cause I don't!"

Mike lifted Jerry off the ground and carried him to his car. Micky and Reggie looked at each other, shocked. Mike nearly broke the sound barrier on his way to Rampart. He dashed to the front desk where Dixie and Dr. Brackett were standing.

"I need a wheelchair, or a stretcher, or somethin'," Mike said.

"What's wrong?" Dr. Brackett asked.

"It's Jerry. This whole thing with Captain Stanley and Linda is really tearin' him apart. He hasn't been sleepin', he's refusin' food, and he just collapsed at the studio. He's in my car right now, and I think he may have a fever or somethin'."

"Dixie get a room ready right away. Mike, lead the way to your car!"

"You're not gonna take him to an examinin' room, doc?"

"I don't need to. I can tell you what's wrong with him right here and now without examining him!"

"I have a hunch I know what you're gonna say."

Dr. Brackett called in two orderlies, and told them to prepare a gurney. He, Mike, and the orderlies ran out to Mike's car, and put Jerry on the gurney, and wheeled him into the hospital. They took him up to a room, and hooked him up to various machines. Dr. Brackett then took one of those new thermometers, placed the tip in Jerry's ear, and pressed the button on top. He kept it there for about five seconds. Then he pulled it out and looked at the results.

"There's this old expression, Mike," he said. "Dying of a broken heart. And that's the situation here."

"Somehow, I knew you were gonna tell me that, doc," Mike said. "Is he gonna be okay?"

"Hard to tell. He's got a very high fever. And besides which, a broken heart is nearly impossible to mend. Also, his spirit is very weak. If we can't get this boy to cheer up and soon . . . . ."

"Don't go on, doc. I know what you mean."

"I'd like to kill Hank. This is all his fault!"

"I had a slight hand in it, too. If I hadn't been so sore about Jerry datin' a younger girl, he and Linda would never have eloped, and then Captain Stanley wouldn't have taken this whole matter to court, and Jerry would be fine now."

"This isn't your fault, Mike. The elopement was maybe partly your fault, but this isn't."

Mike nodded, and sighed. Dr. Brackett patted his shoulder, as to reassure him. Both of them were worried. They went down to the lounge for some coffee. They ran into Dan and T.J., who were about ready to sign out.

"Hey doc," T.J. said. "Mike, what are you doing here?"

"I had to bring Jerry in," Mike replied.

"Not doing good, huh?" T.J. asked.

"Worse than you think. You know the sayin' dyin' of a broken heart?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, that's Jerry."

"Oh geez."

Dan and T.J. looked at each other. They looked at Dr. Brackett. He looked ready to kill someone, namely Hank.

"We're holding the captain responsible if anything happens," Mike explained. "Do me a favor and give him a message."

Mike snapped his fingers and a test tube appeared in his hand. He stuck his finger inside, and transferred some of his magic into it. Then he corked it, and handed it to Dan.

"Tell him to open that," he said.

"Will do," Dan said. "Listen, is there anything we can do Mike?"

"Well, we've got to try to cheer Jerry up and bring his fever down at all costs. If you can think of a way that may make him feel a little better, let us know."

"You got it."

Dan and T.J. left, sort of in shock about the entire thing. T.J. drove back to the station, as calmly as he could, but Dan was incensed. He agreed it was Hank's fault that Jerry was in the hospital with a broken heart. He didn't see it before, but now he saw that Jerry and Linda were madly in love. They had been forced apart, and Jerry just couldn't stand it anymore. Plus Hank was telling them Linda was making a big scene everywhere she went with him, and Christine wouldn't help him get her to stop crying and screaming and carrying on.

"His wife's not doing anything to help Linda's hissy fits," T.J. said, as he and Dan climbed out of the ambulance. "I talked to her, and she told me that she wants to let the whole world see how miserable he's making his daughter."

"I know," Dan said. "I hope he's here, I can't wait to give him Mike's little message!"

"What's going on out here?" Hank asked, coming into the garage. Dan decided to curb his temper for the time being.

"We just came from Rampart," he said. "Here's the latest news, Cap. Mike Nesmith had to check Jerry in as a patient. He's entered Heartbreak Hotel, and badly."

"Is it serious?"

"You know the saying dying of a broken heart?"

"Hmmm."

"Oh by the way. Mike wanted me to give you something. Here, open it."

Dan gave Hank the test tube, and then left. T.J. followed him, giving Hank a disgusted look. Hank shook his head, and pulled the cork out of the test tube. Magic flew out and zapped Hank. When the smoke cleared, he was burnt to a crisp.

"Obviously, Nesmith's holding me responsible for this," he said.

"What was your first clue, Cap?" T.J. asked.

"Wilcox, you and Jacobs go clean the latrine!"

"It's been cleaned already, Cap!"

"Do it again, you twit!"

T.J. groaned, and shook his head. Then he and Dan headed over to the latrine. Mad or not, they still had to follow Hank's orders. Hank in the meantime, went into his office and called his house. Linda picked up the phone.

"Hi, princess, it's Daddy," Hank said.

"Goodbye, Father," Linda said, ready to hang up.

"Honey, don't hang up the phone. I want to tell you something."

"What?"

"I just heard they had to take Jerry to Rampart."

"What?! What's wrong with him?!"

"I'm not sure, but I have reason to believe it's heartsickness."

"Oh Daddy! His heart's broken, and it's all your fault!"

"Linda, honey . . . . ."

"He's dying, and there's nothing I can do about it! You won't let me see him!"

"Linda, angel! Sugar pie, listen to me!"

"If he dies, I'll never forgive you!"

"But princess!"

With that, Linda slammed the phone on the hook. Hank just groaned and hung up himself. Now Linda was even more angry with him than before! But he was sure he did the right thing by keeping them apart. It was just a matter of time before she got over Jerry, he was sure of it.

A week went by. Mike spent most of it at Rampart. He kept going in and out of the room. The others dropped by every now and again.

"How's it going?" Micky asked.

"Not good," Mike said, massaging his forehead. "He's extremely sick. I'm doin' my best to bring his fever down, but nothin's workin'. Jerry needs to be cheered up, but I can't think of a way to do it."

"How about I do my impression of the inevitable James Cagney?"

"Micky, that never works!"

"How about I do my impression of Fred Astaire doing his impression of the inevitable James Cagney?"

"Micky . . . . ."

Micky cracked his knuckles, and then started imitating James Cagney.

"All right, you dirty rat!" he shouted. "I'm gonna get you, you dirty rat!"

Then Micky began to tap dance a little. Mike groaned and swatted him upside the head.

"Micky, that doesn't work," he said. "We need Lynn. If anybody can get a sad patient to cheer up, it's her."

"Right," Micky said. "Lynn always says laughter is the best medicine."

Mike and Micky found Lynn and asked her to do a little comedy routine for Jerry. This was the sort of thing she lived for.

"A command performance!" she shouted. "My public awaits!"

Lynn began to tap dance down the hall and into another room. Micky and Mike followed. Lynn came out with a model skeleton. Then she wheeled it to the elevator and went up to Jerry's room with Micky and Mike behind her.

"Okay, men, introduce me," Lynn said. Mike and Micky shrugged and walked into the room. Mike walked over to Jerry, grabbed his shoulder, and shook him.

"Come on, Jer," he said. "Wake up, ol' buddy."

"What, Mike?" Jerry groaned.

"We've got somethin' to show you. Now, Mick."

"And now presenting, for your viewing pleasure," Micky said. "The Queen of Hospital Horseplay, Dr. Lynn Dova!"

"Yah-dah-dah-dah da-dah, yah-dah-dah-dah da-dah, yah-dah-dah-dah-dah da-dahh-aahhh!" Lynn sang, tap dancing into the room. "Hello, ladies and germs!"

"There are only us three guys in the room, Lynn," Jerry said.

"A mere technicality," Lynn said.

For about half an hour, Lynn did a comedy routine that would rival Laurel and Hardy. Of course, Jerry was unimpressed by the whole thing, even though Mike and Micky were hysterical at what Lynn was doing, as were some other doctors, nurses, and orderlies.

"Lynn," Jerry said, finally. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I guess I'm just not in the mood."

Lynn sighed, shrugged, and left. Mike, Micky, Dr. Brackett, and the others began clearing out.

"It was a good try, Mike," Dr. Brackett said. "I guess Lynn's sense of humor is no match for a broken heart."

"I think he snapped when she started doin' Heartbreak Hotel," Mike said. Then he sighed. "I don't know what else to do with him."

A few days went by. Jerry grew worse by the hour. All he did was sleep. Mike staid with him night and day. Davy came into the room one day.

"Mike, I think you need a break," he said. "I'll watch Jerry for awhile."

"I could use some coffee," Mike said, standing up. "See if you can cheer him up a little, Davy."

"If Lynn couldn't do it, I don't think I'll be able to do it."

Mike sighed and left the room. Davy clicked his tongue against his teeth, and looked at Jerry. He looked completely miserable, worse than at the studio. Davy dipped a cloth in a bucket of ice water that was laying on the floor and laid it across Jerry's forehead, in an attempt to try and bring the fever down.

"I know I wouldn't say this to you normally, Jerry," he said. "But you've got to snap out of it. There ah plenty of othah girls in town. Maybe I can fix you up with one of me old girlfriends."

Davy didn't get a response. He wasn't even sure if Jerry could hear him.

"Can you 'ear me?" he asked. "If you can, let me know. 'Ow about it? Want me to fix you up with one of me old girlfriends? Give me a sign."

"Mmmph," Jerry moaned. "Lindaaaa . . . . ."

"I'll take that as a no."

Mike returned to the room, holding a cup of coffee.

"How's it goin'?" he asked.

"Not good," Davy said. "I think 'e's delirious."

"Hmm. He'd better start improvin' soon. I talked to Dr. Brackett while I was gettin' some coffee. He said if Jerry doesn't snap out of this soon, he may just . . . ."

"Don't say it. I know what you mean."

"There's not much time left for him, either."

Davy sighed and left the hospital. Another week went by. Jerry's fever kept increasing, despite the efforts to bring it down. Friday rolled around. It was the night of Carson High School's prom. Dr. Brackett was checking Jerry's blood pressure when Mike walked into the room, wearing a black tuxedo. Not only was he part of the entertainment, he was also chaperoning.

"Well, Mike," Dr. Brackett said. "You look nice. What's the occasion?"

"The Monkees are performin' at the high school's prom," Mike answered. "And not only that, I'm also a chaperone."

"Well, you look very good, I must say."

"Yeah, thanks. I've decided not to go, anyway."

"What?"

"Not with Jerry stuck here. No way."

"Mike, you've been cooped up in this hospital room for two entire weeks. You need to have a little fun here."

"This is not gonna be much fun, doc. I mean, as far as I know, Linda Stanley's goin', and she's gonna be a mess if we play the wrong thing. Plus I'll be worryin' about Jerry all night."

"Well, don't. I'll call you at the school if there are any changes. Besides, you don't seem like the 'all dressed up and no place to go' type."

Mike laughed and agreed. He drove over to the school. Davy, Micky, and Peter were already there, as were Camille, Sarah, and Phyllis. The Monkees were waiting for Mike to show up so they could launch into their theme song.

"Remember, girls," he said. "No Shangri-Las stuff."

"Okay, but you owe us big time," Camille said. "Because we really wanted to perform some of their stuff."

Mike nodded, and the Monkees picked up their instruments and launched into "Hey, Hey We're the Monkees" followed by "Last Train to Clarksville." They decided to skip "I'm A Believer." After a few more songs by the Monkees, they took a break and Elusive Butterfly performed a few of those old classic Girl Group songs. Mike walked around the gym, watching all the kids dance with their dates. Fluey saw him, and ran over. "Mike, I'm glad I found you," he said. "The pay phone outside was ringing before we came in, and I picked it up. Dr. Brackett's on the other end, he wants to talk to you. I think it's about Jerry."

"Oh, thanks," Mike said, and he ran out of the gym. Linda, who was hanging out in a corner of the room saw him, and followed him. Del saw her go, and followed.

"Hi, doc," Mike said. "Fluey told me you wanted to talk."

"Yeah, I have news," he said. "But it's not good."

"Oh god, don't tell me Jerry . . . ."

"No. No, he didn't. He's just taken a turn for the worse. His temperature's gone up, his blood pressure's very low, and his pulse is very weak."

"Not much time left, huh?"

"We may have to prepare for the worst."

"You know what, doc? I've had it. I've had it, I'm sick of this. I'm bringin' Linda over there, and I don't care what Captain Stanley's gonna do. This is just ridiculous!"

Mike hung up the phone and turned around. He saw Linda standing there in front of him.

"Hi," she said.

"Am I glad to see you, Linda," Mike said. He took her hand. "You and I have to get to Rampart now. This your date?"

"Yeah," Linda said. "Mike, this is Del, Del, this is Mike."

"Del, I need you to do me a favor," Mike said. "Go inside, tell Phyllis or anybody up there on the bandstand that Linda and I went to Rampart General Hospital, and they should improvise without me, and tell the girls they can do anythin' by the Shangri-Las while we're gone. Explain to them that it's an emergency."

"All right," Del said, and he ran back into the gym.

Mike and Linda took off for Rampart. Once they got there, they dashed down the hall, to the elevator (Mike jet propelled the thing to make it go faster), raced down the hallway and into Jerry's room.

"That was fast," Dr. Brackett said.

"We left right away," Mike replied. "I hope we're not too late."

"No, you just made it. He's still alive, but I don't know for how long."

Linda took a deep breath, and Mike led her into the room. He put his hand on Jerry's shoulder, and shook.

"Jerry, wake up," he said. "There's someone here to see you."

"Mmph," Jerry groaned, stirring.

"Come on, Jer. Wake up, good buddy. You've got a very special visitor."

Jerry opened his eyes, slightly. He could barely make out anything. His vision was incredibly fuzzy. It cleared after awhile, and he saw Mike standing over him, and then he made out Linda. He smiled.

"Linda," he said, weakly.

"Hi, Jerry," Linda said, taking his hand. "How are you?"

"All right. I don't think I ever mentioned how pretty you look when you're all dressed up like that."

Jerry reached his hand up, and ran his fingers through Linda's hair. Mike smiled and left the room, figuring the two of them wanted to be alone. Dr. Brackett looked at him.

"Good job, Mike," he said. "That was smart thinking."

"Thanks," Mike said. "After the two of them had some time alone, you'd better go in there and check his temperature."

Dr. Brackett nodded. The two of them watched the action going on in the room, but not stepping in. It would spoil the moment. There was no talking. Jerry and Linda just stared into each other's eyes, adoringly. Linda stroked Jerry's hair, although it was drenched with sweat. Jerry brushed Linda's cheek with his finger, smiling.

"Linda, I've got to tell you something," he said. "I may not be what your father had in mind for you, but ever since I saw you at the Fireman's Picnic, I never wanted to look at another girl again."

"You never would have been able to wait until I was all grown up," Linda said.

"I would. I would wait forever for you. You're my dream girl. You're the girl I've been waiting my whole life for."

"Oh, Jerry!"

Linda wrapped her arms around Jerry, and squeezed. Jerry smiled, and kissed her cheek. Nothing could ruin that moment. Well, except for one thing.

"All right, you twits, move out of the way, I'm going in there!" Hank shouted. Mike and Dr. Brackett blocked the door.

"Where did you come from?" Dr. Brackett asked.

"I went down to the school to talk to Linda," Hank said. "When she wasn't there, Micky told me that Mike took her to Rampart to see Jerry, and here I am. Now stand aside! Those two are not supposed to have contact!"

"I can't let you go in there," Mike said, folding his arms across his chest.

"Neither can I," Dr. Brackett replied, folding his arms across his chest.

Hank laughed and tried to push past them, but they wouldn't budge. He tried to go around them, but they wouldn't let him.

"Oh come on, you guys!" he shouted. "This is ridiculous! Let me in there!"

"I don't think so," Dr. Brackett said.

"Oh for goodness sake, why not?!" Hank yelled.

"Because they're in love," Mike said. "They really need each other. Look at them."

Mike showed Hank the scene inside. It was true, Linda and Jerry looked very happy together. They looked as if they were made to hold hands and stare into each others eyes. They looked in love. Hank looked and finally realized it. He finally realized his daughter had fallen in love.

"She has been awfully miserable since that day in court," he said. "This is the first time I've ever seen her really and truly happy since that Saturday."

"That's what we're trying to say, Hank," Dr. Brackett said. "Jerry has been even more miserable than Linda. You drove them away from each other."

"I never meant to make Linda so miserable," Hank said. "I was just trying to be a good father. All any father wants is his children to be happy. And . . . . . she's happy with Jerry, isn't she?"

"Yes, she is," Mike said. "Now you go in there and tell her that."

Hank sighed and walked into the room. Mike and Dr. Brackett followed, to make sure everything was going to be all right.

"Linda?" Hank asked. Linda and Jerry looked, and saw Hank standing there. Both of them panicked.

"Daddy!" she shouted. "I . . . . . you . . . . uhhh, I can explain."

"There's no need to explain, princess," Hank said. "As much as I hate to admit it, I've been wrong. I've been wrong about this whole bloody thing. I wanted to do what I thought was best for you, and I never took into consideration to what would make you happy. I saw just now, that you and Jerry belong together. I just felt like I was losing you too fast."

"She's growing up, Cap," Dr. Brackett said.

"I know," Hank said. "It seems like just yesterday she ran to me, holding a copy of Cinderella in her hand, asking me to read it to her. It makes me wonder where the time goes. I've got to face the fact that she's not a little girl anymore. Jerry, you're a lucky man, you know. You've got yourself a wonderful girl."

"Thanks, Cap," Jerry said, squeezing Linda's hand. "She's really something special."

"You're not a little girl anymore, Linda," Hank said. "But I want you to remember that you'll always be my little girl, no matter how old you get. And I'll always love you no matter what you do."

Linda smiled, ran to her father, and gave her the biggest hug known to man.

"I love you, Daddy," she said. Mike and Dr. Brackett looked at each other and smiled.

"Well, while we're in here, Jerry, let's check your temperature," Dr. Brackett said. He took the thermometer, stuck it in Jerry's ear, and pushed the button. Five seconds later, he took it out and looked at it. Then he smiled.

"I don't believe this," he said. "Jerry, you went down to a ninety-eight point six!"

"You're kiddin'!" Mike shouted. "Looks like love is power after all, huh?"

"I guess so," Jerry said. He stood up, and Linda ran to him. The two of them hugged each other. Mike then checked his watch.

"Hey, if we hurry, we can make it back to the school to catch the ol' awards ceremony," he said.

"I'd like to, Mike," Jerry said. "But I'm not exactly dressed for the occasion."

Mike smiled sneakily and snapped his fingers. Jerry's clothes transformed from that ugly hospital gown to a black tuxedo.

"You've got good taste, Mike," Jerry said. "Come on, let's go."

Mike, Linda, and Jerry left Rampart and drove directly to Carson High. Davy and Camille were just finishing up the awards ceremony. They had crowned the head cheerleader, Marcia Sheridan, Prom Queen, and the captain of the football team, Greg Peters, Prom King. The award of court jester went to Pete Friar. Smartest student went to Multi, Cutest went to Keith, Prettiest went to Shawn, and Most Level-Headed went to Laurie. Erin won most likely to become a singer. Two students no one knew won Cutest Couple, which was the last award. Davy and Camille saw Mike, Linda, and Jerry standing in the doorway.

"'Old it just a minute folks!" Davy shouted. "We 'ave won more award left, and that goes to Linda Stanley, and Jerry Blavat."

"The award is Best Looking Couple," Camille said. All the kids applauded them. Pete Friar stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled. Marcia walked over to Linda and gave her the Prom Queen's tiara. Linda smiled and took Jerry's hand. The two of them took a couple of bows.

"Okay, folks," Davy said. "This is a special variation of an old song, and it'll be the last song of the night, so make it special."

"And we'd also like to dedicate this song to Jerry Blavat and Linda Stanley," Camille said.

Micky put a cassette tape into the tape deck and pushed the play button. An instrumental version of "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" came out of it. Linda and Jerry laughed and started to dance. Multi offered Shawna his arm, and the two of them walked out to the dance floor. Erin and Keith swayed back and forth.

"Guess you lost your date," Laurie said to Del.

"Yeah, I guess I did," Del said. "You want to dance with me, Laurie?"

"Sure."

Laurie took Del's hand and the two of them walked over to the dance floor.

Once the instrumental version was finished, the intro to the vocal version started. Davy took the microphone and started to sing. Jerry and Linda smiled at each other, and walked hand in hand onto the dance floor and slow danced. They held each other tight and swayed back and forth. They knew, somehow or another, that everything was the way it should be.


The End