They were giggling like fiends as Tommy led Zaneeta running down the street away from the library and toward the Candy Kitchen. Tommy gripped both the bandleader's cane and the coins from Professor Hill in one hand, Zaneeta's wrist in the other. Inside the Candy Kitchen, they found themselves a corner spot, holding hands under the table.
"An authorized date," Tommy commented with a sly grin. "This Harold Hill fella might be more useful than I thought."
Zaneeta could only manage a breathless laugh. They hadn't been able to see much of each other in the days leading up to the Fourth of July and Mayor Shinn's 'exercises.'
"Papa will be furious when he finds out about this," Zaneeta giggled. She was in truth a bit scared of her father, especially when it came to Tommy, but it didn't stop her from seeing the boy from "the wrong side of town."
"What'll it be?" the soda jerk asked as he approached. With the money Professor Hill gave them, they split a banana sundae and felt like royalty.
"At least we know Gracie's at the library and can't tattle," Tommy chuckled as their treat arrived. For wanting to be so much like her sister – going where she goes, dancing how she dances – Gracie was particularly keen on sabotaging Zaneeta and Tommy.
They ate in silence for a moment before Zaneeta blurted out, "What if Professor Hill had picked some other girl?" It was something she had been thinking about all the way to the Candy Kitchen.
"I mean, there were a dozen of us heading toward the library, what if he'd beckoned to someone else?"
"He didn't." Tommy fed her the last bite of banana. "He beckoned to you. That's gotta be a sign or something, right?"
Zaneeta grinned shyly up at him, her eyes shining so blue it made his heart hurt. He cleared his throat.
"You know, Professor Hill asked me to help him with the band. Not to be in it, but he wants help inventing something and thinks I'm the one to do it!"
Zaneeta smiled proudly. "I'm sure he's right."
"Thinks I'm mechanically minded."
"And you are! Remember what you put together for the shaving cream prank?"
Tommy laughed. "It's too bad we never got to use it."
"Still, a firecracker behind the mayor's wife more than makes up for it," Zaneeta giggled. She wasn't at all mad about the prank, in fact she'd known about it in advance and thought it as funny as he did. She knew no one would be hurt, she just wished Tommy hadn't been caught. Both the mayor and the constable had it out for him, and sometimes it seemed like Zaneeta was the only one with his best interest at heart. She'd have to have words with Gracie when they were home again.
This is obviously very different from what I usually write, but I've been smitten with Z/T since I was a little kid, and I think they deserve to have their story told. I have a few more chapters written, both missing scenes and ideas for what happened after the film (1962) ended. Please review and tell me you want more!