Ah, Ricky. By far one of my favorite characters in Perilous, Ricky is the boy with a troubled past, a troubled home, and a troubled record. On the outside, he seems like the typical, no-good bad boy. But he's so much more than that, and so very complex.
Ricky started out having his own story line, complete with his own point of view. Though his point of view got cut, Ricky remained. Here are some insights to Ricky, THE BOY.
Ricky Collins wasn’t interested in helping three runaway girls. Whatever they’d done to get themselves here, it wasn’t his problem.
But he was interested in the girls. The flirty redhead by herself could provide hours of entertainment. Then there was the blond, who looked like she hadn’t smiled in weeks. Neal was about the only serious person he could handle. But she made Ricky curious. He wanted to get inside her head and find out what was going on.
And of course, the brunette.
So between the three girls, Ricky decided it was worth helping out with lunch.
“Where’d you pick these kids up, anyway?” he asked Neal.
“By the high school. I tripped over Amanda.”
Ricky glanced back at them. “Which one’s Amanda?”
Neal snorted. “The one who doesn’t take her eyes off you.”
Ahh. The redhead. “All right. Fine. We can feed them lunch. But you’re paying for it.”
They arrived at the deli a few minutes later. Ricky stopped and held the door open, waiting for the girls. Wouldn't hurt to appear chivalrous. Neal waited inside.
“You can order whatever you want as long as the sum comes to less than four dollars,” Ricky said.
The brunette looked at him, her eyes widening. “For all three of us?”
Neal rolled his eyes. “Just get what you want, and don’t worry about the price. He thinks he’s being funny.”
Ricky wasn’t being funny. He was being cheap.
The brunette’s brown eyes flicked between them. “How do we tell you apart?”
She shook her head. “Not seeing it.” Her expression lingered on him and she cocked her head to the side. “What about me? Do I have golden flecks in my eyes?”
He stepped forward, putting his hands on her shoulders. “Nope. You’re eyes are a deep green. Not a bad color, but…simple. The gold is for the best.”
“Well, at least you think highly of yourself,” she laughed. “That still doesn’t help me tell you apart.”
“You’ll get it,” he said, letting go of her shoulders and following Neal into the restaurant. “Neal's the father-figure.”
Neal cuffed him on the back of the head. “Because you still need parenting!”
Ricky didn't let Neal bother him—most of the time. “I guess he thinks I’m a kid? Go on and sit down. We’ll order and surprise ya’ll.”
The brunette laughed. Ricky liked the sound. He followed after Neal. “All right, Neal. This wasn’t such a bad idea.”
“You’re just trying to figure out which one to flirt with.”
“Hmm.” Ricky pulled his lips down and raised both eyebrows. “Maybe.” It was kind of nice, though. They didn’t know him. Most girls knew him by reputation before they ever met him. “Get two sandwiches for me.”
“I thought we were saving money?”
Ricky glared at him but said nothing.
Neal placed the order and handed him a tray of food. “Here, take this back. I’ll join you in a minute.”
“Yeah.” Ricky surveyed the deli and spotted the three girls sitting in a booth by the window, talking together. He tossed his head back, annoyed that the hair kept getting in his eyes. “Hi.” He stopped in front of their table and handed food out “I’m Ricky. Mind if I sit here?”
“No, no, not at all,” Amanda said. She scooted toward the wall. The blond scooted over as well.
Ricky sat down next to her and offered a sandiwich. “I’m an idiot, what’s your name? I can’t remember.”
She took the sandwich. “Sara.” Her eyes met his and she looked away.
“Hi, Sara.” He bumped her shoulder with his. “Nice to meet you, Sara.”
That elicited a smile. Finally. “You too, Ricky.”
“So, where are you guys from?” He turned his attention back to the brunette, looking at her across the table as he unwrapped one of his burgers.
“We’re from Idaho. We walked here.” Amanda tapped her fingers on the table.
“Really? You walked? Wow!” He shot a glance at her. “So how old are you?” Neal sat down in the booth behind them.
“What wrong with him?” Sara asked, nodding at Neal.
Ricky glanced behind him. Was Neal upset? No, just ignoring his food and staring out the window. Typical Neal. Ricky patted him on the shoulder and turned back to the girls. “He carries the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. Heavy burden.”
“What about you?” the brunette asked, lifting her brows. “Don’t you have any responsibility?”
The first words from her, and not exactly welcoming. He took a long sip of his soda before answering. “Nah. I avoid it like the plague. It’s for old people.” He nodded at her. “But you never answered my question. How old are you?”
“She’s fifteen,” Amanda said. “So am I. We’re the oldest.”
Ricky shifted his weight partway over the table and looked at her. “Wow, your hair is really red.”
“It’s actually auburn, but if that’s a compliment, thanks,” she said with a quick grin. “And how old are you?”
“We’re both seventeen.” He sat back and took another bite. “Our birthday was in August." Did anyone here talk besides Amanda?
Amanda leaned over Sara. “I turn sixteen in April.”
“I’m only fourteen,” Sara said.
Ricky looked at her in mock surprise. “She talks!”
Amanda stood up. “Hey, Sara, it’s a little stuffy in here. Let me out.”
“Where are you going?” Ricky asked, moving into the aisle to let her out.
“Outside,” she said. “Some fresh air.” The corners of her mouth lifted in a teasing grin. “I wouldn’t mind company, though.”
The brunette chuckled. “Amanda’s a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it with both hands.”
“Right,” Ricky said, not taking his eyes off of her retreating figure. He slid uninvited next to her. Finishing his second burger, he took a drink and wiped his face with a paper napkin. He rested his arm on the seat just behind her. “So you guys walked here from Idaho?”
“Well, not exactly,” she said. “It’s a long story.”
He shrugged. “We’ve got time. Hey! You haven’t told me your name yet! If you’re done eating, you could introduce yourself.”
She laughed, and again he noticed how the sound thrilled him. “I’m done. Amanda introduced me. I guess my name wasn’t worth noting?”
Neal chuckled and came over from his booth to join them, sitting next to Sara.
“My bad,” Ricky said. “I was distracted by your face.” The little red box in the middle of the table caught his attention. Oo, matches. He picked them up and flipped the box open. Neal grabbed them and slapped them back down on the table.
“Cute,” she teased. “Did you read that in a book or something? I know you couldn't come up with a line like that on your own.”
“Oh, you’re clever,” he said, pointing a finger at her. “So, do you have a name?”
“JC?” he echoed. Never heard that one before.
“J-a-c-i. Jaci. It’s short for Jacinta.”
“Oh, that’s cool.”
Neal leaned forward. “Are you in a hurry to get walking again?”
Jaci nodded. “Yes. Thanks for lunch, though. It was very appreciated.”
Ricky grunted. “Huh. This must be some really intense exercise program. Sure we can’t change your mind? Just for a week?”
Sara ran a hand over the table. “We’ve been here too long. Trouble follows us.”
Now that Ricky understood. He’d had more than his own fair share of trouble, and you couldn’t get away from it. They didn’t seem like the trouble type, though.
Jaci stood up and gathered the trash. “All right. Let’s go. I need to throw this away and use the restroom.”
Ricky jumped up, letting her by. “Didn’t you just go? Are you gonna shower again, too?”
“Are you stalking me now?” She turned around and dumped the trash.
Neal’s hand on Ricky's shoulder stopped him from following her. “All right, lover boy. Let’s finish cleaning up here.”