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Asking Questions

Ever since Ally was ten she dreamed about prom: what her dress would look like, whom she would be going with, and how she would be asked. Her older sister, Katie, had been able to go to four proms and every year her boyfriend Joe did something big to ask her to go with him to the prom. This year Ally got to go for her first time.

Prom was supposed to be only for eleventh and twelfth graders, but Katie’s boyfriend had been in eleventh grade while she had been in ninth, so that's why she got to go four times. This year Ally was in eleventh grade and was finally old enough to attend! She had already picked out her dress and her boyfriend, Matt, had already bought the prom tickets. Ally wasn’t supposed to know that the tickets had already been purchased, though. The only reason she did know was because her best friend, Madelyn, had sold Matt the tickets.

The second Ally found out she was getting to go she got really excited. Matt wasn’t the dancing type. But he loved Ally and knew how much she wanted to go.

It was a Friday and Ally and Matt were sitting at a lunch table with four other couples. There were two classes left in the day before school would be let out for the weekend. Ally and Matt only had one class together this trimester, French class third hour.
After lunch Matt would walk Ally to both their lockers and then to her English class. Their fourth and fifth hours where opposite: she had English while he had math. 5th hour Ally had math, while Matt English.
On weekdays Matt and Ally had a routine. Matt would walk with Ally to all of her classes, they would eat lunch together, and then (if it wasn’t baseball season) he would drive her home. They had done this everyday for their entire junior year.
Prom, like every year, was on the last Saturday before school got out and the day after final exams. A lot of students considered prom their end of the year celebration. This year it was going to be on June 2nd--- only one week away.

Matt and Ally were sitting outside, with Matt on Ally’s left side. It was a sunny day, so everybody wanted to sit outside. Across from Matt was his friend Scotty and Scotty’s girlfriend Theresa. Matt was trying to think of how they met: not just him, Scotty, and Theresa, but everybody at this table. He realized Ally had introduced him to all of them.

Matt always wondered why Ally had said yes when he asked her out on a date. He wondered even more when she told him she wanted to be his girlfriend. He really pondered the second thing more, though. See, Matt had not asked Ally out “officially” yet. They had been on a few dates but never kissed and never talked about being exclusive.
They were sitting in the middle of a Taco Bell because the Mexican restaurant they made reservations at was over-booked. Matt was extremely embarrassed, but Ally didn’t care, she would rather have Matt buy her a $4 dinner than a $40 one (prom being the exception). While they were eating Ally told Matt that if he wanted she would want to be his girlfriend. He just looked at her for a long time wondering if she was serious. Matt had not had any girlfriends before Ally. Sure, he had been on dates, but none had turned into relationships.

So when Ally told Matt she wanted them to go out he was stunned. While he was sitting there in shock, Ally just kept smiling at him and continued to eat her food. She didn’t care if it took him a month to answer, she just wanted Matt. Finally he told her he wanted them to go out and officially asked her.

Now, ten months later, he was going to ask her another question. He hoped it wouldn’t be as nerve-racking as asking her out and he didn’t want her to beat him to it. So to prevent these things he planned out how he would ask her and when. Matt even had Ally’s best friend Madelyn in on it. Madelyn told Ally that Matt already bought tickets and was going to go over so he could set up, but she didn’t know exactly what he was going to do.

There are two formal dances at the high school Ally and Matt attended. One was Homecoming and the other one was Prom. Ally and Mat went to Homecoming together, Matt just asked her in the school hall one day. So this time around he wanted to do something special.

He thought about how he would ask her for days, trying to think of as many ideas as possible. The worst part was he couldn’t ask anybody for help. Matt had decided to write “PROM?” out in candles in her front yard. He had 50 candles in the trunk of his car. Then he would call her and tell her to look out her window.

Matt’s train of thought was interrupted by Scotty, “Hey, please forgive me for my prank that other day, and do you have your jumper cables by chance?” he asked. “My car won’t start because earlier I left my lights on again.”

“No problem!” Matt replied. “I’m a good sport. Hiding my stuff is what we did in sixth grade. Let’s just drop Ally home first.”

“Oh and can Nick and Jake tag along?” Scotty pointed past Theresa to the two other guys who were sitting with them. Matt looked at Ally and asked if she minded.
“It’s fine with me, but I’m glad I only live ten minutes away,” Ally laughed at her joke, and so did Matt.
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“Pile in!” Jake yelled.

“I call shot-gun!” Ally yelled back.

Jake looked at Ally, who was holding hands with Matt. “Fine!” he said, “but when you get out I’m out front!”
“You’re in the back, Jake. Your shoes smell like s*** from conditioning.” Matt laughed.
“Like yours are any better?” he shot back.
“I leave mine in my locker, problems solved.” Matt opened his car door for Ally to get in. Matt drove a Grand Prix his parents bought him at the end of his tenth grade year.

Getting in behind the wheel, Matt turned to do a quick head count and pulled out of the school parking lot. Nick was listening to his I-Pod and Scotty was on his phone with his dad explaining why everybody was coming over.

Nick, Jake, and Scotty were all neighbors. Nick’s mom drove them to school because Scotty couldn’t. They all were wrestlers and played football for the varsity team. All three of them had on different sport t-shirts and athletic shorts with tennis shoes on.

Matt had on a plain white t-shirt and khakis. He wore old Nike tennis shoes. Ally had her long blonde hair down, it passed her shoulders by a few inches. She wore a navy blue spaghetti-strap tank top with a pair of white shorts and silver flip-flops.

All the guys had brown hair, just different shades. They were all very athletic and smart. It hadn’t take any of them long to become friends.

Matt dropped Ally off and pulled into Scotty’s driveway. Matt got the jumper-cables quickly out and hooked them up to the battery.

“Okay, I’m done. I’m going to use your bathroom before I leave.”Matt said to Scotty.
“Okay.” Scotty replied. Matt went to the bathroom and Scotty popped Matt’s trunk. He started laughing. “Guys check these out!” he yelled to Jake and Nick.

In the trunk of Matt’s car were the 50 new candles. “Oh this is too good.” Jake said.
Go get the hose Nick,” Scotty said, “this will be hilarious.”

After they sprayed the candles down they wrote a note saying “SEX IS BAD” and stuck it on one of the candles. They all put on straight faces when Matt came back outside, but the second they said their goodbyes, and Matt left, they couldn’t help but laugh.
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Matt planned it out with Madelyn. Madelyn would go over to Ally’s house and keep her downstairs in the basement so he could set up the candles. The second it got dark out she would leave. About 45 minutes before it was suppose to get dark Matt pulled onto Ally’s road. He had the candles sitting in plastic Meijer bags so he could park his car far away and walk easily with the candles.

He parked far enough away so that he could only see the top of Ally’s house. She lived right off of a main road and her house sat on ten acres. Her window faced the back of the house and was completely open. Matt had to be very careful.

When he opened the trunk the first words out of his mouth where swear words. Then Matt read the note and he said he was going to kill his friends. They had already pulled a prank on him once this week, now twice! He hadn’t even gotten any of them in over a month! Realizing he didn’t have time to buy new ones he quickly started going through the candles, trying to find dry ones. The lighter was in his pocket so it didn’t get ruined.

In the end he had 10 semi-dry candles. He put them in a Meijer bag and shut his trunk. “What am I going to do?” he asked himself over and over. Then the idea of just writing a question-mark came to him.

He ran into Ally’s yard and carefully placed the candles, and then he went back to his car and waited until dark. While he was waiting he called his ‘friends’ up and explained what the candles where for so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea.

Ten minutes took forever to pass it seemed. But he finally saw Madelyn’s little red car pass him, it was too old and dirty to know the name of it and who manufactured it. Madelyn was very short and always wore her black hair down and straight. She had bright blue eyes and never wore any make-up.

“Good luck!” She yelled out her window towards Matt, and then drove off.

Matt walked back to Ally’s house and lit the ten candles. He hoped she would understand. At nine on the dot he called her.

“Hey!” Ally said as she picked up her cell-phone. Matt saw the light go on in her room. “What’s up?”

“Just look out your window,” Matt said calmly into his cell-phone.

It took a second, but Ally’s window finally opened. It wasn’t completely dark out yet, so she could see Matt clearly. “Ally, will you go to Prom with me?”

Now she understood the question mark and smile on Matt’s face. Without hanging up her phone she ran down her stairs and out the door. She ran right up to Matt so she could stand face to face.

Ally had to catch her breath before she could reply, “Yes.”





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