It was 9:00 pm in Oregon High. This night, a special occasion was taking place – the Annual Valentine’s Day Prom Dance! It was a “Midnight in Paris” theme. Everybody flailed about with their partners: like a girl to a boy or a boy to a girl.
Not everyone was having a good time though. A few people didn’t get lucky getting a boy or a girl. And they couldn’t just leave either because their parents had to sign them out (even the year 12 students) and you could be sure the parents weren’t going to ruin their night off by turning up early.
The girls who had no partners happily danced with each other, but the single boys sat forlornly on the bleachers looking despondent. Two boys decided to get up and dance with each other.
“Hey there, FAGGOTS!”, called a boy from the bleachers. His plan both succeeded and backfired: the boys slumped their heads and sat back down, but he got dragged out by some teachers nearby due to a strict rule of “No cursing.”
Another boy, though, kind of wished he was the one being dragged out of this stupid dance. His name was Connor. He was 17, tall and had jet-black hair. Recently, he had wanted to go out with a girl named Mary. The reason he wasn’t prancing down with her on the floor, though, was because he hadn’t had the courage to ask her to the dance. So he was stranded at the dance with all the other bleacher boys.
As he was too tired to stay awake and he couldn’t stand another second peering out into the crowd of frolicking couples, he stood up and started wandering to the foyer of the gym to call his parents. As he was just just passing through the crash bar door, he saw something that made him go still as a statue: One of his friends, Michael, was snogging Mary!
“Am I interrupting something?” he shouted after they stopped kissing.
Mary looked him dead in the eye and breathed, “Connor, I know you didn’t want to see this. But, you should have asked me before the dance.”
Connor felt like a timed bomb was about to go off in his mind. Yet, he resisted an urge to punch her and stormed off, fists curled and teeth gritted.
Lunch the following day, Connor, was still surging with rage from the Prom and couldn’t stop poking at his food in the Cafeteria. “Are you okay Connor?” asked his friend Steve.
“NO!” Connor growled back through glued teeth.
“What’s the matter, Buddy?” Steve asked.
“It’s Mary and Michael,” Connor snarled with a hushed tone, “I caught them snogging and now they are high-tailing it in my face. And I hate it!”
Steve cruelly informed Connor of his true thoughts, “Well, sorry to tell you this buddy, but move on.” He harshly told him in a crackle of laughter, “She’s right, if you had just asked her out earlier you wouldn’t be the slumbering fool you are now. So muscle up and move on!”
As the earth rotated around the sun, months went on as slow as a snail for Connor. His head even began to tumble down hill as his grades descended. He didn’t even attempt to go out with his friend’s because their joy wouldn’t help out. And he knew sooner or later that friends, school, or worse, his family, would involve themselves and he didn’t want to deal with it; so he muted himself for the greater good.
Six months after the dance, his mother stopped him right at the door step and informed him, “We need to have a long conversation, son.” Sighing he wandered up into the house as she asked him the one question he dreaded her not to ask, “Why are you behaving like THIS?” She then showed him a report card that mainly had “C”s and “E”s.
Breaking his silence, he replied, “It’s a girl named Mary. I wanted to ask her out to the Valentine’s Day Prom Dance, but my old friend Michael beat me to her. Yet, I deserved her more than anybody else,” Connor continued, “I’ve been a secret admirer. And now that jerk has her I don’t know if I can recover from this living nightmare.”
After an awkward silence Connor’s mum replied, “Sweetie, you must realise something, you can’t force someone to love you. You need to move on. Okay?”
Thinking hard on this, he reluctantly responded with, “Yes mum.”
He had, however, forced himself to say yes because he still wanted Mary. He wanted her so much, he ignored what his mother said. Yet he realised there wasn’t any chance Mary would split up with her boyfriend. So he knew he would get zero sleep. Instead of falling asleep, he stayed up and focused on a newly handed out book report.
Connor’s troubles to attempt to let Mary go were nothing compared to what she was going through at that exact moment. Mary had had a rather quiet evening with Michael. The two had played Monopoly, snogged and watched “Beauty and the Beast”, but everything seemed to add up to another moment of awkwardness. Inevitably, she stood up and was about to leave when Michael commanded her not to.
“My Parent are expecting me to be home by now Michael,” she told him.
“Nah, they could afford another minute or two,” he replied. Mary got ready to fight her way out, as she saw that his pants were down, and he was holding a condom.
Before Mary knew it she found herself pinned against the wall as Michael started to put his mouth closer to hers. As his lips were just an inch away she noticed his eyes closing and took advantage. She kneed him in the stomach, followed by him rolling onto the floor moaning in agony. She ran towards the door, but not before being dragged back. “NO!! HELP ME!!! SOMEONE!!!”
As Michael dragged her into his back-yard Mary kicked and flailed about in a panic. He then let go her and blocked off the doorway, blocking the exit. “Why are you doing this Michael? Just let me go!” Mary demanded.
“Do you ever wonder why I became your boyfriend,” he replied, “I never wanted to just love you. I wanted to get laid. And we haven’t done that yet. Now stop resisting and let me bang!” he finished.
“You’re a jerk and a slut!” Mary replied, “Just leave me alone. Please.” Yet Michael didn’t get the message and charged like a rhino towards her.
She leaped over the fence and continued to scale every other fence until she found herself on the sidewalk. Yet, Michael wasn’t far behind.
She sprinted for her life down the sidewalk. The problem was, where would she go? The streets spun out like a labyrinth, as she pitched her escape to find a residence where she could stay.
Eventually (and by some bizarre coincidence) she ended up at Connor’s place. She barged towards his door, but cringed as she realised it was locked.
“Stop running Mary,” Michael announced loudly from about a block away. Luckily, Mary remembered something Connor told her as a secret: he always hid a spare pair of keys in the garden bed.
Mary then sprinted out towards a row of shrubs and found a key. “Oh, thank god,” She told herself as she quietly opened the front door. She rushed inside and peered through his living room window as Michael rushed off down another street shouting and swearing. He hadn’t seen her.
She snuck up to Connor’s room and saw him working on a book report. “Mary!?” he harshly exclaimed, “What are you doing here?” Yet, she said nothing as Connor saw exactly what she was saying through her eyes. “Okay there.” He reassured her as he shushed her through wailing sobs. “You just sit and we can talk whenever you feel like it.”
Mary nodded and sat on his bed crying a waterfall of tears into his doona. Connor was pleasantly confused as Mary wailed into the covers. He didn’t want to know what happened as she didn’t look in the mood to talk. When the tears finally stopped, Mary said she wanted to go home. “You seem really shaken up, do you want me to walk you home?”
“Yes please,” said Mary with a voice on the verge of breaking. It was nearly 9 pm, but Connor was glad he could get Mary back home safely.
The following day saw Mary quivering in the corner of the cafeteria. Connor and Steve talking to each other about Mary. Steve was telling him about the rumours that were flying around the school. “He attempted to rape her? That’s too crazy to believe! He wouldn’t!” Connor protested.
“No it’s all true. I heard he told her that the reason he was even her boyfriend in the first place was to get laid,” Steve replied, “They say he’s even been suspended for his betrayal. And I’ve heard he’s going to a Juvenile Detention Centre.”
Connor kept expecting it all to be unveiled as a joke; rumours like this got totally blown out of proportion in school. He didn’t tell anybody about Mary arriving at his place in tears. That was private. He didn’t want to part of the rumour farce anyway.
By the end of that week, Mary was certain that Connor had said nothing. She was still suffering extremely from Michael’s betrayal but she was really impressed by Connor’s resistance to the rumours. He made her feel safe again by saying nothing. So, when Connor approached her one afternoon and asked her, “Can we just be friends?”
She sniffled back with tears in her eyes, “Yes.”