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“Angie, I don’t think I can make it to prom,” Josh apologetically says into the phone.
“What did you say?” I ask as if I didn’t hear it.
“I’m really sorry but something’s come up.”
I blink back a tear and swallow the lump forming in my throat. “No problem. It’s totally fine. I understand.”
“Thanks. But I still want you to go. It’ll be fun. You can hang out with Bianca,” he said, trying to cheer me up.
“Yep,” And that’s all I say before I press END on my cell. I sulk all the way to my bedroom and open my closet. I pull out the perfect dress for what was supposed to be the perfect night. I can’t believe Josh isn’t going. And I can’t believe he expects me to go without him; the man I love. But poor Bianca doesn’t have a date either. I can’t leave her alone during this. I have to be there for her, just like she’s always been there for me.
Bianca and I officially met in the 2nd grade. I was the new kid and a couple girls were picking on me for wearing all pink with two pigtails and purple bows. Then Bianca stepped in and said, “Ew, and you’re all wearing the same shoes! Gross!” She made a gagging noise and the mean girls all looked at their shoes and stormed away with the best mad faces they could make. Bianca and I laughed about it the whole day. We’ve been best friends ever since. We’ve always been there for each other through the ups and downs.
I picked up my cell and dialed Bianca’s number. It rang once.
“Hi,” Bianca says.
“Hey, um, Josh is kind of bailing on me. So I don’t think I’m going to prom,” I say.
“What? But you have to come! I don’t want to be alone! I just spent nearly five-hundred dollars on my shoes, my dress, and the stinkin’ ticket! You are going to that prom Angela Renee Hartford!” She exclaims.
I pull the phone away from my ear as she yells on about how it was our agreement that if we didn’t have dates we would go to ALL dances together. Now, this arrangement was made five years ago. I didn’t think it still applied once we got into high school. Apparently, I was wrong. After ten minutes of nagging me, I finally say, “All right, fine. I’ll go!”
“Yes! Now look your half-best. I want to attract the attention of Tyler. He’s been googly-eyed over you the whole year so I’m the one who has to look perfect.”
“Tyler does not like me and I never look perfect. And since Josh isn’t going I won’t try to make anyone faint.”
“You know I was just kidding about looking your half-best, right? Seriously, girl, cheer up!”
With that, she hangs up on me. I guess she has a point. I am being ridiculous. But Josh isn’t just a boy I’ve had a super crush on. He’s the boy who lends me a shoulder to cry on, he’s the boy who’ll randomly show up after school and pick me up. He’s the boy who purposely takes the really long way home after dates so he can spend more time with me. He’s the boy that makes my head go fuzzy, my stomach flip-flop, and my heart pound. He’s the one. Everyone always says he’s going to let me down someday. Show his true colors. But I know that no one knows him like I do. I know everything about him from how he reacts when something doesn’t feel right to his most personal thoughts.
As I think about his personality, I wonder if maybe Josh is just kidding with me. Maybe I fell for a stupid trick. But then as I think about how he didn’t say anything like, “I’m just kidding,” or “Oh, I can’t believe you fell for that!” it’s highly unlikely he was joking. Josh jokes around a little, but not a ton. Not over serious stuff like this. So he really isn’t going.
On the night of prom, I am standing in the breezeway while Mom takes pictures. Dad’s grumbling to himself in the doorway something about how Josh is a jerk for letting me go alone and how no boy will ever be good enough for me. I smile a little and think, “Typical Dad.”
Mom smiles warmly at me as she takes one last picture of me in my navy blue dress. It has silver beading along the top of the bodice and the hem. The skirt is an A-line. I love how the skirt flows and I love the train. It’s only about two feet long but it’s still a train. Mom curled my long ash blonde hair and clipped a beaded dragonfly barrette, keeping away from my face. I applied lip gloss and silver eye shadow with eyeliner and mascara. I didn’t apply enough to make me look like a zombie but you can still see it a little bit.
I give Mom and Dad a hug and walk out the door. Bianca is in the driveway ready to go. Her brown hair is in a tight bun and she’s wearing a tiara. There’s silver glitter in her hair and she has a ball gown style crimson dress on. I know this because we went shopping together.
At prom, everyone is having a great time. Bianca and I link arms to take the picture. Next we move into the country club where the DJ is blaring loud pop music and everyone is dancing to the music. Halfway through, Tyler eyeballs me and starts to walk over. I turn away and poke Bianca who’s dancing to her favorite song. She turns and sees Tyler coming and I think she’s going to pass out.
As a slow song comes on, he holds out his hand and asks, “Would you like to dance?”
I press my lips together and taste my lip gloss a little bit on my tongue. Bianca’s face has jealousy written all over it and all I can think about is why can’t it be Josh asking me this? I wink at Bianca and say, “No, but she would love to!” I grab Bianca by the arm and before she can fight me, I push her into Tyler’s arms. He catches her and they both smile. Bianca looks back at me as he leads her to the middle of the dance floor and mouths, “Thank you.”
As I stand around looking like a total idiot, I see someone making their way through the crowd that I don’t recognize. They’re tuxedo is white and they’re wearing a black hat with a mask. Weird. He has a corsage with him. Interesting. I shrug and keep watching other people. A few more minutes later, and someone suddenly grabs me by the arm and pulls me into them and kisses me. In that moment I allow the stranger to kiss me a familiar yet new feeling washes over me making everything inside of me go haywire. I pull away and am about to yell at him when I see teasing ice blue eyes that can only belong to one person. He was really planning to come all along. My heart starts to pound and I can’t stop smiling. I know my face is completely red as I pull off his hat and run my fingers through his angel soft blonde hair. I pull off his mask and all of a sudden my limbs turn into jelly. It’s Josh. He leans down to my ear and whispers softly with his voice of silk, "You are so beautiful." And as our heads lean involuntarily toward each other, I know that this is not just a crush, this is real. Right then I realize that since we first met, he was always ready to catch me. And I know he always will be.