Here, as promised, is The Prom. A darling removed from my novel.
For those cannon buffs – this happened – i.e when my novel is finished, yes I’m sure its a when, this can be considered back story. Enjoy
The prom was imminent. At least it was imminent as far as almost all the girls in the school were concerned. Stacy Tanner however was perfectly calm – there was over an hour to go. She knew she could be dressed in three-quarters of an hour at most. She laughed to think of Amy who had probably been getting ready for the last hour. Stacy was still sitting in her jogger bottoms and a t-shirt. As she checked the time once more she decided it was actually time to start.
About eighty minutes later Stacy came down the stairs. Her parents were waiting for her in the hall. Her mother smiled at her. “You look wonderful. Doesn’t she Donald?”
Stacy’s father was fumbling with his new camera. “Bloody thing’s stuck on sepia.”
“Let me have a look.” Stacy took the camera from him, pressed a few buttons, and passed it back.”
“I’ll show you what I did tomorrow.”
Her father finally looked at her. “Very beautiful.”
Stacy stood by the mirror. She checked her red hair was neat in its ponytail.
“I’m remembering some of the dances we used to go to.” Stacy’s mum grinned and looked to Donald. He was looking at the camera again. “Good times.”
“Ah,” Stacy said, “nostalgic mum!” She gave her mum a quick hug. As they separated from the embrace Stacy turned to her father, “you winning?”
Her father seemed to have developed some other problem with the camera. “I think so,” he said, “want to stand by the door?”
It wasn’t really a question. Stacy stood by the door and watched her dad fumble with the camera again. It flashed
“Here it is,” he turned the camera to show her the picture.
“Very good,” Stacy said.
There was a knock at the door. Stacy saw through the frosted glass, that it was Jake. She opened the door. Jake wore a black suit and tie with a white shirt. Behind him was the black limo. “You look wonderful.”
“Thanks,” Stacy smiled.
“Very handsome Jake,” Stacy’s mum interjected.
“Thank you,” Jake smiled. “Shall we go?”
“I’m ready,” Stacy said.
“Shall we get a picture of you in front of the limo?” Donald said.
“Good Idea,” said Jake.
Donald fumbled once more with the camera, set it up as best he could and took the picture. He clearly wasn’t happy with it and tried again.
“They need to go,” Stacy’s mum said.
“One more try.”
“Your dad is a little snap happy,” Jake said as they got in.
“New toy,” Stacy smiled.
As the limo moved off Jake turned to her. He kissed her neck, “shall we forget the others?” he asked. He planted another couple of kisses on her neck and a few on her shoulder.
“I don’t think so.” Stacy grinned and kissed him for several seconds. “Lets make the most of the alone time though.” They sat next to one another, hands together kissing every so often until the limo pulled up at their next stop. Tina got in. She sat at the front of the limo, just behind the driver.
“Don’t let me stop you!”
“Stop us from what,” Stacy said in a faux innocent voice.
“Who else are we collecting?” Tina smiled.
“The usual,” Jake said, “and Jon of course.”
The next stop was Mark’s. Rather slowly he and Twig emerged. Mark wore a suit the same as Jack’s but he had added a splash of colour in a deep red tie and cummerbund. He and Twig had been taking full advantage of the currently empty house. They looked very much like holding hands was only a shadow of what they wanted to be doing.
Twig’s dress was turquoise, Chinese in style with flowery pattens across it. She looked slightly uncomfortable. There was little room for her usual eccentricity in formal wear. She wore here hair in a beehive style with chopstick-shaped kanzashi sticking out of it.
“Hi Everyone!” Twig said.
“Hey,” Jake said looking between the two grinning.
“Stop that,” Twig barked.
“Sorry,” Jake said. “When your parents back then?”
“About a week. So shall we open up the alcohol?”
“We’ve a couple more to pick up.” Tina said.
“Jon, Sophie and Chris.” Jack said.
“What about Amy?”
“Coming with her latest…conquest,” Tina said.
Chris was the next to be collected. He too wore a suit. He had a black bow-tie and a purple cummerbund. As he headed to the limo a man at the door of his house waved him goodbye.
When they arrived at Jon’s house he looked out of place in a suit and tie. Tina rose from her seat and moved to the door of the limo.
“Come on,” she said to Stacy.
Stacy followed behind her separating her hands from Jake. They stepped out on to the road and moved towards the end of Jon’s drive. Jon looked for a moment like he was going to turn back into the house. The old lady at the door placed her hands on his shoulders and gave him a friendly nudge towards the limo. Tina ran up to the front door smilingly and held out her hand. Jon looked at it for a moment. He took her hand. The pair of them headed into the limo. Stacy was about to follow when the old lady at the door called to her.
“Excuse me,” she said.
“Yes,” Stacy said.
“Not now,” the old lady said, “but when you get a chance to speak to Tina privately. Would you thank her for me?”
“Of course,” Stacy said, “thank her for what?”
“The change she’s produced in Jon. I’ve never seen him so happy. I don’t think he ever really got over the death of his parents.”
“He didn’t look like he wanted to go.”
“He does really,” the old lady smiled. “Tina’s made all the difference to him.”
“I’ll tell her.”
“Have a good evening.”
“I’m sure we will,” Stacy said, “have a good evening.”
Sophie was the last of the friends to be collected. Once she’d sat, and the limo pulled away, Jake opened the bottle and poured the bubbling liquid into the glasses.
“Here’s to,” Jake said as he passed around the glasses, “the end of school.”
“Indeed,” Sophie said, “no exams for ever more.”
“Till university,” Stacy said.
“Not for me.” Tina took the two glasses and passed one to Jon. He nodded and thanked her with a whisper. The group chinked glasses as they said ‘cheers’ in unison and sipped the champagne – all except for Jon. He looked at his glass as if unsure if it contained poison.
“Come on. Try some!” Tina said, her smile was as bubbly as the champagne.
“I’m not…” Jon stammered.
“Come on mate!” Chris said moving next to Jon, “got to try everything once. Almost everything.”
Timidly Jon tried the champagne.
“Yes.” Jon was a little nervous of Chris. Chris wasn’t exactly a bully but had a similar quality to those that had bullied him. Chris was loud and spoke in the friendly tone that bullies sometimes used. Jon sipped champagne with the rest but was quiet and unsure how to contribute to the excited conversation.
They turned on to a long straight road. The limo was taking a slightly roundabout route to get their money’s worth. They opened the window of the limo so they could call to the people who walked along the pavement.
Sophie stood and poked her head through the sun roof. “Hello everyone,” she called.
Tina took Jon by the hand and stood up next to Sophie, “Our turn,” she smiled. Sophie ducked back down into the limo as Jake filled the glassed again and Tina and Jon stood looking out of the sunroof.
“Okay,” Tina said, “wave!”
“Anyone,” Tina smiled. “everyone,” she lost no enthusiasm despite his distinct lack of it. “Those guys! She pointed to a group of male students walking along the street. They waved back and some made woohoo noises.
“Who are they?” Jon asked.
“Don’t know. Wave to those girls,” She pointed to a group of female students.
Timidly Jon waved.
“Hello!” he called.
“Hello!” he cried.
The girls whistled back and waved.
“They responded!” Jon said in amazement.
“You’ll find the majority of people are friendly. The world is not out to get you.” She kissed him on the cheek. Without any prompting he called to another group walking along. This time he only got a smile, the kind that said, ‘that’s cute.’ Tina turned his head to her and kissed him on the lips.
“That was…nice,” he said.
“It’s supposed to be,” Tina smiled.
They stood there for a few more minutes then sat back down There were two glasses of champagne awaiting them. Tina smiled to herself. She knew she she would be safe with Jon. She would have to take the lead but that was okay. She was sure that with a bit of time she could bring him out of his shell.
The limo pulled up to the hotel car park. As they got out they saw the other students being dropped off. Some, like them, arrived in black limos. There were white limos too. Some students were dropped off by their parents while others arrived in what looked like a stretched version of a land-rover.
Everyone had made an effort to look smart for the occasion. The girls wore a wide variety of coloured dresses. The boys seemed limited to a suit of either black, white or occasionally brown. Some had added a splash of individuality in the form of a colourful shirt, cummerbund or tie, and some of the Asian students wore long brown robes.
Stacy and Jake entered the foyer arm in arm. They looked around at all the people. It felt to Stacy like everyone had begun to lose their high school identity. Schools always seemed to have a pecking order. This seemed to arise out of emptiness. Everyone was aware of it, to different degrees.
“Isn’t it strange,” Stacy said, “how guys have so little choice when it comes to smart clothes.”
“I know,” Jake said, “I think it’s a good thing.”
“Some of these girls,” Stacy said, “would be mortified if they found that they were wearing the same dress as another – whereas guys know that there will definitely be others wearing what they are wearing.”
“Speaking of which,” Jake said, “I do love your dress. Did I mention that?”
“Once or twice.”
They were ushered into the main room. They were to sit six to a table. Students milled around the room looking for their names on the tables. “Looks like they’ve got it right.” Tina found her name tag and Stacy’s at the seat next to it.
“Surprising,” Stacy said, “for a school that, sometimes, couldn’t organise its way out of a paper bag.”
“Indeed.” Tina sat.
“Why couldn’t it have been Pizza Hut?” Twig said as she sat.
“Isn’t it nice to dress up sometimes?” Jon said timidly.
Twig smiled. “I’m an eccentric gal – no eccentricity possible here.”
“I think you’re doing all right,” Mark said.
There was a dance floor in the centre and a stage with a couple of mikes. Two teachers hung around there, clearly they were going to open the proceedings.
Mark lent back on his chair, making the front legs leave the ground. “Wake me when Miss Marsh has finished her, ‘wee speech.” The others giggled at his mock Scottish accent.
“Welcome everyone to your prom,” Miss Marsh began.
Miss Marsh’s speech was mercifully short. Soon food was served. Swarms of waiters came from the kitchen, they checked tickets and placed the right food on the correct table. The evening’s food began with a duck pate. “Lovely,” Stacy smiled.
“Too elaborate!” Twig moaned.
As the last forkfuls of cake were eaten and wine sipped the teachers once again approached the lectern. “This’ll take forever.” Mark whispered, “my sis said she almost screamed ‘shut up!”
“Think I’ll join her!” Twig said resting her head on her hand.
The speeches went on for a while, the teachers seemed to be doing a dance of clichés. They would swap over until finally the music began to play.
“It’s about …ing time!” Twig said leaving her chair.
Now it was the student’s turn to swarm. From all of the tables they stood and headed for the dance floor. Couples headed up there – for some both were excited – for others one of them was almost literally dragged. Others headed up there hoping to find a partner and some people just sat and watched.
Stacy and Jake equally wanted to dance. They didn’t care that they didn’t know the correct moves and probably looked like a couple of puppets with tangled strings.
For one song Jake was doing little more than moving from side to side while Stacy rippled up and down in front of him.
“Let’s sit for a bit,” Stacy smiled as they came off the dance floor, “would you like another drink?”
“Sure what would you like?” he asked standing.
“Hey, twenty-first century, I’ll get it! What do you want?”
“Vodka and coke please.”
Stacy headed out of the room as Jake nudged Jon. “I love it when she’s aggressive.”
Jon seemed to consider the statement, he kissed Tina on the hand, then taking it they walked to the dance floor.
Returning a while later Stacy passed Jake his drink, as an exhausted Tina came off the dance floor.
Wordlessly Tina pointed to the dance floor.
“So,” Stacy began smiling. “You had trouble convincing him and now…”
“Can’t stop him.”
“Strange how the barriers all seem to break down here,” Stacy said, “bullies and victims all friends.”
“Jon was saying something similar,” Tina said, “he said that one sports day practice he was running the hundred metres and some of the bullies were clapping. Not the main ones the lackies.”
“I know that one,” Stacy said, “from primary. You’re thinking ‘make a fucking decision. Either bully me or clap me you can’t have it both ways.’”
“I hope you weren’t thinking ‘fucking’,” Tina said using air quotes, “in Primary school.”The evening spiralled away and all to soon an announcement was made that the last song was about to be played. It seemed like nearly everybody was crammed onto the dance floor and nobody cared. The track faded with the repeated words of the chorus and everybody clapped. Like a solid turning to liquid the people separated into groups. They grabbed their coats and headed to she small fleet of taxis and overly-charitable parents outside. Stacy and Jake walked arm in arm through the foyer. Stacy looked up to the lift shafts and windows that backed on to the foyer – she giggled.
“What?” Jake asked smiling at her grin. She whispered in his ear.
“Stacy,” he laughed and kissed her on the top of the head. They continued walking out into the round car park. All the people they knew through school seemed to be there. Some in taxis, some with parents and other relatives.
“It’s a beautiful evening,” Tina said, “shall we walk?”
“Yeah,” Stacy said.
Tina took Jon’s hand, Jake took Stacy’s, and Twig hooked her arm through Mark’s, as if heading down the Yellow Brick Road, and the six of them headed home as the taxis passed them.