(A/N: To those of you who were rooting for Paige and Morgan, yay! For those who were keeping their fingers crossed for Arizona, I'm sorry, but rest assured that her future is not without hope. Just stay tuned. And now, without further ado, the last chapter of #8!)

The Dance

January 31st

"Step in a little closer," urged Carlotta Blake. "Mio piccolo un, move now."

Sasha's brother Patrick stepped further back so his mom could snap the picture.

In front of the Blakes' house, everyone was poised for the camera before taking off for the dance.

Genesis introduced her date, Sean Sawyer, to all her friends in The Gang. "We had to come by," she assured him. "Trust me, they'd never let me hear the end of it."

"That's right," said Garland, jumping up behind Genesis to give her a noogy. "She's got to pay her tolls. Gang obligation."

Sean and Gen took off after a series of pictures. That left the couples of Garland and LeeAnne, Jake and Mariah, and Paige and Morgan. Felix, Sasha, and Arizona were going to hang out at Sasha's for the evening, drink a little bit. Once Morgan and Paige had coupled up, Sasha offered to take Arizona to the dance himself. She'd shrugged it off, saying that she didn't like dressing up anyway.

So here they were.

"Ah can't believe you rented a tux fur this," Jake snickered at Morgan. "It's not like we're goin to *prom*."

"I had to match the lady," replied Morgan, putting his arm around Paige. She was decked out in a dress that had to have cost her folks at least a couple hundred bucks.

"Not me," boasted Garland. "I'm going for the fun look tonight." He was wearing a top hat and a black dress jacket that split into long tails in the back. His red hair hung from below the hat in two pigtail-like braids. LeeAnne's dress was plain, but nice - long, velvet, navy blue. It brought out her eyes fantastically.

Jake and Mariah looked at each other and shrugged. They were dressed more like they were going to a party than anything else. Mariah was in a short red spaghetti-strap dress. Jake was wearing the outfit Sasha had taken Paige out in a couple weekends before: khakis and a black buttoned over shirt with a fantastic blue dragon on the back. They definitely looked the most comfortable.

"You guys have fun," said Sasha, waving. "I'll see you later, Jake?"

"Don't wait up," he answered, more to make everyone laugh than anything else.

"You can wait up for me," promised Garland. "I'll be home early, Ma . . . "

Felix rolled his eyes. "That boy scares me." He, Sasha, and Arizona stood on the lawn until the others were out of sight.

Arizona and Felix headed inside, equally regretful and content. Felix was jaded and missing Breanna too much, Arizona was trying not to be cynical about the whole Morgan thing. After seeing how happy Morgan and Paige looked together though, she had given them an honest congratulations. Tonight would be fun anyway. Together, she and Felix could drown their sorrows on a couple movies with a little Italian food and some glasses of Mrs. Blake's wine.

"You coming, Sash?" asked Felix, holding the door open. "Want me to pour you a glass?"

"Pour me one," Sash answered. "You guys can start the movie without me, I'll be there in a minute."

Sasha stood on the grass alone, gazing up into the stars. It was a full life he led, but he felt isolated sometimes. The date Sasha was supposed to have tonight was gone and happy, and he was glad for that. But it also meant that he was by himself and lonely. So many of his friends claimed to be in love, or to have been in love at least once in their life. He wasn't even totally sure what 'in love' meant, or if that was possible at sixteen. What he did know was that there was a time to be alone, and a time to search for some companionship. Maybe it was time for that search to begin.