"Yes!!" Danielle cried as she hung up the phone.
"What is it?" her mom asked curiously.
"Brian said he'd take me to the school dance." She was leaping around the kitchen in excitement.
"That's great honey, I'm happy for you." Her mom beamed at her eyes watching her progress around the kitchen.
"Thanks mom." She ran off upstairs to her room. Danielle wasn't the most popular girl in school but she still had friends. She called her friend Ashley first to tell her the great news. They both had liked Brian from the day they first met him freshman year. Ashley nearly screamed her head off when she heard she was so excited. They talked for over an hour about what good luck Danielle was having.
"You are so lucky," Ashley said in a platonically jealous whine. "You…are going to the dance…with BRIAN!"
All Danielle could do was laugh. She was going to the dance with Brian. Ashley talking a mile a minute, Danielle drifted off into a daydream. They would go to the dance. He would kiss her, fall in love with her. He wouldn't help but marry her because she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life. They would get married. And have kids. Six? Seven?
"Yeah," Danielle said half heartedly, on her eighth child.
"What are you going to wear?" Those words brought Danielle back to the present. The wheels in her brain gave a screeching halt as she realized she had a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.
"Omigosh!" Danielle ran to her closet and threw open the doors. She began plucking things out and tossing them over her shoulder as she rejected them. She came upon a slinky red dress she's never told her mother about. It had little thin straps and showed off her back. It also was floor length with a slit up to her hip on the right side.
"Ashley, what about the red dress my mom doesn't know I have? It's really pretty!"
Ashley sighed into the phone and though for a moment. "But how would you be able to wear it to the dance without your Mom seeing?"
Danielle hadn't thought of that. She scrunched up her lips while she thought. She could pull a Teenage Witch and change once she got to the dance. But that would ruin everything! The whole point of the dress was for him to see her, walking down the stairs, knocking him dead on his feet. "I don't know," she said in defeat.
Looking at her closet floor she saw the shoes to match. They had thin straps, like her dress, that were leather and shiny, wrapping around her feet, making her stand three inches taller. With Brian's height, it was perfect. just perfect. Perfectly ruined, she thought of her mother. "What do I do Ash?"
"Okay, I've got an idea. My mom is going be working late the night of the dance. Maybe we could convince your mom to let you get ready here and then spend the night...that way you could wear the dress and not get in trouble."
Danielle felt a lurch in her stomach. She loved Ashley at that moment more than anyone in the world. "Oh Ash I could Just kiss you right now. Mom trusts you. It'll work out great!" She slowly began packing the dress and shoes in the bottom of a duffle bag for the "sleep over". She was so excited she actually dropped the phone, picking it back up, she apologized. "Oops sorry Ash I didn't mean to drop ya..."
Ashley giggled over the line as Danielle finished packing, pushing her bag under her bed. You know what they say, she thought. Don't count your M&M's before lunch time. "Oh gosh, this is making me nervous, Ashley; this is never going to work."
"Don't worry so much," said Ashley with confidence. "You aren't lying to her; you're just going to ask her to come over to my house. She's let you tons of times before, why should this be different."
Danielle spoke quietly, walking down the stairs slowly. "Because moms, they have those eyes that pierce your soul. Even when you aren't doing anything wrong, you always think you are, ya know?"
Ashley laughed. This was Danielle's way of saying she wanted to chicken out. "Shut up and just ask her, Danielle."
"Ok, wish me luck." Danielle Winced before walking back into the kitchen, she put on her best fake smile and laughed as if Ashley had said something funny. "Um, Mom? Ashley wants to know if I can stay the night at her house the night of the dance... WE could help each other get ready and you wouldn't have to put up with me taking up the phone line to talk about the dance with her all night..."
Her mom looked at Danielle over her coffee cup thoughtfully. "Okay, but don't we have to get you a dress?"
Danielle lost her cool for a moment whimpering quietly but she recovered quickly. "Um, actually Ash is letting me borrow the one she wore last year at the spring fling..."
"Nice save," Ashley said into the phone. She was listening to the conversation carefully to see which way Danielle's mom would go. There was one truth about Danielle's words, moms were tricky. But sometimes what they didn't know didn't hurt them. Ashley paced her room and crossed her fingers.
"Well, I don't know, Danie. You know I wanted pictures of you and your date. And what about this Brian person. I haven't met him and—"
"Oh pleeeease, Mom, me and Ash want to be together. Let girls be girls, please? Please? Please please."
"Well Okay Danie, but I want to meet this date of yours soon!"
Danielle jumped up and down and hugged her mother tightly, nearly dropping the phone again. "Thank you Mom!" She ran back to her room and tossed some more stuff in her duffle bag.
"Danielle, you are my Hero!" Ashley squeaked into the phone. She herself jumping up and down with excitement. "Oh I can't wait for it now; it's going to be perfect!"
Danielle flopped on her bed. "SO what are you gonna wear Miss Ashley?" She used a singsong voice.
"I don't know," said Ashley with a bit of regret. She was so excited for Danielle, she really was. Happy for her, even. Danielle had been her friend since kindergarten and they had grown up together. Ashley had her guy, had found him at the end of her sophomore year. He was great and sweet and caring. But he was no Brian. Brian was the star of everything he'd set out to do and everyone in school respected him. Guys wanted to be his friend and all the girls wanted to date him. He had been a part of their choir group for some time. He was a mystery to Danielle and Ashley.
"You know what? We'll see when you get here, ok? When are you coming, tonight or tomorrow night?" Today was Thursday and the dance wasn't until the weekend.
Danielle thought for a moment. "I don't think I can swing spending a school night at your house..." She rolled over on her stomach and grabbed for her day planner on her bedside table but ended up knocking it off onto the ground.
"Danie?" Ashley heard the thud and was curious.
"I knocked my day planner on the floor and my bible too I think. She reached down and pulled the two books onto the bed.
"Okay, you think you could let me borrow the dress you wore to the spring fling, it's my favorite color..."
Daniel smiled widely. "Oh, that's a great idea you'd look so cute in it! I'll get it right now!" She jumped up and stumbled as she tried to make her way to the closet. She went to the closet and way in the back she pulled out a blue sparkling dress. The hem flaring around the knees, it was slim, with one sided strap. Ashley and Danielle had always shared their wardrobe. It was the benefit of wearing the same size clothes. Twice the wardrobe.
"Ok," said Danielle, bracing the phone on her shoulder and holding the dress out to make sure it was clean. "Do you want the shoes too? And omigosh," exclaimed Danie, coming to a revelation. "What about jewelry. Gurl, I'm raidin' your jewelry box!"
"Yeah I need the shoes Gurl you know I want to look fabulous! Of course your raiding my jewelry, but I want to wear your ruby earrings, the ones Shaped like hearts!" Ashley squealed with excitement.
"Okay… Hey are you sure you're mom wont butt in on us?" Daniel rummaged through her jewelry box and pulled out a tiny pill box that had all her good earrings and tossed it in her bag on top of the two dresses, the shoes and her normal clothes.
"Notta chance, I went to prom last year and she didn't even take pictures, said it didn't matter till senior year."
"Okay…" Danielle, having done packed all she could possibly pack for now, flopped down on the bed and gave a big sigh. It was enchanting. She wasn't a nobody but she definitely didn't think she was somebody around Brian...and he was taking her to the dance. "Brian," she whispered into the phone, to share some of her sentiment with Ashley. "I'm numb with feeling and I still can't believe it."
Ashley having flopped back on her bed as well nodded as if Danielle could see her. "I know how you feel girl…" She thought of her own boyfriend, Matthew, He was such a dream to her when they first started going out. She sighed and looked over at her clock. "Danie… It's fifteen till eleven, I gotta go de-funkify myself."
Danielle jumped up and looked at her own clock. "Wow it is late, Have good shower, I'll talk to you tomorrow?" "Yeah… gotta get squeaky clean, Bye Babe…" They hung up their phones and Ashley ran off the steal the bathroom from her brother.
Danielle went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. But in the middle of "up-and-down, side-to-side" she had a moment. One of those moments when everything feels out of place yet you know exactly where you are...a dream. She looked at herself in the mirror, make-up off, mouth foaming, toothbrush hanging out, and she just sat and thought, listening to how loud silence can be. Why is he asking me? Now of all times. I've been invisible to him for two years...well...the equivalent of invisible. A friend, sure, but this is a dance. Then and there, Danielle wanted to cry out, "What do I do God!"
Danielle actually did let a couple tears fall but She Just bowed her head, trying not to drip toothpaste foam on herself and said a silent prayer in her head. She wiped her eyes and went back to brushing her teeth though there were still tears flowing. She went to bed quietly and lay down.
Facing her dark ceiling, she reassured herself that God would take care of her. After what seemed like forever she rolled over and went to sleep. A few blocks away Ashley was kneeling by her bed and saying her nightly prayers. She hoped that it would work with Danielle and Brian, Danielle hadn't dated much at all and Ashley didn't want For Danielle to have her heart broken.
Ashley thought of Matthew, how he's always been the perfect gentleman. It made her heart soar, that God was preserving their friendship until which time He gave them their next step. In a way, it was romantic. She was getting to know Matthew in a much deeper way, deeper than physical intimacy or emotional prodding. But Danielle didn't have that. God please, she prayed. My sister deserves love so much and hasn't found it.
With those thoughts echoing, her mind ceased as she told God how she really felt by feeling it before Him. She sat in silence for the longest time. Ashley gave a heaving breath, as if all her worries had washed away. God had Danielle and Brian in His grip. He had great plans for them. Ashley smiled and crawled beneath her covers, hugging her pillow tight.