Chapter 17: The Prom
What the FUCK am I doing? I must be out of my mind... WHY the hell would I even THINK of this?
Dani repeated those questions over and over as she sat in her car. Kevin was already in there, probably wondering where in the hell she was. Or, truthfully, he'd be expecting "him", rather than "her". Kev had come early to help out with heavy lifting, so Danny had been left to get ready by himself – and now here she was.
At the Prom.
And she kept asking herself: WHY?
Was it because of all the people – adult people, at that – that seemed to accept her as she was? She'd never expected that. She'd never expected that coming "out", again, as a cross-dressing boy would go over so incredibly well. Even Kevin's father seemed to be okay with it, by the end of their golf game. And he'd been the most homophobic person she'd met, so far. Well – other than Kevin himself, and look what had happened to him...
As far as being gay – no one seemed to mind about that anymore, now that all the other kids were showing such support about the whole thing. If anyone was having a problem with it, they were keeping very quiet. It seemed... too good to be true. She had a nagging feeling that when things seem too good to be true – they probably are.
Or was it just Kevin... Is that where all this damn bothersome bravado came from? Was it that Dani's boyfriend had finally gotten through to her that it wasn't about being a boy or a girl? And if Dani liked being a girl – then Dani should just be one, never mind chromosomes and plumbing and glands and the opinions of strangers. Looking back, Dani couldn't believe how far she'd come in terms of being comfortable with who and what she was. From being unable to stand having her penis touched to topping her boyfriend in the space of one school-year. From being in the closet to coming to the Prom in a dress. Her favorite dress. The black one Kevin had bought for her. With the matching bra, panties, garter... everything but the snuggie. Dani didn't really care so much anymore if it showed that she had a penis under the panties – everyone knew it anyway. Besides – Kevin said it was kind of cool to see that bulge there.
She giggled to herself. Kevin was weird.
Or maybe it was yet another thing that was giving her the courage – just barely – to think about doing this. Maybe it was Making Love.
Because that had damn sure been a first. Just the night before last – nothing special about the day or anything – they'd fallen into their usual foreplay intending to end it with hot gay sex as usual... and it hadn't gone that way at all. Something different had happened, without words, without lube, without intention – something that just started growing from the kisses and took over. Yes – they loved each other, they both knew that. Just that it had never been shown... like that before.
The actual sex act had consisted of nothing more than Kevin holding both their penises together - Danny's hand atop his - as he squeezed and moved and squeezed and moved... No penetration. Face-to-face and eye-to-eye and dick-to-dick. Body-to-body. Me to you.
They were both surprised as it was happening – they could see it in each other's eyes - but neither could have stopped if they'd wanted to, and they didn't want to. It was something new, something indescribable, something vulnerable. Something there was no need to mention later. What remained to be said, after that?
Even thinking about it now, there were still no words for that experience. Sublime. Okay – but how does one describe that?
When there are many possible answers to a single question, the truth often turns out to be a combination of those possibilities, and so it was this question. Why was she doing this?
All of the above.
1,228 Seniors. 4 known and openly gay couples. A dozen more openly known homosexuals, split almost evenly between boys and girls. Three girls in suits. One boy in a dress.
Six chaperons from the pool of parents - four with video-cameras. Eight from the school staff. One off-duty policeman. One Headmaster.
Theme: "The Future is Ours!" Decoration: lots of silver and white. Band: "Helpful Corn" - playing hard, fast, and loud as Dani walked in the door.
"D – Danny?" Linda – whose brother had set Dani up with the disastrous blind date – was the first to notice her.
"Yeah. With an 'i' now. Hi, Linda..." Dani said, waiting for further reaction.
"Oh my god!" the other girl squealed, "You look so cute like that!"
"Thanks. Kevin bought it for me... Your dress is pretty too – but do you really think taffeta is the wave of the future?"
"Oh hush – everyone's saying that. If I have my way, it will be. Wow! – I can't believe how... brave it is of you to-"
"Yeah, Linda, I know. Don't be so impressed – I'm scared to death. So... have you seen Kev? Is he around?"
"I think he and some of the guys went to find more ice. He'll be back in a minute," Linda said, then turned to the pack of girls behind her, "Hey guys! Look! It's Danny!"
"Uh... with an 'i'..." Dani said again. She'd be saying that a lot tonight. There was more squealing. Funny thing – girls love a boy in drag.
Outside, Kevin was making his way to the back door of the gym with 25 lb bags of ice in each arm – when someone stepped out of the shadows and into his path. "Kevin."
"Uh... Uncle Keith? What are you doing here? Hey – I'll be right back, I gotta-"
"You remember, nephew - that you owe me, do you not? For my Native American artifacts?" He was all seriousness. It was more than a little scary.
"Yeah... I remember... You said maybe you'd ask me for a favor someday... why do I get the feeling that it's today..."
"Kevin – no matter what happens in there tonight, I want you to keep your cool. You understand? I want you to keep that temper of yours under control. I want you to turn the other cheek. You will keep your mouth shut – this is very important. You will not hit anyone. You will do nothing – and thus you will pay me what you owe me. Are we clear about this, nephew? I mean it – you will keep your cool, no matter what."
"Okaaaaay... I'll be cool. Uh... what exactly is going to happen?"
Uncle Keith took a leisurely puff on his cigar, "I think the sky is going to fall. For someone. Very well – I'll see you inside later. Good luck." With that, he walked off, apparently deep in thought.
The damned ice was cold in his arms, so Kevin shrugged and went inside.
"There's two more..." Headmaster Gottlieb said, pointing into the crowd on the dance-floor, where one of the suit-girls was dancing with someone else in a dress.
"Where? Oh, yeah. Man..." that's hot, Mr. Morrison said, the aloud part in order to agree with his "boss". Mr. Morrison was the legal representative for St. Augustine's. Like many men, he enjoyed something of a fetish for lesbians, but that didn't carry over into acceptance of gay men. More importantly, though – and unlike the Headmaster – he didn't feel any threat from them. If they wanted to... be that way, well, hell - more women for him. Even though he knew it didn't quite work that way, it's a general rule that crude opinions require crude reasoning.
The lawyer excused himself to go get something to drink. What he really wanted was a better spot for girl-watching. Or girl-girl-watching, as the case may be.
Two hours into the Prom, and the Headmaster had marked three gay couples. He hadn't picked out Kevin and Dani – for obvious reasons. Since the music was still fast, hard, and sometimes even angry, he hadn't spotted any of the dreaded gay PDA he was there looking for. But that was about to change.
"Awright SAINT AUGUSTINE'S!" the lead singer screamed, to the roar of the crowd, "Now what you're all hot 'n' sweaty – let's mellow out and get CLOSE for a change, eh? Rock on! But – slowly..."
The Headmaster kept watch. Even he couldn't bust two boys for just dancing together... but dancing would lead to kissing, it always did when the music slowed down at Proms. He'd been to enough of them to know that. And kissing would lead to grinding, and kissing and grinding would lead to roaming hands...
Mr. Morrison casually made his way back to the Headmaster's side. He was willing to tear his eyes off the lesbian couple only because he could feel an erection coming on. Best to quit while you're ahead – especially since he was expecting to have to stand up for a while yet.
"You're watching the three couples, Mr. Morrison? I'm going to be pulling them out of here as soon as they try something indecent..."
"Uhm... yeah. It's four couples, though. See that brunette girl in the black dress, over by the punch?"
"Yes... don't know her. She's dancing with Kevin Denner, though. Which is quite odd – reliable sources tell me that he's a homosexual..."
"Right... Well – that girl's a guy. Name of Danny something. I was talking to the Coach - seems she's actually a pretty decent quarter-back..."
"What!" exclaimed the Headmaster, "Why... that's... oh, I'm putting an end to this right NOW!" He stormed towards the stairs that led down to the unsuspecting couple.
Who, as chance would have it, lip-locked each other in a light – but slow and lingering – kiss while the Headmaster strode toward them.
"STOP! STOP that! Stop the music! You two! You two BOYS!"
The music stopped, and all eyes turned to Kevin and Dani.
Here it comes..., they both thought, Showdown. They'd wondered if something like this would happen – the List and all. But nothing had come of The List, so they'd thought maybe... just maybe it would be okay. As for Dani – her father had informed her that he'd stand behind her whatever – him and his lawyers, if need be. He'd even already talked to a lawyer about it, and given Dani the go-ahead to be as gay as she wanted. On the other hand – he didn't know that Dani was going to show up at the Prom in a dress... even Dani herself hadn't known she was going to do that.
"You two follow me!" the Headmaster ordered, glowering at them both, then turning his attention on Dani, said, "And you! You should be ashamed!"
That comment got to Kevin – his breathing quickened. But – he'd promised. He'd promised Uncle Keith. It would probably be... bad... not to keep a promise to Uncle Keith. He didn't move.
Dani, though, hadn't promised anyone anything. Except herself.
"Is there a problem, Headmaster?" she asked with sarcastic innocence.
"YES there is a problem, Mr. Rainier!" the Headmaster said, then backed up a bit to look over the crowd behind them. "And you! You two! Come up here!" he said to another couple, then scanned the crowd again, "You girls! And you! Where's your boyfriend – ah, come up here! All of you! Let's get this over with once and for all!"
Three other same-sex couples came forward – two pairs of boys and one of girls. They arranged themselves behind Kevin and Dani.
"We were dancing together, Headmaster... is that against the rules?" Dani said, baiting him. She'd just become the gay spokeswoman of St. Augustine's Academy – no one would have been more surprised than she was.
"It IS against the 'rules', as you call them! It's against GOD'S rules! It's against NATURE'S rules! It's against Decency! I am not going to allow this school to become a... a safe-house for homosexuals!"
"God's rules? God has a rule against being gay? Can I quote you on that?" There was some chuckling in the crowd. "If you have God's ear, Headmaster – please ask him why he made me this way, next time the two of you chat. I'd kinna like to know..."
"I do not intend to debate you about this, Mr. Rainier. MISTER Rainier... your parents would be so ashamed if they could see you now. And I will make sure they find out about-"
"MY parents, Headmaster, love me. MY parents would be proud of me for standing up to an – to someone like you."
"Then YOUR parents are lost, too!" The Headmaster turned around, looking for the cop, "Sgt. Humbert! Arrest these people at once! I'll press charges – public indecency, violation of dress-code... whatever else I can think of later!"
The officer stepped forward, but only a single step, "Sorry, sir. It's not actually illegal for boys to dance together. Girls either." He was smiling as he said it.
More chuckling – and louder.
The policeman continued, "And as for the dress-code – that may be a rule here, but it's not a law. Just to be straight about things, sir: I'm here as a peace-officer for public safety. I don't answer to you. I suggest you call your congressman – excuse me – congressperson about it."
"Very well – I'll throw them out MYSELF! As Headmaster of this school, at a school event, I can-"
Now Mr. Morrison, the school's lawyer spoke up - "Uh, actually, Mr. Gottlieb... this is a 'school SPONSORED' event. If you lay a hand on anyone, it could be called 'assault'. See – they made the Prom that way so-"
The headmaster was getting even hotter now as everyone seemed to be suddenly turning against him. "You are FIRED Mr. Morrison!"
"Oh – not a good idea... I'm a lawyer, remember? And as your lawyer – sort of – I strongly suggest you get yourself some legal counsel before you fire me... That and - I have to say - every word that comes out of your mouth is more damning than the last. It's kind of neat - from a legal standpoint."
Outright laughter now. And – two more couples stepped forward from the crowd to align themselves with the four already standing in front of the Headmaster. And there was mumbling now -
"Hey, Bob – let's be gay. C'mon, let's sock it to the fuckin' Headmaster!"
"Just what I was thinking. Let's go."
"Don't look at me that way, Seth... I'm no fag."
"Oh come on – everyone's doing it! Geez. Uhm... hey, Bennie? How 'bout you?"
"I kind of hate to tell ya this now, Seth, but - I really am gay..."
"Great! So – you'll be my boyfriend?"
"Just this once, Seth... you're way too ugly."
"Aww Bennie - I'm gonna cry!"
And even -
"C'mon, Dale. Don't be such a pussy. I'm goin' with Cindy, you take Matt."
"No fuckin' way! Besides – how's that gonna look? I fucking FOUGHT that Kevin guy for bein' a fag!"
"Dale! You hold Matt's hand and go up there, or I'll tell everyone what you're wearing under that tux."
"... you wouldn't... You... they're yours anyway!"
"Yeah – but you're the one who likes to wear 'em so much..."
"Fuck. Matt... here. Fuck."
Headmaster Gottlieb could only watch in horror as more and more couples lined themselves up behind Kevin and Dani. It seemed as if the whole school was homo! Had the List been right after all? How was it possible? It was like... a test... A test of his righteousness... It was like...
"SODOM AND GOMORRAH! I WILL BE A LIGHT OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS! I WILL PRESERVE THE WAY – EVEN ALONE ON THE STREETS OF ANCIENT SODOM, AS LOT DID IN HIS TIME! I WILL-"
"Offer your virgin daughters to the crowd to be gang-raped? Then later get drunk and impregnate them yourself? Lot did that – and God said he was righteous... Are you really that righteous, Headmaster?" Dani asked. She'd been preparing for a Biblical argument ever since she found out she'd be attending a Catholic school. She just could not pass up a chance to use it...
It so happened that Headmaster Gottlieb did in fact have a daughter – although she was 23 years old now, and out of college. Probably not a virgin... But of course, he didn't think about that. Instead, he hauled back with his Fist of Righteous Indignation, and punched Dani right in the face. She reeled back, caught by Kevin before she fell.
The policeman came running.
And Kevin? Promise or no promise – he smacked his fist into the Headmaster's nose hard enough to break two fingers - not to mention the targeted nose - before the cop got there.
Epilogue – 16 years later.
"Camera one – get in on her face, Camera two – stick with the full shot of her, when she sits down, gimme Mr. Lowe's face as usual. This oughta be good. Woulda been better with Larry King, but he's dead. Too bad, so sad. Sound?"
"Dani – I hear that's what you prefer to be called – let's just jump right into it. What makes you think your husb- I mean, your 'domestic partner' – can win this race?"
"You can call him my 'husband'. I prefer that. And shouldn't you be asking HIM that question? I'm not running for anything, y'know..."
"A zing! A zing on Dave in the first five seconds! Camera two – you keep tight on Dave's face! I gotta feeling about this girl..."
"You must have an opinion about it – no openly gay man has ever run for governor of New Hampshire before – what makes you think he can pull it off? Or DO YOU think he can pull it off?"
"I think he can – I'm hoping he will. Obviously I completely support him in this race – but not because I want my husband to be governor, Dave. It's because I want KEVIN to be governor. I'd want that whether he was my 'domestic partner' or not. I'd vote for him either way. Of course – I know him better than you – or your viewers – do."
"How long have you two been together?"
"Since high school – I think everyone knows that, Dave. Get on with it."
"Yes – to refresh our viewer's memory – you got quite a bit of coverage for going to your Prom in a dress. The Headmaster tried to kick you out, but you wouldn't go, and eventually he lost control and punched you. I think we have a picture..."
"Bring up the pic, Terry. Be ready for the next one..."
"Yup – there it is. Hardly a day goes by that someone, somewhere, doesn't show me that picture, Dave. I'd like to point out that my hair only looks like that because of momentum. I hate that."
"Didn't you kind of expect something like that, after showing up in drag?"
"You're asking if I expected the supposedly wise and learned Headmaster to punch me in the face? No, Dave – I didn't expect that to happen."
"Gimme a split-screen, Terry! NOW!"
"Well then, why DID you show up in a dress?"
"Because it's who I am, Dave. Because it's WHAT I am. Why do YOU wear those ridiculous suspenders? AND a belt? Can't make up your mind?"
"Zing three! Television gold!"
"In the next pic, we see Kevin punching Mr. Gottlieb right back – and pretty hard too. Is this the kind of man we want for governor?"
"What should he have done, Dave? Called the police and pressed charges? Hired a lawyer and filed a suit? Mr. Gottlieb hit me, Kevin hit him. He was defending my honor. Yes, I DO think that's the kind of man you want for governor. Someone who gets things done himself, when he sees something wrong happening. What would YOU have done?"
"I love this girl! Terry – go to camera two full-screen. Let's let 'em look at her for awhile. She ain't takin' no shit!"
"We'll be right back after these commercial announcements, folks, with Dani Rainier, WIFE of New Hampshire gubernatorial challenger Kevin Denner. ... We're off? I bet they're just sucking this up, Dani – everyone seems love it when I get put in my place like that. Okay – next up we'll talk about the Gay Agenda. You're ready for that?"
"Bring it on, Dave."