Sadie Hawkins Dance
Summary: Nicole Stone's plan to ask Sullivan Black to the Sadie Hawkins Dance backfires. Embarrassingly so. Will she be able to work up the nerve to ask him again?
The voices of Nicole Stone's parents grew softer, as she left her house and let her ten-month old Alaskan malamute pull her across the front lawn and down the street. When she reached the end, she glanced to her right and then to her left to make sure there were no cars coming around the corner, and then jogged across the street and continued on her way. She had a specific destination in mind. It was a large, out-of-the-way park that she and Apollo, the malamute, liked to visit every day. During the summer, she would lie down on a blanket under her favourite oak tree and read a book, while Apollo swam in the park's pond, chasing ducks, but never actually hurting them – he was curious about them more than fearful. During winter, when the pond's water froze, Nicole would bring her ice skates with her and spend an hour skating, laughing as she watched Apollo slip and slide as he chased after her.
The park was her home away from home. It was the first place she went when she needed time to think about something, or when she needed to be by herself.
This was one of those times.
As Nicole and Apollo got closer to the park, Nicole was relieved to see that it was deserted. She sometimes ran into people from her neighbourhood here – friends of her mother's, families she babysat for – and while she didn't usually mind stopping and chatting with them for a little while, she didn't feel up to it today. She just wanted to be alone.
Apollo was pulling harder on the leash – his way of telling Nicole that he wanted to be let off. Sighing, she pulled Apollo to her side by his collar, and unhooked the leash. Holding his face in her hands, she looked him square in the eye and said, "You know the rules. No running away and no hurting any poor, defenceless animals. Got it?" He pushed his cold nose against her face, and whined. Rolling her eyes, she let go of him, and watched as he sprinted over to one of the swing sets and started sniffing the ground.
Nicole walked over to a bench, brushed as much snow as she could off of it, and sat down. She watched Apollo sniff his way from the swing set to the covered sandbox, and smiled. He really was the best dog anyone could ever ask for. She had bought him with her own money, and had raised him from a pup with absolutely no help from either of her parents – that had been the first rule her parents had set down when she told them she was buying a dog. She walked him every night – the second rule – and kept him healthy, which meant she hardly ever needed to take him to the vet – the third rule. He slept in her room every night, and was always waiting patiently by the front door when she got home from school every afternoon. He listened to her when she needed someone to talk to, and he let her curl up next to him whenever she felt sad.
She didn't feel sad now, though. No, she felt embarrassed; completely and utterly embarrassed. She relayed the afternoon's events in her mind for the twentieth time, and cringed.
She had had a plan. It had been the perfect plan, too. She had made sure that absolutely nothing could wrong, and yet it did. It had blown up right in her face, and all she could think to do in response was to turn around and run. She shook her head, thinking about how stupid she must have looked.
She was never going to talk to him again; not after what had happened that afternoon…
- - - - -
"Have you asked him, yet?"
Nicole looked up at the person that had just sat down beside her, and said, "Hello to you, too, Fiona." Nicole had been best friends with Fiona Walker since before she could remember. According to their mothers, their friendship began at the age of five, when, on their first day at preschool, they had "inexplicably gravitated towards one another." Thirteen years later, they were still the best of friends.
Fiona rolled her eyes, and quickly said, "Yes, yes, hello, and all that. Now, have you asked him yet?"
Smiling, Nicole shook her head. "No. I didn't get a chance to after Biology, so I thought I'd just wait until after school. He has basketball practice, so I'll do it before he starts."
Fiona sighed and stared off into space. "I cannot believe you're going to ask Sullivan Black to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. He's going to say yes, you know that right?" she asked.
"Shh! Keep your voice down," Nicole said, frowning. They were in the library, and she didn't want to risk someone eavesdropping on them. "Besides, I don't know that for sure. And neither do you. Please don't make a big deal of it," she said. "I don't want to think he's going to say yes, when there's a good possibility that he might say no."
"Oh, come on! Sullivan Black is not going to say no to you," Fiona replied. "He likes you, Nic, I know he does."
"Fi, I'm serious. Don't make a big deal about it," Nicole pleaded. She and Sullivan had been in the same Biology class for three years now, and had been partnered for two of those years, and while she knew he considered her a friend – a good friend – she still wasn't sure if he felt about her the way she felt about him and she didn't want to get her hopes up only to have them crushed. She had been there and done that, and as far as she was concerned, once was enough.
"Okay, okay, I won't make a big deal about it," Fiona said, holding her hands up in surrender. "When I'm around you, that is. When I'm by myself, however, I can't guarantee that I won't be grinning from ear to ear, and jumping up and down in excitement," she added. Nicole burst out laughing, but quickly stopped when the school's head librarian glared at her.
Fiona left her to study soon after, and Nicole didn't see her until the end of the day, when it came time to ask Sullivan to the dance.
"There he is," Fiona said, nudging Nicole in the side with her elbow. They were standing by one of the opened doors to the gym, attempting to look casual.
"Yes, I can see that," Nicole replied, rolling her eyes. "And would quit nudging me, please? I'm trying to act casual here!"
"Well, Miss Casual, you better hurry up before Mr. Brennan comes in and starts practice."
"Right," Nicole said. She gripped her bag tightly, walked across the court and over to the bleachers. She spotted Sullivan easily, even with his back to her; he had a certain way of sitting that she would recognise anyway. He was facing three of his team mates and was obviously in the middle of telling a funny story because the other three boys were all looking at Sullivan with amusement in their eyes, and a grin on their face.
Taking a deep breath, she stopped a few feet away from where Sullivan and his friends were sitting, and called out his name. He turned his head quickly, and upon seeing who it was, stood up and walked over to her.
"Hey Nic," he said smiling. Nicole couldn't help but smile back; Sullivan's smiles were infectious. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to ask you something," Nicole said lightly.
"Sure, go ahead."
Nicole eyed the boys sitting in the bleachers. They were watching her with open curiosity, and Nicole suddenly felt really uncomfortable.
"Uh, do you mind if we go out into the corridor for a second?" she asked, settling her eyes on Sullivan's face once more. "It'll just take a second. I promise."
He looked at her and frowned slightly. "Okay…" he said, slowly. "Is everything alright?" he asked, as he started to follow her out of the gym.
"Oh, yeah," she said, smiling at him. "I'd just rather ask you without the audience," she added, nodding back to his friends.
As they neared the double doors, Nicole spotted Fiona stealthily moving away from the entrance, while one of Sullivan's friends called out to him. "Coach is going to be here any minute, man!"
"Yeah, I know. Tell him I'll be back in a second," he called back. Nicole walked out into the school's corridor, and over to the other side stopping outside an empty classroom.
"Okay, Nic, you're kind of making me nervous," Sullivan said, laughing softly. "What's going on? Don't want to be my lab partner anymore?" he joked.
"Of course I do," Nicole said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, as she turned around to look at him. "You know you're the only reason I'm passing that class."
He pretended to be hurt by her words, clutching his chest where his heart was. "So, after all these years, I find out you've just been using me to pass Bio. I should have known."
"Har har," Nicole said, deadpan. "Actually, I wanted to ask you if…" she started, before suddenly being cut off by a very loud, "Oh my God!"
Nicole and Sullivan both looked around to see what all the commotion was and saw Madison Miller, the editor of the school's newspaper, making her way towards them. Madison Miller also happened to be the one girl in the entire school who had made her feelings for Sullivan Black plainly obvious. Nicole frowned. She did not like the fact that Madison was making a beeline for them, nor did she like the determined look on Madison's face.
By now, the remaining students also in the corridor had heard Madison's outburst, and were watching her just as intently as Nicole was. Madison ignored them, and continued on her way, finally coming to a stop beside Nicole and Sullivan.
"Uh, hey, Madison," Sullivan said, cautiously. "What's up…?"
"You're not seriously going to do it, are you?" Madison suddenly said to Nicole, interrupting Sullivan.
Nicole did not like the tone she heard in Madison's voice. "Uh… do what?" Nicole asked, feigning ignorance.
Madison narrowed her eyes. "I heard you in the library, Nicole. You're not seriously going to ask Sullivan Black to the Sadie Hawkins Dance, are you?" she repeated, loud enough for everyone else in the corridor to hear. Nicole felt her face heat up immediately. "You might as well forget it because he's going to say no," Madison added, crossing her arms over her chest and giving Nicole a deliberate once-over.
"Madison!" Sullivan hissed, his eyes darting over to Nicole.
Nicole wanted to crawl into a hole and die. All she could do, though, was stare at the linoleum-covered floor in silence.
"Well?" Madison pressed, clearly not appreciating the fact that she was being ignored.
"Shut up, Madison!" Sullivan snapped, glaring at her.
Nicole looked up to find Madison smirking at her cruelly; a perfectly shaped eyebrow was raised, daring her to say something. She then looked at Sullivan and found him staring at her intently, almost as if trying to read her mind.
"Nic…" he started, taking a step towards her.
Nicole could feel the eyes of every single person in that corridor staring at her. As she looked around, she saw that a few had already started whispering about what they had just witnessed. She had never been more embarrassed in her entire life, so she did the only thing she could think to do.
She turned around and ran before Sullivan could say anything else.
- - - - -
"I thought I'd find you here," a familiar voice said, bringing Nicole back to the present. Nicole stiffened, not daring to turn around. "You dropped this when you took off… earlier."
A distinctly male hand reached out and dropped a book on the snow-covered bench beside Nicole; a hand that belonged to Sullivan Black. He walked around the bench and stood facing her, his hands shoved into the front pockets of his jeans. Neither of them said anything; Sullivan wasn't sure where to start, while Nicole just wanted to disappear. Finally, Sullivan asked if he could sit down.
"Sure," Nicole said softly. He could do what he wanted; she didn't own the park bench. From the corner of her eye, she watched him brush the snow off of the bench before sitting down. He leaned back and stretched his legs out in front of him, crossing them at the ankle. He pulled his black beanie down his forehead, almost covering his eyes, and let go of the breath he had been holding. It swirled in the air like smoke before dissipating.
"Is that your dog?" he asked, nodding towards Apollo who was currently sniffing the bark of a tree.
Nicole swallowed and nodded her head. "That's Apollo," she said. Suddenly needing a distraction, she whistled loudly. She saw Apollo's ears prick up before he turned around to look at her. She whistled again, and he came bounding over to her. He sat down next to her, placed his head on her knee, and eyed Sullivan warily.
"Nicole, about earlier…"
"How did you know I would be here?" Nicole asked, cutting him off.
"You told me you always come here," Sullivan said. "Remember, I dropped you off one day, and we passed this park, and you said that this was where you brought your dog every night."
Nicole remembered. She was surprised he had, though.
"Even if that hadn't happened, though, Fiona told me where I could find you. She practically mowed me down on my way to my car after practice, and told me exactly where you would be and exactly what I should say to you," he added, amusement evident in his voice.
"That's Fiona," Nicole said, quietly. She saw Sullivan nod his head and look at her briefly.
"Nicole…" he started, turning his body to face her.
"So, where's your car?" Nicole asked, cutting him off again. She really did not want to have that particular conversation with him. Not now, anyway.
"Oh, I parked it outside your house," he replied.
"Oh," she said. "Well, thanks for bringing my book to me. I should get going, though. It's getting late." She attached Apollo's leash to his collar, sliding her right hand through the handle, and stood up. She remembered the book on the bench beside her, and quickly snatched it up with the same hand.
"Nicole…" Sullivan said, watching her.
"Please, Sullivan," she raised her free hand to stop him. "I don't want to talk about it. I'd rather forget it ever happened, actually." She ignored the hurt look in his eyes, and started walking away.
"Nicole, wait," Sullivan said, reaching out and gripping her wrist. "Ask me."
"What?" Nicole turned around and looked into his dark brown eyes. The name Sullivan meant 'dark eyes' in Gaelic, and staring at Sullivan's eyes now, she suddenly realised just how appropriate a name it was for him. She had never noticed just how dark his eyes were until now.
"Ask me," Sullivan repeated. "Whatever you wanted to ask me this afternoon, ask me now."
Nicole averted her eyes and stared at the ground. "You know what I wanted to ask you," she murmured.
"I do, and believe me, I'd ask you myself, but I can't," he said, reaching out to tilt her head back so he could look into her eyes. "It's the Sadie Hawkins Dance, after all. It's the girl's job to ask the boy," he added, grinning at her.
Nicole felt her heart race suddenly. She searched his eyes, looking for a reason not to trust what he was saying. He was looking at her, though, like he had never looked at her before. So, swallowing nervously, she said, "Sullivan Black, would you like to go to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with me?"
Sullivan smiled, his eyes twinkling, and said, "Nicole Stone, I would love to go to the Sadie Hawkins Dance with you."
Nicole closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again. Sullivan was still standing there smiling down at her; it hadn't been a dream. She was about to say something when Sullivan took a step toward her.
Leaning down, he nodded at Apollo and said, "He's not going to attack me if I kiss you, is he?"
Nicole blushed and smiled. "Apollo doesn't attack anyone unless I tell him to," she said.
Cupping her face in his hands, Sullivan leaned closer and said, "In that case, will you tell him to attack me if I kiss you?"
With her free hand, Nicole reached up and gripped his right wrist, squeezing it gently. "Only if I don't enjoy it," she whispered.
Smiling, Sullivan closed the distance between them, tilting Nicole's head back. It was not the first time Nicole had been kissed, but she had never been kissed like that before. She gripped Sullivan's wrist tightly, letting him take the lead. Her head was spinning, and her body felt warm, and before she knew it, he was gently pulling away. She moaned quietly – so quietly Sullivan almost missed it – and opened her eyes to look at him.
"So…" he said, taking a step back and letting his hands drop to her waist. "Am I going to get attacked now?"
Nicole pretended to think for a minute. "No," she shook her head, her hair swinging gently with the movement. "Not today, anyway," she added, smiling.
"Does that mean I can walk you and Apollo home, then?"
"I'd like that," Nicole nodded. He moved to stand on her left, and gripped her hand in his. Apollo, relieved that they were finally going to start walking, began tugging on his leash, his nose to the ground.
"By the way," Sullivan said, as they crossed over to Nicole's street. "I've been waiting for you to ask me to the Sadie Hawkins Dance for the last two years. If you hadn't planned on asking me this year, I would have definitely broken all the rules and asked you."
"I'm glad I asked you, then," Nicole said.
Sullivan smiled down at her. "I'm glad you asked me, too."
A little something that popped into my head the other day. I haven't written a high school-centric, full-of-fluff one shot in awhile, so hopefully it wasn't too horrible :)