Chapter Forty-Three: Junior Prom and Some Other Stupid Shit
I was awoken from my nap by a scream—like, a shit-a-brick, Scream 5 worthy scream—the afternoon of junior prom. I flailed around for my glasses before crawling out of bed and finding the source of the noise. There was only one person in the house that had those kind of pipes and it was not my father. Desiree was in the bathroom. There was makeup all over the counter—I counted about five different kinds of mascara—and Desiree was holding a hair straighter in her hand, looking as though she had just seen the Blood Mary in the mirror.
"What's wrong?' I asked. "Did you say 'Beetlejuice' one too many times?"
My sister ignored my comment and shook the straightener. "It died. It died!"
"Oh… well, I'm sorry."
She then turned to face me. My sister and I had been gifted with thick, curly hair, and most of the time it was a gift, but then the bone-straight hair trend picked up and Desiree fell for it hard. It usually took quite a deal of patience to straighten the hair on our heads, something that I definitely did not have, but Desiree did. Naturally, Desiree wanted to go unnatural for junior prom and straighten her hair. And that's where the problem with the busted hair straightener came in: Desiree had only gotten to straighten half of her hair before it died.
Not going to lie: I laughed. Hard.
Desiree glared at me and I could have sworn that the eye on the straight half of her hair twitched. "It is not funny," she hissed. "What am I going to do?"
"Did you put some new batteries in it?" I asked.
"It doesn't use batteries, it plugs into the wall. If you were a real girl you'd know that."
"Did you try another outlet?"
"Of course I tried another outlet, Dominique!"
"Okay, okay," I said, still trying not to laugh at her. "What do you want to do? I could call Shawn and see if he'll let you borrow his."
And that was how we ended up going to Walmart, two hours before our dates were coming to pick us up, to get a new hair straightener, with Desiree in her prom dress and half of her hair straightened. She did not want to take the dress off—apparently she had to put it on before doing her hair and makeup so as to not mess it up after—so she tried to cover it up with a Juicy Velour tracksuit hoodie and some Uggs, despite the fact that it was a toasty seventy degrees out.
"I can't fucking believe this," Desiree muttered as she looked over her sunglasses. She was a sight to behold, that was something. "This must be punishment for something I did in a past life. I told you that one time I had a dream that I was a mistress in the Deep South and was flogging some slaves."
"Yeah," I said, taking time to stop and study some painted coffee mugs, "that must be it."
"Dominique." I was making sure to milk this as long as I could, so I feigned interest in a paring knife set. "Dominique." Desiree grabbed my arm and yanked me into another aisle. Before I could even ask what her problem was, she answered my question. "It's Reagan!"
Oh, this day kept getting better and better. The Readheaded Wonder was making a last minute Walmart run, too. You would have thought that the Queen was too good for Walmart. "I'll take care of her," I said, "and you go pick me up some strawberry chapstick when you get your hair straightener." Desiree did not argue and she scuttled off in the opposite direction, all glitter and tracksuit, like this was some episode of Sister Sister.
I stepped out of the aisle and almost ran into Reagan. "Well, hello there," I said in a British accent that seemed to come out of nowhere. Reagan's olive green eyes flashed when she realized it was me who had almost sent her armful of tampons flying. "Is that gonna ruin your after party plans tonight?" I pointed to the boxes of tampons.
She scoffed at me and started to walk off, but I was feeling very rebellious today, so I thought that it was a great idea to continue. "Hey, Reagan, did you ever decide on a date? Or did they all run for the hills?" Some people would say that I was being mean, but there was no such thing as being mean to Reagan. She deserved every ounce of hate that was directed her way.
I expected her to keep walking, but Reagan stopped and turned around to face me before saying matter-of-factly, "Willow."
Now, Willow was Reagan's longest running boy toy, but they had recently split, and I had heard of all the other guys who had asked her to junior prom. Willow was not one of them. "I thought he was going to prom with Shoshanna," I said, remembering something I had heard the other day.
Reagan smiled wickedly. "So does she."
The next two hours were a blur. I had had the great realization on the car ride home that Desiree had connections, and connections were what I needed almost as badly as Desiree needed to fix the other half of her hair. So while Desiree was fixing the mess on her head, I was using her cell phone for good. It took almost an hour and a whole lot of the Force, but I somehow was able to put myself in contact with Shoshanna's cousin, Melina, who gave me Shoshanna's younger brother's phone number (For some reason she did not have Shoshanna's number, which she explained happened when she, Melina, deleted Shoshanna's number out of anger last month when she, Shoshanna, had finally grown to a B-sized up, thus breaking the Burstein family curse of only As—something I told Melina that I never wanted nor needed to know about her family).
By the time Desiree had fixed her hair, done her makeup, and shaved her legs, I had made a promise with a fifteen-year-old Evan Burstein to show him my boobs in exchange for his sister's number, and had then made an anonymous call to Shoshanna's cell, leaving her a voicemail about how the King of all Shitheads (aka Willow) was ditching her to go to junior prom with the Queen of all Shitheads (aka Reagan). Hopefully she listened to what I had said—the end result was up to her.
Desiree came into my room looking like a legitimate goddess. She was in her short, silver-sequined prom dress, silver pumps, and had painted her nails a deep purple. She had this ease about her—as if she was saying, "Of course I would look fabulous but it's only junior prom so there's no need to go too over the top." She had then teased her completely straightened hair into a fabulous up-do and added just the right pair of teardrop earrings. In other words: she was gorgeous.
"What the heck are you doing?!" she shrieked when she saw me. "The guys will be here in fifteen minutes and you're not even ready!"
"I told you what I planned on doing on the ride back from Walmart," I snapped at her. "Weren't you even listening?"
Desiree looked sheepish. "Um, no. Did you not see me gazing lovingly at my hair straightener the entire time?"
I relayed the entire story to her while she helped me get ready. First I crawled into my dress—Logan had picked it out when the three of us went shopping together on a trip that I almost did not return from alive—and then I dutifully let Desiree do my hair and makeup. "And now," I finished, "I have to avoid Evan Burstein for the rest of my life."
"I can't believe it." Desiree pulled a little too hard on the brush she was running through my hair. "I know Reagan has always been… difficult, but this is the last straw. I'm done with her. Done."
There was a knock on the door and the sound of Dad going to open it. A few moments later he called up the stairs that Shawn was here.
"Tell him we're not fucking done yet!" Desiree spat out of the open bathroom door.
"You seem a little stressed," I whispered as she tugged on my hair again.
"Of course I'm stressed! Tonight is junior prom, my hair straightener crapped out halfway through my hair, we had to go to Walmart, my old best friend has upped her bitchiness to a new level, you decide that it's up to you to fix it instead of getting ready, and Shawn is here exactly on time because he's a fucking saint!" Desiree grabbed my shoulder to have me turn around. She had dropped the hair brush and had grabbed eye liner.
It was not easy to let Desiree go to town on my face without getting worried. I hoped that she remembered that this was my face she was doing and not a reflection of her own. Our tastes were still different, even if we did both agree that I would ditch the glasses for contacts tonight, despite how much they made my eyes itch. "Thank god Logan's not here yet," I said, "because he wouldn't sit downstairs idly while we got ready."
"Damn right I wouldn't." Logan came around the corner and stood in the doorway. "I definitely do not have problems with invading personal space. I already took a cheese stick out of your fridge," he added before taking a bite out of said cheese stick.
I tried to tell Logan that this night was going to be one to remember—because of all the drama that I had stopped and therefore also started—but Desiree grabbed my face and forced me to pucker my lips. I could not see what color she was applying to them and I was scared. Desiree eyed me for a minute before standing back to admire her work. She looked at Logan and he nodded his approval.
"I wanted to paint your nails," Desiree said, eyeing my hands, "but you had to go and become Super Girl." She patted Logan on the shoulder before leaving the bathroom. "Wait until you hear what we got ourselves into, bud."
Logan grinned at me. "You look, great, Dom."
"Yeah, well, I'm wearing sandals, not heels, so you might have to knock a few points off for that."
I ignored the mirror in the bathroom and slipped into Desiree's room to use her full length one instead. Logan and Desiree had decided that the "classic" look was the best for me, and since I did not give a flapping fuck about junior prom, I went along with it. They had picked out a short, black dress with a sweetheart neckline and thick straps. It was incredibly simple, but I had to admit, I did look nice. Desiree had left my hair curly, pinning back one side with a black barrette. She had outlined my eyes in black, but overall left them untouched. But the most noticeable part of my makeup was my lips—Desiree had chosen a bright red lipstick. I would have never chosen it in my life, but it was absolutely perfect.
"Like what you see?" Desiree asked from the doorway.
"Thank you," I said, and I really meant it. "I never would have picked any of this"—I motioned at myself—"but it all works so well."
The small smile was barely noticeable on her lips. "Well, let's see if your boo life it."
"Please never call him my boo."
Shawn was downstairs, talking to Dad about fishing. I didn't think that Dad had ever gone fishing in his life, but he seemed to be very interested in it all of a sudden. Shawn could honestly have a conversation with a pole. Desiree came down the stairs first and did a little wiggle for the guys, and my entrance was marred by me rolling me eyes at her. I met Shawn's eyes and then looked away, embarrassed. He looked impressed, I think.
"Wow," he said.
"Yeah, yeah," I grumbled, "let's just take some pictures and get this thing over with."
Shawn wrapped an arm around my shoulders as we headed outside. "You look beautiful," he whispered in my ear.
"I know," I whispered back, suddenly envisioning myself as Han Solo, and patted him on the chest. "I guess you don't look too bad yourself."
After taking a grueling amount of photos—most of which were dominated by Logan and Desiree, because they were picture-whores—we climbed into Shawn's car. He had agreed to drive all of us, mostly because he hated how I drove, and I hated how Logan drove, and Desiree refused to drive. I filled them in with the entire Reagan-Willow-Shoshanna fiasco. I had done my good dead for the decade. Now I got to sit back and watch the show. By the time we had arrived at the high school, we had taken bets about how long it would take for Shoshanna to rip out Reagan's hair. I was betting a lot of money that Willow would split once the confrontation happened and never come back. That had then led to us taking bets on who would win prom queen and king. I had not even known that that was a thing—it's freaking junior prom; it's not even prom prom—so I bet a dollar that it would be like how People magazine forgot about their annual "Sexiest Man Alive" edition in 1994 and no one would be awarded.
It was customary of junior proms across the country to decorate the gym in a halfhearted attempt to make it look like, well, a gym. "And next to that potted plant," I said when we entered, "is where Lindsey Graham threw up last year after being hit in the stomach during dodgeball."
Desiree glared at me. "I think it looks nice."
Logan sniffed the air. He had this arm linked through Desiree's. "They could have at least tried to get rid of the sweat smell. But I guess that would've been pointless since that's all it will smell like once people start grinding."
"The only thing I grind," I told Shawn with a finger in the air, "is pepper."
We claimed a table to put our things down on. No one was on the dance floor yet, despite the fact that the DJ was playing music. Instead everyone was awkwardly standing around, greeting one another as if they hadn't seen each other yesterday. Desiree's eyes were scanning the crowd like a hungry hawk's. She did not have to say anything for me to know that she was silently critiquing everyone's outfits. If she had been here with Reagan and Abbie—as I bet she always thought she would—then they would have been whispering comments to one another about the dress choices of their classmates.
"Well," Logan said as he looked around the gym, "this is kind of a letdown.
And it was. It was awkward, way too loud, and there was no food. Shawn had wandered off to gather in a group with his guy friends, while all of their dates huddled in their own circle a few feet away. This was nothing like Sixteen Candles. Desiree elbowed me in the ribs. I thought that she was going to yell at me for biting my nails, but instead she motioned toward the doors.
They had arrived. It was honestly like they were walking in slow-motion in time with the song the DJ was playing. Reagan had her arm through Willow's and flipped her flaming hair over her shoulder as she grinned wickedly. She was in a green and blue high-low dress that had plenty of boobage (Desiree's word, not mine). Willow's wild hair looked like it had been combed for once, but what was more shocking was the fact that he was decked out in an emerald green suit. Both of them were grinning from ear to ear, but from where I stood, they looked ridiculous.
"Dear god." Shawn had snuck up behind me. I could hear the smile in his voice. "They're a couple, huh?"
I turned around to look at Shawn. "Normal people scare me."
He kissed me in response.
It turns out we were wrong—the night did pick up. It took a little bit, but over time more and more people migrated to the dance floor until the entire thing was covered with seventeen-year-old shaking their asses like they were hot shit (which, when you're seventeen, you think you are). Finally Desiree, Shawn, and Logan pulled me out onto the dance floor. We were not dancing so much as jumping up and down, but it was still better than sitting at home. By the time a slow song came on, I was exhausted. I began to walk off the dance floor to get a breather, but Shawn pulled me back to him.
"We are a couple," he said as he forced my arms around his neck. "I think you owe me at least one slow dance."
As it turned out, I was as horrible a slow dancer as I was a fast dancer. "I'm really bad at this," I said as I looked at Shawn. I could not help but think, I'm slow dancing with Shawn Andersen. Who would have ever thought this would happen? I did not want to admit it, but the corner of my mouth twitched at the thought.
"That's okay," Shawn told me. "Just stare into my handsome face and let me lead."
"Thank god you have Matt Bomer's jawline."
"I don't know what that means."
Shawn let us sway in silence for a few moments. I saw Logan swing Desiree around over Shawn's shoulder. "You do look really nice tonight," Shawn said. "I don't really know how to say this, but… your crankiness, your humor, your sarcasm, your love of black leggings—I adore it all. I adore you."
My face broke out into a smile and I did nothing to stop it. "I adore you, too."
We both leaned in for a kiss. "Ew-w-w-w," Logan and Desiree sang as they danced by.
In the end, Shoshanna never confronted Regan and Willow. Instead, she used the tragic event as a platform to be voted junior prom queen, and she never missed an opportunity to tell everyone how much of a bigger person she was for not even confronting the duo. Reagan, apparently—and I mean apparently because I avoided her like the plague since she had to know that I was the one who let the cat out of the bag—had also been buttering people up to vote for her. Shawn and I ended up voting for Tweedle Dee for prom queen and Tweedle Dum for prom king.
I honestly did not care who was crowned, but it was a little amusing to see how many people did care. Did no one know that we wouldn't even remember who won ten years from now? Apparently not, because when our class president, Jason something, came forward with the results, the place fell silent faster than if Twitter had crashed.
I had been a little preoccupied lately—what with getting a boyfriend and actually having a relationship with my sister—so I had failed to notice that the junior class had a favorite class couple, and their names were Luke and Abbie. This became abundantly clear to me when they were voted prom king and queen and the place cheered like crazy. I forgot to look for Reagan's reaction because I was in awe at how happy Luke and Abbie looked together. I guess sometimes those stupid teen movies are right and good people can win the popularity contest.
Before we knew it, the night was over. I had danced more than I ever had before, and I had to admit that I had had fun.
Desiree ticked off all the after parties on her hand as we made our way to the car. "…and apparently Adam is throwing one hell of a party, but I'm not entirely sure if he knows that. Are you going to it, Shawn?"
"Why, are you?" I asked her as we climbed into Shawn's car.
"The old Desiree would have said yes." Even through the dark I could see her roll her eyes. "But the new Desiree knows that's a bad idea. I'm too tired anyways. I figured we could make a pillow fort and watch Teen Mom together."
"What do you say, Shawn?" I asked. "Pillow fort or drunken night out?"
Shawn chuckled. "I'm in for the whole fort thing if you agree to make out with me."
"Dammit," Logan said from the backseat, "you drive a hard bargain, Shawn, but I guess a few kisses are the price I'll have to pay."
"You know," Desiree said once we had stopped laughing, "after Abbie and Luke got crowned king and queen, I found Jason and asked him how Reagan had done in the polls. He said she only had one vote. That means that not even Willow voted for her."
"That's like Reagan's version of being doused with pig's blood on prom night," Logan mused. "Poetic justice, I guess."
Shawn pulled into his own driveway, and we let Logan and Desiree head over to my house first.
"I had a great time tonight," Shawn said between kisses.
"It wasn't half bad." I paused. "Okay, it was actually fun."
"Oh my god!" Shawn took a step back from me and threw his hands in the air. "Did you, Dominique I-can-never-remember-your-middle-name Wilson, just admit that something was fun? That you had a good time? At prom? You actually liked prom?" He kept shaking his head overdramatically. "Oh my god, mark the day."
"Shut up!" I laughed and hit him lightly on the chest. "You know that this means that I can't have fun at another social gathering for, like, at least six months."
"Well it's a good thing I don't have anything on my schedule for the next six months except hanging out with you."
Shawn started toward his house. "I'm going to change into some sweats and then I'll come over for this pillow fort that we've all so valiantly declared to make."
He had only taken a few steps toward his house when I said, "Shawn." I quickly closed the short distance and wrapped him up in a hug. He was facing the wrong way, but it did not matter. "Shawn," I whispered, "I adore you."
"I adore you, too, Dominique."
To be continued…
Hello there! I'd just like to say that I'm sorry for being so irregular at updating this. I have had very bad writer's block the last six months or so. That being said, this story is almost at its close—I have a feeling that the next chapter might even be its last. I hope you all stick with me!