K Chronicle 2.6
Preparations for the dance were underway and it was sure to be a night to remember. All of the girls had agreed to meet at Carmen's house, where they would be picked up by their dates and driven to the school in, of course, Carmen's limo. Carmen had really outdone herself this time. She'd had her mother call all of her designer friends and deliver some of the most beautiful dresses. She'd hired hair stylists and makeup artists. The whole nine yards. The girls were shocked when they'd arrived, but considering it was Carmen, their shock quickly dwindled.
All of the girls had arrived dressed, except for Gina, who had chosen to get ready at Carmen's house. The dance was still a secret from Gina's mom, who assumed all of the girls had decided to have a sleepover at Carmen's house, and not attend the dance. At least that's what Gina thought.
While all of the girls were chatting in the foyer, out came Carmen standing at the top of her family's spiral staircase. "Ahem," she cleared her throat, clearly trying to get everyone's attention, but no one looked up. "AHEM!" Carmen yelled this time.
"Oh wow," Grace said, while the other girls gave oohs and aahs. "You look beautiful."
"I know," Carmen said quickly, "but tonight isn't about me, it's about—"
"Carmen!" her father called out from the bottom of the stairs, interrupting her.
"Are you kidding me Dad?" She was clearly annoyed that her introduction had been cut off.
"Grace said you looked beautiful, now where are your manners?" her dad asked. He looked to the other girls. "And by the way, all of you ladies look wonderful tonight as well."
The girls all thanked Mr. Cruz at the same time. "Ugh, thank you Grace," Carmen said to appease her father, once her friend's chorus of thank-you's was over.
"Much better," her father replied. "Well girls, I'm off to chaperone the dance. I will see you all when you get there."
Once Mr. Cruz had left, Carmen quickly moved back to her introduction. "Okay, now back to where I left off," Carmen said. "Allow me to introduce to you the new and Carmen-approved Gina O'brien!" Carmen raised her hands to showcase Gina.
Gina was an absolute sight to be seen. Her naturally long and full red hair was pulled up into a very high ponytail that cascaded down her back. Her makeup had been applied flawlessly. She was wearing emerald eye shadow to compliment the color of her eyes, with a soft pink lipstick on her lips. Her ears were adorned with large emerald teardrop-shaped earrings that matched the large teardrop shaped ring and bangle bracelet Carmen had styled her in. And her dress was magnificent. It was a floor length 50's inspired strapless gown, cinched at the waist, in, of course, emerald green. The bottom of her dress ended in an extreme mermaid skirt, with gold tulle. Needless to say, it was breathtaking.
Everyone was silent.
"Well?" Gina said, shyly. She could barely look at the others, anticipating their responses.
The first person to speak was not one of the girls at all. "Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful" Mrs. O'brien said, before turning around and walking away quickly, tears rimming her eyes.
"Mom!" Gina yelled, racing down the stairs and chasing after her mom, which wasn't easy in a dress.
"No, no, no. Not in the dress," Carmen said briskly, walking after her.
"Mom, please wait," Gina yelled, reaching the bottom of the stairs. The other girls parted and Gina finally caught up to her just outside of the house.
"Why?" her mom cried. "Why didn't you let me? I mean, why didn't you want me to be a part of this?"
"I am so sorry mom…I—"
"I would like to set the record straight and say that I had nothing to do with this," Carmen interjected from the doorway.
"Go inside Carmen."
"Yes ma'am," Carmen replied, before turning to go back inside.
"Mom," Gina started again "I just didn't want you to make a big deal out of it. You just put so much emphasis on my feminine side, and I thought that if you knew that I was going to the dance, you would ruin it for me."
"Ruin it for you?" her mother asked incredulously.
"Yeah mom, ruin it. Because you're so dramatic, and because tomorrow this isn't going to be me, and I couldn't, I mean I didn't…" Gina paused trying to gather her thoughts and not cry at the same time. "You make me feel bad sometimes and I couldn't handle having this moment with you, and then experiencing your disappointment tomorrow when I'm just me again. Gina in cargo pants. Gina with no makeup. Gina with her hair right back to that braided ponytail that you hate. I just wanted to go to a dance and it not be a big deal, okay?"
"You hurt me," her mom replied.
"And you lied to me."
"I know, and I'm sorry."
Gina's mom smiled through the tears. "No sweetheart, I'm sorry. And I thought that you understood that even though I may say things to encourage you to 'girl it up' sometimes, it doesn't mean that that's my preference. If you wore cargo pants for the rest of your life you would still be my favorite person in the world. I love for who you are. I used to be who you are. And if I never saw you in a dress ever again that would be just fine. You would still be the love of my life."
"Really?" Gina asked
"Absolutely." Her mom held out her arms. "Now, give me a hug."
Gina hugged her mom tightly, trying her best not to start crying.
Mrs. O'brien let go, and held Gina out at arm's length. "Now, let's go back inside and finish letting you get ready. And don't cry. Carmen will kill you if you mess up this killer makeup."
"Thanks mom. I love you. Oh, and I have a date."
"I'm calling your father."
Pilar and Quinn
Gina and her mother walked back inside to meet up with the rest of the girls.
"Ladies, you look beautiful," Mrs. O'brien said. "And Azumi, James is quite dapper himself. I can't wait until he gets here. You guys make a lovely couple."
"Thank you, Mrs. O'brien," Azumi replied grinning.
"Hey Mrs. O'brien, this is my mom," Carmen said, approaching with her mom by her side.
"Pilar," Gina's mother whispered, as if in disbelief.
"Yeah, good guess," Carmen replied. "Mom, this is Gina's mom, Mrs. O'brien, but you can call her—"
"Quinn," Pilar interrupted, finishing her daughter's sentence.
Both mothers stared at each other, not moving, barely breathing.
"Um, okay," Carmen said. "This is weird. Do you guys know each other?"
Quinn snapped out of it first "Nope. It's nice to meet you Pilar. It's good to finally meet since our daughters spend so much time together."
"Yes, it's good to finally meet you," Pilar replied. Both women still stared intently at one another. The doorbell rang, breaking the awkward silence
In walked Gina's dad with James, followed by Bobby B. and Christian P., Carmen and Gina's dates. After a ton of pictures were taken, the group piled into Carmen's limo and headed off to the dance.
Gina's father had immediately recognized Pilar but said nothing after observing the tension in the room.
Quinn told her husband she would stay behind and help Carmen's mom clean up. Once they had the house to themselves, Quinn spoke first. "After tonight, my daughter will never be allowed to hang out with your daughter again."