You led me into the gym, our night under the stars, that was the theme for prom. The place wasn’t decorated the best, but for a school on a budget and small class, I guess it made sense. Black and white balloons greeted us at the door along with a few stares. I remember you whispered, “Ignore them”, as you lead me to the dance floor. Oddly, I had gotten used to the stares, as they’d been happening ever since we started dating.
People were already on the dance floor laughing and having a great time. Annie walked over to the snack table. I was sure she was posted there the entire night. She always said that it wasn’t a party unless there was food and as long as there was food, she was happy, or as happy as Annie could manage.
I glanced over at her and she nodded in my direction. I hadn’t noticed that you were coaxing me to the patchy dance floor. I looked at you and you nodded as well. I couldn’t believe this was happening, you knew I was a terrible dancer, and yet you had to make me dance. You pulled me into the middle of the crowded dance floor and started swinging me around.
I couldn’t believe I was having fun just spinning in wild circles with you. Then the music started to slow down and you pulled me close. Our faces were inches from each other. The air between us was palpable and I was so close I could smell your cologne, which I never remember you wearing except for that night. You smelled a little feminine, like strawberries, but also like you’d been through your dad’s medicine cabinet. Part of that smell was very familiar, at the moment in time though I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, it slowly started to make sense as the night pressed on.
Everything was going wonderful, you got me drinks, we took pictures, and even danced some more. I felt like a princess, and you were my knight in shining armor who whisked me away from a life of living in a boring tower. I was in heaven and then by the time I knew it prom was soon to draw to a close, at least for me.
The DJ transitioned the music to a pause and came over the loudspeaker.
“Alright, kids! It’s time to announce this year’s prom king and queen! Will the following nominees for prom king come on stage? Aaron Jenney, Troy Sapers, Dirk Campbell, and Charlie Quelch, please come to the stage.”
You smiled at me and hugged me tightly. Then you kissed me, throwing me off guard. You’d never kissed me in public before, well not like you did. It was sweet and romantic, something you’re not very known for being.
“For good luck.” You whispered before running up and taking your place next to the other nominees. I was rooting for you from my spot. I knew you had the crown in the bag but something in me just made me shout.
“Woo! Dirk for prom king!” I yelled.
The surrounding crowd pointed and laughed but I didn’t care. If being laughed at for my support in you was amusing to them, then I’d let them laugh.
The DJ came back on the microphone.
“We’ve got our final tallies for the king. Can I get a drum roll?” The DJ said pressing a button on his stand. There was an audible singular groan produced by all the students in attendance.
“Haha! Okay and this year’s prom king is… Dirk Campbell!”
All the girls screamed and all the guys hooted for you as they placed the crown on your head. I was so proud of you. Your eyes searched for mine in the pond of students and you gave me a confident smile.
Once again, the DJ came on the speakers. “Now, what you’ve all been waiting for, ladies, this year’s prom queen.”
An abundance of claps started up for some reason as if being prom queen was more important than anything else. Annabell had finally come over to me. She placed a hand on her hip and rolled her eyes.
“I wish this guy would just hurry up already.” She yelled loud enough for the DJ to hear. I guess he took the hint because he continued right away.
“When I call your name, please come on up! Raven Rosado, Amiee Mora, Erica Spellman, and Raya Griswald!”
My mouth fell open at the last name. I felt there was no way in hell that I could’ve been nominated. It must have been a mistake, but the only mistake was me going up when my name was called.
Annie patted me on the back and pushed me towards the DJ booth. I could hardly believe my feet allowed me to not trip as I made my way. I stood next to Erica, who gave off the faint scent of strawberries. I glanced at you and you looked just as shocked as I felt.
“All of these lovely ladies have been nominated to be your prom queen but only one of you will be crowned, so before we announce the winner, let’s all give a round of hand for them.” The DJ said starting the barrage of applause. I was starting to lose my cool and the room looked like it was starting to go black, but then I felt a hand on the small of my back, your hand to be exact. Things felt safer with you touching me. I steadied my breath and looked to the DJ, waiting for him to call the name.
“This year’s Crestview School and Stadium prom queen is… Miss Erica Spellman! Congratulations Miss. Spellman!”
The crowd cheered for her and she waved them off. She looped her arms around yours and made her way over to the microphone. You tried to make space between the two of you but she wouldn’t allow it. Erica cleared her throat and snatched the microphone from the DJ’s hand.
“I would just like to thank a few people for making this possible. My loving friends! My boyfriend and prom king Dirk Campbell and Raya Griswald, for without her this night wouldn’t turn out just the way I planned.”
I looked at the two of you.
“Why would I make this night special for you, and what do you mean boyfriend?”
“Erica, don’t start this. We had a deal!” You whispered loudly at Erica
“Start what? What deal Dirk?” I asked. My face went red as I tried to calm myself.
“Oh honey, I told you, you couldn’t have him. Dirk here made a deal with me that he couldn’t get you to go to prom with him and make you prom queen.”
“You made a bet to take me to prom and make me prom queen?” I asked, my voice going higher.”
“Erica, stop it! Raya, you’ve got the wrong idea. I di-”
“Ah ah ah! Dirk, don’t try to confuse her. WE made a bet a few months back and now that you’ve lost I get to do this!” Erica spat and turned to me. “Now, my dear boyfriend over here was never really dating you. This whole, nice guy thing was an act. He never really liked you. Who would like you? You’re a pathetic excuse for a girl who thought she could compete with me!”
I felt the tears well up in my eyes. How could I argue with her? I knew it was too good to be true that any of this would happen to me. By the look on your face, I could see what she was saying was true. I needed to get out of there before I was embarrassed further, so I ran.
I ran out of the gym, down the hallway, and out the doors to the fresh open air. I heard people calling out to me as I left but I paid you no mind. I let the tears fall freely from my eyes as I thought about all the memories we made, leading up to this dreadful night. All I remember doing afterward was calling my dad and walking barefoot back to Annie’s house for him to pick me up. Turns out I had lost a shoe in all the hubbub. Maybe I did get my wish to be like Cinderella.