Cotillion brought out the best in otherwise zombified teenagers. Rupert planned this for over a year, worked hard for this moment, and not one of these Clock App Cultists had better act out during this event. The well-to-do parents of Dover, Delaware were watching here in the Great Hall at Saint Andrew's.
Money. Networking. Perspiration. Convincing Old Money to lend support. Dover needed this re-injection of class, a return to a measure of dignity. Drug abuse. Poor role models. The feckless god Internet. Children needed a cultural about-face. Rupert knew how to do it. He was the man for the moment. He told himself this daily. No one would step to the plate.
Damn it, the President is from Delaware. We gotta be legit, Sun up to sundown! But it was working out, so far. He stood to make good money from this night and the connections would lead to, well, the sky's the limit.
Young ladies and gentlemen in all white paraded in an hour ago. White silk cloth adorned the tables. Rupert brought in what he termed 'classical reminders' for the young. Paintings donated to inspire. Members of the DuPont family, the Gores, Carpenters. Okay, two of them were astounding replicas, but teenagers wouldn't know.
Unless they searched...
Good thing he specified a 'phones off' policy. Cotillions were social gatherings. Face-to-face ones, not Facebook ones. Already he felt this strenuous strategy displaying merit. Shy girls were coming out of their shells. Young men, realizing bravado and ego weren't fetching any ladies, humbled themselves to actually make polite conversation. Maybe, just maybe, they might end up worthwhile in twenty years or so.
Good, Rupert's own ego swelled, good, use your brains. Maybe, just maybe when you go to college you'll be more than a beer-guzzling jackass bouncing balls into plastic cups. Talk to the girls. Lean in close. There you go...
He just about jumped out of his socks. He spun around and almost chin-bumped Abby, the new math teacher at Caesar Rodney High. Cute. Not a babe, but cute. To a point.
"Abby!" He straightened the white tie, attempted to not look like a frumplicious fifty-something who got kicked out of his last job in Iowa for not comprehending why there are laws that protect minors. "What are you--? Having a good time?" Gut sucked in? Fail.
"What are you looking so hard at?" she giggled as she attempted to look beyond him at a gaggle of teen girls admiring a corsage. "They're having fun I think."
He stared. "Who? Them? Oh, yeah." Rupert plastered on the award smile. It worked in Poughkeepsie, for a while. "I'm uh, playing the guardian role, you know? Make sure the boys don't slip up." Hold the smile, Hold it! Make it look painful.
"Well isn't that nice of you. I have to say, you really impressed me this year. My kids liked you as a sub. They really did. Very down-to-earth, easy-going, and you, sir, know your pop culture. I swear I have no idea what a Chalamet even is. Is it a wine?"
The smile faded into the tired look men make, the ten hours of labor, please God kill me expression. "It's a guy. He's just a guy. Listen, I should make the rounds. Can't let these snobs think I'm slacking off with their precious future world leaders." He winked. It was unconscious by this point in his life.
Abby raised a brow. "Okay. Well, while you're playing security, see if you can find Sadie Bristol. Sixteen, rail-thin girl with a metal crutch on her right arm. She promised she would come, but I can't find her. Life is rough for her, you know? Family drama. Lost her brother to heroin. A touch of cerebral palsy. I love her to death and she's super bright. Kind of wish I could have a daughter like her someday." Her eyes lowered, lost in thought.