Chapter Twenty Two

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Prom. It was the bane of my existence. Drew had promised to save me a dance, but Sean had asked me to go with him.
I remained confused the week leading up to prom as I had previously assumed I was going with Giuliana, who turned out to be going with Christopher.
Sean picked me up the night of prom in a way that reminded me strangely of the night of the Valentine's day dance.
He smiled across the seat at me, but somehow I couldn't find it in myself to smile back, or really at all.
It's not that I wasn't happy to be with him, because I was, or unhappy about anything at all, I was just done.
I was don't with the anxiety and the depression and the confusion. I didn't want to do this anymore.
I had to make myself pick just one.
Only one.
I glanced at Sean as he drove quietly, his mouth in a deep frown.
"Sean?" I whispered, my voice cracking from disuse.
"Yeah?" He answered as he adjusted his hands on the steering wheel.
"Thanks for asking me to prom."
"Why wouldn't i?"
Because I don't belong to you anymore.
Because I broke up with you.
Because you know I had a thing with another guy.
But you don't care about any of this because you're fantastic.
All of the sudden, every reason I loved him came back to me in a swift flood.
He flashed me a toothy grin before returning his concentration to the road in front of him.

After about an hour there, I realized that, for the first time, I was having fun at a dance. I got to talk to Christopher, who I thought was an excellent match for Giuliana. They even had a song (which is totally adorable) that wasn't half bad.
Drew waved at me before noticing I was with Sean, causing him to skulk off to a group of his friends.
But that was okay.
I convinced myself I was okay with it.
Even if I wasn't.
Approximately an hour an a half after we got there, I tuned out to everything around me. The crowd had swelled, the music was louder, and everything was more.
So I let myself just be. Bob around to the music like everyone else, smile vacantly like everyone else, pretend that everything was okay like everyone else.
Even if it wasn't.
But that's okay.
Nobody noticed how fake it was, even after I gave up and left.
The hotel prom was at didn't have a graveyard across the street, only a rose garden.
It didn't matter to me, I liked the garden better.
I could still hear the music outside, but I didn't mind it. I liked the way it was kind of muffled and you could hear the chatter of the teenagers inside.
I was surrounded by roses, my favorite kind of flowers.
I was unrealistically happy, and I knew it would have to end. I knew that there was something off about it.
So when Sean came outside, I figured he'd have something to do with it.
Boy, did I underestimate how bad things could get.

He gave me an ultimatum. I had to pick before the end of the night. I didn't have a choice left anymore but to decide.
Giuliana would laugh if she knew what I did next.
I made a pro/con list for the two of them.
But then I put more thought into it, and I realized she needed her own pro/con list.
What if I just chose her and left the other two out of it completely?
What if I just didn't choose at all?
What if I jumped off a cliff instead?

I sat outside with my head in my hands for what felt like hours, but in reality probably wasn't more than an hour.
And then I went inside.

The DJ had turned the volume lower the later it got. At this point, the songs he played were like a soft whisper, a quiet lilting melody.
I knew that that night was the catalyst. I walked around in a daze, just knowing. And that song, that song, was like the soundtrack to every mistake I was about to make.

"I've heard that there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya?"

I marched through the crowd with no destination in mind, thinking. I was ready for everything to be finished.

"The baffled king composing Hallelujah"

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