A and D (37)

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Aaron:

I walked toward Dakota’s house, as I thought of the things about tonight. I was actually excited to go – probably because I was going with Dakota.

Anyway, everything was ready. I got my white rose boutonniere . . . including the wrist corsage . . . the tuxedo . . .

“Oh, Aaron.”

I looked up and saw Mrs. Evans on her way out, carrying a carton box. I automatically reached out to help her but she shook her head.

“It’s okay,” she said kindly with a smile. She nodded toward their house. “See if you could convince Dakota to still go to your prom.”

I blinked. “Pardon me?” Did I hear right?

Mrs. Evans’ eyes widened, while she loaded the box at the trunk of her minivan. She turned to me, one hand on her right hip.

“She didn’t tell you yet?” she asked.

“Tell me what?”

“She said she’s not going to prom anymore.” She opened the box to reveal a torn Prom dress. My eyebrows lifted up in shock. “She left her window open last night, and a cat must’ve jumped in and did this.”

“Uh, is she in her room?”

Mrs. Evans nodded. “Go ahead.”

I ran inside and quickly went up to her room. I knocked once. Without waiting for an answer, I opened the door and came in.

Dakota was reading James Patterson’s Maximum Ride: Fang novel. I knew right away that she was mad, because she only read Action when she wanted to be violent. She would read a genre based on her mood, like the way she listened to a genre of music.

I quietly entered her room. When she looked up, I saw her crying. I instantly sat at the edge of her bed, while she wiped the tears on her face.

“Shhh,” I mumbled, pushing hair out of her face. “We can still go to prom. I’m sure we can find a nice dress for you to wear.”

She frowned in confusion. “What?”

“You’re crying about not going to prom, aren’t you?” I asked slowly.

“No,” she scoffed indignantly. She raised the book she was holding. “I’m crying because Fang left the flock. He didn’t die – he left! He left Max alone with that newbie Dylan. I cannot believe this. I have to hunt down the seventh book. I’ll go to the bookstore tonight. Perfect.”

I stared at her.

Of course she wasn't crying about Prom. She always cried about stuff that she read or watched. Not too much in real life, though.

“We have a deal,” I reminded her.

She stood up and placed the book on the shelf. She turned to me with her lips pursed.

“Going to prom requires wearing a gown,” she started. “Since mine got mauled by a stupid cat because stupid me left the window open, I think the deal have to make exceptions.”

I rolled my eyes. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“Unfortunately, my ‘will’ vanished when I lost my mood.”

I sighed and laid my back on the bed. I wasn’t pissed off. But I was disappointed. I’d been looking forward to this night since last month.

I planned to tell her about University of Kansas tonight. We hadn’t talked about where we were going in College yet. I knew that there was plenty of time for that. But I felt like I should propose my ideas to her on this particular night. Besides, I was going to tell her that I was in love with her.

Dakota positioned herself beside me.

“You could still go if you want,” she said encouragingly. She smiled. “I’m sure you’ll be voted Prom King.”

I raised an eyebrow at her. “You think I care about being crowned Prom King?” I asked. “I couldn’t care less about that, D.”

In fact, I wasn’t thinking about that until she mentioned it.

“Well, you have to go,” she stated firmly, frowning as if I did something bad. “You’re gonna be awarded MVP this evening.”

Crap. I forgot about that. Coach decided that it was the perfect time to give me the trophy for being the Most Valuable Player this school year’s season.

I couldn’t be absent. Coach would kill me if I didn’t attend.

As if on cue, my phone rang. I pulled it out and sat up. I saw Ethan’s name on the screen. I answered it.

“Yo.”

“Hey, man,” greeted Ethan. “Listen, I won’t use my Hummer to the Hotel. My dad rented a limo especially for tonight. Want to join us? I already phoned Luke. He’s fine with it.”

I glanced sideways at Dakota.

“Yeah, sure,” I agreed.

“Awesome.” I could clearly imagine him nodding. “Pick you up at seven.”

I shook my head, despite knowing that he wouldn’t see me doing it.

“Too early for prom, dude,” I complained, even though Prom would start at six. Well, the real party usually start later than the set time.

“We’ll have dinner first at Charmuel’s Cuisine,” he explained. “I don’t want to starve to death, do you?”

A tiny smile escaped my lips. “Fine.” I hang up.

All the excitement about going with Dakota to Prom just died out. How could I have a good time knowing that my girlfriend was alone in her room?

I stood up. “Let’s go,” I announced, taking her hand and pulling her up. I didn’t let go of her hand as I pulled her with me toward the door.

“Go where?” she asked. “I told you, I’m not going to prom.”

“I know, nerd,” I said. “I’m taking you to the bookstore to buy that book you want.”

“No way,” she gasped.

I looked over my shoulder and saw her eyes sparkle with delight. I couldn’t help but grin. For a second, I thought about blackmailing her – saying that I would buy the book if she changed her mind about going tonight. But I thought against it.

If she went, I wanted it to be her decision.

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