Chapter 5: The Prom

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One day, Steve was at work. Steve was content. However, the manager, Richard Big, decided to humiliate Steve during a staff meeting.

“Steve, I know this store is always busy, we have one person bringing in the carts at a time, and you’re only allowed to bring in five carts at a time,” Richard said in front of the staff members. “But I still need you to keep the lobby filled with carts. Otherwise, you won’t be here much longer. That’s all I wanted to say. Back to work.”

Steve went back to work as if nothing happened. However, at lunch time, Steve was visibly furious. He even slammed his lunch on the table. As Steve sat down, a girl with long brown hair and piercing brown eyes sat next to him. The name on her name tag was Shelly.

“You’re still pretty pissed about Dick humiliating you, aren’t you?” Shelly asked.

“Yup,” Steve said. “I’m getting a sense of déjà vu here.”

“What time are you off?”

“I’m off at 5.”

“Oh. I’m not off until 6. Anyway, my break is over. I’ll see you on Monday.”

“Okay.”

That Monday, Steve ate lunch in the cafeteria by himself. That is until Shelly joined him.

“Having lunch by yourself?” Shelly asked.

“Yup,” Steve said.

“Mind if I join you?”

“Go ahead.”

Steve and Shelly talked throughout the lunch period. Unfortunately, though, lunch period ended an hour later.

“Well, see yeah tomorrow,” Shelly said.

“Shelly,” Steve said. “Do you want to hang out the weekend?”

“Sure. Give me your phone, I’ll put my number in your contact list.”

Later that night, Steve and Shelly texted each other.

Shelly: “Hey.”

Steve: “Hey.”

Steve was surprised that Shelly actually sent him a text message. In fact, he was surprised any girl would be interested in him. Steve wasn’t fat, but he was chubby. He was also about 5’6.

Shelly: “Whattya at?”

Steve: “This is it.”

Shelly: “Same. Wanna go to Bowring Park, Saturday?”

Steve: “Rly?” Translation: “Really?”

Shelly: “Deadass.” Translation: “Serious.”

Steve: “Okay, what time?”

Shelly: “2?”

Steve: “Okay. That works for me.”

Things were looking up for Steve. However, one of Steve and Shelly’s classmates was going through a very difficult time.

Melody lived next door to Michael and Shelly all of their lives. They all became best friends.

That night, Melody heard a knock on the door. When Melody answered, she saw Sarah crying.

“Sarah!” Melody bellowed. “Come in.”

Melody sat Sarah down on the couch.

“What’s wrong?” Melody asked.

“My parents kicked me out because they found out that I’m gay,” Sarah said.

“How did they find out?”

“Facebook.”

“Why didn’t you change your privacy settings?”

“I don’t know. Why do people post every aspect of their personal lives on Facebook. ‘I’m gone out for the day.’ That’s great. Now I can rob you.”

Melody’s mother, Brenda came home, and she saw Sarah crying on the couch.

“What’s going on?” Brenda asked.

“Sarah’s parents kicked her out because they found out she’s gay,” Melody said.

“How did they find out?”

“Facebook.”

“Why didn’t you change your privacy settings?”

“Mom, this is not the time.”

“Sorry. Listen, Sarah. If you have nowhere to go, you can stay here for as long as you need.”

“Thank you,” Sarah said..

Sarah was relieved that she had a place to live. In fact, she managed to stop crying for a few seconds.

“I don’t understand why my parents can’t accept me for who I am,” Sarah said.

“Most people of my generation were raised to believe that being gay is unnatural and immoral,” Brenda said. “Most people of my generation are stuck in their ways.”

“You’re pretty opened-minded.”

“I have to be.”

Sarah noticed Melody smiling.

“Melody, are you?” Sarah asked.

“Yup,” Melody said. “I’m as queer as a three-dollar bill.”

“That’s offensive.”

“Well, it’s true. Besides, I’m gay. I can make jokes like that.”

“Next time, come up with a better joke.”

The next day, Melody made plans to eat lunch with Steve, Shelly, and Sarah.

“I’ve been best friends with Michael and Shelly since we were kids,” Melody said. “They won’t care that you’re gay. They know I am.”

“What about that guy, Steve?” Sarah said.

“I know Steve. He won’t care.”

Steve, Shelly, Melody, and Sarah sat together in the cafeteria. Melody introduced Sarah to her friends and vice versa.

“What are your plans for the weekend?” Melody asked Shelly.

“Steve and I are going to Bowring Park,” Shelly said. “What about you?”

“Nothing yet. Are you and Steve dating?”

“Saturday will be our first date.”

“Awesome. You know, I have studying to do this weekend. Sarah, want to help me?”

“Sure,” Sarah said.

That Saturday, Steve and Shelly headed to the park.

Usually in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s rather cold in March. Sometimes, the province would get snow up until mid-April. However, on that day, it felt like summer.

“Do you want to text each other?” Shelly said.

“Even though I’m sitting next to you?” Steve asked. “What’s the point in that?”

“I want to see how old people would react.”

“Sure.”

Even though Steve and Shelly were sitting next to each other, they were sending each other text messages. Nobody noticed, except for one old man.

“I don’t believe it,” the old man said.

“Hi, Grandpa,” Steve said.

“Look at you two! You’re sitting next to each other and you’re texting each other. That is some ignorant.”

“Actually, I’m texting Mom,” Steve said.”

“And I’m texting my non-confirmative non-binary significant other,” Shelly said.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Frank said. “Kids today, you’re always making up words.”

As Steve’s grandfather stormed off, Steve and Shelly’s jaws dropped to the ground and they laughed.

“That’s my grandfather for you,” Steve said.

That evening, Steve and Shelly waited for the bus. As they waited, it started to rain.

“Shelly,” Steve said. “I’m about to do something that’s extremely cliché.”

“What’s that?” Shelly asked.

Steve gave Shelly a slow and passionate kiss.

“Yup, that’s definitely cliché. But cliché is good, very good.”

Steve and Shelly got on the bus and they headed to Shelly’s house. Shelly’s mother was working, and her father was deployed. However, Michael was home. When Steve and Shelly arrived at the house, they went to Shelly’s room. They made out on Shelly’s bed for a few minutes. However, the sound of Michael playing video games distracted Shelly.

“Well, this is distracting,” Shelly said.

“Not to me, it isn’t,” Steve said.

“Well it is to me. Michael has done nothing but play video games ever since he and Nikki broke up.”

“So, that’s what you’ve though about while we were making out?”

“Come on.”

Steve and Shelly made their way downstairs and into the living room.

“Michael, we need to talk,” Shelly said. “Ever since you and Nikki broke up, you’ve done nothing but play video games. Can’t you go for a walk, or at least bathe?”

“I found a teen dating app you can try,” Steve said. “It’s called Timber.”

“If I give this app a try, will you two get off my back?”

“Yes.”

“Fine then.”

That Monday, Steve, Shelly, Sarah, Melody, and Michael ate lunch together.

“I saw you texting all weekend,” Shelly said. “You found somebody on that app, didn’t you?”

“Yup,” Michael said. “Her name is Allison.”

“What does she look like?” Sarah asked.

“She has red hair, and well…let’s just say, she’s in great shape.”

“In other words, she has big boobs.”

“Uh…the thing is, Allison never shows her face in any of her photos.”

“So, she’s a butter face,” Shelly said.

“Maybe. But I really like this girl. I might ask her out.”

That Friday, Michael and Allison spoke to each other on webcam, except that Allison didn’t show her face. Instead, she pointed the camera toward her breasts. Not that Michael was complaining.

“So, why aren’t you showing your face?” Michael said.

“No reason,” Allison said.

“There’s got to be a reason.”

“In grade 5, when we took our class photo, I had this goofy grin on my face. The other kids made fun of me. I haven’t be able to show my face on camera ever since.”

“Kids are such bastards. What are you doing next weekend?”

“I’m going to my prom. Want to go with me?”

“Yeah. That would be great.”

“One more thing, it’s a masquerade prom.”

“Sounds like fun.”

“Well, I’m going to bed. Good night.”

“Good night.”

That night, Michael had a dream where he was watching a soap opera. The soap opera starred Michael and Allison, except the camera never showed Allison’s face. It showed Allison either from the neck down or from behind.

“I can’t believe Sarah and Melody divorced,” Allison said.

“I can’t believe it either,” Michael said. “Drink?”

“I’ll take a White Russian.”

Michael went to the bar, which was in the living room. He made two White Russians, one for Allison and one for himself.

“It was still a good party, though,” Michael said.

“True.”

Michael handed Allison her drink and she chugged it down.

“Remind me not to get into a drinking contest with you,” Michael said.

“Good idea,” Allison said.

Michael set his drink down on the coffee table and he nibbled on Allison’s ear, which caused Allison to moan in a sultry voice.

“Want to go to the bedroom?” Michael asked.

“Uh-huh,” Allison said.

This was when Michael’s dream had ended.

That Friday, Michael went to the Convention Center, where Allison’s prom took place. Michael waited for Allison for about five minutes until a girl with red hair snuck up from behind him. She wore a skimpy white dress with a white laced mask that covered most of her face. Michael wore a black tuxedo with a black mask that went over his eyes.

“Hey, Allison,” Michael said. “Damn. You look great.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Allison. “I have a few friends I want you to meet.”

A short while after Allison introduced Michael to her friends, the students at Gonzaga High School watched slide shows.

“I suppose you’re not in any of these slides,” Michael said.

“Nope,” Allison said.

Later that night, it was time for the last dance. The song was “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson.

“This song is so old,” Michael said.

“I know,” Allison said. “But I love this song.”

“Me too. Want to make it our song?”

“Okay.”

Michael and Allison kissed at that point.

When the dance was over, it was time for the unmasking. Unfortunately, as soon as Allison took off her mask, the power went out. The emergency lights were activated, but it was still too dark to get a good look at Allison’s face.

“That ruins the surprise,” Allison said.

“What surprise?” Michael asked.

Allison handed Michael a hotel key.

“We can still go,” Michael said.

“Of course, we’re still going. It just wanted the surprise to be special. Yeah, that sounded stupid.”

“I don’t think it did.”

“Well, I’m going to call a taxi.”

As soon as Michael and Allison called the taxi, they waited outside in the dark. A few minutes later, the taxi arrived and it shined its headlights on Michael and Allison. However, Allison turned away. So once again, Michael didn’t get a chance to Allison’s face.

So, Michael got into the back of the taxi with Allison, a girl whose face he had never seen. This was one mystery that Michael desperately wanted to solve. However, as soon as Michael and Allison arrived at the hotel, the power came back on.
“My God!” Michael said. “You’re beautiful.”

Michael gave Allison the biggest kiss anyone has ever given her. Michael and Allison then excitedly went to their room.

“Why do you let teenagers check into this hotel?” The Assistant Manager asked.

“Because this hotel would go out of business if I didn’t,” The Manager said.

That Sunday evening, Michael came home with the biggest smile on his face.

“Best. Weekend. Ever,” Michael said.

“Glad to hear it,” Shelly said. “Is your girlfriend coming to our prom?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“So, that’s six people sitting at the table. By the way, Mom’s going freak when she gets off work.”

“Totally worth it.”

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