Shades of Fire
Chapter Seventeen: Prom Drama
I guess you could say I was avoiding the situation. But that would mean that I was still hung over the fact that Drystan had left me out to dry. And that would mean that I actually cared about it, or even him. But I don't. It's useless to care about someone who doesn't reciprocate the feelings, and so I had no tinge of regret about going out with Lance for the past week.
But I definitely hated the fact that Kim and Valerie were on my case about Drystan; at least for once, Mike had stepped out of the situation, let me cool off a bit – or maybe, he was just worried that if he had talked to me about it, I would snap his neck.
I could have, I would have. But that's all hearsay.
But here was Kim, the night of my prom, to tell me not to go. Albeit, I was at her house to get ready for the prom because God only knows I would die if Lance saw my parents, but that's not the point at all.
"Kim, shut up already. I am going with Lance. We're officially together, so why can't you just accept it? You haven't even met him yet, and it's ridiculous for you to pass judgment on a guy you don't even know," I snarled from the side of the closet, trying to fix the strap on my dress. I was bitterer than before, only because I've heard her complain for the past week about Lance. It was getting old.
She sighed, "I will meet him in like an hour. And so, I can bitch about him."
"That's what I'm worried about," I replied. "You'll scare him off."
She smiled mischievously, "You think I can do that?"
"Kim," I began.
"I just think you're not giving Drystan a chance."
I laughed bitterly. "I gave him plenty of chances. He took none of them."
"Oh yes, okay. Being a complete klutz totally yells, 'TAKE ME!' Please, Heidi, you of all people need to realize that subtle signals and your ignorance is what stands in the way of you and romance," Kim reasoned. "I'm just saying how I see it. I've known you for like, what? Seven years? I know you well enough to know when you like a guy and when you love a guy. And maybe you're not in love with him, but you're sure damn close to it." She paused in the middle of her two-cent rant. "Take it from someone who knows."
Kim did have excellent introspection on my personal life. She knew when I had a crush on Tommy Jenkins, when I was crushed over my first F, and when I felt incredibly guilty for breaking Mike's science project in middle school. My best friend knew me – possibly better than I knew myself.
"You know I'm right," Kim added.
I turned away from the mirror, and gave her a sideways glance. "No, you're not. I like Lance a lot. He's very nice and very sweet."
"And very normal and very safe. You, Heidi, are not safe or normal. You need someone who can complement that and who's better to do that than… well, the mysterious boy from the bookstore with the edgy past?" Kim's eyes lit up and she clasped her hands together in joy.
"This isn't like a Danielle Steele book."
"Hey, I never went anywhere near sex or anything like that."
"Yeah, sure," I replied sarcastically. "Mysterious boy. Muscles of steel and a six-pack. Wow. That's so not Danielle Steele."
"He has a six-pack? Damn," Kim grinned.
"I will strangle you," I snapped jokingly, holding my head in my hands. I needed to get a grip here. As much as I didn't want to admit it, Drystan was in my head – more so than before because maybe what Kim was saying was true.
"Hey, it's almost seven," Kim warned. "Isn't prince-charming wanna-be going to be here at seven? And if he's a minute late, I swear I will-"
The doorbell cut Kim off mid-sentence.
"You'll…?" I joked.
"It could be the Fed-Ex guy," Kim defended with her arms folded against her chest.
I laughed. I ran down the stairs, catching myself on the rail as I went down so I wouldn't trip and put an embarrassing tear in my navy dress. It was a shorter dress than I was used to wearing, and I'd be damned if I showed up the school slut. I took in a deep breath before I pulled the knob on the door and opened it.
Smiling, I saw Lance standing there with his tux and a little box in his hand. Individually, face, eyes, nose – he looked the same. But from head to toe, he looked more put together, almost looking like James Bond – a lot different from his usual Clark Kent attire. He looked pretty damn good.
"Wow," Lance said, holding my hand. "You look great."
"You think?" I asked, twirling a bit. "Its not too … I don't know, plain?"
Lance laughed, "If you're in the dress, I highly doubt it'll be plain."
He stepped inside, grabbing both of my hands and pulling me in for a kiss.
Okay, so I know I'm going to sound horrible. But Lance is a great guy – so sweet and everything. But the kissing is just – I don't know – it's just not there for me. So I'm not saying that I avoid the kissing, but I just kind of duck and speak like rapid fire.
"You look nice too," I said quickly, laughing. "I like the little flower thingy on your tux," I complimented pointing to the flower sticking out of the pocket of his tuxedo. "Cute."
Oh God, did I just say 'cute'?
"Well, this must be Lance!" I heard Kim exclaim.
Lance smiled hesitantly, looking at me and then at Kim. Well, it was time for my interjection.
"Oh, this is um, Kim. She's my best friend and she wanted to meet you," I answered.
Lance nodded and then pulled out a hand, "Nice to, uh, meet you."
Kim looked at his offering hand for a minute, looked back at him and I was praying to God that she'd take it, shake his hand graciously and walk away. She gave a nod back, and then shook his hand to my relief. "Nice to meet you too. Heidi tells me a lot about you."
"Good things, I hope," Lance laughed.
"You bet," Kim answered. "Well, I just wanted to let you know that you need to have Heidi back here by twelve, and if you do anything to hurt her, I will personally rip off your head with my bare hands and then feed them to my friend's Chihuahua."
My face flattened. "Kim," I whispered.
I stared at Lance for a minute and kept smiling like he needed to show all his pearly whites to the world – you go, Lance! Don't be intimidated by Kim's harsh and thorough threat of your torture and death.
With his eyes glittering, he answered, "Wouldn't expect anything less."
Kim narrowed her eyes and then lightened. "You're alright," she said.
I jumped in, "Okay, so we should be going now."
"Yeah, we should," Lance agreed, racing for the door and opening it. "Nice to meet you," he said to Kim.
"I'll see you later," I waved as I headed out to his Lexus. "Call my parents for me!"
"Remember my warning!" She called after us.
As we settled into his car and I put my seatbelt, I stared at Lance in utter embarrassment. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I just wanted to let you know that my friend, well, she's a little unstable from the meds that she forgot to take so yeah, I'm sorry."
Tilting his head towards me, he smiled lightly and replied, "I knew that when we started dating that your friends would be weird and probably over protective so I had this one coming. Although, I thought that it would be your parents that would give me the threatening talk."
"You should be glad it wasn't," I replied, rolling my eyes. I turned on the music in his car, and then nodded in his direction with a sly grin on my face, "Step on it. I want to get to the prom."
He started up the engine obediently, turned to me and gave me a quick kiss on the lips, stealing it from right under me without any warning this time. Maybe Lance was realizing my avoidance? But then before I could delve into that suspicion a little more, he put the car on drive and then responded, "Whatever you want, babe."
He pressed the gas and we were gone.
Except for this lingering feeling of discomfort on my lips that stayed after he stole that kiss as if he knew he couldn't get it any other way. Well, Lance is a smart guy after all and it made me unsettled.
The dim lights were romantic, the tables were draped in red and black and the whole dance floor glittered in this magical way you just couldn't really describe. It was perfection – to say the least. I took a seat at my table that we were sharing with Valerie and one of Lance's other friends who came, unfortunately, dateless to the prom. His name was Joe or John – someone from his computer class.
I was kind of scared that it would be awkward for Valerie to be sitting with Lance because of their history together, but she told me that they were totally over it. It was a "one time fling" she said, holding herself to utter truth and sincerity.
Mostly everyone was there, and almost an hour passed by without any sight of Valerie. Part of me was really worried because I was horribly paranoid something could have happened, but my other part told me that she was just running late – fashionably late.
"So where's Valerie?" Lance asked, as he sat back down from getting a drink.
I shrugged, looking towards the door in the front. "No idea."
Joe (or was it John?) stepped into the conversation, "Dude, Valerie is sitting here? She's fucking hot!" he exclaimed, too hormonally actually.
I nodded, laughing a little, "Um, yeah, well, apparently she's coming alone so maybe…"
"I can make my move," he said, nodding in agreement. "Sweet."
"Um, I was going to say talk to her, but do your thing if you have to."
Lance laughed, whispering to me, "You don't want to see him get his freak on."
My eyes widened. "Ugly?" I whispered back.
"Terrifying," he answered.
I bit my lower lip. Oh crap. Valerie is going to murder me if she finds out that I set her up with "freaky" Joe over there. I had a feeling that poor Joe will be under court archives in the name of restraining orders in the future when he turns forty and becomes incredibly creepy.
"Dammit," Joe exclaimed, slamming his fists against the table. "She came here with some other dude. God, my mojo is totally ruined."
I shook my head, "Someone else? But Valerie told me that she was…"
My mouth hung open.
My eyes widened.
She was supposed to come alone.
And of all the people, she brought –
"Drystan," Lance said in an annoyed tone. "What the hell is he doing here?"
I swallowed the dry air in my mouth. "Apparently, with Valerie."
My stomach turned ten times before I realized that they were coming over here. I think I needed a hyperventilating bag and a shield. I closed my eyes turning towards Lance as if I didn't see them coming, but damn, Valerie totally saw me. And oh shit, I'm so fucking screwed.
"Heidi!" Valerie exclaimed from behind.
I opened my eyes to see Joe drooling at Valerie. I turned slowly and then smiled.
"Hi," I said. I got a sudden look at Drystan, who was looking directly at me like I had some sort of bleeding hole in my head. He looked nice, put together in a messy kind of way. Well, I had one up on Drystan. Lance, at least, looked like a real gentleman.
Valerie saw our dead locked eyes and then smiled hesitantly. "Hey, so can I talk to you for a minute, Heidi? Just a quick little minute," she asked, pulling my arm and pulling me up from my seat at least a table away from the guys.
I had a bad feeling that leaving Lance and Drystan at the table would be like starting a riot.
"Look Heidi," Valerie began, "I-"
"No, you know it's cool," I said surprisingly calmly. I took in a deep breath. "I get it; you two still have feelings for each other. I mean that's totally reasonable."
Valerie shook her head. "No, no, no. That's not it."
I shrugged. "It doesn't really matter why he's here. He's here so I'll deal with it and you have a good time with him, okay?"
I tried to pull myself away put Valerie caught me again. "Heidi, listen to me. That's not it all. Okay? And don't walk away from this. He's here, because, well yes, I asked him to come. But it took a hell of a lot of persuading to get him here. And you wanna know why he came? Because I told him that you'd be here with Lance and he just kind of … got it together and came. Look, I know you don't want to hear this from me, especially not now, but he came here because he misses you. Okay? So talk to him some time tonight? Please?"
I looked at Valerie. "I'm here with Lance and I don't think I'll have time to talk to Drystan."
"As friends, will you talk to him?"
I bit my lower lip. "Maybe."
Valerie nodded. "Now we should go back before one of the guys kills the other."
Before I turned, I noticed that a lot of the girls were looking towards our table. Even Lorraine who had a pretty cute date to the prom already. "Why is every girl in this room staring at Drystan?" I asked innocently.
"Because," Valerie began, "Look at him."
Finally, I took the time to see him from the outside view and realized how …dashing he looked in that tux and the way his hair was combed back and how his hands were shoved in his pockets, effortlessly and mysteriously. "Oh," I whispered, nodding.
"Damn straight," she laughed.
When we got back to our table, I smiled at Drystan a little, unable to focus my full attention on him without getting lost in his eyes, and then looked at Lance who was seemingly unhappy at Drystan's arrival and appearance at the prom. He looked at me, grabbed my hand then whispered, "Dance with me?"
I nodded, smiling. "Sure."
Valerie, who was just fixing the side of her dress, stared at us leaving and then asked, "Where are you guys going?"
"Dancing," Lance answered, breaking a glare towards Drystan. "See ya, Iverseon."
"Fuck you, Brikman," Drystan snapped.
Lance stopped for a minute, and then looked back at Drystan who stood there casually next to a confused and lost Valerie. "Grow up, Iverson. And fuck you too," he answered.
I stared at Lance for a brief moment as his anger passed and he pulled me towards the open dance floor. Sometimes it surprised me how quickly Lance could change his facial expression. I mean he could go from cold and pissed to sweet and innocent in about five seconds or less. I found that slightly eerie. I felt his hands snake around my waist, and the first couple of times he did that, I'd giggle and laugh. But now I felt kind of trapped. I desperately wanted to look over at Valerie, but I risked catching a glance of Drystan. I had to pass.
The only other place to look was at Lance's eyes. And when I caught them, it made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn't explain why, but I shrugged it off and started swaying to the music with him. It wasn't that bad. It didn't require any 21st century dance moves. It was just simply dancing to some slow music. We got to prom early after all, the DJ hadn't arrived, and well, we were just dancing to the light sounds of the overhead music.
Bad move. I shouldn't have looked at his eyes.
Kissing wasn't my favorite thing to do, but I couldn't just back off. And when I did kiss him, my mind immediately went back to Drystan who was mentally engrained in my mind with Valerie. I felt my stomach turn for the umpteenth time and I pulled away fast.
I think I went a little too fast.
"You okay?" Lance asked sincerely,
My mouth was partially open, and I nodded. "Yeah, I just have to go to the bathroom."
I nodded again. "Yes, now." I touched his arms for a brief moment and walked over to the bathroom. "Don't worry I'll be right back."
By the time I got there, I was already into one of the stalls, and I nearly wanted to throw up into the toilet like I just had a bad plate of shrimp or something. I started to breathe very heavily and I didn't know why I was about to pass out. My head was flushed with rushing blood, and I couldn't move all that well. I rested my body against the stall door, and since it was a pretty fancy hotel, it wasn't too gross.
"Heidi?" Valerie called out.
My eyes broke open, and I leapt from the stall door. I opened it quickly as the automated toilet flushed behind me. "Valerie. Hey."
"Are you okay?"
I nodded, and walked over to the sink to wash my hands. "Yeah, of course."
"Really? Cause you like ran to the bathroom after you freaked out with Lance back there." Valerie paused. "Which, not to make you feel self conscious, didn't look right from any angle I was looking."
I sighed into the mirror. "It was fine, I just … um, I remembered that I had to…" I was stumbling for words and none of them were coming to me.
"You had to run in here … to get away from Lance?" Valerie asked, holding a paper towel for me.
I shook my head. "That's crazy."
"Well, that's what it looked like." She paused. "Maybe I shouldn't have brought Drystan."
I darted my eyes over to her. "This has nothing to do with him."
"Honey, it has everything to do with him. I don't know whether or not you realize this, but you look so uncomfortable with Lance. It's like, your hands and eyes are forcibly placed with him. And you know what?" She asked, pausing for a minute to catch her thoughts. Her eyes focused on me as I continued to look down at the sink. "You don't look happy."
I bit my lower lip. "Prom is for another four hours at least. I can manage."
She gave me a sympathetic look and shook her head. "Both Drystan and Lance?"
I laughed. I don't know why I did, but I started laughing really hard. "Oh god," I whispered in between my hoards of laughter. "Drystan and Lance." I paused for a minute. "You think they'll notice if I just stay in the bathroom the entire night?"
Valerie giggled, "I think they notice every little thing you do."
I looked at the mirror one more time, and then I tossed the paper towel into the garbage can. I took in a deep breath as I led the way back outside to meet my somewhat eminent doom; I had a feeling that this could result in a night of great pretense, or heartbreaking truth. Neither of my options appealed to me. And when I saw both Drystan and Lance on opposite sides of the room, I felt myself tear in half.
Dinner passed quickly and most people were up and dancing by the end of dessert. Valerie seemed to have a knack for dancing to any type of rhythm – rap, pop, techno – and of course, she had almost all the boys in the room following up to her steps. And Drystan, although he sat at our table for dinner, decided to stand next to the refreshments table while the dancing was going on. He stood there, effortlessly sipping his drink, eying the other people as they came off the dance floor and took a soda from the table. As much as I tried to focus my attention on Lance and his clever and witty stories, I couldn't. I noticed how so many girls were swooning over Drystan and I had this unusual feeling at the pit of my stomach.
Every time, it'd be some other girl and I'd get a little bit more uncomfortable.
You can call it jealousy if you want – but if you did, I'd have to kill you.
"And, it just seemed a little weird that everything was just so … wet… and… Heidi? Are you listening to me?" Lance asked, following my attention to Drystan.
I snapped back to reality. "Um, yes." I nodded and smiled.
Lance looked over to the refreshments table and scowled under his breath; he turned his attention to me, and smiled softly. He held my hands tightly against his and I could feel the unnecessary throbbing between our hands.
"You look really beautiful," he whispered, leaning in.
I smiled nervously, "Um thanks." I leaned back as if to look for Valerie – or anyone – in the massive crowd.
His facial expression dropped. "Can I ask you something?"
I nodded. "Of course."
"What does Drystan have that I don't have?"
The question caught me off guard. I mean it was a pretty simple question. It was plain and simple English and yet when it was integrated into my train of thought, I couldn't quite process it. I blinked a few times, trying to comprehend this facet of reality. "W-what?"
Lance sighed, looking down at his hands that were still entwined with mine. "Heidi, I know that when you look at me and when you look at Drystan, it's two different feelings that you're feeling." He paused. " And I know that when you look at Drystan, you must feel something that … well, I can't make you feel. I just … don't understand why."
My mind went blank, and I gulped. I answered quickly soon after my nervous pause with, "We're just friends. And I really like you."
"No, you don't. You did, but you don't any more," he answered.
Damn, Lance was hitting every thought I could possibly have.
He smiled, "I'm right."
I shook my head, "Lance, it's just that we had a fight and right now, I'm just not myself with him. But it's not like I don't want to be with you … it's just …"
"You want to be with him more?" He asked.
I couldn't answer.
Lance laughed in response, which caught me, again, off guard. You could that tonight was a night of untold surprises. "You know, I thought that if we started going out, this tug-of-war thing I had going with Iverson would just kind of fade, but I think it's just confirming who you really want to be with."
"Lance…" I began. I sighed, looking at him directly for the first time tonight. "I'm sorry."
Letting go of his grip on my hands, he looked back at me and smiled lightly with no laugh, no clever introspection, but with a sad tint in his eyes. "It's okay. I want you to be happy. And we can still be friends … albeit, awkward friends, but friends."
I laughed. "Yeah."
"Hm, so you want to go and talk to him?" Lance asked me, nodding over to the refreshments table.
I looked over at the direction, and caught Drystan's glance back at me. I shook my head, and replied, "No, I don't think I can talk to him tonight."
Lance nodded. "You know, he's not all that bad. He likes you after all."
I turned back to meet Lance's joking smile. "Um, I think I'm gonna go now," I told him, getting up from the table.
Lance stood up with me and pulled on his charm that I fell for from the beginning, but this time, I knew it wasn't going to sway me any more. "You want me to drive you home?"
Shaking my head, I replied, "Oh, no. Not at all. I'll just call a cab. It's not that difficult. And besides, you should stay here and have fun at prom. And if you could, just let Valerie know that I left early. She'll probably ask why, but you can just tell her that I wasn't feeling well or something." I paused momentarily and gave Lance an unexpected hug. "Thank you. For understanding."
Lance hesitated, I could tell, but then hugged me back. "No problem."
I took my step away, and then tried getting past the crowd of people who were coming off the dance floor. I tried to stay off the dance floor because these people were dancing in ways that I'm pretty sure were against school policy, if not somewhat awkward and illegal. But I noticed that the only other way out of prom and to get to the doors, I needed to past the refreshments table that was conveniently placed between the exit and me
I couldn't believe my freaking luck.
Gulping in my fear, I reasoned that I just handled Lance and that I could at least handle Drystan's presence. So I pulled my composure together and walked straight up to the refreshments table, avoiding any type of eye contact with Drystan and found my way out as quickly as possible.
I could handle his presence, but I couldn't handle his voice when he said, "Heidi."
I stopped, wanted to look back, but kept walking forward.
C'mon. A couple of feet to the door – I can do it.
Freedom called my name and as I noticed my transition from the dim lights of prom shift to the bright lights of the hotel lobby, I knew I was out.
Someone grabbed my hand, and I nearly leapt out from my skin.
I turned around quickly to see Drystan standing right behind me, holding my wrist now with this perplexed facial expression filled with confusion, hurt, and momentary relief.
"Heidi, where are you going?" he asked.
That's all he had to say? Where was I going? No apology? What an ass.
"Home," I replied flatly.
Narrowing his eyes in confusion, he continued, "What do you mean you're going home?"
"Hm," I began. "Let me make this clear to you. E.T. phone home. Clear?"
Drystan let go of my wrist and folded his arms. "Very funny," he replied dryly.
"Good. I'm glad I humored you. Now go back to prom and go away," I ordered as I pulled out my phone and dialed for information. As the operator picked up and as I was walking away, I answered quickly, "Hi, I'm looking for a taxi service please. If you could transfer me to one in New Jersey, that would be great and-"
Without any warning, Drystan ripped the phone from my hands, and I nearly flipped.
"What the fuck are you doing?" I screamed.
People in the lobby stopped their hustle and bustle and turned to look at me.
You could tell I was pissed.
"Hanging up on a pointless call," Drystan answered.
"Give me my phone back," I demanded.
"GIVE ME MY PHONE!"
"No, and if you want it so bad, why don't you just-"
Before he could finish his sentence, I kicked him the shin, and grabbed the phone from him.
"Shit!" He screamed. "Heidi… you…"
"I'm sorry. Did I hurt you? If so, I'm glad," I mocked, walking away.
"God dammit, Heidi. Will you just wait for like two minutes and talk to me?"
Oh hell no, he did not just go there.
"Talk to you?" I screamed back. "What is there to talk about?"
"Plenty of things to talk about," he answered.
I laughed as my voice turned bitter. "Oh, plenty of things. Like the fact that you're an asshole. Once you agree to that, then we'll talk. Until then, screw you."
He looked at me for a moment, and then replied with a sigh. "I am."
What did he just say?
I choked on my words. "Um, what?"
"I am an asshole. Will you please talk to me?"
"No," I spat back.
"Heidi, please. Just-"
Two men came from the side of the front desk at the hotel. "If you two kids are here from that prom, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. We do not tolerate screaming and profanity in this hotel, and further more, we have every right to ask you to leave on behalf of our guests," one of them said.
Drystan and I looked at each other, and then back at them.
I took a breath, "Good, I was just leaving."
Moving towards the door dividing the inside from the dark night, I took my steps outside until I heard Drystan catch up with me. "Heidi, just wait."
"For what Drystan?"
I turned around and stared at him. We were in front of the hotel and I could see people getting out from their cars, handing over the keys to the valet, and tipping the guy who would drive away with a five hundred grand car. I looked at the people come out, and then back at Drystan. "Just leave me alone. Can you do that for me? Please." I asked, my voice calm.
"I haven't talked to you in a week. And I want to talk to you." His voice was rigid and focused.
I gave in to this inner longing to hear what he had to say to me. And yes, I know, I'm pretty pathetic for doing that. I should have stood my ground, but I couldn't.
"I'm sorry. About everything. About what I said the last time I saw you. About what happened between you and me and how I reacted to you and Lance dating. It wasn't right. And I should have respected that. I overreacted, but I'm … your friend and I support you in whatever decision you make," he began, looking straight into me with those eyes. He continued, "And if you choose to be with Lance then-"
"It's over between me and him," I answered under my breath.
"Me and Lance. Over. Done. You want a play-by-play?" I asked, slightly irritated.
Drystan looked at me motionless. "But how? When?"
"Just now. And it was a mutual thing. Guess you were right. We didn't click, we weren't good together and … we ended up breaking up. Are you happy?"
"God, Heidi. I didn't … I didn't want to be right." Taking a couple steps toward me, he continued with his train of thought. "So why?"
"Why did it end?"
Because of you – which is what I should have said.
"Because… it wasn't working."
He nodded. "That's it?"
I shrugged. "Yeah."
I smiled and laughed a little. "You already apologized."
"But I mean, I'm sorry about you and Lance. I didn't think that you two would actually … break up or anything. I just thought…"
"We wouldn't get together in the first place?"
Smiling at me, he nodded. "Yeah, that."
"Well, it's alright." I paused. "And look, I forgive you about everything. And I know that this is so cliché to just forgive you like this … but the thing is, I just don't know how I can't forgive you. I know you didn't mean what you said … but I guess for a while, it just really hurt to hear you say those things." I looked down at my phone that was still in my hand. "I gotta get home and I gotta call this taxi service so I can actually get home. So if you will-"
"Don't go yet."
I was taken back. "What are you talking about? We just got kicked out of prom."
"No," Drystan answered, holding his finger up in objection. "We got kicked out of the hotel that was holding our prom. We both left prom voluntarily."
I started laughing hysterically, and I nearly wanted to slap him. "Funny."
"I try," he replied. I could see his eyes smile with his lips, and for a minute, I didn't want that image gone from my head. I wanted to see it forever.
"Look, I have to call them up. I have to get home. Actually, I have to go to Kim's house cause I'm sleeping over there for the night," I said.
"But it's like 9:30, and we have like two hours left until prom ends. And besides," he began triumphantly, "if you went to see Kim now, don't you think that the odds are that her and your other friend Mike would be hanging out together. It is Saturday night after all. And you wouldn't want to barge in on anything freaky…" he replied smoothly.
I smiled, "True." It was almost funny how he knew my friends already – he was awfully good at observing. "So what do you expect me to do? I can't go back in. Neither of us can. We were kicked out … of the hotel."
"It's nice out," he replied.
"Yes, let's stand out here and watch valet parking for another two hours," I suggested sarcastically.
Drystan laughed. "No, we can go to the back near the pool area."
"It's closed!" I screeched.
"Not if you know how to get in…" he answered mischievously.
"No, you are not dragging me there!"
He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the pathway that led to the back of the hotel. "Too late."
"Drystan," I pleaded. "Look, it's not right… we're totally going to get arrested or something at this rate. You are so … a delinquent or something. God, we cannot be-"
Before I could finish my sentence, I saw the pool lit up like a fountain and the lights in the grass illuminating from the ground. The water from the pool was glistening as it was waving back and forth, and the courtyard directly adjacent to it was lit up as well, just as beautifully.
"Wow…" I whispered.
"I told you," Drystan answered slyly.
The fencing was blocking our entrance, and I sighed. "How do we get in?"
"Oh, you're not going to protest any more about how wrong this is? How inappropriate this is? How conniving and-"
"Get us in," I replied, pushing him.
He laughed, hacking the lock in a brief moment. "I told you I could," he said as the metal gate creaked open slowly to reveal the pool and all its glory.
Both of us stepped in, walking around the pool, smelling in the chorine from the water and drifting off to the courtyard close by. It was lit up with dim lights, and Drystan told me about how his father used to have a lot of social gatherings at hotels like this over the summer and how they'd use the courtyard for hosting business engagements. He also mentioned that at night, the lights were dimmed down because there were often rich people who could rent out the courtyard at night for a date with their significant other – sometimes they even proposed here.
"Dates? Marriage proposal?" I asked.
He nodded. "Rich people can do … pretty much whatever they want."
"Hm, I see. Well, that's nice … I guess."
"For the rich people."
There was a pause as we stopped walking.
"You want to dance?" Drystan asked suddenly.
"A dance. Like… you and me… moving to music."
I nodded. "I know what dancing is, but I mean, there is no music to well, theoretically dance to."
"Do you want to, or not?" He asked again.
Looking down at his hand, which was so familiar to when I was about to take it way back in the colder months at the lake to ice skate, I hesitated for a minute. This time, my mind was free of complication with Lance, and now there was only me standing in the way. How could I say no? How could I even say yes? Hesitation disappeared. And I took his hand.
For once, it wasn't from impulse.
I wanted to.
He smiled at me and pulled me closer. He was unsure about doing so, but I gave into the invitation as warranted, and I even placed my hand on his shoulder as he slid his hand on my waist.
"This is nice…" I said softly.
"It really is. You look really nice by the way."
You know, it wasn't the same when Lance called me beautiful. And most girls want to hear beautiful, and they want to hear these lovely comments. But I was struck with the word 'nice' and for some reason it was the best thing I've ever heard.
I laughed. "You pulled yourself together quite well yourself."
I guess this was how it was between us. There was no need for formalities. It was just the way it was – the way it should be. There was this overwhelming relief that took over. I could feel my purse dangling on the side of my body, but I could also feel Drystan's heart beating up against mine.
"I'm glad you came to prom," I said suddenly as we were dancing.
"Valerie was quite upfront about me coming."
"That's Valerie," I answered.
He nodded. "I'm glad I came too."
It was so very still and quiet for a while and I didn't feel the need to say anything to fill that silence and that space between us. I just kind of rested my head against his chest and felt my way towards this feeling of comfort.
Suddenly, we heard something. Like people walking.
"Crap," I blurted out.
"It's probably no one."
"It's someone," I spat back.
"Calm down. Have some fun in life."
"I'm not getting arrested for trespassing.
Drystan laughed. "Okay, we'll leave, okay?"
I nodded. "Thank you," I said.
As we were walking back towards the pool, I knew that my fear of getting in trouble caused me to end that moment with Drystan a little too early. But I knew that after getting kicked out of the hotel, this would only further aggravate the hotel managers.
Drystan came up from behind me, and whispered in my ear, causally but mischievously. "You know what would be really fun?"
I shook my head, about to turn towards the gate. "No, what?" I asked.
He grabbed me by my waist and pulled me up. "Going for a swim."
"Drystan! Let me go!" I screamed, but laughing at the same time. "Don't you dare!"
But it was too late. I didn't know that Drystan could pick me up like that and at the same time, pull me with great speed towards the water. I could hear him laughing and saying, "You need to loosen up."
The next thing I know, there's a great splash, I'm submerged in water, and I'm just about to come up for air. As aggravated as I was, I started laughing. "You are so dead!"
Drystan laughed. He bent over as I was swimming up to the side, hoping my dress wouldn't hold me down any longer and trying to get my purse from out of the water. My phone was probably dead.
"How do you feel?" he asked smoothly.
I smirked, grabbed the collar of his tux and pulled him into the water. One splash, and he was gone below the waves, but I could see his shadow floating from the lights in the pool. As he pulled himself up, running his hand over his face, he looked at me like I was crazy.
"I feel better now," I said.
The crazed look broke into a whirlwind of laughter. He swam closer to me, and pulled me in. Before I knew it, I was pulled into the middle with him. We were bobbing up and down in the water, and he was staring at me. I bit my lower lip. His hair was drenched and water was dripping down his face.
He leaned in, as did I.
It was monumental what was about to happen.
And suddenly there was a flash of light to the side of us, we pulled away, and all I could see was a pool guard standing above us with a flashlight.
I wasn't upset I got caught.
I was pissed that I didn't kiss Drystan Iverson.
Wouldn't you be?
Author's Note: So, I'm back. And I'm sorry I haven't written anything in well, about a year. But I gave you this chapter, which is full of drama and suspense, and long awaited romance between Heidi and Drystan. Don't I get props for that? =P
So yes, Lance and Heidi broke up. Heidi and Drystan made up. Heidi and Drystan almost kissed in the pool – but didn't. Damn, you guys must hate me. But over all, there was progress and from here on out, there should be more of that coming. I'm thinking there will be about five more chapters left? Which I will finish because this is the summer before my freshman year of college.
So before I leave you guys, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for all the reviews and I seriously don't deserve this much praise but I do appreciate it and encourage more of it. All the past comments have been the most encouraging. They have inspired me to finish this story. So thank you. You guys are amazing. You rock. You're the best. Need I say more? =D
I was inspired to write this chapter. For many reasons. Let's leave it at that.
Stay tuned for the next chapter!