Authors' Note: Umm, yes. I'm doing another one-shot. I kind of like this theme; just one-shots of dances that take place in different times, different scenarios, and different people. Never will I use the same couple twice, nor the same scenario.

Rated: K

To Dance with Another

The Prom

Alice was trying not to cry.

Her heart felt wrenched apart, torn into little bits and stamped on with Brit's stilettos.

Her hair. . . . Her makeup. . . . Her dress. . . all gone to waste.

She had never been so meticulous in her appearance, knowing that it was the last time – Senior Prom – to ever captivate his attention. He would never know how many hours she had poured over the perfect get-up, trying to find that Cinderella-esque theme that would sweep him off his feet. She had wanted something that screamed I'm yours, Forever, and would entice him to drop his cheerleader and finally realize that the girl that really loved him, the girl that would be perfect for him, was waiting in the shadows.

Sniffling as quietly as she could and knowing that her eyes were glossy with tears, Alice withdrew into the corner, watching the happy young couples clutch each other as the DJ put on another slow song. Even the girls who hadn't brought dates were having fun, mock-slow dancing with each other.

Her eyes sought out one couple in particular, her hatred burning in her chest.

There he was. Her everything. Her forever.

Dancing with another woman.

Brendon was softly cupping Brit's hips and leading her in a tender sway. Brit's face was pressed into his neck, and Brendon's eyes were closed in apparent bliss. She was the perfect height for him, and he was the perfect build for her, and Alice realized spitefully that they really were the epitome of the 'perfect' high school couple. He, a quarterback and point guard. She, a cheerleader and president of Student Council.

And Alice, the scorned unrequited love, with no titles or sports awards.

Alice, the third wheel.

Alice, the 'cute' friend, overshadowed by Brit's exotic beauty.

A hot tear spilled down her cheek, and she wiped it away, realizing that the tear was black. Her mascara was running.


Just perfect.

That's all she needed; not only to be left in the shadows, but to be an ugly shadow as well.

She escaped into the bathroom, slamming herself into a stall and locking it. Bunching up toilet paper, she wiped under her eyes, dabbing until all tears were gone and all that came away were flecks of skin. She let out a shallow breath.

Breathe, Alice, she thought. It's not the end of the world.

Of course it was!

No, it wasn't!

How could it be the end of the world? she chided herself. He is just a stupid boy. They were going to different colleges. They would forget about each other. She didn't need him to feel complete. She wasn't stupid Bella from " Twilight".

But why oh why did her heart break when he left her side to gather Brit in his arms? It wasn't as if she should've expected him to come to her. She was just his nerdy friend. She'd had four years to get used to the friendzone, so it shouldn't have reduced her to tears, but perhaps her tears were flowing because this really was the beginning of an end. The beginning of the cruel end to her adoration of him. The beginning of the realization that nothing will ever come from this tiresome love. The beginning of realizing that he will never, ever feel the same way she did for him.

" Alice? Alliice?" came Brit's voice, echoing in the bathroom.

Alice quickly flushed her blackened tissue and unlocked the door, putting on a blinding smile for her friend.

" Hey," she croaked, " I was just using the bathroom."

Brit frowned, taking in her red eyes and flushed face. " Are you okay, Alice? Did someone hurt you?"

Yes, Alice thought spitefully, but she forced out a benign, " No. I just got a little nostalgic. This. . .well this is our last prom before we. . . leave to go to college and forget everyone."

" Aww, come 'ere, gorgeous," Brit said comfortingly and she engulfed the smaller girl in a tight hug. " It's going to be fine. We won't forget about each other!"

As much as she wanted to, Alice couldn't hate Brit. Well, she resented her to an extreme degree and the ugly green-eyed monster reared whenever Brandon gave her friend a kiss, but Alice didn't hate Brit with the soul-burning, blood-curdling hatred that would cause her to break off their friendship. No matter how jealous or resentful Alice got, she would never, ever hurt Brit that why.

" Okay, well, you vanished just when Brandon wanted to dance with you!"

Alice's soul gave a little jump-start. " D-dance with me?"

" Yeah, girl! C'mon, let's go."

The girl let herself be tugged out of the bathroom, her wrist clasped in Brit's determined hand. Brendon was standing outside, his trademark smile lighting up his handsome face, and Alice felt her heart give a loud thump.

" Hey, you okay?" said Brendon.

Alice gave a small smile. " Yeah, just a little sad. Nostalgic, you know?"

" Well," said Brendon, grabbing her hand. " I can fix that! It's time for us to dance. One more for the road, ya know?"

They didn't talk after that. Alice's heart was beating so loud that she was sure that he heard it. She wrapped her arms around his sturdy neck. Inside, she was trembling. He was dancing with her! Outside, she remained neutral. It was just a dance. But it was a nice dance, and as she felt his hands close around her waist and they started to sway, she imagined that he would be the last one to touch her like that. The last one to draw her close and never let her go. The only one to hold her that close, with she in a white dress and he in a tux. The only one to dance her through the ages, through hip replacements and failing knees and graying hair. The only one to dance her through the gates of Heaven.

" You're beautiful, Alice," said Brendon, smiling.

Alice's heart filled until it nearly burst, and her smile was radiant. " Thanks, Brendon."

" This is the part where you say 'Brendon, you're not half-bad yourself'," he teased, blue eyes flashing with mirth.

Alice laughed, shaking her head. " Very funny."

She heard the song rise to a crescendo, and she savored this moment. She imprinted his smell into her memory. She memorized the feeling of his strong hands cupping her hips. She relished the heat of his body. She studied that beautiful smile.

She tried to hold onto it as long as she could, her fingers remember the texture of his tux, the sureness of his shoulders. She never wanted it to end, wanted to stay there like that forever – he was dancing with her! – but the song slowed, the woman's melodious voice shimmering into a soft whisper.

They stood there for just a beat after the song ended, and Alice felt the sadness well up in her. However, she put on a bright smile.

" Thanks for dancing with me," said Alice brightly.

" You bet," said Brendon.

And that was the end of that.

There would be no declarations of love as Alice's fantasies had entertained. There would be no sudden realizations that the girl in the shadows, the 'cute', 'nerdy' friend, the girl who helped him on assignments, was his one true love. The dance was just that: a dance. It was a dance of friendship, and of brotherly affection, and the wound had never been deeper for her. Her feelings would stay buried, hidden from the world, and the green-eyed monster had given up, reluctantly turned to the shadows in defeat.

However, it was that same bright smile and watery tears that Alice wore, years later, as she watched her one true love and her best friend get married. Brendon would dance with another in a tux, would dance through the ages of hip replacements and graying hair, Brit taking Alice's rightful place.

And still Alice was trying not to cry.

Author's Note:One-shot. Short. Sweet. Incredibly cliche. ( Haha! Take THAT 'Catch the Cliche') But hey, it's reality. . . ish. Unrequited love. The worst kind. :( Ah well! Poor little Alice.