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“Do you want me to stop to get a corsage?” my father asked.
“Suit yourself. I figured that way if anyone asks, you can pretend you have a date in the bathroom.”
I looked across the car at him and raised my eyebrow.
“Just thinking ahead, kid.”
When we pulled up to school, my stomach twisted in disgusted knots. What was I doing? Could I really walk into prom dateless, especially when everyone hated me? Like they needed more fuel.
“Don’t overthink it,” my father said softly as he parked. I stared into my lap, anxiety crawling up my skin. “And besides,” he added. “It’s high school. It traumatizes everyone. Right of passage.”
I laughed, shaking my head. “You really should have just let me stay home.”
My father’s face became serious. “You would have regretted missing your prom. And of course, you’ll need something to talk to a therapist about in the future.”
“Oh my God, old man. You are demented.” But I loved him. After all the crap I’d been through with my mom, Conner, the entire school…. It was nice to have someone in my corner. Even if it was my dad.
“Let’s go,” he said, interrupting the quiet. “I don’t want to miss the electric slide.”
“Dear Lord. Please don’t dance.”
He scoffed. “You don’t think I came here without practicing, do you? Give me more credit, Stella. I’ve got the Macarena down pat.”
The prom was a mix of pastel fabrics, glittery balloons and a butt load of flowers. It looked exactly like how I imagined hell. This feeling was confirmed when I looked over to the dance floor. In the middle, like they were already crowned king and queen, was Conner and Trish. Slow dancing.
I darted my eyes away, hoping they didn’t see me. There was still time to go hide in the car. There was still time to stop this before I was completely humiliated. But instead I look over at them again. Trish’s too-tan back faced me as she rested her head on Conner’s shoulder. I hated that she could be so comfortable with him. I hated him.
Just then, Conner’s beautiful blue eyes looked up to catch mine. His lips parted, and then he smiled softly. And as much as I resented him for everything he’d done, I found myself smiling back. But I caught myself and spun around.
No. I wouldn't do this. I wouldn't… but I felt the tears well up in my eyes. Damnit. I wouldn’t become a prom cliché, crying in a perfect prom dress over a boy. No. I would cry in the bathroom like any self-respecting woman.
My heels clacked on the gym floor as I hurried toward the girl’s room. Once I pulled myself together I was going to go back out there and fake fun. Nothing said revenge like having a good time.
I stopped, only a few feet from the safety of the toilets. I wasn’t sure I could turn around.
“Can I talk to you?” Conner asked.
I closed my eyes, the first tear running down my cheek. Fantastic. I sniffled and turned around, crossing my arms dramatically across my chest. I wasn’t expecting him to be directly in front of me. Looking gorgeous. I gasped.
Conner reached out and put his hands on either side of my face before using his thumb to wipe away my tear.
“You look beautiful tonight,” he whispered, looking me over.
My entire body shuttered with relief. Despair. “Yeah?” I asked. “You and Trish look really cozy out there. I think you two have King and Queen of doucheness locked up, don't you?”
But instead of answering, he leaned in and kissed me.