It was a phone call from Sarah that finally got Cerise off her ass.
“So how’s it going?”
“Fine,” Cerise lied.
“How do you think your exams went?”
“Yeah me too. So uh, still not going to prom?”
“Apparently Jay’s being a real asshole about it, all bragging all the time about going with Karine. Karl says he’s on the top of the hate list now. Even above Willy.”
“Uh-huh,” said Cerise through gritted teeth.
“Yeah so, aren’t you pissed at him?”
“It’s fine, we were only ever gonna go as friends anyway, he was just doing me a favour ‘cause I couldn’t go with Terry anymore. I don’t give a shit about Jay.”
“Yeah,” Sarah sighed. “Soooo… don’t you think you should call Terry and make up?”
“God, Sarah, stop it…”
“Fuck, Cerise! Just call him! I talked to him after the English final and he totally wants to patch things up, ok? Just call him! God, what is your deal?”
“You don’t understand, Sarah. I was majorly bitchy to him, like cruel. How can I face him?”
“Oh my god, you are such a whiner! You know it’s really selfish of you to keep doing this! What about Mel and Steph? They’re totally freaking out ‘cause they have to go to prom with two guys they’ve never even met and if Terry’s not there it’ll just be super awkward.”
“God, are you freaking serious?” Cerise asked in irritation. “I should make up with Terry so Mel and Steph won’t feel awkward?”
“Yes! Be a friend, Cerise!”
Cerise didn’t know how to respond.
“Like, if you don’t call him, I’m gonna call him and fake your voice.”
“You can’t do my voice.” Cerise held in her amusement.
“Yes I can, check it: Uh, hey Terry, shnookie pookie, it’s me, Cherry blossom, I totally love you, sorry for breaking up with you, I’m a bitch, let’s get it on, yeah.”
Cerise laughed out loud. It was a horrible impression but Sarah was hilarious.
“Fine, I’ll call him,” she giggled.
“Good. Call me right after to say how it went.”
Cerise stared at the phone for a good half hour before she worked up the courage to dial Terry’s cell.
Terry sat on the floor of his bedroom in his mother’s house, wearing his hockey helmet. He was supposed to be cleaning up but instead he kept picking up clothes with his hockey stick and flinging them across the room. When the phone rang he whirled around and practically gave himself whiplash. It was Cerise’s ringtone. Was he hallucinating?
He pulled off his helmet and reached for his phone, which entailed some frantic searching through piles of dirty laundry. He flipped it open and checked the caller ID. Sure enough, it was Cerise.
“Hello?” he asked, hopeful but trying to sound casual.
“Um, Terry? Hi, it’s Cerise.”
Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit! “Hey, how are you?” he asked lamely.
“Um, pretty shitty actually. I’ve been pretty shitty ever since I was such a complete bitch to you…”
“You’re weren’t a bitch…”
“No, I was. I know I was. I was awful. You must hate me. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”
“I don’t hate you.”
“I’m so sorry, Terry! I’m so, so sorry! I was such a flaming bitch! Everything I said was totally out of line…”
“No, no, you were right. I mean, I shouldn’t smoke and Erica is a cow and I shouldn’t hang out with her and I mean…”
“No, it was all bullshit! I was being a spaz. You know how sometimes I spaz out.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said with a chuckle.
She chuckled too. “So I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry too.”
“You don’t have anything to be sorry for,” she said in surprise.
“Yeah I do. I pushed you too far. I mean, with you know, the… I mean… when we were fooling around. I’m sorry if I freaked you out. If it got too weird.”
“Oh my god, no! Is that what you thought? Oh my god, Terry, no. So no. It was never… oh my god. Terry, I’m so sorry if that’s what you thought.”
“Well ‘cause you called me a perv and…”
“Oh my god! Terry I was just saying that to be mean! Oh my god, I’m such a bitch! Terry, no! I don’t think you’re a perv at all. I swear.”
“Really?” he asked doubtfully.
“Terry, seriously. Everything we did, I mean, I loved it, seriously.”
“You don’t regret it?” he asked, his voice weak with relief.
“Oh my fucking god, I just don’t even know what to say. No, Terry, no I don’t regret it. Those were like the best moments of my life. For real.”
“So, so then we’re ok then?” he asked hopefully.
“Terry, I totally understand if you never want to see me again. But I just thought I’d try, I mean. If you still want to go out with me. If you still wanna go to prom…”
“Of course I do!”
“Well it’s too late to get back in on the limo shit but I think I can still get a tux. I mean is it ok if I just pick you up in my car?”
“Oh my god, of course it is!”
“Ok, so then I’ll see you then.”
“Ok. Thanks, Terry.”
Terry hung up the phone with shaking hands. The relief and the elation got him buzzing like a caffeine high but it was the fear that centered him. For the love of everything cherry flavoured, he could not fuck this up.
Shauna had never been so horrified in her life. And with good reason. She looked atrocious. Shauna had never been blessed with an overabundance of self-esteem but she did posess a reasonable amount of self-awareness, at least enough to identify the inherent problems with the reflection staring back at her in every mirror she had ever encountered. Usually she masked the flaws with baggy clothes and long hair but in this monstrosity of a prom dress it was impossible to hide anything. For one thing the dress was too tight. Every ripple of fat on her body threatened to burst the seams of the garment and her abdomen jutted out like that of a pregnant woman’s. Her breasts by constrast were squished down painfully to the point where they looked like all the other rolls of fat trying to melt down to her knees.
Not only was the dress too tight but it was also too long and she knew she would have to hold the skirt up all night if she wanted to avoid tripping over herself. The only saving grace of the length is that it hid her feet, so her mother wouldn’t notice she was wearing docs rather than the heels she’d provided. She also imagined she’d have to walk sideways to enter doorways since her sleeves puffed out as though the dress had been designed by Anne of Green Gables. It was also shiny. And it made her sweat. And on the bodice was a cluster of bling that acted like a target, letting people know where to punch. This would very obviously be the worst night of Shauna’s entirely pathetic life. If she didn’t end up in a porta-potty by the end of it, it would be a miracle.
Karine considered putting her hair up but finally decided to straighten it and leave it down. Unlike most girls with curls, Karine liked her hair and rarely straightened it but tonight was a special occasion. Besides, Jason Harris had an afro; Karine would just look retarded if she also showed up with curly hair. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and a bit more humid than was helpful to control frizz but at least it wasn’t raining or something.
She wore four inch heels, which would make her slightly taller than Jay. She would certainly look a lot better on Terry’s arm but she was determined to make this night work. It was her prom goddammit and she was determined to have a good time.
The long, pink dress fit her just as well as ever and her only accessory was her locket on a short silver chain. She looked good.
Andrew gushed when Karine joined the gang in the limo, telling her she looked crazy hot. Steven avoided looking at her and made a big show of keeping his arm around Chrissy, who looked cute as a button in her little red dress.
“Hey, where’s your date, Karine?” asked Erica snottily.
“We have to go get him,” said Karine, trying to sound casual.
“Wait, who did you say you were going with again?” she snickered.
“Can we just go?!”
Picking up Jay was totally humiliating. Not just because the gang laughed their whole way through it, not even trying to hide their amusement, but because Jay’s mother was a nightmare. She wanted to take a zillion pictures and kept fawning all over Karine, telling her how she was just as beautiful as Jay had said.
Jay was rightfully embarrassed but at least he’d cleaned up well. He’d actually cut his hair, it was cropped very close to his head and made him look about twenty times cuter. He also looked pretty decent in a tux, having got one that actually fit properly. He even gave Karine a surprisingly decent corsage consisting of all white flowers. She put it on her wrist without hesitation. Erica and Chrissy didn’t have corsages.
She felt bad for Jay in the limo. It was a short ride to school but he had to listen to the gang mock him the whole way there, asking where he was hiding the pocket protector and other lame jokes. Poor guy.
Terry saw a limo pull away from Cerise’s house and had a small moment of panic but then realized that it was leaving the neighbour’s house, that stupid Jason Harris stupid hair guy. He parked at the curb and sat there for a moment, collecting himself.
“It’s the car!” squeeled Julie.
“The car?” asked Simone, running to the window.
The driver’s side door opened and a boy emerged, no, not a boy, a man. Julie and Simone stuck their faces to the window, trying to get a good look as he walked up to the house. Holy effing shit! Cerise hadn’t exaggerated at all. He really was CW hot.
Terry adjusted his royal blue bow tie and rang the doorbell. A woman with long hair answered.
“Hello! You must be Terry.”
“Yeah, hi,” he stammered. God, he hated meeting parents.
“I’m Cerise’s mother, Angela.”
“Nice to meet you,” said Terry, extending his hand.
Angela shook his hand and pulled him into the house, saying that Cerise would be down in a minute. Two girls stood by, one with long blonde hair and one with a short purple bob. They both grinned widely and he smiled at them. They smiled harder.
In all those corny movies about prom there’s always a scene where the girl comes down the stairs in slow motion and looks totally hot. Turns out that moment was based on reality because when Cerise appeared at the top of the stairs time stood still. Her dress was tight, not like whore tight but fitting her just right. It came to her knees and was slit up the sides and holy hell her legs looked amazing. She was wearing silver high heels that matched the silver flowers on her dress. God, it was like fuck, like holy shit. So hot.
She walked down the stairs slowly, holding the railing, looking nervous and maybe a bit unstable in her shoes.
“Hey,” she said when she reached Terry.
“Hey,” he replied, his eyes darting up from her body to fixate on her face.
Her eyelashes were dark and her lips were red but she wasn’t wearing a shitload of makeup like some girls would have. Her hair was kinda wavy, like that style from the ‘20s or whatever. God damn, she looked so fucking good. Terry had to start thinking about his sick grandmother so he wouldn’t get inappropriately turned on.
“Um, this is my mom and these are my sisters, Simone and Julie.”
“Hey,” he nodded to her sisters.
“Heeeey,” they responded
“Ok, so see ya in a bit I guess,” said Cerise, pushing Terry towards the door.
Her mom stopped her and whipped out her camera, an old school film one. She wanted to take pickies and Cerise groaned as she and Terry were forced to stand in various places inside and outside the house while she snapped away. The goth sister also took some pics with a digital camera, making them stand in weird poses and taking them at weird angels.
Terry’s eyes were pretty much blinded from the constant flashing but finally Cerise put a stop to the insanity and tottered over to his car.
“What a nice young man,” said Angela, closing the front door. “And quite handsome.”
“Handsome?” laughed Simone. “Calling that guy handsome is like calling Tiger Woods somewhat amorous.
“Seriously,” agreed Julie. “The dude is hot.”
“Way hot,” nodded Simone. “I mean disbelief. Total disbelief.”
“I know! Those pics on facebook totally didn’t do him justice. He’s like a hundred feet tall for one thing.”
“I know, oh my god, broad shoulders much?”
“His hair was like nicer than mine!” gasped Julie.
“I know, I mean he was actually pretty. Not just cute but like, pretty. Like man pretty.”
“Like way. Almost like a cross between Oliver from Smallville and Dean from Supernatural.”
“He actually is CW! I didn’t even know high school guys could be that hot.”
“They sure aren’t at my school.”
“God, I wonder if he has an older brother.”
“Or a younger one.”
“No wonder Cerise never went for Jay,” said Simone. “Props to her for hooking up with that piece of finery.”
“No kidding, but how though? How does Cerise end up with someone like that?”
“Maybe she’s dabbling in Wicca, I don’t know.”
“Talk about a step up from Shauna Darren!”
Simone burst into laughter while Julie snickered.
“Cerise, you look amazing,” said Terry, opening the passenger side door for her.
He was so gentlemanly.
“Thanks. You too. I think my sisters are in love with you. Sorry about all the drool.”
Terry laughed as he entered the car. They looked at one another and Cerise smiled shyly. It was so weird how she felt so bashful with him now. They’d done some pretty intimate stuff before but this was like starting over.
“I wasn’t sure if it’s still a thing to like, get a, you know, corsage thing.”
“Oh, I dunno,” she shrugged.
“Well so I just got a flower.”
He reached into the backseat and pulled out a single white rose. He handed it to her without any fanfare but a small tear formed in her eye. God, he was so sweet! She smelled it and smiled.
“I don’t know…” he stammered. “I didn’t really know… I couldn’t really do much at the last minute.”
“It’s more than I expected. I mean not that I had low expectations. I just, I mean. It’s really nice of you, considering how bitchy I’ve been.”
He smiled and shrugged.
“Thank you so much, Terry. For forgiving…”
“Shh,” he said and leaned over to kiss her.
As he drove them to school she snapped the stem off the rose and pushed the flower behind her ear, holding it in place with a bobby pin from her purse. She flipped down the sunshade and looked at her reflection in the mirror, dabbing her wet eyes with her fingers and trying not to mess up her hypoallergenic mascara. She looked over at Terry and saw that he was smiling as he drove. She really didn’t deserve him.