“I know you don’t like me, Katherine,” Stanley’s shoulders hunched forward as he interrupted me. “I don’t expect you to fall for me in one night either…but it’s just that this is our senior year. I want to go to at least one dance with a girl before I graduate.” He finished explaining fully then looked up at me.
In that moment I felt bad for him, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t really want to go to homecoming, and Stanley wasn’t exactly the best company. However, I started to consider it as looked at his defeated face.
“I mean, I know you went through all that trouble to make up that story about Derek being your boyfriend, but I don’t know… since he’s gone, I was really…” he rambled on some more, but I stopped listening. I was just trying to process what he had said.
“Look,” I held up my hand to stop him from talking. “I’ll think about it okay?” This was the best I could offer him for the time being. I didn’t want to say yes because I felt bad, but I didn’t want to say no and completely crush him without thinking this through.
“Really?” he looked up at me, his eyes filled with optimism.
“Yeah,” I nodded. “In the meantime I need you to go ask some people about a some pictures…” I said pulling out a list of names for him.
Tuesday night I received four text messages in a row all from Val, all asking when I was going to be home. I texted back asking why she needed to know, instead of answering the question.
Because I need to know! Just answer Derek!
“Hello?” I answered her. I hadn’t talked to Kat yet tonight, so I was hoping this conversation didn’t take long. I had been keeping her up way too late. I had been planning to call earlier tonight, but I wouldn’t be able to if I was on the phone with Val.
“Is there any way you would be able to get home Saturday?”
“I don’t know, can you please tell me why?” I asked again, getting more aggravated with each time I had to ask her this.
“Well, this Saturday at 7:00 o’clock in the evening our school is holding it’s annual homecoming dance. Kat is refusing to go, I say it’s because you’re gone…but she’s claiming it has nothing to do with you.” Val explained, clearly annoyed with Kat. “Anyway, I was thinking maybe, if I could convince her to come and if you could get back in time, maybe we could surprise her…”
I was quite, letting this information sink in. It sounded like a good plan, and I had been planning to invite Kat to homecoming anyway. “I didn’t realized it was this weekend,” I groaned. “I should know tomorrow the final verdict--” I stopped myself. I had no idea how much Val knew. I hadn’t told Kat not to tell anybody, but knowing her she probably wouldn’t. Then again, Val was her best friend, so she may have told her…but I couldn’t be sure.
“Right, that’s what Kat told me,” Val answered, her mind not on my predicament at all. “She said you got the good judge, so you should be all set right?”
“Umm, yeah, right…this weekend would just be finalizing stuff…”
“So there might be a way for you to be able to leave early?” She asked her voice hopeful once more.
“Maybe, I mean it wouldn’t hurt for me to ask…” I said into the phone.
“Yeah! Ok! Let me know like the minute you find out! Oh, and don’t tell Kat anything, like at all about homecoming! I want it to be a total surprise!” Val said excitedly. “I’ve got to go, but call me like as soon as you find out!”
“Alright I will, I’ll talk to you soon,” I told her with a smile, her enthusiasm was contagious. I hung up from her and stood up from my old bed. My parents hadn’t changed anything in my room, it was just emptier. I opened my door and could hear my mom and Laker talking. I assumed they were in the kitchen so I headed that way. Sure enough they were seated at the table across from each other each with a cup of coffee.
“Derek? Shouldn’t you be on the phone with Kat by now?” Laker asked when she saw me, a teasing glint in her eye.
“Probably,” I rolled my eyes at her.
“You sit down,” Mom turned a serious look at me and pointed to the chair next to her. I did as I was told and sat down. “We haven’t had anytime to talk about this, you know.”
“This?” I questioned acting dumb, trying to prolong this conversation. My ignorance gained me a smack in the back of the head. “Well, instead can I ask you a question?”
“Depends what kind of question it is,” Laker mimicked the phrase that we both grew up hearing.
“I was wondering if there was any chance that we could leave earlier…”
“Well you have to stay and get everything settled, you know that.” Mom told me, but I could tell from her eyes that she was curious as to why I wanted to leave.
“Yeah, but do you there is any way to get that all finished on Saturday, then we can be out of here by that afternoon.”
“And why exactly do you want to be gone so soon?” Mom questioned, and Laker looked at me with a wondering gaze as well.
“I just got a call from Kat’s best friend Val, she reminded me that it’s homecoming weekend…she wants me to surprise Kat at the dance.”
“Awe!!! Derek!” Laker grinned widely, “Mom, please say you think we’ll be able to make it!”
“There is a possibility…I suppose it just depends on how much we can get done tomorrow…”
Wednesday morning Stanley found me as I was heading to second period. I hadn’t told anyone he had asked me to go with him. My plan was to find another girl and convince her to ask him, someone he would like to go with. But I hadn’t found anybody, and trust me I’ve been looking! There seemed to be no one that would even consider going with him, which was kind of sad. I felt bad for him, for the fact that he had never been to a dance with a girl and that I couldn’t even find one girl!
That’s why when he approached me and asked again with a pitifully hopeful look covering his face I couldn’t help but answer yes.She answered back almost as soon as I sent it. I sighed and told her hopefully Sunday and asked again why she needed to know. There was a long pause before the phone rang.