The next two days went by in a blur. It seemed like my entire days was spent in meetings, discussing the this and that which went on inside the base. By the end of the day I was so exhausted that I didn't even change out of my uniform before passing out onto my bed. Then, before I even knew it, it was Friday, the night of the Air Force Ball. I didn't see Anthony at all that day, he had to give an all day presentation. Those days were the worst when I didn't get to even say good morning to him.
"Good night Hoskins. See you in a few hours?" MSgt Jenkins asked going out the door. I smiled, "Yes sir! I'll be there." He nodded, "Good girl, we'll have a spot saved for you at our table." My ears perked up, "Sir, who all is coming in your group?" He thought for a moment, "Just the guys from the office. Captain Land, Mr. Choi, LT and myself." I felt my heart flutter, he was going to be there. I smiled and walked through the door to get ready. The ball was at 2100, I had three hours to get ready.
"Lyn? Lyn? Are you here?" I asked as I pushed open the door. She was sitting on her bed with her arms crossed, "I'm not going." I closed the door behind me, "Why not? Everyone goes to the Air Force Ball. It's tradition." Lyn looked over to her closet, "I'm not getting into that thing." I rolled my eyes and opened her closet to see her dress. Lyn was a tom boy, she hated dressing up and I expected this fight sooner or later. Pulling out her dress I sighed, "Come on Lyn! It'll be fun. You'll look lovely in this."
"I'm not going and that's that." She said stubbornly. I bit my lip, it was time to switch tatics. I usually didn't like doing this to Lyn, but desperate times called for desperate measures. I sat next to her and sniffed, "But it will be my very first ball and I really want you to share it with me. Pwease Wyn?" I asked my eyes watering. She looked forward, refusing to look at me. I rested my head on her shoulder, "Pwease big sister. I looooove you." She sighed defeated, "Fine, but I'm only going to shut you up."
"Yay! Now get ready! We only have a few hours." I went to my bed to start the ulitmate girly process. I love my uniform, I love being an Airman, but every once in a while I want to look like a woman. Sometimes I would peek over to Lyn who was carefully applying make up. Although she fussed and complained, I knew that secretly she was loving this. It felt like we were in high school again. By the time I had finished twisting my long hair into an french bun and allowed a few strands to fall out stragicetly, I glanced in the mirror and smiled as Lyn whistled, "Hey sexy mama."
"You don't look too bad yourself." I said as she twirled around in a red dress. Lyn had dark brown hair, looking much more like chocolate than my almost burgandy color. She was more of a dark beauty, with her tough girl attitude to mix. I smiled at the knock on our door, when I opened it James and Tali were standing there in suits. I smiled, "Wow boys, you look nice." They didn't say anything for a second before James stuttered, "Hoskins? You..you look....wow." I blushed and took his arm as he helped me down the stairs.
"Wow Lyn, didn't know you could clean up." Tali said as she rolled her eyes and let him help her. Tali and Lyn always fought, it was their way, but when the time called for it, their friendship would shine through. I knew she had been worried when Tali hurt his leg, that he stilled slightly limped on. Not that she would ever admit it though. Walking in the desert was a lot different in heels and I became more and more grateful for Jame's presence as he helped me over the rocks and into the cars that our sergeants had hired to transport us. James slipped an arm around my bare shoulders, "You look great Hoskins. Really." I smiled and hugged him, "Thanks, you look very nice as well. A suit looks good on you."
Music was lifting on the breeze as we pulled up to the ball. The Air Force really went all out to try and make this extravagant as the door frame was lined with ivy and roses. James and I pushed through and stopped on the stairway to be announced. The MC cleared his throat, "Presenting A1C Troy James and Amn Summer Hoskins." We stood for a moment and started to walk down the stairs to the main room. My heart was dancing at all the eyes. It was tradition in our unit to have everyone watch the couples coming down the stairway to see who was in our Air Force family. It made me nervous and shy.
"Just don't let me trip ok?" I whispered as he smiled. We walked gracefully down the stairway, my eyes darting everywhere until they locked with his. In the crowd of faces, his stood out, my LT, my Anthony staring at me with the strangest look I have ever seen. I kept eye contact with him asJames walked me to my assigned table. Normally, I would have joined him in the security forces section, but I was staff now. We walked up to the table as all my officers and sergeants looked at me with fatherly pride.
"Well bless my soul, Amn Hoskins." Captian Land said as I smiled. James pulled out my chair and kissed my gloved hand before returning to his section. The Air Force Ball was full of tradition, it took three classes to learn all of it. I sat and looked down blushing as LT sat beside me, still staring. The officers chated and drank, but I couldn't seem to pull my eyes up from the candle lit table, knowing that he was so near with that look he had. Anthony and I hadn't spoken since the incident in the pool and I was worried that I had some how offended him.
"All right boys it's that time." The officers groaned and I wondered what part they were talking about. Captain Land pulled out seven straws, "Each table needs to send out a couple to start the waltz. Since Amn Hoskins is the only female, we will draw to see who will dance with her." They smiled at me and MSgt Jenkins said, "Well, then we will actually want the short straw this time won't we?" I smiled softly and blushed as they all drew. I knew it was tradition, but my heart was thumping as I glanced over to LT's hand, praying that he would have the short straw. I would have been happy to dance with any of my officers, but I wanted him. They counted to three and showed their straws, to my disappointment, it was Captain Land that got it.
"Hot damn!" He said as I laughed. He stood and held out a hand to me, "If you would Amn Hoskins?" I stood and accepted letting him lead me out to the dance floor. Captain Land was an older man in his late fifties, slightly plump, kind hearted and 100% Southern charm. He was one of my favorite co-workers as the music swelled. He danced at this same ball for ten years making him surprisily graceful as he twirled me around. We started the waltz to a drawn out version of the Air Force song. I laughed and smiled as he spun me, before the song ended and he bowed while I curtiesed.
"Whew, well I'm spent. I'm not as young as I used to be. LT, why don't you take over for me?" My heart stopped as he rose and smiled, "Well, I'm not as graceful as the Captain, but if you can put up with me, I will." I smiled and kept myself from jumping as he grabbed my hand gently.