Friday, October 12, 2012
Friday morning was chilly, like last night had been at the bonfire. Jordyn had finally filled her closet with Pennsylvania-suitable clothes, and had worn a pair of tight, skinny jeans tucked into a pair of grey Uggs, with and her grey NorthFace jacket zipped all the way to her chin. She even wore a grey scarf and a grey stocking cap, but she was still cold as she stood with her parents and Logan on the sidewalk in front of Touchdown.
The homecoming parade would be starting at the post office, traveling down Main Street, turning left onto the wide, residential Cedar Street, and ending at the high school to start the carnival.
“Apple cider, $1!” a vendor called out, pushing a cart down the sidewalk, the third one she’d seen since they got there.
Jordyn shivered. She’d thought last night was cold.
Jordyn looked around. No one else seemed to be as cold as she was. Could they not see their breath like she could?
The parade finally started, lead off by a Cedarwood Police car, blue lights flashing, followed by the marching band. The fall sports teams each had their own floats—volleyball team, number one in the conference; boys soccer team, guaranteed to go to state playoffs; tennis, cross country, and girls’ swimming, all no-cut sports. But no one got the praise like the float harboring the football team and cheerleaders. Actually, it was a flatbed truck, decked out in orange and brown streamers.
“Oh, there’s Ty!” Zara said happily, waving at her son who stood wedged between Davis and another guy. Jordyn chuckled, watching her mother bounce happily up and down, waving at her son. The homecoming parade for Reed High was usually right after school, not nearly this serious, and their parents didn’t come. It wasn’t a big deal for them to. But here, watching her parents wave so proudly, Ty may as well have been flashing a Super Bowl ring.
After the football float, came the convertibles holding the homecoming court. The first car, Natalie and Cole, both smiling and waving. Jordyn felt all dizzy and elated when Cole looked her way, smiling and winking.
She couldn’t wait for tonight.
Once the parade was over, Alice, Erin, and Bethany found her, then telling her parents she was heading to the high school for carnival, she separated from them, hopping into Alice’s Focus with the rest of the girls.
“How long are we planning to stay at the carnival, exactly?” Jordyn shivered from the backseat beside Erin.
“It ends at 3:00,” Alice said. “They’ve got to clean up and get the field ready for the game.”
“Why?” Erin asked. “You sound anxious, Jor.”
“She’s just in a hurry to get to that dance so her man can be crowned king,” Bethany teased.
“Jordyn’s most excited about getting Cole out of that gymnasium after the dance,” Alice said.
Jordyn chuckled. “While all that’s true, mostly, I just want warmth.”
“Cole’ll warm you up later,” Erin said.
Jordyn rolled her eyes, but she laughed anyway. Right now the only thing San Diego had on Cedarwood was about 30 degrees.
At halftime, it had started drizzling, and the Cougars were beating the Titans by two touchdowns, ten yards away from the third. Jordyn, Alice, Erin, and Bethany, were bundled together under a big Steelers blanket—courtesy of Alice—and each had their own mugs of hot chocolate, but it wasn’t warding off the cold for Jordyn. Not even with Cole’s jacket. Although, as he threw pass after pass, eliciting cheers from the Cougars fans around her, she felt amazing having it on.
If only her California friends could see her now; wearing the quarterback’s letterman jacket, bundled up in the freezing cold and drizzling rain, drinking hot chocolate on homecoming. She was even going to the dance with a potential homecoming king. Really, how much more 80’s-teen-movie cheesy could she be?
“I bet Ashley’s cold,” Alice snickered, nudging Jordyn’s shoulder. Jordyn glanced down to the track at the cheerleaders. Unlike the rest of the team, who’d all worn their windbreakers and matching wind pants, Ashley wore her skimpy little cheerleading uniform, pasty legs, arms and belly exposed to the cold. Jordyn could practically see icicles growing all over her.
“I think Ashley’s an idiot,” Jordyn said.
Erin looked over. “Hey. That’s not nice. A slut’s gotta do what a slut’s gotta do.”
“I have a kerosene heater,” Bethany volunteered, shivering from the end of their row. “I could have brought it.”
Jordyn laughed. She couldn’t imagine how silly the four of them would have looked. Although at this point, feeling icicles growing on her own nose, she couldn’t say she would have cared.
Her father was right. Jordyn was not going to make it through the winter here in Pennsylvania. The fall was already giving her hypothermia. And between the wind, rain, and her California blood, Jordyn was certain she’d have a cold by tomorrow.
But tonight, she was having a blast.
Every pass, every touchdown closer to victory brought the crowd to their feet more and more until finally, the clock ran out, and the Timberwood Titans had been defeated.
“That’s right, baby!” an overly excited fan shouted. “This is our house!”
Jordyn and the girls laughed.
“This place is crazy,” Alice said. “Let’s get out of here and go get ready for the dance.”
“Hell, yeah,” Erin said. “Let’s go.”
An hour later, Jordyn was standing walking down the stairs, ready to face her parents for the pre-dance lecture she was certain she would get. And as expected, both her parents were waiting for her when she got there, and before her two-inch stilettos touched the bottom step, a flash practically blinded her.
Jordyn sighed and groaned. “Mom.”
Zara lowered the camera, giving her daughter the most innocent look of confusion. “What, Jordyn?”
“It’s just a dance,” Jordyn said. “Not prom. You don’t need to take a hundred pictures.”
Zara lifted the camera. “Smile.”
“Jordyn, smile, right now. Humor me, please.” So she did. With her hand on the banister, Jordyn primped her leg, and smiled.
“That’s great,” Zara said. “Oh, you look gorgeous. Your hair! I love it, hon!”
Jordyn reached up and cautiously touched her up-do she’d worked really hard on, but managed to leave looking simple, yet, elegant. Just a mess of curls piled high on top of her head, held up with at least a half a bottle of berry-scented hairspray.
“Jack, isn’t she beautiful?” Zara cooed, still smiling at her daughter.
Jack smiled, hugging her. “Yes, she is. You look very pretty, baby girl.” Then his face hardened. “Where’s the boy?”
Jordyn laughed. She couldn’t help it. Up until now, Cole had been Cole to her father. She guessed homecoming was Jack’s turning point. She glanced around the living room. At least he didn’t have his gun out.
Jordyn pulled her phone out of her pink clutch. “It’s 9:05. He should be here pretty soon.”
“What time is he bringing you home?” Zara asked. Jordyn knew that wasn’t an open question. The only acceptable answers were some time before twelve.
“He’s not,” Jordyn said, a little uncomfortable with how comfortable she was getting with lying about what she and Cole were doing. Because she hated lying, but she had no choice right now. “I’m leaving the dance with Alice and the girls and we’re sleeping at her house.”
“OK, does she have a curfew?”
“We’ll be in the house by 12:30,” Jordyn tried, which wasn’t a lie. She and Cole should have been at the cabin around that time. “The dance doesn’t end until 12:00, and they don’t do the crowning until 11:45. We can’t leave before that.”
The doorbell rang.
“I got it,” Jack said. Jordyn was going to protest, but her dad was already at the door. “Cole. Come on in.”
Jordyn smiled when Cole walked in, his hands in the pockets of his tux. Jordyn fell into a crush all over again. Cole looked great in a football uniform. Great in jeans and a nice-fitting t-shirt, but this? This was just more than her sixteen-year-old heart could bear.
“Hey, Mr. Hamilton,” Cole said, shaking Jack’s hand. “Mrs. Hamilton.” But when he looked at Jordyn he only smiled, started a flutter and weightlessness in her belly.
Yes. Cole Anderson was giving her butterflies. She would admit it.
“You look gorgeous,” he said with a smile, walking over to her.
“Stand by the banister, you two,” Zara said. “I need a picture.”
After not one, but five more pictures, Jordyn and Cole finally escaped the living room and made it onto the front porch.
“Sorry,” she chuckled, taking his hand and letting him lead her across the yard to the car.
“About what?” Cole asked. “Your parents are great. Your dad looked at me like he knew what we were planning tonight, though,” he added with a little chuckle.
Jordyn shook her head. “No. If he knew, he wouldn’t have done a lot of looking. Just be glad he kept his gun hidden.”
Cole laughed, pulling the passenger door open for Jordyn. “Why?”
Jordyn smiled. “Guess he just wants to scare you.” Then she shut the door.
The dance started at nine, so when Jordyn and Cole got there, the music was already blasting, and their classmates had come out of their shoes and were dancing.
The gym had been decorated in school colors—of course—and a banner over the stage emblazoned with “Cedarwood High School Homecoming 2012.” Off to the side was a long table with refreshments and punch.
Immediately Jordyn and Cole made their way to Ty, Jenner, Davis, Meredith, Lydia, and Natalie.
“Jordyn!” Natalie squealed, hugging her as she approached. “You look amazing, babe!”
Ty raised his eyebrows, giving his sister a one over. He took a sip of his punch, then he cleared his throat loudly. “That’s a might low neckline, isn’t it?”
Jordyn scoffed. “I’ve worn less clothes dancing. Besides. Dad didn’t say a word.”
“Ty, she’s gorgeous,” Natalie said. “Leave your sister alone.”
“Can I trade you for Ty?” Jordyn asked, eliciting a laugh from the rest of them. She looked around at the girls, admiring their dresses. Meredith wore a royal-blue skin tight, dress, falling mid-thigh and pleated at the bust, her red hair falling in long, loose curls, while Lydia looked like she was right out of a fairytale. Her dress was white and silver, with spaghetti straps, and tulle overlay with a handkerchief hem, the longest part at her ankles, the shortest at her knees.
Then there was Natalie. Natalie’s dress was black and simple. No fancy designs, no rhinestones, nothing, but she still managed to look unbelievable. The dress was halter-top and backless, and she walked in her 4-inch stilettos like it was nothing, without a stumble.
Now Jordyn searched for Alice, but with the crowd piled so tightly in the gym, she couldn’t see far in front of her.
Cole took a long swig of punch then turned to Jordyn, hand outstretched and all. “Come on. Let’s dance.”
So they did. All night.
Jordyn was having so much fun with Cole and her friends, time had become irrelevant, and before she knew it, the music had stopped, and Principal Dickens was walking up on the stage. He grabbed the microphone and looked out of the student body. “Can I have your attention, everyone? It’s been a fun night, and it’s been an awesome win for the Cougars!” The crowd cheered.
“They’re about to announce the King and Queen,” Natalie whispered over the principal giving his congratulatory speech. “We have to go up front. Ty, you and Jordyn, too.”
Jordyn grabbed Cole’s hand and the nominees and their dates all congregated around the stage.
“Now,” Dickens finally said. “Time to announce our homecoming king and queen.”
The whole place was quiet as Dickens went over the nominees, and finally, opened an envelope holding the winners.
“Your homecoming queen is….Natalie Bishop!”
The crowded hooped and hollered and Jordyn pulled her friend into an excited hug. Natalie just smiled, taking Ty’s hand and leading him onto the stage. A small tiara was placed on Natalie’s head, and roses in her arms.
“Wait right here, you two,” Dickens told them. “It’s time for the homecoming king. Everyone ready?”
Jordyn squeezed Cole’s hand.
Was she really this nervous over some silly homecoming title?
Looking around at the anxious looks on her classmates faces, at Cole, who’s hand she was gripping tighter and tighter, Jordyn realized she was.
“And your homecoming king, is Cole Anderson!”