Chapter 3: (v.3) Part I, Chapter 3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 107

Chapter 3

  The end of the school year was coming up soon, prom night, graduation for Benton.  Mercy knew that Benton was going off to college in the fall and she couldn't imagine not being able to see him every day.  Mercy wanted to go to the prom this year and thought she could talk her Momma into letting her go.  She still wasn't allowed to date but mothers knew prom night is special and she wouldn’t want her to miss prom.  Okay, she decided that she was going to “bite the bullet” as they say and ask Benton to the prom.  She decided to wait until Friday after school.  That way, the other girls at school could not make fun of her if they overheard her ask Benton.  If he said “No” and the girls at school laughed at her, she would be so embarrassed.

  It's finally Friday!  She couldn't keep her mind on anything at school and she felt like everyone knew what she was about to do.  In her mind, everyone was talking about her and how strange she was acting today.  In class, she was called on by a teacher who saw her staring out the window daydreaming. She thought about what she was going to do this afternoon and she was so nervous.  She started questioning her decision to ask Benton to the prom.  She was so afraid that he would just dismiss her completely, breaking her heart.  Finally, by the end of the school day, she decided she would go through with her plans.  She knew if she didn't ask Benton today, she would never get another chance and her love would be lost.

She would go to the old church and wait for Benton to walk down the street to his car.  First, she had to go home and see if she couldn't make herself look prettier.  When she got home, he put her favorite sundress on, a little mascara that belonged to her sister and her sandals.  She tied her long hair up with a ribbon.  She was so glad that her mother wasn't home, she would ask her all kinds of questions and then she would make her stay home. She left her mother a note that she would be at the library. She got ready fast and left for the church.

  She walked fast on the other side of the street, hoping that Travis wouldn't see her.  She didn't think that he did.  When she got to the church, she went in the side door that was always open and ran up to the bell tower to watch for Benton through the large crack.  She waited and watched, he should be coming down the street in about fifteen minutes.  She was sweating from running up here and her heart was pounding, and she was breathing hard.  She tried to calm herself down and tried to make herself breath more slowly.  After only ten minutes, she saw him walking down the street towards his car.  She thought, “It's now or never.”

  Mercy ran down the steps of the bell tower, she felt like her heart was pounding out of her chest.  When she got to the bottom, she was out of breath.  She stopped after the bottom step and took a couple of deep breaths to try to steady herself.  She stepped out onto the sidewalk on the side of the church.  She walked around the church like she was just out for an evening stroll.  He was walking towards her.  When he got within a few feet of her, she could see his puzzled expression.  She stopped in front of him.  At first, she couldn't make her mouth move, her tongue was so dry and then, she squeaked out, “Hi Benton.”

 She felt stupid, but then he came closer and said, “Hi Mercy.”  She wondered how he knew her name but didn't ask.  She said, “Nice day out today, isn't it?”  Boy, how lame can you get!  He said, “Yes, it is.” and started to walk past her to his car.  The tiny voice in her head screamed, “Ask Him!”  She looked Benton in the eyes and said, “There's something I'd like to ask you.”  He replied, “Sure, what is it?”  Her mouth was so dry and so at first, she only got a squeak.  Benton looked at her funny and she tried again, “I'd like to know if you'd like to go to the prom with me?”  Waiting with what seemed like an eternity and holding her breath, he said, “Sure, why not?”  She seemed to melt.  She felt so good inside, like cotton candy and chocolate cookies.  He said, “I've seen you around school, I don't know why we've never talked.” Mercy knew why, because she was two years younger than him, and because she wasn't accepted into the circle of the “popular girls”.  He said, “Where do you live so I can pick you up?”  Mercy knew that her mother would insist that he pick her up at the front door and she really didn't want him coming to her house because of its worn-down condition.  Also, because her mother would give him the third degree, and possibly mention that this is Mercy’s first date, embarrassing her.  She told him where her house was, and he said, “I'll pick you up around 7:00”.  The prom starts at 9:00 and he said they were going to meet two other couples at a fancy restaurant called La Petite, before the prom.  She said, “That sounds great, I'll see you around 7:00 next Friday”.  He started walking to his car, looked back at her, and said, “Can I give you a ride home?”  She would love nothing more, but she knew that she better not let her mother see her being dropped off in a car by a boy or her mother would switch her legs, and surely would not let her attend prom.  She said, “No, that's okay, I have a couple of errands to do.”  He replied, “Okay, I'll see ya later.”  She walked up the street with purpose like she had so much to do and so many places to go.  She was so excited inside, she was about to burst!  “Could this really be true?”  “OMG!” She didn't even think about what she would wear to the prom.  She didn't have a prom dress and her sisters didn't have anything nearly nice enough or small enough for her to borrow.  How she wished she could have a new dress.  She would talk to her mother about it when she got home.

  When Mercy arrived home, her mother was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and smoking cigarettes.  Everyone in her house smoked except her and her older sister.  I guess it was just the cool thing to do at the time. Her mother asked her why she was so late getting home from the library.She said she had a lot of studying to do.  She hated lying to her mother, but she just didn't see any other way.  Anyway, she sat down and looked at her mother.  The way that Mercy's eyes shined, her mother could tell that she was excited about something.  Mercy said, “Guess what? A boy named Benton asked me to the prom today!”  Mercy said that Benton ask her because if her mother knew that mercy had ask him, it wouldn't be proper in her mother's eyes.  Her mother was raised very strict and being “proper” was very important to her.  Her mother asked, “What kind of a boy is he, do I know him?”  Mercy told her that he came from one of the rich families in Clifton, he was very nice and a good student.  Mercy told her all the things that she thought her mother wanted to hear.  Her mother seemed to like the idea that Benton came from a good family.  Her mother said, “Okay, you can go to the prom because that's something special in high school and you make good grades, but, I want you to be home by midnight and I want to meet this boy before he takes you out.”  Mercy was thrilled that her mother was going to let her go.  Mercy's mother said, “Believe it or not, I was young once to and remember how important prom is to a girl.”  Timidly, Mercy asked, “Mom, I know we don't have a lot of money, but is there any way I could get a new dress?  Her mother replied, “Probably not, but I'll see what I can do about getting you something proper to wear.”  Mercy didn't need an expensive dress, but she didn't want to embarrass Benton in front of his friends by what she was wearing either.  Mercy didn't know much about today's fashion, but she sure didn't want to look like what Benton's mother described as “poor white trash” either.

  Mercy knew her best friend, Madison wasn’t home tonight, and she couldn’t wait for school tomorrow to tell her about her date. She probably wouldn't believe her.  Mercy wondered if Benton would tell any of his popular friends at school who he was going to the prom with or what he would say if one of the more popular girls ask him to go with her.  Would he say he was going with her?  She didn't know, but she guessed it would be all over school if he did.  That would give the girls at school a lot to talk about.

  On Monday morning, Mercy walked down the halls of the high school with her head held high.  She felt important now that she was going to the prom with Benton.  She had heard through the grape vine that the more popular girls had ask Benton to the prom, but he told them that he was going with someone else.  He didn't tell them he was going with her.  Was he embarrassed by her?”  She didn't want to think about all that.  She just wanted to be happy that he was going with her. 

  Mercy met her best friend, Madison, for lunch.  Madison has been her closest friend for the last three years.  They did everything together.  Mercy told Madison that she was going to the prom with Benton.  At first Madison didn't believe her.  When Madison finally realized that Mercy was serious, she was very happy for her, if not a little jealous.  No one had asked Madison to the prom yet, and she didn't think it was going to happen.  Oh well, Madison was used to being shunned by the popular people at school, so this was nothing new to her.

  Only four more days until prom!  Mercy still didn't have a clue as to what she was going to wear.  Madison said she would check in her closet to see if she had anything appropriate that would fit her friend, but she never did check.  Madison couldn’t believe that someone as popular as Benton had asked Mercy to the prom.  She didn't know how she pulled that one off, she never did say.

  After school, Mercy walked in the back door and said, “Hello”, to her mother.  Mercy hadn't mentioned again what she was going to wear to the prom.  She didn't want her mother to feel bad because she worked so hard just to keep food on the table for all of them. She didn't want her mother to change her mind about letting her go.

  Mercy went up the steps to her bedroom that she shared with her three other sisters.  There were three bedrooms in this house, one for her parents, one for her brothers and one for her and her sisters.  Mercy slept on a twin-size roll-a-way bed in the corner.  On her bed, she found a big, white box with a beautiful pink bow on it.  She didn't know what it was, but when she got closer, she saw her name written on it!  She very carefully took the bow off the box as not to destroy it.  She gently took the lid off. Whatever was in the box, was covered by clean, white, tissue paper.  On the top of the paper was a little card in a white envelope.  She opened the card and it read, “For my sweet girl Mercy, Love, Momma”.  She laid the box on the bed and gently peeled back the tissue.  She couldn't believe it!  There was the most beautiful, pale pink dress she had ever seen!  It was sleeveless and had about two-inch straps, it was a little low cut, which surprised her.  She gently took the dress out of the box and when she did, she found another smaller wrapped package in the bottom.  She opened the small package and it was a pair of pretty, pink sandals to match the dress.  She hurriedly put the dress and sandals on. They were a perfect fit.  She felt like a princess.  She twirled around the room, watching herself in the dresser mirror.  She imagined herself dancing with Benton.  After a few minutes of admiring herself in the dress, she took it off and hung it in the closet. She couldn't believe what a lucky girl she was.

  She had to go downstairs and thank her Momma!  She hurried downstairs where her Momma was in the kitchen.  She ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug and said, “Thank you Momma for the dress.  It's the most beautiful dress I've ever seen in my whole life, I love it!”  Mercy asked, “How were you able to afford such a beautiful dress for me?”  Her mother replied, “Don't worry about it, it's okay.”  Her mother said she was so glad that she liked it and wanted her to try in on again so that she could see that it fit her well.

While Mercy was upstairs, trying the dress on again, her mother reflected on the last few nights of staying up until two and three in the morning, sewing on that dress until her fingers were sore.  She purchased the dress from the Goodwill store.  She washed, ironed and starched it and then she went over the entire dress fixing tiny rips, replacing some of the sequins and bringing the dress back to its former brilliance.  She then purchased the inexpensive sandals so that Mercy would have something new.  Mercy would never have to know where it came from and she wouldn't tell her because she didn't want Mercy to feel “second best” on her big night.

  When Mercy came down the steps with her new dress on, her mother just stared at her.  She looked like an angel, the vision of loveliness.  Her mother always was partial to Mercy and now she thinks she is the most beautiful young girl she has ever seen.  She told Mercy how beautiful she was and to go and hang up her dress so that it didn't get soiled before the prom. 

  One of Mercy's sisters was going to cosmetology college and she said that she would fix Mercy's hair for her on her special night.  She would corral Mercy's long, black locks into a beautiful up-sweep with a few tendrils hanging down. Her other sister would help her do her nails. 

  Mercy couldn't wait to call Madison and tell her about her new dress.  That evening, before bed, she finally got a chance to call her best friend.  She told Madison all about her new dress and what a special night the prom was going to be.  She did confess that she was very nervous about going out to dinner with Benton and his friends.  She didn't know what to talk to them about or if they would even talk to her.

Submitted: July 07, 2018

© Copyright 2021 jctolliver. All rights reserved.


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