Reads: 14

Even though Christopher and I were prohibited from attending Prom, we were still allowed to attend the walk-in. The walk-in is when people gather outside the cafeteria to watch the students walk into prom. There’s a teacher who announces them and the school even pays for a professional photographer. It’s such a huge deal that the whole town goes, even the couples without kids because they literally have nothing better to do. Some of the staff help in moving two sets of bleachers from the soccer field, and when those fill up, people bring their own chairs, or sit on the ground. The strongest of people stand. The whole concept is completely insane, but for one night, everyone is shown love. At around 6 p.m. the first few couples started coming in and the crowd roared. After a while, I sort of stopped paying attention and received the biggest shock of my life. “…and Lyn Griffin!” I looked straight up, completely missing the first name called, and it was really her, in a baby blue, long, flowy dress and she was walking in with Cody! He was in a grey suit and turquoise tie. “I thought she rejected him,” I thought. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Lyn was stunning. Her hair was in gorgeous spiral curls and she was wearing make up for the first time. They posed for the photographer and then Lyn spotted me. She shot me a devious grin and then pulled Cody down to her, making out with him in front of everybody. The crowd went from cheering to ‘oohing.’ My mouth dropped wide open and so did Cody’s after she pulled away. She had a real smile on her face now and Cody chased after her as she disappeared inside. “Did you just see that?” I asked Christopher. He nodded nonchalantly. “We need to get in there!” I texted Taylor and asked if she could sneak us in. It took her a little while to respond but she agreed and we set up a plan, but Christopher opposed. “I’m already in enough trouble with the school.” He said. “Don’t be such a baby!” I yelled as we snuck around to the front door of the school. I waited anxiously for Taylor, bouncing up and down, ignoring Christopher as he rambled on about how jealous I am of his sister. Taylor rushed to the door and I cringed, expecting an alarm to go off, but the door opened with ease; it was unlocked. “What took you so long?” I asked. “I had to watch for Mr. Henry.” Oh right, I forgot he practically lives here. Christopher tried calling after me and gripped my arm but I broke free, and he chased me as I darted down the hallway. I barged through the velvet curtain covering the doors to the hallway. Everybody was too busy jamming to the music to notice me, despite the fact that I was in spandex, a cami, and a silk robe with fuzzy slippers on my feet.  I looked around the party and it didn’t take long to spot Lyn on the dance floor. She was grinding with everybody; boys and girls; and even the students who once claimed to dislike her found themselves engaged with her presence. I dodged after her, and everybody froze as her and I had a staring contest. It was at that moment that I realized I had nothing to say. I just stood there staring at her until Mr. Henry came and dragged me away. I kept turning my head to watch her, ignoring Mr. Henry’s comments towards me, until suddenly, I couldn’t see her anymore. Mr. Henry tossed me out the front door then locked it. I rubbed my arm from where he had a tight grip on me and saw a bright red mark in the dim outside school lighting. I screamed, for no reason. I just stood there and screamed out all my frustration. “Are you okay?” A man’s voice yelled. I stopped screaming long enough to glance at who it was. He was prancing towards me looking concerned. He approached me, placing both hands on my arms. I tried, but I couldn’t resist looking into his puppy dog chocolate eyes. “William,” I whispered. “What are you doing here?” “My Aunt was back at the hospital. I was driving through this town and saw a bunch of people and got curious, but then I heard somebody screaming and I just…are you okay?” “Yeah…” I hesitated. “Sometimes I just…need to be heard.” William wrapped me into a hug and I found myself comfortably cuddling into him. Christopher came creeping around the corner. “Get the fuck off her!” Christopher pushed William causing him to release me. William’s hands went up in surrender. “Who the fuck are you?” Christopher asked facing William with a bloodshot face. “So, you must be Christopher.” William replied, completely ignoring Christopher’s question. “Don’t worry about who I am,” Christopher started. “I asked you a question.” “Oh, me? If you don’t treat this young lady right, I’ll be Mister Steal your girl.” Christopher swung his fist in the direction of William’s face. William caught his fist with the palm of his hand. Christopher’s mouth dropped open both in shock and embarrassment. William held a sarcastic smile. He went to twist Christopher’s arm but I started screaming again. They both rushed over to me but Christopher won me over this time. He gave William a dirty look and then led me away to the pathfinder. I leaned against the door and Christopher hovered over me, both hands on either side of my head. He is still mad at me. “Who the fuck was that LeighAnn?” I didn’t look at him when I answered. “William.” I whispered. “What?” “William!” I yelled in his face then buried my face in my hands. Christopher swore then moved back one of his fists. I jumped as the glass from the passenger side window shattered. “Christopher!” I screamed, my voice cracked and achy. “What?” He’s still angry. I had no words for him. I looked at his still balled up fist. It was bloody and little pieces of glass shimmered in the street light. “Your knuckles,” I started. He spoke before I could finish. “I’m fine.” He insisted. I reached out for him, begging him to let me help. He pushed me away and walked to the opposite side of his car and jumped in the driver’s seat. He cranked it up and sped off, abandoning me in the muggy parking lot. William watched the scene from the crosswalk and ran to me after Christopher was long gone. was long gone. He pulled me into a hug immediately before asking if I was okay. “I’m okay, I guess.” “He’s so mean to you.” “Glad somebody besides me sees that.” William shot a fake smile at me. “What happened to you? You disappeared.” William asked. “I promised Christopher I wouldn’t talk to you anymore.” “Why? I can be the best thing to ever happen to you.” “William-“ “What? What is it LeighAnn?” “I can’t just leave Christopher.” “Why not? You dumped John, do Chrisy boy the same way.” “I can’t, it’s not that simple. There’s a lot to the story that you don’t know.” “Then tell me.” “No.” “Please LeighAnn. What is it?” “William, I-“ “Damn it! Just tell me! Does he hit you?” I thought about the way I should answer this, then gathered some pieces and tried to sound convincing. “Yeah. Yeah he does. He smacks me when I do something he doesn’t like and when I’m sleeping if I accidently snore, It’s awful William. I can’t leave, he might hurt me or you, I’m scared.” I pointed to the mark on my arm from Mr. Henry and pretended it was from Christopher, explaining that this is what he did to me after he pulled me away. “Oh, sweetie.” He said, then kissed my forehead.

Submitted: November 03, 2020

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