Monday, October 8, 2012
Monday started off horribly. It was rainy again and Jordyn overslept about 15 minutes. In her haste to get ready and not make herself late, she’d accidentally closed her 400-degree hair straightener on her index finger. As luck would have it, Zara had been walking by her bedroom when it happened and heard Jordyn’s declaration of “shit!” sounding loudly.
She’d been grounded for the rest of the week for using a swear word in the house—yeah, her mother did have those rules—but she’d fortunately made it to school on time, sliding into her desk, her unfinished hair in a messy bun, her finger bandaged and still hurting, at the last second before the bell.
Ashley didn’t stare at her today, thank goodness. Instead, her attention, like everyone else’s was focused solely on Mrs. Roland as she announced homecoming.
“Alright, class,” she said excitedly, clapping her hands as she leaned against the desk, facing her homeroom. “It’s finally that time of year again. Homecoming. So, as usual, seniors are nominating their candidates for king and queen and the ballets will be out Wednesday for everyone to cast their votes.”
Homecoming here was a big deal, Jordyn knew. A town that worshipped football like this one did, it had to have homecoming. This year, they were playing the Timberwood Titans, and if they beat them, it would be a homecoming to remember.
At lunch, Jordyn sat with Alice and the girls since Cole had stayed after in his last class to talk to a teacher. There, they told her all about Cedarwood’s homecoming.
“OK, so first there’s a pep rally,” Erin explained. “Then the homecoming parade, followed by the game, then the dance.”
“So you guys are going to the dance?” Jordyn asked, taking a bite of her orange slice.
“Absolutely,” Bethany said. “That’s the best part.”
Jordyn nodded. Homecoming rituals weren’t foreign to Jordyn. They had the pep rally, the parade and all back in Moon Bay Beach. They had a dance, too. But no one ever went to the dance. Everyone had a party to go to after that.
“You have to go, Jordyn,” Alice said. “Cole will more than likely win homecoming king—”
“If your brother doesn’t,” Erin pointed out.
“Yeah,” Alice said. “If Ty doesn’t. And if he does, he’ll pick his queen.”
“And the queen will pick her king,” Bethany said. “It’s tradition.”
“Cole will obviously pick you,” Alice continued. “So, you need to be there for him.”
Jordyn nodded absently. She had no real desire to go to homecoming, but she knew the girls were right. If Cole won homecoming king, she needed to be there for him. And who knew? Maybe it would be fun.
Jordyn glanced up as Blake plopped down at the table with them next to Alice, taking a fry off her plate. “What’s up?”
“Nothing,” Alice said, smiling at Blake. “Just talking about homecoming and stuff.”
“Trying to make sure she goes,” said Erin, pointing to Jordyn.
“I told you, I’m going,” Jordyn said. But she was more focused on Alice and Blake, and how Alice giggled every time Blake bumped her arm playfully.
This flirting had to stop. Those two had to get together.
“So, Blake,” Jordyn said. “Any ideas who you’re taking to homecoming?”
“There’s this one girl I’ve been kind of thinking about,” Blake said, his tone oozing with cockiness. “Don’t know if she’d be interested in going with me, though.”
“I think you should ask her,” Erin said, winking at Jordyn.
“Yeah,” Bethany piped in, also catching on. “I mean, you never know until you ask. Right, Alice?”
Alice grunted her response, resting her elbow on the table and placing her chin in her hand.
“I have this unhealthy fear of rejection,” Blake sighed dramatically, sitting back against his chair, his arms folded over his chest. “Can’t handle it. I like to wait and let the ladies come to me.”
“Hope they don’t get bored in that long line you got knocking at your door,” Bethany said flatly.
“I’m well worth the wait, Beth,” Blake said, nodding.
Jordyn looked over, at Alice. She hadn’t said a word. Instead, she sat there, zipping and unzipping her light jacket, her eyes never once meeting theirs.
“So, you’d say yes if she asked you, then?” Jordyn asked.
“Sure. But I don’t think she’s gonna ask me. She’s too busy playing with her jacket.”
Jordyn beamed, watching Alice blush as she slowly looked up at Blake.
“Wow,” said Alice. “What a coincidence.”
Bethany sighed dramatically. “This has got to stop! Alice! Will you please go to homecoming with Blake?”
Alice smirked and shrugged. “Well, I mean, if it means that much to you.” She picked up her juice and took a sip. “Who am I to argue?”
Blake smiled. “You’re so nice, Alice.” He stood up. “I’ll see you three ladies later. My homecoming date, I’ll call you tonight.”
“What, no gym class?” Jordyn asked Blake as he turned to leave.
Blake placed his hand on his stomach and frowned. “Nah. Not today.”
“How are you even passing?” Bethany asked him. “Isn’t the only requirement to get an A in gym to actually show up?”
“Got a note,” Blake said with a wink. “Told Coach I was pregnant. He told me to take it easy. See you guys.”
With that he was gone, and all eyes were on Alice, now.
“I don’t like it when people stare at me, you know,” she said.
“Well, well, well,” Erin said. “You’d think she’d be floating right now. She’s liked Blake forever.”
“I haven’t liked him that long,” Alice muttered. Then slowly, a smile spread across her face. “That is pretty cool, though, huh? I have a date for homecoming!”
Jordyn nodded, ecstatic for her friend. “Yes. That is really cool, Alice.”
Just then, she felt a pair of hands drop onto her shoulder, followed by lips on her cheek.
Jordyn smiled as Cole sat next to her. “Hey, baby.”
“Hi,” she said back.
“Sorry,” he told her. “I got held up talking to Mr. Toms.”
“It’s OK,” Jordyn said. “We were just talking about homecoming.”
Cole nodded. “That’s cool. I gotta find a date.”
Jordyn scoffed and laughed, playfully punching him in the arm. “You’re an ass.”
Cole put his hand on his chest, feigning hurt. “Well, I was thinking about asking you. But maybe now I’ve changed my mind.”
“Jordyn’s a good choice, Cole,” Alice said. “She’s a great dancer.”
“Yeah, you’ll see her tonight at the Harvest Festival,” Erin added, winking.
Jordyn groaned. “Please. Don’t remind me.”
“What’s up with the Harvest Festival?” Cole asked.
“Wait,” Alice said. “Jordyn didn’t tell you? Jordyn, why didn’t you tell him?”
“I do have a tiny bit of self-respect left,” Jordyn said flatly. “I’d like to keep it.”
“It’s not that bad,” Erin said.
“What are you all talking about?” asked Cole.
“We’re dancing at the Harvest Festival tonight,” Jordyn admitted. She hadn’t wanted him to know. She was embarrassed enough as it was. Especially after she’d seen the costume Miss Maggie had given them to wear.
“Who, your dance school?”
Jordyn nodded glumly.
“Jordyn, I’ve never seen you dance before,” Cole said. “What time does it start?”
“6:00,” Erin volunteered.
“Well, I’ll be there,” Cole said, grinning at Jordyn. “And I can’t wait to see you.”
Jordyn just sighed. “Mm, great.”
The sky above Cedarwood was a milky white as Jordyn stood with the rest of the Cedarwood Dance School advanced class on a blocked-off Main Street. It was still cold, and thank God it had stopped raining, but Jordyn still felt ridiculous in her black tights and orange sequined top.
“Hey, I think you look cute,” Cole told her, slipping up next to her with a hot dog and a hot chocolate.
Jordyn responded with a death stare in his direction, but she couldn’t hold it for long, not with that goofy smile he gave her as he took a bite of his hot dog.
“Ha. Ha,” Jordyn said. “By the way, you have a little mustard. Right there.” She reached over and poked his lip.
“Thanks, babe!” he said enthusiastically. “So. What song are you guys dancing to.”
“A bunch,” Jordyn mumbled.
Cole laughed. “It’s just one night, you know. And isn’t dancing like, your thing? You couldn’t possibly look worse than Ashley Moore.”
“I already look bad enough. I’m not even dancing yet.”
Erin walked over, in the same black tights and sparkly top, popping on gum. “Hi! Ready for the big show!”
She said ‘big show’ overly enthusiastically.
Jordyn was somewhat ready. As in, she knew every dance, every move, and was confident with what was expected of her. What she wasn’t ready for was looking like a complete loser in front of half the town.
“Ladies!” called Maggie as she walked over. “Ladies, come on! Let’s get ready. We go on in five.”
Jordyn spotted Ashley sucking in a few breaths. “I’m so nervous,” she said to Shari and Leah, who rapidly nodded their heads.
Jordyn rolled her eyes and looked up at Cole. “I gotta go.”
“It’s a dance competition, Jor. Not your execution.”
Erin laughed, grabbing her friend’s arm. “You’ll love her, Cole. Trust me. Come on, Jordyn.”
They made their way to the rest of the girls. They were dancing in front of the Creamery and they already had a crowd circling.
In the crowd, she spotted her parents, Ty, Logan and Natalie. Cole had wandered over and was standing next to Ty. Zara was smiling from next to Jack, and Jordyn wondered how disappointed she would be. She’d made Jordyn go over her choreography with her this week, and hadn’t been so happy about it.
Miss Maggie walked over, ushering them into their places, grabbed the microphone and cheerfully introduced the 2012-2013 advanced dance class. She went over the itinerary. Their first number was a ‘jazz’ piece to a Rihanna song, then they were ending the show with This Is Halloween. Yes, the theme song to the old Tim Burton movie with the skeleton. Miss Maggie had deemed that one ‘contemporary.’ In it, they would be dancing like zombies, and Jordyn thought it was kind of a cool dance. Eight-year-olds with Miss Victoria could do more advanced choreography than that, but Jordyn’s new classmates and declared it as the “toughest one Miss Maggie ever taught.” It took three weeks for the rest of them to learn, and halfway through, Jordyn had an impressive turn combo, ten a la seconds and pirouettes.
She wasn’t complaining about that, of course. At least she was somewhat on her level. But the outfits? Yeah, they were lame.
“Alright, here we go!” Miss Maggie said into the microphone. Then she walked over to the sound control, and started their music.
Please don’t stop the music!
And all Jordyn could think as she was one of the only ones on beat was kill me now.
After they finished, they received a wild round of applause from the huge audience they’d attracted, but Jordyn was so happy it was over.
She’d ditched the outfit in a nearby bathroom, then for the rest of the night, she, Cole, Ty and Natalie enjoyed walking around the Harvest Festival, playing different little games, snacking on sample goat’s milk fudge. Jordyn couldn’t believe how much fun this silly little community party was, but it was.
She almost regretted leaving.
With a 10:00 curfew, Jordyn didn’t have a lot of time to spend with Cole once they’d left the Harvest Festival. Ty and Natalie left on their own to head back to Natalie’s house, and Jordyn and Cole drove up to Lookout Point.
They’d decided that their first time together would be perfect, and when Jordyn was ready. But tonight, they were having fun doing everything else. They were both OK holding off, and just being with him was good enough for her, especially when they only had fifteen minutes until she had to be home.
“Those black tights of yours were such a turn-on, you know,” he teased her as he reached behind her and unhooked her bra.
She laughed, sliding her fingers through his hair as he kissing her neck and his big hands found her bare breasts. “Yeah, right.” She sighed, loving the feel of his now familiar touch on her, and his breath on her neck. “Cole.”
He looked up and smiled. “Jordyn.”
She grinned, then bit her bottom lip. “Cole, I want to go further.”
“Right now? We have like fifteen minutes, babe.”
She laughed. “No, not now. Homecoming.”
She’d thought about it for a couple of days. She’d known it would really be perfect. And she wanted him to know she was ready.
“Are you sure, baby?” he asked. “I mean, I’ll wait as long as you want me, too.”
“Do you not want to?” she asked. She didn’t mean to sound to desperate, because she wasn’t, she just wasn’t so sure she knew how to handle this.
“Yes, I really want to,” he assured her. “I just want you to call all the shots, OK? I want to make 100% you’re ready.”
He laced his fingers with hers, and she looked down at their hands. “I’m ready, Cole. I want to, and I’m ready.”
He smiled, nodded, and leaned in to kiss her lips. And just like that, Jordyn had her perfect night planned.
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