Tonight was homecoming and I was stuck in a complete predicament.
I had Verity's brother next door getting ready for taking me to the dance, and my ex boyfriend sat on my bed absolutely fuming. I tried getting ready as normal, ignoring his glare or his noises of frustration that he made every now and then. I had decided to opt for a dark blue strapless dress, blue heels and to curl my hair, leaving it loose around my shoulders.
'You look really beautiful Zo,' Ben sighed. 'I just wish that I could take you, instead of that jerk.'
'He's not a jerk okay Ben? I didn't even know you were coming here until yesterday! So you can't blame him,' I dusted my cheeks with some blusher. 'You guys ready?'
Eloise emerged first from the en-suite and I gasped. The top half of her hair was pinned up in little sparkling clips, the rest straightened to perfection. She was wearing a light pink dress that stopped just above her knees, matched with pink heels. The dress was scattered with sequins at the waist that seemed to flare out in an explosion of sparkles.
'You look stunning,' I smiled. 'Ray's gonna go crazy! Are Verity and Candice ready do you know?'
'Thanks Zo, so do you! I love your dress. They're still getting ready. Ray said he was gonna ring me when him and Max were ready then they were gonna pick us up.'
'What about Will?'
'He got a limo for just him and Verity. He's really going all out on this dance!'
'Ooh, how lovely.'
'So what am I supposed to do?' Ben demanded. 'While you're at a dance with all your friends and your date.'
'You could come with us?' Eloise offered before thinking.
'Yeah could you imagine how awkward that'd be?' I scoffed. 'Sorry Ben. But you could have given me some warning that you were going to turn up.'
'I did! I rung you the night before!'
'Like that made the world of difference... Please don't start this now. The guys are gonna be here soon. But if you really wanted to, you could come with us. You could accompany Candice so she's not alone.'
'You know what? I think I will.' He stood up suddenly and I felt my heart drop. I had not been anticipating that.
'But - you don't have anything to dress into!'
'I'm sure Ray'll bring over a spare tux.' Eloise grinned happily, already bringing out her phone and dialling his number.
I just stood there, completely aghast. The night was going to be so complicated.
* * * *
Verity, looking stunning in an emerald green dress and corsage, headed off down the driveway arm in arm with Will towards a black stretch limo. I waved them goodbye, telling them I'd see them at the dance.
The guys were waiting for us, including an anxious looking Ben dressed in a smart suit with a matching tie. I honestly didn't know how tonight was going to play out. Eloise headed off in front with Ray towards the limo that was waiting for the rest of us. I tailed her, with Candice beside me and Max and Ben behind us. The walk towards the limo was gruellingly awkward, you could cut the tension with a knife.
'I'm gonna be such a third wheel,' Ben muttered.
'Technically,' Eloise chipped in. 'You'll be an eighth wheel.'
'Eloise! Ben it was your choice to come along. I'm not going to ditch Max just because you thought it'd be a good idea to show up on my doorstep. I still haven't forgotten what you did in Beverly Hills you know.'
A heavy silence fell upon us all and I bit my tongue. Way to make things worse. I felt Max shift uncomfortably beside me and Candice coughed slightly.
'You know,' I turned to her, desperate to change the topic. 'I really like your dress. Where did you get it from?'
'Um, Laura's Boutique back in Beverly Hills. I didn't know what I'd need if I was temporarily moving in with you. Thanks for the heels by the way.'
'That's fine. You were lucky to pack the dress, considering you didn't even know about Homecoming.'
The remainder of the drive mainly consisted of Candice and I catching up, muted conversations between Eloise and Ray and awkward silences between Max and Ben. I had a feeling it was just a taster of the rest of the night.