"What's wrong Ellie?" Avery asked concerned, rooted in her spot, afraid she might startle Ellie again.
"Nothing," Ellie replied quickly, "it's just that..." There was no point in hiding anything from Avery, especially when everything was so easily readable in Ellie's face.
"What?" Avery snapped, losing her temper and crossing her arms on her chest, eying her with amusement. "Come on Ellie, you can tell me anything!"
Avery had a great way of portraying mood swings; it was like switching into two different states of mind: one mildly happy and the other one a whirlwind of rage. Ellie sighed, "I was thinking about the prom..."
"What about it?" Avery's voice was terse. "We're still going together, aren't we?"
Ellie's breath was caught in her throat. She had known Avery since High School, at first, Ellie was very sensible, quiet, and shy, until Avery pried her shell open. She met a world of enjoyment and fun when around Avery and she loved her...maybe too much at that time. Loved her enough to let Avery convinced her that maybe she wasn't like the rest of the girls... that she wanted something different in life. Ellie accepted and welcomed that difference and after their senior year homecoming ball, they started dating. The rumour slipped and spread like fire in a cornfield, by the end of the week the entire school was commenting about it. Ellie had tried to keep a cool and confident attitude by ignoring their remarks about them, but inside her, she was burning with shame, anger, and frustration. She looked up to Avery during that period; she was smirking and sneering as always. Fortunately everything settled down and the school moved on to devour the next rumour.
Avery always had faith that Ellie would remain by her side regardless of what everyone was commenting about their relationship, but somehow she didn't feel so bold about that assumption now. Ellie was confused after their first kiss, but slowly she had evolved into a great girlfriend. Avery wished she could keep things that way but she could see Ellie was about to snap.
"I don't know..." Ellie said softly. She heard Avery snort in disbelief, to which she rapidly added, "I mean to say that I still want to go... but..."
"Not with me?" Avery finished her sentence in the abrupt manner characteristic to her. Ellie wished she hadn't spoken those words but she felt that she, herself, could have spoken them with no more truth than Avery.
"Avery, please understand," Ellie pleaded, "tomorrow night is the most important night in a girl's dream and I want it to be perfect."
"Perfect, meaning having a bloke standing next to you, I suppose?"
"Sort of. It isn't as bad as you think...going out with a guy. At least it would be..." Ellie's voice trailed away.
"Normal?" For some reason Avery had gotten really good at deciphering and reading Ellie's mind. "Goodness Ellie, why do you do this now? After you convinced me to go to prom, I even bought a dress!"
Ellie gazed at Avery's furious eyes and diverted her own eyes; it pained her to see Avery, or anyone, angry at her. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry," Avery said, "I thought we were a strong couple, oh how wrong was I." She shook her head and stared blankly overhead.
"Please Avery; I still want you to go. We can have fun; I have someone that could be your perfect date. Our relationship will remain strong even after this."
"I will get sick if I see you with anyone else but myself."
The passion in Avery's voice made the hair in Ellie's arm stand. "This is hard for me..." she gulped; the back of her throat was throbbing painfully.
"It is for me too. I thought you were over with what people were and are saying about us! I thought you loved me enough to shun out those hideous remarks and insults, and carry on with life."
"I do love you!" Tears were forming behind Ellie's eyes.
"You can't love me," Avery started stepping away from her, "if you can't love yourself...how can you ever love me? If you cannot accept who you are, how can you ever wish to accept or even love anyone else?"
Ellie was speechless. The truth was painful.
"Have fun tomorrow night," Avery turned on her heels and stalked away without looking back at Ellie.