When Beth woke, she was in her bed. She vaguely remembered being woken up by her mother at about nine the previous night, with her face on the desk. She must have got into bed then, as she was fully dressed.
Beth sat up slowly, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. The clock beside her bed said it had just gone six in the morning. Beth decided to get up. She stretched and pushed the covers back.
After undressing and stumbling into the shower, Beth turned the water temperature as low as possible to try and wake herself up. It certainly did that. She fiddled with the temperature control until warm water was pouring down. She just stood there for a while, trying not to think about things.
As soon as she stepped out of the shower, the thoughts began to come crawling back. Her first thought was, of course: is Robert back yet? The figure sat on the window seat answered that question. Beth grinned.
“You’re back,” she breathed. “How did it go in Edinburgh?”
“Not as useful as we thought it might be,” Robert said, smiling slightly.
Beth opened her wardrobe and started shuffling through for something to wear. She froze when her hand touched satin. She looked at the pale blue, strapless evening dress. She’d completely forgotten about the occasion she’d bought it for.
“Robert?” she said.
“Hm?” he replied.
“There’s a dance at my school on Friday evening. Kind of like a ball, sort of.”
“Would you go with me?” Beth asked tentatively.
Robert paused, thinking, his head tipping to the side. “Do you want me to go with you?”
“Yes,” Beth murmured, looking at him through her lashes.
“Then yes, I’ll go with you.”
“You will?” Beth asked, her face breaking into a grin.
Robert smiled. “Of course.”
Beth scuttled over and kissed him, her wet hair sticking to his face. Robert chuckled softly when he broke away. He brushed her hair behind her ear and kissed her again briefly.
The day passed agonisingly slowly, as did Thursday and Friday but finally the moment came when Beth was standing in front of her mirror in her pale blue dress. The skirt of the dress was pleated and reached the floor, even in heels, and the back was nonexistent. She was just adding the finishing touches to her hair. Beth had decided to let it fall in its natural curls but she’d helped them along a bit with her mother’s curling tongs.
Then the doorbell rang and Beth fluffed up her hair a bit, grinning at herself in the mirror. She took a deep breath and hurried downstairs. Well, as much as one can hurry in high heels. Jack was taking advantage of the evening and staying at his best friend’s house for the night and both her parents were working late. They’d be back before she was.