In the week that passed, Sam had said yes to Amber, which crushed me. I had finished my painting of the pier, adding an old ship like a pirate might have sailed, in the blank square that was waiting to be finished. It was my favorite, and mom hung it up in the living room behind the couch. It didn't match the rest of our decor, but neither of us cared. I began a new black and white painting of an angel with black wings, and it was turning out well. Adam asked me to the Snow Ball, and I accepted the offer.
The highlight of this aspect being that I'm pretty sure it bothered Sam as much as him going with Amber bothered me. It was a cruel and dishonest mindset, but I didn't really mind.
And I liked Adam, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to date him or anything.
Even though Amber was going to the dance with Sam, I still really liked her as a friend, and she came over to my house and I let her borrow one of my old dresses for the dance. We were the same size, as it turned out, and the dress looked better on her than it ever had on me. I hadn't decided yet, but I was thinking about just letting her keep it.
Sam and I still talked every day in Biology class, but they were shallow topics. Fear grew like ice at the pit of my heart as I was awakened to the very likely possibility that Sam and I might already be growing apart.
I blamed myself and my carelessness, but deep down I knew I wasn't the only bad guy in this story.
But now, it was the night of the dance, and Amber was at my house, and we were preparing together. The four of us, Amber, myself, Adam and Sam, had planned a double date at a diner a few blocks away from here, and then we'd squeeze into a cab and arrive at the dance. It wasn't the fanciest or most romantic setting, but it seemed to suit us perfectly.
"I'll be right back, I have to pee," Amber announced loudly. We laughed and she rushed out of my room. A knock on my window startled me, and I turned around to see Sam outside my window. He wasn't dressed for the dance yet, but then again, he didn't need two and a half hours to put on a nice shirt and some pants and do something with his unruly hair.
"What do you want, we're busy," I told him, my window now half open.
"You girls aren't ready yet? Amber has been over for an hour!" He sounded playful, but I knew him well enough to know that he was a little irritated with the way girls insisted on taking for ever to get around.
"Hey, don't even go there. We've still got another hour before dinner. Just go back and play your video games," I ordered.
"Hey, I'm back," Amber announced. She wasn't in her dress yet, instead only wearing a tank top and her under wear. Her eyes were wide with shock, and everyone's face turned real red.
"Bye." I closed my curtain before Sam could get anymore than a second's glance.
"Oh, my God!" Amber yelled! Her face was redder than a tomato, and we burst out laughing. She was almost crying with embarrassment, but I told her not to or I'd have to spend another forty-five minutes doing her make-up again, and we didn't have that kind of time. I still had to curl my hair, which would take quite a while.
My mom got home early, and helped us out. Luckily we had more than one curling iron, and soon Amber was working on the right side of my hair, my mother was working on the back side, and I was making progress on the left. Now it only took us a half hour instead of the full hour. I was delighted to have the extra pairs of hands helping me out.
In the last half hour we had left, Amber-- who had put on a pair of shorts just in case Sam came peeking again, and I put on our dresses.
Amber's was a beautiful, silky, creamy brown dress which accented her skin color. She was breathtaking, and I found myself slightly envious. The dress reached to just a few inches above her knees and was strapless, but we used these great little sticky things to help keep it up so she wouldn't be adjusting herself every ten seconds. She wore simple black flats, since she was almost as tall as Sam and didn't need high heels.
My dress was a plain and elegant black number that hugged my body. It had both straps, and a thin, rhinestone band around my mid-section. It reached to the middle of my knees exactly, and I wore my hot-pink Converse with it, just because I knew that my shoes wouldn't stay on long anyway. It was also a rebellious tradition I did at every dance since Gill had told me that if I was going to dress like a slut, I had to have the shoes that matched.
It was our first dance together last year, and my dress was pretty short, and Gill saw another guy flirting with me when he came back from getting us something to drink. I had been pretty distraught, thinking Gill had thought I was cheating on him. Even as a stone-hearted plastic barbie girl I'd been back then, I would never even think about doing something so dishonest.
A knock sounded on the door of our apartment, and Amber and I shared a nervous glance. My mom got the door and ushered the boys in. Adam introduced himself, though my mom seemed a little perplexed that I wasn't going with Sam. She wasn't the only one, but I shrugged out of those thoughts.
"Wow, you girls are..." Adam took us both in, but his eyes lingered a little longer on me. I smiled at him.
"Fine?" Amber chimed in.
"More like stunning," Sam replied. My mother winked at me, and I rolled my eyes.
"We're ready to go when you are," I announced.
We were just arriving at the school for the dance. Dinner had gone very well, and we were excited to see everyone. Amber and Sam were the first to pile out of the cab, and Sam handed the driver thirty dollars. The driver hadn't been happy about us being his passengers, but we had the money and so he took us anyway.
"Thanks," I said, stepping out of the cab behind Adam. He didn't acknowledge my comment and instead, counted the money and sped away.
Inside, the music was loud and the room was hot and stuffy as over two hundred kids moved to the beat. It was a really good thing that the gymnasium was almost larger than the rest of the school itself, so it could contain us all.
"C'mon!" Adam yelled over the music, taking my hand and leading us to the sign-in sheet. He scribbled our names down, and then led me through the crowd to an empty table to put our stuff. I buried my small purse under our coats, and led Adam to the dance floor. He smiled at me, and then there was nothing but us and the music.
At some point within the first hour, Gill walked up to me. I was sitting down at our table, alone, taking a break from the dance floor.
"Who are you here with?" He asked. The song was a slower, quieter song, so I could actually hear what people said to me.
"I'm here with Sam, Amber, and Adam," I told him. "Why?"
He shrugged. "No reason. May I sit?" I shrugged back, and he sit down. In the crowd of faces, I saw four that stuck out of the crowd. Sam, Amber, Adam, and Lucy were watching us from various spots in the room.
"Is Sam actually your date, or are you two here just as friends?" He sneered the word 'friends' and I glared at him.
"I'm here, on date, with Adam," I told him.
"It's none of your business," I snapped.
"Aren't you going to ask who I'm here with?" He looked like half of him wanted me to ask, and the other half hoped I'd send him away so he didn't tell me.
"No. I don't care," I told him. My voice had a sharp edge to it. I hoped it cut him.
"I'm here with Lucy," he went on. "We're here just as friends though."
"Oh please. She's never wanted to be friends with you. All she wanted was to have a one-night-stand with you and then drop you, like she did with the others. Trust me, I know. She told me," I scoffed. Honestly, I wasn't sure why I even bothered. If I'd been smart, I would've just gotten up and walked away then.
"Hey, Niki, Amber is looking for you," Adam interrupted.
"Oh, really? Where is she?" I got up and followed Adam through the crowd. "Thanks for that," I told him when we were safely hidden away in the crowd.
"No problem. You looked flustered. Also, I wanted to dance with you," he smiled shyly, and I raised my arms around his shoulders, resting my head on his chest. Even if I'd worn four-inch high-heals, I still only would have come up to his chin. But I was fine with that.
The song was a really slow song. I didn't know what it was, but I definitely liked it.
"So, what's your favorite color today?" I asked randomly. He told me a while back that it changed from day to day, so I could ask him every day and it'd always be something different. He laughed and told me that today it was forest green. If I hadn't seen pictures of forests on Google, I would have had to ask what that looked like.
We danced together for another forty-five minutes when I declared that I needed some fresh air and that I wanted to step outside for a few minutes. Adam came with me, but while we were standing on the sidewalk, his phone rang.
"It's my mom, she says that Stacy is sick and I need to go home and help take care of her." Stacy was his youngest sister. Adam was the oldest of four, and the only boy. His mom had two jobs, and took night classes at a local college, so she was barely ever home. It was usually up to Adam to raise his siblings. I nodded my head, completely understanding, even if I was kind of disappointed.
"Do you want a cab home, or are you going to stay here?" He asked. I told him I'd stay here for a little while longer. I'd hang out with some of the other girls who'd come here without dates, so that I wasn't a third wheel for Sam and Amber. He nodded, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.
I hugged him, and, quite intentionally, kissed him. It wasn't anything like the way Sam kissed me. This was just sweet, short, simple. I liked it, and kissed him again, and this time he wasn't so surprised.
I watched as he hailed a cab, which were everywhere in this city, and followed the yellow vehicle with my eyes as it drove away.