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Prom Tag-Along

by April Steir

Sometimes good things come out of bad. You always hear people saying that, but it’s definitely what happened to me. If it hadn’t been for my disastrous senior prom, I might never have connected with my best friend, Heather.

Heather and I were friends in high school, but we weren’t “best” friends. The beginning of my senior year, I had a different best friend. Sara. And in my kitchen late one night, she dropped a bombshell on me.

“Nathan asked me to prom!”

My stomach dropped. Was Sara serious? Nathan was not only gorgeous, he was the most intelligent and talented guy in our high school. I had a serious crush on him our entire senior year. Everyone thought he would ask me to prom. How could he have asked my best friend?

“What did you tell him?” I asked.

“I said yes.” Sara looked at me. “You’re not mad, are you? You said you didn’t like him anymore, so I didn’t think you’d mind. You don’t, do you?”

My mind whirled. I had told her a week ago that I no longer liked Nathan, accepting the fact that we would never be anything more than friends. But could I really watch him escort my best friend to prom?

“Of course I don’t mind,” I said, forcing a smile.

The reality of the situation didn’t sink in until I slipped into bed that night. Sara had said “yes” to the question that I constantly fantasized Nathan would ask me. How could she? So what if I told her last week I was over him. Doesn’t she realize it takes more than a week to get over feelings that strong?

My heart felt like a brick in my chest. Sara and I had made a pact that dates or not, we were going to prom together. No one was left for me to ask, and I had no hope of anyone else asking me. I closed my eyes. My greatest fear had come true: I was going to my senior prom alone.

“Oh, God … why is this happening to me?” Tears soaked my pillow until I fell into a restless sleep.

The next few days were awful. I avoided Sara, and when I saw Nathan in my classes and at lunch, I pretended that everything was fine.

One day, Sara caught me after school.

“April, I know you’ve been avoiding me. I don’t want a guy to come between us. How can we fix this?” I looked at the floor. “I don’t know.”

“What are your plans for prom?” she asked.

“I’m not sure if I’m going anymore, since you and I were supposed to go together,” I said, giving her a pointed look.

Sara chewed her lip. Then her face lit up like she had an idea. “I know! We can still go together!”

“Huh?”

“After Nathan picks me up, we can come get you and go to the restaurant. Then we can hang out together. Come on … there will be lots of people at the prom stag anyway—you’ll still have fun!”

“Um … I guess ….”

“Perfect!” Sara said, giving me a hug. “Maybe we’ll go with Heather and Ashley and their dates. It’ll be a blast!” As she walked away, I couldn’t help wondering what I had just gotten myself into.

Prom day finally arrived, and I rushed from my hair appointment back home to get ready. After taking extra care with my makeup, I slipped into my long, navy blue dress and pulled on my shoes. I saw Nathan’s car pull into my driveway through the window. With one last look in the mirror, I tucked a few curls into place, took a deep breath, and walked into the living room.

My heart fluttered when I saw Nathan in his black tux. Sara also looked beautiful in her pale green dress. It felt a little strange at first, but we made some small talk until our friend, Heather, and her date, Seth, showed up. Heather introduced everyone to Seth, and after a barrage of pictures, we headed to the cars.

“One more stop before we go to the restaurant,” said Nathan, as I climbed into his back seat. “We need to go to Aric’s house for more pictures.” Aric was our friend Ashley’s date. I sighed. Great. Pictures of me and three happy couples.

As we arrived at Aric’s house, my jaw dropped. A limousine was parked by the garage! I’d always dreamed of going to prom in a limo.

“It only seats four,” I heard Nathan say to Sara.

I did the math. Including Aric and Ashley, I made five. Nathan couldn’t have missed that, right? I mean, he knew I was coming. Surely they’ll make room for me—Sara won’t leave me alone. An uneasy feeling gnawed at my stomach as I smiled through the pictures. When it was time to leave, Sara came over

“The limo only seats four,” she said, with no emotion.

Tears pricked my eyes. I felt like I had a huge “L” on my forehead—one that didn’t stand for limo.

Heather spoke up. “April, you can ride with us.”

Without a word, I followed Heather to Seth’s small sports car. I gathered my dress and scrunched into the back seat. As we drove to the restaurant, silent tears streamed down my face. This was supposed to be the night I’d always remember—but it had turned into a cruel joke.

Dinner was really awkward. Sara and Nathan barely spoke to me, and no one said a word about the limo. I felt like a complete reject. The only person who even seemed to know I was there was Seth, who kept making faces at me from the other end of the table. Thankfully, that lightened things up a little. Seth even paid for my dinner.

At the prom, I felt numb. Nathan ignored me—he seemed captivated by Sara. I danced and tried to have a good time, but it was hard. I felt so hurt and alone. When yet another slow dance began to play, I walked back to our table. Slumping in my chair, I watched the couples on the dance floor. God, this is the worst night of my life! Nothing good could possibly come from this.

Then something incredible happened. Seth walked up to me and held out his hand. “Would you like to dance?”

Too shocked to answer, I simply nodded my head. He led me onto the dance floor.

“How are you doing?” he whispered.

“What do you mean?”

“I can see you’re having a tough night,” he said. “But you’ve really handled it with class.”

I didn’t know what to say. “Thanks, Seth.”

Seth’s words meant a lot. For the first time that night I felt myself relax. Maybe something good will come from tonight after all, I thought.

The song ended, and a fast song blared through the speakers. Heather joined us out on the floor.

“Thanks for dancing with Seth, April! It gave me a chance to run around and take some pictures for the yearbook.” She motioned to her camera sitting on the table.

“C’mon,” Seth said. “We’re wasting some great tunes! Let’s dance!”

So we did. The three of us. We hung out together for the rest of the dance, and we had a great time. I talked and laughed so much with Heather that night—it was one of those rare instances where you just “click” with someone and you can’t help but be happy. Best of all, by the time prom was over I realized that the Nathan and Sara situation didn’t matter so much anymore. God had given me a new friendship with Seth—and a better-than-ever friendship with Heather.

In some ways, my senior prom was a true disaster. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Good things can come from bad—and I have my best friend Heather to prove it.