First Time Lucky(2)

By: Chance Carter

“Guys, guys! Prom is still over a month away. You’ve got lots of time to gossip and chit chat about it. But you’ve only got so much time to absorb all this math before exams.” She placed her hands on her hips and stared menacingly at the class while the prom committee girls slunk out the door to disrupt the next classroom.

The class quieted, and soon we were back to integers and square roots. And I was back to Dallas.

The prom announcement was just another reminder that my days with Dallas were numbered. I didn’t know what she had planned after high school, but I could only assume a bright girl like her would be off to college, or at least some place known for more than an overabundance of trees and rain. She was better than all this. Me, on the other hand? I wasn’t so sure. I needed to find an opportunity to ask her out, and I needed to find it soon.

Then I realized the answer to my conundrum was staring me right in the face.

I would ask Dallas to prom.

Sure, we hadn’t talked much since we got up to high school, but she was friendly to me, and I honestly believed the only reason we hadn’t spent more time together was simply that we ran in different circles. She was popular and I was... Well, I wasn’t really anything. I had football, and I had Jacob, and that was all I needed. That and the chance to call Dallas mine.

That was it, then. It was decided. I was going to ask Dallas Keane out to prom. If she said no, so what? At least I could start distancing myself from this obsession with the cherub-like girl I’d always figured I didn’t have a chance with anyway. We’d go our separate ways, and I would have no regrets.

The class drew to a close, and everyone packed up their things and started ambling toward the door. Dallas and Sasha were taking their time, chatting excitedly. Jake slung his bag over his shoulder and followed the direction of my stare.

“Come on, man. We’ve got shop. You can’t sit around here and pine after Little Miss Perfect all day.”

I glared over at him. “Don’t talk about her like that.”

The lanky ginger put his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “Okay, whatever. Are you coming or what?”

“I’m going to hang around,” I said. “I need to talk to her.”

Jake’s eyebrows furrowed in consternation. “About what? You never talk to her.” A light bulb flicked on in his head, and his mouth fell open. “You’re not seriously going—“

I shoved him toward the door. “Dude, get out of here.”

“Fine, fine.” Jake waved me off. “Good luck.”

The next group of students began to filter in just as Dallas was gathering her binder into her arms and heading toward the door. I fell into step beside her.

“Hey Dallas,” I said.

I wished I had a better opener than that, but I always got a little flustered where she was concerned.

“Shane, hey,” she said with a smile.

Sasha glared daggers at me. What the fuck was that girl’s problem? I tried to pretend she wasn’t there, even though I half expected her to grab Dallas’s arm and run off at any second.

We stepped out into the bustling hallway, and I turned to face Dallas. Now or never.

“Do you have a second to talk?” I asked.

“We’ve got to get to class,” Sasha complained.

Dallas didn’t miss a beat. “But I can hang out and chat for a moment.” She looked over at Sasha, and something passed between them. “Why don’t I just meet you in History?”

Sasha rolled her eyes but started to turn away. All I had to do now was ask Dallas one simple question. I wouldn’t ramble, I wouldn’t stutter, I would just get right to the point.

Before Sasha could leave or I could speak, a booming voice called out, “Hey pretty ladies!”

My skin crawled.

Wes Gromley sidled up between Dallas and Sasha, flinging an arm over each of their shoulders. The act was overtly territorial. Sasha leaned into him, a coy smile flitting over her lips. Dallas didn’t react, but her smile fell away.

“Hey Shane,” said Wes. “What are you doing here? Do you need help reading something?”

I swallowed, trying to ignore the red creeping over my vision. Wes and I played on the football team together, which should have made us friends. We weren’t. His popularity and overblown ego would have made him a perfect star quarterback. The only problem was he didn’t possess an adequate amount of talent to go with it. But I did. I might fall behind in the popularity contest, but on the field, Wes played second fiddle and hated it.

“That’s not nice, Wes,” Dallas piped up. I watched her try to shimmy out from under his arm, but he latched his fingers around her shoulder to keep her there.