I was dumbfounded. Thalassa wasn’t wearing the standard floor length prom dress; the hem of her dress ended at her knees. It was a rich, forest green color that complimented her blue eyes, and had a creme button-up collar.
“Holy shit…” I whispered.
“‘In a good way or…”
“‘Holy shit’ in a ‘you look gorgeous’ kinda way!”
Thalassa covered her mouth with her hand and laughed. “Thanks. You look pretty good yourself.”
In an attempt to try to be more touchy-feely, or something, I wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Not as good as you though.”
Thalassa leaned into me. Mission accomplished… I think. “I beg to differ.” She slipped her free hand into mine. “Everyone hates how they look.”
I smirked. “Even you?”
She kicked at the ground. “Yeah…” Thalassa let go of my hand and looked down at her watch. Great, now everything is awkward. That’s a great way to start off the evening. “Well, Johann’s going to be here in about ten minutes so, do you want to wait upstairs?” Thalassa turned to open the door.
My heartbeat quickened. “Isn’t your Dad up there?”
“He’s out of town for some fancy magician’s prix or something all weekend, so it’s fine.” She seemed to have everything figured out, leaving me unsure on whether to be impressed or a little scared.
“So how about it?” Thalassa smiled in that way only she could replicate; she closed her eyes and wrinkled the bridge of her nose just the slightest bit.
Unable to form anything more than a slight shrug, I followed Thalassa up to her apartment… thing. It was hard to believe that the last time I had visited Thalassa’s home, the place had felt so hostile, and now I was standing in the doorway with the intense desire to flop into a chair and prop up my feet. Maybe it was just because Thalassa was next to me, though. But right now I needed to make small talk, “so… do you just cook dinner for yourself since your dad’s gone?”
“Yeah, I’m not the best cook, but I just do what the recipes say and it turns out decent.”
“I’m sure that’s what everyone else does.” God, why is this conversation so boring? We’re going to prom! There’s gotta be something better for us to talk about…
“I guess you’re right.”
Despite my efforts to start a conversation, we were plunged into silence. It wasn’t uncomfortable or anything, but I hadn’t really anticipated this happening. Part of me had hoped that Thalassa had something interesting to say, and then we’d start a long philosophical conversation about the meaning of life, or whatever.
Thalassa’s cellphone started ringing. “Oh, that must be Johann.” She answered. “Hey!”
Johann said something I couldn’t make out.
“Yeah, we’ll be right down.” She hung up, and I finally thought of something to say,
“Johann thought you were a lesbian, right?” I held back a groan. That had sounded way funnier in my head.
Nevertheless, Thalassa smiled at my unfunny remark. “Yeah, but I told him I was straight a while ago.” She started laughing. “He was so embarrassed. But we’re pretty good friends now, so it’s just water under the bridge.” Thalassa grabbed her purse and walked towards the door. “Come on, Johann’s waiting for us.”
She took ahold of my hand as we walked downstairs. God, her skin was soft. What did she do, bathe in the essence of silk?
“Hey, so this is the guy!” Someone with curly black hair -who I assumed to be Johann- leaned out of his car window to look at us.
Thalassa smirked. “Nice car.”
Johann frowned. “Hey, do you want a ride or not?”
“I’m kidding, now where’s Amadeus?” Thalassa asked as we climbed into the back seat.
“We’re meeting him at the school since his parents don’t like gays either.”
“Ugh, my parents felt the same way.” I rolled my eyes. “The only thing they hated more than gay people was witchcraft. I had to sneak and read the Harry Potter books.”
“Tch… I’m glad mine missed that hate train. Anyway, my mom wants me to swing back around so she can get pictures.” Johann pulled into the driveway of his house. “We’ll be back in like, five minutes.”
I nodded, and leaned my head against the window. I hadn’t been getting too much sleep recently and it was starting to take a toll on me.
Johann and Thalassa returned a few minutes later, and made small talk while we drove to the school. With nothing to do, I just stared out the window and watched the scenery fly by. The tired face staring back at me served as a constant reminder that the bags under my eyes were extremely noticeable. I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb at prom…
“Hey, what’s on your mind?” Thalassa placed a hand on my arm. “You’ve been quiet.”
I kept my gaze fixed on the window and shook my head. “Nothing. I’ve just never been to prom before, and I don’t know anyone there and…”
“I thought they wouldn’t care about some randy?”
Now she’s using my own arguments against me? God damn. “Yeah, I know, it’s just hard to stomach going to a dance at a school I don’t attend… I sound crazy, don’t I?”
Thalassa let out a short laugh. “Just a bit.”
I was left alone with my thoughts until we arrived at the school. Standing outside the door was a guy dressed in a tux. His blonde hair framed his face in a way that gave him a wide-eyed, innocent sort of look. When he saw Johann’s car, his eyes lit up.
Johann stopped in front of him. “Hey.” He leaned out and kissed the guy. “This is Amadeus. He’s my boyfriend.”
“Hi,” Thalassa said as she and I waved.
Amadeus nodded then said, “go find a parking space. I’ll wait here.”
Once he got out of the car, Johann said to us, “we’ll meet outside the school once prom is over.”
“Alright,” Thalassa said and Johann walked away with Amadeus.
“C’mon, we have to go get our picture taken!” She grabbed my hand and pulled me up the steps and into her school.
It seemed like she went to one of the public schools in the rich part of town. Everything just looked so well kept from the classrooms to even the halls. What could it possibly be like to have attended school here every day?
“The gym’s this way.” Thalassa led me through the immaculate halls into a gymnasium that, much like the rest of the school, looked like it had never been used before. But that might’ve just been because the lights were dimmed.
Some pop song I had never heard before pumped through the speakers on either side of the stage where prom pictures were being taken. Various couples were either dancing, or making out behind the bleachers.
“So… we’re waiting in line now?” I had to shout to be heard.
“Yeah, might as well get it done while the night’s still young.”
But it seemed like everyone else had the same idea as the end of the line started out in the hall. “On second thought… never mind.” Thalassa mumbled and led me back into the gym.
“What do we do now?” I asked. “I’ve never been to a school dance before, as you could probably tell.”
“Me either.” Thalassa looked around, fiddling with the strap of her purse. “I don’t see Johann and Amadeus, so I can’t ask them for advice. Do you just wanna dance… or something?”
“Uh, yeah, sure. But I don’t know how to do that.” I said, probably too quiet for Thalassa to hear. Good lord, this night was just getting more and more embarrassing.
We looked around at all of the kids around us. Most were just bobbing their heads to the music. It was probably the lamest thing I had ever seen. Thalassa seemed to have the same thought as she looked at me. “I thought this would be a lot more fun.” She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Why did I think this would be a good idea?”
Come on. Find some kind of positive spin to this! “I mean, I just wanted to spend time with you.” I suggested. “But I guess we didn’t have to go to a big dance to do that…” This evening was starting to fall apart. There had to be something I could do to pull us back on track… There isn’t much more to do than dance. Mom and Dad loved dancing, so what would they do…
I wrapped my arms around Thalassa’s waist.
“Hm?” She cocked her head to the side.
“Uh I think you need to do this…” I hooked my arms behind her neck. Thalassa seemed to understand and copied what I had done.
I started swaying side to side, and Thalassa followed along.
“This is kinda awkward.” She practically yelled into my ear.
“I know, but do you have a better idea?”
After a while of awkward swaying, we spotted Johann and Amadeus by the punch bowl.
“There they are!” Thalassa pulled me along behind her. “Johann!” She shouted.
He looked up smiling. “Hey,” the corners of his mouth turned down into a frown once he noticed Thalassa’s expression. “Oh, you look mad.”
“You abandoned us.” Thalassa said curtly.
“Oh, sorry. But you seem to be doing alright.”
Johann seemed amused. “Go dance.”
“We just finished doing that.” Thalassa did not seem pleased.
“You could always make out behind the school.” Amadeus suggested.
“I’d rather stay inside the school. What have you two been doing?”
Amadeus and Johann looked at each other. “Making out behind the school.” Johann admitted.
“Ugh, you’re no help. Jove, let’s just go get in line to get our picture taken.” Thalassa said. I just followed along since I didn’t have anything better to do.
It took about an hour to finally get our pictures taken. The actual process of taking said picture only lasted about two or three minutes. Thalassa and I looked down at the wallet-sized photos we were given. “An hour for this…” I said aloud to no one in particular.
“You look pretty good,” Thalassa said.
“Please, I look like I’ve barely gotten any sleep.” I replied almost immediately. I don’t know why I continued to argue. It didn’t seem like Thalassa’s mind was going to be changed, and how would her realizing that I’m ugly as hell benefit me in any way?
“Where do you sleep anyway?” She asked as we relocated to the hallway to escape all the shouting and loud music.
I shrugged. “Anywhere people can’t find me. I’ve got stuff I don’t want them stealing. Like my spare pair of underwear. I made the mistake of sleeping in the open, and someone went on a panty raid. I haven’t seen them since.”
“So, you’re telling me you’ve been wearing the same pair of underwear this whole time?” Thalassa scrunched up her nose. “That. Is. Disgusting.”
“Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m just lucky I have any underwear at all.”
Thalassa laughed and pushed my shoulder. “Okay, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Wait, so you’re saying you don’t enjoy talking about panty raids?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Alright so, what do we do for the rest of the night?”
“I don’t know. I guess we can just wait outside.”
“For two hours?”
“Well I didn’t say it would be enjoyable…”
What else were we supposed to do? “Alright, fine. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.
. . .
We didn’t. But luckily, Johann and Amadeus didn’t know what to do either, and met us outside half an hour after we started waiting outside.
“Alright, we’re done. It seems like you two are ready to go too.” Johann said.
“Mm hm.” Thalassa nodded. “But at least we got pictures!” She presented the tiny picture of us tucked into her wallet with a proud smile.
“Aw, you two are adorable.” Amadeus said. “Johann and I were going to get a picture, but neither of us had enough money.”
Thalassa frowned and shook her head. “They’re charging way too much.”
Johann hugged Amadeus, and kissed his cheek. “Well, goodnight. I’ll see if we can get together sometime over the weekend.
Thalassa and I followed Johann back to his car. “So that was kind of a bust.” Johann said as he cranked his car. “My mom’s not going to be expecting me home this early.”
“Well, you could go to be early and start your Saturday nice and early.” Thalassa suggested.
“Or… I could play video games.”
“That’s also an option.”
“Hey, what can I say? I love mashing buttons and giving myself carpal tunnel. You know what I’m talking about, Jove?”
I smirked. “Sure.”
Johann pulled up in front of Thalassa’s home. “Well, here we are. Goodnight Thalassa. Goodnight Jove.”
“Thanks for the ride. I’ll see you Monday!” Thalassa waved as she shut the car door.
We walked back up to her apartment once Johann had disappeared around a corner. Once inside, I picked up my guitar case. “I’d better get going. I’ll see you when I see you, I guess.” I turned to leave, but paused when I felt a hand grasp my arm.
“You can stay here for the weekend.” Thalassa said. “I mean, my father isn’t coming back until Sunday evening.”
Thalassa smiled. “I’ll go get some blankets. You can pull out the couch bed.”
I nodded and got to work pulling out the couch bed. It was a pretty thin mattress so it wasn’t much of a pain to unfold.
Once Thalassa came back, I arranged the few pillows I received the way I wanted them, then sat down at the foot of the bed. “I… really appreciate you doing this for me.” I said.
Thalassa smiled. “I don’t mind. You are my boyfriend after all.” She leaned in and started kissing me. I felt her hands pull my jacket down my shoulders.
Oh my god… I think it’s finally happening. But what do I do? I can’t just let Thalassa do all the work. Where’s the fun in that? I pulled away just enough to say, “you planned all of this, didn’t you?”
Thalassa laughed. “Just a little bit.” And then she pulled me back in.
But it didn’t matter whether it was planned or not. I was going to savor this time we had together.
Because who knows when we’d be able to do this again?
. . .
Jove was back at home. Apollo was with Thalassa which left him plenty of time to contemplate his life up to this point. Specifically, whether or not his ex-wife cheated on him. He wanted to believe that it wasn’t true, but there was that part of his brain that couldn’t help but point out how it all made sense…