Cole Parker
Chapter 10


The plan was for everyone to gather at Adam’s, and then all go to dinner from there.  The limo driver had been carefully instructed.  He was supposed to pick up Steve first, then drive to Angela’s house, where Steve would go in, get her and escort her to the car.  Then it was to Tim’s house and a repeat performance getting Ashley.  I was to be last as I didn’t have anyone to escort to the car because we were going directly to Adam’s after I had been collected.


The limo was right on time, and I was ready.  The driver was holding the rear door open for me, I got in, and we were all whisked to Adam’s house.


We walked to the front door in a group.  I realized this was going to be the first time I’d ever actually used that door, though I’d been here a number of times now, mostly for practice sessions.  I rang the bell, and almost immediately the door was opened by Adam.


He was stunning.  We’d finally chosen black tuxedo pants and white dinner jackets with dark blue bow ties and matching cummerbunds.  We were dressed the same, but when I’d looked in the mirror, all I saw was plain old me looking back wearing formal attire.  Adam was phenomenal.  The white jacket against his light brown hair, the dark blue of his tie against the somewhat lighter liquid blue of his eyes, his slender build being complimented by the fitted dinner jacket and slacks, he was a sight to behold.  I wanted to gasp, I felt like dropping my jaw in awe.  I had to keep my composure, so did neither.  What I did was smile at him.  He smiled back, looked into my eyes for a moment, and blushed.


I thought of what Tim had said, that sometimes I showed too much when I looked at him.  If that were ever true, it was probably true now.  Could Adam see it?  Is that what he was blushing at?  I knew I had to tone it down.  But, he was magnificent.


“Please come in,” he said, addressing everyone.  “We don’t have to leave for the restaurant for another hour, and we have some hors d’oeuvres and drinks set up in the salon.”


Adam was acting the perfect host.  He was doing it like it was an everyday thing for him, no nervousness, nothing forced or embarrassing.  I marveled at him.  Not only did he have such polished and self-confident poise and the perfect composure for the occasion, he was adorable!


He directed us to the salon, where several trays of various edibles were scattered around the room on tables.  I took a brief look at one tray and spotted caviar and smoked salmon.  It seemed Adam’s parents hadn’t spared the expenses. 


“My dad said no alcohol, but we have a variety of soft drinks, and I can even make someone a Shirley Temple or virgin most-anything-else.  Ashley, what could I get for you?”  He asked us all, and quickly and with what looked to me like professional pizzazz, mixed and had drinks in all our hands.


Adam’s parents entered the room at that point.  I’d met them both, and while his father seemed a little stiff and formal to me and usually had an air of being distracted about him, his mother was very warm and nice.  I’d asked Adam what they thought about him going to the Prom with a boy, and he’d said he’d just explained he didn’t want to ask a girl and since we were performing together, we’d just decided to attend the Prom together, not as dates, but companions.  He made it sound so matter of fact, I started wondering why I’d been so worried about going with a boy in the first place.  Then I realized, what would work on gullible parents wouldn’t necessarily work with other kids.  They wouldn’t buy it.


His parents and the others were all introduced, and of course his mother wanted pictures.  Between getting several pictures, sampling the hors d’oeuvres and drinking our drinks, admiring the girls gowns, complimenting the boys on how handsome we were and pinning on the corsages the boys had “surprised” the young ladies with and the boutonničres the girls had brought for the boys, the hour flew by.


Then, finally, we thanked Adam’s parents for their hospitality and were back in the limo.  The car was easily large enough for 10 passengers, so the six of us were not squashed in the least.  When we had gently pulled away from the curb and were moving, Adam reached into the inside pocket of his dinner jacket and pulled out a boutonničre.  He looked at me, then said, “Hold still while I pin this on your lapel.”  Then, to my surprise, he giggled.


I was not to be outdone.  When he’d finished and pulled back to admire his handiwork, I did just what he’d done.  I also had got him a flower for his lapel, and now it was my turn to pin it on his jacket.


We’d been looking at each other and I only realized that the car had been quiet all this time when, as I was admiring Adam with the blue flower that matched his eyes pinned to his lapel, clapping started from behind us.  We both looked back, and the other four were clapping, large grins pasted on their faces.


Tim spoke up.  “I think you’re supposed to kiss someone after pinning flowers on.  Isn’t that right, guys?”


The other three were immediate and unanimous in their response.  They were all sure at this point we should kiss each other.  Both Adam and I blushed and I, for one, felt exceptionally uncomfortable.  From Adam’s appearance, he felt exactly the same.  Neither of us made any move to kiss the other.  We didn’t even look at each other.


I shot Tim a dirty look with some venom in it, and he quickly started talking about the restaurant, asking if anyone had eaten there before.  That allowed Adam and me a respite from everyone’s attention, and each a chance to catch our breath.  We needed it.


The restaurant was one of the best in town, maybe THE best.  Only Adam had been here before.  He’d been the one to say we should eat here, and his mother had arranged it.  Being Prom night, many of the restaurants in town were busy and I expected to see a lot of other kids eating here too, but looking around, I didn’t see any.  While looking at the elegant room, tables laid with fine china, crisp white tablecloths, sparkling crystal, silver place settings, the light dimmed slightly, beautiful but sedate flowers on each table, flickering candles enhancing the festive and regal atmosphere of the room, listening to the very pleasant yet non-intrusive dinner music playing softly in the background, and noticing the absence of normal dining room clatter in the room, I thought about this.  It seemed strange there wouldn’t be any other Prom kids here, and I remarked on it.


“I just noticed that too,” said Steve, looking around the room slightly in awe of its splendor.  “I wonder why?”


“I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means,” remarked Tim.  “It might be this place is so expensive, no one can afford it.”


Adam looked up.  “Hey guys, coming here was my mother’s idea.  She eats here often with a group she’s a member of, and we come here for dinner occasionally, too.  Plus, she’s friendly with the owner.  And you have to understand, she gets a little nuts about things like birthdays and anniversaries and Proms.  This is my first one.  She was excited and wanted it to be memorable for me.  So, she set up the reservation and she’s paying for the dinner.  She didn’t want anyone being awkward about the prices here, didn’t want anyone feeling they could only order just soup or something.  She also told me to tell you not to argue or feel funny or anything.  She wants you to enjoy our dinner, just order anything that looks tempting and don’t even think about the price.  She wants this to be an evening to remember for all of us.  This is her desire, she wants to do it, and she wants you to let her.”


We all looked at him.  He had his slightly embarrassed look on his face, but a no nonsense look, too.  I felt uncomfortable with him paying for all of us, but could see he didn’t want to discuss it any further.  I could only think of one thing to say.


“Adam, that’s really nice.  Thank her for me, would you?  And thank you, too.  I really mean it.”


Me saying that, and accepting the favor, seemed to put the others at ease, too.  At that point a waiter came asking for drink requests and handing us menus.  The dinner proceeded, and it was exceptional.  I don’t think any of us other than Adam had been to this fine a restaurant before or been treated the way the staff treated us.  They were working unobtrusively around us all during the meal, refilling water glasses before they were even half empty, replenishing butter and rolls, clearing used plates, tending to any needs anyone had. There were strange things on the menu that we hadn’t tried before, and also some recognizable dishes.   Some of us were adventurous, some not, but whatever was ordered was delicious.  We shared what we ordered with each other so we all had some new tastes to enjoy.  We had several courses, we had an amazing array of deserts brought out and displayed for us, we were treated like royalty.  At the end, with a flourish, Adam signed the check.  The entire experience was above and beyond what any of us had ever enjoyed before in a restaurant.  


Well fed and glowing, happy and excited, we rode in the limo to the Prom.


- - -   - - -


The driveway in front of the school gym was full of cars and limos dropping off girls in fancy gowns and guys wearing all types of tuxedoes.  There were also quite a few kids of both sexes in ‘50’s outfits, and they made a colorful contrast to the formally attired kids.  There was lots of chatter going on from the kids as they left their rides.  As those cars dropped off their passengers and pulled away from the curb, they were replaced with others coming to do the same thing.


We eventually were next in line.


The limo pulled up and we all stepped out and joined the other couples meandering into the gym.  The gym was decorated with crepe paper, trees in pots and other greenery, colorful props and posters of movies and TV characters and singers from the ‘50’s, many of them the teen pop sensations getting started on their careers.  The room was much dimmer than usual, lighted with muted and colorful bulbs.  Tables were set up surrounding the dance area for various sized groups and had tablecloths and place cards.  There were three tables, each in a different location, set up with refreshments.  A dance band was warming up at the far end.


“Wow, you’d never know this was a gym,” Adam said, looking around in wonder. 


It was surprising how transformed the gym was.  It really looked special, the perfect spot for a dance.  The basketball backboards had all been raised up to the ceiling and you had to look hard into the gloom above the lights to even see them.  About the only evidence of what the room had actually been build for were the lines on the floor and the walls of collapsed bleacher seats, now vertical banks of sectioned wood.


We made our way to the tables and found our table for six.  Luckily, it was a round rather than rectangular table, allowing us all to look at each other and hear what was being said.


The band began playing and couples made their way onto the area designated as the dance floor.  Steve offered Angela his hand, Tim did the same with Ashley and they moved off to join the crowd.  I looked at Adam.


“You know, with all we went through to end up here together, I never even gave a thought to the actual dance itself.  Are we brave enough to go out there and dance together?  Or first, do you want to do that even?  I guess we both talked about going to the Prom together, but dancing with girls.”


Adam looked at me neutrally, then frowned very slightly.  He looked down at the table.  “Greg, we can do whatever we want to do.  We don’t need to be controlled by anything but what we want.  I guess the question is, do you want to go out there and dance with me?  Or would you rather not?”


OK, this was difficult.  I wished I’d considered this situation.  This had been coming all along, coming right at me like a freight train, and I should have known it, should have thought it all out.  I hadn’t.  I wasn’t a spur of the moment, spontaneous-decision-making sort of guy.  And that’s what I had to be right now.


I knew one thing for sure.  The most important thing to me right now, more important than what someone else thought about me, was what Adam thought and felt.  He was someone I really enjoyed being with, besides the fact that I loved him.  But love wasn’t what was in play here.  Whether I loved him or not had little to do with anything because he didn’t love me back.  But he did respect me, was a wonderful friend to me, and he’d come here with me as his date for the Prom as a statement to show everyone he wasn’t giving in to the popular custom saying he had to ask a girl to the Prom if he didn’t want to.  Me being afraid to dance with him sort of pooh-poohed that contention, that image, and took the sting out of his rebellion.  Realizing that, my course of action was clear.


“Adam, I’d like nothing better than to go out on that floor and dance with you.  But I wasn’t sure what you were thinking.  If you came with me because you didn’t want to ask a girl, but then wanted to dance with girls when you were here, like what we talked about, that’s what you should do.  If you want to dance with me, for whatever reason, I’ll do that, too.  I just want you to know, whatever you want to do, I’ll go along with it, and be happy doing it.”


He looked at me with his intelligent eyes.  I didn’t know what he was thinking.   And then he grinned, his almost bashful grin, held it for a moment, and said, “Let’s go for it!”


And we did.  We didn’t hold hands walking out, like most of the couples did, but we walked together.  We ended up in the middle of the other dancers, and we danced.  The music was upbeat and most of the dancers weren’t holding each other, but instead dancing together doing their own thing, as most of today’s steps require.  Adam and I did the same thing.


Adam was a great dancer, moving with the rhythm of the music gracefully and naturally, showing no awkwardness at all, fitting in with the ambience.  And he looked spectacular.  I wasn’t quite so good at it, but the dances we were doing didn’t demand great dancing ability, more a feel for the music as we jerked and bounced around, waving our arms and not feeling silly about it.  I did the best I could, Adam did great, and we danced.


      After three fast numbers, when a slow song began, I told Adam I needed a break and he agreed.  We headed back to the table.  I wasn’t really tired.  I was scared about what would happen if we were to hold each other like all the dancers on the floor were now doing.  They knew who the boy and who the girl was.  I didn’t.  And I didn’t want to try to figure that out on the fly in a jumbled confusion of arms, whose going where and all.


      We ended up spending much of the dance that way, frequently dancing the fast dances, getting refreshments or just talking at the table during the slow dances.  We didn’t talk about it that we were doing that, avoiding the slow dances, we just did it.  Adam didn’t seem to find it strange.  On a couple of the slow dances, I cut in on Susan and Becky and danced with them, and Adam did the same with two other girls. 


      It surprised me a little, but I didn’t hear any comments about me being on the dance floor with Adam.  It should have been pretty clear to everyone that we were together, we were dancing together, we were sitting out dances together.  But, if anyone had any strong opinions about that, they didn’t voice them in my hearing.  I was surprised, and also pleased.  Maybe that was a hurdle I wasn’t going to have to leap tonight.







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