"Evelyn, darling, hurry up! You'll be late for the dance!" My mother calls from downstairs. Though she uses her usual controlled tone, I notice that it is laced, ever so slightly, with pride. She's more excited about this prom that I am!
I evaluate myself one more time in the mirror. My hair is wrapped into some sort of twisted updo that the hairdresser constructed, with a few locks falling either side of my face, brushing my cheeks, and a large, sweeping fringe to cover my even larger forehead. When I turn, the style is set in such a way that it brings out the usually unnoticeable orange highlights in my bright red hair.
My eye makeup is heavy, yet not overdone, with black shadow and liner and a dash of red shadow for accent. My lips are also rouged slightly, though not enough as to make me look cheap. The makeup artist did such a good job!
My dress is also red. The bodice is a tight-fitting strapless piece with a sweetheart neckline, and the shirt flows out lightly from my hips. The material sparkles like fireworks when the light catches it in the right way. I love it.
I slip out of my room and descend the stairs to be met with my mother's beaming face. Her hands fly to cover her mouth and a tear slips down her left cheek.
"You look beautiful, Evi!" She chokes out. I smile.
"Thank you, mom." I embrace her gently before pulling away and smiling again. "Are we ready to go?"
She nods silently and leads me out to the car. I slip into the passenger seat, laughing when I have to forcefully push my dress in to make it fit through the door. My mother climbs in the driver's seat and takes a deep breath and wipes away a tear before starting the engine.
Soon, we are at school. I exit the car and am halted for some photos from my mother, before I hurry inside. The school hall is dressed up with balloons and drapes - making it look far classier than its usual dark curtains and lines of drab, brown plastic chairs.
"Evelyn!" My best friend Sara shouts from a few meters away. I turn and am immediately struck by how beautiful she is. Her long blonde hair is set perfectly into loose curls, which complement the swirls on her teal, fishtail dress that wouldn't look good on anyone else. I walk over to her and am grabbed into a hug straight away. I laugh.
"Hi, Sara! You look gorgeous!" I say, smiling, and I mean it.
"You too!" She holds me at arm’s length to examine me. "That dress is magical!"
The music begins and Sara whisks me off to dance. Only when the DJ announces that he only has two more songs to play, do I realize that we've nearly been dancing for three hours. Time really does fly when you're having fun! It suddenly hits me how tired I am, so I inform Sara and we sit on two of the dressed chairs at the edge of the room.
"So..." She starts. When Sara uses this tone there's only one thing on her mind. Boys.
"Yes?" I roll my eyes.
"You gunna tell me who you like yet?" She winks at me, and I sigh.
"I've told you, no one!"
"Come on! There's gotta be some one! Ummm." Her eyes search the room. "Oh! Ethan Hank!"
Ethan is one of the popular jocks. He's basically a completely douche but nearly all of the girls - including Sara - have wanted him at some point.
"EW! No!" I exclaim, slapping her with my clutch bag.
"Okay!" She holds up her hands in mock surrender. "James Davidson?"
I roll my eyes again. James is one of my best friends. We've grown apart since he got with Stacey Inka, but he'll always be like a brother to me.
"No! He's been my friend, like, forever! I could never see him in that way!" I explain, smiling as I watch him slow dance with Stacey. He looks so happy.
"Okay... So..." She bites her lip in concentration. "Oh! Oh! Oh! I've got it!"
"Yes?" I sigh, she hasn't got it. I don't like anyone.
"Is it that Scott Summers guy? He's kindaa weird. You like weird, right?" She raises her eyebrow at me.
"No!" I laugh "He's so not my type! What's with those red sunglasses he always wears anyway?"
"He says he has an eye condition, but there's rumors that he's a spy and his glasses are some form of secret communication!" She says, totally seriously, making me laugh harder.
"You've gotta be kidding me, Sara!" I reach up and pull the pins from my aching scalp, releasing my hair. "You seriously believe that?!"
I shake my head to relieve the strands of hair that may be looped up together. Then, suddenly, everything is in slow motion. I feel the warmth on my scalp, and then see flames before my eyes. My hair is on fire! I hear myself and Sara scream. I raise my hand and try to pat out the flames, it's no use - the warmth remains. I bring my hand down and realize that it too, is engulfed in flames. Weirdly, I feel no pain or heat, only subtle warmth. I flick my hand to try to rid it of the fire, but all that I see is a shot of flame fly from my hand and ignite the floor bored. I scream again and close my eyes. It is now that I note I do not smell burning flesh, or singed hair. And I still feel no pain.
Suddenly, there is a pair of hands on me, one on each shoulder. Who is crazy enough to get this close to me?
"Stay away!" I shout, keeping my eyes locked shut. "I don't want you to get hurt!"
"Shh! You have to calm down, Evelyn! Slow your heartbeat, just calm down." A smooth male voice commands. I take deep breaths, trying my hardest to comply, and, to my surprise, it works. I feel the warmth receding from my head and hand. I open my eyes and inspect my hand. It's like nothing even happened. I then notice that the hall is empty of students and that the headmaster is wrenching a fire extinguisher from the wall.
"You'll thank me for this later!" The male voice returns just as I feel the freezing cold rush of having a glass of water over my head. "Trust me."
It is only now that I see where the voice came from. Scott, the boy with the red sunglasses, is standing over me with an empty glass in his left hand. What the hell?!
"Miss James!" Mr Faith, the head master calls as he runs towards me, dropping the fire extinguisher. "What happened to the fire? How did you-" Scott holds up the empty glass and nods to my wet hair.
"I just did the first thing I thought of, sir." He says calmly.
"Oh, I see." Mr Faith seems kindaa irritated he didn't get to be the hero. Wait. Does that make Scott Summers my hero? "We need to get you to the hospital to sort out your injuries." I look up at Scott, willing him to speak for me.
"Quite remarkably, she hasn't got any. I checked." I bow my head and hold out my hand to reinforce his point.
"What?!" Mr Faith steps forward and leans over me. "That- that- that is spectacular!"
"Yeah, well, I think she just wants to get home now. Isn't that right, Miss James?" Scott looks directly at me and I know how he wants me to answer.
"Yes, sir. That would be best. Scott will walk me, he knows the way. I'll be safe." I lie, smiling weakly.
"Oh... Well... I suppose." The headmaster stutters. "But if anything happens, you are to take her immediately to the Emergency Room, okay, Mr Summers?"
"Of course!" Scott smiles and nods.
Mr Faith leaves, and Scott grabs my elbow roughly, pulling me up from the chair where I was sat.
"Hey!" I exclaim, pulling my arm free. "What do you think you're doing?!"
"Walking you home, like you said." He says with a smirk.
"That was just to get him off our backs!" I hiss. "I don't even know you."
"Can you explain what just happened?" I know, through his glasses, that he must be looking me in the eyes right now.
"Ummm... No." I admit, quickly adding, "But you can't either!"
"Actually..." A smile tugs at his lips.
"So, you can explain how my hair spontaneously combusted and I didn't get even slightly burnt?" I roll my eyes and exit the hall, into the cold, dark night. He quickly follows me.
"Yes. I can. It's a gift you have." He says, too seriously.
"Yeah, like a super power. Okay then." I sigh in frustration and walk faster, but he still manages to catch up with me.
"In a way, yeah!" He says quietly. I laugh out loud at his statement.
Suddenly, his hands are on my shoulders again and I am facing him. I stare into his face. Wow. He would be quite cute if he wasn't so weird. I suddenly get the urge to see what color his eyes are. I lift my hand to his face and touch the left lens of his glasses. He slaps my hand away quickly.
"Ow! What was that for?" I rub my stinging hand gently.
"Look. If you come with me now, I promise, you'll never have to talk to me ever again." He says, still grasping my shoulders. "Please." I sigh.
"Fine, but no slapping, grabbing or pouring water over me, okay?"
"Okay." He agrees - yet again, a little too seriously - and walks off down the side of the school, towards the sports field. I follow him muttering words, unintelligible to him.
"Right, stand here." He commands, pointing to the centre of the football pitch.
"Jeez, no need to be so rude!" I moan, but immediately comply. He steps backwards until he is about two meters away from me.
"Okay, now flick your hair." He orders. I roll my eyes. What a weirdo. I do as he says and, instantaneously, my hair bursts into flames. I want to scream again, but then I remember how it didn't hurt me earlier, and it's not hurting now.
"Now close your eyes and calm down!" Scott shouts over the roar of the flames. I obey and the flames die down to nothing. I drop to my knees.
"What- Wha- Ho- How did I-"
"I told you, you have a gift." He whispers, now sat beside me. "Try it again if you don't believe me."
"No!" I exclaim. "No. No, thank you."
He laughs, making me smile, though I'm not sure why.
"How did you know?" I ask, genuinely curious.
"Well, no normal personal could spontaneously combust and have no burns at all." He says, sounding bored.
"No! No, there's something you're not telling me." I push myself back on the dry grass, away from him. Damn, my dress is gunna have grass stains all over it.
He moves towards me slowly. Soon, his face is against mine.
"You're not the only one who's different..." He whispers mysteriously.
Before I can ask any more questions, he silences me with his index finger over my lips. He points to an old, discarded football about five meters away.
"Watch." He whispers, before scanning the field, for people, I guess. He takes hold of his glasses with his right hand and lifts them slightly. I gasp as a bolt of red light leaps from Scott's eyes and hits the football, blowing it to pieces. I continue to stare at the singed grass where the football sat, not even noticing Scott return his glasses to the proper position. I blink in disbelief.
"Like you?" He cuts in.
"No, spectacular." I whisper, my eyes still locked on the grass.
"You wouldn't be saying that if you knew me." I turn my attention to Scott just as he drops his head, looking almost ashamed.
"Let me get to know you." The words slip from my mouth before I even think.
"I can't. I don't want you getting hurt!" He says quietly, watching the ground.
"You saved me today. If you hadn't have been there..." I shake the unpleasant thoughts from my mind. "I need you to help me control this. I mean, a seventeen year old girl with flamethrower hair is hardly the best idea!" He laughs a little and raises his head to look at me.
"I just don't wanna hurt anyone..." He whispers. I kneel up and wrap my arms around his shoulders.
"You won't. I won't let you."