Chapter Nine, Moves and Slow Dancing
"Tomorrow is the big night! Are you guys ready?" Peter asked with the utmost excitement, you would've thought the kid's parents became billionaires and he didn't have to go to school for the rest of his life. "My mom picked up my suit this morning. Gonna wear my brand new Chucks with turquoise laces to match my tie."
"That's so stupid how Samantha and you will be matching. Is your pocket square turquoise, too? Let me guess, her corsage matches as well?" Adrian asked rhetorically, but Peter still answered.
"This isn't prom, doofus. It's only homecoming, that's why I'm semi-dressed and semi-casual. We're so going to win homecoming king and queen."
"I thought that's what Betty and Bobby Blade are for?? And we only do that at formal and prom."
"Well, we're going to be so amazing, they'll have to make us king and queen."
"Wow, I can't believe your head grew bigger overnight. It's a shame there's only air in there."
"Shut up, Niall. You're just sore because I'll be wearing your tie to homecoming with Samantha."
"I couldn't care less, actually. Honestly, you're my hero, buddy. Thanks for saving me. Are you sure you'll be going with Samantha to the dance and not me instead?" I batted my eyelashes at Peter, but he only rolled his eyes and glared.
"Wait, speaking of dates, who are you going with?" Adrian asked me. Lucky for him, I had an answer.
"Was hoping that, um, you would would like go with me?" I asked Adrian, pretending to be flustered and nervous. He gave me this weird look and I chuckled. "Stag, of course. You really thought I was asking you?"
"No, not all. And, sorry, I can't. I have a date and it's all thanks to you. You're my best friend, Niall."
"What did I do now?"
"Remember those girls we met a while ago, the ones we hung out with at the mall? Well, Brandy and I hit it off and, yeah. I asked her."
"Who's Brandy? Do I know her? Do I even know a Brandy? Does Brandy go here?" Adrian and I both looked at Peter and he shrugged.
"She goes here, idiot. You guys have French together."
"What does she look like?"
"Black frizzy hair, cute dimples, perfect smile, nice legs, and very smart."
"She's also on the volley ball team and swims." I clarified.
"Oh, I know Brandy. She's, like, super cool. Like, totally." Peter tried to imitate her.
"Shut up, she doesn't sound like that all. This is why I haven't asked her to sit with us. And your stupidity might be contagious." I chuckled while Peter socked his arm.
"Samantha is way worse, so you can't tease Brandy. Besides, I like Brandy. She helps me in math so I don't fail."
"Ooooh, better watch it Adrian. Niall might steal your girl. He's having her 'tutor' him."
"Niall doesn't like her. He's clearly too infatuated with Carmen to like anyone else."
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are. Why else would you walk the halls with her holding hands or offer her a ride home?" Peter teased before Adrian and him snickered.
"I bet Niall's just saying he's going alone to homecoming so he can show up with Carmen."
"Yeah, he'll meet her there and stay in the back with her so he can make all his moves on her ever so suave."
"He won't dance until the first slow song comes on so they slow dance the night away, pretending to be alone. The room could be on fire, but they'll be that cute, madly in love couple slow dancing it away."
"You know what, I think if I stay here, I'll catch your guys' stupidity disease." I grumbled, fixing my backpack on my shoulder before ditching them to the front of the school.
Ever since I told them about Carmen yesterday and ISS, they've been teasing me. I didn't even tell them how Carmen and I were sneakily eating in Stratton's class. Besides, even though Carmen and I had our moments yesterday and today, I still didn't like her. I mean, how could I? She was weird and I wasn't. I had a lot of time yesterday after school to think about it at home. I can't just all of a sudden like her when she annoyed me to no end. It doesn't make sense.
After walking for a couple of minutes, I found myself at the front of the school and headed out of the doors. I scanned the area and noticed some kids quickly hopping on the buses to catch them before they drove off. Some kids were entering their mom's or dad's car, while others waited around with friends or walked to their own car. I was becoming impatient the moments I stood outside waiting. This is why Carmen annoys me.
"Hey, Niall!" I heard Carmen say and turned around to see her stopping to meet me. She had this smile on her face, and for some reason it made up for her being late.
"Are you ready?" I asked with not as nearly as much joy that she held.
"Yeah, sorry I took a while. Chris and Mike were giving me a rundown of the itinerary for tonight and tomorrow. And they also scolded me for not having a date. I don't see the big deal in going alone, but now I can't join their group date for dinner." Carmen rambled and I found out she does this yesterday.
"That sounds lovely. Why don't we continue this endearing conversation as we walk to my car." I tried saying politely, but it didn't work since I still sounded annoyed.
"Oh! Thank you so much again for being my ride." Carmen gave this bigger and brighter smile and, whoa, did her eyes just twinkle or was that the sun glaring down on us because it's really hot all of a sudden.
"It's not a problem. You should thank my dad for continuing to let me use my car after getting ISS." She found that funny and giggled, but I was serious.
"Anyway, I have something for you, but it's-"
"I'm sorry, I'm flattered you'd do that, but I don't want whatever it is."
"I don't care, be stubborn all you want, you're taking it."
"I'm not going to. Today's the last day you said you needed a ride, so-"
"See, that's the thing. I was kind of hoping you would drop home until Wednesday next week. I'm sorry and you don't have to. It's just my grandma is-"
"It's fine, but no gifts or whatever. Is your grandma okay?"
"I honestly don't know. My parents won't say anything, but she's been having a lot of tests done. She already has so many problems, I wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't. I mean, that sounds bad, but I've kind of already accepted it, you know? These things happen and people don't live forever."
"Are you basically telling me that your grandma may... you know, pass... away?" I asked, stopping even though we were two cars away from mine. Like what the hell, she can't just say things like this to me. I did sort of ask, but she could have given a simple answer instead of laying all this heavy stuff on me.
"I don't know? I saw her last night and she looked fine to me. But I don't know and... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that or anything at all. It's just the house has been crazy this week and when we had our project and I received ISS... and we have an essay in English due next week. And tonight is the big football game and tomorrow is homecoming."
"I get it, there's a lot going on and you're stressed." I stopped her from another ramble.
"Yeah, I just wish I had a magic wand I could wave and make everything easier. Chris and Mike didn't make it easier when they said I had to meet them at the game tonight and the dance tomorrow."
"I'll take you, if you want? I wasn't planning on going to the game, though, but I don't mind. It'll give you one less thing to worry about."
"Look, I know I kind of just confessed to you my feelings and all, but I don't need your pity-filled offers." I rolled my eyes and sighed.
"I'm not pitying you."
"Then why are you being so nice?"
"I just... get it I guess. The stress part, I know what it feels like."
"Oh my god, I'm not going to stand here and pour out my deepest feelings to you, okay? If you want a ride," I paused to take my keys out. "Then get in my car." I said and unlocked the doors with the remote on the keychain.
"Fine, and I'm sorry."
"You're really getting on my nerves now."
"Well you're making me feel guilty."
"I'll pick you up at five-thirty since the game starts at six." I said after we got into my car.
"No, five because I have to watch the JV game with them."
"Are you serious? Who's on JV? All of the good juniors are on varsity."
"It's nice to show your support and school spirit every once in a while. Have you even been to a football game before?"
"Sure, I think I went to homecoming my freshman year... Wait, that was baseball because Adrian wanted to try it."
"Baseball doesn't have homecoming."
"I went to the dance."
"Are you being serious?"
"Samantha doesn't like sports."
"So you never went to a game because of your ex-girlfriend? Good news, you're going to your first game."
"No, not happening. I'm sorry, just no."
"Why? Because I don't want to. I can't."
"Oh, does chick-magnet Niall have a date tonight?"
"What? That's the stupidest... I don't, okay. If it interests you, I haven't seen anyone since I broke up with Samantha."
"She broke up with you."
"Shut up, it's the same thing. I'm still not going."
"Why? You never gave a legitimate excuse. Obviously you have free time since you're offering to drop me off and pick me up."
"I... fine I'm grounded, happy?"
"You're grounded?" Carmen asked, amusement glowing so bright that I could feel it without looking at her.
"Yes, my parents are tired of me getting in trouble and my grades for being borderline fail. They told me I'm not trying hard enough and they expected better than what I'm putting forth. They told me I'll have to get a summer job or do some volunteer work and give back because I'm too selfish. They said I'm getting older, but if I want to be an adult, I need to take responsibility for my actions. So they grounded me and told me to use the time to think."
Carmen was silent for a while as I drove. I assumed she agreed with my parents and just didn't have a comment. I kind of agreed with my parents, too, in the sense that I could be putting forth more effort towards my grades. Maybe if I received a few more Bs or at least one A, they would stop degrading and lecturing me all the time when they come home from work. But though I want to try and listen to them once and actually be grounded, I can't and won't. Sneaking out of the house to go to the games would be a relief. Before I thought too much about it, Carmen interrupted me.
"I have to disagree with your parents. You're not selfish. You are responsible, maybe not up to their standards, and you do try. You could do it all better, but that's just you. You're not bad and shouldn't have to change entirely for them. That's my opinion, though."
Thankfully I had reached her house and pulled up in her driveway so I could advert my full attention to her. I swear, she won't hesitate to amaze me at the most random times.
"You're kidding, right? Practically the whole school thinks I'm a jerk. If I get ISS or Saturday Work again, I'll be suspended from school."
"It's like what you're friends said, you grow on people."
"Yeah, I wish I had that effect on my parents."
"Stop it, I think you're fine. Just shape up your behavior a little more, and you're good."
"Don't you mean my attitude?"
"I don't think it'll work no matter how hard you try."
"Why are you doing this?"
"Being nice to me. I would think you would hate me for me hating you."
"I guess you'll never know. See you at five and don't be late."
"I'll show up as late as I want to."
"Carmen!" I heard a woman's voice call and glanced at Carmen quick enough to catch her blush.
"Crap, stop talking to me. I need to go."
"I'm not forcing you in my car." As I said that, I locked the doors. Obviously that's her mom and she'll be in trouble. I watched her trying to open the door and groan. I struggled myself, to keep in my laugh of course.
"Niall! Open the door." Carmen ordered, still trying to open it.
"Carmen Shay, get out of the car and come inside!" her mom called again. I looked at her from my window and saw that she looked a little like Carmen, but not nearly as nice. She reminded me of my mom when she's scolding me.
"There, I'll pick you up... if your mom doesn't kill one of us first."
"Thank you!" Carmen sighed in relief. "And she's not mad, she just needs help with my two younger sisters."
I didn't even have a chance to react because as soon as Carmen's door opened, she was out of the car and hugging her mom. I didn't bother staying to see her walk inside, but when I reversed and was about to head down the street, I saw her wave at me with that one smile on her face. I know I said she's annoying and all, but she's really great. I smiled to myself while I drive home, suddenly thinking about Carmen. I imagined us at the dance tomorrow and slow dancing- I am dead serious, I will skin Peter and Adrian and dunk them in acid.
ayyye I like longer chapters! tbh that's not the pic I wanted, but Niall at the tennis matches tho...