Better than prom

Loki comes to visit you at the night of your Prom. You have been stood-up, and are sitting on the porch, crying. He sits beside you, and you explain what happened. He asks if the following night, you would do him the honor of being his guest to a grand ball in Asgard that will be held at the palace. He promises it will be even better than Prom. You agree. The next evening, he takes you to Asgard, where you are fitted with a beautiful ball gown, and you go with him to the ball. All eyes are on the two of you all night, and you have a wonderful time. When he brings you home, he kisses your forehead and promises that any time you are stood-up, he will be there to whisk you away and make you forget the foolish boys who wrong you.

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1. A surprise

I was sure I would have many more nights in my life where I wanted to be anyone but who I was. Be anywhere but this small town. Be anything but a sixteen year-old junior who had just transferred to this new school. This was most definitely one of those nights.

I sat on my dimly-lit front porch, my only companions being the fireflies that buzzed about my head. I was in my black pajama bottoms, black pajama tank-top and wrapped in my polka-dot night robe, my dress having been long forgotten and abandoned now. If three hours could be considered “long.” It was about 12am. My parents were out of town for the week, and I had the house to myself. I was glad; I didn’t want them to see the pathetic blubbering mess I was tonight.

Stood-up. The two words to describe the horror of this evening’s events. I was stood-up for my Junior Prom. I waited in my dress on this porch for my date for a whole hour, before my new “friend” Stacy texted me a picture of her and Josh (my ex-date) at the dance hall where Prom was being held. I was too stunned to cry at that moment, so I did the only things I could think to do. Get out of the dress, take my hair down from the bun it was in, wipe off the makeup and hop in the shower. Three hours, one quart of double chocolate nutty fudge ice cream and ten thousand tears later, here I am, on this porch.

I was thinking on the Hell that awaited me at school the upcoming week, having been stood-up by the quarterback (so not only was I stood-up, but I was now the school’s living example of clichéd cruelty), when I saw a bright flash of light burst from the sky and into my backyard. I only gave a soft smile and kept my eyes on the ground before me as I heard the footsteps getting closer.

"You have the best timing, Loki. You always manage to catch me at my worst." I said sarcastically.

He sat beside me. “I figure if I catch you at your worst, I can have even more fun bringing out the best in you again, Lilac.” Lilac was his name for me. My last name is Petal, and he said my pale purple eyes reminded him of the Lilacs on Asgard. I tried to smile, but I only cried a little more. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “What’s wrong, darling?”

I took a breath in before wiping my eyes. “Remember I told you tonight was my Prom?” He nodded. I sighed. “Well, I was… stood up. My date went without me on purpose.”

Loki gasped a little. Not a sarcastic gasp, but a genuine I-can’t-believe-that-happened-I’m-so-sorry gasp. I nodded. “Yep.”

Loki shook his head. “The nerve of that quim. That damn fool! He has no idea what joy he has missed tonight. The beauty that he has denied himself.”

I felt myself blushing. “Loki, please. I’m no beauty. Especially not now. Look at me! I look like a chipmunk with severe hay fever.” I had just finished crying, and my face was red and blotchy as a result. Loki shook his head, and gently placed his hand under my chin and turned my head to look at him. I found myself staring into his emerald-green eyes, filled with nothing but sincerity.

He looked into mine, just as intently. “You are beautiful, Lilac. Do not be fooled by the standards set by mortal men. You possess a beauty far more enchanting than all the gold of Asgard: beauty of your heart and soul. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.”

I smiled. Loki and that silver-tongue of his always knew how to make me feel better. “Thanks, Loki.” We sat in silence for a little while, watching the fireflies. I sighed, before turning to him. “Why did you come to visit me tonight, Loki? You must have been planning something; last I checked you possessed the powers of illusions, not ESP. You didn’t come here to comfort me.”

He smiled and laughed a bit. “Your cleverness is one of your most endearing traits, my dear. You’re correct, I didn’t just come here to offer comfort, though, I hope I did manage to do that for you.” I smiled and nodded. He smiled again in return.

"Tomorrow evening is the night we celebrate the solstice of the Nine Reams. There will be a grand ball at the palace. Dancing, musicians, games, revelry, much like your ‘Prom’. I was wondering if you would do me the honor of being my guest. Or, as you Midgardian youths might say, my ‘date’."

I raised an eyebrow. “You… you want me to be your date for the ball? Loki, are you serious?” He nodded, still with that mischievous grin on his face. I was in complete and utter shock. I hoped this wasn’t one of his jokes, or worse, a late night ice-cream induced dream. “Loki, I…. why? Why me? There must be a billion other grown Asgardian women you could ask, why ask me? A mortal? A TEENAGE mortal?”

He spoke as he allowed a firefly to play on his hand. “I have been to hundreds of these balls, my dear. I have taken a hundred different women. Every year it’s the same. I find myself growing bored… detached. But you… you’ve awoken something in me, Lilac. A curiosity, a wonderment at the world I haven’t felt since I was a child. I don’t wish to spend another ball mindlessly going through the motions.”

He then looked at me again, clearing his throat. “And, forgive me for being so blunt, but with you I am quite sure there is no risk of needing to fend off un-wanted advances upon me. It does get rather tiresome after a few years.”

I giggled a bit. I understood exactly what he was saying. I was silent for a moment, considering the options. The pros and cons needed to be weighed, and…. oh, screw it. “Yeah, I’ll go to the ball with you!”

He burst into a grin, like I did. “Splendid! I assure you, Lilac, this ball will be a sight for you to behold. Unlike any splendor your eyes have seen on Midgard. Much better than ’Prom’.”

I nodded. “I’ll take your word for it. What about a dress? Should I wear my Prom dress, or will you have them there? And my hair, it…”

He gently places his hand over my mouth. “Hush, my dear. Rest assured, all will be taken care of. Just meet me in your backyard tomorrow afternoon, around three o’ clock. Dress normally, and comfortably. No cosmetics, and do nothing with your hair. Leave it natural. Agreed?”

He removed his hand, and I nodded, covering the yawn I had been suppressing. He giggled, slightly amused by my folly. I was really freaking tired. He knew it. “Come now, let’s get you in bed. You need to sleep.”

He took my hands in his and walked with me to my room. I locked the door behind us. Once inside my room, I went to my bed and immediately found myself under the covers, with Loki pulling them up a bit. He pushed some of my hair back, before gently kissing my forehead. “Sweet dreams, my dear.” He smiled and went quietly out of my room. I stayed awake long enough to hear the back door close, and see the glow of the Bifrost from my window at the other side of my room.

Soon all was quiet, except for the sounds of the filter of my fish tank, the crickets outside, and my breathing as I fell asleep.

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