Note: This is a sequel to a story which I had intended to pass for my high school’s school paper. If you didn’t get to read the first one, just click on Obvious.
It was their Juniors and Seniors Prom. Nick was hanging around the buffet table. He was eating loads of chocolates, not caring if he gained any weight because he never did no matter how much he ate. He was careful not to stain his tuxedo, though. Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself To Dance was playing while each class took their class pictures. Nick was stomping his foot to the beat of the song while he sang along in his head.
“You look bloated!”
Nick turned to see her and then looked down at his belly.
“Yeah, right,” Nick said, sarcastically.
Alayne beamed. It was the brightest smile Nick has seen of her since she and that senior dude broke up during their Christmas Party.
Nick picked up a piece of cake from the table and hold it up to Alayne.
“The food’s great!” Nick said.
Alayne’s eyes diverted from Nick. He turned to see what she was looking at. It was the senior guy holding a senior girl’s hand. During the Pisay Night, the senior guy asked Alayne to be his girlfriend so much to her delight. Five months later, on the supposedly happiest day of her life, he broke up with her saying he likes someone else. Nick, then, stayed late in school with her as she wept too many tears of heartbreak. After she ranted to him about Senior Guy for two hours, she thanked him and called him her best friend and that she was happy he was always there for him. Over the Christmas break, they kept exchanging text messages, always checking up on her if she’s okay. When school was back again, Alayne was always uneasy everytime they had to pass by the corridors of the seniors. Nick was always stalling her with his little jokes. But he knew his small jokes weren’t enough to keep her mind off of Senior Guy.
Nick ate the cake he picked up for her. Alayne saw that and punched his arm.
“Ow! What was that for?!” Nick said.
“That cake was for me!” Alayne said.
“Well, you were busy looking at him again,” Nick said.
“No, I wasn’t.” Alayne looked away.
“Lie to yourself.”
Alayne took a cake for herself. “Why aren’t you dancing anyone, anyway?”
Nick fixed his tie. “I like food better.”
“Didn’t you mention your crush looks fantastic tonight? Huh? Who is she?” Alayne said, nudging Nick’s shoulder.
Yeah. She looks fantastic. Very fantastic. Nick thought.
Nick walked back towards their table. Alayne followed him.
“Uh yeah,” Nick said. “She’s somewhere here.”
He sat quietly while Alayne sat close to him. Nick tried to tell Alayne what he felt but he couldn’t because she was not over Senior Guy. She was still hurting, and he didn’t want her to feel like she doesn’t have anyone to hold unto.
Alayne smirked. “Afraid to ask her?”
“Oh come on! I meant to say was are your afraid to ask her to dance?” Alayne said.
Nick looked away. More like afraid you’ll finally find out I like you.
“Oh,” Alayne said, “Is she taken, too? I guess, we’re on the same boat.”
“She’s not taken. She just broke up with her boyfriend,” Nick said.
“Did he hurt her?”
“I didn’t know anyone from our section or class who recently broke up, well, apart from me.”
Nick glanced at her. Oh God. She knows now.
Alayne looked at him, as well. “Oh my gosh! It’s a senior, isn’t it?”
Nick sighed in his head. How naive, this girl is.
“So who is it, then?” Alayne grasped Nick’s arm.
“I can’t tell you.”
“What??!! I told you when I had a huge crush on…”
She didn’t continue. Nick pulled his arm away from her so he patted her back. Alayne buried her face on her hands.
“I can’t think of any seniors who had broken up,” Alayne said.
“That’s because there’s none.”
Alayne looked up at his face. Another music was playing. Nick knew this song. It was the song his father and mother danced to on their very own Prom – “I’ll Be”. Nick curved his lips. He had a sad look in his eyes.
“M-me?” muttered Alayne.
“S-since when?” Alayne straightened herself.
“Since last year.”
“And-and you didn’t tell me?”
“I tried to show you.”
“Y-you tried to show me?! You’re my best friend in this entire world!” Alayne said.
Nick looked down.
“Why are you just telling me this now?” She was calm again.
“‘Cause of our friendship. Like you, I don’t want to lose that either.”
Alayne shook her head. “I just got out from a terrible break up, and you’re telling me this?”
“Technically, I didn’t.”
“Of course. You and your cunning words.”
“But you figured it out yourself.”
“I don’t even want to fall in love anymore. Falling in love hurts so much. And now, I learn, my best friend likes me?” Alayne said, exasperated.
“No. You’re not sorry.”
Alayne stood up, looking down at him.
He looked up, shaking his head.
“I can’t just tell myself to not feel this way. I didn’t ask for this. It just happened. I’ve always been here for you, unlike Senior Guy, who in your five-month relationship repeatedly made you cry. I’ve always made you happy, always made you smile. I’ve always been your shoulder to cry on. It breaks me when I see you cry. I can’t stand how much you’re hurting,” Nick said.
Alayne shook her head with her eyes stinging. She walked away. Nick didn’t follow her. He stayed in his seat. He stared at the dance floor where almost everyone was, but he was not looking at it.
Nick closed his eyes briefly. “You fell, and you will fall, but I will always be here to catch you.”
The second chorus of the song began. Nick smiled with hurt.
“What’s gonna make you fall in love when I know you got a wall wrapped all the way around your heart?” He muttered.