Posted on Thu Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 5:13pm by Unawakened Jana Rotherbridge
Date: March 12th, 2010
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Sergeant Calhoun high school, main gym, Dallas, Texas
Social functions were the definition of boredom.
Social functions involving people she saw at school were even worse.
That meant a social function where the sisters or cousins of wrestlers were ‘requested’ to provide refreshments in a formal setting… that was death.
Jana hated the girls she had to work with. She hated her tea-length white eyelet dress. And she definitely hated how a certain wrestler’s eyes gazed amusedly at her every time she met them.
At least Gabe had the decency to look sympathetic. Simon seemed to revel in her plight.
No nookie for him.
Not that she’d planned to give him any.
Gabe was right. She shouldn’t. It was a bad idea.
She kept telling herself that as she went back to the kitchen for more canapes. The wide skirt of her dress flouncing around her.
Curse Aunt Mariah and her excellent hearing. Jana was never talking about school near her ever again. Shopping for the dress had been torture.
Entering the kitchen, Jana ignored the girls who were talking. Possibly about her. She was well aware she only had enough of a bust to hold up the dress, and that compared to the other girls, she didn’t look nearly as cute. Maybe this would make it so that Simon chose a different target.
She told herself that was relief she felt. Not jealousy. Or envy.
She didn’t need him.
A woman needed a man like a fish needed a bicycle.
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she jumped when she felt a hand on her arm.
Jana followed the the hand to its owner and found Simon standing there. Out in the gym, she heard the opening strains of a slow song.
“First dance,” he said, reaching for her hand.
She pulled back. “I should go find Gabe.”
Simon shook his head. “Against the rules. Has to be someone you aren’t related to. I came to find you.”
Jana looked around and found that she was alone with him in the kitchen. “They’re trying to pair us up,” she said. “Like always.” She hoped that whoever Gabe partnered didn’t have high hopes. “And… why the girls are in white.” She backed away from him.
Simon in school clothes was dangerous. Simon in formal attire was downright lethal. “Dress you all as a group of virginal brides. All of you watched over by protective male relatives,” he said as he followed her. He trapped her in the corner where two counters met. “Except for you.” His hands were on either side of her. Boxing her in.
He just wouldn’t stop. Maybe something about her would turn him off. “I am, you know,” she said quietly
“You are alone here with me,” he agreed, sliding his fingers under hers where she gripped the counter. He seemed to enjoy that fact.
“No,” she said. “I mean, yes I’m alone with you, but,” she swallowed., “You said we were dressed up like virginal brides. I was trying to tell you that I am a virgin.”
He pulled her from the counter. “I know,” he said, gathering her in his arms. She inwardly berated herself for letting him. “No other reason for you to be so nervous. Why do you think I’m being so gentle?”
Jana blinked, surprising herself by wrapping her arms up around his neck. Then corrected herself and put them on his sleeves. “We’re not dancing properly,” she pointed out, her aunt firmly in the back of her head. There had been vigorous dance classes to train the ‘wrong’ way of dancing out of their heads.
Simon, not missing a step, slid her arms back where they were. “There’s nobody to see, pet,” he said. “Besides, I like you this way.”
Jana could see why. In this position, it was inevitable that that their bodies would touch. He didn’t have to deliberately move in to her, though she was sure she did it a few times. She felt guilty. She was encouraging him, and she shouldn’t be. She wanted to pull back, but his arms were firmly in place, and budging them wasn’t going to happen. Even if she wanted to, which she was almost convinced was the case.
She looked up at him, and their eyes were locked as the song started to wind down. She felt as if he were mentally undressing her, and that wasn’t altogether unpleasant, even though it was scandalous. He wasn’t doing anything overt; they were just dancing. But it felt very… forbidden.
Finally, the song ended, and Simon let her go, taking one of her hands. Meeting her eyes, he bent to kiss the back of the captive hand. Holding her gaze, he gently released her hand and walked toward the door. He gave her a very sexy smile before he left. Jana was without words.
She had very little time to recover as seconds after Simon left, several of the other girls walked in. And filled the formerly charged air with useless chatter.
“Did you see Cheryl with Adam?”
“That was the third time he chose her first. They’re going to be engaged by graduation.”
“I’m just sad that Simon stepped out for it.”
“He probably had to use the mens’ room.”
“Helps that we were short one deb.” The girl who spoke looked at Jana, confirming her suspicion that they knew she was in the room, even when they acted like they didn’t. “By the way, hon, your aunt is looking for you. She didn’t like that you were hiding during the dance.” It was said with a condescending smile, but it reminded her of a snake. She wanted to slap it right off the girl’s face, and she felt satisfied that when she moved forward, the girl took a step back, her ginger-colored hair bouncing as her green eyes went wide.
But Jana pasted on a smile instead. “Then I’ll go speak with her,” she said, her voice falsely sweet. “Wouldn’t want to upset Aunt Mariah.” The girl nodded, along with her compatriots, all clearly eager for her to be gone.
As Jana left, she heard more conversation.
“But I felt so sorry for Sylvia. Dancing with Gabe. That won’t get her anywhere.”
“Oh, I know! So tragic. But, no one else was willing to step up. I guess it’s good that he’s a gentleman.”
“Momma says all he needs is the right woman.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s Sylvia.”
Jana was sure it wasn’t any of them. But she left the space outside the doorway and walked to where her aunt sat with the other matrons. It was almost as bad, except that their sympathy seemed real.
Which might be worse.
“Oh, you have your hands full, dear Mariah. Clarice finally marrying her cattle man and trying to launch two new young people?”
“How do you manage?”
“Not to mention how late in the game it is. Jana should have been out a year ago!”
“Well,” said Mariah, with the air of the put-upon, “I just tell myself I’m doing the best I can.” She looked up to see Jana. “Oh, there you are, my dear.” She stood up. Mariah was still a beautiful woman. She looked like nothing more than an older version of Clarice. She tried not to snicker at the thought of Aunt Mariah saying, “Bite me.”
The woman spent a few moments straightening Jana’s outfit. “You really shouldn’t be hiding, dear,” she said. “You look lovely tonight. Show it off.”
“The scarf around the waist is a stroke of genius.”
“Yes, simply marvelous.”
“She looks like a girl from another time. So romantic.”
The scarf was a nod to her mother, but there was no telling this crowd it was anything but Mariah’s doing. A few more tweaks, and she was sent to man the lemonade bowl.
Once at her station, she looked around. Gabe was talking to a girl she thought must be Sylvia. Looked like he had a new friend. More perusal of the crowd found her meeting Simon’s eyes.. He smiled at her. She felt as she blushed, and took some lemonade for herself to cool down.