The prom was already in full swing by the time the limousine pulled up outside the venue. The school had splashed out on a small dance club only a few streets away from the school itself, complete with a proper dancefloor, fx machines, club lights, and a bar serving virgin cocktails. After having their official prom pictures taken, two of the couples, one of the boys and one of Melody and Louise, Melody ushered the four lingerers into the main room. ‘Come on, you lot! I want to get dancing!’
Grabbing Dylan by the hand, Melody pulled him onto the dancefloor. Charlie bopped off after them, happy to dance on his own in the crowd. Rory turned to Louise.
‘May I have this dance, Louise?’
Louise nodded, giggling a little. ‘Lead the way!’ She tried not to look at Dylan, who was trying to awkwardly keep up with Melody’s provocative dancing, as she and Rory passed them, feeling a pang of regret in her chest. If only.
Already feeling out of his depth as Melody shimmied around him, Dylan spotted something else on the dancefloor to make him feel tense. Dancing away jerkily less than four feet away was Puzzle, the light on top of his antennae bumbling about all over place.
‘Dylan! Hi! Look, the nice Louise is dancing with your best friend!’ Puzzle shouted over as he danced around Rory and Louise, turning cartwheels. Dylan rolled his eyes and tried to concentrate on Melody.
‘Dylan! Dylan! Look! Louise and Rory! And what have you got?’
Completely blanking Puzzle, Dylan put his full energy into dancing with his date. Puzzle eventually seemed to give up goading his friend and made do with dancing around the dancefloor, laughing away to himself, all the while keeping a close eye on Dylan. After what had felt like an eternity of dancing, Dylan breathed a breathless sigh of relief as Melody pulled him off to one side after a couple of hours.
‘Wicked party, huh?’
‘Yeah, amazing!’ Dylan said, trying to regain his composure. ‘Great DJ! Shall I go and get us some drinks?’
‘I’ve got a better idea!’ Melody smiled wickedly. ‘In my bag I’ve got a bottle of wine, shall we share it? Let’s get pissed!’
‘Melody! When did you sneak that in?!’
‘I brought it with me from home! Come on, let’s go and get it!’
Dylan paused, and reached out to stop Melody from rushing away into the cloakroom after the illicit alcohol. ‘No, Melody. I don’t want any.’
‘What? What do you mean?’
‘I just… I’m not in the mood, really,’ Dylan shrugged. ‘Besides, we’ll obviously get caught. I’ve seen you drunk before, you can’t hide it! We’ll get done!’
‘So? Come on Dylan, it’s just a bit of fun!’
Shaking his head, Dylan swept a hand through his hair. ‘No, I really don’t want to. What’s the point? We’re having a good night without it. Look, if you want to go and have some, that’s fine. I’ll go dance with Charlie and Rory.’
Melody studied Dylan for a second or two, an ugly look passing briefly across her face. ‘Fine. I’ll catch up with you later,’ she said coolly as she sauntered off. Dylan watched her leave before running off to find his friends.
‘Dylan, mate! Where’s your date?’ Rory hollered over the heavy bassline, the two boys beaming as their friend joined them.
‘Could ask you the same question! Where’s Lou?’
‘With her friends!’ Rory gestured across the dancefloor to where Louise was dancing away with a small group of girls Dylan recognised from their psychology class.
‘Ah, right! How’s it going with her, anyway? You two having a good night?’ Dylan was suddenly very aware of a light bobbing over his shoulder.
‘Why Dylan ask that, hmmm?’
‘Not too bad, Dylan. Don’t think anything’s going to come of it. Louise is a lovely girl, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t have a spark or anything. No chemistry.’
Dylan’s heart leapt. ‘Sorry mate! Better luck next time, hey!’
‘Nothing to worry about! Just one of those things. Besides, now I can keep Charlie-boy-singleton company while you go off with Mels! Where is she, anyway?’
Grumpily, Melody swayed through the crowded dancefloor over to where the highbacked sofas were and sat herself down, trying her best to look sober as she passed a beady-eyed teacher. The vino was starting to kick in, and she smiled as she sunk back into the cushy seat. Stupid Dylan, she thought moodily. Who doesn’t want wine?
She sat alone for a while watching the dancing figures on the dancefloor, grinning drunkenly through the wine induced haze. Vaguely aware of a white-shirted boy sitting down next to her, she didn’t pay him much attention until he spoke to her.
‘So, where’d you get the booze from and where could I find some?’
‘Brad. For you, there is no wine. No wine ever.’ Melody slurred her words, trying her best to look sophisticated in front of the captain of the football team.
‘Ah, don’t be like that Mels! Share it out!’
‘No! S’all gone anyway. All the wine for Melody!’
‘A whole bottle? You’ve not changed! Still, I guess you need it considering who you’re with. Dylan Rivers? Are you kidding? Let me guess, you’re just trying to pull his rockstar father ain’tcha!’
Melody gave Brad a sideways look. ‘Shut. Up.’
‘Why are you with him, Mels? You know I want you babe.’
‘You didn’t want me so much when you were copping off with Mercedes,’ Melody pouted, brushing her fringe out of her face. ‘Why should that have changed since then?’
‘Oh, come on babe! You know that didn’t mean anything! I was blasted off my face, I wasn’t thinking straight! Why would I want her when could’ve had you?’
‘Hmph.’ Preening a little, Melody basked in Brad’s attention. ‘That still doesn’t make things okay.’
‘I know babe. I am sorry. If I could turn back the clock…’
‘Oh, Brad.’ Melody stood up and staggered a little; Brad leapt up and gave her a steadying arm.
‘Careful, Mels! You don’t want the teachers to see you in this state!’ Making sure she was safely on her feet, Brad ran his hand gently down Melody’s arm and took her hand, caressing it gently. ‘What are you like, hey?’ he smiled affectionately.
‘You know I want you, babe,’ he whispered. ‘Why are you being like this?’
‘I… I don’t know…’ Melody’s brow creased as she tried to straighten her jumbled, inebriated thoughts.
‘I know you still love me, babe. It’s so obvious.’
Running as fast as his jerky legs could take him, Puzzle sped around the venue looking for Dylan. He was right. He knew he was right. Melody was hurting Dylan. He could not let that happen. Well, not without Puzzle being there to pick up the pieces… He had to tell his friend before somebody else did!
Turning a corner, Puzzle found Dylan piling his plate high at the buffet table. Sprinting up, Puzzle came to a breathless halt next to him.
‘Dylan! Puzzle has news!’
Resolutely ignoring the bizarre creature, Dylan concentrated very hard on what was on his plate.
‘Dylan! Melody is hurting you!’
‘Think I’ll get some salad…’
‘Sod off! For gnomes sake, I cannot have one night away from you, can I!’
‘But Dylan! Melody is kissing another boy!’
‘I highly doubt that,’ Dylan muttered out of the corner of his mouth, trying not to look like he was talking to thin air. ‘She’s here with me, remember? You just don’t like her!’
‘But she is, Dylan! She is! She is kissing a blonde boy!’
‘Will you pack it in with this vendetta you’ve got with Melody, please! You’re making it up! You just don’t like her.’
‘Neither does Dylan. Dylan much prefers Louise.’
‘Oh, be quiet.’ Dylan said scornfully, trying not to pay any attention to his heart fluttering. ‘Melody’s the most popular girl in the school.’
‘That doesn’t mean she’s nice. And she is not nice, Dylan! She is kissing another boy!’
‘Go look for yourself. She is where the seats are.’ Puzzle stared at Dylan intently with his beady eyes, challenging him. Dylan glared back at him.
‘Oh, fine! Fine! Let’s go! I’ll prove you wrong, you freak!’ Forgetting any attempt to look like he wasn’t talking to himself Dylan flung down his plate and marched off. I’ll show him, he thought angrily. I’ll show him Melody’s not…
Dylan’s thoughts trailed off as he turned the corner and came face to face with Melody locked in an embrace. With him. With Brad.
‘…Melody! What… What are you…’
‘Looks like that’s my cue to leave, babe. Come find me when you’re finished with him.’ Cockily planting another kiss on Melody’s lips, Brad strode past Dylan without so much as throwing a glance in his direction. Dylan didn’t notice. He was too busy staring open mouthed at Melody.
‘Dylan! Where’ve you been?’ Melody asked brightly, staggering over to her date and throwing her arms around him. Dylan unhooked her arms from behind her neck and pushed her away.
‘Don’t do that! What the hell’s going on?!’
‘Oh, piss off Dylan!’
‘Don’t you tell me to piss off! You’re the one who was kissing someone else!’
‘Yeah well, can you blame me?! Why would I want to be with you when I could have Brad? You’re nothing, Dylan Rivers, and I’m everything! Sod off! This is over! Just count yourself lucky I decided to use you as my distraction after Brad cheated on me! Brad! Brad!! Wait up!’ Throwing one last vicious look in Dylan’s direction, Melody ran off after the waiting Brad and walked off. Watching them leave, Dylan realised they’d walked straight through the middle of the dancefloor, where a good portion of the dancers were no longer dancing, instead watching the entertainment.
They’d all seen. They’d all witnessed him being dumped. By Melody.
His face crumpling, Dylan walked over and sat down heavily on the sofa Melody had occupied just moments before. Frowning, he tried to compose his thoughts, going over what had just happened.
He was embarrassed, sure. Who wouldn’t be? He’d just been called nothing in front of, what, a third of his school year, they’d all just watched him get spectacularly dumped by a trashed girl wearing a tiny dress and sky high heels. Not his finest hour.
But oddly… He wasn’t upset. Not about actually being dumped, not about no longer being with Melody… It was as if he didn’t care. But he had really, really liked Melody…
As Dylan tried to make sense of his conflicting emotions he was joined on the sofas by Charlie and Rory, who sat either side of him a little awkwardly. ‘You okay mate?’ Rory asked, a little unsure of how to tactfully approach the situation.
‘Yeah, I’m alright. Best prom ever, right lads?’ Dylan laughed.
Relieved that Dylan wasn’t going to burst into tears on them, Charlie and Rory burst out laughing too. ‘You’ll certainly never forget it, mate!’ Charlie chuckled. ‘Gnomes, how much did she have to drink?’
‘She had a bottle of wine with her, think she must’ve downed it all by the looks of her.’ Dylan shrugged.
‘She doesn’t know what she’s doing, Dyl. You’re much nicer than that idiot Brad. A far better catch.’
‘Thanks, Rory,’ Dylan said, smiling at Rory. ‘Are you sure you’ve not had some of that wine too?’
‘Nah mate, everyone thinks so. That’s what’s going round the dancefloor at the moment. That’s the funny thing about popularity, seems you’re only popular when everyone despises you! Everyone thinks she’s been a tool. Even Louise is giving her a piece of her mind.’
‘She’s what?’ Dylan perked up in spite of himself.
‘You heard! Once she realised what had happened she stormed outside after Melody and Brad and started arguing with her, told her she had no right to treat people like she does and that she’d regret everything she’d done tonight once she sobered up. Think she’s got a point, to be fair.’ Rory paused as he took a sip from his bottle of cola. ‘I don’t know what’s happened to Lou, she used to be all shy and introverted and stuff. Since she came back off holiday with that new hairdo she’s been all bubbly and confident.’
‘Yeah…’ Dylan said thoughtfully, gazing off into the distance before coming to a decision. ‘Right lads, thank you so much for your kind words, sympathy and reassurances, but I think I’m going to pop outside for a bit. Get some air.’
As Charlie and Rory chorused their ‘see you later’s and went off to find something to eat, Dylan made his way through the dancing masses and out through the front door.