Author's note: The stories are fictional, but still based on my experiences as a high school student. Any similarities with real life are probably intentional, so there. =p
Just below diamonds and chocolates and right alongside her journal, dorm roommate, and cellular phone, gossip is a girl-in-love’s best friend. Milette knew that and this was why she was strategically located within earshot of a group of girls she would never, in a normal high school day, hangout with. They weren’t part of her regular clique, but being part of Daemon’s classes, they were a treasure trove of information.
She just needed her proverbial “Open sesame.”
"Have you bought a dress, yet?” an accessory girl that need not be named asked.
Milette inwardly cheered. Prom talk, boy talk, and gossip about boys were inextricably bound to each other. Her task was going to go much quicker than she anticipated. She sharpened her hearing and programmed her brain to think of some way to join in the conversation and push it slightly towards the right direction.
Emily Castro, the charming young lady in the middle of the group who happened to be the Corps Commander of that year’s Citizens’ Army Training Class, shook her head. As she did, her wavy brown hair bobbed around her face. “Isn’t it a bit early for that? It’s not like it’s our first prom,” she responded with a small smile.
Milette didn’t really find Emily very attractive, especially with the style of glasses that she chose to wear, but Emily had gotten much prettier over the four years they had spent in high school. Her becoming the Corps Commander added points to her popularity and Cadet Officer training had molded what used to be a skinny frame into a more athletic and admittedly sexier body. As ‘popular’ seemed to be generally equivalent to ‘attractive’ and a sexy body was one of the best assets to beguile the hormonally charged male population, in the alternate universe known as high school, Emily was a formidable opponent in the battle for Daemon’s heart.
Not that Milette was scoping out the competition.
"We’ll pick the dress later, then,” the accessory girl relented, but there was a mischievous tone to her voice that made both Milette and Emily raise an eyebrow. “But, have you chosen who you want to go with?”
"Adrian has asked you, hasn’t he?” another girl piped up. Emily nodded slowly, almost contemplatively.
Milette made a mental note of that. Adrian Sandoval was another popular figure in their school. He was rich, nice, and had dark good looks that made his bit of extra-padding easy to overlook. Milette knew a lot of girls who were praying to be the one that Adrian asked to the prom, and quite frankly, she couldn’t blame them.
So Emily was going with Adrian, right? That meant one less competitor for Daemon.
They’re not going together,” accessory girl replied. “Emily’s waiting for someone who is sure to ask her.”
"He hasn’t asked, yet,” Emily responded. Was that a blush?
Oh, so Emily wasn’t going with Adrian. So, who hadn’t asked yet?
"I’m not sure he will,” Emily protested softly.
"He’ll definitely ask you! Just wait a little bit longer.”
Milette frowned. She was becoming more and more curious. Who were they so sure would ask Emily out?
"I already went to the Junior Prom with a date, I thought it would be more fun to go with friends this time,” Emily reasoned out further. Milette also recognized the underlying reason of not wanting to make Adrian’s rejection any more painful by going out with another guy. Emily was really sweet that way.
"So, you’ll reject him if Daemon asks?”
Milette’s world suddenly constricted and closed. The last words she heard from the group were accessory girl’s reassurances that Daemon really did like Emily and that they made a good pair if Emily would only wait for him. She felt the all-too-familiar pinpricks of tears threatening to fall, but she controlled herself. She needed to be rational about this whole thing.
It made perfect sense that Daemon would like Emily, right? When Milette really thought about it, Emily was pretty while Milette was, at best, above average. Emily was smart and popular and in Daemon's class. Milette got by with industry, was known only in certain circles, and was only present in Daemon's mobile phone inbox. Emily had long left behind the gawky and awkward freshman to bloom into the icon she was right now, while Milette pretty much stayed Milette.
No. The didn't make her feel any better.
Deciding to take action, Milette rose from where she was and began a determined search for the one person that could clear the whole matter up.
People in love are quite unwittingly selfish creatures, easily forgetting that the world does not revolve around them and the current love-of-their-life-and-light-of-their-world-until-further-notice. For this reason, Elise found it easy to forgive Milette when she was dragged away from a less-important-than-love discussion with her co-creative director and fellow production manager/designer about the school musical that was set to be performed less than two months from that time.
"Daemon's asking Emily to the prom," Milette gasped out, as if she had been holding her breath since she found out about the earth-shaking news a little over an hour prior.
Elise raised an eyebrow, almost believing that her friend really had held her breath for that long, before calling up what mental data she had on dealing with smitten girls on the verge of, in her opinion, unnecessary heartbreak. "And you found this out, how?" she inquired slowly.
Sensing that her answer was, in Elise's twisted mind, not satisfactory, Milette sighed in frustration. "He's going to ask her, Elise. He likes her!" she cried out, opting to use volume instead of an explanation.
Elise let the lack of an answer pass, though it did not go unnoticed. The lack of an explanation oftentimes yields as much information as spoken one. "One does not necessarily equate with the other," she pointed out matter-of-factly, even if she knew that at their age the contrary was more often true. But, comforting Milette was a priority at that time. "Besides, are you sure that your information is accurate?"
Gossip was gossip, after all. As a journalist, Milette knew that verification of facts was crucial.
"Isn't it about time you began talking to Daemon?”
A ray of hope appeared in Milette’s life and suddenly, Elise’s ideas, ridiculous as they were, began to make sense. “But I can’t just ask him!”
Elise called up the tiny file she had on Daemon in her head and briefly scanned through it before replying. “He’ll tell you,” she reassured her friend with an encouraging grin. “He studies right off the walkway beside the school building that runs from the dorms to the gate. He should be there until around five.”
"Thanks, Elise.” And, as fast as she came, Milette disappeared.
Elise rubbed the part of her neck right below the base of her ponytail and looked up at the endless sky. “Shouldn’t You start paying me for my services?” she asked with no small amount of mirth. Then, she pulled out her cellular phone and began creating a short message.
stil in skul?
Milette barely had the patience to wait for an answer. How long did it take to reply 'yes' or 'no'? In the minute it took her to calculate in her head that it shouldn't take more than a minute, she received an affirmative reply.
yes. at my usual spot.
Milette cheered in that stifled manner that allowed a small amount of giddiness to bubble up and become an excited squeak and a goofy grin. She ran... no, walked briskly to the “spot” which Elise had described earlier. She had walked so briskly that by the time Daemon was in view, she was short of breath and her heart rate was well above the recommended level for her age. She felt her face burning and her legs and arms went numb. As she stood there, she felt as though her body was hesitating for her. It was only then that she had a moment of necessary clarity.
Milette took out her mobile and shakily punched in a message.
cn i mit you?
She looked up and stared at Daemon for a moment, unable to find the courage to send the message. As realization washed over her, she was quick to erase the newly composed words. What was Elise thinking? Her muscles clenched as she prepared to make her move.
Without a second thought, Milette walked back to the dorms where she knew things were logical, reasonable, and right in the world.