Part 1: “How I Ended Up at Prom in Diapers”
“Tasha, are you wet?”
“Are you sure?”
Mom quickly pulled down Tasha’s pants to reveal her pink Leg-Up with the princess designs. The smiley faces had faded.
“Natasha, your Leg-up is soaked!” my mom exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I dunno,” my baby sister Tasha mumbled.
“Didn’t you know you had to go potty?”
Mom sighed. “Tasha, don’t you want to be a big girl?”
Natasha looked down at the floor. It was obvious this wasn’t the first time she had heard this talk. “I guess.”
“And don’t you want to be out of Leg-Ups and into panties like your friends at preschool?”
Mom sighed again. “Okay, go off and play. I’ll go change you in a moment.” As Natasha ran off, mom looked at me. “What are we going to do with her? If she isn’t willing to use the potty, I might have to put her back in diapers.”
“That’s great mom,” I said, not paying attention to what she was saying and staring at the TV screen.
“Amber, would you get off that couch and get ready for school?”
“I’m already dressed and packed,” I said. “I’m just waiting for Jade to get here.”
“Well at least turn down that show,” Mom shouted at me. “I can’t stand that channel. At least when I was a teen STV still played songs. Now it’s all that reality junk.”
“Sorry Mom.” I lowered the volume and continued watching the show. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. I gathered my stuff and opened the door. My best friend was standing there. “Hey Jade,” I said to her.
“What up girl?” she answered back. “You ready?”
“Yep. Bye mom!” I called out and then closed the door. We began to walk down the street.
We were barely out the front yard when Jade was ready to begin her daily morning gossip. “So I totally think Lizzy’s cheating on Josh because yesterday in the locker room I totally noticed that she had a picture of Sky, which I guess would mean Sky either broke up with Jennifer Hanson or Jennifer Xavier, I don’t remember which one’s with whom, but that’s not the point—”
Over time I learned to zone out from Jade’s morning rants. I have never cared about who is going out with who or what dirty little secret someone has or if my classmates are virgins or not… none of it concerned me, so why should I care? But I pretended to listen, since Jade was my closest friend and all. We were one of those rare duos that had been together since kindergarten. The day we met, she criticized me because I was wearing the same shirt as her. We were best friends since.
“Girl, you get my text last night?” Jade asked, alerting me that her rant was over.
I nodded. “You said you had big news for me.”
“It’s bigger than big. Yesterday Courtney told me that Darrin Mavarick may ask a certain Amber McCormand out to prom.”
I stopped in my tracks. “Darrin Mavarick? I barely even know him.”
“That’s why you’re his target. Guys like acting mysterious towards women. Otherwise he would have been flirting with you all year in art.”
“Jade, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. First of all, prom is three months away. Why would he already be asking someone?”
“Hey, prom is the biggest event of your life. Bigger than your marriage. He’s keeping you on reserve.”
“What reserve? He’s a senior, I’m a sophomore. Plus he’s the hottest guy in school… even you agree. Why would he ask me?”
“Why not? It’s so in right now to date lowerclassmen,” Jade pointed out. “Not to mention you’re not so bad looking yourself. 'Specially that cute ass of yours.” And then promptly she playfully tapped on said ass.
I jumped, and then I laughed. “You know if Darrin Mavarick did that, I’d be calling him out for sexual harassment.”
We walked across the crosswalk to get to the school campus. “We’ll see about that after Darrin asks you out,” said Jade.
As if on cue to cut out our conversation, the bell buzzed its loud screeching buzz. “Catch you in art!” Jade called out as she went in one direction. I walked in the opposite direction; this year we didn’t share any classes together except for art, which was right before lunch.
My first three classes went by smoothly: there was a lecture in English, a Russian revolution documentary in History, and the same-old-typical language exercises in French. I kept the whole Darrin thing in the back of my head, but I didn’t think all that much about it. Rumors are rumors.
The truth is, I didn’t care all that much about boys. A relationship did not interest me at the moment, even if couples sprout up around me all the time. I had some guy friends here and there, and plenty of crushes back in middle school, but I never had been in a real relationship. And I could care less. It’s not like boys were all over me anyways.
Anyways, fourth period finally came: Art. People who knew me would imagine art was my favorite subject. I love drawing, painting, sculpting, you name it! Mom says I get my creativity from Dad, who happens to do freelance marketing and advertising. Some of his ideas have led to very successful marketing campaigns for major companies. Dad’s the one that even introduced me to touching a crayon to paper, or at least that’s what he tells me.
However, art was not my favorite class. In a way, it was my least favorite. If you had been drawing as a hobby since you were two years old, would you enjoy a high school class called Beginner Art? At the beginning of the school year I tried pleading with the school counselor to enroll me in the advanced class, but she insisted that I have to take a beginner class first. The upside was that I took the class with Jade. So throughout the year while we were taught how to draw concentric circles with a No. 2 pencil, I had my time to laugh and quietly complain with my best friend.
I entered the class and already saw Jade sitting at her usual chair at our usual table. She patted the seat next to her, my cue to go over and sit.
“What up girl?” Jade asked. “Anything new since we last saw each other?”
“Negative,” I responded. “Ready for some concentric circles?”
“Concentratize me, Captain.” Our conversations were always as stupid and entertaining as that.
“Mind if I join you two?” I heard a masculine voice behind me. It was Darrin Maverick.
I glanced at Jade, who stared at me with a discreet smile. “Sure Darrin,” I said. I tried not to show any emotion in my voice, and I know I said earlier that I didn’t care about the rumor. But to be honest, I was kind of excited. After all, this was Darrin Mavarick. Usually he sat with one of his jock friends or the flirt of the week; I knew something was going on.
However, Darrin didn’t say anything throughout class. We sat listening to the teacher lecture about which pencil hardness to use for shadowing in what situations. I glanced over to Darrin every now and then, but he was just doodling something on the edge of his sketch paper.
After the teacher’s lecture, we had time to practice shadowing. She placed an apple on each table for us to sketch on paper, with shadow and all. I was so caught up in drawing, I stopped paying attention to Darrin or anything else around me. Before I knew it, the bell rang.
I began to pack up my stuff when Darrin suddenly say, “Hey Amber, I’ve heard you’re already a pro artist.”
I blushed a little. “Well, I’ve been at it for awhile.”
“Can you tell what you think of my apple sketch?”
“It’s lunch time…”
“Come on, quickly?”
I sighed. “Okay, let me see.” He slid his sketch to me. It was a crude drawing, even for beginner art standards. Of course, I wasn’t going to tell him that. “It’s not bad. You just need to work a bit on scaling proportions. And of course, shadowing.”
“Uh huh,” he replied, obviously not really listening to my critique. “Now flip it over?”
I flipped over the sketch paper. Five characters were written in huge block letters:
I looked back up at Darrin. The muscular jock had a huge smile on his face.
“Amber, will you go to prom with me?”
I have made it pretty clear beforehand that I’m not the typical girly girl, nor do I care all about boys. But then again… the hottest and most popular guys at my school just asked me to prom.
I did my best to cause a spectacle. “Darrin, I’d love to!” I simply responded with a huge smile to match his.
“Awesome. Hey I’ll catch you around.” With that, Darrin Mavarick grabbed his backpack and left the room.
Once again I looked at Jade, who too had a huge grin. Must have been contagious. “What I say, girl?” she asked. “Did I not say it’s so in to ask out lowerclassmen?”
“Hey, you were right,” I said back. “Let’s not make a big deal out if, 'kay?”
“Don’t tell me you’re not excited.”
Jade was right. I was super excited. And the day got better from there. Throughout lunch and the last two classes, I kept getting glances from a lot of people. Especially from junior and senior girls. I don’t know if it was sudden acceptance, jealously, or hatred… but no matter what, I suddenly felt popular.
After school on our walk home, Jade started in on everything she’d do to help me prep for this prom. “I’m going to find you the sexiest dress, something so stunning that no matter what corsage Darrin Mavarick finds, it won’t be worthy of your beauty. Oh, I should start calling around the tux rental shops to make sure they’ll have a vest for Darrin that will match the dress.”
“Remember, I’m the one that’s going, not you,” I pointed out. Jade rambled on, and I just did my normal thing of zoning out her conversation. Even still, my thoughts were centered on Darrin. Why’d he choose me of all people?
Finally we reached my house, and Jade and I parted ways. I entered my house to witness the usual happenings. Tasha was in the living room watching Lola the Voyager on TV. The antique clock in the hallway chimed its daily four o’clock chimes. However when I walked past the kitchen, I noticed Mom and Dad both sitting there. I knew something had to be up; Mom was usually cleaning something in the house, and Dad was either in his study working on a project or somewhere about town pitching a new ad campaign.
“Hey Mom, hey Dad, what’s up?” I asked, entering kitchen.
“Amber, sweetie, sit down,” Mom said. “We have some… radical news for you.”
“What is it?”
Mom and Dad glanced at each other and then looked back at me. Dad was the first to open his mouth.