Laurie Larsen is the author of The Chronicles of Casey V. due out on July 15. For more about Laurie and her other books with The Wild Rose Press, check out her website. Thanks, Laurie!
Lori and I wanted to double date to the prom – one of the last high school things we’d do together before heading off to colleges in separate states. Problem: neither one of us had a boyfriend. But we each had several male buddies so we were determined to snag someone willing to spend the big bucks on a tux and dinner out. Lori was immediately successfully when she asked a nice guy named Jeff and he accepted. I was shyer than Lori and had a little harder time figuring out who to ask, not to mention, how.
My part-time job held the most promising prospects. I worked at the local Steak n Shake restaurant as a waitress, and had become friends with three potential prom dates there: Greg, the bus boy, who was a lot of fun, but several years younger than me; Bert, who made milkshakes and freezes, who was quiet but nice; and Marc, the grill guy. Of the three, I was most interested in Marc. He was cute, nice, fun, and made my heart beat a little faster. I really liked him, and in my imagination I pictured our prom date being the beginning of a summer romance. My choice made, each night I worked with him I made the effort to flirt and smile and get him to see me as more than just a waitress he worked with. Unfortunately, my shy nature cost me my first pick at a prom date: a more assertive girl named Amber asked Marc, and I heard through the grapevine, he accepted.
Darn! Back to the drawing board. I decided Bert was my guy. I cornered him in the break room one night and asked if he’d go to prom with me. He immediately agreed. Great. I knew we’d need to coordinate our colors and plans, but as far as I was concerned, it was one night of our lives together. Little did I know, Bert had different ideas. He evidently had been harboring secret feelings for me and had been as shy as me, if not shyer, about revealing them. He took my prom invitation as an open door to kick into high gear. His plans for Prom Saturday included meeting early in the morning, driving two hours to an amusement park to spend a few hours on the rides, then out to the country to ride horses on a trail ride, then back to town to quickly throw on our prom clothes, eat out, then head to the prom and after-prom. My head spun with the implications of such a busy day!
Freaking out, I got Lori to explain to him that for a girl, prom preparation takes all day long – bathing, getting her hair done, taking time with her makeup. Not running helter skelter from one activity to another, leaving only moments to wash off the horse smell and throw on a gown. He got the message. On the night of the dance, he presented me with a gift: a big bulky watch with an alarm that told time in four different time zones and played “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” I accepted it, bewildered, but didn’t wear it that night. To Bert, that must have been a prize gift to present to his new lady love. It just made me feel darn uncomfortable.
We had a great time at prom, the four of us. Bert was the perfect attentive date, a gentleman to the nth degree. But I realized afterward, I had a problem. I didn’t have the feelings for Bert that he evidently did for me. I wanted to feel for Bert what I felt for Marc, I really did. It would’ve made the summer an exciting, memorable one with the promise of young love. But I just…didn’t. So a few weeks after prom, I returned the watch to him, tried to tell him what a great guy he was…. Just not the one for me. I’d broken his heart and regretted it deeply. Now, thirty years later, I realize it’s just one of the lessons of life.
Coming Next… A fun Climbing Rose anthology-- Summer Lovin’ --and a special prize from the authors!