"I am not going to the Snow Ball."
"But—why?" Preslie basically whined. I could see the frustration behind her eyes. She had been trying to get me to go to our school's winter ball for weeks.
I leaned against the lockers, watching them both with narrowed eyes but also a grin. My friends were persistent—which amused me more than it annoyed me.
I wish I could understand how something so—minor and otherwise pointless, was such a big deal to them.
I knew plenty of people who loved these cliched high school experiences—dances and balls and prom and football games.
I just wasn't one of those people.
Maybe I'm internally damaged. I don't know.
Maybe I'm just a pessimist.
Maybe I'm too introverted.
Still, I found myself amused by how much Preslie loved all of it—dressing up for spirit days, dressing accordingly when there was a big football game, planning school dances. All of it. It was adorably nauseating.
"It is going to be the biggest dance," Ocean added. She wiggled her eyebrows at me—as if what she were saying made the idea somehow more appealing.
"It's a private school." I chuckled, shaking my head at the stupidity I found in her statement. "Every dance we have is invested with over thousands of dollars. They're all the biggest."
"Yes—but this one is the winter one which is always better than the spring one." Preslie retorted, her tone defensive.
"Yeah—peanut butter and jelly is always better with bread." I rolled my eyes, sighing at my weak comeback. "How does the season signify which will be better?"
Preslie shrugged weakly. She looked down the hallway, avoiding my eye contact. She didn't have an answer. My amusement was only growing.
Preslie was the girl who always wanted to live in the moment—not miss a single chance to make memories, hence why a single school dance was so important. Personally, I found it ridiculous but Preslie, she was cute in her own charming way. I could find her wholesome, at the very least.
"Christmas season is the best season." She raised her eyebrows at me, challenge in her eyes. Her response, retort enough but not a very good one.
"That is a matter of opinion, Pres." I laughed before pushing myself off the lockers and starting to walk down the hallway. In response, Preslie rolled her eyes.
"Come on, Eliza." Ocean sighed. "It's a dance—for a few hours on a Friday night. What else would you much rather do anyway?" Ocean tried to end the argument that had been going on for over a week now.
I practically snorted. "Eat, sleep, watch Gilmore Girls, go rollerblading. I don't know—anything but spending time in a cramped room with the fake people in this school. Not to mention the crappy music they play all night."
I wasn't a big fan of dancing. Throw in it being a school held one—just, no. Thank you.
I wasn't trying to be overly annoying by refusing to go to this dance. I had gone to plenty of school dances in the past—due to Preslie's pleas. I knew exactly what to expect. It just wasn't something I found the least bit fun.
The music would be crap music—nothing anyone enjoyed because they had to remain 'family friendly'. Basic radio-friendly pop songs.
The finger food would be—adequate, maybe. McDonalds would be a much better meal.
The punch would only be worth it if someone managed to spike it. With the security at our pretentious private school, that would not be happening.
It was a lame excuse to dress up and take pictures. Find an excuse to dance with your math-class-crush you try to subtly glance at all throughout the lesson.
He doesn't even know you exist.
It just—it didn't sound like a night I would lose sleep over missing. The overly priced tickets were not worth it.
Preslie smacked my arm lightly, giving me a stink eye. "Come on, Eliza! Cute guys in suits—and us in fancy dresses. Don't you want the ultimate high school experience?"
"There are at least four dances a year. Missing one will not cause the world to stop spinning." I swung my arm around her shoulders and continued walking.
"It's a dance—so what she doesn't want to come?" Ocean finally decided to take my side. "She'll come to the next."
"Of course I will." I smiled innocently before stopping in front of Preslie's next class. I turned to face her.
Preslie inhaled deeply, narrowing her eyes on me. I could see the mischief and challenge behind her eyes as she got ready to hit me with something more persuading.
"So—" her eyes narrowed, a sly smirk tugging on her lips. "Say, if Dallas Roland came up to you—and he asked you to go to the ball with him, you would say no?"
There was confidence behind her eyes. She thought she had me.
Dallas Rolland—said to be the most popular and most handsome guy in our grade, maybe even in our whole school. Stereotypical and cliche but unfortunately these cliches were true.
I laughed out loud at the question that was by far the most stupid thing Preslie must have ever said. "I would say no faster than No Clue rapping 14.1 syllables in a single second."
"You can't—" Ocean started but then sighed and stopped herself. "Never mind."
She shook her head and let me get back to my back and fourth squabbling with Preslie.
"Is that so?" Preslie quirked an eyebrow. "You—you would reject Dallas Rolland?"
I nodded my head firmly, giving her a dull look. "Would it be more convincing if I said yes in twenty different languages?"
I'm not an idiot, nor am I blind. I know Dallas is charming and rather attractive. I completely understand why every girl in the school wants a chance to stand a foot away from him in the hallway. He's very easy on the eyes, a good sight to stare at.
As much as I could agree, as much as I could see the appeal—what's the point in consuming yourself into a fantasy? I would never be with someone like him. I would never be on his radar.
He's just another guy who enjoys attention from long-legged blondes.
I have enough self-respect to not lose myself in a guy who—in a guy. Much less, a golden boy like our school's very own: Dallas Rolland.
I wasn't interested, nor did I care if he knew I existed unlike all the other girls in the school who did. I wasn't going to set unrealistic expectations just because he happened to be good looking.
Crushes—they're a waste of time. It requires too much energy.
Sure, I can admit that he is attractive but—that was it. We weren't friends and we never spoke nor would we ever, so why get hung over him?
"Come on Liz." Preslie groaned. "I just want you to come so we can take cute pictures."
"We can take cute pictures when you run for governor and lose to John Travolta." I sent her a quick wink.
I was about to walk away when a voice spoke but this time, it wasn't Preslie.
"What are you so scared of, Eliza?" River snarled, a cocky smirk laying on her face.
Of course she had been eavesdropping.
Everyone has one mortal enemy in high school—River Vincent happens to be mine.
Again, quite cliche but you can't help that you don't get along with everyone—in my case, I happened to find myself my personal Regina George. I never would understand why she hates me so much but eventually I came to the conclusion that I truly don't care for her opinion.
Her existence merely irked me.
"Scared?" I asked. I laughed when I turned around to face her and her minions. "The only thing I would be scared of would be—God forbid, my heel breaking! Or even worse, my nail!" I feigned a look of horror before rolling my eyes at her.
River scoffed, not amused. "You should win an award."
"Or become a comedian." Her minion friend, Rachel, added in.
I crossed my arms over my chest and raised my eyebrows. "Right? I was thinking of running for presidency too."
"You just can't get a date—or walk in heels, or fit in any dress. Is that it?" River laughed dryly.
She adored mocking and taunting. I wonder if it gave her a higher sense of self worth.
By now, multiple other students were standing around and listening to our bickering.
River had that effect.
For whatever reason, River decided it was entertaining enough for her to start some stupid brawl with me.
I found it ridiculous but did indeed appreciate the little bit of entertainment it brought me. God, she was pathetic.
"It just baffles me how well you know me! How are we not besties?"
"What are you trying to do?" Minion number two named Sue, glared at me. They were not enjoying my sarcasm.
I heaved out an exaggerated sigh. "Nothing. Just trying to give the world another joyful reason to continue to orbit the giant star in the middle of the solar system."
River looked at me with a flat expression but ignored my remark. "What is it really, Eliza?" She tilted her head to the side and looked at me as if she was analyzing me. "Can you not get a guy? Can't dance? Can't—"
"Get guys?" I scoffed. "I can assure you that I am doing just fine but I do appreciate your concern." I shot her an insincere smile.
"Really?" River snorted. She raised an eyebrow, challenge in her eyes. "Because you don't even want Dallas Rolland—not that you could get him in the first place."
"Yeah, zero chance." Rachel muttered, rolling her eyes.
They really thought they were doing something. That made me want to laugh.
River was trying to rub something in my face—something that hardly existed to be rubbed in, in the first place.
This whole ordeal was bizarre. I didn't understand the point. I didn't understand why these girls found all of this so relevant.
I could have peacefully been on my way to class. What was the reason for all this ridiculous bickering? Did River have nothing better to do? Was she threatened or something? Or did she just feel better about herself when she spat on other people?
I would never understand the importance to such stupid and timeless things.
Soon enough, we would all be out of high school and all this drama and concern for these little things—like the ball and Dallas Rolland would be so forgettable and irrelevant.
"What does it matter—so, I don't want some overrated guy. Is that really so relevant to you?" I inquired calmly.
Dallas was just a guy. Why did it matter?
They acted as if hell was freezing over because someone didn't melt at the thought of Dallas Rolland.
He was the type of guy who wouldn't notice people like me—normal people. The only things in his line of sight were cheerleaders and rich girls, girls who had popularity following them. Girls who were evidently gorgeous and confident.
That was okay. We were two separate states. We weren't relevant to each other—but somehow, River was finding it relevant enough to stop me from getting to class so she could mock me for it.
"You're right. It doesn't matter—since you stand no chance with him anyway." River laughed her manic laugh. She spoke as if the words made her feel better about herself.
I huffed out an exasperated breath, growing tired of this conversation. "You were the one who brought him up."
"Whatever." She waved her hand in dismissal. "You're just—such a try hard, Mary. It's pathetic."
I laughed. I couldn't help it. She was calling me pathetic? "Good one, River."
Virgin Mary. Such an inept insult.
"Whatever, bitch." She glared daggers through my head. "Good luck getting any guy, especially someone like Dallas Rolland."
I looked at her as if she just tried to convince me that gnomes are real creatures. How did this conversation turn into a discussion about my chances with Dallas?
"Oh River, an electronic banana peeler is much more useful in my life than you or this conversation ever will be." With one last insincere smile, I turned around. This conversation will forever baffle me. I needn't spend more of my time wasting my breath.
Just as I turned around, I was taken by complete and utter surprise when I saw none other than Dallas Rolland standing just a few feet away from me. His eyes were lit with genuine amusement. He didn't seem surprised that he was the topic of conversation—in the middle of the hallway with people gathered around and listening.
God, this place reeks of desperation for entertainment—found in gossip.
My eyes narrowed. He smirked as he met my gaze.
He had been listening. He was amused by it.
The hallway fell silent because nobody had noticed Dallas standing there; the eyes were focused on River and I.
Dallas and I stood there, eye to eye with the whole school seeming as quiet as flowers, not even the sound of a clock ticking being heard.
I was confused and stunned, too stunned seeing him standing there to find a witty enough remark.
This was just—frankly, incredibly awkward.
He had overheard such a pathetic conversation where he was the topic. He had heard it all.
I wasn't one to easily get embarrassed but this, this was awkward.
I could still feel River's eyes shooting daggers through the back of my skull.
Finally, Dallas spoke, breaking the uncomfortable silence that draped over all of us like a blanket.
"Everything considered, what do you say, Eliza? Will you go to the Snow Ball with me?"