“What do you mean, you can’t come with me to prom?” My voice squeaked in a panicked rush as I gripped the phone and considered throwing it across the room. “I just spent $85 on an updo, and my $300 dress is hanging behind me waiting for you to come pick me up.”
“I’m sick, Sammy. I’m sorry.” Charlie did sound terrible.
My stomach plummeted in sympathy and desperation. I’d been looking forward to senior prom my whole life. This was my one and only chance, and my date was cancelling four hours before I was supposed to meet my friends for the fancy dinner and dancing.
He was just a kid from my track team. He didn’t like me as more than a friend and I sure as heck didn’t feel any more than that. But he’d asked me to prom and I’d said yes.
What else was I going to do? I refused to date any of the guys from my school. They didn’t even bother asking. Everyone knew I was hung up on that guy from last summer. The twins talked about Brandon as if he already was my boyfriend, and everyone else just went along with it.
Charlie didn’t want a girlfriend, like ever, so he was the perfect date. Not anymore. I’d dreamed about this day. I fought tears and tried to be supportive.
“I’m sorry you’re sick, Charlie. Forgive me for freaking out. Do you want me to bring you some chicken soup, or something?”
“Ugh, no. I wouldn’t be able to keep it down.” He moaned. “But thank you for offering.”
“I hope you feel better soon,” I said.
“Thanks. I’m going to go take a nap. I’m really sorry.”
“We would have had a great time, me and you.” I tried to lighten the mood.
“Yeah, we would have.” His voice sounded weaker.
Before I thought twice, I took a selfie and posted it to Instagram. All dressed up and no place to go. Prom date cancelled at the last minute. Guess it’s Netflix and microwave popcorn instead of lobster and dancing the night away. Sigh.
“Lobster and dancing? Since when does she like lobster?”
“What’s that?” Craig took one earbud out and looked up from the textbook he had spread on his desk.
“Sammy’s prom date cancelled,” I said, holding out my phone for Craig to see the Instagram photo.
“Dang, she’s hot. Why haven’t you asked her out yet?” Craig grabbed my phone and scrolled through Sammy’s profile. “She looks particularly good with her hair up like that, but she’s even cute with a ponytail and those running shorts. Shoot, if you don’t ask her out soon, I’m going to.”
“It’s not like that.” I took my phone back from him and looked down at the photo he still had open. It was from last summer when they’d just finished running the 10K. Her hair was sticking to her face in a sweaty chaotic mess and she held up her third-place medal with one hand and took a selfie with her other. She’d never looked more adorable. “She’s like a sis—”
“Yeah, right.” He cut me off. “Sell it to someone else. I ain’t buying the whole sister charade.” Craig put his earbuds back in and turned to his textbook.
I looked at my watch and did some quick calculations in my head, my mind racing. Could I even pull this together in time to drive all the way up there? I held up my phone and opened the home screen. “Okay, Google. Where’s the nearest tux shop?”
I hopped off my bed and hurried to grab my wallet and keys.
“That’s more like it,” Craig mumbled, then called to me as I was rushing out the door. “Have fun, Casanova!”
It was a long shot, but I was willing to take it. The closest tuxedo shop was forty minutes away in Cadillac, which was right on the way. I hit send and waited for the line to ring as I raced to my car. I explained my situation as I juggled my keys and slipped into the leather seats of my Mustang, which purred to life and I put her in gear faster than I could think.
The nice gentleman on the phone was sympathetic and went right to work to find me the right sizes of shoes and pants and coat and cummerbund. I had no idea what color her dress was but gambled on pink, her favorite color, since she’d had little pink roses woven into her up-drawn hair.
My panic increased when they didn’t have my size in shoes, but the guy took it upon himself to call the tuxedo shop in Petoskey and ask if they could help me out last minute like this. As luck would have it, they were the same shop where Sammy’s date had canceled his tux order and they had the exact color of bow tie and cummerbund. They also had the corsage Charlie had picked out for Sammy.
After two hours of driving, one fast food stop, one drive-through car wash, and two quick changes in very helpful tuxedo shops, I was on my way up the coast of Little Traverse Bay to pick up my date.
I couldn’t wait to see Sammy’s face when I rang the doorbell.
Running To You
Click here to read the next chapter in my work-in-progress!