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Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #907042
Tammy kept her secret for five years and now reveales it to a perfect stranger.

Tammy sat in the shadows not wanting to be seen by the two people she secretly watched. Everyone seemed so happy, especially Mary Lou the new Prom Queen, who danced with Adam the new Prom King. Adam was as handsome as always, and as they danced Tammy looked on from her secret hiding place and sighed, wishing it was her dancing with Adam.

She envied Mary Lou with her beautiful curly blond hair that nestled gracefully on her slender shoulders. Her wispy tendrils kissed her forehead and seemed alive as Mary Lou swirled across the dance floor. Her feet barely touched the ground as Adam twirled her in his arms. They looked so much in love, and so happy. Their smiles lit up the room as everyone clapped and cheered for the 2004 King and Queen.

Mary Lou and Adam had been boy friend and girl friend since elementary school. Every one expected them to get married once they graduated college, maybe even sooner. They were now in their senior year of high school and there was only a few more months left to go.

Adam was tall and muscular and his wavy dark hair glistened as the disco lights flashed overhead. He had dark blue eyes that almost looked black in the dim lights of the gymnasium. Tammy's heart melted as he looked in her direction. His beautiful smile with perfectly white and evenly spaced teeth were a product of his father's handy-work. Adam's father was the neighborhood dentist.

Adam was also a wonderful athlete, he not only played on the varsity football team but also on the varsity basketball team and varsity baseball team. He excelled in all sports, even wrestling. Tammy attended every one of his games and cheered him on.

As Tammy stared at her one true love she softly sighed, "He will never, ever love me. He doesn't even know I exist. How can I compete against the most popular and the most beautiful girl in school?"

"Why are you hiding here in the corner?"

"What? Who are you?"

"A beautiful girl like you should be out there having fun, not hiding in the shadows."

"I'm not beautiful, she's beautiful."

"Her beauty isn't all that it appears to be. She's nothing but glitz. That's not real beauty."

"Well, I wouldn't mind having some of that glitz. If I did, I wouldn't be hiding here in the dark."

"Mind if I sit here with you?"

"Sure, why not?"

"My name is Harold Kent, and you are Tammy Carter."

"How do you know my name?"

"I've seen you around. You were in my English class last year. I'm the boy no one ever hangs out with. You at least have friends, I don't have many. No one wants to be seen with the class nerd."

"You're not a nerd, you're just very smart."

"See, I told you you were beautiful."

"What do you mean?"

"You let me sit here and talk to you, and you didn't call me four eyes, or call me a nerd or any other derogatory epithets you could think of. You didn't look down your nose at me like I was dirt."

"Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that?"

"Because it's true. I am a nerd and I wear glasses. I am what's known as a social outcast. I'm not handsome, or popular, I have two left feet, therefore I can't dance. I don't come from a rich family, and I wear hand me down clothes. I have an older brother in the military, and four younger siblings. When I am not in school I am working at Wal-Mart and give most of my pay check to my parents. Dad broke his leg and will be out of work for several months, they need my income to help pay the bills until dad is back on his feet. I don't date because I don't have extra money to take anyone out to fancy dinners."

"That shouldn't make you a social outcast. I think you're nice. You don't talk mean about people. You're friendly, caring, and obviously devoted to your family. Those are very good qualities. You've even made me feel a lot better about coming to this dumb dance. By the way, would you like to dance?"

"I told you, I can't dance."

"Can I tell you a secret?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"I can't dance either, that's why I stay hidden in the shadows. I'm afraid that if anyone ever asked me, I would step on their feet."

"You're kidding, right?"

"No, it's true. I haven't danced with anyone since I was in the seventh grade. When I went to my first official dance, I stepped all over my partner's shoes. I was so embarrassed at that dance, that I have never danced with anyone ever again."

"Then why do you want to dance with me?"

"Well, I figure it this way. Since I can't dance, and you can't dance. Then if I step on your feet, or you step on my feet, we would be even. There would be no reason to get embarrassed."

"Ha, That's true. OK, I'm game if you are, but on one condition."

"What's that?"

"We dance here in the shadows where no one can see us."

"That's a great idea."

The rest of the night they spent dancing-in-the-dark, just like in the song. They sometimes sat and talked about the other dancers, wondering if any of them felt as they do. Tammy told Harold in confidence, that Adam was the boy whose feet she stepped all over in seventh grade. She had had a mad crush on him back then, and still did.

Tammy sighed and said, "He would never ask me to dance now, who could blame him?"

"I could, he's a fool not to see beyond the dance. Beauty isn't in what you see, but in how you feel."

Tammy looked up into Harold's warm brown eyes, so different from Adam's cold blue ones, and wondered what she ever saw in Adam. She knew she wanted to see Harold again. His smile was like the ocean, full and deep, carrying her heart away to a friendly shore. Harold was not as tall as Adam or as muscular but he had a nice physique. He was broad in the shoulders and narrow in the hips. Although he wore glasses, he didn't look like a nerd.

"Do you have a pen or pencil?"

"No, why?"

"I want to give you my phone number. I would like to see you again."

"Don't worry, I can remember it."

"OK, it's 555-7942."

"Got it. Is tomorrow too soon to call?"


Harold had to leave early, so he said good-night. He had to be at work Sunday morning at 7 o'clock. Harold kissed her on the cheek and chills ran up Tammy's spine. She watched him walk away and thought, this was the best dance I have ever been to.

The rest of the night she seemed to be floating on air. She left her dark corner, and as she walked past the dancers she no longer felt shy or afraid. A new confidence welled up inside her and she seemed to glow.

As she walked past Adam and Mary Lou, she wished that just once, Mary Lou would feel as embarrassed as Tammy had all those years ago.

Suddenly, there were shouts and laughter coming from across the room. Tammy turned to see if they were laughing at her. Instead, tears of joy streamed down her face. There on the floor sat Mary Lou and Adam in a puddle of punch. They had apparently danced too close to the serving table and accidentally bumped into it. The leg of the table gave way and the punch bowl slid to the floor. The two dancers apparently slipped on the wet slick floor and down they went.

"Adam, how could you!" screamed Mary Lou. "My dress is ruined."

"What about me? Look at my clothes, they're pink."

"Take me home, NOW!"

"And ruin the cloth seats in my car, not on your life."

"Is that all you ever think about, your precious car?"

"Hey, I spent a lot of time and money on that car.
I am not about to throw it all away. Pink does not go with the interior of my car."

"Your car, your car! All you ever seem to care about these days is your precious car. I'm beginning to hate that car. Well what about me? What about us? What about my dress?"

"Well, what about your dress? Why does everything always have to revolve around you? What makes you and your dress more important than me or my car?"

"That's it, I'm out of here. Keep your precious car. Tonight after the dance when you want to cuddle, cuddle with your CAR!"

Trying to wring out her dress Mary Lou turned to leave. Laughter followed her as she ran crying out of the gymnasium. A few minutes later Tammy over heard her sobbing on the phone asking her father to come and pick her up. Tammy wasn't sure if Mary Lou's face was pink from the punch or from the embarrassment she felt from arguing with Adam in front of the whole school.

"You don't look so pretty now," Tammy thought. "Strange how that happened. I'm glad it didn't happen to me. Wouldn't it be awful if they broke up? Oh well, it was just a thought."

As Tammy left the dance and headed toward her car, she spotted Adam outside standing by his new Camaro. He looked perplexed.

She overheard him say, "What am I going to do now? How am I going to get home without getting my seats all pink and sticky?"

"Maybe I can help you?" Tammy said, surprised at her boldness. "I'll drive you home. You can come back tomorrow and pick up your car."

"Gee thanks. Uh, what should I call you?"

"Tammy, my name is Tammy Carter."

"Don't I know you from somewhere?"

"Maybe, let's go."

That rat, after all these years of feeling embarrassed every time I was any where near him, and being afraid to look him in the eye, he doesn't even remember who I am. What a conceited oaf. The two of them deserve each other.

Tammy turned away, smiled and led him to her car. Adam reached for the passenger door and was about to climb in.

"Hold it! You just stop right there. You're not getting pink punch all over MY car."

Adam thought those words sounded familiar.

"But, you just said you would give me a ride."

"That's right, I did, and I will. The way I see it is, you have one of two choices. One, there is a picnic blanket in my trunk, you can climb in, lay on the blanket, and I will drive you home. Your second choice is, you can remove all your wet pink clothes, and I do mean ALL, place them in the trunk on the first-aid kit, wrap yourself in the blanket, then and only then, can you ride home with me inside my car. The choice is yours."

Tammy let what she said sink in. She was enjoying this. After all those years of feeling ashamed of herself because of him, it was payback time.

"OK, I've made up my mind, give me the blanket and
turn around."

Tammy unlocked the trunk, turned her back to him and couldn't help but chuckle. Adam hid behind the car, removed his clothes, folded them and placed them in the trunk. His wounded pride would not let him be caught riding in a trunk wearing pink clothes. After wrapping himself in the blanket, he sat down on the front seat of her car. She soon joined him and sat down in the driver's seat.

"How rude" she thought, "he never even offered to open my door for me."

"If you drive south on Lexington, turn right on Freemont you can take the short cut through...."

"Don't worry, I know where you live," she interrupted.

Adam turned toward her clutching the too small blanket tighter around his body.

"Who is she?" he thought. "How does she know where I live? What else isn't she telling me?"

Every once in awhile Tammy took a side glance at Adam, and each time she did her heart skipped a beat.

"Even without his clothes, wrapped in a picnic blanket, and covered in pink punch, he is still the most gorgeous creature I have ever seen. Tonight has to be by far, the best day of my life. First I meet Harold, and now I get even with Adam. God has truly blessed me," she thought.

As she pulled into his drive, Adam opened his door
and jumped out of the car and started running toward his house.

"Great, not even a thanks or a good-by, I hope he trips and falls flat on that handsome face of his. I guess Harold was right. It's all glitz. There is nothing beautiful about him."

Putting her car in reverse, she turned her head to check behind her, so she could back out of the driveway. Just then Tammy heard a commotion and a woman scream. She stopped the car.

"Adam honey, what happened to my baby? Where are your clothes?"

Just as Tammy looked up, she saw the picnic blanket get caught on a branch next to the front door, causing Adam to lose his balance. Adam fell face down on the cement walkway. He got quickly up, and ran into the house as fast as he could, leaving the blanket still attached to the branch.

"Keep the blanket, I'll get it another day." she yelled as she watched Adam climb up the stairs in his pink jockey shorts.

Tammy laughed all the way home.

Sunday after church Tammy waited patiently for Harold to call and was surprised when the phone rang, and it was Adam.

"Hello, Harold?"

"No, this is Adam."

"Oh. Hello Adam, I wasn't expecting a call from you. I was expecting someone else."

"I know...it's just...well...you have something I need."

"I do?" Tammy's heart started beating faster.

"Yeah, my clothes are still in the trunk of your car, and my keys are in my jacket pocket. I can't get my car back without them. Would you pick me up
and take me to the school so I can get my car?"

"Oh...sure, why not. Give me a few minutes."

After hanging up the phone, Tammy freshened up her make-up, looked in the mirror and said, "Not too shabby Tammy, you look pretty darn good today. Too bad he's such a jerk, and I thought he called to thank me. Thank God I have Harold."

Tammy's new found confidence in herself seemed to make her shine. She was like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon and spreading her glorious wings to fly.

Adam was at the curb waiting for her when she arrived. Without a single word he just climbed in and sat next to her.

"Don't you have another set of keys?" she asked.

"Yes I do, but I wanted to talk to you about something."

Tammy wondered what it could be? "Maybe he's finally going to thank me for helping him? I guess he's not such a jerk after all."

As she pulled away from the curb he turned to look at her. He noticed her shiny auburn hair and sparkling green eyes. Her mouth curled up at the edges in a pleasant sort of way. She had a straight almost Romanesque nose that seemed a little too large, and yet fit her features perfectly. She smelled of mulberry and looked beautiful in her pink floral dress. He noticed her long slender legs for the first time as she gracefully moved them from the pedal to the break and back again.

"Pink looks a lot better on you then it did on me."

"Uh...thanks...I guess?"

"She looks so familiar," he thought.
"Although she isn't as beautiful as Mary Lou, she has a radiance and gracefulness about her that is very appealing."

"Well, what did you want to talk about?"

"Have you told anyone about what happened last night in front of my house?"

"No, no I haven't."

"Great! I have a favor to ask. Please don't mention it to anyone."

"That's it? That's what you wanted to tell me? No thanks for the ride, I appreciate all your help, thanks for picking me up and driving me to my car, nothing else? That's it? You really are a jerk, aren't you? You two deserve each other...."

She rambled on, but he blocked out the sound of her voice. Her fiery eyes blazed and he was entranced by her anger. He was at a loss for words. She became more beautiful each second and he couldn't take his eyes off her. She looked so familiar. "Why can't I remember her? I know her from somewhere, maybe I should ask?"

"Excuse me," he interrupted. "Will you please be quiet?"

"Who do you think you are, telling me to be quiet? This happens to be MY car, and I can TALK if I want to. Good, we're here, just get out of my car and leave me alone."

When he didn't leave, Tammy turned to look at him and was about to bombard him with another round of angry words. He knew what was coming and so he placed both his hands on either side on her face, and before she knew what was happening, Adam leaned toward her and kissed her on the lips.

His kiss was sweet and wonderful, it was what she had always dreamed of since seventh grade. Her stomach tightened into a knot, her breath seemed to escape her lungs and she couldn't breathe. His kiss seemed to go on forever and she forgot what she was going to say.

When he finally let go of her, they were both too stunned to say anything. She stared at him with her mouth agape. He gently placed his right index finger under her chin and helped her to close her mouth.

Tammy quickly turned away from him, placed both hands on the steering wheel and stared straight ahead. She could feel the heat rising in her body and moving up toward her face. Tammy was sure her face was as pink as Adam's jockey shorts were night before. She began to tremble, and she knew that if she let go of the steering wheel her hands would be shaking uncontrollably.

Adam realized it would be up to him to break the silence, but he didn't want this moment to end. He was supposed to pick up Mary Lou in an hour and smooth out what had happened last night. He knew he loved Mary Lou very much, but this girl fascinated him, and he wanted to get to know her better.

With her trembling subsiding, Tammy reached for the trunk release button and pushed it. The sound of the trunk popping startled them both.

Adam got out of the car and walked toward the trunk. He picked up his clothes and fumbled around until he found his keys. After closing the trunk he walked over to Tammy.

"I know I must have seemed ungrateful, and I'm very sorry if I hurt your feelings. I was just so embarrassed by the whole ordeal, that I acted like a jerk. I wanted to apologize to you today and thank you for everything you did for me last night, and I seemed to have mess that up too. I'm sorry. It was kind of you to help me, and I do appreciate it."

"That's all right. I'm partly to blame. I should have been a little more understanding about your predicament. I sometimes don't know when to shut my mouth."

"That's not a bad thing, it made the conversation more pleasant. I know, I enjoyed it."

Tammy could feel her cheeks getting pinker.

"By the way, before I leave to pick up Mary Lou, I have to ask you something. Where do I know you from? It drove me crazy all night."

"Do you remember our seventh grade Under the Sea Dance?"

"Yes, I do. Unfortunately I remember it very well."

"Then you should remember when you asked me to dance, I stepped all over your feet and made you wince."

"I wasn't wincing at you. I didn't know how to dance back then and I thought I was doing something wrong. Everyone stepped on my feet, and I'm sure I stepped on all the other girl's feet too."

"That's funny. Do you know, because of that seventh grade dance, I have never gone to another dance again, until last night where I met my Prince Charming."

"I'm sure you're not talking about me. There was nothing charming about me last night."

"You're right, I was talking about Harold. Last night he turned a shy ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, just by being kind and listening to a girl talk about how much she thought she loved another guy."

"And who is this other guy? Do I need to beat him up?"

"No, I was talking about you."

"Me? We hardly know each other."

"That's true, but I've had a crush on you since the seventh grade."

"And you told him that?"

"Yep, and he didn't mind at all. So now we are seeing each other."

"That's great, you will have to introduce us. Maybe we can double date or something. He can teach me how to be more considerate to the ladies.
Do you think he could help me smooth things out with Mary Lou?"

"I don't know? She was very upset with you last night."

"I know, that's why I didn't want you to say anything to anyone. If she heard I rode home half naked with another girl, I don't know if she would ever forgive me."

"And all this time I thought you didn't want me to say anything because you didn't want to be teased by your friends."

"I can take the teasing about the punch, but I can't afford to get Mary Lou any madder at me then she already is."

"I see your point. Good-by Adam."

"So long Tammy, and thanks for everything. You have opened my eyes to a lot of my faults and I'm sure I will be a better man for it. Your Harold is a lucky guy."

Adam bent down and gave Tammy a good-by kiss on the lips. It was still a sweet kiss, but she decided to save the tingles for Harold.

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