A Prom to Remember

A Prom to Remember

Sandy Hall

For Lauren Velella, who reads every draft. Even the bad ones.

Chapter 1


In general, prom committee meetings bred their own special kind of suffering.

The decision over where and when to hold the prom took a year. The menu planning nearly ended some friendships. The debate over the prom song brought the committee to a grinding halt for a full month. Each time there were tears, storm outs, and once even some bloodshed.

To be fair, the bloodshed was technically a paper cut.

So maybe it wasn’t all that dramatic. But it felt that dramatic to Cora Wilson. Being in charge was not all it was cracked up to be.

As she sat at the front of the classroom and called the meeting to order, she held back a yawn until her eyes started to water. She just didn’t have the energy today. It was bad enough coming back to school after April break, but it was even worse to have a prom committee meeting first thing in the morning before school even started.

Rows of exhausted faces stared back at Cora, until Luke Martinez yawned and she couldn’t hold hers back even one more minute.

“Are we boring you?” Amelia Vaughn asked from her spot in the third row. “I thought we had something serious to discuss.”

Cora shook her head and got back to the task at hand. “The biggest thing we need to do today is decide how we want to deal with prom king and queen.”

There was a groan from the group, and Cora couldn’t be sure, but she thought their advisor, Ms. Huang, perhaps groaned the loudest.

Amelia stood, blond hair gleaming even in the unforgiving fluorescent lights, and her sycophants grinned up at her. “I think we need to keep the tradition of king and queen alive. I think it would be ridiculous to throw away this long-held practice simply because, well, you know.”

She looked around the room hopefully, as if someone would read her mind and fill in the rest of the sentence.

“Fine. I’ll say it, because I know everyone is thinking it.” She paused dramatically. “Our class just doesn’t have an obvious prom king.”

Cora massaged her temples. “I don’t think anyone wants to throw away the tradition completely, but it’s sort of old-fashioned, don’t you think? Since the beginning of the year we’ve discussed the possibility of not doing a king and queen vote but changing it to a merit-based prom court honoring the students who have helped so much this year and in previous years with class projects.”

Amelia rolled her eyes and sat down. Cora counted it as a win.

Kelsey Anderson raised her hand. “I think there are plenty of guys who would make a great king, and I think maybe we should consider a new way of doing things without completely getting rid of the old idea.”

“Okay,” Cora said. Kelsey always had an opinion, but they weren’t always particularly helpful.

“Like who would make a good king?” Amelia asked. “Our whole class is a bunch of beta males.”

The room fell silent.

“Like maybe, um, Henry Lai,” Paisley said, chiming in from the back of the room, surprising everyone. By the look on her face, she had even surprised herself. Paisley made no secret of the fact that she was only on prom committee to fill a void in her extracurricular activities.

“Just because you’re dating him or whatever,” Amelia started.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Paisley interrupted with an eye roll.

“That’s why I said ‘whatever.’ I’m sure it’s some hippie-dippie, undefined thing.”

“It’s really not,” Paisley said with a sigh.

Cora jotted the name down, wanting to keep track of any possibilities. Even though in Cora’s eyes it was a weird and antiquated concept, especially for young, progressive teens, there might be a point to be made that Cora hadn’t considered. She liked to keep an open mind for her classmates.

It might be nicer and easier if the class could unite behind tradition and elect a king and queen. But a small voice in the back of her head told her it was not a good idea to always take the nice-and-easy way out.

At least everyone had finally stopped complaining about the theme. “A Prom to Remember” had been the prom theme at Roosevelt High for the past twenty years. The prom advisor to the class of 1998 had gotten an incredible deal on five thousand plastic champagne flutes with the phrase “A Prom to Remember” etched into them. Since then the administration had insisted that be the theme so the keepsake flutes didn’t go to waste.

Amelia had tried hard to argue the theme, along with several others on the prom committees, but there was no way of changing it at this point. Cora was a little jealous of future seniors who would get to pick their own theme. Not that she would ever say it out loud.

“And what about Jamie,” Teagan said while Cora was busy flipping through her notes from past discussions about prom court.

“What about Jamie?” Cora asked, her ears perking up at the mention of her boyfriend’s name.

“Well, he’d make a great prom king. He’s a great boyfriend, you know it, I know it, the freaking custodial staff knows that Jamie Fitzpatrick is the perfect boyfriend and he would make a perfect prom king,” Josie said.

Cora hesitated before jotting his name down, too.

“What about queens?” Cora asked. She glanced around the room. Luke Martinez jumped up.

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