Weeks before prom, Myrick and I were like any other couple. He asked me out back in our freshman year, and four years later, we were still together. It hadn’t been perfect, that’s for sure, but it worked, and that’s what mattered.
Myrick was a quiet and reserved guy who could definitely teach the world a few manners. However, there was this one time he got extremely mad at a drunk senior who wouldn’t leave me alone, and he started a fight. It was scary, and he had to promise me that he would never do that again without a good reason. That was the only time I remember seeing him that angry about something.
I was always considered hotheaded. I either loved something, or hated it with no in between whatsoever. It was the opposite of the calm and mature guy Myrick was. I was always pedal to the metal and never stopped for anything or anyone. People commented on our relationship, saying that opposites attract. At the time, I thought that was true.
Our relationship started like any other love story. That was until the words started to fade. I used to love everything about him. Things have changed. The passive attitude and indifference to almost everything around him was annoying now. His smile no longer made my stomach flip, and his eyes showed that he felt the same way about me.
Maybe I was too passionate about everything in life. I didn’t pick and choose. It was all or nothing, and I guess he was done with babysitting me, and coaching me into picking the right option. His eyes used to light up whenever he saw me in the halls, but I’d be lucky to get any acknowledgement now.
I realized that this was a toxic train of thought, but it was getting harder to remember what had brought us together. It’s even harder to forget what’s pulling us apart.
“Brook, focus!” my best friend, Natasha, was saying. She was doing my make up for me, and I would do hers afterwards. Today was prom, and it was the worst time for me to be doubting my relationship. “Myrick’s never gonna let you go after this night,” she giggled. I smiled, but I knew better.
“When I’m finished with your makeup, I know that Brian will be doing the same to you,” I said in an attempt to forget my worries. It didn’t work to say the least, but it would momentarily distract me.
“We told them to get here in an hour, right?” Natasha confirmed. I nodded and tried not to move.
“We should wait downstairs after we’re done up here,” I told her before falling silent again.
The makeup process for Natasha didn’t take as long since she was great at staying still. Soon after we made our last touches, the doorbell rang and I opened it to find both Brian and Myrick there.
I quickly let them in. Brian and Natasha hugged and started whispering what I assumed were compliments to one another. Myrick and I just stood there, awkwardly staring at each other, neither saying a word. Out of the many things he disliked, one of them was public displays of affection, something I didn’t really care about until recently.
When Brian and Natasha finished their greetings, we all walked out. We piled into Myrick’s car. Natasha and Brian were in the back, and sat in the passenger seat. Throughout the entire drive, I could hear Natasha and Brian quietly laughing at something or other. I spent my time staring out the window, trying to ignore Myrick’s presence beside me. He didn’t look my way either.
Prom started with people trying to find one another. It didn’t take long before we joined up with our other friends. Of course, the first thing we did was take pictures with one another. It was the last dance before we would all split up for whichever university we were going to. Most of them would see one or two others at some of the schools in our province, but others, like me, would be on a plane and far away from our home.
The music was turned up, and more and more people started dancing. Myrick joined me, but I could tell that he was distracted. It was during the slow dance where I found out why. We were just swaying to the music when someone else bumped into us. It was a girl, shorter than me, and she seemed familiar.
“Sorry,” she started to apologize before looking at Myrick. “Hey! I couldn’t find you anywhere.”
He tensed up, but from what I could tell, it wasn’t because he was annoyed at her, or because he was worried about me misinterpreting her actions as flirting.
“Uh. I was just with my friend here,” he replied. I had to hide my anger at his words. We were probably going to break up soon, but couldn’t he wait until after it actually happened?
Myrick either didn’t notice I was quietly fuming, or he didn’t care.
“I’m going to find someone else,” I said in a neutral tone. He gave me a worried look, but I left as quickly as I could, not wanting to say something I would regret.
I sat down with a cup of fruit punch and scrolled through a few emails on my phone. A few other people joined me and we started talking. Occasionally, I’d find myself tuning out the conversation and wishing for Myrick to join us and apologize. I got angry every time that thought came to mind.
At one point, a friend of mine looked up and nudged me. “Who’s the girl Myrick’s dancing with?”
“Honestly? I don’t know her. I might’ve seen her around, but I’ve never been introduced,” I told her in a tone that screamed, don’t talk about it. She understood and patted me on the back. I rejoined their conversation to try and forget about what I had to watch, but lo and behold, just as I thought that, someone walked up behind me.
We all turned to see Myrick and that girl looking at us with smiles. I bitterly realized that he was much happier than he had been with me recently. My eyes, and everyone else’s noticed that his hand was wrapped around her waist. Some people looked between the two of us, expecting some sort of explanation, but nothing came. I looked back at a few girls and they immediately understood the situation. They didn’t look at the new girl again. A few of them stood up and excused themselves to go to the washroom. I went with them, not even giving Myrick a look.
The moment they were sure we couldn’t be heard, one of them, Gale, asked, “Did you two break up?”
“Not officially,” I said, trying to control my tone.
“I can’t believe Myrick, of all guys, would do this,” someone else tried to comfort me.
“I don’t either.”
My eyes were starting to tear up, and the moment we entered the bathroom, I reached for some tissue paper. I wasn’t bawling my eyes out or anything. I stayed quiet and tried to keep any more tears from falling.
“I knew this would happen sometime soon,” I whispered, “I just wished we actually had an official breakup before he went off with someone else.”
“Look, you have every right to be angry, even if that was the plan,” Natasha said, and all the other girls nodded. “Just don’t let that ruin tonight.”
I nodded. They helped my get rid of all evidence of crying. Just as we were about to leave, the other girl with Myrick entered.
“Hi,” she said with a cheery smile. I saw most of my friends frown. The girl looked, but didn’t seem to notice their frustration and, instead, started redoing her makeup while continuing the conversation. “Do you know what kind of style Myrick likes?” she asked. “I’m trying to impress him tonight.”
“Really? And why is that?” I asked, giving nothing away from my tone. My friends were surprised that I chose to respond in that way. Don’t get me wrong, I was mad at her, but I was also curious.
“Oh, we have last period Law together, and we sit beside each other. I like him. He’s cute,” she said casually, still working on her eyes.
“Well, he likes natural colors, things that don’t stand out too much. His favourite perfume is the Japanese blossom scent, he loves soft girl sweaters, and his favourite denim colour is dark blue,” I listed. I knew everything about him. I used to love him for pity’s sake.
“How do you know all of this?” she asked in wonder.
“I’m his girlfriend,” I bluntly replied.
“Are you sure?” she asked. I felt rage building up and wanted to punch her right then and there. “He called you his friend earlier.”
“That’s because he’s a dick that doesn’t deserve Brook’s attention!” Natasha cut in, starting to yell. “So just know that you can have him, but don’t you dare think of any of us as friends.”
She dragged me out to where we saw Myrick waiting on his phone. He looked up and saw me there.
“Hey, Brook, what’s wrong?” he asked me.
“Can I talk to you?” I asked him. He had a confused look on his face, but nodded. My friends left to go back inside.
“What’s up?” he asked.
When I didn’t respond immediately, he held my shoulders, forcing me to meet his eye.
“I think we should break up,” I said.
His mouth dropped open, and his grip on me tightened, “Wh-why?”
“It’s time to move on… for both of us,” I said, before backing away. He took a step forward, following me. I wished he didn’t even try. It would make it so much easier to hate him.
“Brook,” he tried to stop me, but I shrugged him off and kept walking. He caught up and held me still.
“It’s over, Myrick,” I told him.
“Myrick?” I heard that annoying voice again. “Are you here?”
“Go find your next girlfriend,” I muttered.
“Is that what this is about?” he scowled, looking between me and the other girl.
“You know I wouldn’t do that,” he scoffed, narrowing his eyes at me.
“Then why does she think you’re single? She told me she was trying to flirt with you not even two minutes ago in that washroom. It didn’t help that you introduced me as your ‘friend.’ Is that what you call every girl you’ve dated?” I retorted.
He scowled, but didn’t say anything, so I took that as my opportunity to leave. Before I left that area, I heard her asking him about me. The moment I got back, I was surrounded by my friends who were determined to help me to forget about him.
The rest of the night went well. Myrick didn’t show up, and none of my friends asked about him. When it was coming to an end, we said goodbye to a few people we wouldn’t see later at the after party. Our group of friends was going to sleep over at Natasha’s house since it was huge.
The air felt cold after being packed in a room and dancing on a crowded floor. I was both surprised and disappointed to see Myrick leaning against a fence. He looked up and caught my eye. I knew he wanted to talk to me, so I gestured for my friends to go on ahead.
“Brook, we need to talk,” he started.
“It’s already said and done, Myrick,” I interrupted him.
“I want you to come over to my house before you go to the party.”
“Myrick,” I protested. “Not now. It’s done. We’re done.”
“Just,” he took a deep breath. “Just give me this one chance. I can drive you to the party afterwards. Just… come with me.”
I looked behind him where Natasha was waiting for me. She was getting picked up and taking a few others with her. I signalled for her to go on. Myrick turned to look at them, and got a glare from Natasha. He shifted uncomfortably and looked away.
They drove away, and I silently followed Myrick to his car. I got in and immediately felt a wave of regret. Although I thought I was prepared for the breakup, being in the same car as him was slowly starting to break my heart.
The drive should’ve be silent, but I couldn’t stand it.
“You didn’t go back in,” I noted. It was true. I didn’t see him after I broke up with him.
“I hate that sort of scene, you know that. I also didn’t want to deal with the repercussions of that so soon,” he replied, giving me the tiniest of smiles. He was probably thinking of Natasha.
“Did you tell that girl that you were finally free?” I said in an extremely bitter tone. It was probably uncalled for since he was no longer with me.
He just sighed. There was a pause before he actually responded. “I never wanted to give Mary that kind of impression. I just thought she wanted to be friends, and she never asked if I had a girlfriend.”
I didn’t say anything more. If I did, I might’ve started yelling.
We couldn’t get to his house fast enough. Instead of taking me in through the front door, he brought me to the side entrance of his backyard. I hesitated, unsure of whether or not to follow, but he waved me over.
I couldn’t believe what he did. His backyard was softly lit with coloured lanterns and decorated with colours that matched my dress. There were a few of my favourite desserts set out on a table with two chairs. My eyes went wide, and I looked at Myrick. He was watching my reaction with a neutral expression. He walked over to the table and pressed a button on a remote. Soft music started playing, and he held his hand out to me.
“Shall we finish that dance?” he asked with a hopeful expression. I was still stunned, so he smiled and took my hand. He held me close to him, and I didn’t move away, even when my voice of reason regained its senses.
Finally, I took a step back. He was frowning and clearly hurt. When I finally spoke, I asked, “Is this our last dance?”
“I want for us to take another chance,” he pleaded.
“To what? Be in a relationship, and yet be alone at the same time?” I raised my voice. “It’s over Myrick. We have nothing in common, and it’s clear that we no longer feel the same for each other. You even went as far as calling me a friend in front of a girl that was clearly flirting with you. I’m not the one you like anymore. It’s her, Mary. This wasn’t even for me, was it?” I was breathing heavily and I couldn’t think straight. “We’re just wasting time chasing after a dream that we no longer want.”
“Stop being so dramatic,” was the only thing he said. Right afterwards, his eyes widened and his jaw dropped.
“Fine, if you don’t want my drama, then just stay away from me. It’ll be better for the two of us anyways,” I told him before walking to the door with tears forming for the second time tonight.
He rushed to stop me, and tried to amend his statement, “Brook, I didn’t mean it like that. I just need you to listen to me.”
Myrick was holding my hand, and I couldn’t pull out of his grip.
“I have something for you,” he swallowed nervously, and seemed to wait for my permission.
“You keep doing these things, and all it does is waste time because we go nowhere in the end,” I said.
“Brook, you used to love seeing me smile when we were alone. Has that changed?” he asked. I rolled my eyes and he frowned. I snuck a few looks at him while we stood there. He seemed to be stressed about something. Suddenly, he reached for something on the inside of his tuxedo. What Myrick pulled out made me speechless again.
He showed me a long box with a symbol that was the dream of every female on this planet. Myrick opened it up, and I saw a necklace that shone in the soft glow of his backyard.
“The chain is white gold and it’s a 1.5 carat diamond,” he explained.
“That costs a fortune, Myrick,” I stated the obvious. He just smirked.
“There are a few things you don’t know about me yet, but I’ve been saving up for this since I figured out what dating was. It was supposed to be for someone special. My dad told me this one story about how he barely got enough money in time to buy this one ring for my mom since it was highly contested for. I got inspired, and started saving up,” he smiled at me. Slowly, he took it out and held it up to my neck. His eyes darted between my wide eyes and the diamond necklace. “You’re beautiful, you know. This necklace can’t even match you,” he scoffed, placing it back into the box. He held it out to me.
“Myrick,” I looked up at him, unsure of what to do.
“It was meant for someone I loved, and I want you to have it,” he casually told me. That one sentence made me feel vulnerable under his gaze.
If I really wanted our relationship to end, all I had to do was refuse the gift. Taking the necklace would save our relationship, and say I loved him too. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down. I closed my eyes, reached for the box… and pushed it towards him. I didn’t want it. I looked at him, and he was biting his lip. His eyes were getting glossy, and it was clear he was holding back tears.
Instead of leaving though, I stood on my toes and leaned upwards to kiss him. He returned it, holding me in place. His hands were holding me so tightly, it almost hurt. It tore me apart to be so close to him and have him show me how much he truly loved me. Myrick finally pulled back and we just stood there in each other’s arms.
Eventually, we started swaying to the music that was still playing.
“This won’t be our last dance will it?” he said, repeating what I had said earlier.
I shook my head, “Never.”
With that answer, he took the box out and clasped the necklace around my neck.