I woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee on Saturday morning. My nostrils flew me to the kitchen where I also found Tommy and Luke having breakfast. Luke had chosen an omelet for breakfast where Tommy had chosen a plate full of sliced fruit.
“About time you woke up PJ. I made coffee.” Tommy said once he caught me walking in. It was clear from his curls dripping water droplets that he had already showered and gotten dressed.
I looked at the clock, it was only 8:32 AM, “You are up early” I said after a big sip of coffee. The bitterness of the coffee hit the back of my throat making me cough. Tommy, like me, had grown up with someone doing all the cooking. I personally had never touched a coffee machine prior to coming to the states and my first batch of coffee was disgusting as well. I wanted to put down the coffee cup but forced myself to drink it to not hurt Tommy’s feelings. I grew use to acidity on the third sip.
“Still on Calida time it appears.” He responded.
“Where’s Theo?” I asked.
“Mila’s. He said he had to steam the dress for her.”
I came to the realization that today was the day. Today was my first high school dance, something that was apparently taken very seriously in the States. Luckily, I was not completely alone when figuring out the traditions of said dances. Luke told me that he had gone to one of the dances named Prom with Mila’s mother. He did not go to in detail, but he did list a corsage as a must for these dances. I had ordered one a few weeks back at a local floral shop I found one day while strolling at night. The woman automatically recognized me as the Prince and tried giving me the corsage for free. I had to convince her to let me pay and ended up ordering a corsage with sunflowers and baby’s-breath, Mila’s favorite flowers. Luke had picked it up this morning and it looked wonderful. The woman at the floral shop had outdone herself.
I took my coffee to my mini office that I had set up when we moved into the apartment. It mostly consisted of forensic homework along with my music sheets for the piano. I opened my laptop and started to work through my emails. The sixth email was the one that caught my attention, it was from my mother. It read:
From: Queen Catherine of Calida
Subject: School Dance
Good evening Son,
I have resorted to the method of emailing you because you do not call your mother nearly enough. I hope it is due to the time difference and nothing more. Mr. Luke has informed your Father and I about a dance you will be attending at school. I will not have it! You are there for education and only education. I feel the need to remind you that you are a man who is engaged to be married. Please do not ruin it by making silly mistakes while abroad. Take care son.
Queen Catherine of Calida
I had no idea how to respond so I decided to just close my laptop and pretend that I never saw the email. I came here for the whole high school experience and that is what I was going to do. I knew that I had an engagement waiting for me back home. Mila did too. We never talked about where that left us or if there was even an us to talk about. I knew deep down that my parents would never approve of my relationship with Mila if I choose her, but I felt different with Mila. I felt like me, which was a feeling that I never had felt before.
Theo came into my makeshift office interrupting my thoughts. The time on my laptop said that it was 12:47 PM.
He was holding up a blacked-out garment bag with one hand and a few accessories on the other hand.
“I got to make sure you match, Mate. Can’t have you clashing the masterpiece I put Mila in.” He smiled before he started laying out all the different components on my desk. We had a few more hours to get ready so Theo told me to shower while he finished setting up. I shaved my stubbled chin and jawline before getting into the shower.
After my shower, I put on a pair of briefs, sweatpants, and a white tee before I went back into my room. I saw Theo jump into the shower after me and Tommy was starting to steam out his tux. He had chosen a tailored dark navy suit with sparkly grey loafers.
While Theo and Tommy began to get ready, I decided to finish blow-drying my hair. I styled my blonde hair back with the help of Luke’s gel and put on some of my Givenchy cologne. I got flashbacks of my life in Calida, the fancy suits for the fancy events. It felt so long ago even though it had only been a mere three months.
When I walked back into my office I noticed that Theo had laid out different watches, pairs of shoes, ties, and one set tuxedo. The tuxedo was composed of tailored black trousers, a black button-up, and a grey metallic blazer. I raised my brows. The blazer was a statement and Theo knew it. I put on the tuxedo and called for Theo. He came in dressed in a Burgundy velvet tuxedo, it looked like I was not the only one who was going for a statement piece today. When he got closer, I noticed that he was also wearing eyeliner.
I began hyping him up, “Wow Theo! You did not come to play huh?” I said. He laughed giving me a twirl of his outfit. I grew accustomed to seeing Theo in great pieces, he was a designer and he had great taste. He always did. Some would bully him for it. When we traveled to Nigeria at the age of 7 with our fathers, they shouted out derogatory comments when Theo wore a tiara in public. We did not understand the meaning of those hurtful words back then, but our fathers did. Theo’s father would stand up for him, my father stopped our playdates.
Theo adjusted my blazer and handed me a black belt. I ran the black belt through my trouser’s belt loops while Theo continued to pick out accessories. He told me to skip the tie and unbutton the top buttons of my dress shirt instead. He handed me a black watch and a black pair of dress shoes. I looked in the mirror and felt great. Theo had done an amazing job at styling me.
“And just one more surprise,” Theo said reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a small black box, handed me the box, and left the room. I opened the box and realized that it was a pair of silver cuff links. I pulled one out and saw that the initials “M.T.” Were engraved on it along with a heart. Under the cuff links, there was a note.
"A small reminder of me wherever you go.
I smiled. She never failed to surprise me. I put on the cuff links, they were probably my favorite accessory I owned. They was no price tag that you could put on these.
When we finished getting ready it was 5 PM. Tommy and Theo took pictures of themselves for the social media accounts and Luke took a couple of us together. We all stood out but it was fine because we never really fit in. We decided to head out to Mila’s after out phones recharged.
As we stood out Mila’s house, the palms of my hands began to get sweaty as I held onto Mila’s corsage. I had never been so nervous. I ran my palms down my suit trousers and rang the doorbell.
Cassandra opened the door and her eyes widened as she saw us. She grabbed me into a hug, “Oh my dear boy, you look so handsome!” She pulled back, “You all look so handsome!”
I walked into the house, Jimmy was sitting on the sofa. He was dressed in a classic black suit and gave us all man hugs.
“Looking slick Jimmy!” Tommy said before they jumped into last night’s conversation about the latest tech. I could see them becoming good friends.
I sat down and waited on the couch along with everyone else. Before I knew I heard heels clicking behind me and got up to face who I assumed was Mila. My mouth dropped as I saw Mila walk down the hallway. Her black hair was in perfect Hollywood waves. She was wearing a long silver sequin dress that hugged her body perfectly with a slit running up her right leg. The front of her dress was cut in a low V and held up by two thin straps. She looked like a goddess.
“You look hot,” Mila said bluntly when she approached me, snapping me out my hypnosis stage.
“You look....You look breathtaking.” I told her. She smiled and took my hands. She saw that I was wearing the cuff links that she got me which made her smile wider.
“I love them,” I told her. She was closer to my height in her heels. My lips were perfectly aligned with her nose. She reached up and gave me a quick soft kiss. It made my knees feel weak.
“Ahem. Should we take pictures?” Ms. Torres said behind me. I was sure that my face turned red from embarrassment. It felt like the world did not exist when I was around Mila. Ava came down the hallway last dressed in a bold red dress. Jimmy’s eyes got wide and I saw Ava smirk at his reaction.
We all gathered in the backyard where Ms. Torres and Cassandra took various pictures of us. Ava and Jimmy asked me if they could post the pictures online and I hesitated for a second. I knew an event like this, at least one picture would get out. It was safer if my friends did it first. I gave them the green light and they began posted our group photos on their website.
Ms. Torres pulled me away from the group after we finished taking pictures, “Please treat her with respect Phoenix. No funny business. I do not want my daughter knocked up at a dance like I did.”
I felt my cheeks flare-up, “No funny business, I promise,” is all that I could get out. She patted my back and I headed towards the group. We decided to take different cars. Jimmy and Ava took one car where the rest of us jumped into Mila’s Jeep. She usually would never let anyone drive her Jeep because it was so special to her, but she handed me the keys.
“I can’t drive in a big dress like this.” She winked at me as she walked towards the passenger seat. I ran to open the door for Mila and I could not stop thinking how lucky I was to take her to homecoming and I did not have to see any other girl to know it.
We pulled up to the school’s parking lot where everyone else was getting out of their cars. I turned off the Jeep and got out to open the door for Mila.
To say people were staring was an understatement. Mila was the only one with a long dress and having a prince at her side was worthy of attention. I do not think anyone expected me to come because no one knew that I was coming with Mila. I grabbed her hand and we all walked in.
We were close to the school’s entrance when a camera suddenly flashed. That one camera turned to twenty as Mila and I were swarmed in paparazzi. I grabbed Mila’s hand tighter and pushed the cameras out of her way while we made it inside the school.
“Mila I am so sorry,” I said quickly turning to face Mila.
“No, I am. I don’t want to get you in trouble with your parents.” She responded.
“They already know about the dance,” I answered with a white lie. They did know about the dance, but they did not know about her. I would have to do some serious damage control tomorrow. The engaged prince going to a dance with a foreigner? I would never hear the end of it, but I have never been happier. I was going to live this night like it was my last because it surely could be in the States.
Mila and I walked into the gymnasium with Tommy and Theo not far behind us. The gymnasium had made a total transformation. There were lights hanging from one corner to another and there was a jazz band on stage following the Hollywood theme. Ava and Jimmy were already inside. The tried apologizing saying that their website probably tipped off the press, but I reassured them that it was okay. If I was being honest, I wanted the whole world to see me with Mila by my side dressed like that.
“Let’s dance,” I said grabbing Mila’s hand.
“I can’t dance.” She looked at me with worry.
“Well let’s see what we can do about that then,” I said taking her hips. She wrapped her hands around my neck and we began swaying back and forth to the song.
The song was a jazz cover of “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey. This was clearly one of Mila’s favorites song because she sang along to all the lyrics:
Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I’ve got nothing but my aching soul.
I know you will.
Mila sang in my ear. I pulled back and kissed her. I heard a couple of gasps but I choose to ignore them as we were already living on the edge tonight. We continued to dance until the song changed. A quicker paced song came on and we invited everyone to dance. We jumped and danced in a circle, laughing and having the time of our lives. Time seemed to slow down and I focused on everyone. There were smiles on all of our faces and I realized that nothing could ever ruin this.
But that all changed with Nick Collins walked into the room.