Tonight was the fall formal. I was wearing a dress that Mike had gotten me when I started working for him. It was a tight red silk spaghetti strap dress that ended on my mid-thigh. I had never worn it since it was too showy for my taste when I wanted to go unnoticed in the club. But I had decided to wear it tonight since it looked like a lot of the dress’s girls had worn in the pictures I saw from last year. It was also free which made the decision easier.
Leo and I decided that he would take the night off but keep his phone close by incase I needed help. We both thought it would be odd for a forty-something-year-old man to be hanging out in a high school parking lot during a dance.
My mom had done my hair in loose waves and I had done my makeup choosing to wear red lipstick. I added gold hoops and nude heels to complete the look. When I stood up from the couch after putting my shoes on my mother’s face lit up.
“Look at you all grown up, wow you’re beautiful Lola.”
I gave my mom a smile and she came over and hugged me. Moments like this with my mother rarely occurred. She was doing so well recently I hoped it wouldn’t go bad.
“Ok I want some pictures, pose for me.” My mother instructed. After a few photos, there was a knock on the door. My mom beat me to it and invited Cade inside.
“I want pictures of you together, this is mi Mija’s first school dance.” (My daughter’s)
Before we pose for my mom Cade hands me a little plastic box. “I ugh got this for you.”
It took the box and looked, it was a corsage and matching boutonnière, they had a few black and white roses and ribbon.
“I got black and white since I didn’t know what coloring you were wearing, Noah said it would go with any color. You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want.” Cade blabbers as I stand there speechless.
“Put it on Mija!” My mother interrupts.
As I take it out and slip it on my wrist my mom takes photos with the flash on. I give her a look to which she laughs at. Then I help Cade with the matching boutonnière. We then spend 10 minutes, or more being photographed by my mother while she gives us directions on how to pose. At one-point Tomás decided to join in and posed with us.
My mom was looking after him and I was hoping she’d do a good job. She has been in a good place for almost 2 weeks, and I felt like I could trust her. Once our photos were taken and Cade helped tuck Tomás into bed we left.
“And remember you have no curfew; I don’t want to see you till at least 1 am!” My mom shouts as we leave.
“Sorry about her she tries to be a ‘cool’ mom,” Lola tells me as we walk towards my car.
I chuckle and open the passenger door for her. She looks a bit shocked; she had tried to get it herself but then noticed I had it. She gave me a small thanks as I rounded the car.
She looks amazing tonight. Her dress fits her just right and her shoes make her legs look even longer.
Once in the driver seat I start up the car and head towards the school. I couldn’t stop thinking about having a drink. That’s how I always got through these things before. But I told myself no drinking tonight. I had made up my mind that I was going to try my best to be sober. I did things that I didn’t like or remember when I was drunk. I also needed to drive Lola and plus I wasn’t going to be there long.
I was interrupted from my thought by Lola, “Thanks for going with me and thank you for the corsage. No one has ever got me one I didn’t realize how nice they are.”
“It’s no problem, it’s kind of expected that you get a girl a corsage, at least at our school,” I say, which is sort of a lie. I’ve never gotten a girl one, I’ve never even gone to a dance with a girl. I used to go with my friends and hook up with whoever.
Guys only ever got a girl a corsage if they were serious. Was I serious about Lola? Well, I would be if I were good for her. She doesn’t need all my baggage; sure I like her way more than I’ve liked any girl but that made me want to keep her safe. And that included not getting involved with me.
“Well, where I’m from getting a girl flowers is a big deal,” Lola says sniffing out my lie. So, I decide to change the subject.
“So, you’ve never been to a school dance?”
“Well, not in high school anyway. I was always too busy with life. I did go to one in middle school. It sucked but I think that was because my friends kept running out of the gym screaming anytime a slow song would play. What about you, go to many dances?” Lola asks.
I decide to be truthful with her, “yeah I used to go to all of them. I’d use the dance as a reason to get drunk, then go to an after-party and get drunker. To be honest I don’t remember much past the first 20 minutes.”
“So tonight, I could drive you home if you want to drink. I’m not planning on drinking so to be safe and all,” Lola says cautiously.
“No, I’m not drinking tonight, I’ve decided that I need to change that part of me. Don’t really like who I am when I drink.”
“Well, sometimes we need a good change,” Lola says and leaves the topic at that. This is why I like her so much. She knows when I am done talking about something a respects it. Usually, people will push me to tell them more.
When we reach the school, I park and run to Lola’s side to open her door. She’s already opened it, “don’t worry I can do it myself; I do appreciate the effort though.”
We walk towards the entrance. We are a bit late, so the gym is full, but the hallways are pretty empty. As we pass a bathroom, I spot an old friend, Donald.
“Hey Cade, it’s great you came want to join us? Daniel scored some coke off his dad’s new girlfriend.” Donald shouts at me.
“Nah man I’m good,” I say and keep walking.
“The fuck, we’re not good enough for you now? Got some Mexican bitch and now you can’t hang with us?” Daniel says as he steps in front of me.
“Why haven’t you been texting me back man, I thought we were friends,” Donald adds.
“It’s because he owes us money, he thinks he can just ignore us and we’ll forget that he took all our pills. Those cost me 5grand, I expect you to pack me back.” Daniel says.
“Fuck off, I don’t owe you anything. Just let us by.” I tell them. Then I take Lola’s hand and try to walk around them.
“You’re going to tell me to fuck off? Really Cade? Fuck you. How about I take your cholo whore outback to pay off your debt” Daniel threatens.
Suddenly I see Lola twist his arm behind his back, kick him in the back of the knees and take him to the ground.
As she pulls his arm at an unnatural angle, She whispers something in his ear. Daniel then starts shaking.
“Give me the coke,” Lola demands while looking at Donald.
“What why? We don’t have a problem we’re good. It’s Daniel you have a problem with.” Donald stutters out.
“Just give it to her,” Daniel cry’s out in pain. Donald goes and retrieves the bag of coke while Lola whispers some more to Daniel.
Once Donald gets back Lola releases Daniel and takes the baggy. I look at Daniel and he pissed himself. Both Daniel and Donald run out of the school.
I give Lola a dumbfounded look and ask, “what did you say to him?”
“I know some guys who are after him, I just threatened him with that a bit. Coward pissed himself.”
“Well wow, thanks for doing that,” I tell her in amazement.
“Well, when some guy threatens to rape me, I’m going to do something about it.”
“Fuck I’m sorry that was all my fault. They would have left you alone if it weren’t for me. This is why you should have gone with someone else.” I tell her. This is why I should have never gotten close to her. My past is messy and will hurt her if I keep being around her.
“Don’t worry about it, I can handle myself. Besides, you said you were changing. Whoever they knew you as is a completely different person than I know. I know you wouldn’t put me in a position like that Cade. I trust you, and for me to trust someone means a lot.” Lola says while looking into my eyes. I get lost for a minute; how can she trust me.
As if reading my mind, she says, “no bad person would care about my brother so much or agree to go to a school dance with me even when they knew it would be hard for them. You should give yourself more credit. Anyway, I’m flushing this baggy then we can go into the dance.”
Lola goes into the washroom as I stand in the hallway collecting my thoughts. It would be nice if she was right. That I was a good person, but that wasn’t the case. Once she knew everything about me, she’d change her mind.