Short Story

(A slightly edited version of what I posted on August 23. It’s quite different from how I usually write, so any feedback is appreciated 🙂 )

Somehow, today their jokes about height and their jokes about prom coincided. “I’d wear heels no matter how tall my date was,” she typed, smiling.

“You’d make an already short person feel even shorter?” he teased.

“Yeah. Take me to crash prom and I’ll wear cowboy boots just to shred your self-esteem.” He was actually a few inches taller than her, but she needed a way to make the topic become about them, instead of two random people in an uncertain future setting.

“Alright. We’ll need a smoke screen and a way to descend from the ceiling.”

She grinned again. The crazy thing was, she could almost see it happening.

•••

She told her parents she was spending the night with a friend. As soon as the car pulled up, she was in it and it was coasting away. They stopped at a restaurant, changed in the bathrooms, and emerged, just another happy prom couple.

•••

“I think I know someone who can help with that,” she replied, laughing. “Don’t forget the corsage.”

“Which doubles as a lock pick,” he added.

•••

He slipped the corsage onto her wrist; his fingers traced over hers- barely- with uncertainty. She glanced at her phone and fiddled with the flower, adjusting it, moving her hand. “Don’t let any petals fall off,” he said. “They’re kinda hiding the lock pick.”

‘He loves me; he loves me not…’ she thought, and almost said it.

The car pulled out of the restaurant, the plan finally in motion.

The smokescreen startled the normal attendees. Special effects issue, some said. Others thought it was on purpose. A prank, maybe, decided the administration. Nothing had been hurt by it, so no one investigated, and no one noticed the two high schoolers in the corner as they detached their harnesses, his face flushed with adrenaline, her eyes bright with the kind of excitement that can become dangerous.

The corsage was dismantled and they worked their way into a computer lab. “The prom committee is using a computerized vote system for prom queen,” she said.

“Well, that’s a shame. What ever would they do if someone hacked in?”

They didn’t stick around to hear the cheers of a girl who wouldn’t have expected this turn of events.

“We never tell her,” she said, looking him in the eye.

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”

She didn’t know where the helicopter came from and didn’t ask, just went along for the ride. They stayed in the skies throughout the night, staring at the blankness. She fell asleep at one point, woke up with her head too close to his shoulder, and adjusted herself slightly, looking out the window.

The helicopter reached its destination too soon, and he drove her home in midmorning. Though the sun had already risen, it was barely beginning to slip between the clouds as he parked in her driveway.

She smiled at him and got out without many more words being exchanged.

How could he ever resist the lure of a helicopter? He dove into the sea of faces in one of those cities he always talked about running to. She didn’t even know which it was.

Sometimes, she stared down the grainy self-taken prom photos from an adventure that didn’t really have a point but had still needed to happen. Sometimes, she thought of the corsage.

He leaves me; he leaves me not…

But, of course, she’d known the ending to this story before it had truly begun.

•••

“Can this helicopter go underwater?”

“Yes. It’d be of no use to us if it couldn’t.”

“I’m sure we’ll need it to get to the after-party.”

“We’re imagining crashing prom with spy gear. We’re gonna ditch the after-party and save the world!”

•••

Sometimes, she wondered if it had even happened.

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