The Fate Of The MuseBy: Derrolyn Anderson
My rational mind realized that we were probably too young to be making such a big decision, but I also knew for certain that I loved him more than life itself. Ethan was stability personified, driven by anxieties I didn’t fully understand to plan and control the future. My own life was threatening to spin out of control at any moment, and I needed him desperately. He’d given me the strength to remain human; if it weren’t for him I’d be deep underwater, swimming in ignorant bliss for all eternity.
I had to wonder; was he truly ready to put up with my bizarre circumstances for the rest of his life? Did it matter if it was what I wanted? I pushed all the niggling doubts out of my mind and brushed his lips with mine softly, slipping my hands around his back to pull him closer as we kissed.
Our heads both turned towards the angry face of the chaperone, a prim English teacher who was clearly taking the job very seriously. I suppose we weren’t making her life any easier; sometimes we had a hard time keeping our hands to ourselves.
“One more time and you’re out of here,” she snapped, turning on her heel.
“Don’t tempt me,” Ethan muttered under his breath as we stepped apart.
“Let’s go see what Cruz is up to.” I took his hand and led him away, ignoring the snickering of the surrounding prom-goers.
“There you are!” Cruz called out as we approached him, “It’s almost time!”
“Time for what?” I smiled, happy to see him so animated.
“My surprise,” he said with a sly look as he took Shayla and Megan by the arms, “We’re all going out to celebrate.” He wagged his index finger at me, “It’s high time you got out of the house, young lady. It’s like you’re turning into Norma Desmond or something.”
“Who?” asked Shayla.
I smirked at him, but I had to admit I’d become reclusive lately, lying low, hoping that the terrible feelings of helplessness would blow over. The horror of being kidnapped had affected me more than I cared to admit, and I’d let myself slip into a small quiet paranoia that made me loathe to even leave the house. I concentrated on my schoolwork and buried myself in reading and painting to avoid even thinking about what had happened. I looked over my shoulder everywhere I went, and even stopped going surfing.
Having Ethan with me helped, and despite the mountain of landscaping jobs that he’d been taking on, he came by Aunt Abby’s more often, doing his homework by my side, sneaking in kisses whenever she turned her back. Bit by bit I relaxed, the tension within me started to ease, and I realized that the people behind my capture were actually going to leave me alone.
It would be pointless for them to harass me, for I could never really want their success and therefore I was useless to them. They must have given up on the idea of trying to force me to work in their favor. I was starting to breathe freely again, as though a tight corset was being loosened from my ribcage one lacing at a time.
The band started in on another slow dance as Ethan and I followed Cruz and his two dates out the door. The longest stretch limousine I’d ever laid eyes on was pulled up right in front, attracting a crowd of kids on the nearby sidewalk. They were sneaking curious glances at the tinted windows, whispering their speculations as to who it could be for. The driver’s door opened and out stepped a man whose giant body matched the scale of the car.
I should have known.
“Allo Marina,” nodded Boris as he came around to open the door. He towered over everyone, gesturing for us to climb in.
“Surprise!” cried Cruz, “Evie’s taking us all out to dinner!”
“Really?” muttered Ethan, “Tonight?”
I squeezed his hand and shrugged. “For Cruz,” I said.
We peeked into the plush interior to find Evie sitting in the far seat, looking as beautiful as she ever did in a chic wrap dress that Cruz had recently designed and tailored just for her. She was dripping with diamonds and grinning like the Cheshire cat.
“My Darlings!” she greeted us imperially, “We’re running late for our reservations, so come come, hurry in, and I’ll take a look at these magnificent gowns after we arrive…”
We did as told, and piled into the limo. Ethan took a seat on the opposite end from Evie, and I settled in next to him. I could tell he was a little annoyed, and it dawned on me that he had some plans of his own for after the prom. I took his hand, twining my fingers through his reassuringly. We were driven across town, listening to Cruz give Evie a blow by blow account of the dance, with Megan interjecting a few times to keep him honest. Shayla looked at Evie worshipfully.
“Here we are!” Evie exclaimed when the car came to a stop. Boris opened the door, and as I stood to straighten my skirt I looked up to see a familiar neon sign. She’d taken us to the restaurant where I’d stumbled across Ethan sitting down to lunch with his ex-girlfriend. The last time I’d set foot here Ethan and I had broken apart because of it. We were standing in front of Le Mer.
Evie swept out of the limo and greeted me with a hug and kisses on both cheeks, “Your dress is fabulous!” she smiled at my stunned face, “You look simply divine!”