The Last Dance

You could say that Myra Mott wasn't the joy of my existence. She despised me, and I was happy to return those sentiments. I usually took up the role of a patronizing superior, but one time she went too far. At least, I think she did. All I remember is that I had never felt so mad at one person before.

After school I tended to drift away from the other girls and make my way home by myself. But Myra Mott had other plans, and like most of her schemes, they involved me.

"Emily," She called my name sweetly. I stopped to glare at her and she took the opportunity to run up to me. Her minions gathered around us.

"How is your relationship with that student? What's his name? Robert?" She managed to look mildly concerned.

I didn't answer her. I hadn't known that she had found out about Robert. It didn't matter anyway; that chance was probably gone.

She spoke again, "I only want to know so we can avoid embarrassing you at your birthday party."

How sweet, I thought bitterly.

"That's kind of you Myra," I said, "I know how ruining my sixteenth birthday would afflict you."

She smiled charmingly again, "We'll see you there."

I silently thanked Uncle Valentine for having the thought to invite my entire school class.

The walk home was filled with more bitter thoughts, accentuated by images of Myra doing her best to shame me. I entered the house and flung my schoolbooks onto the table. Robert looked up briefly and smiled, but Uncle Valentine didn't. I figured Myra wasn't enough of a problem to bother them with.

I had been being extra careful at staying out of their way, especially since I knew Uncle Valentine would never know about my filling in for Mary Anne.

Other than that, Robert still hadn't made his intentions clear, which I thought was rather rude. But considering how extremely stupid I had been, I wasn't about to complain. At least, not out loud.

He didn't have to know that I regularly referred to him as a....well, never mind.

"How was your day?" Uncle Valentine asked.

"Fine. It was fine." Myra Mott was planning my downfall, and there was no way to find out just what she was planning. I trudged up the stairs, dragging my woes behind me, and sank into the ever-comforting depths of my enormous patchwork quilt. Before I knew it, I was sleeping, even though I had fully intended to borrow one of Robert's textbooks for some light reading. Yeah. Light.

When I woke with a start, it must have been two hours later, because the sun was already setting behind the house outside my window. At first I couldn't see why I had woken up, but it soon became apparent when my stomach began to meow. I glanced bemusedly my waist until a cat climbed out from under the covers. Oh. I knew that.

I picked up Ulysses and set him on the floor, then crept down the stairs and into the kitchen. I wasn't sure exactly what time it was, but it must have been just before dinner because Maude was pulling something out of the oven. It smelled amazing, and I realized I hadn't eaten since early that afternoon.

Maude smiled at me as I entered, and I smiled back. "There's a letter for you," she said. "There's no return address, though. I wonder who it's from..." she said almost suggestively.

Since I had no idea what she could be suggesting, I only reached for the letter and opened it. Before I had the chance to read it, Robert and Uncle Valentine flew into the kitchen, mumbling to each other. Uncle Valentine was pulling on his overcoat, and Robert handed him his hat.

He walked out, and Robert came over to me and looked at the letter in my hands. "Who's that from?'

"Where is Uncle Valentine going?"

"He has a patient meeting him at the hospital," he said. "Who's it from?"

"I don't know," I finally replied. "I haven't opened it yet."

"And why not, Miss Pigbush," He said gallantly, "It might contain some important information." He winked at me as he grabbed an apple off the counter. He told me he had to go and left, all before I barely had the time to get suspicious.

I opened the letter. It was written in Robert's hand.

Dear Miss Pigbush,

Your beauty, intelligence and integrity are most admirable. Birthdays are a most special time, and must be shared with special people. If you would be so gracious as to lend me your company on the night of your 15th birthday, I would be the luckiest man in the world. If it pleases you, I will pick you up at seven o'clock. Leave a white handkerchief in your pocket if you agree.

With lots of love,

Your Secret Admirer

Secret Admirer? Who did Robert think he was fooling? I smiled faintly. He had obviously forsaken subtlety. I pulled a white napkin from the table, seeing as how I didn't have any white handkerchiefs except the one Johnny gave me, and I didn't think Robert would appreciate that.

Wheee! My first post in months! Feels good, feels good.