To the Tune of -

Two weeks had passed, and Paige had spent every day calling Ellie's cell repeatedly. Walking around the school without her Ella-belle depressed Paige immensely, but she kept up her guard and her perky smile, as always. She had nightmares every night without fail, and woke up feeling physically ill. Paige didn't dare take a day off school, just in case Ellie came back. A mild distraction was the upcoming dance - people discussed the social occasion instead of Ellie's total disappearance.

One disgustingly sunny Monday morning, Paige sat on the steps amongst her 'friends', scanning the crowd with half an eye as she always did. Her breath caught in her throat; Ellie Nash walked through the muttering students, head held high and staring straight ahead. Paige stared at her openly, keeping her tears of joy buried inside. The red hair flew free in the breeze, whipping around the pale and sullen face. Ellie wore a black miniskirt and surprisingly no tights, but still a long sleeved shirt with black blouse over the top. Thoughts of Ellie's courageous beauty filled Paige's mind, together with pink bubbles all over again. But the underlying thought, what's underneath the shirt, remained.

Ash saw Ellie a moment after Paige did, but noticed the blonde staring with a disbelieving smile. "Do you like her shirt, or something?" Ash was confused.

Ellie looked up at Paige, and caught the smile of innocence and love. In spite of herself, Ellie delivered the softest hint of a smile as she went past.

"Yeah," Paige said eventually, losing sight of Ellie. "Something like that."

Paige didn't see Ellie again that day, even though the two were supposed to share at least half the classes. As she opened her locker at the end of the day, she saw a note taped to the inside. How many people know my locker combination? Paige wondered as she took the note down. She lifted all her books into the locker and then opened the note.

'There's a dance tonight, right? It's time to play normal.'

Even if Paige hadn't recognised the handwriting, she knew the meaning behind the coy words. Unable to contain her grin, Paige ran to her brother's car and demanded a surprise trip to the mall. It simply wouldn't do to arrive at the dance in the wrong clothes.

Glitzy decorations and sparkling lights filled the school hall, and the latest music pumped from the DJ. Degrassi's teens danced and laughed, revelling in the atmosphere. Craig and Ash danced intimately, to most people's disgust, and Paige could see Manny making eyes at Craig over Ash's shoulder. Rolling her own eyes, Paige looked around, trying to find her redhead.

Half an hour after the dance had started, Paige watched the door constantly, dancing not far from it in her stylish black cocktail dress. Finally Ellie sauntered through the doors, dressed in a tight black dress reaching her knees. A white silk tie was around her neck. Lace-up boots went underneath the dress, and her red hair was out and fell over one shoulder. Her arms were bare, and Paige could see the countless scars and faint scratch lines going all over Ellie's left arm. Ellie kept her right arm behind her back.

Ellie saw Paige, and smiled gently. She walked through the staring teenagers to stand in front of Paige. Without speaking, Ellie revealed what was in her right hand - a beautiful white corsage. Paige smiled, pretending to be unsure of Ellie's intentions. As always Ellie saw through Paige's game, and gently slid the corsage onto Paige's wrist. Paige positively glowed.

"Would you care to dance?" Ellie asked just as a slow song came on. Paige nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Without even a hint of awkwardness, Ellie put her arms around Paige's waist, and Paige wrapped her arms around Ellie's neck. Gently they danced, oblivious of the gob smacked teenagers.

"Where did you go? I called so many times," Paige whispered as they danced, still holding Ellie tightly. Ellie sighed.

"I'm sorry. My dad came back."

Paige stared, mouth open. "Oh my God, that's fantastic!"

Ellie smiled, continuing, "but he was in a hospital upstate, in a bad way. I stayed with his sister. There wasn't time to sort anything out; Aunt Esther picked me up that afternoon just after I got home. She dragged my mother kicking and screaming to rehab."

"You're glad he's home," Paige said. "You seem different now."

"I'm thrilled he's home." Ellie sighed and pulled away. "I'm applying for student welfare, to stay in my house on my own."

Paige stared at Ellie, mouth open. "Will they let you? With everything," Paige glanced at the scarred arm.

Ellie smiled. "I made a deal with Esther. She'll do all the paperwork if I promise to see a therapist twice a week."

Squealing, Paige hugged Ellie tightly. "That's fantastic!"

"You know, I could've moved in with Esther. She offered me a room, to pay for everything."

"But you didn't stay?"

Ellie shook her head. "I couldn't. It drove me crazy to be away from you for as long as I was."

Taking a deep breath, Ellie slowly brought her mouth to meet Paige's in a soft kiss. The students surrounding them stopped in their tracks and ogled the couple. The insulting cat-calls began; Ellie broke the kiss, took Paige's hand and escorted her from the school hall.

"By the way, I like your dress," Paige whispered.

An End.