Prom.

Either you hate it, or you love it.

In my case, I hated it.

My prom was somewhere in 1996, so I was wearing this utterly nauseating, bright pink ruffled dress that clashed horribly with my hair and this gigantic, scrunched up ribbon-thing in my hair, wearing all too much makeup. I was scrounging through my mom's photo albums a few years ago and to my horror, my mom still had photographic evidence of me and my acne-ridden date. I secretly burned said photos, but I couldn't exactly burn away the memories. I still remember upsetting an entire bowl of punch and accidentally ripping down a few glittery Styrofoam whales (the theme that year was Underwater World - I know, I know).

Needless to say, it was a disaster and I'm still trying to forget Acne Boy slobbering all over me after the prom in the back of his beat up VW.

But all the memories (bleh) came crashing back when Katie came rushing home the next day, after we'd tried on the wedding dresses. Lauren and Tyler had straightaway gone upstairs after they hopped off the canary yellow school bus, but Katie ran over to where I was watching TV in the TV room, flopped down on the sofa next to me and announced her news, so excited she was practically hyperventilating.

'OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.' she squealed, bouncing up and down. I bounced along, laughing along.

'What? What happened?'

'MIKE NEWTON INVITED ME TO THE PROM.' she shrieked. 'HE INVITED ME - ME, OF ALL PEOPLE - TO THE PROM. PROM!'

'Prom?' I repeated, wincing at a sudden mental image of me smiling toothily, braces practically glowing, twirling around in my pink dress in slow motion. Eugh. Not a pretty picture.

She looked so damned excited and giddily happy that I just had to smile. Ah, teenagers.

'Mike Newton is, like, the hottest guy in school! He's a senior! And he asked me to the prom!! Can you freaking believe it? OH MY GOSH… I - I -' she struggled for words, hands gesticulating here and there, apparently unable to express just how momentous this event was.

My heart sank the moment I heard "hottest guy in school" and "senior".

Okay, don't get me wrong. I'm ECSTATIC for Katie. From what I can see, she's sort of stuck in Lauren's shadow. I mean, imagine being the sister of your school's first sophomore head cheerleader. Not to mention that Lauren is probably one of the most sought-after girls in school (I'm just making guesses here, but I'm probably right). And you're a rather scrawny, tomboy-ish fourteen year-old with a rather bad acne situation.

It doesn't make sense, of course. Seniors almost never ask freshmen out if they're popular and handsome. Especially girls like Katie.

'Have you spoken to this Mike before?' I asked. She must've heard the apprehension in my voice, because her face fell ever so slightly.

'Erm. No, not exactly. He never talks to me at all, actually.' she paused for a while. 'BUT I'M GOING TO GO TO PROM!'

Oh. This sounds bad.

'He just asked you out of the blue?'

Katie stopped smiling. 'What's wrong?'

I paused. Oh, stop being so pessimistic, Bella. It's plausible, isn't it, for the most popular guy in high school to be secretly in love and/or have a crush on a freshman when there's so many other hotter girls preening around?

There I go again. Sigh. I should be happy for Katie, I should.

'When's prom, again?'

'Next Saturday! Thank God. I'll need a dress. Where can I get a really sexy, pretty, breathtaking dress? You know any good shops? Oh wow, I hope nothing's going to go wrong…' she burbled on.

So I reassure Katie that nothing's wrong, and she perked up again, telling me all about how this Mike asked her out, while I tried to vanquish this uneasy feeling resting in the pits of my stomach.

Damn.

Why do I feel like this is going to turn out very, very bad?

--

Kids' POV

'Alright,' Larry puffed, wiping a bead of sweat on his forehead. Now that Tyler and Lauren were back, they could get with the meeting. He placed the Manual smack bang in the middle of the circle, and flipped it open.

'Make it quick.' Lauren was painstakingly painting her toenails a bright aquamarine, expression annoyed.

'I've called this meeting because we're getting desperate.' Emily told everyone, looking solemn and serious. 'Nothing we do seems to work.'

'Not even Phase 14?' Tyler asked, frowning.

'All she did was ask us to shut up when we laughed at her hair.' Tim said morosely.

'She's holding up well.' Lauren observed.

Larry turned to glare.

'What?? I'm just saying.' Lauren huffed, and returned to brushing aqua on her little toe.

'Desperate times call for desperate measures.' Tom quipped, proud.

'Nice one. Exactly what we're going to do, I'm assuming?' Tyler directed towards Larry, and Larry nodded his assent.

'So…' he flipped furiously, and unfurled a huge piece of paper. He ran his finger down the list, finally stopping at number 18. 'We're going to skip way forward and move on to serious stuff.' he said triumphantly. 'Let's see Nanny no. 26 be all mild and affable after this!' he turned the book around so that everyone craned in to see what Larry meant. All except for Lauren, who leaned back and looked glamorously bored.

'Oh. Oh.' a twisted smile formed on Emily's face. She grabbed the book and peered closer. 'This is good. This'll definitely work.'

'Hah! Good one.' Tyler high-fived Larry, and Larry returned it eagerly.

'What's 18?' Lauren asked, blinking slowly, eyelashes fluttering.

'What are you still doing with those stupid fake eyelashes on?' Emily snapped. 'We're home, aren't we?'

Lauren's head whipped around. 'You. You shut the fuck up.' she pointed with a flawlessly lacquered frosty pink nail.

Silence ensued.

Emily turned her head, trying to stop her tears of furious anger from brimming over. She stood up, brushed imaginary lint of her skirt and walked out of the room.

'Right.' Tyler said at last, breaking the shocked silence.

'18...' Larry cleared his throat, the back of his neck burning. He lifted the Manual and read out loud. 'Huge party at house.'

Lauren's eyes flashed. 'I suppose you want me to invite as many people as possible?'

Larry nodded enthusiastically, trying to forget Emily's stricken face. He'd have to comfort Emily later. 'As many as possible would be fantastic. Tell them to bring keggers or whatever they're called.

Lauren's eyes gleamed. 'Brilliant.'

'Tyler, you too.' Larry instructed.

Tyler nodded, telephone numbers already running through his head. 'When's the party?'

'Tonight.'

Tyler raised his eyebrows. 'So soon?'

'Desperate times call for desperate measures.' Larry repeated Tom's words, and gave a silent Tom a wide grin. He grinned back in response.

'So Tim, Tom and Emily will be upstairs, getting jacked up on sweets and candies?'

'Yay!' Tim and Tom cheered, already brightening up at the notion of Tootsie Rolls, cotton candy and chocolate.

'Yup. I've already gotten the sweets and candies, they're hidden in that cupboard on top of the sink. The jammed one.' Larry guffawed. 'This is going to be so awesome.'

'Aren't you supposed to be upstairs too?' Lauren asked lazily, lightly blowing on her toes.

Larry blanched. 'No way! I don't want to miss any of the action.'

Tyler chuckled. 'You're eleven.'

'So?'

'Fine, fine.' Tyler sighed. 'But no beer. And refuse anything powdery my friends might offer you. It's for your own good.'

'Right, I'll get started on the invites.' Lauren whipped out a glossy cellphone from her tiny shorts and her fingers tapped furiously. 'I want this nanny out as soon as possible. She's bugging me.'

'How so?' Tyler had reappeared with his Apple Macbook in hand and he started sending e-mails. Larry was interested, too.

'She's been wooing Katie over to her side.' Lauren's eyes never left the bright screen of her cellphone, but she was visibly agitated. 'Yesterday, when Jessica asked us to tag along while she tried on wedding dresses-' she pulled a face. '-the nanny and Katie were acting all pally, giggling around and trying on dresses together.'

Tim's eyes widened. 'Katie? No way!'

'Don't tell me she's downstairs talking to the nanny right now.' Tyler groaned. 'Rule number seven: never get emotionally attached. Katie should've known that - she wrote the rule herself. Katie's still with us, though, right?'

Lauren shrugged. 'Ask her.'

'She might try to stop us.' Larry said, deep in thought, brow furrowed and perplexed.

'She won't.' Lauren snorted. 'She's far too boneless.'

'Stop being such a bitch.' Tyler told his elder sister, frankly quite sick of her insults.

'Whatever.' she waved her fingers dismissively, picked herself up and walked away, still tapping on her phone. 'Seven tonight?'

'Yeah, dad'll be having that important dinner he's attending.' Larry informed them.

'It's all set, then.' Tyler smiled.

--

Bella's POV

'A meeting?' I repeated into the phone. 'You have a meeting tonight?'

'More of a dinner, really. So I won't be back until late.' even through the phone, Edward Cullen's voice still managed to sizzle. It was like listening to pure velvet, if that even made the slightest sense.

'So I'll be watching them until… what, ten? Eleven?'

'I'll be coming home somewhere around midnight.' he said this almost apologetically. 'Make sure the smaller ones go to bed at nine, okay? Prepare dinner, brush Tim, Tom and Tallulah's teeth… the standard procedure.'

'Right. Okay.'

I put down the receiver, thinking. How inconvenient.

I snuggled up against a cushion and turn off the TV. Katie's already gone up for a shower, screaming in sheer delight. She has a lot of energy, that girl.

I think I'll take a nap.

--

'Mmmpgh.'

'Psst. Nanny.'

'Mmmmmm.'

'Nanny!'

'Whaaa..?' I gurgled, shifting in the sofa. 'Get the fuck away…' I wildly wave my hands, but they don't hit anything. Both hands flopped down lifelessly again. They feel like lead, ugh.

'I'm having a party tonight.' the person whispers, hair tickling my cheek. I batted it away.

I opened my eyes, still half-asleep. Go away… stop bugging me. I lifted myself up a little, my vision a sleepy blur. I see a few blurry shapes, and a lot of piercing bright light. Stupid light. I want to sleep.

'Waliwarga.' I said cryptically, falling back on my blissfully soft cushion.

'Do I have your permission?'

'Hoity.'

'Oy, I asked you a question.'

'Cheetan Bhagat.'

'What?'

'Mendengar muzik.'

'Erm...'

'Jangan ganggu saya!'

'Can I have a party tonight?'

'Yes, yes…' I groaned. 'Let me sleep.'

I closed my lids. Muffled laughter. My hearing fuzzed over. I feel comfortable. Mmm. Sleep.

Zzz.

--

Bump. Ba-bump. Bump. Ba-bump.

Something is throbbing rhythmically.

It's really annoying.

I sighed, and turned over. Stupid kids.

Bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bump.

Muffled music filtered through. '…I wanna fuck you, but you already know, I wanna fuck you, but you already know, girl…'

What is up with kids and these disgusting rap songs with their equally unsettling lyrics?

My eyes snapped open, fully intending to go and tell Tyler to turn his stereo down. I turned around, and my jaw dropped.

If I hadn't been sleeping in the soundproof TV room I would've gone deaf. Outside, were hundreds upon hundreds of drunk and inebriated teenagers, dancing and grinding against each other for all they were worth. The music outside was so loud that the very thick glass separating me from the teenagers was vibrating.

Vibrating.

Oh my God.

Some random teenager with red dreadlocks came up and licked the glass for absolutely no reason at all, howling with laughter.

What the hell is happening? Am I still dreaming, or what? What the… how did I get here? How did all these teens get here?

I'm flustered, for a while. Then I walked up to the doors, yanked them open, feeling like I was in some alternate world.

The music was so loud I felt like my eardrums were about to explode. I could feel every beat in my heart. Seriously.

I looked around, panicking. I have to be in another person's house. Yet… the lamp those two guys are throwing looks awfully familiar. So does that cream sofa a girl and a guy are currently lying down on, entwined and making out very graphically in public, while a group of shirty guys actually cheer them on.

Someone banged into me, and I stumbled, letting out an indignant 'Oy!'

The drunken and extremely angry teenager spouted a whole string of swear words at me before skulking off again, throwing a paper cup away.

People are gyrating and bopping along to the music, and there's so many of them that I can hardly move. I attempted to push them away, but the crowd was just too dense.

I was beginning to hyperventilate. I don't like crowds much.

Oh, my God.

I shoved a couple away and tried squirming through.

'Watch where you're going, fucker!'

'Stop pushing, fuck you!'

'Fucking hell, I'm standing right here, don't shove!'

'Fuck it, I'm leaving this party.'

I don't think I've ever heard so many 'fuck' words uttered in two seconds. 'Get out of this house!' I shrieked, my voice unbearably shrill and shaky.

A few people stopped dancing and they simply laughed. 'We've got another one.'

Another… what?

I tried to run away before anyone could hurt me. Oh God, I have to get out of here-

Before I can take another step, someone lifted me bodily off the ground while I screamed and kicked and struggled. 'Let me down-'

This guy's so tall I nearly hit a ceiling fan as he lifted me.

'I don't think so, oldie.' the huge guy guffawed. Oldie? What?? I beg to differ! I'm barely thirty, for God's sake-- don't -- no! Plenty of people stopped to stare and laugh as I passed by, accidentally kicking one in the face and knocking the bastard down.

'Don't worry guys, continue! I'll take care of her!' the guy who's carrying me announced. I hit my fist as hard as I could against his rock-hard back. I howled in pain - I think I ended up hurting myself more.

He brought me to a secluded closet under the stairs, whistling tunelessly.

'Don't you dare--' I yelled, but to no avail.

Before I know it, I'm shoved painfully into the cramped closet and I'm plunged into total darkness, though the music doesn't get any quieter. I breathed heavily for a moment. And then--

'Get out!'

Someone hit me on the head so hard I saw stars. Large, glittering, teasing stars that swivel around in front of me. 'What the--' I gasped, nearly passing out.

I clutched my head, heart beating faster than it ever has in my life. 'WHO'S THERE!'

That's going to hurt in the morning. I fingered the huge bump that's forming fast on my forehead. If I ever make it to the morning.

Someone sucked in a breath.

'Bella?'

I recognized the voice.

'JESSICA?' I said in disbelief.

'Yes, yes, it's me.'

There's a faint light filtering through the closet door, and I peered. I could just faintly make out Jessica, crouching in the corner, looking like she'd very much want to kill me there and then.

'What're you doing here??'

'I CAME A FEW MINUTES AGO TO CHECK ON THE KIDS WHEN I CAME HOME FROM WORK!' Jessica's screech is loud enough to hear above the music. Which means it's very loud. I don't think my poor ears can take it anymore. 'AND I SAW THIS!' she pointed outside.

'You mean the party?'

'No, I meant the scuffed carpet - YES, OF COURSE THE PARTY!' she thundered, dust shaking. I'm shaking too, come to think of it.

'I swear, I have no idea what the fuck happened!'

'LAAAANGUUUAAAGGEE!' she shrieked at the top of her voice, eyes wild and hair frizzed. I feel quite scared of her, to be honest. She looks like she's lost her marbles.

This is going to be a long night.

God help me.


Author's Note: Haha, wow. Review! Guess what - a few days ago, someone PM-ed me to tell me a girl had copied my story, Cullen International Corporation, word for word, on fiction press (dot) com/net (I forget). For those of you guys who don't recognize the website, it's this sister site of fan fiction (dot) net, where you post original fiction. She provided a link in her PM, and I visited the link. Someone had plagiarized my story, after all. Her penname was Fall Into Love, and she called her "story" Taylor International Corp. It was copied word for word, completely identical.

Except she didn't quite copy properly - she'd forgotten to change the names of my characters in some chapters and throughout the whole story it was switching between Bella (my fan fiction character) and Alexandri (her character).

The person who PM-ed me had been reading the story and she noticed this so she suspected that she might've copied this story from somewhere else. So, thanks to the power of the Internet, she searched around and found my story. So she told me, and I posted a review on the first chapter of Taylor International Corp, telling her I knew about her plagiarism, and all that.

I didn't know whether I was pissed or pleased that someone thought Cullen International Corporation was good enough to copy, haha. A few hours later, I checked back and saw that Fall Into Love (the author of Taylor International Corp) had deleted the story and changed her penname :O

Just a little story ;)

Review! Or did I say that already? (is too lazy to scroll up and check again)

Oh, and the whole party/without proper permission thing I borrowed from Yours, Mine and Ours. It's a pretty funny movie, and it was one of my favorite scenes :) the party one, I mean.