A pair of big shades and a push up bra,
It's such a short gap between the gutter and stars,
That you've come a long way from the place that you started
So why'd you wanna go and get so down-hearted
~"Starz in Their Eyes," Just Jack
At 11:42 on a Friday night in May, Sonny Monroe—nineteen, beautiful, and financially set for at least the next ten years—was absolutely miserable.
It was ridiculous, really, that she was feeling this way. After all, here she was in a new, gorgeous dress and her highest heels, sitting at the bar of the hottest club in Hollywood. She was young, successful—she should be out on the floor dancing the night away.
Or, at least, that was what Tawni kept trying to tell her.
"Come on, Sonny!" she whined for the four thousandth time that night. "Just one dance. I promise it'll make you feel better."
Sonny sighed and rolled her eyes, putting her head in her hands. She honestly was pretty sure that the only thing that could possibly make her feel any better was a pint of choco-chunk ice cream and The Notebook, but when Tawni had rushed over to her apartment earlier that evening, she had said that wasn't an option.
"Tawni," Sonny said over the music. "Just go have fun." She glanced over at the dance floor. "That cute Spaniard's still waiting for you. I've got my Shirley Temple and the bartender; I'll be fine."
Tawni hesitated, looking unconvinced, but after a moment, she gave in, saying, "OK, Sonny. If you're sure. I'll come check on you later."
"Uh-huh." Somehow, Sonny was pretty sure she would be the one doing the checking and the driving home.
Sighing once again, Sonny stared into her half-empty glass and let her thought wander back to the day's events. When she had gotten up this morning, she had thought it would be a relaxing, stress-free day, lacking the usual strife associated with working at Condor Studios.
Boy, was she wrong.
It wasn't really that Jeff had been The One or anything. Hell, she was nineteen; she wasn't prepared on any level to meet The One yet. But, well, she also couldn't say that the break-up was expected in any way. They had just been sitting in her favorite café, sipping lattes, when, out of the blue, he had told her they should "see other people" because he had feelings for someone else.
"Stupid prick," she muttered into her glass.
"What was that, Monroe?" an all-too-familiar, all-too-irritating voice asked from behind. Glaring, Sonny turned in her chair and came face-to-face with none other than Chad Dylan Cooper.
What a great way to end such an awful day, she thought sarcastically.
"Chad," she said curtly. "To what do I owe the unending pleasure?"
Chad's usual smirk widened. "Just trying to brighten your day, as always."
Sonny forced a smile. "Really? Well, I have a better idea: buzz off."
Chad's face fell and for a moment in his confusion, he let his guard down. "Wait—what? Sonny, is something…?"
Sonny's phone vibrated on the counter next to her. Salvation, she thought, standing. "As much as I would love to stay and chat," she said, "I have to take this."
Without waiting for a reply, she exited the club and headed just outside, standing in the breezy night air.
"Hello?" she asked, answering her phone.
"Hey, sweetie!" It was her mom. Sonny frowned. What was her mom doing calling her at midnight on a Friday?
"Hey, mom," she answered as brightly as possible. "Um…"
"Listen, sweetheart, I have fabulous news," Mrs. Monroe continued, her excitement evident in her tone.
"Um, all right," Sonny sighed. It wasn't that she didn't want to hear her mother's "exciting news;" it was just that she really just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry right now.
"Are you ready?" Connie asked, oblivious to Sonny's sullen mood. "Greg and Vanessa…are getting married!"
Sonny nearly dropped her pone. "They're what?" she screeched. "Wait…are you serious?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Oh my god!" Sonny squealed, all thought of her misery out of her head. "That's—that's awesome. Oh, wow… God, I can't believe it. When?"
"A month. The twenty-sixth of June, to be exact. Here in Wisconsin."
"So soon?" Sonny questioned.
"Apparently, they just don't want to wait," Connie told her. "You'll be able to make it, won't you?"
"Make it—of course, Mom!" Sonny scoffed. "I wouldn't miss my own brother's wedding!"
Connie laughed. "Good. Oh, and Sonny—I don't want you coming alone, you hear?"
Sonny groaned, her thoughts once more consumed with Jeff. "Mom… "
"I'm serious, Sonny. You work too hard. You need to relax and focus on having a good time instead of always being too busy for friends or dates. Bring someone. A date. What about that boy you're seeing? Jeff, wasn't it? He sounds nice."
Sonny sighed, passing a hand over her eyes. "Yeah, fine, okay. I'll see what I can do," she said quickly, cutting her mom off. "Listen, I have to go. I'll talk to you later."
"All right, darling. I love you!"
"Love you too," Sonny mumbled and disconnected the call.
Well, great. As happy as she was for her brother, she suddenly had no desire to go to this wedding. Not with her entire family pestering her about how much she was working and her lack of a romantic interest. Well, why did she need a man, anyway? She was perfectly fine all on her own, thank you very much.
Glancing back through the clear front of the club, Sonny caught sight of Chad sitting alone at the bar, looking much like Sonny must have only minutes ago. This sight of him struck a chord somewhere within her and for a moment, she considered joining him.
Sonny shook her head. What was she thinking? Obviously, she was far too tired to be doing anything but sleeping. Sending a quick text to Tawni, she hailed a cab to take her home, leaving the lights of the club far behind.
"Please, Nico, I am begging you. I am in desperate need of a date for this wedding," Sonny pleaded in the prop room one day after rehearsal. Nico shrugged apologetically.
"I'm really sorry, Sonny. I wish I could help—you know I do, girl—but my grandma's birthday is that weekend and I can't miss it," he explained.
Sonny groaned, frustrated, and sank slowly down onto the couch. There were two weeks left until the wedding and she had yet to find a suitable date. "Gah, what am I gonna do? I need someone to go with me to this wedding?"
Nico sat down next to her. "And why exactly is that?" he asked. "Seems silly if you ask me."
Sonny laughed. "Tell that to my family," she replied. "They think I'm working too hard and the only way to prove to them that I'm not is to show them that I have something of a social life."
Nico shook his head. "Girl, that's just stupid."
"Trust me, I know." Sonny rolled her eyes. "Thanks, anyway," she told him. "I still have no idea what I'm going to do, though—you're unavailable, Grady has na interview that day, Jeff is the dumb jerk who dumped me, and the only other boy I really know personally enough to ask is…" Sonny gasped. "No." She stood. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!"
Nico stood as well, giving her a look. "Uh…Sonny?"
"No!" she cried. "I am not asking Chad Dylan Cooper to be my date!"
"I cannot believe I am asking Chad Dylan Cooper to be my date," Sonny muttered, annoyed as she approached the dressing room of the teen jerkthrob. She had done some pretty desperate things during her time at So Random—she would admit to that—but this? This was a whole other level of pathetic.
Taking one last deep breath of preparation, she stopped at the end of the hall and knocked on the door.
A muffled call of "One sec" floated from the other side, and she ran her fingers through her hair, attempting to calm her nerves.
Chad opened the door, looking surprised to find Sonny standing on the other side. "Hey, Sonny," he greeted her. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be off sharing lame jokes over at Chuckle City?"
Sonny rolled her eyes. "Chad, when will you realize that that joke got old, like, three years ago? I'm actually here to ask a favor."
"OK," Chad said, shrugging, "shoot."
"Uh..." Sonny stammered, uncertain of how to proceed. There was, of course, no way he was ever going to say yes to this. "Do you think I could come in first?"
Chad was taken aback by this. After all, letting Sonny Monroe into his dressing room? Definitely against the Falls code of ethics. One look at her face, however, told him that refusing would be a worse idea than not, and much to both Sonny and Chad's surprise, he nodded and allowed her inside.
Sonny wasn't entirely surprised to find that Chad's dressing room was fit to furnish a king. After all, in Chad's opinion he was better than a king, so why wouldn't it be expertly decorated? On the wall, of course, was a huge picture of himself, but what Sonny was surprised to find was a series of smaller pictures on the counter—pictures off other people who were, evidently, important to Chad. Looking more closely, Sonny noticed a familiar picture on the counter. Curious, she went over and picked it up.
She remembered the day this had been taken, but couldn't remember the picture ever actually being taken: It had been last year on the day of the Condor Studio picnic and carnival. Excited for the event, she had put on her favorite blue, polka dotted dress and spent the day in summertime bliss. It had been one of those rare days when Chad had been truly pleasant. In the picture, he was giving his usual peace sign; her face was turned profile as she laughed at him.
Sonny sighed as she studied the picture, wondering, suddenly, where those pleasant Chad days had gone recently.
"What's this?" she asked. Chad quickly grabbed the photo from her.
"Nothing. It's nothing," he said hastily.
"Where did you get that?" Sonny said.
"None of your business."
"OK, well, why do you have a picture of me in your dressing room?" Sonny asked suspiciously.
"Because, OK? I look really good in this picture!" Chad insisted. Sonny gave him a disbelieving look.
"Sure," she said. "Anyway…you're not going to like this any more than I do—in fact, I doubt you'll even agree to it—but I need you to do something for me."
Chad smirked. "Oh, really…and what might that be?"
Sonny took one last breath and said (as quickly as possible), "So there's this wedding for my brother and my mom is telling me I basically can't come if I don't have a date because she, like, thinks I have no social life, apparently and because either Nico or Grady can come I was wondering if youmaybewouldbemydate?"
Chad frowned, completely confused. "What was that last part?"
Sonny sighed, rolling her eyes. " I asked if you would consider being my date. To my brother's wedding. On the 26th."
Chad laughed. "You, Sonny Monroe, are asking me, Chad Dylan Cooper, to be your date to your brother's wedding?"
"Yes," Sonny said weakly.
Chad laughed some more. "You never cease to amaze me, Monroe. You do realize we generally can't stand each other, right?"
"I am fully aware of that, Chad, but I am desperate."
"Ah yes," he said, "but desperate for a date or desperate for me?"
Deadpan, Sonny said, "Yeah, it's definitely the date."
Chad rolled his eyes. "Why the hell should I say yes? What's in it for me?" he asked.
Sonny smiled brightly. "Anything you want. I'll do something very, very nice for you!"
Chad paused at this, raising an eyebrow. In that calculating way of his that Sonny had only really started noticing in the last six months or so, he let his eyes travel up and down her figure. Sonny scoffed, hitting him in the back of the head.
"Not that kind of nice, you pig." she scolded. "But…anything else. You name the terms."
Rubbing his skull, Chad said thoughtfully, "You're pretty desperate, Monroe."
Chad sighed, letting his hand fall. "While I would normally be completely opposed to doing anything for you, I'm feeling nice today, so…what the hell? Sure, I'll be your date. But I will be collecting my reward—whatever I decide it is—at a later date, mind you."
"Really?!" Sonny squealed excitedly. "Oh, Chad, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Sonny raced forward to give him a hug, but fell short when she realized who it was she was about to hug. Awkwardly, she held out her hand for a handshake. "Ahem. Thanks."
She smiled her mega-watt smile, and Chad wondered for a moment why she always had such a strange effect on him.