This is my first Ben 10 fanfic so please don't hate me if you don't like it.
About the story, this is my own take of episode 17, "Save the Last Dance." I was really hoping to see Kevin's efforts being paid off in the dance, when he sweeps Gwen off her feet, all the while eliciting jealousy from guys and girls (towards Gwen of course). But that could probably just be my own fantasy. So here it is, my own version of it. Hope you enjoy reading it.
Something to take note of before I forget: If you're wondering why the conversations of the first part of the story doesn't match up with the episode's first part, it's because I couldn't find the first part of episode 17 so I couldn't watch it again and take more detailed bits of it. Still, hope you like it. I did my best to make it seem close to home.
Gwen tossed the dance invitation on the floor next to Kevin's legs.
"Ahem." Crossing her arms over her chest, Gwen tapped her heel against the concrete floor. Hidden beneath the smell of grease and car, Kevin continued to twist his wrench around a stubborn bolt, a subsequent clang reverberating across the room. Switching to another approach, Gwen cleared her throat to catch his attention. But that failed when Kevin continued to ignore her presence. Finally losing it, she used her manna to take a hold of his ankle and pull him away form his precious work.
"Hey!" Kevin yelled when bright light and an angry Gwen glared down at him. She signaled him to look at the card sitting beside him, waiting to be read at any moment. As soon as he grabbed it and read the dreaded words embossed on them, his eyes widened with suspicion and surprise. Why on earth would Gwen… ask… me… to ask her out? Why... me?
To be honest, half of him was ecstatic. Gwendolyn Tennyson, an epitome of every guy's dream girl—beautiful, smart, and brimming with class—was actually into him, Kevin Ethan Levin, an ex-con and a middle-school dropout with nothing else to offer her but brute strength, an iron-fisted temper, and rapid-fire sarcasm. Trying hard to refrain joy from showing on his face, however, Kevin feigned dumb.
"This is an invitation to a dance in your school."
"Yep. And you're taking me," Gwen filled him in.
"Cool. Pick me up 7," she ended, almost sounding like an order. Before hearing any of Kevin's objections or excuses for not going, Gwen made a swift yet graceful getaway through the garage door, leaving a dumbfounded Kevin growing nervous and dumbfounded by the minute.
Guess playing dumb can never work for a girl like her.
"Hey Kevin," Ben interrupted his thoughts. "What's eating you? Looks to me you got a problem."
"No kidding," Kevin said sarcastically, not bothering to answer the questioning look Ben was giving him. Wait a minute, this dance ain't no ordinary dance. Doesn't Gwen go to those preppy schools that have cafeterias serving fancy restaurant kind of food? Or swimming pools the size of the Olympics'? And this… this dance. Fancy dinner? Does that mean I have to learn how to eat with more than one fork? Or was that a spoon? And do I have to learn the foxtrot? Salsa? Aw, man…
"Kevin?" Ben asked again when Kevin continued to ignore him.
"Look, I… I don't know the proper way of eating a fancy dinner," Kevin grabbed hold of Ben's shoulders, completely ignoring Ben's query. Why me?! Why can't she ask one of those preppy guys from her school? "Guess I gotta go and watch a few videos," he said, panic gripping him cold. He then walked out of the garage, slightly slumped over, leaving a confused Ben to decipher whatever is actually going on.
Sorry Ben. But I got to take care of this. It's important… to me. As much as he hated to admit that he was acting selfish, he couldn't help himself at the moment. All he could think of was Gwen, Gwen, stupid dance, Gwen, stupid fancy dinner, Gwen…
"Ow! Aw, dammit!" He fell, tripping over a heap of clothes strewn across the floor. Dammit! Why don't I have a single suit in my stinking closet? He kicked off a jacket that managed to wrap around his ankle. When he finally got up he surveyed the whole room and sighed, feeling hopeless. He glanced at his watch and sighed more. Every minute mattered and fumbling through his beat up closet wasn't helping at all. And buying a suit was not an option, as he just spent a large wad of his pay on some things he needed to prepare himself for the dinner.
Right after leaving the garage, Kevin went straight for a couple of stores that sold magazines and videos on dinner etiquette. He even rented five videos on ballroom dancing and dirty dancing—the latter spiking the most interest. He lightly blushed at the thought. He was beginning to enter Dreamland when he shook the idea off his head, willing himself to not even think about it. He can't even go through a few steps without stepping on a girl's foot, how much more literally sweeping them off her feet with one arm?
Maybe he should take back that last thought. He had never danced before, not the elegant type for that matter, more so with a girl like Gwen. Not that he dirty danced before either. But enough of that, Kevin banging his head on the wall. He just realized that he needed a dance partner before going through the actual feat.
Suddenly, his eyes popping open with delightful revelation, Kevin fumbled through his pockets until he found his cell phone. He searched for Tracy and clicked call. After five or six rings her husky voice came on from the other end.
"Levin, been a long time not hearing your voice, or your pretty face. How ya doin'?
Kevin chuckled. "No kiddin', the feeling's mutual." A small smile escaped. Good thing he was alone. Tracy was one of his best friends and though he never could admit it, she was one of the few people who could be trusted. Too bad she was married to his other friend, he thought to himself jokingly. Although she was pretty and too sassy for her own good, no girl but Gwen could ever make him feel as dumbfounded as she made him feel constantly. He broke from his reverie and turned to the business at hand.
"Listen Trace, I need your help with somethin'." Clearing his throat, he continued, "Ya see, I got invited to this fancy dinner thing at my friend's school, and I was wondering if you'll help me with that…"
A brief silence on the other end. "A fancy dinner thing, huh? Did this friend of yours invite you?"
A blush crept to his cheeks. Trace could see right through him, whether on phone or face-to-face. Sometimes it made him uneasy but that's one of the many things he liked about her.
"Yeah… she did. Trace, I really need your help."
"Wow Levin, this is a first I've heard you sound so, so flustered. Makes me more pumped to help you. 'Course I'll help you if you want a more straightforward answer but yeah, just come over to my place at three sharp. Jazz class should be over a little before then. But just come early, you might get to learn something out of it," she said half-jokingly. She could picture Kevin rolling his eyes.
"Cool. See you at 3," Kevin said curtly. He clearly wanted this conservation to end as soon as possible.
But before he could cut her off, Tracy said, "Bring her picture, will you? Love to see the girl that captivated Kevin Levin's heart." She then hit end call, giving Kevin ample time to blush a darker shade of red.
Dammit, Trace! If only you had nothing to help me out with I wouldn't have to go through with this… embarrassment.
He then checked the time and saw that it was only a quarter past 2. He had some time to think about where to get a suit for the dance before his appointed time with Tracy. But where to get it from was going to be a problem. Who would have a suit…?
It was a long shot but who knew what that peep squeak had underneath his sleeve.
"There's gotta be something in here… Ah-hah!" Ben exclaimed, his hunger pang gnawing at him by the second. He grabbed the pickle jar, unwound the cap, and started munching down on one when Kevin appeared right in front of him in his own kitchen, frightening him.
Can't the guy ever knock? Doesn't he get the point of the whole door, lock, and doorbell mechanism?
"Tennyson, I need a suit!" Kevin's pallor was white with terror.
"Hmmm… I might have one," with that Ben led Kevin into his room and started going through his closet, reaching to the very end where all the dust took residence and finally found one that could fit Kevin. When he still couldn't figure out what exactly was bothering Kevin, he gave Gwen a call. But instead of feeling relief after finding out that Gwen practically made Kevin ask her to the dance, he felt equally sorry for the couple; Gwen began to feel nervous that Kevin might ditch her and Kevin… it didn't take a genius to see that this whole thing was deeply troubling him. So he now felt more than obliged to help the two, especially Kevin, judging by how he was currently acting.
"Try this on for size," Ben showed the suit to Kevin. "It's Grandpa Max's old suit."
"In case you haven't noticed, Grandpa Max and I don't share the same body type," Kevin retorted.
"Hey, he wasn't as big as he is now." Ben handed the suit to him and Kevin had no choice but to accept.
Ben nodded with approval. "Close enough."
After putting on the suit, Kevin was just about done and ready, adjusting his cuffs with a sly smile and a nod. "Not bad."
Ben, hungry as ever, ate more pickles as he watched Kevin put on his bowtie.
Having never to wear a suit and tie before, Kevin was perplexed by how he ought to tie a… tie. He tried knotting and circling it around his neck but to no avail. "Aren't these things supposed to come with clips?"
"Not if you're older than twelve."
Trying hard to get it right, Kevin made another knot but his finger got caught in the process. "Finger's caught," he said, impatience and irritation evident in his voice.
Ben put down the jar of pickles and walked up to Kevin, helping him out. "It just takes practice. Over, under, around…"
Ticked off, Kevin exclaimed, "I'm not like those prep guys from her school!"
"Which is why she wants to go to the dance with you and not one of them. Just be yourself." After fixing Kevin's tie, Ben brushed off more dust from Kevin's shoulder. "There, don't you look dapper."
Kevin looked down and had to agree with Ben. He smiled.
Ben resumed his pickle-eating, finishing up with the last one and then downing the juice.
Kevin just gave him a shocked look. "You sure like pickles."
"Yeah. I wonder if we got any more of these," Ben said, making his way out the door. But just as he was reaching for the doorknob, he added, "Oh, and Gwen likes yellow roses. Get her a nice corsage."
When Ben was out of the room, Kevin went straight for the mirror, admiring the view. He then tried to practice what he was going to say at the dance. "Wanna dance?" But he suddenly remembered Ben telling him to get her a corsage. "What's a corsage?" he asked himself.
Suddenly, he remembered Tracy and glanced at his watch. It was already a quarter past two and Trace's place usually took him almost half an hour to get there. Shit! I gotta get out of here pronto, otherwise, I'll never hear the end of Trace's yappin'.
"You're late, Levin," a petite blonde told Kevin as he entered through glass doors.
"Traffic's bad," Kevin said, sliding off his suit jacket and tossing it on one of the chairs. He glanced at Tracy and smirked. "Is that a way to greet an old friend?"
"Sure, a friend that never showed up for his friends' son's first birthday," Tracy countered, hoping that her slightly hurt feelings didn't show. "And by the way, rush hour doesn't start till 5."
"Trace, sorry. I was caught up with something." Kevin tried hard not to look at her, feeling guilt gnawing at him. "About Jason's birthday… you know I'm a—"
"A plumber, yeah, I know." How many times did he have to repeat that same old bullshit of an excuse? "You've got your responsibilities and I have mine too." She looked at him with her crystalline blue eyes and thought it might be better to take back her words. She sighed. "I'm sorry, Kev. I shouldn't be too hard on you, after all the things you've been through…"
"No, I should apologize for not calling at least. I have to admit, since I've been hanging out with the Tennysons, all I can think about are aliens."
"And your car," Tracy filled in the blank for him.
"Yeah, and my car." Kevin flashed her a sheepish grin.
Shaking her head, Tracy crossed her arms over her chest and said, "So, what do you wanna know?"
"Everything there is to know about dancin'. Well, the easier steps I guess." He scratched his head for a better word. "What do you recommend?"
"If you want the basic steps, all you need to know is the right footing." With her back erect, Tracy demonstrated the steps that could help Kevin live through the night without him bothering to learn the flamenco. Gracefully she put her right foot out first, marking that as "One," then a pause, a "Two"—feet together—and "Three," left foot out.
"What's this?" Kevin, still feeling shy and embarrassed, asked.
"Basic footing for salsa."
"Do I really have to learn the salsa?"
"Oh quit being a girl and buck up. You never know what dancing can do for a guy's image."
"Pfft. Yeah sure, it's a real ladykiller." Kevin rolled his eyes and shook his head, emphasizing the allusion to sarcasm.
"Don't mock me, Levin, I'm bein' serious. I'm tryin' to teach you stuff and if you ain't gonna take it seriously then get out, like I care what you're doing with your life with your newfound friends." At that moment, Tracy regretted those words. She didn't know why she was so bitter. Sure, once upon a time she had a crush on Kevin, but that was ages ago. And right now her heart belongs to their friend, Josh. But Kevin… he was something. Even though he always got them into trouble back then, he'd always do something, whether consciously or subconsciously, to make her laugh nonstop. She simply missed the old days when the three of them were always together—hanging out together, laughing together, doing silly things together… honestly, she wanted the old Kevin back. The old Kevin that used to make big promises that they would be friends forever… no matter what…
"Earth to Trace, come in Trace," Kevin waved a hand in front of her face. "You okay?"
Tracy blinked her eyes several times to focus on the matter at hand. "Sorry, Kev. Just got caught up in the past." She cleared her throat and apologized to Kevin for her sudden outburst earlier.
"No, you were right." Kevin turned around, forcing Tracy to stare at his back. "Being with the Tennysons makes me feel more motivated to hope that there's something bigger… and better for me out there. Not that I'm sayin' that hanging out with you guys is nothing but juvenile and limited. It's just that… you know my situation, you know my dreams, and being with them has made me realized all that again." He didn't want to add in that Gwen was also the reason. Heck, he couldn't even admit it completely to himself. "But I'm sorry if my friendship with them has cost ours. I know that my apologies can't atone for what I didn't do, but I guess… I wanna try all over again." Kevin finally turned to face her. "Give me a second chance?"
Tracy snorted. "What makes you think I'm gonna forgive you…?"
"When I'm not askin' for an apology in the first place?" Tracy smirked at him when he blushed.
"All right, Kev. I'm gonna teach you a step that you'll never forget for the rest of your life." Tracy approached him, grabbed his arm, planted it on her waist, took his other free hand, and started to sway from side to side.
"Follow my lead… for now," she said, literally pulling a still clueless Kevin from side to side. When Kevin refused to look up, she scolded him. "What are you looking down at for, Levin? Chin up, be confident. You're the man, you better be the one leading me instead of vice versa. C'mon, did the macho man turn into a pansy now? There's no need to be afraid. Just picture me as her," as soon as she said that Kevin's eyes instantly stared into hers, his figure slowly relaxing.
Tracy smiled. Wow, this girl has certainly got my Kevin whooped.
"That's right, you're leading her, carrying her in your arms, your bodies a perfect match together, the noise and colors and people in the background are nothing but props. The soothing music reverberating in your ears, allowing it to take you in, it's guiding you to a world where only you and her reside. You look into her eyes and know in the bottom of your heart the only thing that matters most is her and nothing else. Not during this important night. Not anywhere else or anytime."
"Oh? Her name's Gwen now, eh?" Tracy said with a lopsided grin, feigning surprise. She knew that Kevin will never admit anything that lies deep within his heart but, with the right kind of coaxing—more like the devious, coy kind—she can elicit almost anything from Kevin, whether he liked it or not.
Kevin, cursing under his breath, stopped all of a sudden and let go of Tracy. He turned away, trying to hide his scarlet cheeks but it was too late; Tracy already saw him.
"Kevin," she walked up to him and planted a hand on his shoulder. "I'm really happy for you."
Slightly taken aback, Kevin whipped around to stare at her. Did he hear her right? She was actually happy for him? Tracy Stewart? The girl who constantly teased him, the girl who gave him wedgies and flushed his head in the toilet back in the day when he was nothing but skin and bones? The girl who enjoyed embarrassing him every single moment? The girl… the girl who'd watch out for him whenever he got into trouble with the homeless piece of shit of bullies…
"Thanks, Trace." He returned the gesture by placing his hand on top of hers. "Really appreciate it."
"Of course, I'd still want to meet her, y'know? Like I said earlier, I wanna meet the girl who stole Kevin Levin's heart, got it? I mean, it's enough that you rejected me once…"
"What?" Kevin's voice turned a pitch higher.
Tracy just loved his shocked face. "Least you can do for me is introduce us."
"But, but, but why?" Pale white replaced his flushed face.
"Oh, quit being a pansy." She glanced at her watch. "You only got a few hours before the dance. Come over here and sway me to fall in love with you…" she ended seductively with mischievous glint in her eyes.
The rest of the lesson was filled with snorts and fits of laughter (from Tracy) and a lot of stuttering (from Kevin) but Tracy actually felt happy and relieved for the guy. He's finally found someone that could make him feel so vulnerable and yet so happy. Sometimes, that's just what guys need, a dose of dependence on the other… instead of acting oh-so macho all the time.
Thanks, Gwen Tennyson.
Ten to seven. He turned off the engine, sighed, and adjusted his tie. He glanced at the rearview mirror and brushed back hair that was sticking out. He craned his neck to check if there were nose hairs sticking out from his nostrils. None. Good. He checked his profile and was dying to admire his reflection but there was no time for that, it was already… nine to seven.
Kevin tried hard not to shake. He could feel his armpits overflowing with sweat. Ugh, where did he put that Axe spray? He opened the compartment door and fumbled through the speeding tickets to find it gone. He undid his seatbelt and checked the backseat and underneath the car seat. Sure enough it was there, hiding from him. He virtually showered himself with it and checked the time for the nth time. It was six to seven… shit!
He dropped the bottle and slid it underneath the seat. He crumpled a few speeding tickets lying on the floor and stuffed them in the compartment. He looked behind him and double-checked that the car was clear of trash. He then swept imaginary dust from the seat next to him and grabbed the corsage from the dashboard. After all that he checked his reflection in the rearview mirror and breathed in.
Here goes nothing.
He finally got out of the car, did two seconds of stretching, walked the mile to her doorstep, cracked his neck, and tried calming himself. "It's just a dance, right? Nothing to worry about, I look pretty good…" He suddenly looked from side to side just in case nobody was looking. He checked his breath and regretted not brushing his teeth for the third time before leaving Tracy's house. "Ugh, should have brought gum."
But his thoughts were cut off when the door opened only to reveal a dazzling Gwen standing before him. She was wearing a flowing white dress, her flaming-red hair framing her beautiful face, her slim figure toned by busting aliens on a regular basis. All Kevin could do was stare. Luckily for him he was able to at least let out a "Wow."
"Likewise," Gwen countered. She felt her stomach doing a double over at the sight of Kevin. He was just… gorgeous! He looked very handsome in the suit and it fit him, perfectly. She couldn't help but smile.
"I got this for you," he held out the corsage. He could almost feel his heart jumping out of his ribcage for fear that she might not like it. After undergoing Tracy's "dance-of-death" teaching style, his feet were close to bleeding and he still needed to get the corsage. He stopped by several stores to pick out one that he thought best suited Gwen. Not to mention that it cost him a fortune. After all this is done I am definitely brokering a huge deal whether they like it or not.
Gwen only took one look at it before her heart melted into a soup of bliss. "It's beautiful," she breathed out. She gazed at his expectant eyes. "Thank you, Kevin."
Kevin smiled and nodded happily. It seemed like everything was going according to plan.
Once they were in the car Kevin handed her the yellow roses. She smelled them and was speechless. He got her favorite! She was just too happy to even say anything, more so even think of what to say. She felt like kissing him on the cheek but that might just scare him, or alarm him. Either way, the situation hasn't called for that… yet.
She hadn't notice that they were already on the road when she finally gained the sense of thinking straight. She glanced at him and saw him fixing his collar. She smiled. She decided to break the ice.
"Yellow roses. How did you know?"
"I'm a sensitive guy with an eye for what the ladies like." he said confidently.
"Really?" Gwen asked, impressed.
"No. Actually," he could have sworn that her face fell. "Ben told me but he was really cool about it. Gave me a lot of good advice."
Gwen was dumbfounded. Was he referring to her cousin Ben? She scoffed. "Good advice? Ben?" Am I hearing things right or am I having a hearing problem?
"Yeah, he tied my tie for me."
"Ben. Gave you dating tips and helped you tie your tie?" This could not be the same Ben they were talking about.
"It could happen," Kevin suggested.
As he was turning into the school's entrance, Gwen gave it some thought. She pulled out her phone for any missed calls or text messages. Nothing. If something strange were going on Ben would call them… She shook her head. No, Ben wouldn't dare call her, especially after knowing that this night was important to her. Well, she did see Julie a while ago and everything seemed normal, except for the fact that Ben was acting like a writer coming out of Cosmopolitan magazine. Maybe Kevin was right. It could happen.
Before she knew it, the door was open and Kevin held out his hand. "Let's dance."
He tried to sound suave but failed. But she didn't want to ruin it. It was charming all the same to her.
She placed her hand in his and stepped out of the car and into his muscle arms. He was so warm… and reeked of deodorant. But that didn't matter, Kevin made the effort of dressing up, buying her flowers, taking her to the dance… it was like a dream come true. She looked up at him and grinned.
"Thank you, Kevin." She leaned her head on his hard chest.
"For what?" he asked, his eyebrow rose in question.
"Oh nothing." She shook her head and held his hand. "Let's go inside."
Kevin nodded, then whispered in her ear, "Right beside you."
To be continued…
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