Disclaimer: I forgot to mention it earlier but I do not own Ben 10 Alien Force.
Author's note: Sorry if I didn't update earlier. I got really sick and that affected my muse pretty badly so I apologize. By the way, this is the end of the story. It's been short but sweet (I hope) and I do hope that you'll enjoy it. Thanks also for your reviews, it's been fun reading them, not to mention very encouraging. I might end up writing more on Ben 10 but I'm still waiting for my muse to kick in. But for now,
Holding her hand in his, Kevin tried hard to ignore the curious, shocked stares and hushed whispers directed at him and Gwen. He clenched his fist in protest of their situation. He may be a middle-school dropout, a pup living on his own, a guy who barely has money to spare for school fees, but one thing those cocky, "big-shot", preppy boys don't have is rocking superpowers that can seriously kick butt… and a girl like Gwen, of course. He blushed at the afterthought.
"Kevin," Gwen nudged him out of his reverie. "C'mon, let's go sit down." She pulled him close to her side. From the close proximity between them he could smell a hint of her flowery-laced shampoo and her cologne. He usually didn't appreciate how women literally doused themselves with their perfume; every time he passed by a couple walking arm in arm, he'd always catch a whiff of something strong and sweet assaulting his nostrils. It hurt rather than allure him. But Gwen's… it was light and arousing and it was so… her. It was her scent and only hers. And no other woman could beat that, ever.
"Earth to Kevin, are you home?" Gwen, looking a bit annoyed, shook him.
"Oh, hey." He shook his head a bit. "Sorry, was thinking of something." From all that contemplating he nearly forgot his place. Just then he realized that they were standing by a table, Gwen waiting for him to pull a chair for her. He blushed and sheepishly did so, whispering more apologies in her ear.
Gwen in turn just shook her head, told him there was no need to apologize. He must be feeling nervous. After all, it was his first time being in an occasion as "grand" as this, she thought. Fighting hard not to stare at Kevin as he was taking his seat next to hers, Gwen turned to her friends, Allison and Natasha, sitting close by with their respective dates, Charles and Gavin.
They winked at her, gave her the thumbs-up. Gwen bit her tongue when she was seconds from squealing like a hyped-up teenage girl. Well, technically she was still a teenager but she would like to be considered more like a young adult, like… she momentarily glanced at Kevin, who was making glass-shattering, high-pitch sounds with his finger swirling around the mouth of his glass. She sighed. Kevin was definitely light years away from being considered a young adult. He was more like a… tween, by way of his actions. And yet, she couldn't help but smile.
But when Charles and Gavin, along with two more couples at the table, continued to glare at Kevin's direction, Gwen simply grabbed his hand and squeezed it reassuringly. His hand was damp and cold, and she knew that deep down he was nervous.
She whispered in his ear, "Don't worry, you look great."
He nodded and returned the gesture. "It's just new to me, that's all." He scanned the massive gym. The theme color was blue and white. Music coming out from the speakers was classical and romantic. The silverware was pure white, almost seemed like porcelain. And there were waiters or caterers approaching each table one at a time with trays filled with wine or juice. This, Kevin thought, was no ordinary school dance.
"Sparkling wine or grape juice?" Their server, a balding man with a Welsh accent, asked Kevin.
Definitely anything but the ordinary.
"Uh… do you have soda by any chance?"
As soon as he said that, giggles and snorts erupted from the group. Gwen frowned at them.
The server ignored them and continued, "Diet or regular?"
Kevin managed to give him a small, thankful smile. "Regular."
The old man nodded. "And you, miss?" His attention now turned to Gwen.
"Same. Thanks," Gwen flashed him a grin.
He nodded and moved on to the next couple. By then the pig folk earned the right to shut up. There was an awkward silence that soon followed and Kevin loosened his collar a bit to ease the tension that was building up inside him.
Gwen broke the silence when she asked Allison and Natasha how they knew Charles and Gavin. Personally, she knew the answers; it was just the matter of breaking the uncomfortable air around them.
"Charles and I go way back," Allison said more to the whole group than to Gwen. "It has been a little over a year since we started going out and there has never been a day when we could keep our hands to ourselves, if you know what I mean," She winked at Gwen and instantly made a show of lip-locking him and that gave Kevin the jitters. She seemed more like a show-off than a girl who's madly in love with ol' Prince Charles here.
"Oh Allison," Charles cupped her face in his hands, gave her the kilowatt smile.
"Oh Charles," Allison, her eyes close to resembling a combination of hearts and dollar signs, was leaning in for another wet, slobbering kiss.
"Oh get a room," Kevin mumbled, leaning his chin on a fist. Watching them making out at the table was too much to bear. Not that he was jealous or anything. He could almost taste his lunch coming up his throat.
"Kevin," Gwen scolded him lightly through gritted teeth. As much as she felt the same thing, answering back to this kind of people was like making yourself fall prey to hungry lions. She nervously glanced from Charles to Kevin, Kevin to Charles, Charles and Allison to Kevin, rest of the group to Kevin. They all gave him the mocking glare and that meant trouble, Gwen knew it all too well.
"Kevin Levin, is it?" Charles began with a raised brow. "I've heard a great deal about you. What were they again? Hmmm… let me think," Charles feigned contemplation. "Ah yes, you're a dropout and a criminal—"
"Ex," Gwen uttered, her temper rising. Kevin was not the only one getting angry.
Suddenly, she heard Kevin rising from his seat, his clenched fists at his sides.
"Kevin," Gwen hissed. Please don't lunge at him. Or punch him. Or do anything that could destroy the table. The thing that worried her most was how these people—her classmates—were going to treat and view Kevin if he did beat the pants off of them. Just like Kevin, she too wanted to give them a piece of her manna. They really had no right to talk to Kevin that way, insult him, laugh at him, or mock him. He was far better than anyone in the room and she was not going to just sit and act as if everything was fine and dandy.
Maybe, the best thing was to leave before things got out of hand.
Before anyone could say a word, the server came with heaps of delicious food waiting to be served. Just on time. "Mind the plate, it's piping hot." He put down a couple of plates in front of Kevin and Gwen. "And your sodas." His moustache twitched as he smiled.
"Thanks," Kevin said as he sat back down. For the moment he willed himself to forget the bastard sitting three seats away from him. This was Gwen's night. He had to control his temper. He was not going to ruin it, no matter how painful it was to keep his vein from popping out of his temple.
He sighed, breathed in deeply to calm his nerves down.
"You hungry?" Gwen asked. She was also fighting hard to stay calm. She donned her forced smile but all Kevin had to do was grin and nod to smooth her twitchiness away.
"Starving." He didn't need to lie to sound convincing. The food smelled and looked delicious. It was roasted lamb with herbed potatoes and buttered vegetables. And the soda made it even more mouth-watering.
Kevin lifted his glass and was about to make a toast with Gwen. Gwen was just about to follow suit when one of the guys, Mark, seating next to Kevin "accidentally" brushed his elbow against Kevin's, which then swiped a bread plate off the table. The plate hit the floor before Kevin knew what was happening, sending shattering echoes across the gym, thus prompting stares toward Kevin's table.
"Ooops, my bad," Mark said with false apology. "Thought I spotted a bug right next to me but, guess I was wrong. More like an uninvited rat."
"Better a rat than a smug-faced brat who's got nothing better to do than splurge and whine to Daddy Dearest when Bully Bob returns to finish the Wet Willy business." Kevin stood up and glared down at Mark—who was blonde and green-eyed and shorter and chubbier than Kevin—before bending down to gather the shards of ceramic. The server and Gwen helped too. "Oh, and you got a grape juice stain on your shirt right there," he pointed at the spot right below the collar. "Ask for a straw next time."
"Why you stuck-up, good-for-nothing… criminal!" Mark, red-faced and angry, kicked the chair behind him and made an attempt of pushing Kevin, but failed. "You don't belong here. I don't even know why Gwen asked you to this event in the first place." She was supposed to go with me… until you showed up. Think it's just 'cuz you act cool with your little green car but under all that, you're nothing. Nothing. You're a loser. A loner. Nobody wants to be with you, that's why. Not even your mother and father—"
He was stopped short with a blow in the face.
"Correction, you're the one who's stuck-up." Gwen smoothed her dress before she continued, "You think just because your father's rich that gives you the right to look down on others who don't make as much as your father does. And you're the one who doesn't have real friends. The only reason why people put up with you is because of your father's business. Other than that, you're nothing. At least Kevin changed for the better. Far, far, FAR better than you will ever dream of becoming."
Gwen turned around, slipped a twenty dollar bill into the old man's hand (and assured him that she'll pay for the plate), grabbed Kevin's hand, and stormed out.
When they were finally outside, Gwen hugged Kevin fiercely. Kevin tentatively embraced her at first but his arms around her grew tighter.
"Sorry if this didn't turn out as you hoped it to be," Kevin said.
Gwen shook her head. "Why are you apologizing?" Gwen looked up, into his eyes. "Kevin, I'm the one who has to be sorry. I forced you to come, I asked you to bring me to this dance against your will…"
"And I'm glad you did," Kevin had to admit that he was grateful. Even though he didn't get any of the royal treatment, it was still, in a way, fun. He was able to get a shot of humiliating those annoying rich brats at least.
"You're glad?" Gwen asked incredulously.
"Yeah, was able to teach that Mark a lesson, wasn't I?" Kevin said with a sadistic grin.
Gwen just rolled her eyes, playfully smacked his shoulder. She then leaned on his car, looked up.
"What say you we head out and have our own little party?"
"You read my mind."
Stars littered the sky. The moon was a quarter-full and yet it shone brightly. Kevin and Gwen sat huddled together on one of his spare blankets from the trunk. Surrounding them were packs of potato chips, cookies, and opened cans of soda.
Gwen's head was leaning against Kevin's shoulder. They were parked atop a hill overlooking the city, a tree acting as a roof above their heads. When a wind blew in their direction, Gwen shivered for a moment. Seeing her quiet discomfort, Kevin removed his jacket and wrapped it around her. Feeling bolder, he sat behind her, embraced her, making Gwen lean her whole weight on him.
"Not what I expected, but nice. Very nice," Gwen purred in his ear.
"Yeah," Kevin managed to say as he breathed in a lungful of her scent.
When mutual silence passed between them for a while, Gwen said, "We never got to dance."
Kevin just leaned his chin on her shoulder. "I think we're fine as is."
"Oh c'mon, don't be a spoilsport." Gwen shook Kevin off her and stood up. With an outstretched hand, she challenged him. "It'll be fun."
Admitting defeat, Kevin walked to his car and turned on the radio. He walked toward her, made a low bow, did a bad imitation of an English accent (but it still made Gwen blush), said, "Let's dance."
Gwen just chuckled and gave him her hand. Kevin then accepted it. Like a glove and a mitten. A spoon and fork. Their hands fit together perfectly. He practically embraced her as they danced to the mellow music, their eyes locked on each other, their steps in sync.
"You sure can dance," Gwen commented.
"Yeah, couldn't have done it without the help of an old friend."
"Old friend?" Kevin never mentioned anything about an "old friend" before. She imagined a guy helping him but it would look really weird, especially for a guy with a truckload of pride like Kevin. Or maybe an alien friend. That would definitely make more sense. But a girl… friend? Impossible.
"What's uh… your friend's name?" Gwen asked.
"Tracy." Clueless as ever, Kevin lowered his head for a kiss, but Gwen put a stop to it.
"Tracy? As in girl… friend?"
"Girlfriend? Who, Tracy?" Kevin said with a stifled chuckle. When Gwen didn't seem to believe it, he sighed. He stopped swaying but couldn't let go of her tiny waist.
"She's just a friend from when I was a lost kid. Back when my mom left me and had no father. I only had Josh and Tracy back then. We were the best of friends. We hung out together all the time, every day and night. We had a lot of fun fooling the cops especially… back then."
"So, how come we never met them six years ago?"
"They may have been my best friends but they weren't homeless orphans like me." Kevin paused. Gwen placed a hand on his cheek. "Well, Josh and I were pretty similar. Josh's parents died but then Tracy's dad took him in because Josh's dad was best-friends with Tracy's. So one day, they moved out. Tracy's dad was transferred to New York so they just left… without me. Just like everybody else. But then a year ago they came back. They managed to get my cell number and invited me to their son's birthday party but I couldn't go. Had alien business to attend to," he finished with a wink.
"So Josh and Tracy are married?"
"Yeah. When I first heard it, I almost choked on my own saliva. They were like brother and sister but I guess they felt differently." He shrugged his shoulders. "They're a good match though, I'm really happy for them."
Gwen merely nodded.
Kevin lifted her chin with his finger so she could look at him. "If you want, I can introduce you to them."
"And maybe some more?"
"Some more?" Kevin asked, unsure and skeptical.
"Yeah, like girlfriends you've never mentioned, that sorta thing."
"Oh c'mon, I swear it was just them. Besides, if I did make friends back in kindergarten it's not like I'll remember all their names and faces…"
And that was how their night together ended. More secrets to be discovered and divulged, more hugs and kisses to be shared, more bickering and laughter to toss around.
Tonight was one of those nights to remember though. Definitely.
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