Make My Day
The clock in the cafeteria deems it 12:36 as Sonny relaxes into her hard plastic chair. The last guest has left, leaving only Chad, Sonny, Nico, Grady, and a few other stragglers from Mackenzie Falls, who are picking at the leftovers from the buffet table. The place is a mess, paper plates and crumbs and crumpled up napkins covering the tabletops and floors.
Chad sits next her, heaving a sigh. "Time for cleanup, Miss Munroe," he says, his eyes half shut.
Sonny wrinkles her nose. "Why can't the cleanup people get it?"
"Because the cleanup people's shift ended three hours ago," Chad replies, rising from his chair. Nico and Grady are halfway out the door, but Chad yells for them to stop. "Hey guys, I'll pay you ten dollars each to hang around and clean this place up."
Nico and Grady agree almost immediately, scrambling for the giant, rolling trash can in the corner. Sonny stands out of her chair with a yawn, rubbing her eyes wearily. She notices with annoyance that the Mackenzie Falls people have slipped out of the room at the mention of the word "cleanup."
They manage to make the place look decent in about twenty minutes, Chad moaning and grumbling the whole time about germs and touching people's used napkins. Sonny feels her temper rising with each muttered curse, and she knows that she needs a good night's sleep. She rises from the ground one last time, clutching a broken bit of pretzel, only to notice that she is alone in the room with Chad.
"Where's Nico and Grady?" she asks.
Chad shrugs. "I don't know. They sprinted out of here as soon as I gave them their money."
They are silent for a moment, their eyes heavily lidded and their breathing slow.
"We should get to bed," Sonny says after a while. "I feel like a zombie."
Chad remains silent, biting his lower lip. Sonny waves her hand.
"Chad? Earth to Chad? Goodnight."
She turns to go, her ankles wobbly from her long night in too-tall heels.
He's so quiet that Sonny barely hears him, but she finds herself coming to a halt.
"What is it, Chad?"
She looks over her shoulder at him standing there uncertainly, his blue eyes sparkling. It seemed as if she'd been oblivious to all of Chad's handsome, charming traits until today. Looking at his profile as she was sitting next to him, she realized how beautifully carved his features were, as if he was a sculpture opposed to a living human being. Or the way her fingers itched to smooth out his golden hair, to feel the silky strands on her fingertips. His smile had so suddenly made her feel weak at the knees, and just his eyes resting on hers made her heart flutter.
All of this runs through Sonny's head as she waits for his reply. Everything between her and Chad has changed so suddenly and swiftly that she isn't sure if what she's feeling is right or wrong. All she knows is in that moment she wants nothing more than for Chad to say something to make her stay.
"Dance with me?" he whispers, outstretching a hand.
Sonny blinks. "Chad, it's almost one o'clock. I'm exhausted," she replies.
Chad just looks at her.
"Fine," she mumbles, stepping forward and taking his hand in hers.
Without much warning, he's pulling her close—closer than she thinks she's ever been to him before. She is just a scant inch or two shorter than him in her heels, her mass of curls making up for some of the distance.
"We don't have any music," Sonny points out.
Chad smiles. "See, at this point I would say something all romantic about not needing music … or start singing. But seeing as I lack about as much depth as a kiddie pool, and that my singing voice would bring shame to a walrus giving birth, I think I'll refrain from both."
Sonny laughs, shaking her head slightly. Chad spins her, causing Sonny to laugh even more. "Where'd you learn to do that?"
He shrugs. "Well, one time there was an episode on Mackenzie Falls where we had to ballroom dance."
"Really," Sonny responds, resting her head on Chad's shoulder. She can feel him tense slightly, but she doesn't move. Chad's grip on her tightens.
"There's something I've been meaning to tell you all night," Chad says softly.
"Really." Sonny closes her eyes, giving into her drowsiness. She feels comfortable and warm and happy; sleep is weighing her down. "What would that be?"
Sonny opens her eyes with a snort. "Stop it, Chad. I know you don't mean that."
"But I do, Sonny. I really do."
"What did it take, a pair of mustard-colored tights and a tutu to bring out my true beauty?" Sonny replies jokingly, removing her cheek from his shoulder.
Chad shakes his head. "No. I'm serious about this. Tonight has just made me realize how much I like you. Sure, I liked you before, but I had always just thought of you as 'Sonny the Silly Random' instead of just … Sonny. And I just realized that maybe I knew all along that I felt for you more deeply. Because yes, Sonny. I have feelings for you."
Sonny looks up at Chad in disbelief. "So tonight, everything about tonight, was real?"
"Of course it was real," Chad breathes, stroking her dark brown hair.
Sonny shakes her head violently. "But Chad, this isn't you: this—this guy that's sweet and affectionate and heartfelt. You're a jerk in real life, a heartbreaker and an idiot. I have trouble believing that you truly care about me. You've never been so kind to me until tonight. Is it because of the way I look? Is it because I look pretty? Is that why you suddenly love me? Because I don't know why you do," Sonny retorts.
"Sonny, please. I'm not lying to you."
Sonny observes Chad closely, studying his pretty blue eyes. She doesn't see anything that leads her to believe he's lying, which scares her even more.
"It wouldn't work between us. We can barely stand each other, you know that," she whispers.
"But what about tonight?" he begs, squeezing her hand in his.
"I don't know, maybe tonight was just a fluke. Tomorrow we'll go back to hating each other like normal. It's what we do, Chad. We fight and we bicker and we annoy the crap out of each other. This just isn't right." She looks at him, pleading him to understand.
"How do you know? We could at least try. Try to make things work. You know that you have feelings for me too. You can't just forget everything that's happened between us tonight." Chad takes a shaky breath and reaches out a hand to stroke Sonny's cheek.
She flinches away. "I'm sorry. I just can't do this," she murmurs, pulling out of his grasp. "Goodnight."
Sonny closes the door shut behind her, alone in the darkness of her room. She realizes that she hasn't seen Tawni since early that night, figuring that she must have snuck out of the party and is already in bed. She pads through the room softly, heading towards the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face.
The bathroom light is on and the door is shut. Sonny opens the door tentatively, too tired to think things through.
Tawni is on the bathroom floor in her pink dress, lying in a heap of used tissues with her eyes closed.
"Tawni!" Sonny yelps, bending over next to the girl. "Tawni, what are you doing? What happened?" She shakes Tawni's shoulders to wake her up.
Slowly, Tawni stirs awake. "Sonny?" she mumbles, squinting in the harsh bathroom light. She blinks a few times, taking in her surroundings. "Oh no," she sighs, smoothing out the wrinkles in her dress. "I fell asleep in here."
Tawni's eyes are bloodshot and rimmed in red. She looks horrible, like she'd been crying all night long.
"What happened?" Sonny repeats, helping Tawni to her feet.
Tawni frowns. "You know how I said I thought I saw Shaun at the party?"
"He was there all right," Tawni says with a bitter laugh, "all over one of those Mackenzie Falls sluts."
Sonny's mouth falls open in horror. "No kidding?"
Tawni just scowls in reply. "The jerk. You know, I actually liked him. I guess you can't trust any of these Hollywood hotties, especially the ones with the pretty faces."
Sonny finds herself thinking of Chad and his pretty blue eyes. He'd never do this to me, she thinks.
Tawni swipes at the dried spit in the corners of her mouth with a grimace. "I'm scared to look in the mirror."
I don't blame you, Sonny thinks, leading the girl into the bedroom. She flicks the lights on, and both girls undress quickly, tossing their worn and beaten dresses in a pile in the floor.
Once Sonny is settle in her bed with the lights turned off, she finds that her mind is on overload. She can't sleep with the racket going on in her brain.
"So, how did things go with you and Chad?" Tawni's voice emerges from the darkness.
"What are you talking about?" Sonny asks warily, the quaver in her voice giving her away.
"Come on, Sonny. I saw the two of you slow dancing. And, I saw the way the two of you were looking at each other. Total chemistry," Tawni explains.
Sonny feels herself blush in the darkness. "Well, I hate to burst Tawni's bubble, but what Chad and I had for that brief second is history."
"Oh, Sonny. That can't be true. Passion like that doesn't die within a few hours," Tawni chirps.
"You called that passion? What we had was nothing. Absolutely nothing," Sonny says, clenching her jaw.
Tawni laughs. "I know when I see something, Sonny. And what you and Chad had was definitely something. Not nothing."
Sonny frowns, burrowing deeper into her sheets. A growing sense of dread fills her stomach. "I think it's too late to fix things."
Tawni yawns loudly. "It's … never... too late … goodnight … Sonny," she mumbles after a long pause.
Without another word, Sonny silently leaves her bed and hurries out of the room, slipping into the darkened hallway.
Using the faint lights from outside, she is able to guide her way to the Mackenzie Falls set. She ventures to the back hallway, a place she's never been before. The doors are all shut with the lights off. She has no idea which room is the one she is looking for, and she finds herself wishing that she was still back in her room.
The last door on the hall looks promising—a giant, blow up poster of Mackenzie Falls covers most of the door, Chad Dylan Cooper's face eerily large. Sonny takes a deep breath and knocks tentatively on the door. She crosses her fingers and chews on her lip nervously, waiting for an answer. Finally, the door opens.
Sonny breaths a sigh of relief when she sees Chad's face, outlined by the dim light coming from his room. "Sonny," he whispers when he sees her. "What are you doing?"
Chad's eyes are rimmed in red and his hair is sticking out crazily. He's still in his outfit from the party—black suit, red tie. But everything about him is disheveled, and Sonny feels uncomfortable seeing such an always-put-together person in tatters before her. She thinks of Tawni again, lying in her pile of tissues with her eyes rubbed raw and black tears of mascara streaked down her face. She thinks about how horrible Shaun had been to Tawni, how he had cheated on her and broken her.
I don't want to be broken, Sonny reminds herself. But looking at Chad and his slightly exasperated expression, she finally pulls together.
"Something I should have done earlier," she replies, standing on her tiptoes to peck Chad on the lips.
Chad looks at her uncertainly. "What was that?" he croaks, his voice weak in the late night.
"A kiss," Sonny replies sheepishly.
Chad shakes his head, wrapping his arms around Sonny's waist.
"I'll show you a real kiss, Sonny Munroe."