Author's Note: Thanks for all of the reviews, I appreciate it! Last chapter here! I'm glad you guys liked this story. After this one, the focus is going to shift a little, the "In Crowd" while still present is going to fade into the background and it's going to be more about Bella, Eddie, Gordon, and Kevin. I've got some fun stuff planned though. Stick around.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 16: Prom Night
Everyone laughed, piling into a limo to head over to the junior prom. Kevin looked around, feeling a hair out of place, like he always did with Connie's friends. He glance across the limo at Jeremy, the senior from Blake who was Reese's date and the guy shrugged at him, giving him a clear "What are you gonna do man?" look, as the six Eden Hall in-crowders popped a bottle of champagne and made some inside joke toast.
"Are you OK?" Connie asked, handing him a glass.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he nodded, she slid her hand into his and then smiled at him, and then he actually was fine. Better than fine, he could take on the world with Connie at his side and he knew it. He looked over to Jeremy for reassurance again but since he now had his tongue squarely down Reese's throat, that wasn't happening. "So, we drink before the prom now?"
"Just the champagne," she smiled. "The after party is in this suite. A-list only, you know," she said in her mock debutante voice. He laughed and kissed her. "There is a party though. That's when we get wasted and I get sloppy and take my underwear off and throw it at you."
"Oh I love when you get like that," he nodded. She hit him in the chest. He laughed.
Stephanie snuggled her head into TJ's jacket shoulder.
"I like you in the tux," she said.
"It's very James Bond, right?" He teased.
"I was thinking Danny Ocean," she whispered, "but either works." He laughed and she kissed him.
"You look beautiful tonight," he said. "Very poofy." She giggled and they kissed more. "I love you so much." Stephanie pressed close to him as they kissed. "Mm," he said. "Stephie, what's gotten into you?"
"I guess it's just the champagne," she whispered and pulled back. She'd made her decision. The problem was getting TJ to go along with her. He'd been decidedly cold since they'd gotten back from spring break. Once they arrived at the hotel, they all filed out, got their pictures taken and went to sit at their table. They had dinner, they danced, did the whole prom thing. After a while Stephanie was tired of it. "TJ," she grabbed his hand.
"What's wrong?" He asked. "Are you nervous that you won't get prom queen?" She looked at him.
"No," she said. "I don't care about that." He smiled. "Can we get out of here?"
"You want to leave early?" He said. She nodded. "Why?" She kissed him softly.
"I want go to our room," she said.
"I didn't," he whispered, "I didn't want to pressure you, so I didn't get one."
"I know," she smiled. "I did," she took the key card out of her tiny purse. "I want this to happen tonight."
"We can wait a little longer," he said.
"TJ," she whispered, "I can't wait another minute, every time you touch me, it's driving me crazy. I need you." He looked at her. "Let's get out of here."
"Yeah," he nodded and kissed her, "OK." He took her hand and they walked outside and into the elevator. They kissed again, this time longer and he pressed her against the corner. She ran her hands over his hair. They heard it beep. "We could take it to the top." He raised his eyebrows.
"I'm not losing my virginity in an elevator," she looked at him.
"Right," he laughed. They walked down the hall still kissing. By the time they got to the room, his tie was undone, his shirt unbuttoned and the zipper was down on her dress. They fell back against the bed. "I love you so much."
"I love you too," she said.
Bella sat quietly in her room, flipping through a photo album she'd put together from the year. What she'd talked about with Eva and TJ had stuck with her, and it was kind of true. Eddie was in every picture.
"Bella," Cassie walked in. "We're going out to dinner with the Coles, do you want to come?"
"Mom," Bella said. Cassie looked at her. "You like that Eddie and I are together, right?"
"Of course I do," Cassie said. "He makes you happy, that's all I want. It doesn't hurt the situation that his parents are our best friends." Bella laughed. "Are you coming to dinner?"
"Yeah," Bella nodded. They walked downstairs and drove to a small restaurant. Eddie, Allie and Biff were standing outside. Eddie smiled seeing Bella get out of the car.
"Hi," he said.
"Um, we should go get a table," Rick said. The other parents nodded.
"Hi," Bella said. "I'm sorry I haven't called."
"You've been avoiding me at school too," he said. She looked at him. "Bella, did I do something wrong?"
"No," she said, "it's me, I've been kind of freaking out." He smiled. "I love you, and I want to be with you."
"So what they problem?" He asked. "Let's be together." He took her hands.
"I don't want to lose myself," she said. "I want to be us and be me at the same time, does that make any sense?" He kissed her.
"It makes perfect sense," he said. "I feel the same way." She smiled.
"So you don't mind if we don't have sex anymore?" She said. "Oh Eddie! I'm so glad." She kissed him.
"Um, what?" he said. She bounced inside.
"Hey, Conway!" Dean Norris said sitting down next to Gordon. He looked at him. "I wanted to talk to you about next years football season."
"The team sucks enough," Gordon said, "I don't need to throw games for you." Dean rolled his eyes. "That is what you wanted to ask me right?"
"Actually, I wanted to help you," Dean said. "I hear your crushing on our little Annabelle Leigh."
"Who?" Gordon said.
"Bella Riley?" Dean said. "I call her by her full name, it bugs her." Gordon nodded. "Bella doesn't like losers."
"I'm not a loser," Gordon said.
"I know that," Dean said. "Kevin knows that. But uh, Bella doesn't." Gordon frowned. "Look, Eddie Cole is a tool. I know it, her brother knows it, you know it." Gordon nodded. "Deep down, I think Bella knows it. But he wins, and not just hockey. She likes that. You don't win. Ever. We have to make you a winner."
"Why do you want to do this?" Gordon asked. "You don't even like me much."
"But I like my school," he said. "I like taking money from smug Blake kids. Eden Hall actually winning football games would be good for that. Plus it might make certain cheerleaders actually notice that you're alive." Gordon looked at him.
"I still don't get it," Gordon said. Dean nodded. He didn't want to admit it, but playing fairy godmother to Gordon Conway was a little way of showing Bella that he cared about her. That Cole kid was bad for her. Everyone could see it but her. He was going to present her with another option.
"You should know that you totally missed getting crowned prom queen," TJ said. Stephanie looked at him, all wrapped up in the sheets. "Dean and I made some threats."
"That's kind of sweet," she whispered. "But I don't care. I wanted to be here, with you." They kissed. "Was it OK?"
"Well, I rocked," he shrugged. "You were alright."
"God, you are such a jack ass," she laughed. He smiled.
"It was good," he said. "You were amazing." She blushed and he pushed her hair out of her face. "I love you."
"I love you too," she said softly and kissed him.
"Did you enjoy it?" He asked.
"Mm hm," she nodded. "But I don't have a basis of comparison." He looked at her.
"I didn't compare," he said.
"Didn't you?" She said, sitting up on her elbow. He shook his head. "Then for that few minutes right after when we didn't say anything, you weren't thinking about Reese?"
"No," he laughed, "I was thinking about the summer we were eight and my parents, and Aunt Kelly and Uncle Scooter, and Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Julie got that cabin on the lake, and we all stayed there."
"And the seven of us shared a room, and Bella had to have the bed or she screamed and screamed," she laughed. He nodded. "Why?"
"Because that was the first time we slept together," he said. "We shared a mattress." She smiled.
"That's right," she said. "I forgot about that. Where you in love with me then?"
"Very much so," he nodded. "I fell in love with you, at your house, the day before your parents' funeral. You were like glued to Uncle Jimmy, and you had your thumb in your mouth and for like ten minutes we were sitting, just me and you. And I ask what everything was about." She looked at him.
"Why's everyone here?" TJ asked. Stephanie looked at him and kicked her legs.
"My parents died." She said softly. "I'm Stephie. Who are you?"
"I'm Thomas James Riley," he said. "But you can call me TJ, everyone does." She nodded. "What does it mean, they died?"
"It means they went away," Stephie whispered. "To heaven."
"Oh," TJ whispered. "My Daddy used to go away to lawyer school but he always came back. I don't remember mostly cause I was a baby, but Eva said he did."
"Who's Eva?" She asked curiously.
"My big sister," he said. "She's eight, she knows everything. Do you have a big sister?"
"Uh huh," Stephie said. "Julie. She's going to take care of me now."
"If you want my Mommy can give you a hug," he said. "She gives good hugs and you look like you could use a Mommy hug."
"That's OK," she whispered. "I don't really want hugs from other peoples mommies right now."
"Sure," TJ whispered. "I could hug you."
"That would be OK," she nodded and he hugged her.
Kevin and Lizzie walked quietly from the limo back to the dorms. He looked at her. She looked perfect in her white prom dress, her curly hair all pinned up. They were holding hands carefully.
"What are you thinking about?" She asked.
"Next year," he said.
"Mm," she nodded. "Senior year." He nodded. "Tony," she swallowed. "Do you think about college?"
"Enough that I know it's there," he sighed. "You?"
"About the same," she said. "What if we end up different places?" He put his arm around her.
"Then we do," he said. "And we see what happens, the way we always have." She smiled.
"I love you," she said. "I like us."
"Yeah, me too," he said. "So do you think TJ and Stephie did it or not?"
"God, you're worse than Reese!" She hit him in the stomach and ran ahead of him. He chased her and grabbed her around the middle and spun her in a circle. She squealed.
So there it is. What's next? Watch for the updates!