This fic takes place the night of Prom Wrecker. I own nothing.
- Question Marks -
"Oh, Tori, I got your seat all wet."
I glance away from the windshield to find Cat pouting at me, her lower lip thrust out to the point of devouring the upper. She's twisted backward, eying the black seat with a severe frown and eyebrows tugged down like arrows. Her hair is matted, ruby strands stuck in swirls to her cheeks and neck and the pink of her dress has darkened with the rain. I smile reassuringly, reaching across the seat to pat her damp knee.
"It's fine, Cat. No big deal." I twist back for a moment, watching the road for a moment before turning around. "How are you doing back there, Tug?"
The dark-haired boy grins, raising a single thumb. "I'm all good. Thanks for the ride. It just isn't my night, man - first the hat dies, and my suit catches on fire, and then my tire goes flat. Jeez."
"No problem." I turn back, guiding us through the streets. I'm still so giddy, electricity buzzing in my veins. So the prome didn't go exactly according to plan, but things rarely do, right? Especially when I'm involved, and super especially if Jade is involved. Even with her immature sabotaging, the dance turned out pretty fun. I can't muffle the smug smile on my face, leaning on one hand with my elbow braced on the edge of the car door. Take that, Wicked Witch.
Tug lives way in the town over, but I'm still so hyper from the dance, I knew that I would just go home and stare at the ceiling anyway. Might as well try to tire myself out with some driving. Tug and Cat chat happily as I drive, humming to the music. I listen as he directs me through the streets, pulling into his slanted driveway at last. He gushes about a thousand more thank yous before he waves at us, disappearing into the dark little house.
"So?" Grinning at my red-haired companion, I pull out of his driveway, heading back to the main road that will take us to Hollywood. Cat doesn't answer and I take another look at her, nudging her bare arm with my elbow. "Cat?"
"Hm?" She turns, brown eyes glittering.
"He's cute." I give an indicating nod backward.
"No, the other guy I drove home."
"There was another guy here?"
I resist the urge to roll my eyes. "Sarcasm, Cat. Yes, Tug. He's really cute, isn't he?"
A faint smile pulls at her lips as she faces away from me, russet eyes lowering to her fumbling hands on her knees. My smile slips away. I don't think I've ever seen Cat serious before. The girl is always so light and breezy, a carefree and playful wind compared to all of the storms that are constantly surrounding her. I duck my head slightly, watching the road while trying to catch her eyes. "Cat?"
"He is cute," she says, but her lips are tugging downward.
I furrow my brow. "But?"
She shrugs, porcelain shoulders shifting. Her dress is strapless and a lot of skin is exposed that I've never really seen before. She's pale, her collarbones thick and prominent as they curve across her chest like creamy valleys. Black lashes fall across her cheeks, wet spider legs, fluttering as she twists toward the window. Lights blur past her.
"But I didn't get a kiss." Lines crease her forehead. "Everyone got a prom -"
"- prome night kiss. Andre got a ton of them, and Robbie had Rex -"
"Robbie was kissing his puppet?"
" - and I even saw the diaper guy kiss Jade." Cat sinks into the seat, her damp hair starting to dry at the roots and raising like loose red threads. "She punched him in the mouth, but still." She sighs, head falling back, and I'm distracted by the slope of her white throat - so much so that I'm nearly in the other lane by the time I jerk my attention back to the road.
"Why didn't you kiss Tug? He seemed more than willing." I navigate through the streets, determined to not get us both into a fatal accident.
I watch her shrug in my peripherals. "I don't know. He isn't - I mean, he's nice, I guess, but I just - I wanted it to be special." She sighs again, her arms hooking across her chest. "Prome night should be special, right? Special kiss, special someone?"
My eyes slide to the corners again, watching her profile. Her lower lip is wedged between the snowy pearls of her teeth, eyes flicked down. I've seen Cat upset before - that's not exactly an oddity for her - but I've never seen her look so ... sad. There's a difference with her. She's easily thrown off of her normal good mood into whatever emotion comes naturally, but for her to be genuinely sad is pretty rare. I've only seen her truly distraught once before, when she caught me kissing Danny. A ping of guilt slices its way through me at the reminder, my eyes returning to the road with a frown of my own. I still haven't forgiven myself for that. It was such a stupid, irresponsible, and downright mean thing to do. I squeeze the steering wheel, my knuckles popping. That's something Jade would do, and I hate thinking for even a second that I could do something even vaguely like her. That whole Danny mess was just that; a mess. A big mess, and hurting Cat turned out to be the worst feeling ever. She's forgiven me since then which, honestly, is beyond me. I'm not sure if I would have been so quick to give someone I trusted a second chance after I stumbled in on them kissing my boyfriend.
But that's the thing about Cat. I glance at her again, her eyes skittering across her hands, palm up and flat on her knees. She's not normal, and I mean that in the kindest way it can be said. I'm ... I'm really glad she's not normal, because if she was, she probably wouldn't be my friend anymore. Normal people hold grudges. Normal people may forgive, but they don't necessarily forget, and while by no means do I think Cat has forgotten a single thing, I do know for sure that she doesn't hold it against me for a moment. I can tell just by the way she looks at me, all lit up and excited, always happy, always sweet, even after everything I did to her. She's not shallow or cruel or unreliable like Jade or cocky and stuck up like Trina. She's an exception to every basic rule about humans, rules that I'm not afraid to admit I fall into. I don't think sometimes. I do stupid things. I hurt my friends, despite my best intentions. But Cat doesn't do that. She never has, not in all of my months of knowing her.
She's different in a severely good way.
I gasp, my foot reflexively slamming on the brake. I look up just in time to see the red light and a truck streaming by with his horn blaring, loud enough to make my teeth rattle in my jaw. "Christ!" My knuckles rip as I grip the steering wheel, panting as a horde of traffic flies by. I fall back against the seat, my ears ringing with my rapid heart beat, swallowing as the light pales to green. I pull out slowly, my hand resting over my sternum. "I'm so sorry, Cat, I wasn't - that won't happen again, I promise, I'm a great driver!" I dare another look at her to see her face flushed, pupils wide with fear. She, too, is touching her chest, breathing heavy.
"It's okay." Her lips quirk and then she's giggling, her hand pressing to her lips. "That was scary!"
The fact that us nearly dying is apparently humorous to the redhead doesn't really surprise me. The more time I spend with Cat, the more I start to realize that there are parts about her I will probably never understand. Usually that would bug the absolute crap out of me, but with her ... I don't know. I like that Cat is mysterious, that she's shrouded in question marks. It keeps things interesting. As much as I enjoy Andre and Robbie and Beck's company, none of them capture my attention like Cat does. I find myself overly intrigued with her, which might border on slightly creepy, but I try not to dwell on that too long. It's not my fault, anyway. Cat's endlessly fascinating. The things she says, the way she thinks, it's all so new, so foreign. She's a book scrawled in another language and the rest of the world is left to rub their chins and attempt to study what can't be explained. I don't understand why she doesn't have more friends, why everyone else seems so apathetic to her existence. Here is this girl that says the most impossible things with a mind like a labyrinth and everyone plays her off as some ditzy actress.
And that's the thing that troubles me the most - I know Cat can act. That's why she goes to a prestigious art school. She's one of the better actresses in the class; far better than me, that's for sure, and I'd even go so far as to say her talent challenges Jade's. But it makes me wonder when - if - Cat ever stops acting. I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character, that I know when someone is being real with me. With people like Andre, it's all in the way he smiles, the way he laughs, and even Robbie, though he tends to hide behind Rex, bleeds through when he's being awkward. But Cat ... it's different with her, just like everything is.
The rest of the drive is done in relative silence with the occasional babble Cat so often exudes and, thankfully, there are no more near death experiences. I pull into Cat's driveway with a mental sigh of relief. It's not that I don't like being around Cat because trust me, I do, a lot more than I should, I'm sure, but it's also extremely exhausting trying to decipher her all the time.
"Thanks for the ride, Tor." She smiles brightly as I throw the car into park, the engine idling quietly as she reaches for her purse under the seat. Her hand rests on the door handle, my lips splitting to wish her a good night before she freezes, eyes shifting over the dark windows of her house. I pause, watching as she twists back toward me, her brows knitting together. "Did you get a kiss tonight?"
I blink slowly before chuckling, shaking my head. "Unfortunately not. I didn't even have a date, remember?"
Cat gasps, her hands flattening over her mouth. She leans toward me so fast I almost miss the action by blinking, dark eyes batting up at me. "Did you even get a slow dance?" She seems completely torn by the mere idea that I went the whole night without a slow dance, let alone a kiss.
I laugh again, reaching out to rest a hand on her shoulder. "It's fine, Cat. I was busy the whole night making sure everything went according to plan, which was completely wasted effort, since it never does go according to plan." I give her another reassuring smile and a wink. "Don't worry about it. Trust me, I'm not going to cry myself to sleep tonight."
She pouts again, that same hurt puppy look swallowing her eyes. "But prom -"
"- but prome night should be special for everybody. Everybody should get a kiss, at least." Her eyes flicker down, her hands unrolling again. I follow her gaze, letting my eyes settle on the stitches that curve along her pale palms. "I wanted a special kiss," she mumbles, the words whispered in the small space between us and lost, bubbling out like fizz on top of soda. I watch the plump, pink flesh of her lower lip pout and I watch her black-pit pupils trace shapes on empty, flexing hands, and what if she's right? What if prome night should be special for everybody? For her?
Her cheek is warm as my palm brushes against it, the spider legs of her eyelashes batting against her cheeks before raising, bringing with it two wide pools of chocolate, locking into my own. She's so close, I can smell the strawberries of her lipgloss, the density of her perfume, but above all of that, she smells like the Hollywood rain, sweet and refreshing as I breathe her in.
And I don't know what I'm doing, but I know that Cat deserves a special night, a special prome, and my thoughts don't stay in place long enough for me to conclude that she deserves a special kiss, too, scattering like ripples in a pond. I just know that her eyes grow heavy and her breath is hot before I snuff it out with my lips, her mouth impossibly soft as it molds against mine. My breath stills in my chest, every wire in my brain whipping wildly with heart-slamming shocks and arching behind my closed eyes, blue streams of lights tattooing the insides of my lids. A soft sound is swallowed in Cat's throat, so very ... cat-like, a kitten's mew, and it's that soft vibration of her throat that my hand is suddenly sliding down on that makes my eyes slam open with enough force to make me yank back, the car door digging into my spine. I pant like the car had turned into a vacuum, all of the air sucked out the moment I kissed Cat and -
Oh. Oh, God. I kissed Cat.
She's blinking at me, lips parted and swollen from mine working against them, cheeks nearly the same color as her hair. A hand slowly drifts to her mouth, the pads of her fingertips resting on her lower lip. I swallow hard as she twitches a smile at me, eyes ducking down before flying back up again.
My mouth falls open but nothing comes out, just a startled and shaky exhale. How do I even - what - why - My thoughts refuse to arrange themselves in a coherent order, instead focusing on her profile as she adjusts her dress across her thighs and snaps her purse shut, finally climbing out of the car. The cool night wind sweeps in after her, her legs folding out as she stands and spins on her heel to tilt down, catching my eyes again.
"Prome night was definitely special!" She giggles, bell-like and carefree as she shuts the door, twiddling her fingers at me. My hand seems to raise of its own accord, slowly returning the gesture as she disappears into the house, a line of orange light following her.
I don't exactly remember backing away from her house, but it must have been quick because I'm swinging onto my street before I know it, the moon high above my house, the damp smell of drenched streets swimming up my nose as I crawl out. And as much as I don't want to think about what just happened, or what I think just happened, or the way my heart is hammering unmercifully against my ribs, I can't deny the way she smelled thick of stormy weather, or how she tasted like the rain.
A/N: You know, my prom was quite smashing. It was indoors and there was no live band or a man in a diaper, but I did have a pretty girl dance with me and I got to kiss her goodnight. So. There.
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