September 2014

"I'm not coming out," I hear Kate say from behind the dressing room door.

I had taken the twins dress shopping for homecoming. They didn't go last year because Tess had a marching band competition on the same day, and by the time she got back she was too tired to go. Kate didn't go because she didn't have a date and all of her friends had dates and she didn't want to be a third wheel.

But this year everything changed. Marching band didn't have a competition, and they both had dates. Tess was going with Braden and Kate was going with their friend Lucas. They were going just as friends, nothing more.

We had spent the better part of the afternoon going from store to store looking for the perfect dress.

Having two identical twin girls, you think it would be easy finding dresses, but no. They may be identical but they are definitely not alike: a dancing, performing girly-girl and an athletic tom-boy.

This is going to be a long day.

"Cone on Kate at least let us look at it. It can't be that bad," I say to her.

"No way. I look stupid," she whines.

Tess looks up from the rack of dresses she's looking at. She sighs and shakes her head as she pads barefoot over the dressing rooms. She knocks on the door.

"Kate, let me in. I promise there is no one here," she says he mouth next the crack in between the door and the frame. She waits a minute and slowly the door opened just enough for the girl to squeeze into the room.

"Kate you have to be kidding me. You look amazing!" Tess said loud enough for me to hear clearly. "Open the door. I think this is the one." There is a pause in the conversation and the twins are whispering to each other.

After a moment, the door opens. Kate stands there in a short red one shoulder dress. It has a sleeve that is cut out at her shoulder and a sequined strap that connects the cut out to the rest of the dress. It frames her body beautifully, making her thin, athletic frame look amazing.

She's standing awkwardly, not really knowing what to think. Dresses aren't really Kate's thing, but she wears them beautifully.

"So," she says, shifting her weight from one leg to the other.

"I love it Kate you look so beautiful," I say; tears coming to my eyes.

"Oh god, mom please don't cry," she says. I nod wiping at the corner of my eyes.

She turns and closes the door once more. She comes out a few minutes later, dressed, the dress hanging off her arm. She's smiling now.

"I think I'm going to get this one," she says. "At first I didn't know what to think but then Tess texted a picture of it to Tessa and Carla and they both loved it, so now I have no choice," she says smiling.

Thank god for best friends.

One down one to go.

But of course Tess chose her dress fairly quickly. It was down to either a blue strapless or a white halter; she chose the blue one. Then she had to call Braden to make sure he knew her dress was blue so he could match her.

Four hours after entering the mall, we left bags in tow.

I think both girls were happy with the choices they made. They better be, I spent a lot of good money on those dresses.

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Two weeks later (Doug's POV)

I get home from working a twelve hour shift, all I want to do is take a shower and go to bed. I head up stairs, but is I'm walking I hear Carol's voice form the living room.

"I wouldn't go up there if I were you," she says.

"Why not?" I ask taking a step down.

"The girl's and their friends are upstairs getting ready for the dance. They won't even let me come up there."

"But they're in their room right? So why I can't I just go up there and take a quick shower?" I'm practically whining now. God I hate working twelve hour shifts.

"You can't. I said they could use our bathroom. It gives them a little more privacy."

I groan and finish down the steps. I walk into the living and drop onto the couch with another groan.

"Don't worry they're leaving soon. The boys will be here any minute. They are just hiding out in the room because they don't want to be seen in their dresses until the very last minute," she says moving to sit next to me. She leans into my side and I put my arm around her shoulder. We sit in silence, half listening to the TV and half for the doorbell.

Half an hour later, the doorbell rings and I quickly stand to answer it. Standing outside looking completely out of their element are five boys. I know two of them to be my daughter's dates and the others I assume to be the dates of their friends.

"Hey guys, come on it," I tell them standing aside as the all walk in.

"Guys their here!" Addison calls running back towards the master bedroom. I didn't even notice she was watching form the top of the stairs and apparently she had been made lookout for the group of girls.

A moment later I hear the sound of high heeled shoes hitting hardwood floor. One by one five girls descend the stairs. Some lifting their dresses as to not trip and fall, others hold tightly to the railing to not fall in their shoes.

They stand in front of their dates. The boys awkwardly give the girls flower corsages. Obviously some of them are dating because there is also some kissing involved, but I try and look away from that.

"You girls look so beautiful," I say to all the girls, but to my twin girls in particular.

Tess and Kate smile and hug me saying they were hoping I would be home to see them in their dresses and they were glad I made it.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world," I tell them. And I mean it.

"Oh dad, let me introduce everyone," Tess says. "This is Devin and Daniel," she says pointing to a taller brunette girl in a strapless white dress. She's standing next to a slightly shorter boy with long brown hair. "That's Carla and Christopher," she says pointing out Kate's friend from Basketball and her boyfriend. They both had blonde hair and she's wearing a light blue dress which brings out her blue eyes. "And Tessa and Kyle," she points to a girl with red hair and a boy about a foot taller than her, even though she's in heels. "And of course, you know Marco," she says pointing to Kate's date. The shy teenager waves to me, smiling slightly.

"Nice to see you again Lucas," I say to him.

I now can finally look at my girls. They both had different dresses, but both look beautiful. Of course I say that, but I'm slightly biased. Tess has managed to straighten her wild curls and they frame her face, puller up on one side. Kate's hair had been pulled out of her face by little braids that meet in the back with a jewel encrusted clip.

"Ok picture time," Carol says coming out of the living room holding her camera. All of the kids groan. Carol scoffs quickly. "Oh come on a few pictures are not going to kill you."

"Yes they are mom. We'll all melt into a puddle of good," Kate says sarcastically laughing. Everyone else laughs along with her, easing some of the tension.

"All right, all right; everyone on the stairs. Tall people in back, smaller people in front," Carol says direction the kids to where they should be. We snap a few pictures of the group then some of just the girls and just then just the boys and finally we do just the couples.

Finally all of the pictures have been taken and the girls have run back upstairs to grab coats, purses and check their hair and makeup one more time before they leave.

They clomp back downstairs and slowly head out the door where a black limousine is waiting in the street.

"What is this?" I ask in utter disbelief.

"Oh I forgot to tell you, Kyle's parents are treating us with a limo for the dance. They are renting it for prom and decided that since it's Kyle's and Tessa's senior that they should have it for both dances," Tess explains.

"You didn't have to do that," I say turning to the boy I had only met an hour before, and who is two years older than my daughters.

"No, it's fine. My parents won't mind them coming," he says smiling.

I smile and nod. "Do you girl have everything?" I ask my daughter. They nod and walk over hugging Carol and I one last time before following their friends. "We'll leave the light on," I call. They turn back and wave. We watch until they are out of site and then turn back to the house.

'You're not crying are you?" Carol asks watching me wipe at my eyes.

"Of course not," I say badly denying the fact I was crying, but only a little bit.

"You are such a bad liar," she says smiling, kissing my cheek.

"But that's why you love me," I say finally getting to go upstairs and shower.

"Yes right," I hear her say as I walk upstairs. I can only smile and shake my head.

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Saturday, 9:35 pm (Doug's POV)

I wasn't expecting the twins and their girlfriends to be home from the dance until late, so when I hear a key turning in the lock and nine-thirty at night, I knew something was up.

"You girls are home early," I say to them as they come into the living room and position themselves on the chairs and couch.

"Yea neither did we," Kate says her voice has disappointment written all over it.

"What happened?" I ask, now very curious as to what could shut down a high school dance.

"Well first, some dumb freshmen football player set off the fire alarm, so we all had to evacuate the school. Then some kids in my Spanish class started a fight because this one guy was dater the other one's ex-girlfriend. And when Braden tried to break them up, he got punched and his nose started bleeding," she said pointing to a blood stain down the front of her dress. The freshman was suspended for two weeks and is not allowed to play in the next three games and the two kids in my class have a month's detention for fighting," She said obviously disappointed.

"Is Braden ok?" I ask turning to Tess.

"Of course he is. It wasn't broken or anything," she said shrugging her shoulders as if it was no big deal.

"Well I'm sorry your night ended horribly." I say to them.

"It's ok," they all say. They get up and head for the stairs, stopping at the door to pick up their discarded shoes.

"Not too loud alright?" I call to them.

"Ok" they yell back laughing. I smile. By the time I head up to bed, it's pushing midnight. I decide to check up on the girls and their friends who, as originally planned, have slept over.

I open the door to Tess and Kate's room. All five girls are all over the room, some on the beds others covered in blankets on the floor or on the beanbags they brought up from the basement. Some Disney movie is playing on Kate's open laptop.

"just wanted to say goodnight," I say.

"Ok, good night dad," my daughters say, coming up and hugging me.

"Goodnight Dr. Ross," their friends say. I turn and leave, closing the door behind me.

As I walk don't the hall to my room I can head the group of teenage girls laughing about something. Somehow they have turned a night of disappointment into a night of fun with friends. I really like that.