Disclaimers: Pokémon does not belong to me! Please just quit asking!

Chapter Ten

The Pre-Dance Madness

Finally Ash and Misty gave the insistent and persistent reporters a full interview the next morning. They spotted them milling around the school, asking kids stuff about Ash and Misty.

   "Can you believe the media attention you're getting?" Tracey asked as he tagged along with Ash and Misty, who entered the school together.

   "It should be over now," Ash said, wiping his forehead. He looked at the swinging doors of the school. "I hope they don't come in."

   "Attention, students. Please report to the auditorium for an important announcement." Vice-principal Philly's voice boomed through the P.A. systems. Ash and Misty looked at each other, grinning. They both knew that it was the announcement for the dance. It was kind of late, actually, considering that it was already early December, and the party committee couldn't handle two dances in a short time. (Well, yeah, since I mentioned in the first chapter that school started for three months already, so the original dance was supposed to be November, but it was put-off for two or more weeks, so it's already early December)

   Lots of the students began filing inside the auditorium. Misty spotted Melody, Karen and Clair near their lockers and invited them to sit with Ash, Brock and Tracey. They found seats somewhere in the middle. Ash also saw Gary trying to talk to Whitney, but she completely snubbed him.

   "Check out the dork," Ash said, nudging Tracey. He nodded towards the direction of Gary.

   Principal Lennon strolled over the microphone. He looked completely composed and relaxed, most probably he had accepted the fact that his father's memory does not lie on the statue only. He pushed his glasses farther back to the bridge of his nose, surveyed the students in the auditorium and cleared his throat.

   "Well, the students who are responsible for the breakage of the statue completed their assigned consequence, and now, the dance is ON again!" His voice boomed throughout the auditorium, and the entire student body cheered.

   "You do not have the excuse not to wear formal clothing anymore, Richie." Duplica's stern voice was easy to distinguish. They were sitting behind Ash, Misty, Brock, Tracey, Melody, Karen and Clair.

   "Yes, ma'am." Richie replied squeakily.

   Principal Lennon pulled the microphone off the stand and began walking around the stage. "Well, the dance was put-off a lot of times, until we reached early December. Now, as you all know, we all have the Annual Winter Dance at least before the Christmas break, and I'm sure the party committee could not handle two parties at such a short time." He looked at the nodding students.

   "You bet," Misty whispered.

   "So I propose, we just combine both dances!" The stout principal announced, waiting to hear some cheering noises from his students.

   The students started at him blankly.

   "Is there a problem?" He inquired as he fiddled with his Vulpix-printed tie.

   "But we're one dance short. That means the yearbook will be incomplete," said one kid who was sitting near the stage.

   Principal Lennon looked at the students who were agreeing with the kid. He sighed. "All right, I'll make it up to you. We'll have an additional dance after the Christmas break."

   The students cheered.

   "Stupid dances," Ash muttered under his breath.

   "Did you say something?" Misty asked, looking at Ash.

   "No!" Ash said abruptly.

   Misty shook her head and turned her attention back to the principal.

   "The dance is on Friday, and this is the mix of homecoming and Christmas!" He said proudly. "You may all go." The students filed out of the auditorium, talking about the dance. Some of them were discussing the topic of dates, partners, food, decorations and much more.

   "Aren't you going with someone, Misty?" Melody asked, looking at Misty.

   "Oh, no. With you on the dance floor, someone's gotta supervise." Misty elbowed Melody lightly. "So, do you have a partner?"

   Melody blushed. But even before she can reply, Clair butted in.

   "She's supposed to ask Tracey, but chickened out." Clair raised a brow and frowned.

   "Well, Suzie seems to be interfering whenever I get the courage, so I figured we'd just go as friends. You know, as group with Ash, Brock and Tracey. That way, it isn't really a date." Melody smiled. She glanced at Karen. "Taking anyone special, Karen?"

   "Who? Me?" Karen said in an innocent tone that fooled nobody.

   "Yes, you, Iverson." Clair put her hand on Clair's shoulder.

   "Rudy, duh. It isn't hard to figure out," Melody said knowingly.

   "Yeah. What Melody said," Karen said.

   The bell rang. Misty groaned. "Music class. Can you believe Mrs. Barton was made music teacher when she can't even tell soprano from alto?"

   "I'm definitely an alto," Melody said as she waved to Clair and Karen, who had different classes that day.

   "I'm definitely tone deaf." Misty pushed the door open. Mrs. Barton sat on her usual chair, holding a pink handkerchief on her hand and waiting for her class to settle down.

   Melody punched Misty playfully on the shoulder. "No, you're not. You're a soprano."

   "When I hear myself sing, I feel like I'm listening to a woodpecker pecking on a tree bark," Misty said sadly.

   "You're being silly." Melody shook her head.

~*~

(After school…)

   "So, you carry that number over here, right?" Misty said, poking the paper with her pen. She and Ash were inside an empty math classroom. Now that they got along pretty well, they began hanging out—and for starters, the tutorials.

   "But what happens if the number is lower than it's supposed to be?" Ash asked, confused. He scratched his head.

   "That means your solution is wrong. The number here—" Misty drew an arrow to the direction of the number she's talking about, "—should be lower than what you're multiplying and higher than…" she trailed, writing a simpler equation for Ash, "…this one."

   Ash looked at the equations and nodded. "Now that's better!"

   "Got that?" Misty asked. She stood up and walked over to the blackboard. "Now, if you need to find the percentage, you do this." She began writing two different types of operations in order to find the appropriate answer.

   "Right…" Ash said slowly, following Misty's scribbling. He looked at the numbers groggily. "Can we take a break?"

   "I guess…" Misty said, looking at her watch. It was half past five. "I'm getting hungry anyway."

   "Want to grab a burger or something?" Ash offered. He wanted to thank Misty for tutoring him.

   Misty shook her head, not really wanting to do anything outside the school with Ash.

   "You sure?" Ash asked.

   "Yeah," Misty said.

   "Okay. See you tomorrow then." Ash walked off the opposite direction.

~*~

Friday morning. All of students were given the whole day off to prepare for the formal Homecoming and Winter Dance. After all it was a very formal event, now that it turned out to be a winter dance, not just a homecoming one.

   Misty woke up when her alarm clock rang. She quickly washed her face and gargled before she dressed herself in her plain white shirt, blue cotton jacket and straight-cut jeans. She was in so much hurry, that she barely combed her hair as she ran out of the house.

   Hopping onto her bike, her little cell phone rang and she hastily fished it out of her pocket. "What?" She shrieked, not bothering to look at her cell phone's screen to see the name of the person calling her.

   "Misty?" It was Melody.

   "What? I need to get to school, as in, pronto! I need to finish decorating the place." Misty was about to cut the line when Melody screamed. She groaned. "What now?"

   "I called to tell you that Principal Lennon told me that he'll have the staff decorate the place, since we already made the decorations. They're moving the dance in the gym because it would be pretty cold outside."

   Misty lost her balance on her bike, causing her to fall on her butt. She gaped at the phone. "Melody Gates, why didn't you tell me before?!"
   "Lennon called my house last night, and I was going to tell you, but your phone was tied up all night, I couldn't get through. And your cell phone must be off."

   Misty groggily walked back to her house as Melody said good-bye. Melody was supposed to go to Misty's house to prepare, even though both of them are only there to supervise, since they're both dateless for the dance.

   Mrs. Waterflower placed a plateful of bacon and eggs in front of Misty, while her sisters impeccably performed their morning argument once again. Mr. Waterflower sighed, longing for his daughters to be once under eighteen again, so he can ground them for quarrelling all the time. But they were nineteen, a whole year older than the required age to be a legal adult, and not a minor anymore.

   As the morning rolled on, Misty was alone in the house. With her father a full-time doctor and her mother an overly committed lawyer, she was all alone in the house. Melody came around a quarter to one, just right after lunch.

   "What do you think?" Melody pulled out 5 $100 dollar bills from her wallet.

   "What's it for?"

   "The dress! We both had our dresses custom-made, duh! Remember? To make sure we don't have any duplicates."

   Misty nearly conked herself. "Oh! Yeah. But I'm sure the costs won't be more than $300, since that was your aunt's shop."
   "Well, yeah. But we are going to the parlor to have our makeovers, right?" Melody said. "I know you're just going to put the cost on your Mom's credit card, right?"

   "Yeah."

   "Too bad we don't have dates."

   "I know." Misty placed the DVD on the DVD player. She pushed play and the previews came on. Before they go to the mall, they both decided to watch 'The Wedding Planner' first.

~*~

   "I don't know why I have to go to this dance in the first place." Ash said. "But the extra credit lies on it, so I should go."

   "Yeah!" Brock said. "Should I wear this—" He held up an orange button-down shirt "—or this?" He held up another shirt of the same style, except now it was green. He went starry-eyed. "Which would Suzie prefer?"
   "I hate to break this to you Brock, but please get it through your thick skull. Suzie has no interest in you, got that?" Ash also didn't like the tone of his voice, but he wasn't really up to this dance. People stand around, remark each other's dresses—especially the girls—and laugh when someone really humiliating happened like having someone put a dead cockroach on your drink.

   Brock didn't pay attention to Ash. He carried on burying himself through his pile of tan, green and orange wardrobe. He was too enthusiastic about the dance, but it wasn't true that he was aware about Suzie's mad crush on Tracey. But Brock's spirits weren't washed away, they were as solid as steel.

   Ash, who didn't care less about the dance, just watched his girl-crazy best friend sift through the pile of the clothes as he sat on the beanbag chair. Then he started thinking about Giselle, who left and betrayed him all at once.

~*~

   "Cassidy! Fabulous dress!" Suzie exclaimed as she snatched Cassidy's peach wrap dress, and held it in front of herself. She spun around to look at the mirror.

   Cassidy smiled and laid her left hand as she carefully applied nail polish. "Of course. You don't think I'll be going to the dance outshined by Whitney or Melody, do you?"

   Suzie placed the dress down. "What? No way!" She collapsed on Cassidy's four-poster bed.

   "We're here!" A familiar squeaky voice came from outside the room, and a several thuds from the stairs were heard. Cassidy shook her head, smirking. Suzie suddenly sat up, eager to see Bridget and Janine's dresses for the night.

   Janine burst through the door, holding a big shopping bag. Bridget followed closely behind, lugging on her shopping bags. Cassidy gave her a puzzled look, and darted her glance on the bags.

   "Oh. I decided to buy three outfits, since I couldn't decide." Bridget pulled out a dress that is the exact duplicate of Cassidy's. Everything was the same: the peach dress, the single-layer of see-through fabric over the top half of the dress, the peach lace on the hem and button at the back; which was needed to hold the dress since it was sleeveless and tied right under the arm. 

   Cassidy widened her eyes in horror, and seized the dress from Bridget's grasp. She also grabbed the bag, obviously looking for the receipt. She sighed with relief. "Oh, thank goodness." She looked at Bridget. "You are DEFINITELY not going to wear this!"

   "Why not?" Bridget snatched the dress back. "It's fabulous!"

   Cassidy looked at Suzie. "Show her."

   Suzie held up Cassidy's dress. "Cassidy's got the same thing."

   "Oops. Now we can't have that, can we?" Bridget smiled, immediately understanding. She carefully folded the dress back and placed it back in the bag, tucking the receipt inside. "Luckily that wasn't my first choice, considering I know Cassidy's favorite color is peach."

   Janine sat down on the floor. She glanced at Suzie. "So, can we see your dress?"

   Suzie smiled mischievously. "Oh, no. I left it at home. You'll see it at the dance." Her smile faltered. "Although it wouldn't do any good because I am dateless. You guys all have dates!"
   "Don't worry. Melody won't try to cross your path once I'm done with her." Cassidy's eyes flashed.

   "Stop it, you're creeping me out!" Janine said, scooting back to the doorway.

   "Oh, don't be such a baby."

   Janine shrugged. "So what are you going to do anyway?"

   Cassidy held up a tiny plastic bag. She leered. "You'll see. The dance will be so much fun."

~*~

   "Love your dress, Misty," a girl greeted, as Misty entered the backdoor of the gym.

   "Thanks, Samantha," she said, approaching the light equipment. She looked horrified at the busted bulb. She looked at Samantha, the one who helped her adjust the light show yesterday. "Sam? Why is that bulb busted?" She pointed at the busted bulb.

   Samantha followed the direction where Misty was pointing and lightly gasped. "Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't see that bust. It looked fine when I tested it five minutes earlier."

   Misty flapped her arms, trying not to panic. "Okay. We still have twenty minutes before the dance." She looked at the equipment. "Do we have a spare?"

   "A spare?" Samantha asked, echoing Misty.

   Misty glowered. "Yes, a spare."

   "I'm really sorry. I broke all the other bulbs earlier today when I came to help the staff, and the only one left was the weak one. I thought it wouldn't give in until at least half the night."

   Misty gave her a frustrated look. "What? You klutz!" She hissed furiously. Samantha gave her a pleading look. Misty just nodded with a sigh and waved Samantha off. She looked at the light. "I guess the dance floor can deal with only one green light."

   "The DJ's late!" Melody said, putting down her cell phone. "He's stuck in a traffic jam!"

   "What about the performers?"

   "Stuck on the same freeway. 101."

   "Great. That's just great. I bet Suzie and Cassidy are shrieking with laughter just right about now." Misty shook her head. She clapped her hands. "So what do we do to stall?"

   Melody grinned.

   Misty waved her hands, as she backed away. "I am NOT going to act substitute DJ!"

   Melody's brows furrowed. "NOT you! I mean me!"

   "You?" Misty asked, taken aback.

   "I make a perfect DJ."

   "There is no need for that," Todd interrupted. Misty saw the DJ they picked arriving. "But the performers are not here yet."

   "That'll be fine!" Misty approached the DJ and ushered him to the booth. "Please, if you need anything, just ask. And you get one hour break after two and a half hours of the dance." She looked at her watch and was astonished that it was half past six. She peeked on the doorway, and saw numerous students getting dropped off from various cars. She spotted Suzie, stepping out from a limousine on her three-inch heeled sandals. Wearing an ivory-colored poly crepe gown with diamond lining on the hems, Suzie's gown half as good as the gowns worn by the celebrities during the Oscars. She adjusted her shawl as her driver closed the door and sped away. Students gasped with awe.

   "Suzie is here," Misty whispered.

   Melody froze. She looked down at her white outfit. "Does this look hideous?"

   Misty gave her an incensed look. "Don't be silly, your aunt is a great dressmaker, remember? And she made that our gown personally for us, without the help of her employees." She tapped Melody on the shoulder. "Besides, her gorgeous dress won't cover her bad attitude."

   "Right." Melody agreed confidently. 

   Misty saw that it was almost seven, and the dance was about to start. Todd told her that everything was A-OK and the dance can start already. They all stepped outside, mingling with the other people before the front door of the gym opened. The chaperons, Mrs. Carlton and Mr. Sanchez, stood by the door and they too, were wearing stunning outfits. Well, except for Mrs. Carlton, who was wearing casual clothes, but smiling stunningly.

   "I love your outfit, Misty!" someone called, and she saw it was Whitney and her friends. "Thanks, Whit! You too!" She waved.

   "See? They like your outfit better!" Melody said in a fake whiny voice.

   Misty frowned. "Don't be ridiculous!"

   "Is that custom made? Very beautiful," Misty's co-editor-in-chief told Melody.

   "Thanks!" Melody said gratefully.

   "See?"

   "I guess you're right." Melody sighed with relief. She straightened herself as the DJ, Dr. Chubby Man, sat down at the booth, and started playing 'Waiting For Tonight' by Jennifer Lopez.

   Misty and Melody just mingled in the dance floor, dancing randomly and not caring that they didn't have partners.

~*~

   "I love the night life…(blah…blah…)…boogie…" Brock sang, as he entered the dance floor. Plenty of students were just dancing randomly, and not really minding about partners for the first song. After all, they had long night.

   Ash looked at Tracey, who was clearly not interested in dancing. He even brought his sketchpad! "You're not going to dance?"

   "No. I just was to sketch, and maybe they'll use this in the school paper."

   "Right." Ash just sighed, looking around for Mrs. Carlton. He wanted that extra credit so much that it forced him to go to the dance. He saw Casey Carmichaels pass, but she didn't even glance at him. Ash didn't care; it was nice that she didn't bug him so much anymore. Richie and Duplica were kicking it in the dance floor, and so were Todd and Clair.

   "This will be interesting." Someone said from behind them.

   Ash spun around. He saw a girl walk away, her auburn curls bounced from her back as she walked gracefully to the dance floor. It was Bridget Ferris.

   What will be interesting?

~*~

   "I need a break," Melody said, fanning her hand with herself. She dragged Misty to the table where the punch bowl was placed. Mr. Sanchez roamed the table, making sure that no one spiked the punch with liquor or drugs.

   The second song, 'Overprotected' by Britney Spears, ended. "Okay! How about we play a slow song?" Dr. Chubby Man said, his voice booming through the speakers.

   "Slow song? Already?" Misty said, surprised.

   "Maybe to turn down the mood a bit." Melody was about to get a cup for the punch when someone approached her.

   "Look who showed on her white gown," Suzie snickered, glaring at Misty.

   Misty looked at Melody. Melody nodded, and she went off.

   "Oh, I showed all right."

   Suzie raised a brow. "I must say that gown is just so pretty. It almost looks like it's expensive."

   Melody looked outraged. "Are you calling me cheap? The price of my clothing is really none of your business, and it doesn't matter even if I bought them from a thrift shop!"

   Suzie let out a false laugh. "Oh, please." She looked directly behind Melody, where Cassidy was standing. Cassidy approached them, and poured three cups of punch. She handed one to Suzie and the other one to Melody.

   "Punch?"

   Melody looked at her. She knew Cassidy couldn't pull a dangerous stunt because Mr. Sanchez was roaming the food tables. She accepted the drink. As she placed her lips on the rim of the cup, she saw something floating on the bottom.

   Yes, that's right. Cassidy couldn't pull a dangerous stunt, but she could pull a mean one.

   Melody screamed, dropping the cup on the floor. "There's a worm in my drink!"

~*~

Wacky Witch: Whew! I finished the chapter, at last. This is also boring, but I don't know…I feel like posting this one already.

Reviewers

Violet Emeralds: No, I don't have to keep praising you at the end of my chapters, but I WANT to! Weird, huh? Anyway, I can't believe you've got 200+ reviews! Talk about a great story. J

Fire Fox: I'm sorry, but I didn't see your review on the chapter before the last chapter, and most certainly didn't delete it. I know black holes and such, so you don't to explain it to me. Thanks for the reviews.

Vixxi: Well, they're not as long as my chapter, of course. If you take the time to use Microsoft Word to check on the number of words, my notes aren't even half as many as the words in my shortest chapters. ^_^ Well, thanks for the review and keep on reading. ^_^

And to all the other reviewers (including the people above),

Thanks for reading and reviewing, and I hope you'll still stick around.