Dance Party for Three

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I finished scanning the last items for the couple at my register, then told them their total. They put their credit card into the keypad and their receipt printed out of the machine. I smiled while handing them their bag.

"Have a great night, guys!" I said.

They thanked me and headed out the door. I readjusted myself on the stool and checked the time on the register. It was only six-thirty. How was it only six-thirty? I'd only been back from my lunch for thirty minutes. I don't think I'm gonna make it these next three hours.

"Oh, look who it is, my other favorite pregnant cashier!"

I looked over to see Darnell coming my way. I sat up a little higher on my stool. I knew he didn't care and was chill about everything, but he was still my boss. Didn't want to seem like I was slouching.

"It's slow and I'll cover your register. Can you go wipe down the tables in the break room?" he asked.

"Yeah. Sure thing!" I said, sliding off of my stool.

We switched places and I walked over to the break room, ready to kill some time. When I got in the doorway, I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing correctly.

"Surprise!" Cler said, wearing a strapless magenta dress covered in silver sparkles, ready for Homecoming. She was also holding a dress bag. "Clock out! We're leaving."

"Huh? What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Clock out and go put this on. I'm kidnapping you. You are going to your last Homecoming Dance, no matter what!"

I looked around the break room at my coworkers who were eating their dinners and snacks. They gave me approving looks. Then I heard footsteps behind me. I turned my head to see Darnell.

"You heard the girl! Go to Homecoming!" he said. 

"You're sure it's okay?" I asked.

"Of course it is! Now get yourself out of here and go to your last Homecoming with your bestie!" he said.

My heart fluttered with excitement. I thanked Darnell, clocked out, and found the biggest stall in the bathroom so I could put on whatever was in that dress bag.

I locked the stall door and pulled out Cler's find: a maternity formal dress. It was knee-length with short sleeves and was my favorite color: royal blue. It had a black lace overlay.

I wriggled out of my work jeans, plus the rest of my clothes, and into the dress. The stretchy fabric went all the way over my bump.

I opened the stall and shouted, "I love it!"

Cler's head snapped up from her phone and she gasped. "You look so good! I knew it would fit!"

The boys suddenly started kicking. Cler saw me rubbing my bump as I looked over at myself in the bathroom mirror. I could see the side of my dress nudging out from where they were kicking.

"Hey, settle down, guys! We're not even at the dance yet!" I said, then looked over at Cler. "Thanks for doing this. I really owe you one."

"I could tell that you wanted to go. Don't let being pregnant hold you back from stuff like this," she said.

"It was more of a Heather and Maddox kind of thing. I didn't want to take you away from them, because I know they wouldn't want to dance near me. I thought, 'why should I ruin your homecoming because they don't want to be around me?' So I thought it would be easier if I just wasn't there."

"Chrysanthemum Everston, I'll never stop being your friend for something dumb, like popularity reasons. Now put on some makeup and let's go!"

"But, I don't have any shoes!" I said, looking down at my massive, swollen feet.

"That's why I brought these!" She pulled a big pair of  fuzzy slippers out of her purse. "So your big feet can dance in comfort and softness all night long! And—"

She picked up her leg and rested her foot, which had the matching slipper, on the sink. She must've put them on while I wasn't looking.

"And we'll match!" I said.

I eagerly reached for the slippers and put them on, then quickly did my makeup as well. Cler brought me a bunch of that, too. Within minutes we were in our separate cars. I drove, parked, and waited with Cler in line outside the gym.

We huddled together and shivered. It was a sweatshirt kind of night, not a short dress kind of night. I got a few looks and stares, some snickers from the freshmen, but it wasn't bad. I hoped that once we were inside the dark gym, no one would notice my bump.

Cler stood in front of me, helping to guard my bump in the crowded hallway toward the gym. I found the snack table right away, and we found a safe corner a few feet from the gym where we could eat before going into the dance.

"Hey, I just thought of something," I said, taking my last bite of a cocktail frank. "It's probably not safe for me to go in there, you know, with so many people. I'm worried I'll get bumped into."

"Don't worry. I have a plan," Cler said.

We threw out our plates and walked into the gym. The music was going, the beat was thumping in my chest, and the boys were loving it. The dance floor was crowded with all the different groups of people in different places. Everyone formed their own little cluster.

I could swear that I got a small glimpse of Destiny's long, purple braids and Poppy in her yellow dress. For a few seconds, I saw the back of who seemed to be her date. It was dark, and there were strobe lights, and he had a fedora on, but he almost looked like...

I shook my head. Couldn't be. It was a big school in a big world. Lots of people looked alike. Especially on a dark, confusing dance floor.

Cler pulled me over to an area a few feet off the dance floor where absolutely no one wanted to be: by a group of the chaperones. It was the perfect spot for a pregnant girl to dance, which for me was mainly a little bit of arm movement and swaying. I was way too big to let loose like I used to.

"Oh hey, I think I picked out names for the boys!" I said over the noise.

"Wait, really?" Cler said, suddenly still. "Tell me tell me tell me!"

"One is going to be Oliver, you know, after my dad. And if Jace lets me get my way with the second twin, I kinda want his name to be Oscar, after my mom's grandfather!"

"Oscar and Oliver! I love it!" Cler said. "I'm so happy you finally made a decision!"

"Me too!" I said. "But don't tell too many people! I want their names to be at least a little bit of a surprise to my family!"

"My lips are sealed, bestie!" she said.

Cler did her thing, and I danced to the best of my ability in my slippers. The chaperones weren't paying attention and we were far enough away from the dance floor that no one noticed me. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last Homecoming. I just wished that Jace could be there too.

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