“High Rollers Casino” was the prom theme.
Every year, Kennedy High held its Senior prom on a rented yacht, which was anchored in place to avoid potential lawsuits. The decorations were recycled year after year, yet this time they had saved enough money for a roulette table and Monopoly Money to gamble with. Some people sat around playing cards, others sat around pretending to watch them, loudly admiring each others’ outfits. Although music was pumping through the first-rate speakers, most people stood around awkwardly unsure of whether they were better off dancing or looking good. You didn’t want to look stupid in your yearbook photograph… the place was creeping with yearbook photographers. And unlike prom night, a yearbook lasted forever. Yearbook cameras could be anywhere, and the risk of a bad picture was particularily high when you were dancing. A roll of fat could become dislodged, lipstick could get smeared, anything was possible. So most people stood stiff as a board, exchanging wooden smiles. Girls kept their heads stiff to keep their calculated curls in place, as they exchanged stale smiles and compliments.
Gentry nearly laughed when he came through the door, and the scene had washed over him along with a cheesy Elvis Presley rendition of “The Impossible Dream.” Here were a bunch of beautiful useless people standing around waiting to be noticed, and the irritating buzz of conversation waiting to be heard. At some point the band geeks had flooded the stage, and were loudly conversing about tubas.
Gentry had unintentionally rebelled by not wearing a suit. He had “borrowed” one of Carly’s dark tuxedo blazers to wear over a t-shirt and jeans, the same coat Carly had worn the year before. It was good that they had the same dress size, he supposed, although Kylie had fussed over it throughout the limo ride. That and the lack of a corsage, an unforgivable offense. Gentry kept his mouth shut as she chided him, until she grew tired of complaining. He didn’t think it was such a big deal not to wear a suit, but now that he eyed the others, he wondered if this was what rebellion felt like. It felt good.
“You should’ve dressed more formal.”
“A tux is formal.”
“The jacket alone isn’t. And jeans aren’t ever appropriate for prom.”
“Prom isn’t appropriate for anything.”
He just barely managed to strut past Ms.Nasty, who stood prim-lipped at the bright red double-doors to ensure that everybody was dressed appropriately. She gave him a sharp look, but let him pass after gauging that Kylie’s hem was the correct number of inches to make a pair fit for yearbook pictures. Kylie was dressed to the knives, and looked pretty good, he supposed, with her pin-straight hair and navy blue gown, the kind which ruffled along the shoulders. Her make-up covered the only thing they had in common, and sharp six inch heels elevated her tiny feet above the confetti-strewn ground. and her tiny feet were elevated six inches in sharp blue heels. She looked good, Gentry thought to himself, especially when she lit up after her friends in the yearbook committee decided that they made a cute couple. Gentry initially thought was some sort of sly joke, but then decided that perhaps fashion just meant looking stupid and uncomfortable.
They took pictures.