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Based on the thousands of responses, I've decided to keep up my new series idea and bring you part 3. And by thousands, I mean I called my mom and asked her whether or not she hated or loved it and she said she wasn't sure yet. She then asked where it would fit in the “drop down menu thing.” So I KNEW it was a hit.

If you're new, don't worry, I got you. Get up-to-date, because you're going to want to know if I ever get a homecoming date and what happens with Valerie and the piggyback ride.

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

Part 3, starts now:

“Seniors don't wear braces!!”

But this senior did. So when it was time for high school class pictures, I was forced to smile with my mouth closed. This had been my standard expression since the end of freshman year. I loathed those damn braces. My teeth weren't cooperating.

But I have bigger fish to fry. Like homecoming date fish.

Michael and I have now been hanging out very regularly. Unfortunately, Valerie has been around, too. I see how she looks at him with those puppy eyes. I can't help wondering if she is only showing interest now that I clearly am keen on him.

It's Sunday night and I'm talking to Michael on the phone. The TV is on in the background, some MTV music video has a low drum beat and the screen flashes with neon colors, but I'm not paying attention. My closet is ajar and moonlight peers in from the top of my window, creating a shadow on my wall.

onphone

I put my blue Nokia between my head and my pillow as my eyes start growing heavy. I'm an early riser. I have dance in the morning before class and I also need to brush up on my history notes before the test tomorrow.

I yawn. Michael gets the hint.

“Okay, I get it. You're tired,” he says.

“No, you're tired.” I never try to hold back around boys or play coy. At least with Michael I'm not. “Did you know that people are going to Buffalo Exchange for Homecoming outfits tomorrow?”

I don't know why I'm mentioning Homecoming. I didn't mean to mention it, but this happens to be a fact. Buffalo Exchange is a resale shop located right next door to a sex shop on Greenville Ave. in Dallas. It's awesome.

“Umm,” he says deflecting, “no.”

“Okay whatever, goodnight,” I say, flatly.

“Goodnight, Helene.”

I click off the phone in a huff, tossing it on my bed. This boy sucks. If he's not going to ask, I need to get away from him. He's just wasting my time.

The next morning Christina picks me up. We have dance together. I can't remember when we decided to carpool but we do everyday without fail, sometimes writing each other's notes to get out of class. She can tell I'm in a mood. We quietly listen to the Kidd Kraddick morning show as we drive up to school.

“He's not going to ask me,” I blurt.

“You never know,” Christina says.

“Maybe he doesn't like my braces.” I was always worried about these braces. I even talked in a way that my lips covered up my teeth. It's a real problem.

I go throughout the day, drifting off into Homecoming talk, tests, papers, and where the party would be come Friday night.

The final bell rings and I shuffle down the concrete steps, into the parking lot to get into Christina's car. She's already in the car, AC blasting. She's got a funny smirk on her face.

“What's up with you?” I ask.

“I have a secret but I can't tell you,” she purses her lips.

“You can't say that and then not tell me. It's a rule.” I throw my book bag into the back of her sedan and open the passenger seat door.

“Okay,” she looks around, as if someone's watching us. “But you can't tell.”

“I won't, I swear to God. Honorbound.” This indicates that I really won't tell.

“Michael is going to ask you to homecoming!”

I scream and slither down in my seat. I can't believe it. I'm grinning so hard, I don't even care to hide my braces. I'm not sure how she knows this, but I really don't care.

I don't remember what happened in the hours that pass, but I fidget until he calls. I start to worry, maybe Christina was wrong. Maybe this isn't really going to happen.

My phone chimes, piercing the silence. I grab it, then wait a few beats before picking it up. I don't want to look too desperate.

“Hello?” I grimace, struggling to stay calm.

“Hey Helene, it's Michael Sula.” As if I don't have caller i.d. As if I'm talking other Michaels in the world.

“Oh yes, hi Michael,” I reply formally. What is this? Circa 1832 and we're courting each other? Utter agony. I pace the room.

“So… I wanted to ask you a question.”

“Yes. Yes.” My feeble attempt at keeping my voice calm is wavering.

“Would you go to Homecoming with me.”

“Yes. Sure. Yes.” I'm doing my utmost not to scream and then do a happy dance.

“Okay, well maybe we can go shopping together. This weekend.”

“Yeah, um, sounds good,” I say through a smile.

We hang up and dance down the hall, twirling as I go. Knocking a picture off the wall in my lunacy.

“What are you doing, LeeLee?” Dad asks over a the noise of the Yankees game. My whole family is in the living room. My sisters with homework at the coffee table, Mom making dinner, a spatula in her hand, and Dad simultaneously reading the paper, a book, and watching the game.

“I just wanted you all to know,” I say gravely.

“Oh no,” Mom cuts in, worried that he tried to let me down easy for the dance.

“Uh umm. That I have a homecoming date. His name is Michael Sula.”

I begin dancing around again, not worried about dinner, homework, Valerie, or even life. I have a Homecoming date! Life is good.

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

Next up… Homecoming! The real test. Part 4 here!