Allie arrived home from the party at 12:00 in the midnight. She was a little exhausted from all that dancing and sharing passionate love with Quincy. She couldn't remember the last time she'd ever drunk so much, but at least she didn't pass out. The best part was, she had had the night of her life, and she had been with the man of her dreams, and she would never take that moment back for anything else.
Fortunately, Allie and Quincy were able to spend time together that month. On the day of the President John F. Kennedy assassination at 12:30 p.m., which was being reported as news all over the world, all schools were immediately closed, and all the students were sent to go home early, and all the work places became closed as well. Everyone at Fort Chester High couldn't have been more excited to have the rest of the afternoon off from school, despite the tragedy. Allie was walking home all alone, not sure exactly how she felt at that precise moment. She arrived home and saw her mother weeping her eyes out, and Paul was there comforting her by giving her a tissue.
"Hi, Mother," Allie said gently as she sat down on the couch next to her.
"Allie sweetie, somebody shot and killed the President," Alexandra said with a sniff. "You're lucky to have today and all of next week off from school."
"I'm sorry, Mama," Allie said softly as she gave her mother a hug.
"Allie sweetie, you'd better go on outside and just enjoy yourself," Paul said gently. "You know, just take a minute to be with yourself. This is an outrageous tragedy." And fortunately, Alexandra was not the only one who was mourning the loss of the President. Everyone else all over was in mourning as well. "And we don't want you to just sit there feeling glum. You try enjoying the rest of your day."
Allie couldn't see how she could enjoy the rest of her day, but she knew she had to try. "Okay, I will," she said, and went outside and sat on the front porch for a while, doing nothing at all. She could hear the weepings and moans of other neighbors, and she felt tempted to mourn with them but for some reason, couldn't bring herself to do so. Just then, she got up and went to her backyard to sit by her pool for a little while, when she saw a paper airplane on the grass right next to her. She picked it up and saw that it was a note from Quincy, asking her out on a date. The note read, "Allie, would you like to go out with me after school today? Quincy."
She was about to respond back when he showed up behind her, nearly giving her a slight startle. "Hey, I see you've found my note," he said, grinning.
"Why, you scared me," she said. "And yes, I would love to go with you."
"Yeah, at first I planned that you and I would go for some soda and such at the drugstore after school today, but now that we're dismissed early because of you-know-what........" He shrugged, trailing off. "I guess why not go out right now?"
"Yeah, that makes perfect sense," said Allie.
There was a moment of silence that filled the air between them before Quincy suddenly said, "So, you wanna go back in, grab your purse, tell your folks that we're doing something together, or what?"
"Yeah, that's a good idea," Allie said with a chuckle, feeling slightly awkward. She went into the house, grabbed her purse, and informed her parents that she was leaving with Quincy. "We're going to grab a soda and snack at the drugstore for a little while," she said. "Hopefully, we won't be gone for too long."
"Allie honey, take your time and have as much fun as you can," said Alexandra.
"That's right, blossom," said Paul. "You go on out there and enjoy yourself. But don't do anything too foolish, though."
"I promise I'll be good. Good-bye now," Allie said, waving as she left. She and Quincy held hands as they walked over to the drugstore. When they got there, the place was already crowded with other teenagers who were looking for a perfect hang-out place for a Friday afternoon rather than being stuck at school.
They went up to the soda jerk, and Quincy said to him, "I'd like to have one hamburger and a Pepsi, and the lady here would like some..........uh, what do you want, Allie?"
"I'll also have a hamburger," Allie said, "but I'll get a strawberry milkshake instead."
"Two hamburgers, one Pepsi, and a strawberry milkshake," said the soda jerk. "Got it."
While they were waiting for their orders, Allie and Quincy sat at a table across from a couple, the girl who was smoking as if her life depended on it. Quincy said to Allie, "So, how do you think you did on the PSATs?" They'd taken the PSATs earlier in the month.
"My brain felt kind of mushed from all that studying and thinking things through," Allie said with a chuckle.
"Yeah, same here. But I know you probably did your best. You're very smart, you know."
"Yeah, I know."
"And you're lucky enough to get into any college you want. You can still pursue your dreams of writing stories and scripts, can't you?"
"I'll definitely think about it," said Allie, "and you're right. I do have a chance, don't I?"
"Remember what Ms. Hazel used to tell you---never, ever give up."
Allie sighed dramatically. "I miss her right now. I wonder how she's doing."
"Well, you've written to her, haven't you?"
"Yeah, during the summer. I told her I was working at summer camp with the kids and such."
"And what'd she say?"
"She just only wished me good luck, and many more other friendly things."
"That's really neat."
"Yeah, it is."
A few minutes later, the soda jerk delivered their meals, and Allie and Quincy were savoring every moment of their togetherness.
After the arrival of the holidays, the most important event coming up at Fort Chester High was the junior prom. Everyone couldn't stop thinking about it, and Allie found herself to be the only minority out of her peers who was not going to the prom. She would go next year instead. She didn't think that junior prom was that much of a big deal.
One day after school, Betty Jane said, "So Allie, are you excited about the junior prom?"
"Oh, I forgot to tell you---I'm not going," Allie said.
Betty Jane, Laura, and Mary-Anne gasped. "You're not going?" Laura asked.
Allie shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not."
"What do you mean you're not going?" Mary-Anne asked. "The junior prom is the most important thing about the high school experience. You're really gonna miss out!"
"Yeah, well so is the senior prom," Allie said. She sighed, then said, "Well, I suppose I could go........on account that I go alone, and nobody makes a fuss about it. It's only junior year, after all."
"Wow, I never knew that you were such a real Debbie Downer, Allie," Betty Jane said. "How do you think Quincy will feel?"
It had never crossed Allie's mind that Quincy might have wanted to go to the junior prom with her. She didn't want to let him down too easily, but she wanted him to know that it was better that she went her senior year instead. "Well, he can.........he can just learn to deal with it, that's all," she said. "I'm not going, and that's final. This conversation is over." Allie's friends were surprised by her attitude.
May suddenly arrived, which was the time of Prom. Every person was going to extreme lengths, performing romantic yet goofy gestures to ask the other to be their date for approval. Quincy was thinking of surprising Allie with three pink balloons which each had the words: "Will You Go With Me to Prom?" on them, and leaving them by her locker in hopes of a pleasant surprise, but unfortunately, Betty Jane had to kill the dream by informing him that Allie was not going to the prom.
"What are you doing?" she said as she came up to him at Allie's locker.
"Shh, don't tell Allie," he said. "Jerry suggested that this was a romantic way to get a girl to go with you to the dance and stuff like that. Oh, that Jerry. What would he know, huh?" He shrugged.
"Oh, it's too bad I have to put a damper on your dreams, MacKenzie," Betty Jane said. "Unfortunately, Allie's not going to the prom this year. She told us she wasn't going, that she's waiting to go next year instead."
"Are you fooling me?" Quincy was surprised.
"I wish I was, but I'm not. I'm really sorry, Quincy."
"I can't believe this. I've brought these balloons over all for nothing! She never even told me she wasn't planning to go. That's why she's been giving me the slip all along. Every time I ask her, or at least try to ask her to be my date, she changes the conversation and just walks away without saying anything."
"Well, Allie is.......you know, Allie. If it makes you feel any better, Quince, you can just go with somebody else."
"Somebody else?" Quincy asked. "Should I really do that?"
Betty Jane shrugged. "Hey, Allie doesn't know what she's missing out. It's her own loss. She is the first person I've known all my life who does not think that Junior Prom is a big deal. Of course it is! It's as big a deal as senior prom!"
"Alright, I guess I'll try to find someone else to go with," said Quincy after a while of considering. "And if all else fails, then I'm not going either."
Fortunately, Quincy was able to find another girl to ask to the prom---Dawn. Dawn, the same girl whom Allie had met at summer camp. She was a senior now, and she accepted Quincy's request to go to prom with her. Dawn was on the cheerleading team, along with Betty Jane, Laura, and Mary-Anne. Everyone else who was going to the prom also got their dates, and they were all gradually preparing for the big night coming up on Friday.
Allie was reading her book in her backyard when Quincy came over. He didn't bother to greet her first when he said, "How could you not tell me until the last minute that you weren't going to Prom?"
Allie closed her book and faced him, and said, "How did you know that I wasn't going?"
"Betty Jane told me, of course."
"Oh, she did, huh?"
"Allie, I can't believe you would do this to me. We've talked about this for a long time, and now you decide to run out on me."
"Whoa, I did not run out on you, and the only reason we've been discussing this is because you were the one who keeps bringing it up," snapped Allie. "I think junior prom is stupid. There's no need to have a school dance that celebrates your third year of high school. You only graduate when you're a senior, and only that should be when you can have a dance."
"You know that doesn't even make any sense, right? You're missing out on this night if you decide not to come."
"I don't care. The rest of you can all have fun without me. I've made up my mind, Quincy. I've been to every school dance there is, and trust me, there's nothing life-threatening about missing out on one. Just one."
"Fine," said Quincy. "But just so you know, I have already asked someone else."
"Really? Is she any girl I know?"
"Nah, her name is Dawn, and she's a senior. You wouldn't know her."
Allie practically choked when she heard Dawn's name. "Dawn?" she asked. She realized that it was the same girl she had met at summer camp last year, the eldest of all the young campers. She and Dawn were pretty close acquaintances---not exactly the best of friends, but they were pretty close.
"Yes, Dawn. I surprised her with three pink balloons that had the words 'Will You Go With Me to Prom?' on them. That surprise was supposed to be for you, but after Betty Jane told me you weren't going, she suggested that I ask another girl to go with me---and that I did."
"Betty Jane told you to ask another girl?" asked Allie.
"Yes, Allie. You really hurt me. You blew our only chance of sharing a school dance together as upperclassmen. A junior is an upperclassman too, just so you know."
"I realize that, Einstein," she said cynically. She was furious that Betty Jane would get herself involved and tell Quincy to do whatever his little heart wanted.
"Well, you've missed your chance on having a really neat high school experience, so don't come crying to me when you don't find a picture of yourself in the yearbook at your own prom," Quincy said bitterly, then got up and took off without saying a good-bye or anything. Allie angrily threw her book into the pool, and made no effort to go swim after it and retrieve it.
The next day, which was Thursday, Allie and Betty Jane were fighting. Allie was furious that Betty Jane would encourage Quincy to go to the prom with another girl---the same girl she'd become fast friends with at summer camp. "How could you just tell him to take another girl like that behind my back?" Allie was saying to Betty Jane.
"Hey, Allie, don't get sore at me; I'm not the one who decided not go to my own prom with the boy I truly like," snapped Betty Jane.
"You should've stayed out of it. If you were really my friend, you wouldn't have done this to me!" Allie snapped.
"Well, did you want Quincy to be missing out if he didn't go just because you decided not to? Just a piece of advice, Allie: learn to think more about others rather than yourself once in a while."
Laura and Mary-Anne were standing there, not saying anything but secretly agreeing with everything Betty Jane said. Allie then thought of a great remark and said, "You know what? I would be so lucky enough to graduate early so that way, I wouldn't have to put up with the likes of you guys anymore. Just go on and enjoy yourselves tomorrow night without me, 'cause I won't even be there to watch!" She took off and went about her own way. Betty Jane, Laura, and Mary-Anne exchanged glances with each other, obviously baffled and startled by their friend's behavior, and shrugged it off.