A few months had gone by since the incident with Jason and to Nick’s disappointment, Amanda clung to Lance more than ever. The two of them were very close and Nick just left them be, retreating and just being the “supportive best friend” that Brian said they should be.
Truthfully, Nick wanted to break them up, but he refrained as Amanda was happy. Lance didn’t give Nick any reason to believe she wasn’t, so Nick simply kept to himself about his feelings for her. As he looked at the poster on the locker room wall, he sighed longingly.
“Whatcha looking at?” Brian asked, coming up behind him.
“Prom is coming. I want to go but….”
“Ah, I see. Look. Amanda can’t go with you. I’m sure we can think of something.”
Nick sighed again, he knew he’d regret saying anything. When lunch came Amanda told them Lance was buying prom tickets, leaving Nick moping for most of the period behind his Calculus book.
“So do you have a date lined up, Brian? I’m sure you have your pick.” Amanda teased.
“I actually am helping Nicky here get himself one.” Brian smiled, patting him on the back. Amanda looked surprised.
“I didn’t think you’d be interested in going,” she confessed.
“I do, but-”
“We just gotta fix him up a little, that’s all. Make him appealing.” Brian said. Nick raised an eyebrow. Appealing? He knew he wasn’t hideous but he didn’t like where this conversation was headed.
“Just what do you mean by that, Bri?” Amanda asked, ignoring her food. She noticed Nick looked very uncomfortable.
“Well, for starters….his hair could use a new style, maybe update his clothes…he needs to look more confident. Girls don’t like a guy who looks like he doesn’t bother.” Brian said. He prattled on as if Nick were a broken sofa that nobody wanted anymore. By the end of lunch he was miserable.
“When I’m done with you, you won’t recognize yourself.” Brian promised. As the two of them tried on clothes, discussed how to get noticed, Nick didn’t seem interested. He just sat back as Brian went on about how he needed it.
“Brian, are you sure this is what Nick wants?” Amanda asked in school on Monday.
“Of course it is. Just wait.” he grinned with a small wink. Amanda was skeptical until she walked into Calculus.
Amanda gaped at Nick. He was wearing a white tank top covered by a blue shirt that set off his eyes with jeans. He was also wearing a much shorter hairstyle. Normally hiding his face, his blonde hair was layered and framing his face. She sat down and class started, but she smelled cologne, it was like a chemical reaction and she felt the urge to leap on him during class. After class had ended, the warmth went away, but she felt a yearning, as if Nick were a drug and she needed a fix.
Nick was not liking the attention he was getting from his new style. He didn’t feel like himself. It was like none of these girls were interested in him, just how he looked. He rejected them all, even the best looking girls in their grade.
“That girl was hot. What’s wrong with you, I mean…you just sat there….” Brian asked in surprise.
“Brian, I don’t want someone who I can’t talk to. All these girls care about is appearance. I can’t hold a conversation with them.” Nick said. This was another reason he connected with Amanda, he found her intellectually stimulating.
Prom was just a week away and Nick eventually just gave up on going. There was nobody he connected with the way he did with her. He went back to wearing his baggy clothes and eventually the girls stopped noticing him…to Nick, all was back to normal.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t find you a date, man.” Brian apologized before lunch. Nick sighed as he saw Amanda through the cafeteria doors, he couldn’t bear to hear about her plans with Lance again.
“It’s okay….look, I’m not hungry. I’m going to the library to do some studying. Catch ya later.”
“Nick, why can’t you just come to prom without a date?” Brian asked.
“Unless Lance breaks his leg by some bizarre coincidence, I won’t be going.” Nick said before taking off. Amanda and Brian ate and talked until the bell rang. When Amanda got to Chemistry, she was shocked to see Lance wearing crutches again.
“What happened to you?”
“I had a accident in soccer. Busted up my knee. Looks like I won’t be doing much dancing at prom.” Lance said sadly. Amanda was a bit disappointed, she didn’t want to go alone.
“I’m not mad at you, baby. Guess I will be sitting home for prom night.” she sighed.
“You don’t have to miss it because of me. Why don’t you go with someone else and use our tickets?” Lance offered brightly.
“Everyone already has a date.”
Amanda gaped at him, surprised he would suggest the very person that he despised as a child.
“Who are you and what have you done with Lance?” she laughed.
“I’m serious…..just ask him. He won’t say no.” he said with a smile. Amanda found Nick coming out of the library after class, a French book tucked under his arm.
“Lance can’t come to prom….would you want to come instea-”
Amanda giggled at how quickly he responded and he blushed.
“Are you sure Lance is ok with me going instead, Amanda?” Nick asked. They stopped in front of his locker, talking. Nick couldn’t believe it. He was taking Amanda to the prom.
He just hoped this was his big chance.