Chapter 5 Part 2
Click here to read Chapter 5 Part 1
The week of Homecoming was a whirlwind. The parade ended with Paivi’s Freshman Float coming in 4th place. Between Powder Puff, the Pep Rally and the big game on Friday night, Paivi was lucky to at least keep up with her homework. Sleep, however, would have to wait.
Saturday night was the culmination of the weeks’ activities. The dance began at seven, but Paivi and her friends gathered beforehand at Paulina’s house to take group photos before heading out to dinner. Paivi towered above the group, as usual. She wore a light pink cocktail dress, which came just above her knee, along with fancy silver flip-flops instead of dress shoes. She didn’t mind being taller than everyone, but she didn’t want to wear heels and feel like a complete giant. Mrs. Anderson had curled her long, blond hair into ringlets and stuck in a few of her grandmother’s antique hairpins.
“Here’s your corsage, my lovely date,” Michaela said as she pulled a box containing a flower from her purse. It was made of delicate, tiny, pink roses with sweet smelling baby’s breath. Being that they didn’t have dates, they agreed to buy each other corsages. Paivi had gotten Michaela’s with red roses to match her long, red, sequined dress.
Michaela twirled in front of Paivi, showing off her look.
“Girl, you should be walking down the red carpet for real!” Paivi said. She admired Michaela’s elaborate up-do. It pained her to think that Michaela’s mother was missing her daughter’s first high school dance. She tried to push the feeling to the corner of her mind. Thinking about it right now would do no good.
Paivi grabbed Michaela’s arm and led her over to the group of waiting girls. The cameras flashed as Paivi tried to keep her smile frozen to her face. She wasn’t going to let anything ruin their fun tonight.
“Mmmm, my stomach is going to explode,” Michaela gasped as she and Paivi made their way to the decorated entrance of the high school. She clutched her stomach with both hands. “Must…not…eat…so much pasta next time!”
“Just because it was all-you-can-eat didn’t mean you had to eat it all!” Paivi giggled and followed a red carpet through the cafeteria to the doors of the gym. On either side were members of Student Council with cameras, snapping pictures of the girls as if they were famous movie stars. The school mascot, the Terrible Tartan, was waiting to escort them down the aisle. Paivi giggled at his short plaid kilt, which displayed the school colors of maroon and cream. They entered through a large archway made of fake palm trees and made their way across the floor to their friends.
Paivi saw Jason a few times in the crowd, and felt it was important that she go and say hello, even if he was with his girlfriend. They were just friends after all.
“Hey, Paivi, I was just talking about you,” Jason shouted to Paivi after he half-dragged a petite girl halfway across the floor. “This is my girlfriend, Melissa.”
Paivi took the girl’s limp hand in hers and shook it. Melissa produced a half smile, but said nothing.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Paivi said, attempting a sincere smile, even though jealousy was slowly creeping through her. She brushed it off as she waved goodbye. Her eyes followed Jason as he walked away, his arm around Melissa. Next up was a slow song, driving all of the non-couples from the dance floor.
“Let’s go get something to drink,” said Michaela, grabbing Paivi’s arm and pulling her off the floor. “I’m parched!”
Paivi gave the dance floor a quick glance, spotting Jason and Melissa, arms around each other, swaying to the music. Their eyes were locked on each other, nose to nose. She wasn’t quite sure why she felt the need to look; why torture herself more?
The girls headed out to the cafeteria, where tables had been set up for refreshments.
Paivi was relieved to get a break from the hot gym. They joined a line at the table where the cookies were spread out. The group of students in front of them made their selections and finally moved on.
Paivi glanced briefly over the table and something caught her eye. She looked closer at the display. She blinked her eyes, not sure if what she saw was real. It must be a coincidence. The cookies were arranged on the table to spell out something she recognized right away.
Michaela was chattering on about something that Paivi didn’t hear.
She noticed and put her hand on her hip.
“Hey, P, you aren’t even listening to me!”
She started to pout and then noticed the strange look on Paivi’s face.
“Mick, do you notice anything about these cookies?” she asked, still staring at them.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I think they look good and I want to eat them all.”
“Yeah, yeah, no you’re right. I just thought, I don’t know…,” she muttered, not really knowing what to say.
The cookies still looked like they spelled her name, even if Michaela couldn’t see it. Michaela took the ginger snap that dotted the last ‘i’ in Paivi’s name and grabbed a napkin.
“Come on, let’s get some punch!”
Paivi grabbed a chocolate chip cookie and followed her over to the next table. An older lady in a Tartans sweatshirt, wearing a Scottish beret on her head ladled punch from a large bowl into red paper cups.
Paivi glanced into the bowl and felt sick. The fruit in the punch began to arrange itself into two words.
Paivi could hardly believe her eyes, but after the cookies she wasn’t so surprised. She was scared. What did they know about her? And who knew it?
The woman stopped pouring and looked at Paivi.
“Are you feeling okay, sweetheart?” Her hand with the ladle was hanging just above the fruity words in the punch bowl. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“No, no, I’m fine,” she mumbled. Maybe the ladle would mess up the fruit. She stood there staring at the bowl, waiting. It broke the surface, breaking up the fruit letters. But after the lady served the next portion of punch, the fruit seemed to gravitate back together, like they were full of magnets. The words had reformed.
Michaela grabbed two cups of punch, said a quick thank you to the woman and led Paivi over to a table.
“Are you all right?” She sounded concerned. “You look like you’re going to puke! Please don’t puke on me, I really like this dress! But seriously, do you think you are sick from dinner or something? You know you are allergic to cheese.” She looked around and dropped her voice to a whisper. “Or maybe this is because Jason is here with his girlfriend?”
Paivi’s mind was racing. She couldn’t tell Michaela. Paivi felt crazy herself, and she was sure Michaela would agree. She hadn’t seen the words in the cookies or the punch.
“Here, maybe if you get some punch, you will feel better.” She pushed it towards Paivi.
She was afraid to look into the glass, for fear there would be some kind of message.
“Look, I’m sorry,” she said, trying to sound normal. “I just don’t feel well. You’re right; it was probably all that cheese on the pizza. But it’s cool, I’ll be fine.”
Join me on Wednesday for the next installment of Into the Shadows! Thanks for reading!