Page 15 of Principal Obsession

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We have just enough time to stroll through the garden before boarding the boat for our moonlight tour. Rose stops and breathes in the complex scent of the evening primrose. She’s picture perfect standing beside the tall bush of yellow flowers.

“We need to catch the boat, baby,” I remind her.

She returns to her place by my side and tells me, “This is the most amazing night of my life.”

“I know you’re tired of sneaking around in the shadows, but next month is graduation, and then we’ll be free to go anywhere you want.”

“I know and I can’t wait. I don’t like pretending that we aren’t together.”

“How do you think I feel? Prom is coming. You show up in a gown and all the boys are gonna want to take you to the hotel after the party for sex.” Just the thought of it gets my blood up.

“Prom? Are you kidding? I’m not going to prom,” she laughs.

“It’s not because of me, is it? If it is, please rethink that. I don’t want you to miss out on any high school memories because of me. I won’t have that,” I say but, in truth, I like the idea of her opting out.

“I never planned to go. Why would I want to spend too much money on a dress that I’ll only wear once just to sit in a stinky gym surrounded by lustful, sweaty teenagers who are only there to have something to post on social media before they go party and lose their virginity?”

Her protest seems real enough, but I think every girl deserves a prom. I’ll have to come up with a way to give one to her.

The full moon casts its reflection on the dark water. Rose shivers as the boat gains speed, so I pull her close to shield her from the wind. We reach the center of the lake, and the boat driver kills the engine. I point up at the sky and say, “Have you ever seen a sky like that?”

“It’s like every star came out just for us,” Rose whispers with a smile.

Maybe it’s the romantic mood or how amazing Rose looks under the moonlight. Whatever it may be, I find myself wanting to say the words that I’ve been holding back since the first time I saw her.

“Rose, look at me.”

She turns to me and I take her face in my hands and say, “I love you.”

Tears well in her big blue eyes and she says, “I love you, too.”




“I’m gonna miss you tonight,” Rose’s text reads.

“I’ll miss you more,” I reply.

She stood firm on her decision to miss the prom and thinks that I’ll be there chaperoning all night. This gives me the afternoon to work some magic so that I can give her a prom of her own. I stop by the gym on my way out to take a final look at the décor so that I can replicate it as closely as possible. The florist was confused when I called in a smaller order of the exact same arrangements that he was due to deliver today. His curiosity piqued when I added that I’d be picking up that order and paying with my personal credit card.

With the color scheme memorized, I set out to transform my patio into “A Night Under the Stars”—one of the most widely used prom themes in high school history.

The caterer is a high school buddy of mine, and I asked him if he could make me a tray of each of the two entrees and a cake for dessert. He agreed so his place is my first stop after the flower shop.

“Hey, Ryan. How’s it going?” Jay asks when I enter the restaurant.

“Good, just came by to pick up the food we talked about.”

“I have to ask why. Aren’t you going to be there tonight? You can just take some leftovers home, can’t you?”

“I’m not chaperoning tonight.”

“Come on, man, give me something here. This is weird,” he throws his arms up and tilts his head to the side.

“I have a friend coming to my place, and I want to serve something nice. When I saw your menu for the prom, I knew that was what I wanted and I figured since you were already making it, you could just charge me for a little extra. That’s not weird, is it?” I ask knowing full well that, yes, it does sound a bit strange.