Chapter 13:

Yearning for a Proposal

The Lonely Lovers Club

“Why aren't you dressed yet?” asked Sandra. She stood in the hallway with Miles and Maria.

Miles was wearing athletic shorts and a tee shirt. For a typical teenage boy this was nothing out of the ordinary, but this was the day of Miles’ big proposal. Sandra would not allow him to ask a girl out in some cut-rate gym clothes. This proposal was all about fancy things. They were trying to please a rich girl. This attire made Miles look like a bozo.

“I just figured I would change now,” said Miles.

“We only have 15 minutes between classes,” said Maria. “And you need to make sure you are in that classroom before Rena gets there.”

“Go on, get changed. Now.” said Sandra.

“I can’t change here,” said Miles looking at all the students shuffling through the hallway.

“Obviously,” said Sandra. “Geez. Go to the boys locker room.”

“Right, okay,” said Miles. “Just watch my things for me.”

“Oh my goodness,” said Sandra. “You’re helpless. Bring your things and I’ll go with you. Maria, go head up to the room and make sure Rena doesn’t get there first.”

“I don’t think there’s much I can do about that,” said Maria.”

Frustrated, Sandra said, “Just wait there so you can warn us if she’s already inside.”

Goodness this is stressful thought Sandra. When Willie was in charge, she would normally play a much more passive role. It was fun to see random hopeless students come apart trying to keep up with Willie’s wild plans.

But today the pressure was on Sandra. Willie had no part in Miles’ proposal. Sandra did all the work herself. That means if this failed, it was on Sandra. The severity of her responsibility began to weigh on Sandra. This was someone’s love life she was dealing with. The decisions she made and actions she took could literally change someone else’s life. Though Sandra was not the romantic that Willie was, she still believed that love was an important part of people’s lives. Maybe even the most important part. Sandra did not want to screw up today.

Her nerves were beginning to get to her. Every little slowdown was time wasted. Each slowdown was one step closer to failing. One step closer to ruining Miles’ love life.

Not to mention it was one step closer to Willie making a better dance proposal than Sandra. After all of this stress had built up in Sandra, that hardly seemed like a concern anymore. Perhaps this made her respect Willie a little more. Having control over someone’s romantic life was not a fun chore, it was a burden. But Sandra was not thinking about her challenge to Willie anymore. She could only think about Miles’ right now.

“Come on,” Sandra said to Miles. “Let's go.”

Maria parted ways from Sandra and Miles as they ran off to the boys locker room. Sandra tried to move quickly, but between classes there were hundreds of students in the halls. Every time she bumped into a stranger she had to bite her lip to avoid cursing them out. If a teacher heard Sandra mutter any foul language then she would only jeopardize Miles’ proposal. A teacher would yell at them until the bell rang; well past the time Miles had for his proposal.

There were only a few minutes left in the break between classes, but they had finally made it to the boys locker room.

“Go on,” Sandra said. “Get changed.”

Miles shoved his backpack into Sandra’s hands. “Here. Watch this,” he said, then darted into the boys locker room.

A minute passed. The hoards of students in the hallway began decreasing. The kids were filing into their classrooms. Not a good sign. A key part of this proposal was for Rena to see Miles waiting for her in the room. It was romantic. The proposal was meant to surprise Rena. If she got into the classroom before Miles, then that surprise would be lost. She would see all of their decorations before seeing Miles.

And the decorations looked good, according to Sandra. The classroom turned out better than she expected. Sure, they basically just coated an entire classroom in gold paper. But the effect was surreal. It looked just like the room was made of gold. If a rich girl didn’t find a man standing in the middle of a golden room attractive, then Sandra didn’t know what would work to win over Rena’s affection.

Sandra looked at Miles’ backpack she was still holding in her hands. “Why couldn’t he take this inside the locker room with him?” she said to herself.

“What?” screamed Miles from inside the locker room.

“Nothing. I was just talking to myself,” said Sandra. “Are you done yet?”

“Almost,” said Miles. “Just give me one minute.”

“We have to get going,” said Sandra.

“I know, I know,” said Miles.

After that was silence. Kids continued to shuffle through the hallways, but the number of students still seemed to be decreasing. Maybe there were just less kids in this hallway. Maybe it was just in Sandra’s head. Each passing second burdened Sandra even more.

“Hey,” said Miles’ voice through the locker room door. “You have a boyfriend, right? Do you know how to tie a tie?”

“No,” said Sandra. “I don’t tie my boyfriend’s tie. I don’t think he has ever even worn a tie. Let’s just figure it out on the way, okay. We have to go.”

Miles came out of the locker room. He looked like a clean cut man. Black suit. Shining black shoes. He looked great, except for the lack of a tie. Since Miles owned a suit, shouldn’t he at least know how to put it on? Maybe it didn’t matter. Miles was tall and handsome. Maybe he could pull this off without the tie. He still looked good. Better dressed than any other boy at Oakville High.

“Do I look okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, you look great. Once you get that tie on you’ll look even better. Now let's go.”

They marched through the halls. Sandra tried to go as quick as she could, but Miles dragged behind as he tried to figure out how to wear a tie while he was walking.

Eventually it looked like Miles might actually figure out the tie. He got it close to the way it was supposed to be tied. That would have to be good enough. But as soon as that obstacle was crossed, they ran into another. Almost literally.

Miles and Sandra came across a large group of kids. Sandra steered them right into one of the busiest hallway intersections in the school. She should have been smarter. She knew this hallway was always crowded between classes. Sandra could imagine a clock ticking, taking away precious time from their proposal.

Then, she realized. This crowd wasn’t moving at all. All the shuffling students in the hall had come to a stop, blocking their movement. Goodness, what now? Thought Sandra. She forced her way through the students, no doubt making some new enemies in the process. She dragged Miles behind her. It seemed to help to have Miles behind her. He was a tall kid wearing a suit. Maybe some students mistook him for a teacher and moved out of his way.

Finally they made it to the front of the crowd. Sandra gazed across the faces of students. They were all starry-eyed and smiling. But what Sandra saw was a complete disaster.

The crowd formed a circle around Peter Donahue. He held a large poster in one hand. The poster read: “I yarn to go to prom with you.” And of course, Peter had wrapped an entire ball of yarn around himself. He looked like a cat that got into it’s family’s knitting supplies. He wasn’t even dressed fancy either. Although it was stupid, Sandra was able to recognize it meant to say “I yearn to go to prom with you.” Proposal puns were terrible.

But that wasn’t even the worst part. In the middle of the crowd, across from Peter, was Rena. Sandra didn’t like her normally. But now, standing in front of Peter with a silly grin on her face, Sandra couldn’t stand her.

Peter was asking Rena to the prom. And she said yes.

Sandra had mentally run through every worst case scenario for Miles’ proposal. This was one outcome she didn’t consider.

Peter and Rena.
Rena and Peter.

Sandra couldn’t take it. She stood there stunned. Her mind was moving 100 miles per hour, but her heart felt like it had stopped. She had let Miles down. She didn’t dare turn around to look him in the face. Not yet.

After all of the effort they put in. They developed a seemingly great plan. Maybe Rena would have gone to the dance with Miles, maybe she would have turned down his proposal. But now they would never know. They did what they could, but in the end, they were just too late.

The most devastating thought was Miles. What would he do? How would he feel? This was a catastrophe. And as much as Sandra thought about it, Miles was out of options.

Sandra took a deep breath and turned around.

“Miles. I am so sorry.”

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