Chapter 16:

Last Minute Plans

The Lonely Lovers Club

“It’s time to get back to work,” said Willie.

Willie felt comfortable at the front of the Lonely Lover Club’s classroom, although there was still one empty seat. Sandra had not yet returned since Mile’s failed proposal. Last week was full of negative energy, but Willie was not going to let those dark thoughts ruin his Monday, or this new week.

Willie was energized. Willie was positive. And Willie had a mission.

“Everybody, we have a new request,” said Willie, although everybody just meant Ginko and Maria. “Jakub Neidero needs a date for the dance.”

“Woah,” said Ginko. “Pushing it a bit late, isn’t he?”

In fact, this was not the time to find dates to the dance. The school dance was on Friday. Only five days away. Anyone who did not have a date by now was scrambling to find one. It was easily one of the most desperate times of the semester. While other folks were nailing down their fun, evening plans, those who waited until the last minute would panic.

Willie thought he was lucky to already have plans. He was going to go with Maria, Ginko, and Sandra. But after not seeing Sandra for so long… Well, that was something Willie could worry about later.

“It is a bit late, but there is no better time for true love than the present,” said Willie.

“Who does he want to go with?” asked Ginko.

“No one,” said Willie. “Or, well. I guess anyone.”

“There’s no one he wants to go with?” said Ginko. “That’s kinda sad.”

Willie let out a big sigh, letting his head droop to the floor. “It is, yes. Every lost soul is sad, Ginkgo. That’s why we are the Lonely Lovers Club. And Jakub is particularly lonely.”

“Right,” said Ginko cautiously while thinking of what to say next.

“Does he really want to go to the dance that bad?” asked Sandra.

“Indeed he does,” proclaimed Willie. “Jakub is certainly a lost soul who needs help. You see, he wanted to go to the dance Holly Irving.”

“Why don’t we set them up?” asked Ginko.

“Because she has already been asked to the dance by someone else,” said Willie.

“Oh,” said Ginko. He seemed to slide a little deeper into his desk chair.

The classroom felt still. Willie had tried pushing out the negative thoughts of Mile’s proposal from last week, but they stayed like the feeling of soreness. Willie wasn’t sure what Miles’ plans were now. He had not talked to Miles, though he heard rumors that Miles would not be going to the dance at all.

But this situation was not totally ruined. Willie was not involved in Miles’ proposal. Now he was ready for Jakub. And Willie was not going to let the Lonely Lovers Club fall victim to the same mistakes.

After the moment of silence passed, Maria said, “If he likes Holly, why does Jakub want to go with someone else?”

That was a perfectly reasonable question. If Jakub couldn’t go with the girl he wanted, why would he want to go to the school dance at all? He would be forced to watch his crush dance with someone else all night. He would be forced to see the one he loves with someone else.

Willie couldn’t help but think about Miles again. If Miles were going to the dance, he would also have to spend the entire night looking at the one he truly wanted to be with. Miles did not even have the confidence to go out at all. Yet, Jakub had a different idea.

“Put simply,” said Willie. “Jakub wants to show Holly that he is cool. He wants to show Holly that he is not some loser who couldn't get a date.”

“That’s a bleak way to say it,” muttered Maria.

“Oh, I see,” said Ginko. “He wants to impress her. We’ll have to find someone super hot for him to go with.”

“That’s incredibly rude,” said Maria.

“Jakub wants to make Holly jealous, right? This is the perfect way to do it,” said Ginko.

“It is not,” said Maria. “Besides, it sounds like he just wants to go to the dance.”

“No way. He wants to charm Holly,” argued Ginko. “Willie said he wanted to look cool in front of her.”

“There's a huge difference between looking cool and making someone jealous,” said Maria. “Besides that’s not my point. You can’t call someone hot. It's incredibly insulting.”

“I think it's a compliment,” said Ginko.

Regardless of whether or not Willie wanted to make Holly jealous, he felt it was time to put a stop to this debate. “Okay, enough. It doesn’t matter. We just have to find him a match.”

“Oh come on,” said Ginko. “We should be finding him a smoking date. Don't you think making Holly super jealous is totally the way to get them back together?”

Willie said, “well, ideally, yes-”

“Oh gosh,” Maria put a palm to her face.

“But,” Willie continued. “We only have five days to find Jakub a date. At this point it does not really matter who Jakub goes with, as long as someone goes with him.”

Time was of the essence, and Willie was not going to make the same mistake Sandra did with Miles. The problem from Miles’ proposal was waiting too long for the perfect proposal. Now, with the dance only a week away, it was time to get going right away.

“Who do you want to set him up with?” asked Maria. She was kind enough to stop making an angry face at Ginko before facing Willie.

“I-” said Willie. “I don’t know.”

It was no easy task, picking a date for someone. Match making is part of the Lonely Lover Club’s expertise, but they could spend a month searching for the perfect candidate. Now they had to do it in a week. It didn’t help that most girls in school already had dates. The number of candidates was slim.

The Lonely Lovers Club became silent as they thought of potential dates.

“What about Harper Perry?” asked Ginko.

“No, she’s already got a date,” said Maria. “What about Kayla Winstead? I heard she’s not going.”

“That won’t work,” said Ginko. “She’s not going because there's a track and field meet that day. She won’t be in town.”

Willie mentally sorted through all the people he knew at the school for a potential partner. Every person he knew was either out of town or they already had a date. There were very few people who were skipping for no reason. Willie heard that all the girls in the punk-rock club would be boycotting the dance, but he felt that might not be the kind of date Jakub was looking for.

After a few moments of discussing random names with the Lonely Lovers Club, they had come up with nothing. There were so many possible dates… that were already taken. The Club was stranded.

“There’s got to be someone,” said Willie. “We don’t even have one prospect.

“This is way too hard,” said Ginko. “Everyone’s already going to the dance.”

Willie tapped his foot into the ground while lost in thought. He would not give up. He could never leave a helpless soul alone, but right now there was nothing. And time was running out. He would soon start running down the hallways asking every girl he saw to the dance on behalf of Jakub.

“I know who will go to the dance with Jakub,” said a familiar voice.

Willie looked up to the doorway. Ginko and Maria also turned towards the voice. Standing there was Sandra.

“Jakub can go with Chelsea.”

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