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Honestly, Alice hadn't known what to expect, but she'd hoped for better than this.

It'd been one thing to agree to go to the dance in a nice sundress. But finding someone to go with was entirely a different matter. She wasn't the romantic sort; her crushes tended to be on characters from books, not real guys. Her guys were sensitive, gentle and reassuring, encouraging her to do well without pushing too hard. Sweethearts, basically. There weren't a lot like that her age, that seemed apparent.

And since going out with fictional men wasn't an option, Alice had figured she'd make it a girl's night out. Only problem was that of the few people she could call on, all of them either didn't want to go or had a date. So Alice hung around outside the dance with her mom in the car, and waited for inspiration.

Ten minutes passed, and redfaced Alice returned to the car, asking to go to dinner with her mom, a smile stitched into her face. There'd been a bit of crying, comforting, talking, but Louise was aware lf Alice's feelings and didn't push the matter.

The nice Italian restaurant was quiet as usual, but despite the warm air Alice's arms were wrapped around herself. Her mom set up the table, and on their way to the seat Alice tried to reassure herself. Was she really that excited to go to the dance? Hardly so. This was more fun. Definitely.

Alice caught a teen's eyes as she passed the girl on the way to her table. She knew that face; it was someone she saw at the library. Yeah, she even had that weird Africa book! Alice arrived at her own seat, but as soon as the waitress left she said to her mom in a hushed, frantic voice, "Hey, I'll be right back. I saw someone I know." Not quite a lie, but hardly true. Still, her mom nodded.

She made her way back to the girl, and stood next to her, pausing before speaking. "Um, hi. You go to Cochise, right? Sorry if you're busy, I just..." Trailing off, Alice became fascinated with her shoes.
V5: Cut Short

V6: Broken Down

V7: Unprepared
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Swipe Rite · After the Dance