In The Dark
The dress hung from a hook behind her bedroom door, mocking her.
Chloe knew it was mocking her. Mocking her, in spite all of its pink
satiny-goodness, waving slightly in the breeze coming from the air
conditioner. Subdued and tiny rhinestones glittered around the neck
of the garment, looking oddly dull as they reflected back to her in
the weak light of the small lamp on her desk.
She sat on her bed, looking at the offending article, wondering what
the hell inspired her to buy it, how the hell that kid knew about it,
and how he knew about Clark.
Chloe sighed and leaned back on her bed, staring at the ceiling.
Clark had been a good choice. She was certain of that much. He was
amazingly unattached. Pete already had a date, some girl he'd
convinced to go with him during their World Geography class. No,
Clark was the best choice - they could go as friends and he wouldn't
assume too much, wouldn't be seeking any sort of ulterior motive on
her part. His eyes only pinned for Lana and he had no chance with
Lana. Perfect Lana, spending her days wrapped up in a too-big
letterman's jacket, arms wrapped around a too-big football player.
Perfect Lana, the perfect girl for this backward little hellhole of a
town. Perfect Lana, with her big warm eyes, dazzling smile, cute
little outfits, and perfect hair.
Chloe felt like crying, but instead rolled out of bed and stomped
over to the dress, yanking it off its hanger. She wanted to tear it
up, throw it out the window, run it over with her father's car.
Instead, she held it close, closing her eyes and swaying to music she
heard only in her mind. She imagined the Prom, delicate arms wrapped
around her neck, perfume floating around her nose, long brown hair
brushing her arms. Imagined warm laughter and gentle touches, being
able to walk hand in hand in the sunshine without worrying about
strange looks or hatred. Imagined...
The sound of her father's loud footsteps on the stairs startled Chloe
out of her reverie and she dropped the dress to her side, awaiting
the inevitable door knock.
"Come in," she called after the fact, and the door opened, light
pouring into the dark bedroom as her father entered.
"Hi pumpkin," he said, smiling that goofy smile of his. Chloe found
herself smiling back. "Sorry I'm late. A meeting at the Plant ran
late." Her father's eyes drifted down to the dress that now hung
limply in her arms. "Is that your Prom dress?" he asked, reaching
over and flipping on her bedroom light. Chloe blinked at the sudden
brightness, then held up the dress for her father's inspection.
"Sure is," she told him. He took it from her and looked at it up and
down, nodding in approval.
"It's very nice," he said cheerfully. "I'm sure whatever young man
is taking you to the dance will be very pleased."
Chloe felt her smile become stiff and forced, but she held on to it
anyway. "I'm sure," she replied, trying to keep the snippiness out
of her voice. Her father smiled again, then passed the dress back to
"Well, I'm going to go heat up some dinner," he said, moving out into
the hallway. "Have you eaten yet?"
"I'm not very hungry," Chloe said truthfully. Her father graced her
with a mildly concerned look.
"I'll be attacking the pizza if you change your mind," he said
gently. "Want me to turn this back off?" he asked gesturing to the
light. Chloe nodded and the room fell back into darkness once again.
"Just don't spend too much time in the dark," he told her, then
disappeared down the hallway. Chloe walked over and quietly closed
the door to her bedroom, feeling a bit of badly-timed laughter trying
to escape her throat.
"Like you're one to talk about being in the dark," she muttered to
herself, then picked the hanger up from the floor and re-hung the
dress, returning it to its place on the hook. Sitting back down on
her bed, she leaned against her headboard, staring at the dress again.
Yes, Clark had been a good choice. The only choice she could make in
Small-minded-ville. Sinking down into her bed and slipping
underneath the covers, Chloe reached out and turned off her desk
lamp, giving a sigh of relief as the room fell into complete
darkness, then closed her eyes and went to sleep.