Monday morning before school was always going to be when the ultimate analysis of the prom was going to be held. Not everyone had made it to the after party and some people hadn’t even made it to the prom itself. Lourdes Alvarez had been excluded on school attendance grounds by a late change in the eligibility rules, Donny Jones had broken an arm in the shower and spent the evening in the emergency room, while Brian Stevens had spent the evening there too struggling with the aftereffects of his grandmother’s raw egg mayonnaise.
Donny and Brian were being filled in by their pals when Lourdes arrived. She was often late, her home responsibilities saw to that, but not today. Mary-Kate grabbed her as soon as she arrived and dragged her over to a group that was mainly prom organising committee. “Tell us how your night was,” begged Mary-Kate. “Rosaria who works for my mother promised me that she and your grandmother had organised something for you. What was it?”
“My grandmother?” Lourdes was astounded. “All right, but only if you tell me about the prom first.”
“The highlights then,” Mary-Kate nodded. “The Larsen twins spiked the first bowl of punch with booze, which Lewis Peters warned us about. Unfortunately Mr Collins had two large glasses of it when he arrived because he was thirsty, before we could get it swapped out.”
“So Mr Collins was drunk at the prom?” Lourdes was incredulous.
“Very.” The other girls nodded agreement.
“And every time he had something to drink, even tap water,” chimed in Katherine, “he just seemed to get drunker.”
“He was rude to Miss Gulliver and Janet,” went on Mary-Kate, “so Lewis told him to pull his head in. Miles found him throwing up in the men’s room halfway through the night and then he couldn’t get a recognisable word out when he was supposed to give his speech. At the end of the night Mr Halloran had to take his car keys off him.”
“Miss Gulliver caught Melanie and Tiffany making out in one of the back corridors of the auditorium,” added Ellie. “She told them she had to enforce the rules, no matter what the gender, so no lip-locking, no pelvis grinding and back out into the main area with them.”
Lourdes asked, “Was that why Mr Collins was rude to her?”
“Naw,” Kaylee’s response was a drawl, like everything else she said. “This was way before that. Now tell us where you went.”
“I’m not sure where it was,” admitted Lourdes, “but I was picked up a gentleman who had a carriage and driver. He acted like he was my uncle or something, all dressed up in top hat and a really good suit.”
“Hang on,” interrupted Mary-Kate, “A carriage, with horses?” The other girls murmured appreciatively.
“Well,” Lourdes answered truthfully, “they certainly looked like horses to me. The ball was at some grand old house I’d never seen before and there was a receiving line,” no need to mention type of language used by those who were receiving the guests. “I even got a dance card!”
“So, who’d you dance with?” That was Ellie.
“I’ve got the card at home but I don’t remember all the names,” she admitted. “It might have been fancy dress too, which made it a bit confusing. I danced with a man in a Confederate cavalry uniform who had a Virginian accent, a black boy about our age from New York in a Union uniform, a man dressed like a 1930’s gangster who had an Italian surname, and there was some college boy who was wearing a borrowed jacket. There was a lot of rum punch and I might have gotten tipsy.”
“Not as tipsy as Mr Collins!” Her friends grinned at each other.
Lourdes dropped her best piece of news as the buzzer went off for rollcall, “Oh, and I’ve got a date with Jaime Ortega from St Sebastian’s debating team next Saturday night.”
Kaylee summed it up, “Cool!”