“The class of 2016’s Homecoming Queen is…” the band began to drum roll for what felt like the longest five seconds of my life. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach, but I felt its pulse erupting in my ears. I swallowed, hardly able to breathe as I waited for them to call the name. “…EMMA BRIGGS!” My hands flew over my face, and I clamped my eyelids shut, but the tears still squeezed through the barrier and trickled down my cheeks.
This was everything I dreamed. Sky’s voice boomed in my head, “Look at them down there. Fighting over that crown. It’s pathetic. Just stroke their egos more, why don’t ya.”
“Don’t you think it would be nice to win?” I asked her.
“No. It’s dumb and superficial. Every one of those people are fake.”
It was true. I was fake, maybe even faker than any of these other girls that swung their arms around my neck. Last was Vanessa, “I’m really happy for you.” She gave me a smile that she reserved for when she gave out phony compliments about someone’s outfit. “Real cute skirt Jenna,” she would say then turn to me, “that skirt is hideous.” It’s like her mean girl way of making herself feel superior. Did she really feel superior to me? Of course, she did. I took her spot. It should be Vanessa getting ready to take the crown. She’s the popular one. The one I wanted to be. She made me Emma but still, not so deep under the surface I’m still Emilia, the crazy girl that sees dead people, not the Homecoming Queen.
“Thanks,” I whispered back pretending not to notice. The crown sparkled just like my dress under the spotlights around the field. I chose a flowing violet dress with one strap over my shoulder to match the purple and gold football uniforms. It showed a little school spirit, and it would make for good pictures of one of the football players won King. Of course, I had cast my vote on number three, Brad.
I was more than happy when he won. I swung my hands around his neck and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Before I backed away, blushing at my spontaneity. He reassured me with an adorable crooked smile before taking his place on the fifty-yard line. That’s where he waited with last year’s King and Queen, for me to accept my crown.
When I reached the edge of the field, Brad grasped my hand. The cheers that erupted from the stands couldn’t possibly be for me. Yet, there I stood, accepting my roses and my bright shimmering crown. Brad and I stood together, smiling for the school photographer just as the cheers broke into screams from the stands.
As if my thoughts provoked the chaos that was about to commence, I watched a woman topple down the stairs and face plant on the base platform. She didn’t move. Patrons flooded around, concealing her. Nate was the only person in the stands that wasn’t staring at her. I followed his eyes to the top of the flight. There Morea stood.
Her eyes weren’t on the woman. They weren’t on Nate. They were on me, and they were relentless. She made it clear she was trying to get my attention, and she was pissed that I didn’t finish her spell. Almost as quickly as I noticed her, she was gone. How could she do that? They’ve never hurt anyone before.
Then it was Nate’s burning eyes I felt on me. I knew at that moment I was going to have to talk to him, but not tonight, not with all of this. There was panic in the stands, and eventually, an ambulance arrived with a stretcher.
Rumors flooded the dance of the woman. I was relieved to hear she had been taken to the hospital and was recovering. I decided to put the incident behind me for the night. I would address it the next day with Nate. This was my night, and I wasn’t going to let a stupid ghost ruin it.
For the last week, since I was nominated, I dreamed of what the King and Queen’s dance would be like if Brad and I won. Maybe, he would kiss me? Maybe this would be the final straw before we became more than friends? I felt like this was our moment.
Brad left to change after the game, promising to meet me when he arrived at the dance. A large curtain sectioned off the gym to keep us contained to one area. They cut the main lights, so the only source was the multicolored lights from the DJ’s booth and the strings of white Christmas lights the student committee strung along the railings of the bleachers. Mrs. France approached me as I was pouring some punch.
“Emma dear, congratulations.” I smiled and nodded thanking her. “The DJ would like to set up the Royalty dance. Could you and Brad meet with him on stage?”
“No problem. I’ll find him.” I scanned the room, but there was no sign of him. He wasn’t with his usual group of friends, and the football players already seemed to bleed in. Maybe he was looking for me, I hoped. I meandered through the crowd in the gymnasium to check the hallway. I passed the bleachers, and I found him alright. In a lip-lock with Vanessa, tucked in the dark shade of the bleachers.
Thanks for stopping in. I hope you are enjoying Emilia’s Awakening. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts and predictions!