Click here to read a deleted scene with Samantha and her family having dinner with Anton de' Medici in Manhattan.
Click here for the EPILOGUE to LOVE and CANDY.
It took three trips to the mall and
one to Manhattan to find a dress for prom.
Stephanie was the only one who had much pleasure during these
excursions. Catherine had to field
questions about why she hadn't gone to her own prom -- "Why didn't you ask
Dad?" Gretchen got bored and
collapsed in one of the seats generally reserved for boyfriends and
husbands. Annabelle fumed when Catherine
told her she wasn't allowed to try on dresses.
Samantha shook her head at every dress she saw, imagining one of
Delaney's female friends wearing it. But
thanks to Stephanie's persistence she eventually found something.
six o'clock on the dot, Delaney's old mustang pulled into her driveway. Samantha rushed into the downstairs powder
room to do a final check of her wavy updo.
She was wearing make up: a natural shade of auburn on her lips and
Delaney walked in empty
handed, only a key ring dangling from his finger. He winked at Annabelle who ran up to him,
grinning ear-to-ear and looking like she wanted to jump into his arms.
stood off to the side until he looked over and noticed her. She was wearing a gown that flowed to the
floor with a slinkiness so unlike her standard attire. Clear beads were sewn along the edge of its
V-neck and on thin spaghetti straps.
grinned cautiously and walked over to greet him with a pat on his watch-free
wrist. He motioned for her to turn
around, which she did awkwardly.
like the back," he said. It was
open almost to the waist. She had to
find a special bra to go underneath.
like the color," she grinned defensively.
looks good on you."
appeared, but Samantha insisted on only a couple quick snapshots.
"If you two
get separated from the limo, you'll be calling a cab, not driving. Correct?" asked Robert.
you say," replied Delaney.
turned to Samantha, his eyes thin and slanted.
"Or call me."
from side to side, Catherine told Delaney he looked nice, eliciting a mild
"Thank you." His proportions
where emphasized by the traditional dinner jacket he wore. His hair was gathered at base of his scalp,
neatly pulled back out of his face. From
the front you got an idea of how he would look with short hair.
they were in his car and on their way to Nicolette's to meet up with the
limo. Samantha glanced his way, noticing
the white of his shirt peaking out from under his jacket as his hands grasped
the upper rim of the steering wheel.
if you dance with each of your female friends, how many times are you going to
be able to dance with me?" she grinned.
is enough, right?" he deadpanned.
wanted to nag him about the prospect of being left alone sitting at the banquet
table for half the evening while he said farewell to all the senior girls. "Am I allowed to say I don't want to
slow dance with your horny friends?"
laughed. "Maybe you should dictate
a list of who you do and who you don't want to dance with in case it comes
don't try to get anyone to ask me, okay?"
happens, just take it easy, Shorty.
Don't expect much from the girls and don't blow things out of proportion."
flashed her a guilty look. "Shit, I
forgot to give you your flowers."
He reached back to get a box hidden behind his seat. "I hope they match. It wasn't easy. They were like, 'If she's wearing orange,
then you shouldn't get red or pink or violet … blah blah blah.'"
opened the box and took out the small bouquet of rusty white flowers tied with
a champagne ribbon. "They're
beautiful. I have to get a picture so I
can remember exactly what they look like."
She put the bouquet to her nose, screening her face. "I'm going to come visit you in New York
in a couple weeks and bring you flowers."
smiled. "We'll pick a weekend once things
calm down with the job. When I get
settled. Your parents agreed?"
almost." She frowned a little. "Do you think it'll be sometime before
the end of June?"
on, Sam. You don't have to keep asking
me the same questions over and over."
I know. I'm just not sure how hard it's going
to be to hardly ever see each other."
see each other."
going to take you to dinner in the city the week of graduation."
can dress up again. You look really nice
in the distance, near a copper fountain, Nicolette was getting her picture
taken while her parents looked on. She
was wearing a tight-bodice white gown with regal embroidery like a Dolce and
Gabbana wedding dress. The straps were
off the shoulder and the hem formed a puddle at her feet. The dress alone was enough to earn her
pulled out a bottle just as Mr. and Mrs. Hunter disappeared into their house. He passed it to Delaney who took a swig,
frowned, and said, "It tastes like cough medicine," then handed it
off to Brian.
you need to be inebriated to make it through prom with me?" Samantha
murmured in his direction.
knows? You may end up needing something
too before the night's over."
shook her head.
prefers citron?" said Brian with
I think she's a teetotaler," Delaney smiled.
took a moment for Samantha to remember what the word meant. She knew she'd seen it on an SAT vocabulary
list. Since when was Delaney using words
she didn't immediately recognize?
collected all the girls, except Sam, for a cheerleaders' photo. The guys were called over for a senior group
shot. Next there were couples'
over to the photo area with Samantha, hunching over with a sigh as the
photographer directed him where to stand.
Samantha looked at him with pleading eyes and got a smile.
several formal poses side-by-side, the photographer suggested they face each
other and hold hands. Delaney balked,
"No way." Instead, he walked
behind Samantha and put her in a loose head lock.
the photographer showed proofs on the screen of her digital camera, Samantha
asked for a copy of the last one. Her
smile was so big she hardly recognized herself and he looked like a mischievous
after, they all piled into a limo.
entered the main ballroom after showing school IDs and dodging the photography
area that was decorated with fake trees.
Delaney was given a ballot for queen and Samantha looked away.
it all you hoped it would be?" he asked as she examined the twinkling
stars and fairy lights of the Midsummer Night's Dream décor.
guess it was hard for you to vote," said Samantha. "You've only seen half of the nominees
not the sort of conversation I expected when I put on this suit."
was served by young, bored-looking waiters in white polyester tuxedos. Nicolette and Brynn picked at their food and
complained about its quality. Trevor and
Brian tried to entertain the table with comments about kids passing by, but
they were interrupted by a steady flow of seniors stopping by to greet one or
more of the group and have pictures taken.
A girl with a
diamond clip in her hair stopped to talk to Delaney. "How are you? I haven't seen you in
ages. You used to be at like every
party. Someone told me you have a
girlfriend now. It can't be true!"
right in front of you," he said nonchalantly.
"Really?" Curious grey eyes flickered at Samantha. "You and I have got to talk. How'd you managed this one?" As she spoke she squeezed Delaney's shoulders.
the music started Samantha's wish came true.
Seemingly carefree, he danced well for a guy, neither overdoing it or
awkwardly stiff. She tried to immerse
herself in the feel of the music and not be self-conscious as his hand rested
on the exposed skin of her lower back.
music changed to a down tempo song with blaring horns. She looked up at Delaney as he coaxed her
into putting her head on his shoulder and brushed his face against her
neck. As she rested her eyes, she felt
the warmth of his body, giving her the feeling of being cocooned and loved by
him. Swaying, her hand drew an oval on
the back of his jacket. By the end of
the song, she felt like she'd fallen into a peaceful sleep.
she heard Meghan's jarring voice.
went back to the table by herself and watched Delaney dance with Meghan at the
outer edge of the floor. She had to
admit, there was nothing in the way he held Meghan that gave her much
pause. When he returned, a line had
formed of senior girls wanting to dance with him. Some also had yearbooks for him to sign. Fifteen minutes later when a faster song with
an Indian beat came on, she couldn't locate him within the mob of dancers.
with the flowers, cameras, and purses, she was tapping her fingers against the
stem of a water glass when a hand on her bare shoulder made her turn with a
start. It was curly-haired boy she'd
never seen before. He looked older than
her but probably a junior, not a senior.
"You wanna dance?" he asked.
shook her head, no. "Sorry. I'm tired."
he replied, a scowl taking over his face.
times, like when she'd gone to her first high school dance, she had thought
about what it might be like to be approached by a stranger and asked to dance,
but she'd never realized saying no would make her feel so guilty.
finally returned as the student president ascended to the DJ's microphone and
asked everyone to take their seats. Nicolette,
Meghan, Lila, Brynn and seven others were called forward for the crowning of
prom queen. Sitting next to Delaney,
Samantha strained to see, deciding on the spot that she sincerely wanted Nicolette
to win and be happy.
did. All the runner-ups were handed
yellow bouquets with blue and white ribbons, and Nicolette was presented a
sparkling crown by last year's queen.
floor was cleared and Nicolette danced alone with her date. Then the entire court danced. As the announcer opened the floor to all
couples, Brynn ran over and whispered something in Delaney's ear.
turned to Samantha and said, "I'll be right back," before walking off
stood up and watched as Delaney danced with Nicolette to a warbling
country-sounding love song. As the music
died, Nicolette squeezed him, clearly overjoyed by his gesture. Samantha smiled too, even as a school
photographer took a couple shots of them.
returned, grinning as he noticed Samantha's contented face. "As a reward for being cool you get to
see those old prom photos you keep asking about."
laughed, but just as they were about to head out to dance, Ally grabbed her,
baby! Can I borrow your guy?"
sure," said Samantha tentatively, her smile fading. Delaney averted his face from Ally's view and
frowned, giving Samantha a biting look before walking off with her friend.
returned in three minutes by himself.
"You should see if I'm interested before offering me up."
sorry. I felt bad about telling this guy
I didn't want to dance with him, and then she asked and I didn't have the nerve
to say no.'"
guy?" he asked.
didn't know him at all. That's why …."
you don't want to dance with someone, don't.
A lot guys just want to rub up against you."
Del," she exclaimed, "you've spent the whole evening dancing with
other girls, and now you say that?"
shook his head. "I wasn't talking
about me. I was warning you about
dancing with random guys."
her hand, he led her to the dance floor.
Immediately closing all gaps between their bodies, they moved to a thumping
dance song. Hoping it wasn't too
noticeable, she tried some arm movements from Indian dance class. As her hips grazed his pelvis they moved in
concert. She willingly followed his
At a bridge in the
music, he smiled and put his mouth to her ear, "Want a drink?" At the buffet tables, they came across
Ang," Samantha called, waving as she held her ground next to Delaney. Her phone call had paid off, and she and
Angela were on speaking terms again. The
ancient history involving Stephen was forgotten. She had found out Angela was going to Russia over
the summer for language courses and applying early decision to Harvard next
said Angela, walking over. "Are you
going to the SADD afterprom?" She
had a pink corsage attached to her wrist.
"It's free and we're giving out prizes."
I think we're going somewhere with Delaney's friends."
"Oh. Your parents are cool with that?"
I have a cell phone so they can reach me.
I'm surprised Dad hasn't called yet."
toward Delaney, Angela asked, "Is he coming back for junior prom next
year?" During the make-up phone
call, Delaney's name wasn't mentioned, yet it was clear from several things
Angela said that she knew they were dating.
turned away from a couple of his friends and looked at Angela. "Not on your life. I'm out of here in a few weeks."
"Oh. Okay," said Angela, looking surprised
that he spoke to her.
walked over to where they stood, near a table laid out with finger foods. "Hey, Soccer-girl, now that Delaney's graduating,
who's your next victim?" He looked
to see if any of the girls heard him, but they were occupied with each other.
certainly have nothing to worry about," Samantha answered him, then,
turning her back on him, she returned her attention to Angela. "Who are you here with, Ang?"
Angela began to reply, Timothy interrupted, "Come on, Soccer-girl. I'll take a shine job."
snapped his head in Timothy's direction, "Shut up, Asshole." He took a step closer to Samantha, his arm
cradling her bare back.
eyes bulged, but after a fleeting look at Timothy, she continued, "Um, I'm
just here with a friend really. I don't
think you know him. He's been hanging
out with his friends all night."
I know the feeling," laughed Samantha with a look at Delaney.
continued to ignore Timothy and he walked away.
Delaney eyed his progress across the dance floor. "There are definitely some things I'm
not going to miss about Darcy."
Angela chuckled, adjusting the waist of her
dress as she looked at Delaney. "Did
you guys hear about junior prom?"
what happened?" asked Samantha.
it was really bad, actually. This girl
was wearing a white dress and then suddenly people started pointing at
her. There was a red stains on the back
my gosh, what did she do?" Samantha
glanced at Delaney.
shrugged. "It was all anyone could
talk about for the rest of the night. She
went running to the bathroom, and I think her date went home with someone
a jerk!" Samantha looked at
Delaney. "Would you ditch me if I
did something embarrassing?"
do you not do something
smiled at him.
were all quiet for a moment, then Angela said, "Well, I should probably go
find my date." Looking at Delaney,
she extended her hand. "It was nice
he said, as he shook her hand.
almost midnight Samantha was in the ladies lounge as she heard the DJ call for
the last dance. "It's almost the
end of your Midsummer Night, so everyone on the floor."
Passing through the crowd near the
Prom Court section, Samantha noticed people taking pictures in front of the
make-shift throne. Nicolette was there
with her rhinestone crown. The other
crowned princesses were also smiling and posing for photographs.
called to Samantha, "Don't you like this song?"
okay. Are you guys going to dance?"
Delaney?" Nicolette asked.
I think I saw him heading out to the parking lot with Mairin," said Meghan.
but once you exit, I don't think you can get back in," said Nicolette.
you see her date?" asked Brynn.
"I think he's over there with a red carnation."
Mairin's date was
wiry with jet black hair and a stern look that made Samantha think he'd probably
be a little rough in bed. Jesus, what in the world am I thinking?
I know what he was smoking before he got here," said Meghan.
guess I'll just wait at the table for Delaney.
If you see him, tell him I'm looking for him," Samantha said
course," they chimed, all smiling in a way that made Samantha shiver.
waited at their table for five minutes, telling herself to stay put. But after the house lights came on and the DJ
asked everyone to begin gathering their things and exchanging goodbyes, her
feet started moving toward the door. A
chaperone told her she could peak outside for a second and get back in, but
once she passed through the doors, she couldn't return to the dance.
running back to retrieve her purse, she looked out the door and spotted him at
the end of the front drive, near dumpsters flanking the building. She hurried out. There were a few couples in the shadows, but
he and Mairin could be seen clearly. They
stood near a sconce attached to an outer brick wall. She was dying to know what they were saying
and wanted to interrupt.
was there really a point in trying to ask him about going off alone with his
ex-girlfriend? Exclusivity was about to
end. One week here, one week there.
waited quietly under the awning by the front door, trying not to stare. Suddenly, Delaney and Mairin walk toward a
flush-mounted side door. His hand moved
to Mairin's back as he escorted her, like his gentlemanly attire required, but Mairin
brushed him off. Samantha took off in
their direction but was too slow to catch them before someone opened the door
from the inside and they went back in.
loudly, she phoned her dad and told him everything was okay.
he behaving?" Robert asked.
better than me." She chuckled so as
not to worry him.
pointed and flexed her suddenly tired feet, wishing she had a place to sit
down. She worried that the couples
nearby were staring at her, wondering what she was doing by herself. After a few minutes, people started filing
out of the hall. Would Meghan and Nicolette
tell him that she might be out here looking for him?
She felt her cheeks burn,
trying to figure out what explanation she was going to give. Angela and her date came out and looked at
her funny, but they didn't ask any questions, just said, "See you
turned her back to the crowd and, glancing over her shoulder, tried to
discreetly search for Delaney's face.
She felt tears start to form as she shifted awkwardly but told herself
not to be a baby. This was not a serious
a while she stopped scanning the exiting crowd, just waited off to the side,
her arms crossing her chest as her hands rested on her shoulders. Then she heard Brian's voice, "What are you doing out here?"
turned to him, straightening her posture and acknowledging him with a slight
didn't tell us you were coming out here," said Lila. Samantha studied her eyes for sincerity.
backed up and called to someone inside, "Tell him she's out here."
there you are, Samantha, we couldn't figure out where you went," said
glowered. She was way too upset with
herself to say anything. If she did, she
might end up venting on Meghan.
appeared, his hair slightly messy, strands loosened from his short
ponytail. Was he frazzled? He repeated Brian's question, "What are
you doing out here?"
closed her eyes, breathing deeply.
Delaney's face moved close to hers.
"Why don't you ask Meghan?" she whispered with exasperation,
trying not to allow their conversation to be overheard.
told me you were out here, so I came to look for you."
all your stuff?" he exclaimed.
"When I saw your purse was gone, I thought you ditched
me." He grinned for an instant.
couldn't find you inside, so I thought you might have gone outside and then I
couldn't get back in …" Feeling
frustrated with her lie, she paused and began anew, "Nicolette and Meghan
said you were outside with Mairin. I
thought you wouldn't be able to get back in, so I came outside to wait for
visage contorted comically. "Oh,
that's a relief. You were only spying on
me. I was worried the mystery guy you
turned down for a dance had kidnapped you or something."
wasn't…" she raised her voice a little.
"I was just curious what you guys might be talking
about." She shook her head
realizing honesty wasn't working because her actions just didn't make a lot of
sense. "Stop grinning at me like
squinted at him, turned away and started walking slowly.
caught up with her. "Okay, okay,
whatever. It doesn't matter. I'm glad I found you." Taking her arm in his, he led her back toward
where his friends were waiting for the limousine.
Nicolette was standing with her hands on her hips, looking pissed, and not at
all ladylike like her attire. Facing
her, on the other side of the sidewalk, was Mairin. Her date was placing a paper plate crown on
dead!" Nicolette growled.
laughed. "Please don't have our
heads cut off, your highness."
For the first
time, Samantha noticed Mairin's dress up close.
It was strapless with tulle flowing out from under an uneven, ripped hem
with frayed threads hanging loose. On
her legs, she wore dark fish-net stockings and contrasting white high
heels. She had black bangles on her
wrists and a big ebony ring. And to top
it all off, there was a pink bow in her hair.
starting a website," said Mairin.
"Prom Queens gone wild.
We'll take the pictures of you from tonight and add them to your crotch
shots from other parties." Mairin
turned to glance at her laughing friends, including Ally's sister Suzanne.
eyes moved back and forth.
Bitch, go back to the meth lab you were born in. You're the porn star, Mairin. Not me."
a whore cheerleader really does pays off.
But your reign is over, Princess."
on both sides, saying stuff about not wanting a fight on prom night, got in
between the two. Then Samantha's heart
stopped as Mairin turned toward her.
"Don't worry. I'm not going
after you. I don't mess around with
children. Unlike some people." Mairin glared at Delaney. "Ta ta."
safely nestled into the innermost seat of the limo, Samantha whispered to
Delaney, "You've gone out with the sweetest girls around." She said it with a smile, relieved to have
reunited with him and relieved to have avoided becoming a part of the nasty
smiled back. "To me, you're much scarier
than either of them."