It always struck him, the thought that Carrie White was something else. Not a lot of girls are like her. No girl is like her. In a bad way, actually. If she was a house, all her doors and windows would be bolted shut. No crack or hole would be seen. And she would be a glass house. Everything about her is unsteady and fragile and odd. Nobody would ever build a glass house. Nobody ever builds a house with glass as its all four walls and roof. It would be an odd sight.
Tommy Ross fiddled with his bow tie again. Love was a wretched thing. It would even control you to do the most questionable things. Tommy did love Sue Snell. He loved her a lot, a lot, a lot. So much that he even agreed to bring the glass girl to the best night of their lives just so that the love of his life can have peace of mind. Love is a wretched thing.
Tommy stepped out of the limo. He had a limo but no special girl in it. Sure, Carrie was special in her own way but in Tommy’s eyes, Sue would always be the special one. Tommy took the long walk he had. He accepted the fact that he needed to do this for Sue. And besides, it’s just Carrie White. Maybe he can learn more than meets the eye. The glass girl isn’t see-through. She’s misted.
But Carrie White is scary and nice, both at the same time. She always had her head down, her frizzy blonde hair casting shadows on her face. She’s pretty, in a way. She’s not horrible. Carrie White always had that surprised face on. If there was human interaction happening that concerned her, she was always surprised. She also had these quirky little habits like biting her lip and hunching her shoulders. She had terrible posture. Tommy never understood how some people walked with eyes trained on the floor. They should learn to be proud of who they are.
Maybe Carrie White is scary to them because she’s different. She doesn’t talk much. She had solid belief and faith. She’s puritanical. She did what normal people were too scared to do such as learn to reside in silence. Or maybe she just had a really creepy mother. Margaret White was a whole different topic. A whole lot.
Tommy stood on the White’s front porch. He double-checked how he looked. Normal, normal, well, better than normal. He scanned the house. It creaked a bit here and there. It had an ancient car parked at the side. It gave the same aura as the inhabitants, creepy. He heard a little ruckus inside then some shouting, and finally, a radio. Tommy grew concerned but a warm smile comforted him.
Carrie White has stepped outside. There she was in a pink dress. Tommy tried to recall any moment where Carrie has shown skin like this. Her arms were bare. He watched her a little more. Carrie White was beautiful. A little pimpled here and there but beautiful nonetheless. She was smiling. Tommy smiled too. He felt his heart flutter a bit. At least he won’t go to prom with someone hideous.
“Do I look okay?” she asked.
“You look beautiful,” he said. She bowed her head as usual and then took his arm.
They made their way to their school. The music was blaring and the sky was darkening. Girls and boys became ladies and gentlemen with their gowns and tuxes. Tommy and Carrie didn’t talk; the air of tension and awkwardness hung.
Tommy noticed Carrie growing uncomfortable as she watched what was happening outside their car. He also noticed that she had her corsage pinned to her dressed. He smiled inwardly as he reached out to take it. Her natural reaction was to move away.
“Okay,” he started, “this should be tied here.” He took the corsage and wrapped it around her wrist. He felt her eyes watching him carefully. “There,” he breathed out. Carrie mumbled a word of gratitude. “You nervous?” Tommy asked.
“Yeah,” Carrie replied. She wasn’t looking at him, as usual.
“We could wait if you want to.” Tommy did try to get her attention.
So they sat for a few more minutes. Tommy just blamed it all on Chris Hargensen. If she just helped Carrie like a normal person, this wouldn’t happen. Then again, what girl doesn’t know about periods? Even boys know that. They were cruel to throw tamp—he can’t say it—girly things at her. He just grew more frustrated than before. He just wanted one awesome night with his girl but that’s obviously not gonna happen.
Carrie and Tommy went inside. A lot of people were staring at them. Tommy watched Carrie’s awestruck appearance. He knew she’s never been to anything like this. Carrie, in the meanwhile, was ecstatic. Her heart was racing from the music and in her arm, Tommy Ross. The Tommy Ross. She couldn’t believe it. All these thoughts were buzzing in her head. She tried not to think of her mother. She shouldn’t.
Tommy guided Carrie through everything. He introduced her to his friends. They greeted her and treated her nicely. He found out that she made her dress. He saw her smile more times than he ever had. He missed Sue, true, but being with Carrie was a different experience. He was actually enjoying it more than he had thought. It was the exposition of innocence into a wild and crazy world. A true crime.
“Do you wanna dance?” He found himself saying. Carrie’s eyes drifted towards the dance floor and she frowned. She also bit her lip. Tommy realized that it wasn’t really her scene,
“Or we could wait for a slower song.”
A soothing melody came from the speakers. Tommy smiled at Carrie as they made their way to the dance floor. Arms wrapped on necks and hands on waists, they were dancing. He twirled her and swayed with her and laughed with her. For the first time, nobody laughed at her or gawked. She felt, dare say it, normal.
She had her head down and Tommy was staring at her. His whole picture of Carrie changed. She wasn’t that weird crooked girl. To his eyes, she was now more special. He knows why she bites her lip, it means she disagrees with something or she’s nervous. He knows why she has her head down. He knows what causes her to smile. He’s holding her and he knows what it’s like to be Carrie White. Misunderstood and ignored, that’s how she is. He doesn’t like that happening to her. Tommy Ross is enjoying Carrie White’s company. More than enjoying, perhaps. He was tempted to just swoop down and…
But he can’t. There’s still Sue back home. Tommy liked Carrie, in a way. She was gorgeous when she tried. She is capturing his heart, slowly.
They sat back down. Carrie smiled all the way. Tommy was happy to see her like this. They got their voting cards and he wasn’t surprised to see his name, but he was when he saw Carrie’s.
“What should we do?” Carrie asked, her pencil quivering in her hand.
“Vote for ourselves.” He shrugged. Maybe her night could be better.
“No, no, no. Don’t vote for us,” she insisted. She shook her head more.
“You should have a chance in the spotlight.”
“The crowns do look beautiful.” Carrie’s stare lingered on the shimmering plastic crowns.
Tommy gave her a look and then winked. “To the devil with false modesty.”
And Tommy had asked Carrie earlier if she wanted to go to another party later that night. She said no at first. She knew he should spend his time with his friends but he insisted and she agreed. Tommy pleasantly smiled.
The minutes passed and Tommy became intoxicated by Carrie and how sweet of a person she is. Carrie White, Carrie White. Who knew? Carrie White, the glass girl, making Tommy Ross’ heart soar.
They hear their names. Prom King and Queen. Carrie looked surprised and happy and Tommy was the same. He watched her as she was immensely taken by everything happening. Tommy enjoyed watching her. He did. The plastic crowns are on their heads and Carrie got her satin white roses. She was beaming and so was Tommy. They were very, very happy.
Blood drenched them. Blood, blood, lots of blood. Carrie dropped her bouquet. Her eyes went wild. Tommy was shocked as well. Her gaze traced everything, from the blood pooling on her feet, to the bucket carelessly hanging above her to Tommy. She felt hurt, thinking he was a part of it. Tommy glared viciously at the crowd, “WHAT THE HELL?!”
His shout was loud, angry. Carrie was flabbergasted. She went to go down the stage. She hears Tommy’s calls. She sees Miss Desjardin but all she noticed was blood blood blood. She saw screens filled and heard laughter. She saw herself in that forsaken bathroom with her own blood and their rejection.
Plug it up. Plug it up. Plug it up.
It enraged Carrie. And she was having such a nice night. She forgot about Tommy calling her. Tommy was furious at everyone but his eyes zeroed on Carrie’s retreating form. Poor girl, she’s done nothing wrong. He watched her. He watched the blood follow her, trailing behind her. He felt his heart ache from sympathy. He needed to take Carrie away from them. Now he knew why fate has made them be together on this night. They needed each other.
And then it hit him.