There’s something different about tonight... He barely recognizes he’s been thinking about her and what he wants from their relationship for so long until Maka emerges from the shower in her random shorts and tee, toweling her hair. The thought strikes him harshly that she looks just as good to him at this moment as she did when he saw her dressed up for their high school prom.
That’s it. She’s it for him.
If this blows up in his face, he has no idea what he’ll do.
“Don’t— don’t make this weird.” He nearly falls off the edge of the bed at her voice, not expecting her to speak.
“Weird? What’s weird?”
“I don’t know, Star… Just stop looking at me like you’ve never seen me before,” she murmurs, glancing at him as she hangs the towel over the back of a chair. “You have that face on like when you run into someone from high school you don’t remember.”
— From Day 9: the interval between reach and grasp;
dust the cracks in my heart with stardust, make me anew ;
During their junior year of high school, Maka and Black Star were caught up in the hype surrounding prom, of course. There were rules to these sorts of things.
Choose your crush to be your partner, go outfit scouting three months ahead of time, plan your king and queen campaign, prepare matching corsages, group-rent a party bus, get the pre-prom party ready, and above all, make sure you ask them out in the most public and romantic way possible.
Maka and Black Star followed all of these rules, just not with each other. Instead, they convened to share ideas and made sure they were doing steps in order. Maka brainstormed obnoxious ideas on ‘how to ask a girl to prom’ on YouTube for him while Black Star fed hints and nudged her prospective partner to do exactly what she wanted in return. They went to Macy’s to get their outfits at the same time; Maka picked out her top five dresses to show her friends while Star had everything except for his vest and tie. Finally, they carpooled to the pre-prom party in Sid’s mini van with flowers in their lap and nerves scattered throughout. Not once did it occur to them that they should’ve just gone with each other until they were both abandoned on the dance floor, finding that the people they’d gone with were boring beyond boring.
Senior year was different. About seven weeks before the night in question, Maka was at Black Star’s desk while he was lounging on his bed. It was a school night, but Maka didn’t want to be home. Instead, she went to her second home and kicked Black Star off his chair and onto his sheets. He went without much protest, already used to the routine. The only thing was that his seat was warm— his bed was not.
She snorted at him, saying that it was more comfortable on his bed anyways. Star, in turn, grumbled about how his bed made him tired and how the living room sofa was occupied. They settled into their new places for the rest of the evening, each with their own tasks in mind.
It was only forty minutes later that Maka checked her Google Calendar and saw the marked event approaching. She turned to Black Star suddenly, who was distracted on his phone reading fanfiction, and said easily, “Wanna go to prom together?”
“The Saturday after we have dinner with your dad’s cousin.”
“Oh, yeah.” He finished his paragraph before finally giving Maka his attention. “Sure. What color do you want?”
Maka balanced herself on just two legs of Star’s chair. She leaned back and looked to his ceiling, thinking. “Purple looks terrible on you. And I really don’t want to repeat colors from last year.”
He nodded. “No yellow or… whatever color you chose again.”
“It was feldgrau.”
“Yeah, that… Gods, just call it green like normal people.”
Maka planted the chair back on all fours again. “It wasn’t green, and it wasn’t gray. It was feldgrau.”
“Good point, though. Green is still on the board.”
“Nope! That’s been your color since kid-you rolled in that freshly cut grass. You got it all in your hair and clothes.” Black Star wasn’t budging. “I’d be at a disadvantage.”
Maka shot him a look, but chose to not pursue his anecdote. “Well, you just dyed your hair. So we definitely can’t do red. Orange would be worse. That pretty much leaves blue, which matches you more than me, too.”
“Come on, blue is best!”
“Absolutely not. I’d rather have green.”
They stared down at each other until a giggle escaped one of them, then the other in quick succession. They solved their color issue the same way as they did as kids— with a sigh and a laugh.
“Teal it is then.”
“The one that’s more blue right?”
“Absolutely not, Star.”
The day came quickly, especially since they weren’t at all focused on preparing for it. After getting past the hurdle of settling on the right shade of teal, the rest of their tasks came easily. Maka still had her contacts from arranging flowers for her community service events, and Star had recently gotten a new Jeep from a second-hand seller about two cities over. Pictures would be taken in Aunt Mira’s backyard, and it would’ve been overkill if they won homecoming and prom king and queen in the same school year. There was no need to run again.
As for the tie, vest, and dress set, the color that they chose was perfectly equal. It was neither too green or too blue; the both of them made sure of that. They met exactly in the middle after a couple of hours in a Joann’s Fabrics, and they took a cut of the shade to go buy their outfits separately.
Black Star’s extended aunt adjusted his tie for him on prom night. She had her camera wrapped around her cousin Sid’s neck to hold for safekeeping since it would’ve gotten lost on a table or some random counter otherwise.
Aunt Mira wasted no opportunities to scold her nephew. “You’re late, boy.”
Star had to counter, “Maka is, too.”
“Aye, but she’s also been here for two hours to get ready upstairs,” Aunt Mira said, pulling down Star’s vest and straightening out the front. “You, on the other hand, had instructions to arrive at eighteen hundred hours.”
That was 6 o’clock for military talk.
“Yes, ma’am,” Black Star said, still pouting slightly.
After giving him a final pat, Aunt Mira had Star pose in various areas around the house, snapping a photo or nine at each place. She claimed that she didn’t want to take too many without Maka there, especially since Maka was still learning about the exposure and shutter speed settings on a manual camera. It was just easier to show rather than tell.
Sid helped enough by clearing parts of the room where Aunt Mira’s crafting projects were dispersed in strange places. He also went into the backyard for a moment to check for the lighting and weather for their couples shots. He took the chance to call Spirit and assured him at length since Maka hadn’t allowed him to stay past her initial drop-off. All was prepared.
Just five minutes later, Maka finally emerged, stepping onto the landing and then following the railing down the stairs. Catching on Aunt Mira’s chandelier lights, her gold-teal eyeshadow shone and her cheeks glowed a pretty pink. She wore a sleeveless sweetheart bodice that hugged her torso closely, cutting off at her midriff. It was then that he understood what she meant by a two-piece dress. Her skirt started not far from where the top was; it went from high to low— thigh short in the front and floor length long in the back— and framed her legs beautifully. Golden embellishments swirled throughout, matching her make up choice well, mesmerizing.
He was caught in between moments where nothing made sense, and yet everything felt right. The room fell away with her every step, shattering the background behind her as she got closer to him. It was like seeing her for the first time— a new girl with a familiar name. Maka became the only one left in his eyes.
Still at the top of the stairs, Maka went slowly, adjusting her left earring while making sure her feet went one after the other. She wasn’t poised or ready— fuck, she wasn’t trying to be beautiful or heartstopping. She just was.
However, Maka made a small grunt while she held onto the railings. Black Star remembered how heavily she complained about going down the stairs in heels last year, so he went up to meet her half way and extended a hand.
“Nice to meet you,” Black Star teased once she reached him.
“Stop it,” she said, lightly smacking his arm before taking his offering to brace herself.
As they walked down together, Star couldn’t take his eyes off her. It was only when they reached the bottom that Maka let go and broke the spell. He felt a part of him leaving as she did, even though she wasn’t going anywhere far. She was only going to the refrigerator to get their corsage and boutonnière.
Left alone with his dad and aunt, he finally realized that they were being watched with knowing looks. “What?” He glared at them heavily, hoping to hide whatever they saw on his face.
Sid seemed to cover a laugh with a cough while Aunt Mira fiddled with her camera. She muttered, “Got some good shots from that,” which caused her nephew to ‘tch’ loudly. He turned away from them, faced towards the wall to hide how pink his face had turned from her comment.
When Maka returned, she set the flowers down on the coffee table and looked to Sid first. “What do you think?” She twirled on her heel and the train of her skirt spread far.
Sid nodded. “Your papa would be pleased.”
“No, he wouldn’t,” Maka snickered.
“He wouldn’t at all,” Sid agreed.
“You look lovely, Maka.” Aunt Mira made sure to give the validation that any girl would’ve wanted. “I’m surprised you got into it on your own.”
“Well, I had trouble with getting the back zipper, which is why I’m so late.”
Aunt Mira hummed. “Boy, go check to make sure it’s on properly.”
Before Black Star could begin to protest, Maka had already turned around and brushed her curled hair to the front. She said, “I think I got it up all the way, but it’s hard to reach.”
He approached her carefully, swallowing a lump in his throat and blinking away his disbelief. He looked just for a moment to see that the zipper was about an inch and a half from closing, and he finished it for her quickly, blushing the entire way there.
“There,” Star said, coughing into his hand like Sid would. “You almost got it.”
Maka looked over her shoulder, surprising him once again. Her disarming smile and appreciation only made her look more foreign— but not in a bad way. He may have followed her anywhere then.
She laughed openly at his awkwardness while he got the corsage. It was made of three white roses and baby’s breath, all tied together with a teal ribbon in the center. He heard Maka reminding him of something familiar.
“Corsage on the pulse; boutonnière over the heart.”
It was his turn to laugh. “I know, I know.”
Maka was embarrassed that he heard her at all. “I’m just saying!”
He pulled the elastic over her left wrist and gave it a snap. “Yeah, sure.”
“Careful, Star. I’ll prick you with the pin.”
“This jacket is hell— I mean, hecka thick.” Star briefly glanced over to his aunt to check if she caught him cursing. If she did, she didn’t show it. “You can’t pass the pin through.”
Maka grumbled, grabbing him by his lapel roughly and tugging him to her, making him yelp. “Hold still.”
With her so close to his chest, he caught her scent mixed in with a new Bath and Body Works spray. It was subtle, but starkly different than her usual smell. The vanilla tickled at his nose, and somehow, it made him more embarrassed to be by her than ever. He was acting ridiculous— they were just going as friends.
As much as Maka was a perfectionist, she once again couldn’t get the boutonnière to sit on straight. Star had to roll his eyes and assist her, bumping hands every so often as they struggled to pin the stem correctly. They were distracted because of a couple of clicks from the camera, but eventually, they managed to get the flowers to sit securely with the help of an extra pin.
Sighing, Maka took him by the hand— as if she needed to convince him to come with her. “Let’s get pictures before the sun sets now. Then, it’s off to prom!”
“I’m still driving, right?” He asked stupidly, as if there were another answer. “I mean— never mind. We’re definitely getting Taco Bell after we leave.”
She squeezed him more tightly. “We will, I promise.”
The rest of their night went without a hitch. They took their miniature road trip down to the venue and took note of the late night diners on the way there. At the event, Star pulled out a can of Coca Cola to share while Maka complained about how warm it was from being in his pocket. Luckily, she realized how badly it must’ve been shaken and she went to exchange it at the free soda bar instead. It would be someone else’s problem. Later on, Maka slid their photo booth pictures into her clutch while Star went to request her favorite song to the DJ. Most importantly, there were no hidden agendas or boring partners to entertain, only each other.
Just thirty minutes before prom ended, Maka held onto Star’s jacket while he took a pee break down the hall. They planned to make their escape before the King and Queen were announced, but their sudden victory shocked no one except themselves. Her new tiara was balanced on her head while Star’s crown was looped around his bicep, especially since it kept falling off while they were dancing.
Once he got back, they snuck past the supervisors and successfully climbed into Star’s Jeep. There were burgers and milkshakes just ten minutes down the road and a lifetime of adventures still waiting for them.