Boredom at the Junior Prom leads to a dare that leads to a kiss between two eighteen-year-old boys. Mark and Blake come from different backgrounds, but the one thing they have in common is a mutual attraction to each other. Limited employment prospects throw them together unexpectedly. Forced to get along, they uncover truths about themselves and embark on a daring relationship.
But they have one major strike against them—Mark is unwilling to come out about his sexuality, and Blake doesn’t want to live in a closet. They either have to come to a meeting of the minds, or let the flame between them sputter and die.
The gymnasium of New Liberty High was a rockin’ and a tockin’—the music of Ke$ha swelling so loudly the cups of punch on the refreshment table rattled, nearly spilling their contents. Junior Prom—time for the seniors of tomorrow to cut loose today. The chaperones groaned and shoved ear plugs into place to dampen the over-enthusiastic bass.
Eighteen-year-old Mark Wittington wrinkled his nose. “Dude, this is so lame.”
Dylan Zurkowski, his best friend since the sandbox and the same age, shrugged. “Why’re we even here again? And without dates?”
Mark shot him a look. “Pfft, scopin’ for hotties of course! All the cool guys go stag.”
Dylan rolled his large brown eyes. “Yeah, I guess that’s it. Good hypothesis, Mark.”
Mark ran a finger along the inside of his collar to alleviate the tightness and loosened his navy tie. He’d slung his long, wavy red hair into a ponytail to keep it out of his face. Despite his best efforts, strands kept breaking loose and falling forward. Flashes of light from the DJ stand helped, even if there seemed little to see.
Dylan shook his head and ran a hand through his crew cut. “Whatever. So, now what do we do? Watch all these geeks and lame-os dance, or do we have some fun of our own?”
“What you got in mind?”
Dylan patted his jacket lightly. “Let’s spice things up a bit, shall we?”
Mark grinned. “You got booze? Dude! You rock! Let’s slip it in the punch and let these freaks find out what real fun is.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
The two teens skulked around the bored-looking chaperones, but the adults were too concentrated near the punch bowl for them to find an immediate opening. Finally, a moment of opportunity presented itself when a slight altercation broke out on the opposite side of the gym. The chaperones clustered around the combatants like a pack of disapproving wolves.
Dylan opened the flask quickly and emptied the clear contents into the punch bowl. He used the ladle to stir the fizzy pink liquid. The vodka blended in perfectly—no one could tell by looking that anything had been added. They helped themselves to the doctored beverage and snickered while they waited for the others to catch on.
A little bit of that went a long way. Nothing was really happening, and none of the girls at the dance—most of them dolled up in the hand-me-downs of their older sisters—were giving them the attention they felt they deserved. Maybe it was time to go out to the parking lot and smoke a cigarette or two.
“Hey, Mark.” Dylan nudged Mark, who was trying to decide where he wanted to take his nicotine break, wondering if any teens were out in their cars necking. That’s what usually ended up happening at prom. And oblivious teens were fun to scare.
“I think I see that geek Blake Davis dancing with a cute girl. What the hell?”
Mark turned his attention to the dance floor. “Where?” He squinted into the dancing throng.
Dylan pointed to a couple just on the outskirts. The music had changed to something a little less pulse pounding. Although most of the others took advantage of the slower tempo to press closer, that couple held themselves at arms’ length.
“Yeah, what of it?” Mark tried not to yawn, but boredom was overtaking him.
“Dude, you want some real fun? I dare you to make a scene with Blake! I just know he’s a closet twink!”
“What kind of dare do you mean?” Mark eyed the other boy suspiciously.
“You should kiss him. In front of everybody!”
Mark pretended to gag. “Kiss him? Now? No way, man.”
Dylan persisted. “Way, dude. Go on, do it! I dare you! I double dog dare you!”
“No. You’re crazy.” Mark turned away, but Dylan grabbed his arm.
“Do it, or I’ll tell Mr. Reynolds you spiked the punch,” he threatened him. As luck would have it, the assistant principal had dispersed the usual onlookers who insisted on gawking at any fight, had dealt with the unruly students involved, and was now headed in their direction. No time to think or reason anything through, just react.
Mark panicked. He didn’t want to hear what his grandfather, who was waiting for him at home, would have to say should he learn what he’d done. He glanced resignedly at Blake. “Fine.” He forced himself to sound more displeased than he really was.