High School: Zero to Hero Ch. 03byyoursilentknight©
This is the 3rd full chapter in the story. Hopefully you have read the first two chapters and the prolog. This chapter starts off slow, but I am sure you'll be pleased with how it ends... and even more pleased with where the story goes from here.
As always, let me thank 'Romantic1' for serving as my editor.
Chapter Three - From Zero to Hero
When Homecoming rolled around I found myself voted onto the homecoming court. I never thought of myself as a popular kid, so I was totally surprised. I walked around the morning of the announcement in total shock despite my classmates, and even a few teachers, congratulating me.
"That's what everyone loves about you," Doug said to me over lunch. Since the start of our senior year, he and I had developed a real solid friendship.
"I just don't see it," I said in my own defense. For emphasis I rocked back in my chair and held my hands palms up. "I am not part of the popular in crowd, I am not a jock, I am not in the band, nor am I a geek. I don't fit into any one clique."
"That's it!" He said as he jabbed his finger into the table for emphasis. "That's the head of the nail and you just hit it." He paused to make sure his point was getting to me. "You are a nice, genuine, real person. You're not a fake. Everyone sees it. I doubt there is a person in this room that doesn't know who you are and doesn't have at least one good thing to say about you. I bet if you just opened your damn eyes you would see it. Look around." He paused to survey the room. "People like you, they respect you, and that's why you made it onto to homecoming court."
I just shook my head. "If you say so."
"Look. I will make a deal with you. Pick a girl, any girl in our grade, and I guarantee if you ask her out on a date for Friday night she will say yes." He then sat back and smiled as if he was on to something.
"Seriously?" I said in disbelief.
"Seriously," he echoed.
"Fine, but if I do this it's a double date and you're going with me," I said trying to call his bluff. He just blinked a few times unsure of his next more. Before he could say anything the bell rang, and we both got up.
On our way out, I saw the Myers twins. They were eighteen, drop dead gorgeous, and known to be real ball busters. With a single look they were known to melt a man like butter. Rumor had it they never went out on dates with anyone because they felt they were too good for anyone at this school. There were other rumors about how they were dating college guys now. Rumors, all rumors. Regardless, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to call Doug's bluff.
"Targets acquired," I said to Doug.
"Who?" He asked looking around nonchalantly.
"Mandy and Liz," I said with a smile.
"Oh shit," he said, realizing what I had in mind.
"About the deal," he said sheepishly trying to take back what he said over lunch.
"Nope. You made the deal, and I am going to see if you're right," I said as I called out the girls names.
"Hi Steve. Hi Doug," they said in unison as we walked up.
"Hello ladies," I said as we walked up. "You two look amazing today."
They both gave a confident smile as if they were saying 'We know.' It was true, they always looked good. In today's case, they had on skin-tight jeans and designer tops. "Thank you," Mandy said. "Yes, thank you for the compliment Steve," Liz added.
"Doug and I were wondering if the two of you lovely ladies would like to grace us with your company Friday night." I paused to gauge their reaction. Seeing no initial signs of rejection. "We were thinking about grabbing a bite to eat before going to the football game," I paused, "Then maybe a movie afterward."
They looked at each other, then back to Doug and me. "We would love to," Liz said.
"Thank you," I said to the ladies as I bowed my head.
Before resuming our way down the hall Liz scribbled her number, complete with a heart and some X's and O's on a slip of paper, and pushed the scrap into my hand. We walked the girls to their next class and with a wave goodbye Doug and I made our way back to our respective classes.
"Did that just happen?" Doug asked.
"Yup," I said. "I guess you were right. I owe you one."
Friday, Doug and I met the girls after school, and we went to the local park to park to enjoy one of the last warm days of fall. The four of us walked and talked and just got to know each other a little better. Mandy seemed to take a liking to Doug right away while Liz and I seemed to click. Around four we bumped over to the local burger joint for a nourishing high school dinner date and then went to the stadium for the game.
It was no surprise that we were loosing. Our quarterback sucked, and no one knew why the coach kept playing him. At the halfway mark, our team was down 14-3. If we didn't have an amazing defense the score would be a lot worse. Deciding the game was too painful to finish, Doug and I took the twins to the movie a little earlier than planned.
Throughout the movie Liz and I held hands. Nothing overtly sexual, but it was nice to feel the warmth and contact of another person. I felt no guilt about being with Liz. I knew that Jenn and Sarah were having a sleep over tonight and would share their exploits with me. I had no plans to sleep with Liz tonight. I wanted to keep things casual.
At the end of the night, Doug and I dropped the twins off, and we each got a chaste kiss on the cheek from our respective dates.
"I still can't believe that just happened," Doug said as we made our way back to his Blazer.
"Believe it," I said, "and for the record, I think you also have a little more clout around school than you realize."
"Oh?" He asked inquisitively.
"Yeah," I said. "Liz told me her sister has fancied you for a while. She knew you didn't have the courage to ask her out, and she was actually going to ask you to the homecoming dance next week."
Doug stopped mid stride and looked at me with a slack jaw.
I just smiled and got into the passenger seat.
Doug and I enjoyed lunch with the twins the following week. Jenn and Sarah seemed to get along with the twins too and our lunch table group started to grow.
That Friday was the homecoming game, which everyone already figured we'd loose, and then Saturday night was the homecoming dance. Doug and Mandy had shored up their plans to go together and since Liz was going without a date, Doug managed to score her as a date as well. We joked that it meant buying twice as many flowers, double the dinners, and double the trouble.
"That is a bullet I am willing to take for the team," Doug said to the rest of us which caused us all to laugh. The twins, sitting on either side of him, took an arm and laid their heads on his shoulders.
"I am sure," Mandy said. "That we will have a fun night," Liz finished. We all laughed again.
Since I was on the homecoming court, i I would be escorting one of the girls on the court so I didn't need a date. Sarah and Jenn along with two of their friends were going as a girl-group, and some of the other guys were going stag as well. I suggested we just go as a big group. Everyone liked that idea and we set out to plan the details.
That Friday, I decided to have a little fun with my appearance at the football game. Each of the candidates would be formally presented with the results of the election for Homecoming King and Queen being announced at the dance on Saturday. Figuring I didn't stand a chance against the Nick, the quarterback, and his girlfriend Rachel, the head cheerleader, I was just going to enjoy the moment. I rented a tux for the weekend complete with top hat, cane, and pocket watch. I also got a nice pair of wingtip shoes to finish off the outfit.
When we lined up, I ended paired with Heather. She was the captain of the field hockey team and well-liked amongst the school body.
"Your tux is amazing," Heather said as I took up my spot beside her.
"Ah, but without you they are just mere rags on a decadent teenager," I said in a terrible British accent trying to make myself sound rich, "but standing next to you right now I might just pass for a gentlemen."
She giggled and squeezed my arm. We were the last of the group to go out. First was Nick, still in his football jersey along with Rachel still in her cheerleader outfit. We could hear the crowd cheer each group as they walked out from under the bleachers and took their spot on the fifty-yard line facing the home town bleachers.
When Heather and my names were announced the stadium didn't just cheer, it roared. It was louder than I had ever heard a crowd cheer at our stadium. When we took our spot on the field and turned to face the crowd everyone was standing on their feet and clapping. Heather and I took a bow and then I took a step back to present Heather to the crowd eliciting a cheer. Heather, following suit took a step back to present me to the crowd to which they roared once more. I raised my cane and top hat in the air and took one last bow. We posed for pictures, and then pair by pair we walked back under the stadium.
After changing out of my tux, I waited outside the ladies room for Heather. Sarah and Jenn, along with the Myers twins and a few other people passed by congratulating me. I reminded them that I hadn't won anything, but thanked them for the compliments.
Heather came out I made an offer to pick her up before the dance tomorrow and escort her to the event. She graciously accepted. As we parted ways, I heard some commotion from under the bleachers.
"Let me go!" I heard a muffled female voice say.
"You're going with me!" I heard a gruff male voice say next.
"I told you no and that's final!" The female voice said in a stern voice.
"The lady said no!" I bellowed out in a deep voice before I realized that I said anything. Once I rounded the corner of the back wall to the locker rooms under the stadium, I could see it was Rachel and Nick arguing. Nick held tightly to Rachel's wrist as she twisted and tried to get out of his grasp.
'Shit. What did I just get myself into?' I thought to myself.
"Stay out of this dipshit," Nick said to me in an angry tone. I was just about to walk away before he slapped Rachel. She might be a cold-hearted ruthless bitch, but only a real asshole would hit a women.
"Hey!" I called out. "Not cool. She said no. Now leave her alone." I turned and took a step towards the couple.
"I told you to say out of it dipshit," he said to me posturing like he was ready to fight me.
"Look, I don't care what kind of argument you're having. I really don't. But I can't stand by and watch you hit a girl," I said back at him. The distraction was enough for Rachel to break free and run to my side.
"I told you no. Now leave me alone," Rachel said half hiding behind me.
Nick took two steps forward, and I held out my hand. "Stop," I said.
"Fuck you," he then took off coming straight at me. Like a good football player he dropped his shoulder and made a move to tackle me. I took one giant step to the side moving Rachel with me. I don't know if Nick saw it coming or not, but he sure felt it. In his blind rage, he ran head first into the concrete support pillar I was standing in front of and knocked himself out cold.
"First rule," I said out loud, "know your surroundings." There were some gasps and even a few cheers from a small crowd of classmates gathered behind us. Someone ran for help, and a few seconds later the EMTs, coaches, and sports trainers came running to Nick's side.
I asked to make sure Rachel was okay, explained myself to a cop that also appeared. Rachel spoke up too, telling the officer about how mean Nick had been to her. She showed the policeman the bruise on her wrist and the redness on her cheek.
At the end of halftime, I took up a spot in the stands next to Sarah and Jenn. They asked me what all the commotion was about, and I told them I would explain it later. As people filtered back into the stands people were giving me a thumbs up and comments like 'nice job' and 'about time.' The girls were still clueless, but that didn't bother me.
When the half started, our team was down by 14 points. After the kickoff, the backup quarterback took the field and the stadium went strangely quiet. No one knew what to expect. After the quarterback got the ball, he found his open man down field, and with a perfect spiral and dead on aim put the ball right into the receiver's hands. Since our starting QB could never make a pass that far, the guy was left wide open. He ran the ball a full sixty yards right to the end zone. 14-7. The home team side of stadium went wild with cheering and applause.
The defense put up one hell of a fight. It was like a whole new team. They held the other team to only a small yardage gain and then stuffed them three and out. The next possession for our team saw the backup quarterback connect play after play down the field resulting in another touchdown, tying the score 14-14.
The rest of the game went pretty much the same way and our team ended up winning 28-17 allowing only one field goal the entire second half. Since it was our school's first win in over two years the stadium emptied and everyone from our school rushed out onto the field, myself included.
As the energy died down and people started filtering off the field, I was stopped by the head football coach.
"Son, I owe you a debt of gratitude I don't think I will ever be able to repay," the older man said as he shook my hand. "That son of a bitch's dad is on the school board and threatened me, that if I didn't let his son play in every game he would fire me. I have given too many years of my life to this school to let that happen, so I just went along with it knowing I had Johnson ready to start next year. Hopefully, now he can get some solid play time in this year and next year we can make a run at the championship."
I was speechless. I had no idea of the ramifications of my actions. As I pondered my thoughts I made my way through the remaining crowd of people. I was in a daze as I shook hands, received compliments on both standing up to Nick as well as my position on the homecoming court.
The following day, I took a long hot soak in the hot tub at home, ate a good meal, and then got dressed and mentally ready for about a decade's worth of photo ops. I picked up Heather and we met the rest of our group at Jenn's house, along with everyone's parents and even a few grandparents, and siblings.
There were group photos, solo photos, funny photos, serious photos, all guys, all girls, and I even brought out my camera and took a fair number of pics as well. As the start of the dance neared, we told our respective parents we didn't want to be late. As we walked around to the front of the house there was a triple stretch limo waiting in the road.
"Our gift from all of us to all of you," Jenn's dad said. All of the parents nodded and smiled.
"Three cheers for the best parents ever!" I said aloud to the group. We gave our hip-hip-horah's and then filed into the limo.
It was fully stocked and we had a few snacks and some drinks on the way. When we pulled up at the banquet hall everyone filed out one by one. I ended up being the last person out. When I finally ducked out of the rear door and stood up the small crowd of people standing out front cheered. I felt like a celebrity. Guys shook my hands, girls hugged me, and teachers congratulated me.
"Is there something I don't know," I whispered to Heather as we walked in the main door. Eventually, I assumed it had to do with my brief altercation with Nick the night before and went back to enjoying the moment.
"Don't mind him," I heard Doug say from behind us, "he's a little dense."
I rolled my eyes and the twins laughed.
The first part of the dance was a formal dinner followed by dancing. Our group made a small circle at one corner of the floor and we all danced together. When a slow song played we paired up, first me with Heather, then Jen and me, then Sarah and me, then a few girls I didn't normally hang out with, then Jen again, and then Sarah. About midway through the night the king and queen ceremony started.
Heather and I lined up outside the main room with the rest of the court. Everyone was nervous but none more so than Robert Johnson. He found himself standing next to Rachel since Nick was still in the hospital with a concussion. Rumor had it that he had already falling out of favor since he'd been publicly disgraced and Robert was quickly filling the popularity vacuum.
The crowd of students clapped as each pair got introduced and entered the main room. When they called Heather and my names the place erupted into a deafening roar. I raised my cane in the air in symbolic appreciation, and Heather waved as we walked in arm in arm.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the emcee said. "We have before you, your homecoming court." The crowd cheered. "Please welcome back last year's king and queen." The crowd clapped as they walked out onto the stage joining the six pairs of us currently in the running. "The ballots have been turned in and counted." The emcee did his best to drag things out and build suspense. I laughed as I looked out at the sea of faces eagerly awaiting the results. "In a break from tradition, we are going to announce the queen first." A hush fell across the crowd. "This year's queen is," he paused, "Heather!" The crowded cheered and clapped.
I looked out of the corner of my eye to see Rachel hang her head. She looked dejected, but otherwise seemed to take her defeat well.
"Now, the moment you have all been waiting for," he paused again. "This year's homecoming king..."
'This is painful,' I thought to myself, 'just get it over with so I can go back to dancing with my friends.'
"Steve Smith," the crowd cheered and roared. Like an idiot it didn't register. I was still under the impression that it was going to be someone else. The person to my left nudged me, which snapped me out of my daze. I took a few steps forward and was greeted by last year's homecoming king. He removed my top hat and placed the crown on my head.
"Now, as is tradition, the king and queen shall have their first dance together," the emcee said as a slow song started to play. Heather and I left the stage, took a spot in the middle of the room, and danced along to the rhythm of the song.
"I had no idea," I said to Heather only loud enough for her to hear.
"Neither did I," She said as a small tear escaped the corner of her eye.
All around us people stared. There was the occasional flash of a camera taking a picture, but otherwise it was quiet.
"I think I know what a fish feels like now," Heather said with a chuckle. "I feel like I am in a tiny bowl and all eyes are on us."
"All eyes are on you, my dear," I said. "You are by the most beautiful woman in the room and worthy of the crown on your head." She blushed and leaned in towards me closing the small gap between us.
A new song started and the emcee called everyone else out onto the dance floor. Heather and I let out a sigh of relief to finally be out of the spot light. After our dance, I had a strong desire to pee and excused myself.
As I made my way off the floor and through the room everyone congratulated me and I even had to pose for a few pictures with other classmates. When I finally made it to the bathroom I felt as if I were going to bore a hole through the back of the urinal with my stream of piss. I took a moment to freshen up and collect my thoughts before heading back out to the main room.
When the dance concluded our group made our way out front to our waiting limo. The girls were giggles and the guys looked exhausted. We smiled at each other knowing it had been a good night.
The plan was for everyone to stay at Jenn's house and have a giant 'after party'. When we arrived things were oddly quiet at her house. A small slip of paper was taped to the front door. Jenn read it and then handed it to me.