It certainly seemed to have started out just like any other day. February rolled out of bed, grabbed something to eat, got dressed and then boarded the big yellow bus with her little brother to start yet another exciting day of school. As usual, both she and Martin Luther rushed to finish — or, in some cases, begin — the homework they’d put off the night before in hopes of managing to turn it in on schedule. There never seemed to be enough hours after school to get it done, though God only knew where that time went. Martin Luther spent what seemed like an extraordinary amount of time locked away in his room with his weird little doll, and February, well…February just sort of managed to lose all track of time doing whatever random thing caught her fancy at the moment. At least she talked to other people; Martin Luther constantly seemed immersed in long, drawn out conversations he held solely with himself. It was a little creepy.
February managed to shake off her deeply disturbed thoughts involving her brother as she entered the wide double doors of the local community school and began negotiating her way through the already crowded hallways towards her locker. After eleven long years, she knew the place almost better than her own home; still, she had never gotten used to the throngs of kids that ranged in age from five to eighteen constantly mobbing the building. She had heard that other towns practiced separating children into different schools according to their age group; why Legacy Town liked cramming all of their offspring into one location was beyond her. However, as she would be graduating next year, that dilemma was hardly her problem anymore.
Having finally made her way to her locker, February was surprised to see the tall figure of her lab partner, Cameron Richards-Calvert, practically camping out nearby. She knew his own locker was all the way across the building, so why he’d be over by her’s seemed to be a complete mystery, unless it had something to do with the hideous dissection project they would soon be embarking on. She tried to suppress a shudder as she smiled up into his dark, handsome face and cheerfully greeted him.
“Hey Cam, what’s up? Looking for a good recipe for frog legs?” she asked mischievously while simultaneously wrestling with her stubborn locker combination.
“What? Oh, no..uh, actually, you wanna go to prom with me?” Cameron asked quickly. February, having finally wrested her locker open only to become immediately entangled in a fierce battle of wills with its contents, instantly froze with her chemistry book in one hand and a bagged lunch she strongly suspected was well over a week old in the other to process this seemingly alien statement that had incongruously popped out of her lab partner’s mouth. Prom? With Cameron? She had honestly given no thought to prom, let alone who she’d go with; it actually sounded like kind of a nightmare to her…all those people crowded in a dark, stuffy gymnasium, thrashing around and…wriggling on each other, or whatever it was you were supposed to do. But…she couldn’t say all of that to Cameron; for one, he’d think she was some kind of freak, and besides…he was cute. She’d never even suspected he’d thought of her like that. So, swallowing her fears, she shoved the mini-avalanche of school paraphernalia into her locker and turned to face her nervous would-be suitor.
“Sure, Cam. I’d love to go! Thanks for asking me,” she said, smiling encouragingly. Relief flooded her brand new prom date’s face as he returned February’s enthusiastic grin. “Really? Wow, that’s awesome, that’s…okay, we’ll talk later; see you later, Febs!” Cam babbled, rushing past February. Unfortunately for him, she had left her locker door wide open, and he crashed into it. February tried to supress her giggles as Cameron rushed red-faced to his homeroom.
After school, February excitedly burst through her front door, eager to share her surprising news with her family — especially her mom. February had often felt like everything she accomplished was nothing more than a failed bid to get her mother’s attention, but she had never had anything as interesting as a prom invitation to lure January into a moment of mother-daughter bonding. However, January met her daughter at the door with some rather surprising news of her own.
“February, dear, your father and I have won a trip away! Isn’t that amazing?”
“Wow, Mom, that’s really great!” February gushed, momentarily thrown off by her mother’s announcement. “It must just be a lucky Callender day, ’cause you won’t believe what happened to me today!” For one brief second, January’s face opened as February’s voice bubbled over with enthusiasm; just as quickly, she seemed to remember herself and turned instead to the suitcases arranged neatly by the door.
“Oh, how wonderful for you, dear. Well, your father and I must be off; please look after your brother while we’re gone…try and see if you can get him to play outside for a change. We will be back in a few days.” Smiling through, rather than at, her daughter, January began gathering her luggage and heading towards the car.
“Oh! But…uhm. Sure. Ok. Have fun, ” February murmured as Connor passed, absently dropping a kiss on her head as he walked by. “Sure thing, sweetie. Behave yourself, and remember…no boys!” February frowned at her father’s back as his parting comment registered. No boys…seriously? As if she even KNEW any boys that she would have over…sudden realization dawned as February remembered that, actually, there was a boy that just might be interested in coming to spend an unspecified amount of unchaperoned time with her.
February smiled. She had just had a new idea of how to get her parents’ attention.