Three Couples, Six People, Many Songs(#9)

Song #9 - Hanging by a Moment, Lifehouse

"Brock?" She twirled the phone cord with her fingers, diverting all nervousness she felt toward the twisting of the wire.

"Yeah Mist?" He responded, his voice somewhat distant as always. He probably was tending to one of his siblings as he spoke to her.

"You got a date to the prom yet?"

Silence for a brief second. "No... I guess I'll be going alone, doesn't matter I guess..." He sounded wistful, disappointed. But he sounded almost like he had accepted the fact. Almost.

"Have you asked everyone you could think of?" Careful to omit any traces of hope from her voice.

"Yeah." Brief pause again. "Mist, why are you asking? You know this already... I tell you *everything*. You're like a sister, but not."

/A sister.../ That word, that accursed word that kept getting in-between her hinting toward her feelings for him. "Um, Brock?"

"Yeah?" Again, somewhat distant, non-committal.

"What about me?" Slight hope, but not overwhelming. The phone cord had been twisted as much as possible. She busied her fingers untangling it.

"What about you?" Confusion present, a hint of surprise.

"You could take me to the prom with you." Casual suggestion. Not hint at it being anything more than just taking a friend to the prom so he wouldn't be lonely.

Laughter. He was laughing. But then he stopped. "Wait... You serious?"

She nodded, then remember that would do her no good. "Yes."

"Well, sure then. I didn't think you'd want to go or I'd have asked you a long time ago. You always said you didn't like the idea of proms..." Again, surprise and confusion, but also amusement, and relief at not having to go alone.

She smiled. "Yeah, well, I don't want you looking like a total reject. I can't stop you from looking like a somewhat reject, but I can minimize the effect."

She could almost hear him grinning. "Thanks Mist. Hey, I gotta go. Um, how about we go to a movie tomorrow?"

"That'd be great."

"Cool. Love ya! Bye!" Click.

Misty hung up the phone on her end, then sunk into the chair she had been sitting in. She felt like a very huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Yet she still had a long way to go... Yes Brock was going to take her to the prom, but that meant nothing much yet. He still saw her as a friend, as a 'sister, but not'. So she still had to change that...


A week before the prom

"What about... this dress?" Misty held up a simple, long black dress.

Ash looked at the dress, then at Misty, then back at the dress. "Why're you asking me? Come to think of it, why on earth did you bring me with you to get a prom dress? I know nothing about dresses!"

"Because Brock knows even less and I want to surprise him anyway, and my sisters would pick out something like that." Misty pointed at a very short, frilly, pink dress with lots and lots of lace and...stuff.

"Oh fine then." Ash sighed then rolled his eyes. "That's a nice dress but it looks more like something for a funeral."

Misty looked down at the dress. "Hm... You're right." She started wandering off, and Ash followed her. He realized that giving her satisfactory comments actually wasn't that hard. All he had to do with read how she felt about the dress and mix what she felt about it with what he supposed he felt about it and then tell her.

"What about that?" Ash pointed at a really deep forest green dress. What had really attracted it to him was the fact that it was nearly the same color as Gary's favorite shirt, and also it was nicely within Misty's spending budget.

Misty turned to look at the dress. At first she was skeptical. It didn't seem quite what she would wear... Well, it *was* long... But it was sleeveless. "I dunno..."

"Ah well, then let's move on and get this over with. I'm starving and you owe me food for putting me through this horror. Shopping for women's clothes... Cruel and unusual punishment." His voice seemed bitter but Misty caught the sparkle in his eyes. One of her other reasons for inviting Ash was that she didn't see much of him anymore. As the months went by he had gotten more and more distant... She had long found out that he was attracted to Gary, and Gary to him, but they kept playing this long drawn out game of hard to get.

"Well, wait..." Misty walked up to the dress. Nice material... She picked it up, held it against her. Checking the size and finding it to be a zero, she put that back and then picked one her size. "I'm going to try it on. You wait here."

"Yeah, yeah. Sure." Ash sat leaned against one of the pillars that held the mirrors placed throughout the store and impatiently waited for her. He hoped she settled on that one because he really *was* hungry. And tired of shopping. So as he waited, he busied himself thinking of Gary. They really were taking forever to 'officially' get together... And that was driving Ash crazy. Not that he wasn't already, but the waiting scared him. He felt as though without having any real hold on Gary, the older boy would slip away from him as soon as he turned his head...

"Oh woah... Misty?" Ash blinked, looking his friend over as she walked toward him. "Turn around." He ordered her, and she did, just a little shyly, but with more of that confident air she always had. "Good God, if I were straight I'd be all over you. That dress really looks good on you, and if Brock's jaw doesn't hit the ground when he sees you, he needs his eyes checked."

Misty grinned. "Think I should get it then?"

"Of course!"

"Good, because if you said no, I would've got it anyway." She held the dress carefully, almost lovingly, and for a moment Ash wished with all his heart that she and Brock did get together, for the hope in her eyes far exceeded the hope he felt for him and Gary.


Misty shut her bedroom door on her sisters, locking it immediately. Sighing in relief, she thanked the stars that she did not get dressed up very often... They had all immediately swarmed on her, proud that their little sister was finally acting 'normal'. She had to admit, they had done an excellent job on her hair, and the perfume Daisy had let her borrow smelt heavenly, but they had completely overwhelmed her.

Moving away from the door, she walked over to her mirror to look at herself. Who was this lovesick girl staring back at her? This girl with red hair that flowed down to her shoulders in slightly curled locks, one twist at each temple pulled to the back of her head and tied there. This girl with just enough make-up to highlight her features, but not enough so as to be immediately noticed. This girl with a beautifully simple forest green dress and high heels, with a thin, nearly see-through lighter green shawl draped over her shoulders.

"Misty, your date's here!"

/But he's not really my date.../ Misty thought, pulling the shawl tighter around her. She felt nervous, but she banished the butterflies in her stomach as quick as she could. Misty did not get nervous. Misty was always in charge of her emotions.

Walking with much care so as not to trip, she made her way down the carpeted stairs and into the foyer. Where was Brock? Ah, ogling her sisters.

Misty smoothed down her dress a little, then walked up to Brock. "Ready to go?"

He turned around, speaking while he did so. "Course I am, I'm the one that's been waiting fo-" His words left him as he regarded his friend of many years. Somehow he had never quite noticed just how pretty Misty was... Sure every now and then he would stare at her to irritate her, and for other reasons, but she just never had registered in his mind as a real girl that he could pursue. Now however, seeing her primped up like a 'normal girl', he felt something a little more than friendly affection for Misty...

Yet gorgeous or not, she was still Misty, and mentally shaking himself out of his trance, he pulled out the white flower that he had bought. "This good enough?"

Misty looked at the flower thoughtfully. "It's alright." She walked closer to him. "Well, pin it on!"

Inwardly, Brock smiled. Same old Misty. No amount of make-up and hairspray could change her. Carefully, he pinned the flower to the strap of her dress, trying hard not to notice when his fingers touched her skin, trying hard not to notice just how close they were to each other, trying hard not to notice how close his hands were to certain parts of her anatomy. When he finished, he pulled away and smiled nervously at her. "Shall we leave?" He offered his arm.

"I think that was the plan." Her arm hooked in his, they left Misty's house, ignoring the somewhat approving looks of Misty's sisters.

"No limo?" Misty asked jokingly as she stepped into Brock's car. At least he had the curtsey to have entirely cleaned his poor, little, beat down car.

"Nope, no limo. And if you're expecting me to take you out to a fancy restaurant after or something after, you're out of your mind." Brock started up the car, and let out a sigh of relief when it actually started on the first try.

They talked idly in the car, but there was an underlying meaning to their conversation.

When they reached the hotel where the school had rented a ballroom for their prom, Brock parked somewhat neatly, then stepped out and waited for Misty to do the same. She unbuckled her seatbelt, and then waited. For a moment, Brock found himself confused about why she refused to get out of the car. However, when she looked at him through a window and glared, he suddenly realized that she wanted him to open the door for her. Hurriedly, he opened the door for her, and she stepped out.

"Let's get this over with," she said, wincing because she knew that within an hour her feet would hurt like hell from those damn shoes.

Brock nodded, and they walked in together silently, apart from the rustle of Brock's black tux and Misty's green dress, and their footsteps.

Walking into the ballroom, Misty wondered what on earth she had gotten herself into. How on earth was doing Brock this little favor going to do anything for her? And how on earth would she survive that night? Taking one look at the overly expensive dresses many of the girls wore, and the overall aura of the prom, she realized that she really did not belong there. This just was not her scene. Glancing at Brock, she relaxed a little when she noticed how out of place he seemed to feel too.

"Where's our table?" she asked, wanting to rest her poor feet.

"Over there, with Tracey, Todd, and their dates." Brock pointed at a little table, which was in a corner, and Misty thanked whatever power was in charge for that.


An hour later and a half later

Misty set her glass of punch down on the table. Spiked, definitely spiked. But then she nearly felt like she needed the alcohol to dull the pain of just sitting there. She and Brock were not going to dance, because Brock hated dancing. Though Misty could tell that Tracey wanted to ask her to dance, he was too shy, and he probably had noticed that Misty wasn't quite in the best of moods.

Finally, Misty looked at Brock, and Brock looked at Misty, and smiles crossed both of their faces. Without needing to confirm that they though the same thing, they both got up, and left the prom.

As they exited the hotel door, Misty started giggling, and Brock too started laughing. In all honesty, Misty couldn't really grasp just what exactly she found funny, but that did not matter. She deserved to laugh after putting herself through that nightmare.

"Where do you want to go now?" Brock asked her, taking off his relatively cheap tux jacket.

Misty looked down at what she wore, then at Brock. "Well where on earth can we go dressed like this?"

Brock looked around thoughtfully. "Hm, well I don't want to go home yet, it's still rather early..."

"The tree house!"

"The tree house? But you'll tear your dress!"

"I can hike it up, no problem. And we haven't been there since we started high school. Let's go!"

Located near the lake that Misty loved to swim in, the tree house held many childhood memories of 'secret club meetings' between her, Ash, and Brock. They had not built the tree house, but they had restored it from an empty thing in a tree to a comfortable little hide-away. Now, it had started to deteriorate again, but every now and then Misty would return to escape her sisters, and while there she would clean a little to take her mind off things.

Brock drove up to the spot where the tree house was, and they got out and looked up at the strange little place. "You first." Brock said.

Misty grinned, took off her shoes, and hiked her dress about halfway up her thighs. Placing her hands on the ladder rungs that were nailed to the tree, she nimbly climbed up, careful not to rip her dress. Peering down over the edge, she yelled to Brock, "Hurry up!"

Brock climbed up and then sat down next to her, looking down at the lake. It was dark in the tree house, and he could just barely see Misty. However, he could see the lake perfectly, with the reflection of the moon glistening in the still water.

"A little cold, isn't it?" Misty said to break the silence, although she really wasn't that cold. She just wanted them to be saying something. Quiet made her nervous.

"Here," Brock carefully draped his jacket over her shoulders, and smiled when he saw the surprise on Misty's face. She usually only saw his caring side when he was with his siblings. "So, I guess you didn't like the prom."

"Sorry about that," she sat down on the floor, thankful that she wore a long dress. "It's just... I don't like those kind of things."

Brock shrugged, "Don't worry about it. I wanted to get out of there too." He sat down next to her, and they both stared out at the lake. "How's Ash been doing?"

"He's fine. Strange little kid as always. He picked out this dress."

"Ash?" Brock laughed. "He may be gay but he definitely does not fit the stereotype of having good fashion sense! How did he manage to pick out such a gorgeous dress? It looks great!" Brock grinned, then winked. "It fits your shape nicely."

Misty punched him lightly in the shoulder. "Pervert."

"Come on, you know you look great in that dress and you can't deny it. I'm not."

"Why am I still friends with you?" Misty sighed and rolled her eyes.

"Because then you'd be stuck with watching over Ash on your own. You'd have to try and keep him from running away, make sure he doesn't fail out of school, make sure he watches over his mother, and make sure he doesn't eat the plate when he's really hungry, which he always is."

Misty smiled, "True. I'm just using you to watch over him."

Brock gasped in mock hurt. "You're using me? My heart! You broke my heart!" He sprawled out on the floor, pretending to have died.

"Brock! Get up!" She shook him a little, but he didn't respond. "Fine then, you asked for it." She started tickling his sides, and he squirmed and tried to push her hands away, but as soon as he got rid of one the other took its place. Finally, he managed to grab both of her hands, and she was stuck kneeling by his side, bending over him a little. "Hey, nice position, eh?" He raised his eyebrows suggestively.

"Brock! Let me go!" She blushed, trying to free her hands.

He let go of her and she stood up, dusting her self off. "You're such a pervert, you know that?"

"Hey, we all have our faults." Brock stood up and started dusting off his tuxedo. "Say Misty?"


"Promise me we'll always be friends, no matter what."

Misty blinked, surprised by the request. "I promise."

"You sure?"


He walked over to her and hugged her tightly. For a while, Misty found herself unsure of what exactly to do, but then slowly, she relaxed. She wrapped her arms around him, and resting her head on his chest, she wondered how they could have made it without each other... when they broke the hug, an awkward silence filled the tree house. An awkward silence that turned into one of friendship and understanding as they sat at the entrance to the tree house, their legs dangling over the edge, and their eyes watching the lake, ever so often stealing a glance at the other.

Forgotten were Misty's thoughts of trying to either get rid of her crush or turn it into a relationship. This felt right, and while she still felt a need deep down to do something about it, she was fine just waiting. Just hanging by a moment.


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