mislaid, somebody got one of Dad’s timetables scrambled in the computer, and a can of cola was spilled over a stack of posters, ruining all of them.
On the way home Justin and I talked about the Halloween dance, which was much more interesting than talking about all the grunt work we were doing in the campaign office. I had gathered all the parts of mycostume, and I couldn’t wait to see how Justin and Allie and Greg were going to look.
On Saturday, the night of the party, I got dressed in my roadie outfit, sprayed a wide streak of blue in my hair, and nearly died laughing when I looked at myself in the mirror.
Mom cracked up when she saw me. “That’s a great costume,” she said. “You look like some of those musicians on MTV.”
When Justin arrived to pick me up we all whooped with laughter. He looked hysterically funny in the straggly blond wig, but in that tight, torn T-shirt he looked kind of sexy, too.
I wanted to show off our costumes to Dad, but he was in his office with his campaign managers and a couple of state legislators.
“Maybe it would be better if you didn’t,” Mom said. “They’re discussing the investigation of that construction accident, and Charles asked me to take any telephone messages so they wouldn’t be interrupted.”
I suppose I should have realized that showing off a Halloween costume would be unimportant kid stuff. “I hardly ever get to talk to Dad anymore,” I complained. “I’ll be glad when he’s through with all this.”
“Cary, honey,” Mom said, “we’re still months away from the primary election. If Charles wins the party nomination—and I certainly hope he will—you’re going to have to face the fact that your father will be even busier then than now.”
“I know,” I said.
I tried to think of something to reassure Mom, but Justin grabbed my arm and swung me toward the door. “Come on,” he said. “The dance has already started.”
Justin and I stopped by the Richardses’ house to pick up Greg and Allie. Allie and Greg looked great, and Allie laughed so hard at Justin and me it made me feel good, like our costumes were really the best.
We parked in the big front lot of Loews Anatole Hotel, across from the Dallas Market Center. A few people stared at us as we entered the hotel, but there were enough kids in costume around so that I didn’t feel embarrassed. Once we were in the ballroom our school dance committee had decorated with pumpkins, skeletons, and orange and black streamers, it was lots of fun checking out the other costumes and going into hysterics about some of them.
The music was terrific, there was plenty of food, and it was a great party. But just like before, Mark tagged around after me with that stupid camera. That was one of Mark’s problems. He never gave up.
“Want me to dump him in the punch?” Justin asked me the umpteenth time that flash went off in my face.
The suggestion sounded good, but I felt sorry for Mark. “No,” I said. “He lost the film he took at his own party. Let him take a few more shots. He’ll run out of film soon.”
The teachers who were chaperoning had come in costumes, too. Mrs. Bantry, our chemistry teacher, came as the Wicked Witch of the West, which was very brave of her, considering the remarks she had to put up with all evening.
While we were dancing I happened to glance over near the door and saw a girl with long straight black hair. I stopped and said to Justin, “Look over there. Is that Francine?”
Justin turned and asked, “Where?”
“There, by the door.” But the person who looked like Francine wasn’t in sight. “She’s gone,” I said.
“It couldn’t have been Francine,” Justin said. “Why would she show up at our school dance?”
“I suppose she wouldn’t,” I said, “but the girl I saw looked an awful lot like her. I guess Francine has a double.”
“Or it’s the lighting or your imagination,” Justin said. “Come on. Let’s dance.”
So we did,
Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston