favour by lydiajayne

4 Jul

“I don’t know what the big deal is,” Jake muttered, “It’s just prom.”

“Well, I’ve never been to one myself,” his uncle shot a teasing look at Jake’s mother, “but I have it on very good authority that they are very special, very important occasions in this family.“

“Li,” his mother protested laughingly, “You promised never to tell.”

Uncle Liam grinned in that impish way that had always promised fun for Jake. “I promised not to tell your children, Amanda. Once a guy’s been to his senior prom, he’s a man by then.”

She shook her head in resignation. Uncle Liam probably would have taken her protest seriously if she’d been able to hold her giggles. That she didn’t meant Jake might finally get to hear the story that his family had made joking allusions to his entire life.

Jake considered his options. He’d need a date.

*

A little more than a month later, Jake came down the stairs in his tux. He felt adult in a way that he didn’t when wearing a regular suit, and his mom, at least, must have felt something similar. She cried a little, while his father and uncle beamed. “You look so handsome. Make sure Kaitlyn’s parents take lots of pictures.”

Jake nodded, unable to speak past the lump in his throat at the reminder that he was going to the prom with Kaitlyn Tyler. He hadn’t expected her to say yes when he’d asked – there was a part of him that hoped for a sympathy plea, based on the fact that the girl he’d chosen had refused him – but she’d accepted with flattering speed. She wouldn’t appreciate him showing up three quarters of an hour early, however, which left him with just enough time for a story: “So, Uncle Li, you were going to tell me about prom.”

He laughed. “Well, technically, you haven’t been to one yet.”

“Oh, come on – I’m not going to bail on the day of, no matter how lame the story is.”

Jake didn’t understand why they all laughed at that.

His mom was the first to recover enough to speak. “The boy I’d been crushing on for my entire senior year asked me to the prom. He had no clue, of course, and he was very honest about the fact that he was grateful his best friend said yes, so he didn’t have to ask someone for real.”

“Ouch.” Jake was appalled.

“Exactly. In his defence, he promised to make it a magical, fairytale evening, which it was, though not in the way I’d expected. I’d been waiting about fifteen minutes when I finally heard the knock.” Jake winced again. His mom was a stickler for punctuality. “I opened the door and saw a complete stranger. An older man – college-aged, definitely – and wearing a tux: very hot.”

“Mom!” Jake looked at his dad and was surprised to catch him staring at his mother with the sappiest look.

Liam took up the story. “A guest soloist for the London Philharmonic had fallen ill, and the conductor had been an adjudicator at a competition I’d won performing the same piece, so he asked me to fill in. Unfortunately, the only flight that would get me there on time left twenty minutes after I was supposed to pick up your mom. I pleaded with your dad to go to the prom in my place; he agreed, thinking I was going to owe him the biggest favour ever.”

Dad laughed. “Instead, the door opened to reveal the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and instead of ‘hi’ or an explanation, the first thing I said was ‘Will you marry me?”

“At the end of the night, I said yes.”

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