We stopped by the school to get our permission slips to be out for most of the day.
"Parade starts at 3:30, you need to be at the old bank parking lot at 2:45 for lineup," said Mrs. Baker, the school secretary.
"We'll be there," Gina said.
Gina's sister, Mauve, and her assistant, Becca, were waiting for us at the salon.
"We're closed for everyone except you two," Mauve said when we walked through the door. "I picked up your dresses from the shop and they're hanging. We're leaving straight from here to the parade."
"So will Dad be bringing the 'Vette?" Gina asked her sister.
"Oh, the 'Vette's already here, parked in the back," Mauve said. "So, Lucas, not only we will be your stylists and beauty consultants today, I will be your chauffeur as well."
"That's cool," I said.
"Not a man of a lot of words is he?" Becca said.
"Oh he is once you get to know him," Gina said. "Right now, he's a little nervous."
"Actually, a lot nervous," I said.
The whole experience was a bit overwhelming.
"Nothing to be nervous about," Mauve said. "Step over here, your chairs await, ladies!"
"Just letting you know, we're gettin' the works," Gina said. "The hair, the makeup and nails."
"It's on the house," Mauve said. "So I need you to take off your shoes. And you'll need to lean back over the sink and relax....but first, we've got to talk hairstyles."
She showed me a magazine with hairstyles.
"You see this, this is an updo," she said. "That's what we're about to do to Gina."
"That'll be a cool look for her," I said.
She then flipped over a few pages and handed the book to Gina.
"When I saw him performing on stage last night, I knew exactly what I wanted," Mauve said, keeping in suspense.
"A pixie cut, that's what you're getting," Mauve said.
"That is going to be so YOU, Lucas," Gina said.
"I have to admit when I first heard we were going to be doing a boy, I thought this was going to be a challenge," Mauve told Becca while Gina and I were lying back. "I mean, how do you do a guy and not come out with some glorified drag queen? But this is going to be fun!"
That kind of talk frightened me a little.
"What am I in for?" I asked.
"Oh, you've got nothing to worry about," Mauve said. "Gina didn't tell me you were a beauty!"
A beauty? Just what did that mean?
"Well, I did say he was the only boy I know who could pull this off," Gina said.
"Lucas, please don't take this the wrong way," Mauve said. "We have women clients who have big feet and 'man' hands. They would flat out die to have your feet and your hands!"
"Bet you never had anyone tell you you had 'girl' hands before?" Becca said.
"I don't know if that's a good thing," I said.
"And Becca, look, look at this face!" Mauve said. "Puberty, I'm afraid will change it a little bit, but have you ever seen a face this beautiful on a boy? You certainly have a girlish quality about you, in a good way!"
Gina was giggling the whole time.
"You shouldn't be laughing my little sister," Mauve said. "Lucas, for the record, I think Gina's beautiful too, and she's like you, I don't think she accepts it or appreciates it!"
She was right about Gina. I've always thought she was beautiful, but last night during the show, I thought she was stunning. I didn't think she could be more beautiful.
I was wrong. After a couple of hours at the salon, she looked...well in guy speak...drop dead gorgeous.
As for me?
The three of them stared, smiling, after the makeup was applied.
"Isn't she the most beautiful creature you ever laid your eyes own, Becca?" Mauve said. "Sorry Lucas, I can't refer to you as a he after all of this."
"Let's get the dresses on and see how we look!" Gina said.
We were wearing matching, shoulder bearing, formal gowns with long light gloves. Coach Martin had also bought us matching necklaces to wear.
"I kind of look like a bigger version of my little sister Katie at her princess party," I said.
"Where's my tiara?" I joked.
"You are SO getting a princess party on your birthday!" Gina said.
We both felt like princesses as we rode on the back of Gina's father's convertible Corvette during the parade.
"Wave to the crowd Lucas!" Gina said. "And smile! Isn't this so much fun!"
"OK, you've got me there," I told her. "Yes, I'm having fun. By the way, how to you keep this gown up?"
I found myself tugging at it every few minutes.
Gina laughed. "Your having trouble with that, too? Look on the bright side, it won't be that much of a scandal if you accidentally flash the crowd. Me, on the other hand, that's another story."
"We love you Lucas!" shouted a group of students at one street corner. I could swear there were a couple of guys in that group, which I felt was kind of freaky.
"I love youse guys, too!" I said, trying to do it with a Philly accent.
"Youse guys?" Gina asked.
"You know, Rocky II, after Rocky beat Apollo Creed," I said.
She punched me in the shoulder.
"That's right!" she said. "My dad's a huge Rocky fan. We were forced to watch all of them. Lucas, you can be really funny sometimes!"
"Of course I can, I've got to have a sense of humor to be dressed up like this," I said.
"You're not the only one," Gina said. "I'm not a big fan of this get up, either."
"Seriously, it's a good look for you," I said.
"Why thank you, you're so sweet," she said. "You want to know something? I know you don't want to hear this, but your look suits you, too, little sister!"
"That's the second time you called me that," I said.
"I know," Gina said, pinching me in the cheek. "I think that may fit you better than 'Hobbette.' You're too pretty to be a Hobbit."
"Gee, thanks, I think?" I said.
The parade was fun for the most part. There were a few protesters from some whacked out Kansas church who held up signs and called me "queer" along the route.
But Gina told me to just ignore it, which I pretty much did.
Let's face it, being the only boy on a girls' field hockey team means you have to have a thick skin, especially if you end up on the homecoming court.
Our ride ended at the parking lot behind the gym. The football team rode ahead of us on a couple of floats, which meant Josh and Beth were waiting on us when we arrived.
"Can we help you ladies down?" Josh said, with Beth walking to my side of the car.
"Why sure!" Gina said, extending her hand to Josh. "You and Beth are being perfect gentlemen."
I about died laughing as Beth helped me down from the car.
"I've got to say, Lucas, you look amazing," Beth said.
It was an amazing contrast, Gina pointed out.
We were standing in a line, waiting to walk on the field at halftime. All of us in the court, we were wearing elegant gowns.
But those of us with football players for escorts -- and there were three of us -- our arms were locked with escorts dressed in grass-stained, dirty uniforms.
But we didn't mind.
"Coach Jackson said he's not thrilled by this tradition," Beth whispered. "His starting quarterback, a receiver and a running back are missing his halftime speech."
"Well, at least you guys are leading by three touchdowns," I said. "I could understand if you were behind."
Just then, it was my cue to walk out onto the field.
"Lucas Lacy is the seventh grade representative of the Girls Athletics Club. He is a member of the girls field hockey team, the seventh grade honor society and the science club. He is the son of Janice Lacy. He is being escorted by Beth Garrison, a member of the football team."
I was amazed by the applause.
Then it was Gina's turn.
"Gina Lenetti is the eighth grade representative of the Girls Athletic Club. She is a member of the girls field hockey team, the eighth grade honor society and the math team. She is the daughter of Nicholas and Francesca Lenetti. She is being escorted by Josh Bryan, a member of the football team."
I was proud of her. The had a dazzling smile. She always claimed she didn't like doing things like this, but I thought that was just an act.
"This year's homecoming queen is Gina Lenetti," the public address announcer said.
The look on her face confirmed what I thought. She cried when last year's queen placed the tiara on her head.
She hugged the other eighth grade members of the court, and then waved for me to join her.
"Get over here," she said with tears in her eyes.
She hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
"Your time is next year, little sister," she whispered.
"Oh no, this is your moment!" I said.
The court sat together the rest of the game. They then herded us to the gym for pictures of the queen and her court.
It allowed the football players to go get showers and get cleaned up. They ended up winning pretty easily.
We just finished up with pictures when Josh and Beth entered the room.
"Look at Beth!" Gina said. "She looks sort of Orlando Bloomish!"
Beth was wearing a ponytail pirate style. She was wearing a blue blazer, a tie and slacks. Josh was wearing almost the same type of suit.
"Beth!" I yelled. "You look really cool!"
"And you look really dazzling!" she said.
"We'll you know me!" I said, twirling around and joking. "I can be such a diva sometimes!"
Beth pulled a box from behind her back. It was a corsage.
"You know, maybe I should be doing this for you," I said as she pinned it on my gown."
"Oh I know, and spoil this moment for me?" Beth said.
We walked over to the table with the boutonnieres. I pinned hers on her jacket.
"We've got leadout, then pictures and then we finally get to dance," I said. "But I've never slow danced before."
"Don't worry," Beth said. "I'll lead."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," I said, locking arms with her.