Katherine Hilliard stood on the terrace, staring up at the stars. _Boy, Angel Grove sure goes all out for its prom,_ she thought. _Ballroom with a terrace, mirrors on the walls, the works. It really is a lovely night. Too bad I can't enjoy it properly._
In the ballroom, Tommy Oliver was dancing with Kimberly Hart. The two had reconciled after Kimberly's talk with Adam about the events on Muranthias, and so Tommy had arranged for Kimberly to be his prom date. He'd been walking on air ever since she had accepted, and Kat thought that she had never seen him so happy. He was positively glowing, and Kat couldn't help but be glad for him.
_It's me I'm feeling sorry for,_ she sighed. _The only man I've ever loved in my admittedly short experience with such matters, and I can't have him._ She and Tommy had dated since a little after his break-up with Kimberly, but Tommy had always made it clear that he was looking for companionship, not romance. Kat had accepted that, although no one else knew of the agreement. That was the other reason for their relationship- to keep hosts of predatory young girls from angling for a date with Tommy. He wasn't ready to deal with them yet, and Kat was more than happy to help. It allowed her to indulge her favorite fantasy, which was that Tommy loved her as much as she loved him.
_Still, I suppose I always knew that he loved Kimberly, and always would._ With a smile, she remembered one of the few actual dates she and Tommy had gone on. He knew how much she liked musicals, and so he had bought tickets for the two of them to go see Les Miserables when it had come to Angel Grove. They had both enjoyed it very much, but Kat had found herself identifying almost uncomfortably with the character of Eponine. Eponine was a young girl who fell in love with the handsome student Marius, who only had eyes for the beautiful Cosette. In the end, she took a bullet for him during a fight in the streets of Paris. Kat remembered thinking during the performance, that she would have played the part to perfection.
_I'd probably even take a bullet for him,_ she mused. _I think we all would. Tommy just has that quality. People are willing to die to protect him and what he fights for._ As she stared up at the stars, a song from the musical began to filter through her mind.
And now I'm all alone again,
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to.
Without a home, without a friend,
Without a face to say "hello" to.
But now the night is near
And I can make believe he's here.
Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping.
I think of him and then I'm
Happy with the company I'm keeping.
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head.
One of Kat's favorite pastimes was to pretend that she and Tommy were dancing, alone, where no one could reach them. He'd hold her close and tell her he loved her as they swayed to the music. Now, Kat closed her eyes and slipped into the dream once again, dancing to the music in her head.
On my own, pretending he's beside me,
All alone, I walk with him 'til morning.
Without him, I feel his arms around me
And when I lose my way, I close my eyes
And he has found me.
As she stood there, images from her friendship with Tommy flashed into her head, moments when she had felt so close to the relationship she wanted, but it always fell away again.
In the rain, the pavement shines like silver.
Walking in the aftermath of a rainstorm, talking about him and how he was doing now that Kimberly was gone.
All the lights are misty in the river.
Laughing and talking at the opening of Ernie's newest hangout, the Riverside Cafe, on the banks of the Rampoon River, watching the lights of the city gleam on the water.
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight,
And all I see is him and me,
Forever and forever.
That moonlight walk in the park, when she'd come so close to kissing him. The light had shone from the leaves, and it was as if the trees were burning with silver fire.
And I know, it's only in my mind,
That I'm talking to myself, and not to him.
And although, I know that he is blind,
Still I say, there's a way for us.
Crying herself to sleep at night, hoping and praying that the memory of Kimberly would fade, and he would see her standing there. Always, always disappointed.
I love him, but when the night is over
He is gone, the river's just a river.
Without him, the world around me changes.
The trees are bare and everywhere,
The streets are full of strangers.
I love him, but every day I'm learning
All my life, I've only been pretending.
Without me, this world would go on turning.
The world is full of happiness that I have never known.
I love him,
I love him.
I love him, but only
On my own.
Then the events of Divatox's arrival had occurred, and Kat knew the dream was over. Tommy loved Kim, and in a way, she was happy to see them back together. Deep down, what she really wanted more than anything else was to see Tommy happy, and if that meant smiling and looking happy for him and Kimberly, then she'd do it. She just wished, sometimes, that he'd seen her too.
"It's a gorgeous night, isn't it?" a voice said behind her. She whirled to see Skull, looking rather impressive in a suit and tie, leaning against a wall.
"Yes, I suppose it is," she replied, once she had regained her composure. "Skull, why aren't you in there at the party?"
"Aw, I got tired of smiling for Tommy and Kimberly. I figure you probably felt the same."
Turning to him, she raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"Kat, I did earn my detective's license, even if it was by the skin of my teeth. I can certainly tell how you feel about Tommy. I'm not exactly a stranger to unrequited love myself, you know."
"I knew you used to have a crush on Kimberly, but I thought that was all it was, just a crush."
Skull snorted. "So did I. After she left, I told myself that it hadn't really been love, just a stupid puppy crush. But you know what? It never went away. I just want her to be happy, I guess, but it still hurts to see her in there with Tommy and know she'll never look at me that way."
"I think we've all underestimated you, Skull. You're a lot smarter than people give you credit for."
Skull chuckled. "Yeah, well, don't spread it around. I have an image to protect." With his trademark lopsided smile, he offered her his arm. "Would you care to dance? One lovesick fool to another?"
"Sure. Why not?" With a smile of her own, Kat took his arm and the two of them headed back into the prom.