Genre: Romance (Lenny & Laverne, Shirley & Carmine)
Brief Spoiler: Shirley reflects on her Senior Prom-with a few surprises thrown in.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Paramount, "Laverne & Shirley" nor any of it's cast members (though I can honestly say I wish I were). All of these are Paramount TM, etc etc, blah blah blah, you know the drill :o) I hope you all enjoy this one!
Rating: PG (Just because…)
Shirley Feeney's fingers nimbly ran along the crinkled chiffon. She clutched the rose-colored garment in front of her, pressed it to her body, and twirled around, admiring herself in the mirror. "Those were the days, huh?" she said to herself. The days she referred to were the days past-her adolescence; the days of sock hops and bobby socks, of writing Laverne notes during 3rd period and going every Friday night to see Carmine play football. Although she had truly detested high school, there was still a little fragment of her soul that pined for it. Eh, maybe it was just the fact that she had found her old prom dress and, being the sentimentalist she was, it made her a little misty. She peered at the label inside her gown. "SIZE ONE?!" she exclaimed. Suddenly her petite size five figure seemed large.
"Shirl!" came a voice from the living room, followed by a door slam.
"I'm in the bedroom, Laverne!" she called out.
The roommate entered. "Shirl, my pop wants to know if we can work tonight?"
"At the Pizza Bowl?" the brunette inquired.
"No, Bloomingdale's," Laverne retorted sarcastically. "Hey, what're ya doin' with that old thing out?"
"Don't refer to it like that!" she said, a little appalled at Laverne's lack of tenderness. "This thing has great sentimental value to me! Yours is in the box." Shirley pointed to a white box lying on her bed, the edges slightly worn, having been in their closet under Lord-knows-what for about 4 years now. Laverne took the top off the box, and found beneath layers of tissue and crepe paper her own prom dress. She lifted the blue satin out gingerly.
"Aw, it's just like I remember it!" Laverne mused. She held the gown close to her face. "And it still smells like…" she inhaled once again. "…Vitalis and Barbasol."
"Vitalis and Barbasol?! Your dress smells like aftershave and shaving cream?"
"Yeah, well, that's what he was wearing."
"Oooooh, that's right! You went to the prom with…" Shirley stopped abruptly. Laverne's eyes were as cutting as broken glass. Shirley took a deep breath. "Well jeez Laverne, it's not like you went with Squiggy or something."
"It's not him-it's just I don't like to remember that night much."
"Well the beginning wasn't so good, but the end turned out fine! Didn't it?"
Laverne plopped down on the edge of her bed, and toyed with a brightly colored afghan. "I suppose so."
FLASHBACK TO… PROM NIGHT, 1956 (ha…)
"Laverne, would you hurry up and try on the dress?! I have to be back at school at 6 to help the prom committee! I'm not secretary for nothin' ya know!" Shirley shouted to her friend through the door of a dressing room. Over the past four years, Shirley Feeney hadn't changed much-aside from the fact that in those days, her pixie-like bob was almost chin-length, and she was very, very thin.
"The prom's in two weeks though, Shirl. Why are they decorating it tonight?"
Shirley shrugged, her eyes fixed on the golden watch on her wrist. "I don't know.
A few moments later, Laverne piped from within, "I found it! This is the dress!"
"Terrific, hooray, get out of there, let's go!" Shirley said, almost in one breath-very nonchalantly.
"Well hold on and let me get my skirt back on," Laverne said. A few moments later, Laverne emerged, dress in hand.
After purchasing the gown, they had gone back to Laverne's house. "Has Carmine asked you yet?" Laverne asked, sipping on a milk and Pepsi.
"Not yet," Shirley replied, dispirited-and then, with a flicker in her eye added, "but I think he was close to it yesterday afternoon! He's got to ask me Vernie… I mean, who else would be fool enough to go with him? Have you made a decision yet?"
Laverne shook her head. "No. So far I've been asked by Benny, Harry and Rick."
"Oh, that's real good. Benny spits when he talks, Harry gets his kicks by turning his eyelids inside out and Rick can belch two choruses of Yankee Doodle Dandy without taking a breath."
"Yeah, they're swell guys aren't they?"
"SWELL?! Laverne… why would you want to go to your senior prom with any of those men when you can do so much better?!"
"That's just it Shirl… I don't wanna go with any of them. I really wanna go with Pete."
"Yeah. But you and I both know that'll never happen. Not with Beatrice around."
"How long have they been going out anyway?"
Laverne sighed. "Five years, eight months, three weeks and four days."
Shirley nearly choked on the Twinkie she was munching on. "Ya can't remember how to solve quadratic equations but you can remember all that?"
She nodded. "It's been a rough five years Shirl."
"I can see that," she said. "Well, it's your decision Laverne. I'd better run now before Mrs. Jacoby beats me for not being at school on time."
"Alright, bye Shirl."
Two weeks later, Shirley Feeney sat in her room, applying her makeup with agile hands. Her dark, ebon hair was curled to perfection and had been styled in a faultless twist adorned by Lilliputian, snow-white tea roses. Her cheeks were cherubically pink and her lips coated with crimson-colored gloss. She stood up, carefully pressing down the creases of her pink chiffon gown. She attempted to straighten the seams of her hose. Shirley felt every bit a princess, and tonight she would be with her prince. Carmine had indeed asked her to go to the prom with him-just as she knew he would. Although she would never admit it, she loved Carmine with every fiber of her being. It was just that teenage love wasn't really Shirley's thing-she didn't believe in finding your true love in highschool. Carmine didn't seem much the knight on a white horse that all girls dream of at the time, but he truly was Shirley's white knight-and most unfortunately for her, she wouldn't realize this until much later on in her life, when it was too late. Shirley had fallen into almost a reverie of what she hoped the evening would bring when a knock against her wooden door disturbed her trance. "What?" she asked, placing a few make-up essentials, her lucky Bible and a dime in her handbag.
"Ohhhhh Shiiiiiirley…" came the voice of her younger brother, Christopher.
"What is it Christopher?"
"Your boyyyyyyyyfriend is here!" he said, using kissing noises as sound effects.
Shirley felt her heart palpitate within her chest. "Uhm… uh…" she stammered. "Tell him I'm coming!"
Carmine had made himself quite comfortable on the sofa in the den in the Feeney family living room when Shirley finally emerged. Weak-kneed, Carmine could barely rise in her presence. "Angelface…"
Shirley blushed. "Hi Carmine." Slowly, she approached him.
"I uh… I brought you these roses!" he said, extending his arm. His fingers held fast to a bouquet of lovely pink roses interspersed with sprigs of aromatic baby's breath.
She took them in her arms. "Oh Carmine, they're beautiful!"
He grinned. "Oh, and here's your corsage…" he said, placing a pink carnation on her wrist.
"It's beautiful too," she said, admiring the flower and it's delicate petals.
"Nah, you're the beautiful one. And besides, I got it on sale!"
Shirley laughed at his naivete. "That's-that's terrific, dear."
"Uh-huh!" she said. Together, hand-in-hand, Shirley Feeney and Carmine Ragusa exited her house. They were on their way to the prom.
Shirley was not joking when she said "they had turned that stinkin', filthy gym into paradise." Indeed, the gymnasium of Millard Fillmore High School had been transformed from odorous, grubby recreation center into a stunningly gorgeous Eden-like utopia. It's theme, "A Night To Remember," greeted Shirley as she entered. The darkness welcomed her with a sense of virtuous, unadulterated love and devotion-well, on her part at least. It was a positively overwhelming feeling that coursed through her veins like a raging ocean. She allowed the deliciously melodic "Teen Angel" to flood her senses. It was, at that time, the most perfect moment of her life.
"Ya want some punch?" Carmine questioned, clasping his date's dainty hand.
"Sure! Would you go get it for me Carmine? I'm gonna look for Laverne."
As Carmine left her side, her eyes searched the room eagerly for the 5'6 ½" 18 year old in a blue satin gown. First her eyes settled on Benny who, at present, was conversing and spraying those near him with his every syllable. No Laverne. Next her eyes fixed on Harry who was entertaining a crowd by turning his eyelids inside out. No Laverne. Her eyes finally found Rick who was downing enough soda to belch out not only two choruses of Yankee Doodle, but the alma mater as well. Still, no Laverne. Now where do you suppose she could be…?
"Hello!" came a most familiar voice.
Shirley whirled around on her heel. "Squiggy! Lenny! Have either of you seen Laverne?"
"Sure!" Lenny answered.
"Oh good, where is she?!" Shirley said, sighing with relief.
"Well, yesterday afternoon she was smoking inside of Ann Marie's DeSoto."
Shirley was slowly being seized by panic. "NOT YESTERDAY! TONIGHT! HERE! AT THE PROM!" she yelled. People began to turn around.
"Well, no…" Lenny answered.
Shirley immediately fumbled around in her purse in pursuit of the dime she had put in there earlier. Her heart skipped a beat when she finally felt the cool, rotund metal. She ran out of the gym and then out of the school into the biting night air. She inserted the dime into the pay phone, and quickly punched in the digits that had been etched in her memory since fifth grade.
"Hello?" came a quiet, nasal voice.
"Vernie! Why aren't you here?!" the petite brunette asked.
Shirley heard a faint sob. "Because…"
"I don't have a date."
Suddenly, Shirley had grown utterly perplexed. "Whaddya mean ya don't have a date?! Benny, Harry and Rick all asked you out! They're here-why aren't you?"
"Because I waited! I waited just like you told me to for a better offer to come along and none came! I knew this would happen. Why did I listen to you?! And now all three of them have dates and what do I have? A date with Lloyd Bridges."
"I'm watchin' Sea Hunt."
Pangs of unconditional sympathy and commiseration pumped through Shirley's heart. Never had she felt sorrier for anyone in her entire eighteen years of life than she felt for her best friend at this very moment. "Look Laverne, you-you dry your eyes and get ready. Someone will pick you up in fifteen minutes."
"Don't 'but' me Laverne! YOU'RE COMING TO THIS PROM AND YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME!" Shirley said, and with that, she hung up the pay phone. Nervously, she re-entered the building. Carmine, Lenny and Squiggy were standing just inside the foyer.
"Whatsamatta Angelface?" Carmine asked, handing her a styrofoam cup filled with fruit punch.
Apprehensively, she took a large gulp. "Laverne. The poor girl's sitting at home watching Sea Hunt."
"But I thought…" Carmine began.
Shirley cut him off. "So did I. Carmine, can I borrow your keys? I've gotta go get her."
But the next thing Shirley heard astounded her.
"I'll go get her!" said a voice that was sincere, solemn and gentle.
It was Lenny.
Shirley paused for a moment, trying to process his quick volunteering in her mind. "Lenny, are you sure you want to?"
"Of course I'm sure! Besides, you should stay here with Carmine. Ya only get one Senior prom."
"Well… alright Len… if that's what you want."
No sooner had she uttered her last syllable than he was gone.
Laverne sat on her couch, cramming Scooter Pies down her throat and occasionally wiping teardrops that fell from her bloodshot eyes down her cheeks. There was a knock at the door. She drew a deep breath and walked to the door, her head staring at the ground. "Look Shirl, I know you think I should go and I but I just don't want…" her weeping eyes looked up at the being before her. "Len… what are you doin' here?"
"I came to get you! We're goin' to the prom!" he said, making an effort to sound as jocund as possible in this situation.
"Nah… I-I don't feel like it, Len," she said, making her way back to the couch and her supply of Scooter Pies. He followed her.
"Aw, of course ya do! Every kid in America waits their whole life for their Senior Prom! C'mon." he said, taking her hand in his.
"Yeah well, I won't be the first one to miss it," she said, her voice dripping with melancholy.
"Laverne, why wouldn't you want to go to your own prom? What could be so bad?" She said nothing. All she could do was think. Why didn't she just say yes to one of those guys? Why did she have to be so picky? Why did this have to happen to her? The tears continued to roll down her cheeks-much like salty waves that roll down rocks, stones, shells and dunes. Lenny wanted very badly to comfort her. But he'd been trying to comfort her for over 7 years now, and had yet to be accepted by her. He remained distant, but concerned. "Vernie… you wanna… talk?"
Silence. And then… she sobbed. Uncontrollably.
"Aw… gee Laverne… don't do that…" he said, his voice calm and soothing. He pondered for a moment what to do, and just gave up. She fell into his embrace. There was something about him at that moment that, to her, was so secure, so comforting, so absolutely divine and suddenly wonderful. She pressed her face against the black jacket he wore. "I hate myself Len…"
"Hey, hey, hey!" he said, gently placing his fingers beneath her chin and lifting her head up. "Don't say that okay?"
"I hafta! I shoulda told one of them yes… but noooooo, I had to wait around for somebody like Pete Lacurdo. Boy, life stinks!"
Lenny reached over and grabbed a tissue, dabbing it at her dampened cheeks. "C'mon, don't cry. Look, I-I know I ain't as smart and I ain't as good lookin' as Pete Lacurdo but, I don't gotta date either! So… if you still wanna go… you can go with me."
Her big green eyes looked up into his blue ones. Naïve they were-but at the same time filled with a sweet honesty that she'd never seen in any guy before. "Y-you'd take me?"
"A'course I would, Laverne! I lo…" he began to say, but halted and simply smiled. "Come on," he said, and led her over to the closet to get her coat. He helped her into the dark blue, woolen warmth, and just as his hand touched the knob of the door, he felt her hand press against his shoulder. He turned to her.
She sighed. "Thanks." And with that, she gave him a kiss. She meant for it to be a friendly kiss-a kiss of gratitude and appreciation for heroically "coming to her rescue." But she just couldn't help herself. As her lips touched his, every boundary that had ever been between them was broken. Maybe she had just been caught up in the moment. Maybe. After all, never in her life had she EVER even thought of kissing Lenny Kosnowski-although in the eighth grade he attempted to do the same and she kicked him in the shin. Finally, they separated.
"We'd better go…" he said, smiling.
Hand in hand, they left.
Shirley sighed. "Memories."
"Yeah, memories," Laverne reminisced.
"You do have to admit-it was pretty nice of Lenny to come pick you up. Even if he wasn't Prince Charming?"
"Yeah. Yeah I guess it was nice," she responded.
The feeling of their kiss that night had never left her since that May
evening back in 1956. And it never would.