Thomas Sawyer loves to dress up and dance - Chapter 2 - Phelon147 (2024)

Chapter Text

“Huck?”

The word came out as weak as a baby.

In the shadows, Huck stood before him with a smile, exuberant as ever, his hands hidden behind his back. What was he hiding? Hopefully a shovel, Tom thought, to knock him out and make him forget about all this.

Staring at the ground, Huck’s eyes avoided gazing at his companion.

He started to mutter, “I, uh, I brought yer something, Tom. Since this is a party an’ all, and yer taught me how to be a boyfriend and whatnot, so-”

From behind his back, he held up his hand. A rose. The sad-looking, tinted flower in Huck’s hand sickly smiled at Tom. When Tom kept quiet, Huck dared a furtive glance at Tom.

Huck’s smile dropped immediately.

“What? Did yer cry?” He asked. A petal from the rose fell on the mud.

Any hint of a hazel hue in Huck’s eyes darkened in the night.

Tom puffed out his chest, overcompensating and rebutting, “No! I was just trying to make myself look more girlish. They cry and are red all the time, yer know.”

Good save.

Then, he snatched the rose from Huck, feeling its thorns digging into his fingers.

“A rose is always good. Ye learn fast,” Tom grinned, before he theatrically curtsied, “Thank ye very much!” His voice was high pitched and funny, causing a loop-sided smile to appear on Huck’s face.

How could Tom ever think Huck wouldn’t come? What a silly boy he could be.

Huck’s eyes scanned Tom - from toe to head - and he said, “Ye look…”

Right. Huck hadn’t seen Tom with the bonnet or the makeup on before. That must have been a real shocker.

Tom spinned around ridiculously “Like the gal of yer dreams?”

“More like the gal of my nightmares.” Huck joked.

“So, what’s the plan again?” Huck asked, as they sheepishly looked around the corner, watching men and women enter Ben Rogers’ white and sturdy house.

Everytime the front door opened to invite guests in, the muffled sound of banjos, guitars and chatter flooded the street.

A window next to the boys poured light on them in the shadowy side street.

Tom kept his eyes on the door closing again, ignoring how his hip touched Huck’s.

“We just go in. Tell everyone ye have a girl on yer side. That’ll stop ‘em from teasing ye any longer.”

“That ain’t a real plan, Tom.” Huck said, looking down at Tom.

“Well, we ought to make it real,” Tom craned his head to meet Huck’s eyes. He stepped away from the corner, and nodded at Huck. “Shall we?”

Huck offered his arm, and Tom gladly took it, chin high, chest out, already walking out of the alley, before Huck said,

“Wait!” He stopped in his tracks, eyes wide. “What should I call yer?”

At that moment, it occurred to Tom that he had no name made up for himself yet. Their mission should not fail due to lack of formalities.

“Mary?” Huck suggested, adjusting the collar of his shirt.

“No, my cousin’s name is Mary already.” Tom argued, his brows tensing up. “How ‘bout Elizabeth? I’ve always liked that name.”

Huck pretended to think about it for a moment, and Tom watched him mouthing the name to himself, as though to test out if the name came natural. Then Huck nudged Tom’s side, saying,

“Only if I get to call ye Lizzy.”

Was that a way to get revenge on Tom for occasionally calling him Hucky? Maybe. But Tom thought it would only be for the night, so it wouldn’t matter. Something panged in his stomach. It would only be tonight, that Tom got to play dress up, and pretend to be Huck’s girlfriend. He knew he needed to enjoy the night thoroughly.

And with that, it was decided. The boys happily walked out of the side street, arms intertwined, smiling like goofs.

With the rose in Tom’s other hand, he felt mighty cared for by his supposed boyfriend, and ready to make it known that Huck was no loser when it came to gals.

As they entered, a waft of warmth washed over them. The corridor was filled with people, and it seemed that every child and their parents were chatting or drinking or listening to the melancholic and simple bluegrass banjo music. A smell of fresh bread and chicken found Tom’s nose. This was quite the festivity. And all for some snotty cousins of Ben Rogers. After tonight, Tom would seriously reconsider Ben being part of his crew.

Next to him, Huck frantically stared at the floor. His arm tensed up around Tom, slightly, but enough for Tom to notice. He knew Huck had a hard time being around the townspeople. Occasionally, he would roam the streets of St. Petersburg, yes, but most of the time, he lived in solitude, accompanied by only his closest companions.

Tom softly squeezed Huck’s hand, before a woman in a neat dress came up to them.

“Finn!” Joe Harper’s mother exclaimed. She must have seen them growing roots at the entrance. Her soft figure came closer, saying, “I hadn’t reckoned to see a boy like you here!”

She pointed upstairs and said, “Ben and the kids are upstairs. Oh, and who is that guest you’re bringing?”

Her motherly eyes fixed on Tom, and he forced his best girly smile, trying not to look directly at her.

Joe Harper’s mom grimaced a bit. Tom’s smile must not have been convincing enough. Would she throw them out now? Snatch the bonnet off Tom’s head and call him a liar? An imposter to this party?

Dramatic as Tom had always been, such thoughts reeled in his mind, churning in his stomach, filling his head, before she could say,

“You and your lovely girlfriend should have a good time. Have fun!” She said, taking Tom's rose from him to put in a vase, before Huck and Tom rushed upstairs. Overheating from the mass of people, and probably nervousness as well, they paused for a moment on the staircase.

Tom whispered, “It works!”

Trying hard not to burst out laughing, Huck ventured, “She must’ve thought you were one ugly gal.”

The corners of his mouth fought to stay down, and Tom couldn’t believe it. Him? Ugly?!

“Hey, don’t forget it’s you who’s courting said ugly gal!” Tom argued, and jokingly hit him in the chest.

“Fine,” Huck surrendered, but his grin made it less convincing.

They made their way up and were shocked.

It only took a few stairs from the buzzing party downstairs to the loveless party up here. Children leaning on the wooden walls, sitting on the floor, whispering or moaning with boredom. Waiting, maybe, for the festivities to finally wake them up.

Joe Harper came up to them, “Hey, Huck!” He shook Huck’s hand heartily, “You made it. Who’s the gal?” He looked at Tom, who slouched into his dress.

Huck put a hand on his shoulder, lying, “That’s Elizabeth. She is my girlfriend.”

Joe Harper gave Tom a warm smile, “I ain’t never seen ye around. Hey, where’s Tom?” Harper glimpsed behind Huck, as though he were able to find him there. “Reckoned he’d come by, you know. Him being quite popular with gals as well,” He winked at Huck.

While usually, such an observation of Tom’s character would flatter him, somehow he felt embarrassed by it. Somehow, he did not want Huck to think of him as such a flirt.

Suddenly, Joe Harper turned around, raised his hands to the ceiling, or god, perhaps, and solemnly declared, “Guys! Huck’s here!”

As if the party would only start if Huck arrived. Which, to Tom’s surprise, it did. People got up, lit up, and cheered. The gals from school were dancing, the boys woke up from their slumber-like boredom, and everyone jumped to their feet at an instant, eager to greet Huck and his mysterious companion.

Before Tom could throw Huck a glance, classmates asked him all about his date.

Neither of the boys knew what to do. Normally, any attention would go straight to Tom. It was a law of nature. But this time, everyone’s eyes lay on Huck, and only few cared to talk to Tom. He was a girl to them, after all. He needed to be passive, quiet, and pretty.

After a while of chatter, and a flustered Huck as a result of it, something in the crowd stirred. It parted and let four impish boys walk towards Huck and Tom. Snotty noses held high, fists balled and with their hair slicked back, they took up space right in front of them.

No, those boys weren’t from here, Tom thought. He craned his head at Huck, trying to furrow his brow in order to send a silent message. Something like, what the hell do these boys want?

In response, Huck’s jaw locked in. These posh-looking boys must be Ben Rogers’ cousins from England. The ones that made fun of Huck for never having had a girlfriend before. Surely, they felt stupid now.

“And what do we have here?” The tallest one said, in a peculiar voice.

“Finn Huck and a little girl,” the round one yelled, although without pronouncing the “t”.

“Did you pay her to go out with you?” Another one chimed in, looking all hungry and lanky. A disapproving sound rippled through the crowd.

Huck puffed his chest out. “No,” he huffed, all eyes on him, “I could never do that…” His head hung low, voice all thin, as he admitted, “I ain’t got the money for that.”

Scornful laughter echoed through the crowd. Tom couldn’t believe their sheer audacity. If he weren’t wearing a dress, he’d lick those boys so hard, they’d run back to their King George or whoever.

Then, Ben Rogers came forward from the noisy eyes of the surrounding people. With a desperate demand in his voice, he said, “Stop this! Why don’t we just go about dancing? This is my mom’s party, after all.”

The tall one shoved Ben Rogers to the side, a stern forehead at Huck, “I bet you he cannot even dance.”

“Yeah,” the round one replied, “He’s only ever with his Tommy boy,” he teased. How could they know? What exactly did Ben tell his cousins about Huck and Tom? And why did it bother Tom so much that they’d called him Tommy ? For a long time, he had hated that nickname. Until Huck started calling him this way.

Tom hoped that the bonnet on his head would keep his anger hidden.

“Where is that boy anyway?” The lanky boy asked. A suspicious brow raised in his face. Tom could feel the nervous energy buzzing from Huck.

“I, uhm,” he started.

Tom aided, “He had to hunt down a boy who had called him a name. Heard he was gonna drown him by the river!”

Needless to say, the embellishment of his character impressed the boys. Maybe even frightened. With a British scoff and their British loafers, the four boys gave each other a nasty look. Then they retreated. The crowd of people vanished. The loud music still radiated from downstairs. The table on the side smelled of fresh punch and apples.

Tom knew his talent for getting away with things would come in handy. Maybe the British boys would stop agonizing Huck now. Maybe they could leave the party now. Huck’s reputation would be saved. This should feel victorious, Tom thought. But why then, at the thought of leaving already, did Tom feel so miserable? Why was there a tingle in his chest?

And why did it intensify when Huck softly asked, “Are ye alright?”

Tom turned to him. “Yes. D’you reckon those boys are gon’ leave ye in peace?”

Huck unclenched his jaw. The way his bones relaxed was so clear to see - it made Tom realize just how close they had been standing. Huck gazed at the boys, chatting on the other side of the room, leaning on the wall. He said, “I don’t know.”

“Ye know, ye gotta give the people what they want,” Tom said, pointing at the kids sitting on the floor. They wanted a party. They thought they were gonna get one when Huck showed up. He is the free kid. The wild kid. He would save the party, they surely must have thought. Obviously, they did not know Huck the way Tom did. But, since Tom did not want to leave yet, why not give them what they wanted.

“Wait here. I know what to do,” Huck said. With that, he vanished downstairs.

Without an explanation, of course.

And with Tom being boyfriend-less now and hot in the face, he decided to get a drink from the fruit punch bowl.

Refreshing raspberry juice washed down his throat. This was quite what he needed. All of a sudden, a hand lay on Tom’s hip. When he turned to the side, the hand on his hip vanished. However, before him suddenly appeared someone. Fancy clothes, flat hair and a slightly pursed look on his lips. Alfred Temple. If Tom weren’t dressed as girl, he would–

“Elizabeth, right?” Alfred asked, swaying a drink in his hand. His expression could only be described by Tom as slimy .

“Uhm,” Tom adjusted his voice. “Yes,” he said, nodding girlishly.

Holding the cold class in his hand, Tom tensed his fingers around it. It was fine. Just Alfred Temple talking to him. All he had to do was not say anything boyish. Or conspicuous. Or aggressive. Tom tried to keep a subtle expression while Alfred looked at him like he’d want to eat him.

Meaning to end the conversation early, Tom shot him a quick smile and tried to walk away. Vainly.

“Not so quick,” Alfred stepped in his way. Tom could not help but roll his eyes. Alfred did not seem to notice. Instead, he continued. “You obviously do not know me. I am Alfred Temple, and considering your… situation,” he stared at Tom’s dress. Under his gaze, the dress suddenly lost its elegance. “You should really want to get to know me.”

Rich ass.

“Now, I am fully aware that you accompanied Huck Finn to the party,” Alfred popped a grape in his mouth, his eyes keen on Tom. Why had Tom’s disguise had to be so good? Tom wanted to disappear under his bonnet. Melt into the ground and leave nothing behind but a white dress. Was nobody around to help Tom out of this situation? And why wouldn’t Alfred shut up?

Tom kept quiet. Alfred kept talking.

“However,” he said, pouring himself some punch, “you surely must not have known about him when you agreed. You see, Huck Finn is a lowlife. A nothing, really. His father was a drunk, and he will turn out the same way.”

Rage, hot, and white as Tom’s dress filled his veins. He held onto his glass, careful not to accidentally smash it against Alfred’s head. How dared he say such things about Huck? Was that what everyone thought of him? Just a lost cause?

Tom knew he had to keep calm. Giving away even the slightest hint of his angry character could put him and Huck in a bad position. Weakly, Tom attempted a sheepish smile.

“Oh…” is all he could venture in a squeaky voice. How did Huck even manage to disguise as a girl? This was harder than he expected.

Then the unimaginable happened.

Tom tried to dry out the conversation, no longer responding to the never-ending blabbering of Alfred. He brought his lips to his glass once more,, when Alfred said something along the lines of;

“...like attracts alike.”

Tom took a big, bored gulp from his drink, as he continued, “You should kiss me before Finn comes back.”

Before Alfred could purse his lips at him, Tom choked on his drink. He coughed so hard, the raspberry punch burned in his nose.

Out of nowhere, a hand rested on Tom’s shoulder.

Thomas Sawyer loves to dress up and dance - Chapter 2 - Phelon147 (2024)
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