It's the Homecoming Dance 1996 and Davey Alvarado is miserable in the biggest tuxedo his mother could force him to rent -which is still too tight and making him sweat harder than when Coach Kring kept barking at him to run the mile and he thought for one moment that he was truly on the verge of a heart attack but kept running anyway- and he's sipping punch, standing in the darkest corner of the gym with Billy Fincher, who is about a quarter his size.
That god-awful song, “Mr.Personality", starts playing and the flashing multi-colored lights pulse and sweep patterns of blue and white stars over kids who have actually summoned the gumption to start dancing, but all Davey can think about is how that song makes him feel like an even bigger loser, and that's saying something.
Finally 20 Fingers stops shrieking and “Tonight Tonight” plays as Davey takes off his jacket because it's about ninety degrees in the room and that's when Sheila Sutter walks in the door; red lipstick and strawberry blonde curls (with some of that weird extra hair that girls like to slap on the back of their head for some reason), and a pink corset with a big ballgown skirt that reminds Davey of the princesses he likes in fantasy novels who, at some point, usually hike up their dress and grab a sword, and the image of Sheila doing just that pops into Davey's head so viscerally that it makes him smile for the first time in exactly a week.
Davey Alvarado stands silently sweltering for the next hour watching Sheila Sutter, who is always really nice to him when they're paired together in English -going so far as to pretend she doesn't wish she was partnered with someone else- as she gets mercilessly groped by semi-handsome but fully-douchey Kevin Banks on the dance floor and he fantasizes that things will change and he'll really talk to her; the wretched boundaries of high school crossed, the beauty deigning to couple with the beast -until the songs end, the lights come up, and the dreams become as absurd as the dragons he draws in his notebook at lunch.
Almost twelve years to the date of the Saint Augustine-Adams Homecoming Dance of 1996, Davey Alvarado -having lost weight and gained perspective as well as a pretty hip beard- runs into one Sheila Sutter (who has since learned that sex doesn't equal security and assholes aren't interesting) at a trendy new gastropub in East Hollywood where she flirts with him because he happened to be ordering a very specific microbrew recommended to him by an actor friend of his, and it takes an hour of buzzed conversation before they realize that they seem familiar to each other because they have shared this thing that has crystallized into the exquisite sadness of past lives.