The Girl

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Tuesday comes around
before I know it,
bringing with it the
inevitable winter dance.
The dress I'd bought
that day with Natalia
waits expectantly in my closet,
and a mess of nerves has
assembled itself in my stomach,
far more chaotic than
mere butterflies.
I've never been to
a school dance before, so I
really don't know what to expect.
And the fact that I'm going
with Seth of all people
doesn't help much, either.

I mean, the two of us
are on completely opposite
sides of the spectrum:
he's somewhat popular
and is on the football team, besides,
while I'm one of those people
who could very well go
unnoticed by the rest
of the student population
for the entirety of
my school career.
Not for the first time,
I can't help but wonder
what exactly Nat's motivation was
to bring two people like us together.
And the fact that Seth
doesn't seem to be following
her guidelines concerning me
also is a bit confusing,
to say the least.

Honestly, people in general
confuse me -
so maybe I should just
stop wondering.

Eunice is grumpy all morning,
probably because she isn't
allowed to go to the dance,
on account of her being grounded.
She barely even talks to me
until sometime in the afternoon,
when she approaches me to say,
"We need to get you ready."

"Excuse me?"
Without responding, she
starts pushing me in the direction
of our room, chattering
about how she's going
to do my hair and
my makeup and
how cute I'll look
when she's done.

I should have known that
my sister would try to live
vicariously through me
since she can't go to
the dance herself.
But since I really
have no aptitude when it comes
to hair and makeup and stuff,
I let her do what she wants
while I sit in front
of the full-length mirror
in our bedroom,
staring at my reflection as
it slowly changes before my eyes.

And then, my phone buzzes
with an incoming text -
Seth, of course.
He wanted to pick me up
around six, but made
the mistake of telling
Natalia that information,
and she begged a ride
off of him as well.
Apparently, he says,
Tyler the pothead is
long gone, so she
has no ride there.
I can almost hear
the sarcasm behind his words
as I read the message.

And as I type back
a quick reply, I
catch Euni's gaze on me
in the mirror, and look up
just in time to see her
raise her eyebrows and
smirk in my direction.
I can tell exactly
what hidden message she's
trying to send me with that look.
A second later, she
jumps back with
a laughing screech as I
reach up to whack her
with the hairbrush she's
had me hold onto for her.

A couple hours later,
Euni is finally done with me.
She runs off to find
a pair of her old shoes
that she hopes will fit me,
leaving me staring at
my reflection in the mirror.
To say that I look different
would probably be
an understatement.
It's strange how just
a little makeup and
a different hairdo can
make you look like
an entirely different person.

I almost don't recognize myself -
the girl I see in the mirror
looks older and more mature,
with big eyes and red lips
and hair neatly twisted
into an updo that is
so much unlike the
mess that it normally is.
A dress and makeup can't really
make me any thinner, but
the baby fat in my cheeks
doesn't seem so prominent now,
and the dress does well
to bring out the curves
I didn't know I had.

"You could stand to
get contacts one of these days,"
Euni comments as she
saunters back into the room,
a pair of strappy heels
dangling from her fingers.
"Your glasses hide
your eyes too much."
But when I turn to look
back at her, I see
the smile in her eyes
as she adds,
"You look very pretty, though,
if I do say so myself."

"I'm sorry you can't go,"
I tell her.
"You always look
a lot better than I do
in a dress."

"You'll do, kid,"
she grins, reaching out
to ruffle my hair -
and then remembering,
at last second, and
patting my shoulder instead.
"You'll do.
Have fun with Seth
for me, all right?"

Before I can say anything
in protest, the doorbell
rings from downstairs,
startling us both.
"He's here!"
Eunice hisses at me,
freezing momentarily before
shoving me towards the door,
and then on to the stairs.
"Go grab your coat;
I'll distract him until
you're ready to go."

I don't really understand
her need for subterfuge,
but I follow her instructions
and skirt by the front door
to get my coat from the hall closet
as she pulls it open.
I can hear her
down the hall as she
greets Seth loudly.
His voice follows suit,
in an annoyed tone that I
know is due to her presence.
"Are you hitching
a ride, too?"
I think I hear him say -
but the renewed rush of nerves
flooding through my veins
makes me uncertain of it.

I don't know whether
it's because of the dance
in general, or because
I'm going with him, but
my legs are shaking
in my borrowed heels
and my stomach is churning
with anticipation.
I hope I can make it
through tonight in one piece.

Still, I'm definitely not ready
for what's to come
as I finally emerge into
the entryway, to find
Seth leaning against the doorframe
with Euni hovering close by,
chatting animatedly while
he ignores her.
He looks nice in his tux,
nicer than I'd thought he would.
His tie is the same blue
as my dress -
no doubt Natalia's doing,
since I don't remember telling him
what color it is before.
I pause before I can
get around the corner fully -
but he's already caught
sight of me,
so it doesn't matter.

His eyes widen fractionally
as they lock with mine,
like he's surprised to
see me here -
or maybe that's not it.
Maybe he doesn't recognize me,
like I didn't recognize myself
when I first saw my reflection
in the mirror.
In my place is
a girl who's
completely put together,
maybe even a little pretty;
a girl who isn't me,
but somehow, just for tonight,
is me.

My heart thuds
in my chest
as he finally meets
my eyes again,
breathing out in
a quiet, shocked exhale
that I unconsciously
seem to echo.

"Wow."

×

(lowkey was listening to The Girl by Hellberg while writing this, sorry not sorry--)

These next few chapter are probably gonna kill me, just saying. Prepare for drama, y'all. It's gonna be great B)

Also, sorry about the lack of an update yesterday!! I had this horrible migraine and yeahhhh, not fun. Updates in general may be a bit more sporadic as it's growing closer to the new school year, and I still have a lot to do before I leave for college in a couple weeks. Writing isn't really my priority at the moment, sadly.

ALSO!! I'm gonna be on hiatus from the 11th or 12th through around the 18th for the above reasons. Maybe so far as the 22nd? Not sure yet. I'm sorely unprepared, rip. I also just need a break from stuff so I can get my shit together. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to regular updates once I get settled in college.

Anywho, if you guys liked this chapter, I'd very much appreciate if you would vote and leave me se feedback!! <3

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