BEFORE

"For the last time, come out before I kick the door in!"

It could've been the tacky techno music, or the watered-down punch, but that voice was the last thing Beatrice Foster wanted to hear tonight. The mousy girl took a deep breath. This was as good a time as ever to release her pent-up anger. She unlocked the bathroom stall to unfortunately find the threat towering in front of her. "I told you, Jessica, I'm not going back out there. My date already ditched me and my dress is falling apart!"

Jessica rolled her eyes, placing a hip on her badly-tailored yellow dress. "Don't be such a baby! You and I both know that as of right now, only one of us is going to end up at that after party, and it's not going to be you. So if you care to better your slim chances of getting in, you better go out there and become the life of this homecoming dance!"

"No," Beatrice replied, moving past her and going to the mirrors by the sinks. "I'm going to call my mom to pick me up. Then I'm going home."

"Come on, Beatrice!" Jessica whined. "It's your last week here at Westhill High. The least you can do is to go out with a bang. You and I agreed that our friendship was clearly made for popularity purposes. Being the friend of the girl hiding in the bathroom is not helping. Let's just go out there together for tonight, and later on you and I can part ways as unlikely friends."

Beatrice examined herself in the mirror. She was disgusted with her smeared makeup, flattened brunette curls, and the soft pink dress with the thread unraveling. But most of all, she hated the "friendship" she had shared with Jessica for the year. Of all the schools she had attended in the past three years, this one had been the hardest.

"Goodbye, Jessica," she said finally, going to the door. "Have a nice life."

She made her way down the hall, taking excellent care to avoid the gymnasium. The rush of cool air was refreshing upon bursting out the doors. Beatrice dropped herself on one of the benches and tore off her heels, where she waited for her new life at the next school to take off. Alright, Lima, Ohio, she thought, we better get it right this time.


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