Inning 11 ★ An Eternal Spectator

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I hugged the pillow close as I watched Ellen change out of her clothes again. "I don't understand what you're doing."

She huffed in the middle of trying to zip a skirt up and turned to me. "Gigi lent me some of her clothes. I'm trying to change my style."

I winced. So I left the party by myself, all huffy and puffy for no reason, and when I got to McD's I realized I'd left Ellen alone. I called her but she'd told me she was totally fine hanging out with Gigi for a while longer, and to get home safe. As I'd munched on my chicken nuggets, looking at a table full of girls chatting about all the fun they'd had at the club that night, I felt alone, miserable and like I shouldn't have gone to that freaking party in the first place.

It turned out that the party house had been Gigi's. Her parents were out of town for the weekend and she was throwing two parties back to back. The second one was tonight.

"Yeah, but why? You're fine the way you are."

Ellen celebrated zipping it up with an, "Ah hah!" She looked at herself in the mirror. It was supposed to be one of those short pencil skirts, more modest than what Gigi and half of the girls last night had been wearing, exciting only for being super skin tight. The kind of thing you can only pull off if you have hips and butt and no belly. Ellen had no belly, period. She scrunched up her nose.

"This looks awful on me."

I felt terrible but couldn't deny it. "Try the flowery dress." It lay on top of the clothes pile, a pastel pink with some delicate flowers and it looked like it'd swoosh if you walked with it. Feminine but with a touch of something Ellen. She'd been avoiding it all the while.

"That looks like something I already own."

I dropped the pillow and bent forward to pick it up, since I was sitting on the bed. I lifted the dress. It felt expensive in my hands.

"Yeah," I dragged the word on. "But I bet nothing you own has this back cleavage."

I turned it around for her to see and her eyes lit up.

"Okay, so in other words you want to look more slutty," I said.

She paused as she took off the failed skirt and looked up at me with reproach written all over her cute button face. "That's terrible and you know it. And no, I want to look more mature and more confident."

"Funny, wearing less clothes has a way to bring my confidence down."

She rolled her eyes and stood in her underwear, facing me with her hands on her hips. "That's only because you're still immature and not at all ready to attract male attention." She picked up the dress, put it on with way more ease than the previous garment, and turned to look at her reflection in the middle. Her back was to me. The back cleavage plunged all the way to her waist. This was a dress to either wear without a bra or with a super lacy, pretty one. "And I am so ready to attract male attention. A particular male's attention."

I hugged the pillow again and buried my face in it. It smelled like my best friend's soap. Jasmine.

"I kinda get the feeling that I'm running behind the crowd." I sighed, remembering what I'd seen last night. The scene had been circling my mind since I woke up, and that was why I couldn't pay proper attention to my pee wees this morning. I was so glad no one shed blood. "Or, like maybe I'm running in a different direction from everybody else."

Ellen walked over to her chest of drawers and lo and behold, the dress swooshed. To my shock, she produced a pale pink lacy bra that would match perfectly. I didn't know she owned that kind of stuff. All my bras were sports ones from Target.

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