As I walked down the hall and glanced at my passers-by Kenneth from grade school raised his head cockily at me, his jeans two sizes too large hung around his polka dotted boxers and his scrawny chest exposed through his mostly undone button up shirt. K-Dawg he preferred now. I faked a smile back as he passed. White gangsters, I rolled my eyes. The shame was he could be a good catch if he would cut his hair and learn to dress right, Amy could go out with him even. I began to formulate my plan to make over Kenneth as I reached my locker, and threw my history book in without a glance. It could definitely work, but he'd probably mess it all up by being himself or something. Some people sometimes…
I flicked out my hair as a large part of the football team walked by, attempted to give them a coy smirk that probably showed a bit too much teeth. Oh well, my hair looked great. I wasn't really interested in any of those guys anyways, but everyone deserved a bit of false hope. I ran my fingers through my hair to get it back in place and headed out to the parking lot. Dad's new girlfriend was coming over for dinner tonight, and bringing her kid with her. She said that he was my age, which I'm sure meant he's only like twelve or something. Either way, I had to find some "good daughter" clothes before 4 o'clock rolled around. I was almost to my car when Amy caught up to me.
"Hey, where's the fire?" her voice rang out, urgent and rushed as though she could create a barrier between my key and the lock.
"Shopping in New York for the weekend, huge thing. I've got to pack up before my flight." I answered absently. Amy had become boring for me, now that she thought that high school was the place to be and searched for gossip like a drowning person for air. She was obviously ready to talk my ear off about everything.
"Really? How come you never told me about it?"
"I could have sworn I did. You must have just forgotten." I said, as I absently opened my car door and threw my purse into the passenger seat.
"Impossible. This is so awesome, where do you get to go?" she asked, the light of new gossip shining through her momentary self-doubt.
"Y'know, here and there… Neiman Marcus is what I'm mostly excited about though."
"Oh, I remember. You mentioned getting shoes… didn't you say that was just before spring break though?"
"Oh… yeah," I said, and put on my best puzzled face, "I guess that's next week then isn't it?"
"Oh Maureen, your head's always so high in the clouds you forget what week it is." Amy smiled at me condescendingly, but I did my best to continue to look muddled.
"Yeah, you're right. Hey, see you on Monday then." I grinned and pulled the car door shut abruptly and started up the car. Amy waved at me happily, distracted enough to have forgotten that she had found me for the purpose of a long winded discussion about what Josh from the football team had for lunch or something as equally mundane. It was easier to confuse her than it was to flat out say I can't talk right now. She took things too personally for that.
It was only a few twists and turns before I pulled into my own driveway, I wouldn't be too hard pressed to walk home if I had to. But I liked my car, Dad assured me it was a very nice car too, but all I cared was it was silver and that it matched anything I could wear.
Dad was out front washing his car, even though no one had driven it since the last time he washed it. He just loved to run the shammy across the sleek green hood of his "Jag". Mom had always given him flack about his obsession about that, insisting on washing the car every two weeks no matter the weather. I was lost in the memory of impromptu snowball fight my mom had started while he washed the car in the snow, when he knocked on my window. I snapped myself out of my daze I smiled at him and grabbed my purse.
"Hey Daddy, thanks a bunch" I said and hopped out of the car.
"Thanks a bunch? What am I? Your personal valet?" he frowned at me.
"Well fine, if you want me to stay in my school clothes for dinner…" I trailed off and smiled, he'd catch the hint.
"Fine, fine, fine. Just go get ready." Dad sighed as he squeezed past me and into the too far forward seat. I grinned at the easy win and skipped up the few front steps into the house. To my left, the dining room table was already set. I felt a lump form in my throat as the weight I had ignored all day finally dropped onto my shoulders.
Dad's new girlfriend and her kid; I'd only be meeting the kid if it was something serious. Hell, I'd only be meeting her if it was serious and that already happened a few months ago. Okay, so she wasn't that new. But she still wasn't Mom. My mom died when I was twelve, from some one-in-a-million shot of happening brain tumour. Some people win the lottery; my family won a brain tumour. My dad has dated on and off since a couple years after that. I met a few of them, most of them stupid bimbos who just wanted his money. So far, Naomi was the only one who's been around for more than six months. It was making me anxious. I leaned against the front door and stared up out the sky light willing the weight to lift off of me. No luck. I took a deep breath and let the foul mood engulf me, and trudged up the stairs to find something my dad would find appropriate.
I sat on the ottoman near one of my floor length mirrors. I never thought I would feel distaste for my walk in closet- It was beautiful, the size of some of my friends' bedrooms. Two long, organized aisles of clothing with an accessories rack at the back. I kept my purses and my sunglasses arranged by day, occasion and weather. My mom and I had painted the walls a deep purple with pink and gold stripes racing around the walls. Most of it was covered with the stacks clothes I had bought since high school. Everything complimented something else, everything was similar. How was I going to find something that didn't belong, and know whether that was good enough to be appropriate?
Ah, there it was- a dress bag coated in dust- surely that must contain something I never wear. As I unzipped it, I realized why; a tartan jumper. A red, purple and green tartan jumper. A red, purple, and green tartan jumper from my half blind grandmother. A red, purple, and green tartan jumper from my half blind grandmother, that I had seen Tabitha, the unfortunate looking girl from school wearing on numerous occasions. Why haven't I burned this with the yard trimmings yet? My lip curled as I forced myself to pull it off the hanger. It would have to do.
As I pulled the abomination over my head the doorbell rang. Crap, had I been deliberating over clothes that long? I stumbled out the double doors of my closet to look at my computer. No, it was only 3. I didn't think Dad was expecting anyone else. The doorbell rang again, followed with three more quick bursts. Shit, it must be for me. It's for me, and I almost have the most offensive crime to fashion on. I dove head first back into my closet, the jumper still half pulled over one of my shoulders. The closest thing would have to do, anything would be better than this mess of fabric. I threw the jumper to the floor and had the dress over my head and straightened out before I realized it was one of my party dresses, one that Dad had expressed his dislike of many times. He didn't like to admit his little girl was growing up, and this dress didn't let him lie to himself. But it didn't matter, I'd change out of it before Naomi and her kid got here.
"Coming!" I shouted down the stairs desperately and flipped my hair around in the mirror quickly. I slid down the bannister like I usually did; only to instantly regret it. I was wearing some sort of satin. I landed at the bottom of the stairs after I flew down the bannister at five times the speed of sound and slammed into the shoe tree, Dad's oxfords and derbies crashed down onto me.
I jumped up and flung the door open, to come face to face with- with- Acne! Short, curly- greasy dark hair! And glasses! Small and round frames, like he was some freaking boy wizard! Lanky and baby faced, the boy- the nerd gaped as I stared around him in wonder of who was pulling this prank on me.
"H-hi my name is Daryl; I'm supposed to come here for dinner and stuff tonight. Is my mom, is N-Naomi here yet?" he finally forced out, adding an attempt at a friendly smile that just came off as frightened. Probably of boobs, I knew the look- his eyes were darting around desperately; I had seen the nerds at school do it when I wore necklines like this dress. Eventually he'd end up looking at the ground. But I suddenly felt as though the weight had been dropped on me yet again, but from a higher height. A nerd in my house for dinner. A nerd's mother dating my father. I closed the door quickly and stomped up the stairs to put the abomination back on. This was not going to go well.