Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Discovering Me (Book 1 of Discovering Me Series)

By @ess1223

Teen Idle - Marina & The Diamonds

{Isabella}

I was dreadfully nervous the night of my first SMA party. I could’ve easily backed out, but the parties the seniors threw during Labor Day weekend were a tradition. I didn’t want to miss out. Elle promised to take me under her wing and keep me theresecurely. A party ruined my reputation at my old school. I loved my new one and my friends. I made mental goals to adhere to the entire night and kept them in mind as Elle went through her PowerPoint of SMA party etiquette.

~

She connected her laptop to the computer via HDMI cable. I nestled on the couch with a cup of tea to watch her presentation.

“Good afternoon, Babydoll. After this, you will know all there is to know about the way we party.” She informally introduced.

“I’ll be demanding a refund otherwise.” I joked.

She shook her head at me with a smile. She pressed the space bar on her laptop once. A picture of a red solo cup appeared on the television screen.

“Drinking is not a requirement for fun.” She stated before pressing the space bar again, causing an animated ‘X’ to appear on the stock photo of the cup.

“Nicky’s a straight-edge. He doesn’t go out much, but when he does, he won’t so much as hold a cup. Morgan can’t handle the taste and none of us are good at mixing, so she doesn’t do it either.” She explained.

“What about the rest of you?” I asked.

“I sip, never chug; I hate feeling out of control. Ry does, but never gets sloppy; it’d ruin his image. Milo doesn’t always drink, but when he does, he babysits a beer or two the entire night. Finn and Sam can toss ‘em back like nobody’s business. A hardcore case of Napoleon Syndrome causes her to forget her size and drink the same amount as him. She’ll be wasted; he’ll be drunk, but he takes care of her like the good sidekick he is. We’re across the map; there’s no pressure to keep up.”

“Awesome.” I sipped my herbal tea with a smile.

She moved on to the next slide. “If you do want to drink, there are things you should take into consideration.”

She hit the space bar to produce the first bullet point that read: “Alcohol poisoning is not a myt“It’s all fun and games until someone’s passed out and suffocating on their own vomit. Know your limits. Stick with buddies that will look out for you. Get help when you find someone in rough shape. Staying out of trouble isn’t more important than someone’s life.” She advised seriously.

“That took a dark turn.”

“I’m not all glitter and rainbows. I find facts fun. The phrase exists for a reason. Back on subject.” She returned to her presentation. The next bullet point was: “Wear shorts under skirts and dresses”.

“My biggest pet peeve with hot messes is their tendency to flash people when they fall over. Cover your lady bits beforehand. The world will thank you later.” She explained.

“I love you.” I giggled. 

“I only speak the truth.” She placed her hand on her chest.

She armed me with useful information, but kept me laughing throughout with her commentary. We got ready together after her lesson concluded. I was comfortable having her around as I walked around in my bra and underwear. Sharing a bathroom, we quickly grew accustomed to each other’s bodies.

“Which one?” I turned to her with two shirt options. I favored the white one, but I wanted a second opinion.

She studied them for a moment, tilting her head to the side “The white. Because it has a drapery silhouette, you should wear skinny jeans or shorts with it. It’ll off-set it nicely.”

“Thanks.” I hung up the red one. I removed my white tank from its hanger and pulled it over my head, returning its hanger to my closet.

I walked over to my dresser and removed a pair of jean shorts. I stepped into them and took a pair of socks out of my top drawer. I sat on my bed to put them on.

“You’re not going to ditch me for a boy, right?” I pulled up one of my knees to my chest.

“I’m all yours, Babe. I’ve been the one left. It’s not a fun feeling.” She stood in front of my mirror and applied mascara to her eyelashes.

“Do you ever hook up at these things?”

“A few pecks here and there. More only comes with commitment.”

“Personal question: have you gone all the way before?”

“Yes, with my last boyfriend. I thought I loved him. That was my first mistake. It was the epitome of awkward. We were in his car. He got really nervous. Apparently, his nose bleeds when that happens. It started right in the middle of it. I didn’t have any tissue in my purse. All I had was a tampon. Do the math.”

“Are you serious?” I tried so hard not to laugh.

“Yes. Go ahead.” 

I busted out laughing. “I’m so sorry.” 

She shrugged as she fought off a smile of her own. “It makes for a good story. What about you?” 

“Phil wasn’t my boyfriend, but I trusted him. He cared to an extent, but only said he loved me to get into my pants.” I admitted, looking down at my hands. 

“Were you friends before hand?”

“He was the closest thing I had to a friend back home.”

“Past tense?”

“He hates me for something I didn’t do willingly and was too upset to let me explain.” I stood up from my bed and went to my closet to get my boots.

“There are worse things you can do. Consult the movie Grease. Great choice on the shoes, by the way.” She nodded to them.

“I love how often you reference movies. It’s nice knowing I’m not the only one.” I smiled at her as I wiggled my feet into my shoes.

“They are the reason I’m here. I fell in love as a kid. It’s grown as I have. I love trying on the different masks, experiencing life as someone else. Good acting isn’t all smoke and mirrors; it’s very cerebral, a massive mind game.” She shifted her attention back to the mirror.

“Jacob asked about you yesterday.” She smeared lipgloss onto her lips.

“Dancer Jacob?” I asked as I tied the shoe strings of my boots.

“That’s the one.” She wiped off the excess with a paper towel.

“He’s cute, I guess, but we’ve never talked. What did he want to know?”

“What you’re like. I told him the truth, all good things. He seemed really interested.”

“You’re good at spinning things. There’s no way I’ll be able to live up to your description.” I selected a cardigan to complete my ensemble.

“You’re not required to do anything. He’s an option. Explore it or don’t. It’s up to you. What’s your type? I can help you narrow down potential candidates.”

“I’ve never thought about it, honestly. I’ve always had plenty of other things on my mind.”

“I’d peg you as the type of girl that goes for a sense of humor. You love laughing too much to rank something else as your number one.”

I warded off a smile. “Knowing that’s the case, is Jacob a solid match?”

“Maybe. He won’t go all out with you, like say, Miles, but he’ll say sweet and funny things to you one on one.”

“That could be a good thing. I need to exercise some restraint every once in a while.”

She made a noncommittal whimper in response.

“Objection?” I asked lightly as I started combing my hair.

“I think what you do with Miles is precious. I want to see that in an explosive relationship.”

“He just got out of a thing with Anna. I can’t see him like –“

She looked over at me with a massive smirk. “Is that interest I hear?”

“He’s a good friend. I don’t want to do that again. I’m not crushing on him!” I corrected quickly.

“But Izzzieee! He’s nice and so fun to look at and listen to!” She cried in protest, stamping her foot.

 “Then you should go for it.” I giggled.

“Can’t. Anna would love to say I went after her sloppy seconds. I love Miles to death, but he’s too much of a slacker for me to date anyway. I’ve got this thing for the ultra-ambitious. The guy at the top of their field and knows it, yeah, that’s who I go for.”

“Cocky’s a trait you look for?”

“Super confident. It’s sexy. If you must informalize it, call it swag. Cocky breaks into Ryan-territory.”

“The difference, please.” I requested as I picked up my makeup bag and joined her in the mirror.

“The super confident don’t need fans. They’ve got their eyes locked on their end game and don’t stop until they get there. Cocky, i.e. Ryan, thrives off of followers’ support. He needs them to stroke his ego to feel important. He could easily switch over, but he’s addicted to the power.”

“You’re really good at reading people.”

“So you do have a thing for Miles?” She beamed.

“Not that good.” I nudged her with my shoulder.

She butted me with her hip in playful retaliation.

The two of us finished getting ready, chatting and giggling throughout. In many ways, Elle was the gal pal I had always wanted. 

“Can I ask you something?” I turned to face her timidly.

“Sure thing, Babydoll.” She pulled a few pieces of lint from my cardigan.

“Sami, um, she told me you go to the counselor every week. I do too. I’m not judging. I just wanted to know why.” I stammered as gently as possible.

Her expression darkened and she looked down at herself. “I see a lot of myself in you. That’s why I try so hard to have your back.” 

“You don’t have to tell me. I’m sorry I asked.” I stepped forward and hugged her.

“I know what it’s like to be hard on yourself. I was diagnosed with OCD two years ago.” She breathed as she held me close.

I finally registered why I felt like she understood what I saying when I declined outfits. She always made a point to compliment me as a person before giving me a new style option. From the very beginning, I viewed Elle as the one in control of everything – she knew what to wear, say, and do. She was good at so much. I wanted to be that, not knowing we were in the same boat.

“I had an eating disorder and still struggle with Complex Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. I spent the summer in rehab.” I held onto her for support as tears streamed down my cheeks.

“Maybe if we stick together, they won’t be able to hurt us as much.” She croaked, making me aware of that fact that she was crying too.

I pulled back and nodded. “Pact: when we feel like nothing, we tell each other we’re something, only using facts.” I tried to dry my eyes on my sleeves.

“We’ll have a code word or phrase. We just say it and the other knows what to do.”

“Like what?”

She thought to herself for a moment. “’Burning diamonds’. I can’t think of another context where we’d need to use that.”

“I love it. Very sparkly, very you.” I smiled.

“I’m happy you’re here.” She told me sincerely.

“I am too. I wouldn’t have been able to meet you, otherwise.”

She nodded. “Different ends of the country.”

“I have terrible timing. I’ve ruined our makeup.” I sniffled as I continued trying to clean myself up.

“We should skip tonight.” She recommended after a moment of thought.

“What?” I looked up at her.

“I was on the fence. It’s at one of my ex’s suites. I’m over him, but he still likes to flirt with me. I’d rather chill here in my pjs and watch movies with you.”

“Do you have Grease?” I asked with a small smile.

She nodded. “It’s an all-time favorite of mine. I’ve got a soft spot for classics.”

“Will you get annoyed at me for singing the whole time?”

“No, I’ll be doing it too. I’ll be mouthing all the words as well.”

My smile widened. “Let’s do it.”

“I’m going to go to my room to change. I’ll meet you in the living room.” She collected the items she had brought into my room.

She exited through our bathroom, which essentially served as a tunnel from my room to hers.

I changed into a pair of pjs, putting the clothes I planned on wearing back in their respective places. I cleaned up my makeup and went into the living room with a blanket to cozy up with. I settled into the couch. Elle joined me in there soon after I did. Wearing an oversized sleep shirt as a dress with her makeup still intact, and her hair tousled in a carefree manner, she continued to look as though she was ripped out of a catalog. Her eyes didn’t tell the same story.

I finally recognized where I’d seen that look before, I often times saw it on myself. I was grasping so hard for control, terrified to see what happened if I let go for even a moment. Walking on egg shells was exhausting for me. I was sure it was for her as well.

“I brought the movie, candy, trail mix, a nail kit, and I’ve got my tea kettle turned on. We can make hot apple cider.” She arranged the food and other items on the coffee table.

“We’re having a slumber party?” I smiled at her from my seat on the couch.

“Is that okay? We said movie, but I could resist coaxing it to a full blown bonding night.” She opened the case of her DVD.

 “Yeah, totally. I’ve never been to one.”

“Too cool?” She offered lightly.

“Never invited. I’m not the best at fitting in. I assume everyone dislikes me until they explicitly say otherwise.” I ruffled my hair with my hand.

“I’m an optimist. I like to imagine there’s a reason we’re different. It’s lonely, but at the same time, our lives will tell a story no one else has insight into.”

“There’s this Oscar Wilde quote from an essay he wrote. It goes something like ‘I’m a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world’. Feels relevant.”

“Finn loves him. In English, we’re reading The Portrait of Dorian Gray. He rarely pays attention in his classes because he doesn’t need to in order to maintain his grades, but he’s been all ears as we’ve discussed this book. Last class, he referred to Wilde as literature’s smart-ass. It earned him a detention, but he deemed it as worth it, literally declared it as he walked out with his office referral.”

“It’s accurate.” I snickered.

“What are you guys reading?” She asked as she placed the movie in the DVD player.

 “The Great Gatsby. The other day, the teacher asked the class to tell her all of the romantic entanglements of the story. Everyone stated the more obvious ones, Gatsby and Daisy, Daisy and Tom, and so forth. Sami raised her hand and said Nick likes Gatsby. A fiery debate ensued. She concluded it by popping up her middle finger.”

Elle busted out laughing. “I was wondering how she lost her bet with Ry.”

“What bet?”

“Whomever got detention first owed the other person two shots. She has detention next week for that, I’m assuming.” She walked over to the couch and sat down beside me.

She picked up the bowl of trail mix.

“Which eating disorder did you have?” She looked over at me as she placed some of the snack into her mouth.

“Anorexia. I was literally skin and bones when I was admitted to the hospital after passing out.”

Her eyes widened ever so slightly in shock. “Did you know how tiny you were?”

Tears collected in my eyes and I looked up at the ceiling. “That morning, I remember wishing I could lose a few more pounds.”

She draped her arm around me. I rested my head on her shoulder.

“I know what PTSD is, but what’s the addition of the word ‘complex’ signify?”

“Emotional abuse, mostly by my mom. It’s complicated because my scars aren’t visible and never were, but it affects me physically. I have panic attacks. I shake. It’s hard for me to breathe. I even throw up sometimes.”

“What should I do if that happens?” She asked next as we watched the film’s previews.

“I have medication and learned breathing techniques this summer. It’ll be more scary for you to witness than me to go through.” 

“What was rehab like?” 

“Going in, it was terrifying. I was told I’d die if I kept my eating and exercise habits. I was scared to fail and let my family down, especially my older sister. It changed a lot of things for me. I was finally able talk it all out and have someone listen.”

“Are you close to your sister?”

“Yeah, Aud’s always taken care of me. She’d be my best friend if she wasn’t too busy standing in as my mom.”

“Where’s your mom?”

“New Jersey. I haven’t seen her in years. What are things like with your family?” I deflected, not wanting to think about her.

“I’m a daddy’s girl through and through, but I love my mom too. He’s a sports lawyer and she’s an event planner. I have two brothers, one older and one younger, Malcolm and Jordan. I’ve always wanted a sister. Do you only have the one sibling?”

“No, I have a half-sister named Sophia. She’ll be turning four soon.”

“That’s adorable. I love little kids. Jordan’s nine. He’s got an attitude and goes through my things without asking. I can’t call that cute.”

“I think that’s how siblings are supposed to be. Soph goes into my room all the time. What’s your OCD like?” I asked.

“It’s severe enough for medication. My main obsessions revolve around perfectionism, making sure everything is just right. My compulsions include excessive cleaning and organizing and mentally reviewing all of things that should be said and done in a given situation.” She explained.

“That doesn’t bog you down?”

“It does. That’s why I have to go to a counselor and remain on my meds. When all of it goes at full-swing, I get overwhelmed and breakdown. It’s not pretty. It’s scary knowing I’m capable of shutting down like that.”

“I’m right here.” I looked up at her from my spot on her shoulder.

“Let’s take a picture.”

“What?” I pulled away.

She removed her phone from the breast pocket of her nightgown. She slung her arm around my shoulders and held her phone out. She posed and I followed her lead. She snapped a few pictures.

“We look good.” She checked out the shots she took.

“You do.”

She shook her head and leaned over to show me what they looked like.

“What filter did you use? I actually look decent.” I studied them in disbelief.

“None. You’re hot.” She brought her phone back to herself and started typing on it.

I picked up the package of gummy candy on the coffee table and opened it. Her tea kettle started squealing.

She hopped up from the couch. “Be right back.”

I enjoyed the bag of candy.

“I’m pretty sure Scott’s party isn’t pajama themed.” Sami stated as she walked out of her bedroom.

“Elle and I are skipping. We’re going to watch Grease, snack, and paint our nails.”

“Have fun with that. I’m heading over to the boys’ suite to pregame.” She went to Morgan’s door and started knocking on it.

“Ready?” Morgan came out.

“Yep, that’s why I knocked.” Sams replied.

“Are you and Elle ready?” Morgan asked me.

“Change of plans. We’re not going out.”

“Oh, okay. We’ll try not to be too loud when we come in.” She offered me a warm smile.

“We’ll probably still be awake.” Elle walked in with two mugs in her hands.

“Slumber party?” Morgan asked.

Elle nodded. “If Scott asks about me, tell him the truth. I had much better things to do.” She handed me a mug.

I accepted it, careful not to burn myself.

“Want me to ‘accidentally’ knee him in the nuts?” Sami offered.

“Your knees are too precious for that. Thanks for the offer, though.” She blew her a kiss.

She sat down beside me.

“We’re out. Later.” Sami shuffled to the door and held it open.

“Bye.” Morgan waved to us with a bright smile.

“Bye!” Elle and I called to them.

“Movie time!” I cheered.

She picked up the remote and pressed the play button.

“What’s Scott in charge of?” I asked as the cartoon intro danced across the screen.

“I’m junior class president, but he’s a senior and president of the entire student council. I’ll be running for his spot later this year.”

“Are meetings awkward?”

“A little because of how things ended. He wants another shot, but I’m not having that.” She sipped her cider.

“What happened?”

“I stopped hanging out with Anna and the rest of our friends. It was really hard for me to have no one to talk to, so I filled my spare time with clubs. My parents didn’t like that I was spreading myself so thin. To prove to them that I could do it all, I swore that I’d keep my 4.0. My compulsions started flaring up. –”

“He didn’t understand?”

“I was too embarrassed to explain. It’s humiliating being unable to control my mind. He overstepped one of my personal boundaries. I snapped at him and he called me crazy. I dumped him on the spot.” She brought her free hand up to her eyes and used her fingers to swipe away tears.

“Well, I love you, if that’s any consolation.”

She looked over at me with a smile. “Really?”

I nodded. “You’re amazing to say the least. It’s definitely his loss.”

Her smile widened. “I love you too. Now, let’s watch the movie. It lets me recall the massive crush I used to have on John Travolta.”

“He’s in his sixties.” I laughed.

“He was 24 in this, perfectly acceptable crushing age. Everett Woods turns twenty-eight in January. And let me tell you, that boy is keeping it together. Like a fine wine, he’s getting better with age. He’s sexier than ever before and his voice is melted butter. I’ll be unashamed to crush on him when he’s cruising sixty.” She sighed dreamily.

I tried to suppress my laughter, but failed miserably. 

“His beauty is no laughing matter. Don’t make me break out the scrapbook and slideshow.” 

“I’m — I’m sorry. He’s great, honestly. My sister has a major thing for him too.” 

“She has wonderful taste.”

Both of us shifted our attention back to the movie. We sang along to each musical performance. I was off key, but she didn’t seem to mind. We watched my copy of Fame next. With less musical numbers to sing along to, we painted our nails. As the night raged on, we got more and more giggly. When our second movie concluded and our nails were dry, I brought my IPOD and its dock into the living room.

“We’re going to need space. Lots of it.” I told her as I set everything up.

“I can handle that.” She grabbed one end of the coffee table and dragged it off to the side.

I selected the artist I wanted and pressed the ‘play all songs’ button. Wannabe by The Spice Girls blared through my speakers. I turned around to find Elle beaming.

“Yes, yes, all around yes!” She took my hands and pulled me to the dance floor she just created for us.

We lip-synced and bounced around to the beat, pretending we were in a music video. We danced together, twirling each other and mimicking dance moves. We simply slowed it down during the slow songs, never stopping our girl power dance party to change to something up tempo.

Unable to control ourselves, we swayed our hips and popped our backs to Who Do You Think You Are?

“If I knew this was going down, I would’ve skipped Scott’s.” Ryan called to us.

We immediately stopped dancing and turned around to face the door. He was with Sami, Finn, and Morgan. Morgan and Ry looked fine. Sam, on the other hand, was tossed over Finn’s shoulder and laughing hysterically. He couldn’t stop smiling as he struggled to stay balanced.

Elle crossed her arms and glared at him. I blushed and walked backwards to shut off my speakers.

“Our dancing was not that funny, Sam.” Elle cried in our defense.

She struggled to catch her breath as she shook her head. “Watson – he – he has a nice ass.”

“No, I don’t.” He slurred.

“Hmm, move it, Sweet Cheeks.” She slapped it and resumed snickering.

“She needs water.” Elle recommended.

“Yeah, I was about to get that. Finn, put her in my bed. Both of you would end up hurt if you attempted to go into her room.” She went to her door and opened it for him.

“It’s so pink. It’s like Pepto-Bismol puked.” He announced his observation.

“I know, right?” Sami continued to giggle.

“Is that a doily blanket?!” Finn gasped.

“My Bubbe made it and picked out everything else. Just get in the room! –“She shooed them inside.

“Feisty.” He teased.

“Rawrrrr.” Sam made a claw with her hand and reached it towards Morgan as Finn carried her away.

“You’re here to take him home, I presume.” Elle approached Ry after Morgan shut her door.

He nodded and placed his hands into his pockets.

“How was it?” She asked.

“Decent, but nothing to write home about. Alex got wasted and stepped to Miles. I had his back and everything, ready to throw down, but Anna broke it up. By that, I mean Milo walked out the moment she appeared.”

“Is he okay? Where is he?” I replied, worried.

“Our suite. Nicky’s there. He said he went to bed.”

“Do you know what went down?” Elle pressed him.

“Nah, it was bizarre.”

“But Lex started dancing to get better at hockey; he still plays. Miles is so cultured; it wouldn’t have ended well for him.” Elle tried to reason.

“I was there as back up. He would’ve been fine.” 

“Cultured?” I piped up, looking to her.

“Classically-trained pianist, fluent in Italian and Greek, divine dancer, and that face – ugh, I would’ve destroyed Lex if he touched a hair on his head.” She vowed passionately.

“Thanks for the concern.” He quipped sarcastically.

“Now, now, you’re both pretty.” She batted her eyelashes and smiled innocently.

“We could’ve taken Alex.” He grumbled.

“Together, totally.”

“Solo, too.”

She walked up to him and placed her hand on the side of his face. “Sweetie, you’re a pretty boy. That’s why girls like you. We both know your muscles are for show; you work out your glamor muscles only. Miles would’ve had a better shot against him as a dancer, but Alex’s ruthless hockey player mentality would’ve crept in and allowed him to pummel him. Accept that.”

I snorted. Ryan looked at me pointedly.

“I’m strong. I can hold my own and protect others when I need to. Remember that.” He fired back at her and flickered his eyes between the two of us.

“Sams is getting naked. Mom kicked me out.” Finn staggered out of Morgan’s room.

“Not surprised, let’s go home.” Ry nodded to our front door.

“Bye.”

“Bye, be careful.” I replied as both boys walked to our door.

“I’m good. We’ll get back fine.” Ryan reassured as he held open the door for Finn.

“Text me.” Elle requested.

“Will do.” He shut the door behind them.

I turned to Elle. “Will she remember that she flirted with Finn tomorrow?”

“Vaguely. I feel like part of the reason they go all out at parties is because they can say and do things like that without admitting or dealing with their feelings.”

Morgan walked out of her room and shut the door behind her.

“Is she okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, she’s not too bad.”

Sami wandered out of Morgan’s room, wearing a black bra and Batman underwear from the boys’ department. “Where’s – where’s Watson? I just thought of something funny.” She snickered at the thought.

“Home. Go back to bed.“ Morgan requested sternly.

“That water?” She pointed to the empty water bottle Morgan was holding.

“I’m getting you some. Go lie down.”

“We’ll take you.” Elle escorted her back inside and nodded for me to follow her.

She guided Sami back into bed and tucked her in. “Do you feel like you’re going to be sick?” Elle sat down on the edge of the bed. I stayed by the door.

She shook her head. “We missed you and you –“ She pointed to me. She let her hand fall back to the mattress. “Tonight. Not the same.”

“Do you know why Lex went up to Milo?”

“He was all ‘Bro, I got with your girl’. Miles was all, ‘I don’t care. I’ve got an accent, lalalala’. –“

I laughed at her impersonations of them. Elle looked back at me pointedly because it made Sam stop her story.

“Honey, keep talking.” She returned her attention to Sami and stroked her hair as if she were a child.

“What was I – oh, that’s right! The Jock-Strap was like, ’I’m sure Baby’s a freak too. I’ll get back to you when I know’. That’s when – that’s when Blondie showed up. Milo went bye-bye. Not a good daddy. Doesn’t have baby pictures.” She rambled, trailing off.

I ended up snorting, trying too hard not to laugh.

“What is she going on about?” Morgan walked into the room with water.

“Milo not showing us pictures of his child.” I giggled.

“Sam, I’ve got water for you. Please drink it.” She handed her the bottle.

Sami sat up and started drinking it without argument.

“When she’s drunk is the only time she’s obedient.” Morgan informed us.

“Who’s his baby?” Elle asked Morgan.

“It seemed like an inside thing. They were the only ones that understood.”

“Right, well, we’ll let you ladies get to bed.” Elle stood up and linked her arm with mine.

We returned to the living room. We packed up all the things we brought out there and returned the table to its usual spot.

“This was really fun.” I smiled at her before heading off to my room.

She nodded. “It’s nice not to feel so alone.” She admitted softly.

“Same.” I hugged her goodbye.

“You’ve got the whole Lolita thing going on, you know?” She called after me.

“What?” I stopped walking and looked back at her.

“Youthful with prepubescent, doll-like features. That’s why I call you ‘Babydoll’.”

“I refuse to think what you’re trying to make me think.” I retorted as I resumed walking.

“Night, Baby.” She sang.

I rolled my eyes, fighting off a smile. I went into my room and placed my things on my desk. I went through my nightly routine and popped in my retainer before climbing into bed. Upon picking up my phone, I saw that Elle had sent me the picture she took of us. I set it as my background. I smiled at the sight – me with a friend. I placed my phone on my nightstand, switched off my light, and cuddled with my bunny.

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