Chapter 39 | Always
“So tell me Addilyn, when did you first realize that you didn’t like how you looked?” JoAnn asks while holding her clipboard in her hands.
“Well, I wanna say around middle school.” I shrug. “I just remember waking up one day and looking into the mirror and thinking, ‘man, when did I get ugly?’“.
“Had anyone else ever said the words ugly when referring to you?” JoAnn asks.
“Well no, but sometimes it’s not always how other people see you, you have to see yourself a certain way too.” I try to defend myself. “And I just didn’t feel like I was anything special at all.”
“Hm.” She hums, while jotting a few things down on her paper. “I can understand that.”
“Really?” My eyes widen. “I mean... thanks.”
“Absolutely. Sometimes the interpretation of others only goes so far... but eventually you need to believe that you yourself are worth something if you ever truly want to feel that way.” She explains, and I completely understand what she is saying.
“So, in order to show others how I feel, I need to understand what I feel for myself first?” I ask.
“Of course.” She smiles. “You see, so many young people nowadays rely so harshly on social media and advertisements that they only see perfection as a size 0 with perfect makeup... but in reality, that isn’t always the case. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not be perfect, because nobody ever truly is.” JoAnn explains, and I nod in understanding.
“Do you think those size 0 girls with perfect makeup are happy? Maybe they are, but... maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re tired of starving themselves just to be looked at as perfect. Maybe they’re tired of always having to look their absolute best, when all they really want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a good book or movie while wearing sweatpants.” She says and I’ve honestly never thought about that before.
“It’s really all about perspective.”
“So... in order to be happy, I just have to live my life how I want to, regardless of what anyone else thinks? I have to trust that I know who I am and who I want to be as I get older.” I say, and JoAnn only smiles in response.
“Now, let’s talk about another situation. Your dad. How is that going?” JoAnn asks, and I instantly feel my stomach twist. I hate talking about my dad’s drinking problem; simply because it’s an everyday reminder of the lies and the life, I don’t want to think about my dad having.
“Well, actually-” but I’m cut off as JoAnn’s timer goes off at her desk.
“Oh, look at that! Saved by the bell!” I smile wide as I grab my bag and stand up.
JoAnn gives me a pointed look before smiling. “Alright, I’ll see you next week... and don’t think I won’t remember this question.” She smirks, and I give her a sheepish smile before leaving her warm and welcoming office.
“Bye JoAnn!” I shout as the door closes behind me.
When I walk outside, I smile at Shane who is waiting for me beside his mom’s car.
I run and leap into his arms as he picks me up and twirls me around.
“Wow, what a greeting. I should pick you up more often.” Shane laughs into my ear as he puts me back down.
“I’m just... happy.” I smile as I look up into his warm chocolate eyes. I’ve never loved the color brown more than I have in the last five months, than I have in my entire life.
“Happy for tomorrow night?” He smiles.
“Just, happy. In general. With everything.” I say as he walks me to my side of the car and opens the door for me. Once I’m sitting inside, he carefully shuts the door and walks around the car to get into the driver’s seat.
“Well, that’s good. Isn’t it?” He says while starting the car.
“Absolutely.” I say, while I turn up the radio.
We spend the next ten minutes jamming to some music as we terribly sing along while driving down the road. Once we reach my house, both Shane and I get out to head inside.
“Shane, is that you?” My mom shouts from the kitchen.
“Yes, Mrs. Bishop. What’s up?” He says as he walks into the kitchen.
“I can’t reach this darn container up on this shelf and Jon isn’t home from work yet.” She whines as she steps aside to allow Shane to retrieve the container for her.
“No problem at all.” He smiles while handing it to my mom.
“You’re a life saver. Remind me to thank Addie for picking such a tall boyfriend.” She smirks just as I enter the kitchen.
My cheeks turn pink while my eyes widen. “Mom, stop!” I huff, sitting down at the table.
“Oh don’t be embarrassed sweetie. It’s a good thing. He has good genes too. Will come in handy in the future.” She smirks even wider, and I bury my head into my hands.
“I am so sorry.” I muffle through my hands towards Shane who sits beside me.
“Hey, she’s right ya know? My genes are amazing.” Shane proudly states while I lift my head and give him a deadpanned look.
“What? It’s true.” He shrugs, while reaching for the plates as he sets them around the dinner table.
“Don’t encourage her behavior, I’m begging you.” I sigh, and my mom glares at me before bursting out into laughter.
“Jacob! Get down here!” She suddenly shouts, causing me to jump slightly.
“Sheesh, mom...” I mutter.
“I don’t wanna!” We hear a small voice travel from upstairs.
My mom thinks for a second and then smiles. “Shane is here!” She shouts, and then you can hear the patter of little feet running through the hallway and down the stairs.
“Shaney!” He cries while rushing over to Shane and jumping into his arms.
“What’s up buddy?” Shane laughs.
“I got new cars for my toy car collection; Want to see?” He smiles with his wide brown eyes.
“I can’t wait! After dinner though, alright?”
Jacob pouts before nodding.
Shane sets him in his seat and then a few seconds later, dad walks through the front door.
“Whose car is that sitting in MY driveway?” Dad says with a hint of playfulness to his tone.
“Gee, no idea.” Shane says with an eye roll.
“How are you Shane?” Dad asks with a smirk.
“I’m great. How was work?” He asks.
“Same old, same old.” Dad shrugs while sitting at the table.
Suddenly, Shane places his hand on my thigh underneath the table, and I have to stop myself from gasping in surprise.
I discreetly cast him a glance, but he ignores me completely while engaging with my dad.
“Addie, why is your face so red?” Jacob suddenly asks as my eyes widen. Shane immediately retracts his hand from my thigh and I quickly look down at my plate of baked chicken and green beans.
I look up and my dad is oblivious while my mom smirks directly at me.
Is it tomorrow yet?
“You’re kidding me, right?”
I stir in my sleep, but eventually lay still as the quiet consumes me again.
“Um... ADDIE!” I immediately jump at the yelling voice of my annoying best friend.
“What’s your problem?” I whine, pulling my covers up and over my head.
“It’s almost noon! You’ve overslept! Our hair and nail appointment is in twenty minutes!” She dramatically shouts while rummaging through my closet for an outfit to wear.
“Who cares? Twenty minutes is plenty of time.” I say, slowly sitting up in bed with a yawn.
Remind me to ask to skip school on Friday’s more often.
“Not when we also have to go and get coffee because when I say I didn’t get any sleep last night, I am in no way joking!” She urges as I get up and go into my bathroom to brush my teeth.
I look down at the drawer that once hid my diet journal and smile, knowing it’s full of Tampons, and nothing but Tampons. JoAnn was very adamant in me getting rid of it. Reading my old negative thoughts about myself, would have done absolutely nothing to help my progress in accepting myself.
“Alright, what do ya got for me?” I ask as I walk out into my bedroom again.
“Here, put these on and hurry!” She says while leaving my room to go back downstairs.
I see a pair of blue-jean shorts with a white v-neck T-shirt and smile, knowing that if this had been just mere months ago, I never would’ve even considered wearing shorts out in public.
I put my clothes on, followed by my pair of white Converse, before grabbing my phone and bag and running downstairs.
“Alright, I’m ready.” I sigh, following Angie out of the front door, and locking up my house.
Angie managed to get her mom to let her use the car, so luckily we don’t have to walk everywhere today. Of course, Angie never would’ve allowed it to happen since that would have been a disaster waiting to happen. God Forbid we sweat out our freshly done hair.
“Don’t you think it’s a little early to do all this? I mean, the dance doesn’t start until seven o’clock tonight.” I say, clicking my seat belt into place as Angie pulls out of my driveway.
“Exactly, and it’s after noon Addie! By the time we get our nails and toes done... and get over to the hair salon to get our hair done, and get back to your place to finish getting ready, hopefully we’ll be able to make it to the dance before it starts.” She rushes out as she watches the road.
I roll my eyes but smile anyway.
“If you say so.” I sing as I reach forward and turn the radio up.
I say six and a half hours is plenty of time to be ready before the dance starts, but then again, what do I really know?
“Oh man, it’s really packed. I hope they don’t push our appointments back.” I say once we pull into the nail salon parking lot.
“Have you met me Addie? We won’t be missing any of our appointments.” She smiles wickedly while we both get out of the car and rush inside the nail salon.
“Hello!” A young Chinese woman smiles as we enter.
“Yes, we have an appointment for... right now.” Angie says while sheepishly smiling at her watch.
“Um, we are a little busy, can you wait about...” The employee looks at her co-workers and then the clock before saying, “fifteen minutes?”
I place my hand over my face and just wait for Angie’s explosion.
“Are you kidding me? FIFTEEN MINUTES? We made an appointment, that means this is OUR time. Surely, the women sitting at the massage chairs can enjoy their massages while someone works on our nails.” Angie rants and I shake my head at my best friend, discreetly apologizing from behind her.
The poor woman doesn’t know how to respond, but she instantly turns to her co-workers and mumbles something in Chinese before turning around with a smile. “Right this way, miss.” She motions for Angie and me to sit at two of the workstations and Angie gives me a satisfied smile.
“Told you.” Angie says as I roll my eyes.
“Yes, you scaring everyone into submission seems like the best route to go.” I sarcastically state while sitting down in my chair.
Angie shrugs and the nail salon employee begins her magic.
The rest of the day goes by pretty quickly, despite Angie’s ridiculous rants at each place we enter. I keep telling her that nobody is going to want to help us when our Senior prom finally comes, but she insists she would see to it that everything goes as planned when the time comes.
“Alright, turn around.” Angie says, finally finished with my makeup.
I get up and turn to face the floor-length mirror in my mom’s bedroom. Angie and I are getting ready in here, since there is more room and my mom has the better makeup.
My eyes widen, and I stare at myself in pure awe. I have never in my entire life, looked at myself in a mirror, and found myself to be beautiful. The red dress flows down my body perfectly, sticking to every curve like glue. My black heels tie the entire outfit together, as well as my dark hair that’s been curled and hangs beautifully around my shoulders.
My makeup is bold, with a dark smokey eye and heavy red lipstick.
“You like?” Angie says, smiling from behind me.
“Are you kidding? I look amazing!” I gush, turning around to hug my best friend.
“Wow.” She says.
“What?” I raise an eyebrow.
“I’ve never heard you say that about yourself before.” She smiles.
“Well, I figured I’d make an exception for tonight.” I smirk in a playful tone.
“Whatever.” She smiles with an eye roll.
Angie looks equally as breath taking with her straightened blonde hair, her new highlights giving her hair a more natural tone. Her big blue eyes are enunciated with dark eyeliner, but light eye shadow and a nude lipstick to finish off the look.
She’s wearing nude heels with her tight black dress that stops mid-thigh, but isn’t so short that she’s revealing anything she shouldn’t be.
I’m honestly a little jealous of how easy it is for her to look so good, but then I remember my sessions with JoAnn, and I remember that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to those around me. I am my own person, and I am just fine in my own way.
Angie looks at the clock on my mom’s bedside table and smiles wide. “Right on schedule.”
“Well, let’s go. We shan’t keep our dates waiting.” I laugh, as Angie and I both grab our clutches and head downstairs.
“Okay, we’re ready!” I shout, so my mom and dad can hear from at the bottom of the stairs.
Angie walks down first, as my mom and dad take numerous pictures of her. Once she’s down stairs, I hear Jax telling her how beautiful she looks and then I swear I hear them kissing.
“Alright, don’t mess up her lipstick!” I shout, which causes Angie to laugh.
It’s my turn.
I slowly grab the railing and take a deep breath, as I begin to walk down the stairs.
If this were a cliché movie, there would be soft music playing in the background.
As my mom snaps numerous pictures of me, her eyes instantly fill up with tears as my dad only smiles. Jacob is actually in his room having a sleepover with one of his friends from school, so he’s missing all of the commotion.
My eyes immediately dart to Shane, who has a beautiful red rose sticking out from his tuxedo pocket as he looks at me adoringly.
Once I make it to the bottom of the stairs, I hug my parents while turning to my friends and Shane.
“Wow, Addie, you look great!” Jax smiles as I pull him in for a hug.
“Both of you really do look amazing.” Shane comments to both Angie and I, and we both send him a smile of appreciation.
“Alright kids, group photos!” My mom says as she pushes all four of us together.
We do the generic prom pose as Jax wraps his arms around Angie’s waist and Shane does the same to me. We all smile for the picture and then we start doing ridiculous poses. Both my parents laugh as they urge us to get going before we’re late and Angie’s eyes widen in determination to not let that happen.
“Love you!” I shout to my parents as we rush outside to the car that Shane’s mom let him use.
We were going to spring for a limo, but we decided we would save that experience for our senior prom.
Once we get to the location of prom, we can instantly hear the bass from the music inside. Lights are flashing outside as people walk into the large building and I honestly have never been this excited before. I can only imagine how awesome our senior prom will be next year.
The four of us walk inside and I instantly squeal beside Angie who wraps her arm around mine and pulls me toward the dance floor. Both Shane and Jax laugh as they follow behind us, and the four of us dance until we physically can’t dance anymore.
“We’ll grab the drinks, you two find a table!” The boys shout over the blaring music and both Angie and I nod at their request.
We end up finding a table in the back and we each plop down while breathing heavy.
“We need to dance more, because I’m already winded.” I laugh.
“True that!” Angie agrees, punching her fist into the air.
A few moments later, the boys return and hand us our drinks.
“Thank you gentlemen.” I smile and Shane scoots his chair closer to me so he can place his arm around my shoulders. I lean my head against his shoulder and smile up at him.
“Are you having fun?” He smirks, though he already knows the answer to that question.
I roll my eyes and lean upward, giving him a gentle kiss against his lips.
“That answer your question?” I raise an eyebrow.
After the last song plays, one of the teacher-chaperones stands up in front of a microphone in the middle of the stage.
“Hello class of 2017 and undergrads!” She shouts over the music and the other students who are still laughing and talking. Eventually the music is cut off and the room goes quiet.
“Who’s ready to hear the names of our prom King and Queen?” She smiles and the crowd erupts into cheers and hollers.
Once the crowd quiets down, the teacher continues.
“Alright, first up, prom King!” She opens her small envelope and after a few seconds, she finally announces. “Rodney Davis!”
The crowd is a fit of clapping and shouts as the Captain of the football team walks up to the stage with a grin resting on his face. He snatches the crown from the poor kid holding it and places it on his head.
“Alright, alright.” the teacher says. “Now... prom Queen!” She smiles.
She opens another small envelope and clears her throat. “Your prom Queen is, Rebecca Moore!”
As the crowd begins to chant and clap again, my eyes widen as I look over to Angie.
“How the hell is she prom Queen when she’s still a junior? That can’t be fair.” I huff, crossing my arms over my chest.
“I guess she ran for prom Queen anyway and apparently won.” Angie shrugs, not at all interested.
We spot Rebecca standing up in her all white gown as she flips her red hair over her shoulder and begins to walk up to the stage. She takes her tiara and places it over her hair gently, as to not mess it up, and then steps beside Rodney while holding his hand.
They both raise their enclosed hands to the crowd, and they go wild.
This is like a scene from a movie I swear it.
They walk out onto the dance floor, to have their traditional first dance, and soon after everyone joins in.
“Well, that was unexpected.” I finally say, laughing at it all.
“You know what this means?” Jax says.
“What?” Angie asks.
“You’re the captain of the cheer leading team Ang, so next year you are a shoe-in for winning prom Queen!” He exclaims.
“Please, I don’t need to win prom Queen to feel good about myself.” She waves it off, leaning into Jax’s arms.
“Actually, if you beat Rebecca Moore for prom Queen next year, she would never get over it. Seems like something worth going for if you ask me.” I smirk. “I can even help you run and get votes.”
“Hm, maybe. We can discuss it more after summer break.” She smirks back to me and we both give each other a look that says we are so doing it.
Another slow song begins to play, so Jax asks Angie to dance and she happily accepts.
I watch them walk out onto the dance floor, and I smile at how happy my two best friends are. They are truly a match made in heaven.
“Care to follow their lead?” Shane suddenly whispers into my ear, and I smile with a nod.
“I’d love to.”
Shane gently takes my hand and leads me out to the dance floor.
The ever-popular song, Fade Into You by Mazzy Star, begins to play as Shane wraps his arms around my waist. I reach up and place my hands around his neck, pulling him closer to me as we sway to the melody.
When the song is over, we pull apart and head back to our table. Angie and Jax continue to dance as the next song begins.
Between the Raindrops by Lifehouse begins to blare and I smile to myself.
“Whatcha smiling at?” Shane asks while scooting so close to me I can feel his breath against my face.
“Just... life.” I say. “I’m smiling at my life, at you, at how far I’ve come... everything.”
Shane nods as the song continues playing.
Walking between the raindrops,
Riding the aftershock beside you.
Off into the sunset,
Living like there’s nothing left to lose.
Chasing after gold mines,
Crossing the fine lines we knew.
Hold on and take a breath,
I’ll be here every step,
Walking between the raindrops with you.
Suddenly, a blast of thunder is heard throughout the building, and it begins raining outside.
“Wow, that’s ironic.” I mumble.
Shane looks down at me as the song comes to the end and gently places his hand against my cheek, pulling my face closer to his before our lips are moving in perfect harmony together.
His grip tightens, and I pull him closer.
Deciding that I can’t hold it in anymore, I pull away from him slowly and look into his eyes.
I smile before saying, “I love you.”
Suddenly, I’m seeing all of his teeth as he smiles wide and pulls me in for another deep, yet gentle kiss.
“I love you too Add.” He grins.