Athene was sat in her room in the attic reading again. She was reading Pride and Prejudice lying on top of her bed with her feet in the air.
She was wearing a green skirt with a matching jumper.
It was very quiet in the attic that afternoon, but Athene liked it that way.
Anthony was doing his piano practice downstairs, and Mark and Julie had gone to the cinema.
Nick and Simon had gone to London for the day, Mr Pennington was showing them around the business and introducing them to people.
She was just in the middle of laughing at Mr and Mrs Bennet’s bickering when there was a light knock on the door.
“Um come in!” she called as she sat up properly.
“Don’t worry,” laughed Celia, “it’s only me!”
Celia as always was looking very chic and sophisticated. She was wearing a light pink sink blouse which was tucked into a navy skirt. Celia’s skirt didn’t have layers of silk underskirt underneath as Julie’s had.
To be honest, Athene thought that all those extra skirts looked a bit extravagant and ostentatious for everyday wear.
Celia appeared to be carrying a large box with her.
“Oh, Celia!” exclaimed Athene jumping off the bed and hugging her.
“You know if you get and prettier, you’re going to outshine me at my own wedding!”
“Don’t be silly,” blushed Athene.
“Can I see your ring?” she asked excitedly.
Celia showed her the engagement ring on her right hand, there was a sparkling diamond which was glistening like the sun on a silver band.
“It’s gorgeous,” exclaimed Athene.
“You’re going to look so beautiful on the wedding day.”
“So when are you and Simon getting married then?”
“We were thinking of a Spring wedding,” explained Celia sitting down on the bed next to her.
“So we’re going to get married next Easter holiday, so you can all come.”
Athene beamed, she couldn’t wait for Celia and Simon’s wedding.
Celia and Athene had only met a few times, but she was like an older sister to her.
“Um Athene,” said Celia trying to change the subject.
“Anthony told me that you had some er questions the other day.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Athene flustered.
What had he been telling her?
“Don’t worry,” said Celia laughing slightly, “most girls your age are self-conscious.”
“Some think they’re too tall, too short. Too skinny, too fat, too freckly, too spotty.”
“Even Julie,” she whispered.
Athene looked entirely unconvinced at this idea.
“Why do you think she wears all that makeup and fancy clothes if she wasn’t trying to cover up how self-conscious she is about her natural appearance?”
Athene looked up at Celia and her face lit up.
“To be honest, I’d rather be naturally beautiful like you without trying.”
“I’ve got a few things in here for you,” said Celia going through the box.
She pulled out a paperback book with a red-headed girl with plaits on it.
“This book is called Anne of Green Gables, it's about a girl with red plaits not unlike you.”
“I used to read it, but I thought you might like it.”
“Thanks!” beamed Athene as she looked at the blurb.
“But the big thing I need to give you is this.”
She reached in the box and pulled out a silk petticoat underskirt, with just as many layers as Julie’s had.
“That can’t be mine!” stammered Athene.
“If it wasn’t yours why would I be giving it to you?” she asked beaming.
“Besides, everyone’s wearing them for parties in London now clothes are off the ration. And also, you’re going to need this to wear under your bridesmaid's dress.”
“Bridesmaid dress!” said Athene hardly believing her ears.
“Well of course! Julie and you are going to be my bridesmaids. Who else was I going to ask?”
Athene’s face lit up like a lightbulb and she gave Celia a huge hug.
“Well go on!” she chuckled, “try it on! I want to see how it looks!”
Athene pulled the petticoats on over the top of her skirt and spun around the room. The petticoats fell to well below her knee.
They swished and spun out as she twirled around the room.
She laughed as her skirts spun out around her, she felt like a ballerina!
“Thank you Cels!” she gushed hugging Celia.
“But I don’t have anything to wear over it.”
“We can fix that,” laughed Celia, “you’re thirteen, you need a nice outfit.”
“Wait a minute!” beamed Athene going over to her wardrobe.
She went over to her chest of drawers and got out the material from last Christmas. It was carefully wrapped up in tissue paper so that it didn’t get ruined.
“Granny gave me these last Christmas,” said Athene, “she was going to help me make a new blouse and skirt over Easter, but….”
“It’s ok,” said Celia giving her a pat on the back.
“These are gorgeous fabrics,” said Celia as she looked at them.
The silk for the blouse was pale cream, and the material for the skirt was navy blue with tiny little white flowers embroidered.
“Your Granny had good taste,” said Celia as she inspected the skirt material.
“There’s enough material here for a skirt long enough to go over that underskirt.”
“I can help you find a pattern, and we can make them up together if you like.”
“You are the best Cels!” exclaimed Athene.
“I’ll come back tomorrow with some patterns,” said Celia giving Athene one last hug before leaving.
Athene pelted down the stairs after her and rushed into the sitting room where Anthony was practising his piano.
“Anthony!” she beamed running over to him.
“What?” asked Anthony looking up from his piano.
“Thank you thank you thank you!” she exclaimed hugging him.
“For being you!” she beamed.
She kissed him on the cheek quickly, and Anthony blushed slightly before going back to his piano practice.
Athene settled down on the piano stool next to him and kept him company whilst he practised.
She closed her eyes and let the wonderful music wash over her.
She was so lucky! She had the most amazing best friend in the world!
Anthony hadn’t known what to do when Athene hadn’t been feeling great the other day so from a logical conclusion only he could make, he had involved Celia!
It could have gone so badly wrong, but Anthony knew that it wouldn’t.
Celia had talked to her and had known exactly what to say.
She couldn’t have wished for a better friend in the entire wide world.