Every Friendship has a Beginning

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A Girl Becomes a Woman

The next day curled up on the floor in the sitting room with Celia and Mrs Brown.

They were flicking through dress patterns in fashion magazines, trying to find a good pattern for Athene’s new skirt and blouse.

Nick was watching with interest, and Anthony was, to surprise no one, reading a book.

“I like that one,” said Nick, pointing at a skirt picture.

“It’s a bit short,” said Celia as she turned the page, “we need to fit the underskirt under it.”

“Oh,” muttered Nick as he went back to watching.

“This one could work,” suggested Mrs Brown as she reached a pattern for a long, pleated skirt.

“Have we got enough material?” asked Athene as she looked at the pattern.

“More than,” beamed Celia.

Then they traced out the pattern for the blouse and the skirt from the pattern, and then the real fun began.

Athene unfolded and ironed out the fabrics, as Mrs Brown got out the dressmaking scissors, and she carefully cut the material.

Nick’s eyes were nearly popping out in fascination, as he watched the fabric eventually become two beautiful items of clothing.

Between the three of them they managed to sew the two items of clothing in one afternoon, and that evening when Mr Pennington came home from work, Athene was spinning around the sitting room in her new outfit.

“You look gorgeous Athene!” said Mr Pennington.

“Spin around again Athens!” called Anthony as he came back downstairs with his camera.

“Want to get it on film!”

Athene was more than happy to spin around the living room as Anthony filmed her.

She had never felt so grown up!

“You know,” muttered Celia as she looked Athene up and down, “they’re not the biggest in the world, but there is something there.”

“What are you talking about Cels darling?” asked Simon who had just come back from London with his Dad.

“Athene,” she beamed, “I think I need to take you bra shopping before the beginning of term.”

Mark couldn’t help himself from spluttering with laughter, he just couldn’t hold it back.

He left the room in hysterics, and headed up to his room, they could still hear him laughing through the ceiling!

Anthony on the other hand looked very awkward and had started reading his book with much more interest.

“Are you serious?” Athene stammered looking at Celia.

“I need a bra!”

Athene was looking at Celia, as though she had never heard anything more wonderful in her whole life!

If she needed a bra, however little, that meant that she was growing! That she was normal!

“I’ll take you to Horsham for one tomorrow, you’re going back to school soon.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” she exclaimed before running upstairs to put away her new clothes carefully so as not to ruin them.

The next day, Athene got up at five o’clock in the morning, she was so excited, today was just so important!

She hopped straight out of bed and got dressed in a pink plaid skirt and a dark pink jumper. She had been reading Anne of Green Gables, and according to Anne Shirley pink didn’t suit redheads, but she just didn’t care. Pink was a pretty colour, and she liked it. Besides her hair wasn’t orange-red so it didn’t clash too badly.

She did one plait rather than two and tied a ribbon on the end before rushing down to Mark and Anthony’s room.

“Anthony,” she called softly coming into the room.

“Hmm,” muttered Anthony drowsily.

“Anthony,” she called again sitting down on his bed.

“Athene?” he whispered as he felt around for his glasses.

“What time is it?”

“Quarter past five,” she whispered giggling trying not to wake up Mark.

Athene could tell that Anthony was smiling even in the dark. He picked up his copy of Shakespeare off his bedside table and they both headed through to the linen cupboard.

Anthony pulled himself up onto to the top shelf and then helped Athene up. The shelf could fit them both on quite comfortably.

Yesterday they had started reading through Anthony’s copy of Shakespeare taking it in turns to read. Anthony and Athene often read to each other a chapter at a time, sometimes when they were in the dorm others would listen in.

They wouldn’t just read out monotonously though. They would give what Mark and Julie called ‘dramatic readings.’ They would read with enthusiasm and do all the different voices.

It was Anthony’s turn to read first today. They were reading through all the plays in the book, but not in order. When each of them read they got to choose which play they wanted to read, and then they would check that play off the list.

They had started last night and Athene had read out A Midsummers Nights Eve. It was Anthony’s turn this morning though.

“I think it’s time we find out about Marky and my namesakes,” beamed Anthony as he opened the page.

“The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra,” he read as he opened the book to the right page.

“And I presume I’m supposed to be Cleopatra in this tragedy of yours,” Athene muttered.

“No Cleopatra was Egyptian, your names Greek, you’ll be fine.”

“Well, that’s alright then,” beamed Athene as she got herself comfortable leaning against the pillow.

They’d got to the end of the Second Act by the time people started actually looking for them.

“Bugger!” muttered Anthony.

“It was about to get to the good bit, I could tell.”

“Well we can finish it off later,” assured Athene.

“No, we can’t, you’re going shopping,” he grumbled.

“Anthony Pennington, I assure you it does not take all day to buy a bra! We can finish off the play this afternoon.”

“Now come on silly,” she laughed as she got down off the top shelf, “we’re going to be late!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” he smirked leaving his book on the shelf as he hopped down and headed down to breakfast.

“Where the hell have you two been?” asked Mark, who was still half asleep as they joined him for breakfast.

“Ask us no questions and we’ll tell you no lies,” said Anthony.

“Word to the wise,” said Simon, “if you two want to keep your secret hideout secret, stop doing the dramatic readings!”

“Why do you two keep hanging out in the linen closet,” agreed Mark, “this house is huge!”

“Just because,” shrugged Anthony.

Celia joined them for the end of breakfast and shared a piece of toast with Simon.

“Don’t be out all day darling,” said Simon, “I’ll miss you!”

“For god's sake Simon!” muttered Celia.

“We’re only going to Horsham; we’ll be back in time for lunch!”

Simon smiled in relief.

“Come on Athene, let’s get going before these boys start trying to invite themselves along!”

Athene laughed as they went to go and get their coats.

They took the bus into Horsham which only took twenty minutes.

Then they went into a department store and they walked up to the teen girl’s department where Celia found an assistant.

“Good morning,” said Celia.

“Good morning,” said the young assistant, “how can I help you?”

“Athene here needs her first bra before going back to school.”

“Ah of course,” beamed the assistant.

“Big sister taking you shopping today?”

“Um yeah,” muttered Athene.

Although she had been excited about the fact that she needed a bra, now she felt very self-conscious again.

“We should get you measured up first then.”

Athene looked terrified; she was going to have to take off her jumper in front of a complete stranger! At least the assistant was a woman!

“It’s ok Athene,” assured Celia, “you’ll get measured in the changing room, there won’t be the whole store watching!”

“Just close your eyes, and it’ll all be over before you know it.”

Athene’s nose twitched as if she seemed entirely unconvinced.

“Come on,” chuckled Celia putting an arm around her.

They went through to a spare changing room, and Athene took her jumper off. She still had her vest on, but after today she wouldn’t have to wear that after today.

She closed her eyes tight shut as the assistant measured her around the bust.

“It’s all done now,” chuckled Celia, “you can open them!”

It was kind of fun picking out the different bras.

Some of them were lacy, some were light yellow or the lightest of pinks. Some of the bras were even black!

Celia helped her try them on in the changing room, and in the end, they bought three bras, one white, one light yellow and even one pink.

Athene kept the pink bra on and put her old vest in with the shopping.

“Why don’t we hit the shoe department,” suggested Celia as they finished paying for the bras, “a girl can never have too many shoes!”

Athene’s face lit up, as they headed over to the shoes.

“I think you need a pair of heels, for special occasions,” said Celia.

“Are you serious?” breathed Athene.

“We can’t let all those boys be taller than you all the time!”

Athene tried on several pairs of shoes with a very slight heel. They eventually decided on a pair of navy shoes with four-inch heels.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

They decided to get some navy tights before they went home, so she didn’t have to wear knee-high socks for school anymore.

When Athene got home, Mark and Anthony hardly recognised her.

“You’ve grown!” said Mark as Athene stumbled inside. She still hadn’t got used to her new heels yet. Celia was going to teach her how to walk in them that afternoon.

“Wow!” breathed Anthony as he looked her up and down.

“You look,” stammered Anthony, “you look, you look.”

“I look what?” laughed Athene.

“Beautiful,” he finished.

“Thanks,” she laughed blushing slightly.

After lunch, Celia showed Athene how to walk properly in her new heels.

That afternoon Athene was sitting on her bed, massaging her feet. Her shoes had been put back away in their box.

“You alright?” chuckled Anthony as he opened up the book.

“Yeah, just heels take a bit of getting used to I guess!”

“Was it worth it though?” beamed Anthony.

“Yeah, I guess it was.”

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