Slumber

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Chapter Sixteen

Having a baby around was weird, but it was something that was easy to get used to. Felicity brought little Flora around all the time and together we would study, taking turns to change the diapers, feed her, put her to sleep. I wasn’t a fan of all the spitting up, but Flora was such an adorable baby it was easy to forgive her for her lack of barf control. Felicity constantly looked tired, but I think that she was handling motherhood well. Exams were coming soon, and having a baby on top of that wouldn’t be easy. But I was determined to help her as much as I could.

“Come on, girls. It’s time to get going.” My mother said, slinging her purse over her shoulder.

“What?” I asked. “Why? Where are we going?”

“We’re going Prom dress shopping.” Mom stated. Felicity, who was holding a sleeping Flora, smiled, but seemed a little unsure.

“What?” I asked, looking at her, “Don’t you want to go?”

“No, I do, but I don’t have money to buy a prom dress right now.” Felicity said, “Josh asked me to go, and I was just going to wear one of my old dresses.”

“You will do no such thing.” My mother stated sternly. “You’re coming with us. I’ll buy your dress for you.”

Felicity started protesting. “No, I can’t let – ”

“Yes, you can, and you will. Consider this a present for Flora. I’m sure she would want you to have a good time.” Mom said, smiling cheekily. Felicity started smiling and I gave her a thumbs up.

“I’ll get ready to go.” Felicity said.

We were buzzing with excitement. Once we arrived at the mall, my mother pushed Flora’s pram, leaning down to pull faces at the adorable little baby every once in a while. Felicity and I walked arm in arm, pointing at shops that had sales and things. I wasn’t much into getting dolled up and being girly, but the thought of Prom had me excited. I wanted to look nice for Phillip and have a good time.

“So did you find out how Melanie got her hands on that photo?” Felicity asked. “I’ve reported it and it’s been removed from Facebook, but most people in this city know. I don’t really want a picture of my baby out there, you know? There are lots of creeps around. Like, I don’t care what she says about me, but when she messes with Flora? That’s a big no-no.”

“Apparently she hacked Phillip’s Dropbox account or something.” I said. It wasn’t a lie, just not the total truth. I didn’t want Felicity getting mad at Phillip.

“That bitch.” I opened my mouth but Felicity continued before I could, “And don’t start saying that she’s just hurt or jealous or whatever. She and Phillip broke up ages ago and she’s been mean to me all through high school. This is just her way of making me feel bad. Well, I’m not going to let it drag me down.”

“You been listening to One Direction again?”

“So what if I have?”

“Nothing.” I said. Anything British, Felicity loved it.

“Lets go in here.” Mum steered the pram into a little boutique. The racks were covered entirely with formal dresses in loads of different colours. Some were short, but most were long.

“I’m calling her by her real name from now on.

“Who?”

“Melanie.”

“And what name is that?”

“Maleficent.” Felicity snickered before dragging me over to a rack to search through. Most of them were sequined, modern, really over the top numbers that I just knew I would never ever be able to pull off. Felicity was humming under her breath as we searched, totally content and back in her element. She loved this sort of stuff. She stopped suddenly, staring.

“Oh…my god.” She gasped. She walked forward and I followed her. On a mannequin was a blush pink, rose gold kind of coloured dress, with elbow strength sleeves and tiny flowers sewn into the bodice and trailing into the skirt, which flowed to the floor. It would look amazing on Felicity.

“You should try that on.”

“No, I can’t.” she said. “A dress like that wouldn’t fit me anymore.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, Flora started crying and Felicity rushed over to pick her up, bouncing her little girl up and down to get her to go back to sleep.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since I’ve been pregnant. It’s going away slowly, and if I keep exercising I could be back to normal in a couple of weeks, but, I don’t think I want something fitted like that for Prom.” Her eyes brightened. “But you should try it on.”

“Me?” I pointed at my chest. “In pink?”

“It’s blush.”

“Same thing.”

“Would you just try it already?”

I scowled and asked to try it on, as it seemed it was the only one in the store. After the sales assistant got one from the back room for me, I trooped into the change room. It was softer than I expected, and also a little bit heavier from the skirt, which fell naturally to the floor. To stop my hair from snagging on the flowers, I quickly tied it up in a high ponytail. I would have to wear heels to stop the skirt from dragging.

“Okay, I’m coming out.” I said. I opened the curtain and mom was standing there, holding Flora and her jaw dropped. I hadn’t seen myself in the mirror, so I turned to look. It looked elegant with the sleeves, and the cut of the neckline made it look like I had collarbones. The colour looked nice on my pale skin and it made me look stylish and yet elegant at the same time.

“That looks amazing on you.” My mom whispered, reaching out to touch the fabric. “It’s like it was made for you.”

Felicity came over with a purple dress draped over her arm. She looked at the tag. “Well no wonder. It’s couture.”

“Oh wow.” I said. I was pretty sure my mom would open her mouth and tell me we couldn’t afford the dress or something, but she just nodded, making me do a turn in it.

“That’s your dress. I’m convinced.”

“We only just started looking mom.” I said. Felicity slipped into the dressing room across from mine.

“Yes, but I doubt anyone in your class will have this dress.”

“I suppose. But mom it’s probably expensive.”

“So?” Mom shrugged. Upon seeing the worried look on my face, she waved a hand. “Sweetheart, me and your father talked about this already. You’ve gotten an almost perfect report card, you did all that volunteer work and you stood by your best friend when she needed you most. We’re proud of you and we think you deserve this.”

I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled and ducked my head. Felicity emerged from her dressing room and I smiled. She was in a silk lilac coloured dress with an empire waist and a high neck. The top was covered in intricate beading and it was see-through at the back.

“Wow. That colour looks awesome on you.”

“Thanks babe.”

“The cut is very flattering too.”

“And it’s on sale.” Felicity added with a smile. My mom was rocking Flora to sleep, a smile on her face.

“Won’t be long until it’s her turn.”

“Nope. She’s staying that size forever.” Felicity said, in complete denial. I laughed and Felicity and I decided to get these dresses, and then spent the rest of the afternoon getting shoes, jewellery and clutches, then talking about how we should each do our hair and how much makeup we should wear.

“I don’t want to get my makeup done.” Felicity said. “I’d rather do it myself because then it’ll be exactly the way I want it, and I find that people put way too much foundation on so I just look like an oompa loompa.”

“Would you do mine for me then? Because I’m terrible at makeup.”

“So long as your mom does my hair.”

“I’m fine with that.” Mom smiled in the rear view mirror.

“Awesome.” I sat back in my seat and looked at Flora, who was in the middle seat, making little sucking sounds as she moved her arms and legs energetically. She was such a happy baby.

“So Josh asked you to go with him?”

“Yeah, last week. He came over to see Flora and we were hanging out and he suddenly just asked me. I said yes of course, but it was nice all the same.”

“Josh…isn’t he Phillip’s friend? The one who caused the accident?”

My face fell. I’d forgotten that. “Um, yeah.”

My mother nodded but didn’t say anything else. She dropped Felicity and I off at my house before she went out to catch up with Josephine for a late lunch.

“You and Phillip. When were going to tell me?” Felicity whispered to me as we made our way upstairs to my room. Only after I’d closed the door did I answer her.

“How did you know?”

Felicity shot me a look, holding Flora in her arms. “You two have been acting strange for weeks. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Josh and I were talking about it.”

I sighed. “You just had a baby. You kinda deserved priority.”

“Rhea! I need gossip! Come on, tell me everything!” she said as she lounged on the windowsill seat, Flora in her nap, drinking some water from a little sippy cup.

“What do you want to know?” I asked warily, hanging up my dress in my closet.

“Well, how’d it go? What made you decide?”

“Your talk actually. And Phillip and I kind of talked about it and just decided.”

“Did he tell you he loves you?”

“No.” I raised an eyebrow as I walked towards her and sat down opposite her.

“Should he have?”

“Yes! Everyone knows he loves you except him!”

I waved a hand, trying to get away from this topic because I really didn’t want her asking me questions. “Anyway, we just made up our minds, decided it was the right time and that’s all there is to it.”

“Was it fun?”

I laughed, tickling Flora’s belly. “Yeah it was fun. I enjoyed it.”

Felicity grinned at me and handed Flora over to me. “I wanted to ask you something.”

“Is it about sex? Because I really don’t want to talk about this when I’m holding a baby.”

“No. It’s about Flora.”

“What about her?” I asked, looking at the baby. Flora was a beautiful little girl. She had Felicity’s bright blue eyes and her dark hair. Her chin was different though, and her nose was different to Felicity’s when she was a baby.

“I know I’m almost nineteen, and that the possibility of me dying is low, but I know some things happen. I’m thinking about organising a will, and I wanted to ask your permission to leave legal guardianship to you, in case anything happens. I don’t have any family aside from my mom, so I thought, well…” she trailed off, tracing a finger over Flora’s foot. “Would you be Flora’s godmother?”

“Of course.” I said. “I kind of thought I already was.”

Felicity laughed.
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