“WAKE UP!” Kelly yells while leaping on to my bed.
“It’s formal day!” she smiles
“Yeah, I guess it is.” I speak softly while rubbing my eyes.
I lump grows in my throat when I take a second to realize the day is here. The first time I will attend a formal without Tyler. I haven’t spoke to him since the day before he left. He hasn’t returned my texts or my calls so I gave up but for some reason I feel a hint of guilt in my stomach over going with his best friend tonight. ”Why would you care? He left.” my subconscious adds.
“Hello? Earth to Charlie.” I hear Kelly saying while she waves her hand infront of my face.
“What? Sorry!” I snap.
“Mani Pedis and a blow out today?” she says.
“What about class?” I say with a smirk.
“We can skip today, just this once! It is a special occasion.” she laughs crashing her head back onto my pillow.
The thought of a mani-pedi and blow out sounds relaxing. I could use a lot of relaxation today. The thought of the formal excites me but terrifies me at the same time. I roll myself out of bed and throw on a pair of leggings, an oversized sweatshirt and black Nike tennis shoes.
“Let’s go.” I turn to Kelly and smile.
“This is going to be great!” she beams.
We stop at Starbucks and I order my usual iced caramel macchiato before heading to the nail salon. We decided to start with mani-pedis then get our blowouts done just before heading back to get ready for formal. We go to the same nail salon we always do when we are here at school, Les Maines Nail Bar. I get a light pink color for my nails, nothing to bright, I like to keep it neutral. Kelly does for a bright white color, claiming that it will pop with her pink dress. We spend about two hours at the nail salon getting our nails to match our toes before making our way to Bombshell Salon for blowouts.
“I made an appointment for two blowouts.” Kelly says to the receptionist behind the desk at the front of the salon.
“Kelly and Charlie?” she asks.
“Yup that’s us!” Kelly beams.
“Right this way please.” she smiles as we follow her into the salon.
They sit us at the shampooing bowls side by side and two stylists begin their work on our hair. I feel bad for the girl having to handle mine, I haven’t been taking the best care of my hair these past few weeks. I have thrown it in a bun or braid most days.
“Any special plans tonight?” the stylist asks breaking me from my thoughts.
“Yeah, we have the fall formal for our college tonight” I reply.
“Oh, wow that sounds like so much fun!” she says with a smile.
I return the smile and nod. She begins to blow dry my hair, running the round brush through my thick blonde hair, adding product she claims helps tame frizz as she goes. I am shock by how smooth it looks when she is done, usually when I blow dry my hair it is poufy, and I am forced to at least run a straightener over it.
“Would you like me to style it for your dance tonight?” she asks
I had fully expected to be having to leave here and attempt to do it myself.
“That would be awesome.” I reply looking back at her through the mirror that sits infront of me.
She grabs a large curling iron and begins to add curls to my hair, they are not tight , ,they are more like waves. They flow perfectly down my back as she moves to curl the front pieces, being sure to curl them away from my face so it frames me perfectly. She twists back a piece from each side leaving my face framing pieces down and gently pins the twists to the back of my head, tugging on them to make them appear larger.
“Done!” she says with excitement.
“I love it!” I reply.
I really do love the way she did my hair; I haven’t felt this confident in a while and I don’t even have my makeup on yet. Kelly and I pay for our blowouts and make our way back to our apartment. My phone goes off on the drive and a message from Jackson appears.
"Looking forward to tonight. See you at 7.” He wrote.
I feel my cheeks get flushed after reading the message. It made me feel warm inside. When we arrive back to the apartment I head to my bathroom and Kelly heads to hers so we can do our makeup and get on our dresses. I decide on a light smokey eye look. I trace a light gold shimmer eyeshadow across my eyelid and follow it with a deeper brown tone on the outer corner and crease of my lid. I draw a thin of black eyeliner on and top the look off with mascara. I can’t remember the last time I did a full makeup look like this. The foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner is such a difference maker I notice as I take in my appearance in the mirror. I decide to brush a light pink gloss across my full lips.
When I look down at my phone to check the time, I realize it is already 6:50 p.m. I hustle over to my closest and pull my dress off the hook and take another long look at it before slipping it on my body. I must admit it looks even better now that the look is completed by my hair and make up. It makes me just as confident as I remember from the fitting room, if not more. I grab my black heeled sandal and fasten the strap around my ankle when I hear a knock on the apartment door.
“Jackson is here!” Kelly calls from outside my door.
My heart begins to beat faster, and I pace around my room, unable to bring myself to leave it. I knew it would be hard going out for the first time after everything but its like all my emotions just came back and hit me like a bus again. I bring myself in front of my mirror and take a good look at myself, remembering when I cried looking at myself in this same mirror wondering if I would ever see myself the same. Tonight I see my normal self or at least a sliver of her.
“Don’t be a coward.” I say to myself letting out a deep breath and heading for the door. I finally force my hand to turn the knob and pull the door open. When I look up I see Jackson, holding a bouquet of flowers and it knocks the breath out of me. He is in black dress pants with a white button up shirt and maroon colored tie fastened around his neck paired with a blazer draping over his muscular shoulders. His perfect hair is pushed back like it normally is but it appears he actually used a touch of hair gel this time. He is staring at me with another new look on his face as I start to walk towards him, my dress flowing with me as I take each step.
“Charlie you look...I don’t even know what to say.” He blushes
“You look beautiful.” He finishes.
The sound of those words coming over his lips set my insides on fire.
“Thank you, you look great yourself.” I say with a smile.
He flashes me a smile and opens my apartment door so we can head down to his truck. We walk side by side with nothing being said by either of us. We reach the parking lot where Jacksons truck is parked, he leads me over to the passenger side and opens the door for me. I look up at the lifted ford F-150 and let out a laugh.
“What?” he chuckles nervously, obviously confused by what has me laughing.
“I don’t know if I can lift myself into your truck in this dress and heals.” I say.
He looks me up and down then turns and takes a long look at his truck. It’s not that the truck is lifted to high, it’s a slight lift and the truck sits on bigger tires but I’m a clutz and my dress is white. I don’t want to slip while trying to pull myself inside.
“I got you.” He says with smile.
“Wha-” I try to speak but Jackson grabs my waist and lifts me into his truck before I can even finish. He flashes me a smirk and shuts my door to make his way around to his side. I feel butterflies in my stomach, but I try to ignore the sensation.
“How about some music?” he says flashing that perfect smile before turning up the radio
We make a little small talk on the way to the formal, mainly we just listen to the music that is flowing from the speakers. When we pull into the parking lot outside the formal venue, I can tell it is absolutely packed which only makes my nerves worse. There are twinkly lights hanging all around outside, it looks truly beautiful.
“Stay put.” Jackson turns to me and says as he jumps out of the truck.
After a moment, the passenger door opens and he stands outside with his hand out smiling at me, waiting for me to take his hand so he can help me out of the truck. I have to admit the gesture, as small as it may be is not something I expected of Jackson. I take his hand and let him guide me down until my heels touch the concrete.
“Thank you.” I tell him
“Of course, you ready?” he replies looking towards the entrance then back me.
“Ready as I’ll ever be” I smile.