I shoved my hands into my hoodie pockets as I scanned the cafeteria. Some say I could kill with my looks. I would just say this was my natural expression.
I screamed out as a hand landed on my shoulder. “Damnit, Kayleigh. I told you to stop doing that.”
She laughed and sat down at the closest table. “And yet, I never seem to listen.”
I sat next to her and shook my head. “What is that look? What is on your mind?” Her eyes were wide, eyebrows lifted, and her smile was the biggest I’ve ever seen.
“You promised you would let me and today is the day,” she said in a cheerful tone.
My shoulders slumped. “Oh, no. Kayleigh, please don’t. Let me off the hook.”
She grabbed onto my arm and got closer, yelling, “You promised!”
I knew it was a bad idea but I couldn’t break a promise to my best friend. “It’s just for today, right? Just today?”
Kayleigh smiled a proud smile. She grabbed onto my hand and pulled me to the girl’s bathroom, standing me by the sink. “I have limited time but I will do my best.”
I sighed to myself as I thought back to the promise I made. When I got caught one night by my parents, Kayleigh was there to rescue me. My parents caught me drinking and that was a whole other nightmare in itself. Fortunately, for me, Kayleigh was there to come up with the perfect excuse and to make sure my parents didn’t ground me for life.
Since then, I had to make it up to her and there was only one thing Kayleigh wanted more than anything else. She wanted to play dress-up with me.
She had always been the type of girl who loved her looks and makeup was an art in her eyes. When you saw the kinds of things she came up with, you would agree.
This girl could look like a model one day and turn into the scariest clown the next day, for Halloween. She was great with makeup, whether it was glamour or special FX.
Kayleigh unzipped my jacket and pulled it off my arms. She rested her chin on my shoulder and watched me through the mirror. “You are so beautiful. It’s a shame you choose to hide your face every day.”
“Let’s get on with it, will ya?” I looked back at her, removed her head from my shoulder.
She frowned and grabbed her brush. “Alright, alright.” She brushed through the knots in my hair. I did brush my own hair but it always got tangled no matter what I did.
I used shampoo and conditioner as needed. I brushed my hair. It was just too thick to not end up in a mess on my head.
Kayleigh grabbed a pin and pinned one side of my hair back, making sure that my hair only fell over my other shoulder. She turned me around and grabbed her makeup bag. “I won’t do too much since it’s my thing and not yours. However, I am here to enhance your beauty and I promise not to turn you into someone else.”
She added some eyeshadow, winged liner, mascara, and a nude lipstick color.
When she faced me towards the mirror, I was a bit surprised by my appearance. Kayleigh was the one person who could make a little bit of makeup go a long way.
Kayleigh smiled upon seeing my reaction. “Wonderful. Go out there and wow everyone.”
“It’s just makeup. I am definitely not about to wow everyone. This is school, not a pageant.” I shook my head and tied my sweater sleeves around my waist. “I’ll see you after school.” I heard the bell ring and I left the bathroom before Kayleigh could say or do anything else.
I found the seat in the back of my government class. I was anti-social and it wasn’t something I was ashamed of. I just was not a people person and I hated attention.
The fact that people glanced at me and whispered did not make my stomach feel much better. With no lunch, I was worried I would be choking on air when I threw up.
I sunk in my seat and begged for this day to end. There was nothing I wanted more than to be at home in my warm bed. This kind of attention was too much for me and it was raising my anxiety levels.
The guy in front of me twisted his body around in his seat to face me. “You must be the new girl. I’m Tom.”
“I’m Amelia, and I’m not new.” I crossed my arms over my chest and gave him a look. “The fact that you have never noticed me before this look is the very reason I cannot date you. It hurts a girl’s feelings when you don’t see her without makeup.” I pouted.
“Whatever, I didn’t want to date you anyway.” He attempted to face the front.
“Mhm, and your best friend says otherwise.” I gestured to his pants.
The back of his neck and his face heated up as he tried to cover the obvious boner in his pants. Thankfully, for women, we did not have to worry about getting those during class. Men were cursed in that department, and a beautiful curse it was for men such as Tom.
As the class ended, I packed up my stuff and moved onto the next. It was not quite a Tom situation but the guy was close to coming to such a situation. It was ridiculous how many high school boys would hit on a girl who showed her face. I was thankful for the gay guys who had no interest in me whatsoever.
After my last class ended, Kayleigh slammed into me as I stood in front of my locker. She knocked us both to the ground before jumping up. “Sorry, sorry. Everyone is talking about a new girl and I was trying to figure out what they meant.” She grabbed my hand and helped me back up.
“It’s me. They assume I’m a new girl because I’m showing my face with makeup. It’s shocking how blind people are. Are you sure I’m not someone else?” I opened my locker and grabbed what I needed.
Kayleigh shrugged. “You’re not. Trust me. People just have a hard time adjusting when someone who’s never worn makeup suddenly does. You also have to realize that I see you every day. I know what you look like. I memorize your facial structure. I can easily tell it’s you. These people never pay attention to your face unless you show it or make yourself known, and that is why they don’t know who you are. They don’t memorize your face.”
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.” I closed my locker and faced her.
“If that’s what you choose, then I’ll leave you be for the day.” Kayleigh left me at my locker.
I shook my head and sighed to myself as I threw one strap over my shoulder. I stopped moving when a boy stepped in front of me, leaning against the lockers. “You’re the new girl?”
“Oh my gosh. Give me a damn break. I am not new. I have been coming to this school since I started the ninth grade and I’m just as old as the rest of you seniors. I wore makeup for once and that is it. It wasn’t my idea.” I crossed my arms.
He leaned in closer, way too close for my liking. His breath smelled of hot dogs. “I think whoever’s idea it was, they are very genius.”
I put my hand against his face, pushing him back. “Personal space is a lovely thing. I have to get home.”
He blocked my way and shook his head. “I have a proposal for you if you’re willing to listen.”
“I work for the Playboy Mansion and I wanted to tell you that you would be a great model for our work,” he said with a smile.
I widened my eyes as I realized what he was saying. “You are such a pervert. No, no, absolutely not! I am not selling my body just because you want to look at it.” I stepped back, now beginning to feel self-conscious about my body.
“And why would you say no? You would be paid very well for what you have to offer.” He gestured to my body, his eyes lingering a bit too long on my chest.
Without thinking, my hand met his cheek as hard as my strength allowed. There was a huge red mark on his left cheek and he seemed too shocked to say anything about it.
Whoever was still left in the hallway was watching the entire scene go down.
I quickly left the hall and soon, the school. I walked home and didn’t say a word to my mom or dad before I closed the door to my room. I dropped my backpack and looked in the mirror hanging on my door.
I shook my head as I pulled the pins from my hair. The day was over now, and Kayleigh got the wish she asked for. I paid my debt.
Using makeup wipes to wipe my face, I sat down on my bed and took deep breaths to calm my nerves. I had no idea who that guy was but he had no right to tell me I belonged on Playboy. He had no manners.
I got up from my bed and left my room. I entered my brother’s room. I stood in the doorway and leaned against the frame as I stared at his empty bed. He was away at college and I hadn’t seen him in a while.
I walked over to the bed and got down on my knees before reaching underneath and pulling out a box. I laughed at the thought of being one of these women. I could only wonder what my brother would think if he saw me on one of his Playboy magazines.
This kind of thing wasn’t my style. I was never going to be on these magazines and that boy was not going to talk me into it.
I pushed the box back under his bed and stood. I jumped a bit at the figure standing in the doorway. “What were you doing?” she asked.
“Nothing. I was just thinking of him again. It’s been a while. I miss my brother.” I nodded and left the room.
Mom followed me and smiled. “Of course. I miss him, too. But we will be much happier when he lands a career he loves and your brother makes it.”
“I know. I get it. You make sacrifices for your dreams, and sometimes those dreams mean you don’t see your family for a while. He’ll come back eventually. I know it.” I kissed her cheek and went to get a snack. Food was probably a good idea right about now. I skipped lunch to let Kayleigh work her magic.
Her magic led to some pig telling me he wanted to see my body.
I pulled my sweater on and zipped it up, feeling much more comfortable with my body completely clothed. This was who I was. I put comfort before skin. It was better for me.
While everyone always said it was best to get out of your comfort zone, and I did agree, some comfort zones were best when you didn’t leave them. This was one of those zones. Clothes made me feel better. There couldn’t be anything wrong with me staying in a comfort zone that involved lots of clothes. I hardly believed it would ruin opportunities for me. If it did, I didn’t want to achieve my dreams by using my body anyhow.
I groaned at the sound of my phone pinging. I checked the text message that popped up on my screen. I wasn’t surprised it was Kayleigh. She was my only friend and the only person who ever texted me. Who else wanted to talk to me?
My stomach flipped when I read her question, knowing I would have to answer eventually.
‘Wat happened after school that i keep hearin about?’