F O U R
Ever since I’ve gotten off work I told Claire about my plans for the night and, of course, she graciously invited herself over to help me get ready.
So far she has been no help.
“You can’t wear that tonight! It doesn’t do your body justice,” Claire says with her arms crossed as she sits on the floor.
I take a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
To be honest, I think I look alright. I’m wearing a grey, short-sleeved, dress that goes down to the knees and is very loose and airy.
It’s one of my favorites but I guess Claire and I have a different sense of fashion. We are currently in my living room as she’s making me try on different dresses to see which one ‘speaks to her.’
“This is the fifth outfit tonight you have rejected. Do you like anything I have in my closet?” I put my hands on my hips.
She rolls her eyes before rummaging through the giant pile of clothes we made on the floor. They were a combination of my clothes she deemed were alright and clothes of hers that she brought along.
“No offense hun, but it looks like you shop at a PG-rated version of GAP for adults. Like what in the fuck are these?” She questions holding up a pair of long johns that I usually wear to keep myself warm during the winter. Honestly, that was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made in my adult life.
I snatch the pants from her hands. “I thought you were here to help me find a perfect outfit for my night out tonight, not judge me on my winter apparel.”
“Yea yea I’m here for that too but why can’t I just do both and multitask?” She says with an innocent smile.
“I really need help, you know I’m not good at this whole... whatever this is,” I say timidly and grab the sides of my dress to release some of my anxiety. I’ve never been good at choosing what to wear for a date. Due to me being a wallflower all through high school no one knew who I was, which is what I liked because I’m very asocial and any sort of confrontation had my face turning cherry red.
She gives me a soft smile and walks to me on her knees. She rubs her hands up and down my forearm. “Dani, you are absolutely stunning. It doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as you keep letting your inner you shine through, you’ll have all have the guys falling on their knees for you,” she quickly looks down at herself and back up, “kinda like how I’m kneeling right now.”
A laugh erupts from me and I slowly loosen the grip on my gown.
She’s right. I just need to breathe and act like myself.
I’ve only been on one date before, If I can even call it that, but the guy was a total douche who was paid $20 because he won a bet with his friends that he would be able to kiss me before the end of the night.
I watch as she goes to the front door and brings over a large reusable bag with more clothes in it. She dumps them ontop of the already large enough pile of clothes and squats, throwing more dresses onto the wooden floor.
“AHA!” She yells excitedly with a red dress clutched in her grasp. “Go, try this on quick.” She throws the dress at me and I catch it, shaking my head, and walk back into my room.
I shimmy out of my old clothing and into the new one, pulling it over my hips and up my shoulders.
“Wow...,” I whisper to myself as I look into the mirror.
This is gorgeous. The dress is long-sleeved with a heart neckline, which molds to my chest, adding to the illusion that there’s more there than there actually is.
Going further down it accentuates my widen hips and flows down to mid-thigh. I turn to the side and gaze at my back that is left bare, open for all to see.
The material is soft to the touch. I can’t even explain what it feels like. Think of a kitten right after it’s been brushed and its fur is still so fluffy and light.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I actually look... beautiful.
I grab the side of the gown with both my hands and walk out of my room and enter the cream-colored living room to see Claire sitting on the old worn-out couch. I found it on the side of the road. Its surface is a little rough, and there are a few stained areas from me dropping food onto it, but in the end, it’s a decent couch.
I thoroughly cleaned and disinfected it before my butt, or anyone else’s butt, was put anywhere near it, the last thing I needed was someone to catch a highly infectious disease because two possums decided to raise a family in between the cushions.
Claire glances up from her phone and rakes her eyes up and down my dress-clad body making me feel uncomfortable. “Dani, I’m gonna have to call the cops on you,” she states with all seriousness staring straight into my eyes.
My face forms into confusion. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”
I look down at my feet, wondering if I had done anything worth getting arrested for. I mean if I were to get arrested it would be for stealing Ms. Belle’s homemade greek yogurt from the refrigerator in the employee’s lounge room but I was so hungry and she told me to take anything that I wanted. So, if I do get arrested, I’d solely put all the blame on her and her non-specificity.
“Oh, you’ve done something wrong all right.” She stuffs her phone into her back pocket and hops off the couch, walking right in front of me.
I tilt my head back to look at her, still trying to figure out why she’s acting weird.
She then walks slowly around me to assess my body. From behind, I hear her voice continue, “Once Alex sees you in this dress the poor man is gonna have a heart attack because damn girl, have you seen yourself?”
She makes a full circle and ends up in front of me once more.
“You’ll knock him dead with your beauty.”
A smile grows on my face but because I’m so awkward with compliments it begins to twitch weirdly and I look down again to hide my flushed face from view. I’ve never had an effect on a man before.
All through high school, I was able to maintain distance from everyone around me and I never worried about pleasing them.
Not once was I tempted to see how it felt to be intimate or make out with a boy who probably would forget my name the next day, stuff like that never seemed fun to me, so how is this one man able to make me feel like there’s fire flowing through my veins just by the mere touch of him?
Will he compliment my outfit and call me beautiful or will he call me a whore and tell me I should’ve put more clothes on?
I’m jumbled out of my thoughts as Claire turns me around, pushes me into my bedroom and sits me down on my bed. I glance up and see her roaming through my bathroom, looking for something.
“Found it!” She yells in the enclosed space and basically skips towards me. She reveals a beautiful gold necklace with a butterfly pendant attached. “You should wear this one, it looks great with your dress.”
I reach my hand out and touch the cold object.
I haven’t looked at this since I moved out of my parent’s house and came here.
Without an answer, Claire ends up behind me on the bed and gently sweeps my hair over my shoulder. She puts the necklace around my neck and connects the ends. I gently brush my fingertips against its surface, reminding me of the day I left my family; my mother wrapping me in her warm embrace and handing me the box with a delicate bow on top.
I must’ve made a face because Claire sits beside me and puts her arm around my shoulder.
“If you’re worried what Alex is gonna think about you I want you to take that thought right now, toss it out into a garbage can, and light it on fire,” she grabs both my hands in hers and continues, “you look absolutely gorgeous tonight and if he doesn’t see that then he’s an absolute fool and can take himself right back up into the mountains,” she says confidently causing a giggle to escape my lips.
She’s right, again, for the second time tonight. I just needed the reassurance that I’m making the right choice in going through with this.
“Thank you for being here for me Claire, it means a lot. I don’t know how tonight would’ve gone without your help,” I say genuinely looking into her eyes.
“Aww, shucks, don’t worry about it. Now,” she stands up and claps her hands, “get your booty into the bathroom and let me do that hair and makeup because lord knows that rats nest on your head won’t fix itself.”
And the process begins.
What a great best friend moment. We all need that one person to be there to pick us up while we’re down and reassure us it’s okay to take chances.
I’m going to start adding a lot more detail coming soon please just bear with me for a bit and I hope you guys are enjoying reading this story as much as I am writing it!
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Hope you enjoyed your time in Joker’s Basement.