Chapter 23 – Fitting In

 

“I totally forgot about the dance!” Danni leaned closer to the mirror as she applied a swoop of liquid liner. “I was so sure I’d still be grounded, I just ignored all the posters.”

“Yeah, you’re not wearing any of this.” Robyn sorted through the dresses Danni had brought over with her.

“Hey, I made those.” Danni replied defensively “Those dresses are awesome.”

“They’re not awful. They’re just not quite right.” Robyn held one up against herself. “For you anyway. Remember, you’re on a mission. I’m going to wear this one.” She held up the short, dark purple one.

“That’s fine. I like the yellow one.” Danni finished her eyeliner and waved her hands in front of her eyes to help it dry.

“Doesn’t matter.” Robyn walked to her closet and flipped through hangers. “You’ll be wearing this one.” She pulled out a long sleeved, flitted orange dress and held it towards Danni.

“That’s, um, awfully covered for your normal tastes.” Danni smirked, picking up her mascara.

“The devil’s in the details, sweetie.” She turned the dress around to reveal and extremely low cut back. “With your short hair, this will be a whole lot of skin the school can’t complain about.”

“Guys, my hair! It’s a nightmare.” Teagan walked into the room from the bathroom. “Fix me.”

“It’s not your hair. It’s the dress.” Danni said without hesitation, looking at the other girl’s reflection in the mirror. The pink dress was pretty, but did nothing for her figure and clashed horribly with her crayon red hair.

“Bitch!” Teagan flopped onto Robyn’s bed. “You wiggle your way into our circle and suddenly decide you get to be all mean and stuff.” She chuckled, examining her nails.

“Duh, that’s why I fit in so well.” Danni rolled her eyes.

“She’s not wrong, Teag.” Robyn walked over to the bed and looked at the pile of dresses. “What do you think, Danni? This one?” She held up the yellow dress Danni had been going to wear.

“Perfect. Put it on, Teagan.” Danni tossed the light fabric into her lap “With your boobs, that dress will have the boys a flocking.”

“I love do boys. I love it even more when they flock.” Teagan stripped off her pink dress with no regard for her friends or the open door. Teagan had never been more than the school floozy to Danni, but she was quickly becoming a favourite new friend. Teagan was concerned with little more than looking pretty and finding a cute boy to hang with. Things were always simple with her. She never tried to take the spotlight. “How do I look?” Teagan held out her hands and spun. The dress hugged her body perfectly. She was a few inches taller than Danni, making the skirt super short, but that was Teagan.

“Sex bomb?” Danni grinned, grabbing her dress from the back of the chair and slipping behind the dressing screen in the corner of the room. “Robyn?”

“Yeah?” the sultry voice travelled through the screen.

“Why do you have a dressing screen? I mean really, who uses these things? They’re basically movie props.”

“Well, you’re using it…” Robyn paused “but it looks pretty. And my mom never thinks to look behind it. It’s an excellent place to hide boys when the parents show up unexpectedly.”

“Ah, just one more of those little secrets.” Danni wiggled into the skintight dress. She adjusted the neckline and pulled at the hem before heading back into the main part of the room.

“Yup. Just one of many.” Robyn raised an eyebrow as Teagan zipped up her dress. “Turn around so I can check out your pantyline.”

“Pantylines requires panties, right?” Danni giggled.

“Sassy.” Teagan laughed, patting Robyn on the butt, “You’re all done.”

“I’m just kidding. Of course, I’m wearing panties. I’m wearing a dress.” Danni turned so Robyn could look at the back of the dress. “They’re pretty panties.”

Robyn stepped in front of her mirror and twisted to look at herself. “Hmmm, something’s not right.”

“I know exactly what’s wrong. Come here.” Danni reached for the sewing kit in her purse. A few quick stitches and turned Robyn back to the mirror. “Better?”

“Perfect!” She turned her body from side to side “What’d you do?”

“It was too big; so, I made it smaller. You have the hips of a twelve year old boy.”

“That’s the only boylike thing I have!” Robyn growled playfully.

“I don’t doubt that. You’re all girl.” Danni repacked the sewing kit. “You got shoes to match this thing?” She pointed at her bare feet. Robyn handed her a pair of black boots.

“So girls, are we pre-drinking?” Teagan scrolled through er messages “Shane wants us to meet them at the playground.”

“No matter what some old song says, these boots are not made for walking.” Danni could feel her feet starting to cramp already.

“Yeah, that’s why they make cars.” Robyn rolled her eyes.

“Then who’s not drinking? Cause you guys can ride me all you want, but I’m not getting in a car with someone who’s been drinking.”

“We’re slutty, not stupid, Danni.” Robyn rolled her eyes. “Let’s go.”

“Hi girls,” Robyn’s mother’s voice travelled from the sitting room as the girls headed towards the front door. “Aren’t you going to show me your dresses?”

Robyn rolled her eyes and led the girls into the room full of large, formal furniture. “Hey Mom. Do we look pretty?”

“You look beautiful.” Dressed in a plain black dress with expensive jewellery, Ms. Mathews looked ready for high tea. “Those dresses are gorgeous. Did you get them at that new boutique?”

“Danni made them and let us borrow them.”

“You made these?” Mrs. Mathews looked towards her daughter’s new friend.

“Yes ma’am. I want to be a designer.”

“Well, if you’re interested in taking orders, I definitely know some people that would be interested.”

“Really? That would be amazing!”

“I’ll get your contact information from Robyn later and give you a call.”

“Thanks so much, Mrs. Mathews! That’s so great.”

“Your father and I are going to the city for a cocktail function. Don’t be home too late.” She turned back to her daughter. “Do you want me to take your picture before you leave?”

“Oooo, pictures.” Teagan clapped her hands. “Yes please!” She thrust her phone at the older woman. The three girls posed for several pictures before heading out the door.

Ten minutes later, they crunched across frozen grass to a group of boys on the swings. Although Danni knew who they were, she’d never spoken more than a few words to them in class. As they approached, she saw Shane sitting on the swing with a case of beer at his feet. Two of his friends, Chad and Troy, leaned against the frame. A couple more were walking from the other side of the field, another case of beer hanging from their fingers, still too far away to see.

“Girls!” Shane reached down and grabbed a couple bottles of beers, “You’re looking lovely.” He tossed them each a bottle.

“Too covered if you ask me.” Chad’s mouth slid into a mock frown.

“It is too damn cold to stand out here in our pretty dresses. So until we’re inside, all you get is jacket beauty.” Danni indicated her long black coat, kicking up one foot.

“We should get out asses somewhere warm then.” A familiar voice travelled from the two shadows walking towards them.

“Jon?” Danni swung her head in his direction he twisted the lid off her beer bottle.

“Hey Dan,” Jon walked into the pool of light cast by the playground’s security lamp. “It’s been a while.”

“Mmmm Hmmm.” Danni wandered towards her ex-boyfriend. He set down the case of beer before leaning on the edge of the lamp post. “You’ve got some new friends.”

“I could say the same for you.” Jon raised an eyebrow and shot a glance towards where Robyn and Teagan were flirting with the boys. “What happened with you and Cordelia? You guys were super tight.”

“I really, really don’t want to talk about that right now, Jon.” Danni took a long swig. “It’s complicated and infuriating.” She wrapped her arms around herself.

“Then we don’t talk about it.” He shrugged and rubbed her arms against the cold.

“How come you’re not drinking?” She looked down at his hands, unsure if she wanted them on her or not.

“It’s my turn to drive.” He smiled at her. “Some things don’t change, no matter who my friends are.”

Danni looked up into his familiar green eyes. She hadn’t realized that she missed him until that moment. She’d thought that everything was done. That she was completely over him, especially when Anson showed up. But now, now she wasn’t so sure. “I’ve… I don’t know. We broke up for a reason, Jon.”

“I know, but I’ve missed you.” He ran a finger along the edge of her ear. “I like your hair.” He leaned towards her, his breath warm against her cool skin. “If you give me another chance…”

Danni leaned into him. His weight, his shape, were so familiar. His thin frame was reassuring. He wasn’t the same kind of athletic as her brother and his friends. He didn’t have the body Anson had. He was a skateboarder, and he was built like one. He was more at home with a guitar than a ball. “I don’t know Jon. We couldn’t make it work before. I can’t seem to make anything work lately.”

“If we try…”

“How about…” Danni paused, took another drink, and wrapped her arms around Jon’s waist. “How about we don’t make things so serious tonight and instead, we just have a little fun?” She grinned up at him.

“What kind of fun do you have in mind?” His forehead came down to rest against hers.

“Something we know we’re good at…”

“Hey, you two either get a room or get over here.” Robyn’s voice startled them out of their moment. Danni looked up to see that they had unconsciously wandered away from the group and were now secluded in the shadows. She dropped her arms from Jon’s waist and turned towards the others. He caught her arm quickly and pulled her back to him.

“Save me a dance?” He grinned at her.

“Maybe even two.” She giggled, twisting away from him as she ran back towards the others. “Let’s go do this winter formal thing.”

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