Sample – Dressing Dawn

Dressing Dawn

Dawn felt her face contract in a sour expression. She could already imagine the ridiculous clothing Kaylee would be attracted to, or, worse, her perception of the kind of clothes Dawn liked to wear. Probably some horrible concert tee from My Chemical Romance or something equally shitty. Still, it was rude not to acknowledge the gift and Dawn had already been standing too long, looking down at the bow-tied package.

“Uh, thanks, Kaylee,” she managed, taking the light box from her hands. “You really didn’t have to.”

“Oh, I know,” Kaylee grinned, jumping onto Dawn’s bed and bouncing on the edge. Her blonde hair was loose, springing around her head with each bounce like a golden halo. “I just thought of you when I saw it, so…”

She trailed off with a shrug and chomped on that infuriating gum she was always chewing. Dawn hated the cud-like effect it had on people as they chewed gum. It made them look dopey, frivolous. And Dawn might have been many things – morose and moody, bitingly sarcastic – but she was certainly not frivolous.

“Go on, open it!” Dawn urged her, barely able to contain her excitement.

Dawn sighed, realizing quickly no work would be done today if she didn’t open and, probably, try on the gift. She sat down at the desk chair beside the computer desk, where her screensaver virtual fish swam in a digital fish tank. Dawn liked to tell people it was ironic, but, truthfully, she found the bubbling and repetition of the faux fish’s movement to be soothing. Her black-tipped nails tugged the bow loose and she lifted the lid off the white box. Inside was a scarf, deep purple in color and silky to the touch. It was, astonishingly, quit lovely.

“Kaylee,” she said in a near-whisper. “This is really nice.”

Kaylee beamed with pride. “See? I knew it owuld be perfect for you. New clothes can give you a whole different outlook. There’s more, too.”

“More?” Dawn repeated, sifting through the green tissue paper that lined the box. Beneath the scarf was a sixty-four pack of bubblegum, something called Dazey.

“I saw you looking at me when I was blowing a bubble in class the other day and I thought you might like some. I chew it all the time.” She smacked her teeth together merrily.

“Thanks,” Dawn said, less impressed by the second gift, but not wanting to offend Kaylee after she’d brought her the scarf, which would go with just about any outfit she wore. It would be the lightest thing in her wardrobe, but it was still perfect.

“Welcome,” Kaylee smiled and rolled onto her stomach, her legs kicking behind her as she propped her head on the top of her folded hands. “So, try it on.”

Dawn had dressed hungover-casual for the day, wearing black stretch pants and a black sweatshirt that covered her slim body, her hair in a single ponytail pulled tight to her head at the back. She wrapped the dark purple scarf around her neck, letting both ends hang loosely down the front of the sweatshirt. She was pleased when she turned to the mirror. The touch of color was subdued, but really set off her pale skin and matching purple highlights. She spun back to Kaylee who was clapping on the bed.

“Yay!” Kaylee squealed. “It’s you!”

“It kind of is,” Dawn agreed. “Thank you, again. But, I guess we should do some work. You mind if I put on some music?”

“Nope,” Kaylee said quickly.

As a morose British band played in the background, they discussed possible topics for their project. Kaylee had an easy way about her that, despite her initial resistance, was beginning to win Dawn over. She was undeniably sunny and sweet and, despite Dawn’s gloomier nature, was impossible not to like after a little time with her.

The sun was going down when they finished, Kaylee apologized for having to go so soon, but another date with her boyfriend was planned, and Dawn was a little tired herself. When Kaylee left, she kissed Dawn’s cheek again, leaving a similar pink smudge on her cheek as the day before.

Alone in her room, Dawn wiped the lipstick away and found her fingers under her nose, inhaling the scent of the bubblegum-flavored lipstick. She recovered the pack of gum Kaylee had left for her and removed a piece, sliding it over her dark lips. She sat on the floor, listening to the echoing pluck of guitars and Robert Smith’s dreamy voice, chewing the gum and staring blankly into space. The sugary taste of the gum was all she could focus on, chewing mechanically as the music, too, faded away and left her in a world of cotton candy haze.

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