6 SMOOTH MY DRESS
I'm glad when Hardin finally leaves so that Steph and I can talk about the party. I need more details to relax, and his presence does not help a bit. "Where's the party? Can you go there?" I try to sound casual while keeping my books neatly on the shelf. "To be precise, it's a liaison party, in one of the largest liaison houses here."
With his mouth wide open Steph wears an extra layer of mascara. "It's not on campus, so Nate picks us up." I am glad that it is not Hardin, even though I realise that he will be there. Somehow the idea of riding with him is unbearable. Why is he so rude and dismissive? He should be grateful I did not write him off just because he messed up his body with tattoos and holes.
Okay, maybe I'll convict him something, but at least I will not show it to him. At least I am polite, even though we are so different. Tattoos and piercings are not normal in my home.
I always had to comb my hair, pluck my eyebrows, and make sure my clothes were clean and ironed. That's how it is. "Did you even understand me?" Steph interrupts my thoughts. "Uh, I'm sorry ... what?" Only now I realise that I'm thinking about him again. "I said we should start getting dressed, you can help me choose my outfit."
The clothes she pulls out of the closet are so inappropriate that I keep looking around, whether there's a camera hidden somewhere and someone jumps out and says it was all fun. With every single part I literally jump together, which makes Steph laugh. Obviously, she amuses that. The dress - no, the little scraps of cloth she finally decides for consists of a black mesh top through which her red bra shines through.
An opaque black slip prevents you from seeing the rest. The dress barely reaches her thighs, but she still pulls it up all the time to show more leg, and then down again so that the neckline gets deeper. Her heels are at least ten inches high. Her fiery red hair tucks her into a wild beehive, causing her individual curls to fall on her shoulders. Her eyes are outlined with even more blue and black kohl than before. "Did the tattoos hurt really?"
I ask her as I pull my favourite red brown dress out of the closet. "The first one is fine, but not as bad as you'd expect, it's like a leg would sting you again and again," he says with a shrug. "That sounds awful." Steph laughs.
It occurs to me that she might find me just as weird as I find her. That it could suit us both is something comforting. With open mouth she stares at my dress. "You do not really want to wear that, do you?" I stroke my hand over the fabric. It's my most beautiful dress, my favourite dress, and I do not have that many anyway.
"What is wrong with that?" I do not want to show how unsettled I am. The maroon fabric is soft, yet firm, similar to pantsuits. The collar hugs my neck, and the sleeves end just below the elbow. "Nothing ... it's just that ... long," says Steph hesitantly. "I'm just over my knee." I do not know if she realises how offended I am, but for some reason I do not want to show her that.
"It's pretty, but maybe a little too formal for today, you could borrow something from me," she says seriously. In me, everything comes together at the idea of me, in one of their tiny parts to be panned. "Thanks, Steph, that's nice, but I'm putting this on." With these words I turn on my curling iron.
Finally, when my hair falls perfectly curled over my back, I put a clip on the left and right, so that they do not hang in my forehead. "Would you like some of my makeup?" Asks Steph. I take another look in the mirror. My eyes are always a bit too big for my face, but I use at most some mascara and Lip balm. "Maybe something eyeliner?"
I suggest carefully. Smiling, Steph hands me three eyeliners: one purple, one black and one brown. Undecided, whether I should take brown or black, I play around with it. "Violet would be great for your eyes," says Steph, but I shake my head with a smile. "You are really extraordinary - do we want to trade?" She jokes. But Steph has beautiful green eyes. Why should she even think about trading with me? With the black pencil I draw on the upper and lower eyelid as thin a line as possible, and Steph smiles proudly.
As her phone vibrates, she grabs her clutch. "Nate is here," she says. I smooth down my dress and slip into my flat white toms, which Steph eyes critically but does not comment on. Nate has parked right in front of the building. Loud Hard Rock blaring from the open windows. As I look around carefully, I find ourselves staring at each other. So I quickly lower my head, and when I look up again, I discover Hardin in the passenger seat. 'Hmph!'
"Ladies," Nate greets us. Hardin scrutinises me as Steph and I get in the back. "Theresa, you know we're going to Party and not to church?" In the side mirror, I see that he smiles broadly. "Do not call me Theresa, I prefer Tessa," I warn him. How does he even know that that's my name? Theresa always reminds me of my dad so I do not like it.
"But you're welcome, Theresa." I roll my eyes. Then I decide that this back and forth is a waste of time. Instead, I stare out of the window while driving and try to fade out the loud music. Nate finally parks on a busy street lined with large, identical-looking houses.
Although the name of the fraternity shines in large black letters on the wall, I can not read it properly because ivy tendrils overgrow this side of the huge building in front of us. As befits a typical liaison party, toilet paper strips hang out of the window everywhere, and the noise fits. "How many people are there?" I ask, startled.
On the lawn in front of the house are a lot of people with red cups in the hand. Some are dancing, some are lying in the grass. This is clearly one size too big for me. "Full house, hurry up," answers Hardin when getting out and slams the car door behind him. From the back seat, I watch several people greet Nate with a high five and a handshake, but ignore Hardin.
What surprises me is that apart from Hardin, Nate and Steph, I can not spot anyone with tattoos. Maybe I'll find some friends here tonight. "Are you coming?" Smiling, Steph opens the car door and jumps out. I nod, more to myself, and quickly smooth my dress again after getting out.