“Seriously El, you can’t wear that,” said my friend Rachel.
I looked back at her, a little miffed.
“Why not?” I asked plaintively. The jeans I had on were nice, a dark denim wash, and I’d paired them with a long-sleeve top, crushed velvet with a scoop-neck. “Looks okay to me.”
“Seriously El, we’re in Vegas for the week. We’re going clubbing at a place that doesn’t even have a name, it’s so hot. You can’t wear the stuff you usually do, now take it off,” she commanded.
I thought about refusing flat out, putting down my foot and digging in. But the thing is my friend is the one with the fashion sense, Rachel always looks amazing, knowing exactly how to do herself up for every occasion. In comparison, I was a little frumpy, dazed and confused most times, my brown hair unfashionably curly, my curves unfashionably round. So yes, I got invited to good parties because I was Rachel’s friend, but I didn’t look like any of them, skinny minnies all.
And frankly, it was amazing that Rachel and I are friends at all because we’re so different, she’s swan-like, thin and elegant, with a modeling portfolio, whereas I’m round and small, an A-student. So our interests are poles apart, not to mention our paths in life. But we’ve known one another since we were five, and have seen one another through thick and thin again and again. Take last year, for example, when Rachel’s parents got divorced. I was her confidante, her therapist, and her anchor when she was lost at sea, adrift on waves of sadness. And I know she’d do the same for me if our situations were reversed. So despite the fact that outwardly, it looks like we have nothing in common, in fact we have a bond that goes deep, far further than mere clothes or personalities would suggest.
And since my body changed, my friend’s fashion advice was even more important. Because gone was the old Ellie from two years ago, an underweight mouse shaped like a broomstick, and in her place was the body of a woman, like Venus de Milo incarnate. I have big boobs now, a huge ass that sways when I walk, and generous hips making it hard to fit any type of pants. In fact, it’d been a struggle getting into my jeans tonight, I’d had to hop up and down desperately a couple times before they squeezed on, and the button was threatening to pop off any second.
So I sighed again.
“I don’t have anything else,” I repeated plaintively, gesturing with open palms. “There’s nothing else, look at my suitcase, nothing, nada.” And flipping open the purple travel case to reveal the interior was uninspiring. There was nothing haute couture or racy, just a couple more colored tops and a pair of grey jeans to mix things up.
Rachel pulled a face.
“Really, you didn’t bring a dress? Something a little slinkier?” she asked, picking through the stuff in my bag.
I shook my head.
“Nope, you know I don’t wear dresses that often,” I reminded her. “I’m more of a tomboy.”
Rach pulled another face.
“Tomboy, schmomboy, El, you’ve got a body now that’s decidedly not tomboyish anymore,” she emphasized. “Come on, you’re gonna have to wear something of mine then.” And with that she began pawing through her things, flipping through the closet where she’d hung a million outfits, each one colorful and gaudy, some even with pom-poms and sequins.
“No, Rach, no,” I pleaded. Even if I wore something of my friend’s, we weren’t the same size, not even close. My blonde friend was your typical petite vixen, about five one and a size zero. Whereas now, I was up to a size fourteen, maybe. Possibly a sixteen, it depended on what I’d had for breakfast, or sometimes dinner the night before. There was no way I could squeeze into one of Rachel’s outfits, I’d rip it at the seams like a juicy tomato busting out.
But my friend couldn’t be deterred.
“How about this one?” she asked brightly, pulling a dress out of the closet.
I groaned. It was terrible, all psychedelic colors, oranges swirling with purples, great big globs of green here and there.
“No Rach,” I said firmly. “Absolutely not, I’m getting a headache just looking at it.”
She sniffed, her pert nose wrinkling.
“Just so you know El, this dress is by Missoni, they’re a famous Italian design house known for their zany patterns.”
I shook my head still.
“I’ve never heard of this designer, but no Rach, it’s like an acid trip,” I said, shaking my head. “I can’t.”
Rachel sighed dramatically, hanging it back up.
“How about this one then?” she asked.
I paused for a moment, stunned. The dress wasn’t even a dress, really. It was more like a band of cloth across the bust paired with a skirt, with the tiniest piece of material connecting the two vertically, enough to hide your belly button.
“What is that?” I asked, horrified.
“What you’ve never seen cut-outs before?” my friend scoffed like a grande dame. “This here is an Azzedine Alaia, I love his work,” she cooed. “So sultry, he knows a woman’s body so well.”
I shook my head again.
“Rach, that’s more like a swimsuit, I can’t go into a club wearing a swimsuit.”
And my friend laughed.
“It’s not a swimsuit, the material’s not waterproof,” she said airily. “Besides, look what I’m wearing,” she said slyly, untying her purple fur jacket. And I gasped because beneath the fur, the blonde had on something that looked like a violet handkerchief, a triangle bound around her breasts, dropping to a point that barely shielded her snatch. One flutter, and everything would be visible. I goggled, astounded.
“Will they let you in the club like that?” I stuttered.
“They better,” Rachel said cheerily. “Otherwise Miles will be soooo disappointed,” she cooed.
And I shook my head again. We’d been invited to this no-name disco by a bunch of guys we’d met at the hotel pool earlier this afternoon. Miles was the one Rachel had homed in on, an overly-tan muscular dude whose swim trunks left nothing to the imagination. I didn’t want to go out with them tonight, not really, but Rach was determined to see Miles again and I was just along for the ride, the best friend slash sidekick, always the voice of reason.
“Okay, this one then,” my friend said with finality. “Seriously El, lighten up, this would look fantastic on you.”
And I gasped again, but for a completely different reason. The dress she was holding in her hands was absolutely gorgeous. Size XS, yes, but still stunningly beautiful, a silky slip in gold that shimmered under the lights.
“Try it on, okay?” asked my friend, pushing it into my arms. “Come on, chop chop, we gotta go, it’ll look amazing.”
And with slow steps, I let myself into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me and gazing in the mirror. What was going on? I was boring Ellie Danes, nerd extraordinaire, who never wore things like this. I was more a jeans and a t-shirt girl, swapping out the t-shirt for a sweater when things got cold, or a velvet top when things got sexy. No way could I ever pull off a dress like this.
But never say never, and I was transfixed by the shimmering gold fabric, the material silky and glimmery in the light. Hesitantly, I pulled off my scoopneck, then squeezed out of my jeans, holding the tiny scrap of material in front of me. Did I dare put it on? Did I dare become someone other than plain old Ellie, always the wallflower? And with a sigh, I undid the zip and stepped into the shimmery fabric, sliding it up over my hips and breasts, pulling the spaghetti straps over my shoulders.
Looking in the mirror, I gasped at the sudden transformation. Oh my god, I was someone else now. Whereas before I was curvy, yes, but hidden and discreet, now everything was out in the limelight. The fabric hugged my girls just so, emphasizing their creamy fullness, the tops of my mounds revealed in the deep décolletage. And the dress skimmed my waist, showing off how narrow it was before clinging to my hips, the shimmer emphasizing every sway of my booty.
I giggled then, humping my butt up and down a bit just for fun, letting go in the privacy of the bathroom. It jiggled and jumped under the lights, the fabric sparkling and moving on my curves like liquid gold, casting a magical sheen around me, almost like a halo of sparkles surrounding my curvy form. I loved it, absolutely loved it, and opened the bathroom door.
“Oh my gawd, it’s puuurrr-fect!” squealed my friend, handing me a jacket. “Now put that on otherwise we’re going to be late meeting Miles.”
I shook my head again, draping the coat over my shoulders. It was as if a magic trick had ended, the dark material shrouding the gold, giving no hint of the dazzling splendor beneath. But Rachel was right. It was time to go, time to have a good time tonight.
“Come on,” sang my friend, slinging her purse over her shoulder. “I picked out shoes and a purse for you already, gotta roll!”
And with another sigh, I slipped my feet into the golden pumps Rachel had laid out, complete with a matching gold handbag. Oh my god, the heels were so high, I was going to have trouble balancing and sure enough, my first step was a little wobbly. Bracing myself against the wall, I took a deep breath.
But my friend was already halfway down the hall.
“Come on, last one in the elevator is a rotten egg!” she sang. And I had to laugh at that. We were still kids, even though it was our senior year in high school, even though we were in Vegas on our first unsupervised trip, without parents, siblings, or any type of chaperone. It was our last vacation before school applications started, the whole college race that was going to suck up every last minute of free time.
So this was my final opportunity to have fun, to let my hair down before the grind started, making me dutiful Ellie Danes once more. I straightened my shoulders and lifted my chin, forcing myself to walk confidently into the hall, hips swinging, sashaying like a princess.
“There you go,” nodded my friend approvingly, finger jamming the elevator button. “You’re a new you, Ellie, just for tonight. Remember.”
And I grinned as the elevator doors opened.
“Who’s the rotten egg now?” I asked, rushing into the lift.
Rachel just laughed.
“No seriously, Ellie. Just for tonight, you’re going to be a new you. Flirtatious, sassy, outgoing. You’re going to charm Miles’s friends and make them all fall in love with you. Every single one.”
And I giggled. I wasn’t into Miles’ friends, the guys by the pool today hadn’t been my type for lots of reasons, but Rachel was right. I wanted to dance, laugh, and live up a storm tonight. This was it. It was time for a new Ellie, a new me, because girls can have fun … and I didn’t want to miss out.