There was very little time to prepare for the night. Even though I would be going last, at the very tail end of the rave, I would have to be in attendance for Laila’s entire set so as to get into the vibe of the night. And the trouble was, I had nothing to wear. I certainly couldn’t show up in my jeans, much as I loved them. There was only one person, or rather two persons, who could help me on that count.
I arrived at Amy’s studio, once again missing her, as Steve informed me she had left the studio that morning cryptically announcing that she had some business to attend to, after which he hadn’t heard any more from her. I was about to ask Steve to help me when Amy bustled in, looking radiant.
‘All business has been taken care of, my friends,’ she announced.
We both waited to hear what this business was, when Amy dropped a bombshell. ‘I’ve just re-mortgaged the studio!’
‘You did what?’ Steve exclaimed.
‘When I said there had to be a way, I didn’t mean something like this,’ I said, fearing that my bit of advice had led to this move. ‘Amy, this studio is your life.’
The most disturbing part was that Amy looked as pleased as Punch when, really, it ought to have devastated her. Both Steve and I were completely baffled.
‘Correction – designing is my life, and this will help me reach my goal! Without that, this studio means nothing.’
‘But you can’t just hand it over to the bank, Amy,’ Steve tried to make her see reason.
‘I have no intention of doing that!’ Amy said adamantly.
She went on to explain that this was their opportunity to do the Fashion Week properly. The bank loan would cover some of the costs, but it was still nowhere near the sum they would need for Amy do make the collection that she really wanted. It was either all or nothing. A patchy, mediocre collection wasn’t going to cut it.
‘Now we really can make a kickass collection!’ Amy smiled excitedly. ‘It’s going to be one big adventure!’
‘Speaking of adventure…’ I thought this was a good time to share my own good, if still somewhat terrifying, news. ‘I don’t suppose you have time to quickly rustle up a DJ-ing outfit for me for tonight?’
They both stared at me in complete disbelief as I explained what I’d been up to. I don’t know which part they struggled with the most – my sudden DJ-ing ambition, or the fact that I’d met someone. Even though I hadn’t described Toby in that way, I could see by the look on their faces that they instantly picked up on my developing crush. I also detected a small flicker of hurt pass over Amy’s face. I could guess what that was about – she was probably wondering why I was only now telling her all this. We used to tell each other everything, almost as soon as it happened.
‘It’s always the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for,’ Steve finally said, filling the shocked silence that fell on the studio after I finished telling them about my new venture.
‘Whoever you are, will you please vacate our friend’s body and bring Heather back?’ Amy joked, while Steve peered into my eyes, as though checking it was still me.
‘It’s me, come on guys,’ I laughed. ‘So, d’you reckon you can make me look a little hot for tonight?’
‘We thought you’d never ask,’ Steve said.
‘And forget about the “little” hot part – you’ll look super-hot by the time we’re finished with you,’ Amy gushed.
With that, the two of them got to work, selecting fabrics, marking, cutting, sewing and pinning bits on me, checking for fit. I knew I was in the best hands. If nothing else, at least I’d have the right ‘armour’ with which to confront Laila.
While Amy put the finishing touches on the outfit, Steve offered to do my make-up, an offer I gratefully accepted. I wasn’t much of an expert on that front. Amy cast me a smile, looking up from the sewing machine.
‘You know what this reminds me of?’
I nodded. I knew what she was alluding to – Amy and me playing at dressing-up as kids in her mother’s closet.
‘One of the perks of being left behind while Mum toured the world,’ I said.
‘If it hadn’t been for my influence, girl, you’d still be stranded with that straight-across fringe!’
We both laughed. Amy lifted the outfit up and beckoned me to get changed.
As I stood before them in my new DJ-ing clothes, my make-up done, I could see Amy and Steve were pleased with their work. They each took me by the hand and led me to the full-length mirror. I could barely recognise myself. It was like being on one of those make-over shows, where the end result is beyond all expectations. I looked ‘street’, I looked good and I had suddenly gained ‘attitude’. All the things I thought were beyond my reach when I had admired Mia and Laila’s styles.
Feeling much more confident about the gig ahead, I left the studio. Amy and Steve wished me good luck. They had offered to come for moral support, but I told them I’d rather they waited and saw me when I was more experienced. I was afraid their presence on my very first night would only add to my nerves.