Before I knew it, Friday was upon us. We were heading to the movies later that night, so I had enough time to go home and get ready. Staring at my wardrobe, I had no idea what to wear. Did I dress how I normally dressed, which consisted of long skirts and t-shirts? Or did I try something outrageous like Alice and try and fit in?
My first week at school had actually been pretty great. Aside from Alice, who could just not cut me a break, or Luke who kept silent, it had been the best first week at a new school that anyone could ever ask for.
Lunchtimes were as good as they could be. I talked to the guys and Alice talked to the guys, but we seldom spoke to each other. That was fine by me though.
Still staring at my wardrobe, I tried to picture how each of the others would dress for tonight. I could see Alice wearing ripped tights under dark short shorts and a black sleeveless shirt, with dark makeup to match. Tomas probably wouldn’t care what he wore, so maybe just shorts and a shirt. Luke would most likely wear dark jeans and a dark blue shirt to match his eyes. I could picture Elliot wearing something green, and maybe some jeans to match. They were all so different that it didn’t make me feel any better about what to wear. At least if they were similar I’d have a fair idea of their dress code.
In the end I just had a “screw it” moment and picked an outfit I was comfortable in. I chose a purple floral high-low skirt and a simple black shirt, and matching black flats. I wore no makeup but I did make an effort to brush my dark wavy hair. I grabbed my cute little shoulder bag and headed down stairs to see if dinner was ready.
“Ooh sweetie, is there someone in this group of friends who you’re trying to impress?” Mom gave me a teasing smile as she washed some lettuce.
“What? No!” I looked down at what I was wearing, “Is it too much or something?”
“No Maggie, I was just teasing.”
“So is it okay?”
“It’s fine, sweetie. Relax. I’m just setting dinner now so come and get what you want,” she walked over to the hall and yelled, “Kip! Dylan! Dinner!”
Looking at the map on my phone I weaved myself in and out of the dark streets, trying to locate the movie theater. It took me a good forty-five minutes, but eventually I was standing outside the building waiting for the others.
Alice was the first to arrive, and man, was it awkward! As soon as we locked eyes she glowered at me. Crossing her arms, she turned away and started looking out for everyone else. I decided to just bite the bullet and get this over with.
“What is your problem?”
Alice whirled around and you could practically see the hatred shimmering off her body, “What is my problem? You wanna know what my problem is? Everything was going perfectly until you showed up! My life had finally got back on track and you just butt in with your perfect little girl outfits and goody two-shoes attitude.”
“You know, not everyone can have as perfect a life as you. I didn’t have the best start to life. I was so lucky to find Luke and Tomas, and Elliot knows exactly how to keep me calm. I am fiercely protective of them. No foster parent wants to take in a bipolar child, but the guys did!”
“You have no idea what it’s like to feel like you finally have a family, and then feel like another girl could take them away from you!”
“Alice, I don’t want to take them away from you,” I spoke in a gentle tone.
“Oh, bull! The guys fawn over you! Do you know how much it hurts to get a text from Tomas saying that he’s just met the most amazing girl? Or to hear from Elliot that you’re like a breath of fresh air to the group? Or to hear from Luke that you’re the missing piece? We don’t need you! Our group was fine before you came along, Maggie.”
“I’m sorry Alice, I-”
She walked right up to me so we were just inches apart, “Just because I’m not elemental doesn’t mean that we need another person who is. And I swear to God, if you hurt any of them I will-”
Her voice started to crack as tiny drops rolled down her pale cheeks. She looked so beautiful and broken that I did the first thing that came to mind. I wrapped my arms around her and allowed her to break down in my arms. My head was whirling but my arms tightened their hold on her.
After a moment she went silent. Disentangling herself from me, she ducked her head and made her way into the theater – probably to dry her eyes. I felt rather awkward standing around waiting for the guys to turn up. I had nothing to do so I pretended to check my phone while a family walked by. I kept pretending to send and check important text messages, and every so often I would look up to see if the guys had arrived yet. After about ten minutes I saw them turn the corner.
“Hey guys,” I greeted them.
“Hey! Where’s Alice? She said she was here already,” Tomas said with his usual cheerful grin.
“Oh, she just went to the bathroom.”
At that moment Alice walked back through the doors and into the cool air. Her eyes were no longer red, and I assumed she had applied makeup to conceal the puffiness of her eyes. Her scowl was gone and was replaced by a face with residue sadness on it.
Since I wasn’t about to give our little episode away, I just pretended like nothing happened, “So shall we go in and get the tickets?”
“Actually,” Tomas looked at me sheepishly, “We never intended on going to the movies. It was just a ploy so we could get you to come out with us.”
He started walking away and the others followed, like they knew what was going on.
“Wait, what? What are we doing? Where are we going?” I stumbled to keep up with them.
“There’s something you need to know. Something we have to show you.”