Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(17)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(17)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

Angelle erupted in laughter. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She put her hands on her h*ps and made a great show of an exaggerated eye roll. “We shopped for like ten hours and I bought you a whole new wardrobe. You’re being a bit dramatic, don’t you think?”

Amelia felt the giggle bubbling up and tried to cough and cover it, but it ended up sounding like a choked laugh. She had to admit it. Angelle was right. For the first time in years she had lots to wear, but nothing seemed right.

Angelle yanked her up out of bed and ushered her into the bathroom, keeping a firm hand on the small of her back. “You better hurry,” she said, giving Amelia another nudge towards the shower. “I promise I’ll make you look fantastic.”

With a theatrical, drawn-out sigh, Amelia reached in and turned on the water. “Fine, but I want to put it on record that I don’t think I should go.”

After a quick shower, Amelia emerged from the bathroom draped in a fluffy white robe. She laughed when she saw her office door open. Angelle had transformed it into a mini beauty parlor.

“Sit,” Angelle ordered, pointing to the desk chair. Amelia obediently padded her way over and sat down, perching on the edge.

“I’m pretty sure I can handle getting ready myself,” Amelia said, jutting out her bottom lip in a pout.

“Stop pouting, Amelia. You are going tonight and you are gonna have fun,” Angelle said sternly, clipping the diffuser into place on the hair dryer. Grabbing the mousse, she squirted out a blob of tangy, sweet-smelling foam and worked it into Amelia’s long curls. Then she turned the dryer on, scrunch drying the masses of hair.

It took almost thirty minutes for Amelia’s thick hair to dry into soft spiral curls. Angelle parted it right down the middle into two loose pigtails and tied them with short black ribbons just below the ears.

“Pigtails?” Amelia questioned, feeling the knot return to her stomach.

“Just trust me. It’s the little bit of sugar; now we will work on the touch of spice.” Angelle dumped her make-up bag onto the desk and started rummaging through the contents. “Close your eyes. I don’t want you to see the colors I’m picking.”

Amelia huffed but closed her eyes. The brushes tickled as they were swept across her face. She had never been one for much make-up, never really knew how to wear it.

“Okay, spice complete. Now take the clothes from the bed and get dressed,” Angelle ordered like a drill sergeant. “But do not go into the bathroom. I’ll turn around. You can’t look yet.”

Amelia hustled over to the bed and looked at the clothes that had been laid out for her. It all looked so basic. A pair of dark vintage blue, boot cut jeans that had the worn-in details on the thighs and a snug looking black cashmere scoop neck sweater. “I can’t wear this,” Amelia said, a tinge of disappointment in her voice.

“Will you just trust me and put it on!”

Against her better judgment, Amelia pulled on the clothes as Angelle had instructed, trying not to mess up her hair. “Okay. I’m dressed. Can I look yet?”

“Nope,” Angelle chimed. She went back into the closet and returned with some accessories. “This is for a touch of color and it’s so hippie chic.” Around Amelia’s neck, she draped a colorful scarf like a woven tapestry of the rainbow. “And this will give you a little bit of edge.” Then she placed a charcoal gray fedora on her head. “Just put on these boots and then I’ll let you look.” She handed Amelia a pair of black leather ankle boots with three-inch heels and Amelia pulled them on. “Perfect!” Angelle gushed as she looked over her masterpiece. “Okay, now go into the bathroom and look in the full length mirror.”

Amelia tried to move slowly and act like she didn’t care, but she was just a touch excited. She looked in the mirror and gasped. Wow. It’s amazing what the right clothes and make-up can do, Amelia thought, as she looked herself over. She barely recognized herself. Her normal, straight body was all curves and she looked… sexy. She broke into a big glossy smile and made a mental note to ask Angelle to show her how to do the smoky eye thing later.

“I told you you’d look fantastic,” Angelle said from behind her.

“Thank you.” Amelia could feel the tears welling up, and she cursed under her breath. When had she turned into a blubbering baby? She didn’t know and she really didn’t like it.

Angelle squeezed her shoulder and smiled, a friendly energy packed smile. “Enough of that. No tears allowed. You’ll smudge.”

On impulse, Amelia turned around and flung herself at Angelle, giving her a big hug. “You’re the best,” she whispered, trying to keep the joyful tears from falling.

In the kitchen, Eric and Luke were standing at the door, deep in conversation. Amelia took a moment to admire them. Even in their casual jeans and knit sweaters, they were a sight for sore eyes.

Eric noticed her first and she was thrilled to see his jaw actually drop and his eyes travel over her, taking in every detail. After what he had put her through, taking off, leaving without so much as a goodbye, it was nice to see she had some kind of effect on him. She felt the beginnings of a flush rushing hotly up her neck. “Wow. You look…” he said, looking her up and down. “Wow.”

Luke cleared his throat loudly, ruining Amelia’s moment. “You look great,” he said, smiling at her. “We all thought we would tag along if that’s alright with you, since its past curfew and all.”

“Fine,” she said, keeping her calm. She didn’t want them to know that she was glad they were coming because truthfully, she still really didn’t want to go. But with them with her, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. And she was sure Angelle would be a blast.

Eric grumbled something unintelligible, clearly not happy with her lack of enthusiasm, and stomped off, out the door.

****

If Amelia had been worried they wouldn’t be able to find Erin’s house, she was wrong. The glow was visible from four blocks away. When they reached the house, she saw why. Lights adorned every corner: bright white spotlights lazily circled on the roof, tiki torches lined the walkway, blue and red strobe lights flashed.

Erin’s home looked like, well, it was hard to tell really what it looked like between the flashing strobe lights and all the drunks spilling out all over the lawn. It could have been anywhere from white to black in its color scheme but Amelia just couldn’t tell. It was smaller than her house, maybe an eighth of the size, but then she lived in an enormous castle so comparing it was hard, and it looked, Amelia thought, well used, not run down, just well lived in. The sight reminded her of all those frat party movies she had seen. Red plastic beer cups littered the lawn and the line of people waiting to get in had formed their own party outside.

Luke parked the car, miraculously finding a spot right in front of the house and the second Amelia got out, people rushed to her, greeting her, complimenting her. She felt like she was walking down a red carpet.

Her friends were on it and faster than she could follow. They moved in front of her, blocking the drunken mob from getting too close. And Amelia was grateful. All through high school, she had wanted to be popular. She had prayed for it. She had wished for it. But wow, she had never thought it would be this much work. It was exhausting having people like her. Amelia never thought it would be possible, but now she was starting to wish she could be that girl no one liked again, because this smiling and being happy thing was not as much fun as it looked. Why did anyone care she was here? she wondered, and looked at her friends. They were the ones that should be noticed. She lived with them and still had a hard time not gawking. They were just so perfect it almost hurt her eyes to look at them.

Angelle noticed her hesitation and linked arms with her. “You ready?” she asked, and before Amelia could answer, Angelle was pulling her forward through the crowd and the four of them strolled up the walkway straight to the door.

It was quite a sight, the four of them. People, drunk and sober, jumped out of the way to let them through. She guessed that was one plus of her new status. She didn’t have to wait in lines.

They made it to the door just as it banged open and the low thumping of music spilled out mixed with chaotic laugher and slurred hollers of people having a good time. A couple staggered out more involved in each other than anyone else, and Amelia wasn’t really sure how they were walking. They were wrapped around each other like pretzels. Well that’s new, Amelia thought, blushed and turned away, letting them by. They didn’t make it far, landed in a heap on the lawn, and kept right on going.

“Millie, you made it!” Erin cried from the door. She reached out, snagged Amelia’s hand and pulled her in not paying any attention to her friends. “Let’s get you a drink,” she suggested, looking back at Amelia’s entourage. “Come in or stay out but shut the door,” she yelled over the music and pulled Amelia down the hall, through the living room and straight into the kitchen.

By the time they pushed their way through, Amelia felt filthy. She had been groped God only knows how many times, had a least one drink spilled on her and she was covered in sweat, which wasn’t all her own. Her boots felt sticky, like suction cups taping her to the floor.

The kitchen was a little slice of heaven compared to the crowded living room that had been transformed into a dance club. There were still too many people, talking way too loud, but the noise level was down about six decibels. She could actually make out the words people were saying in there.

Erin snagged two beers, popped the tops and handed one to Amelia. “Thanks,” she said, and hesitantly took it and looked at it, not sure if she should drink it or not. She had never been much of a drinker, or actually had alcohol before. Amelia took a quick glance over her shoulder, noticed Eric was already flirting it up with some trampy looking thing with a huge, bulging chest and a skimpy little skirt that shouldn’t even be legal, and all caution rushed away. She tipped the beer up and gulped a mouthful. It was sour and fuzzy and it tickled her nose but she took another gulp anyways, hoping the taste would get better.

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