Sorry I’m late today….
He didn’t know how he’d ended up here.
Ok, so technically, how he’d gotten there… He’d driven himself, obviously.
He just wasn’t sure what he’d done to deserve this seventh circle of hell.
“Take your sister to the mall,” his mother had said. “She needs new school clothes.”
The edict might as well have been a death sentence.
Now he stood, outside of the dressing rooms, his arms overflowing with a pile of frilly pink.
What was it with the glitter?
He’d never get that stuff off.
This was not what he’d planned on when he’d gotten his driver’s license. He felt it in his pocket, newly-minted and shiny. Movies, maybe. Football games. Road trips.
The mall… the mall was not in the cards. He wouldn’t be caught dead at the mall. And yet… here he was, with an armful of pink.
Little girls zoomed around the store, like hyperactive, poorly-aimed missiles. It was really hard to avoid being crashed into, especially since most of them were below waist-level for him.
He felt like a giant in some sort of nightmarish candyland.
And she was taking forever, of course.
She’d only taken a couple of things in there with her… why was she taking so long?
The sooner she decided what she wanted, the sooner they could get out of here…. This place was starting to make him itch. Some sickly sweet perfume permeated the air. It was starting to give him a headache…. Although that might also have been courtesy of the high-decibel levels of little-girl voices surrounding him.
“Brianna?” he called into the echoing hall of dressing rooms.
He glanced at the tired-looking girl who was detangling and hanging up the rejected clothes.
“Is it cool if I go in there?” he asked. He was pretty sure Bree was the only one in there just now, anyway.
She released a heavy sigh and glared at him, as though he’d just asked her to donate a kidney. Clearly, he wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to be here.
“I guess so,” she said.
“Brianna?” he called again.
The squeaky voice came from somewhere in the middle of the hall. Arms full, he kicked lightly at the door that sounded about right.
Ten seconds later, the door squeaked open and a small face looked up at him.
“Are you done yet?” he asked.
“Almost,” she answered.
It looked like she’d tried everything on, judging by the pile of pink spilling across the built-in bench. He shouldered his way in and dropped his armful on top of the pile.
“What’s left?” he asked.
He looked down. She was holding a sparkly pink headband with little hearts stitched on it.
“What do you think?” she asked.
He tried to formulate his opinion based on the look on her face… and failed.
“It’s….. nice?” he said, voice tilting up at the end.
“I don’t know,” she said.
She put it on her head and looked in the mirror.
“I think it’s pretty, but….”
She wouldn’t say, just taking the thing off and looking at it in her hands once more.
“Maybe it looks stupid,” she said.
He frowned, pretty sure she was lying.
“Do you think it looks stupid?” he asked.
“I don’t know.”
Her voice was quiet.
She was still looking down, eyes on the sparkly headband, when he plucked it out of her hands, placing it on his own head.
He knelt down to her height.
“Do you think it looks stupid?” he asked.
She couldn’t help letting out a giggle.
“No,” she said, with a smile that let him know she was lying.
“It’s pretty, right?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, still grinning. “Very pretty.”
“That’s settled, then,” he said, handing it back to her. “We’re getting it.”
Her face fell, the smile fading. There was a beat of silence.
“But Mom said….”
Aha. The real problem.
“Mom said what?”
“She said…. She said I shouldn’t get anything that I didn’t need,” she answered. “You know…. That I shouldn’t waste money. And, I guess, you know, I don’t really need it….”
He looked down at her and at the headband in her hands. And at the look on her face. He looked at the price tag. That sparkly little thing was six bucks. Totally not worth it for a scrap of fabric and some glitter.
He thought about his wallet and the measly ten bucks that was left in it.
The cash his Mom had given him would cover the clothes they’d picked out.
“Of course you need it,” he said, reaching back to gather up the clothes and placing the sparkly headband on top. “The accessories totally make the outfit.”
The way she smiled up at him, it was worth it.
“Come one, Squirt,” he said, towing her along to the registers. “Let’s get out of here.”
(write for) 20 minutes * male character – under 18 * pink
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