The Song of the Faerie Prince
Tay LaRoi © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“Woo-hoo, take it all off.”
“I’m going to stop going places with you.”
Zoe snickers and swings another bathing suit over the dressing-room wall. “Try this one next. You look great in warm colors.”
Warm colors look more like neon on my big frame, so they’re automatically vetoed. I don’t care what’s in right now. I’ve told Zoe to only get dark colors a million times since we walked into this store, but she’s what my parents like to call hard-headed.
At least, they call it that when I disagree with them.
“Yeah, try that one on, sweetie,” my mother calls. “It’s adorable.”
Apparently, Zoe gets a pass.
“I told y’all to grab something black,” I grumble, taking the suit and holding it up next to the aqua one I’m trying to take off. I have to admit that the swirls of deep orange and crimson are pretty. And there’s a little skirt on it. That’ll cover my thighs a little bit.
“There aren’t any more black ones, Gia,” Zoe says, lying through her teeth, no doubt. “You should have replaced your old one right after it got wrecked instead of waiting till September.”
She’s got a point. When my old suit got caught in the wringer-outer-dryer thingy at the public pool, I thought I could put off buying a new suit until next summer, but then Zoe and our friend Miguel convinced me to go to the back-to-school beach party. I don’t really belong at things like that, out where everyone can see me, and my heavyset body that’s impossible to miss, but Michigan’s warm-weather days are numbered. A hoodie and jeans would be acceptable, I guess, but I already know Zoe’s going straight for the water, with Miguel not too far behind, and being on the sidelines is no fun, even if people snicker at you while you get off said sidelines.
I squeeze into Zoe’s choice, calculating how many calories I can burn just by holding my gut in the entire time we’re at the party. That’s got to count for some sort of strength training.
“Shoot. Georgina, let me see that one real quick so I can go grab milk. I’ll meet you girls up front when you’re done,” Mom says.
I study my tubby figure in the dressing-room mirror. This suit isn’t too bad, I guess, despite the bright colors. Thanks to the skirt, it has a slight A-frame, giving me the hint of an hourglass, and the straps are thick enough to actually give me some support up top. I’ve learned the hard way that halters are neck-pain city when you have big boobs. The suit’s far from perfect, but perfect’s a long way off for me anyway, so I unlock the door to show my best friend and mother.
Zoe whistles a catcall and sticks her tongue out when I give her a dirty look. She gets to her feet and drags me over to the three-way mirror. I feel even bigger now that I’m next to her petite willowy frame. Her long silky black hair doesn’t help. There’s no denying she’s pretty. Not quite my type—I like my girls a bit more masculine—but Zoe’s definitely pretty. My hair looks okay in the cornrows that drape over my shoulders, but let’s be real—hair like Zoe’s is where it’s at. Especially in high school.
“Mrs. Johnson, what do you think?” Zoe asks over her shoulder.
Mom joins us at the mirror and beams with pride that sparkles in her blue eyes, probably at my hair. She always does a great job. “I love it. It’s very flattering. Is that the one you want?”
“I guess,” I reply with a shrug.
Mom tugs at the skirt, her smile a bit smaller. “Does it really need this piece, though? It’s a bit old-lady looking. Nothing against old ladies, except you’re sixteen.”
“That’s the most important part,” I joke.
“I could go find that bikini again, Mrs. J,” Zoe offers.
Mom puts her hands up in surrender. “Old-lady skirt it is.” She checks her wavy brown hair in the mirror, tucks a few loose hairs back, frowns at her laugh lines, then readjusts the jacket in her arms as she heads toward the dressing-room exit. “Get changed and meet up by the registers.” Pointing to Zoe, she adds, “Make sure she gets there. Don’t let her wimp out on that suit. It’s super cute on her.”
“As if I’d let her.” Zoe plops back down in her seat and crosses her legs. “I’ll drag her out of the dressing room if she tries.”
“Why do you have to make everything weird?” I mutter on my way to change back into my jeans and T-shirt.
“Life’s more fun when you’re weird. How many years are we going to be friends before you learn that?”
If I haven’t learned it after seven years, I don’t think I ever will.
Tay grew up reading too many fairy tales and watching too many movies, which is probably why she writes fantasy now. When she’s not at her day job or writing, she can be found taking spontaneous drives to new places, and drinking way too much coffee.