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Cleo James
Hoping I don't turn into a pumpkin... or snag a Prince
Mon Jul 9, 2018 08:41

Cleo really wasn’t convinced that she wanted to go to the ball, but she was going anyway, for two reasons. The first was simply that she wasn’t sure she had any choice. She hadn’t ventured to ask, but no one talked about not going, and there was a general air with these school events that they would all come together and demonstrate their school spirit and have mandatory fun. The second reason was more personal, and made the apprehension she felt about it almost worth it; Parker clearly wanted her to go. She could tell herself he had other friends – he was on the Quidditch team, and in that gaming group, and he was a nice, chatty kind of a guy. But she knew that she was his best friend, and that he would choose her company over anyone else’s. And he had been a really good friend this year. He had excitedly told her about the suit he’d purchased for the event, and she had found herself saying ‘I look forward to seeing it,’ and as he obviously wasn’t going to be wearing it casually down to breakfast, she knew that was a sort of tacit agreement that she would see him at the ball. Besides the fact that she felt like she kind of had to go anyway, she hadn’t wanted to let him down.

She hadn’t actually purchased a dress. She had had a little look around the sale, but she had just felt all the styles were too grown up for her, and she wasn’t sure her daddy would like her wearing anything like that. He had always been a fan of simple and practical, and even though she knew he would probably relax that opinion for a party, she found it hard to know where he would draw the line – it had all felt very showy and attention grabbing, and even without her daddy’s dislike of such fanfare, those were also the last things Cleo wanted to be right now. A few of the sellers had also tried to reel her in with compliments – telling her what a pretty girl she was, and how nice she would look in their various wares. She knew it was just sales patter, and that they said that kind of thing to everyone, but she didn’t want to feel like a dressed up little doll. The ideal scenario at the ball would be blending into the background.

She had one nice-ish outfit in her wardrobe, which her daddy had bought in case she needed to look smart for something. It consisted of a black skirt, which came just below her knees, and a puff sleeved blouse in peach. It was much more the level of school picture day smart than going to a ball smart, but Cleo thought she might be able to embellish it a little bit, bring it up to a level that made it a little more special without being too showy. She had transfigured the fabric of the blouse to change its cottony texture into a more silky one and had cast a glitter charm over the skirt to give it a bit more sparkle. She had transfigured a belt she owned into a smart silky black sash with a bow on the front, which she placed around the top of the skirt, and which tied the components together nicely, matching the colour of the skirt but the texture of the blouse. She was fairly sure her spells were good enough to last the evening, although at least the outfit was still wearable if they wore off – she wasn’t going to suddenly be standing in Cascade Hall wearing a garbage bag or, worse still, nothing at all. The whole process did rather put her in mind of Cinderella though, and she briefly considered transfiguring her shoes (a pair of plain black ballet pumps) into glass slippers just as a little joke to herself before she decided that that would be both uncomfortable and dangerous. She tried making them clear plastic instead, but they just looked strange, so she settled for making them silver and glittery. The whole look was a far cry from the swanky, sophisticated number that Winston had dressed her in during Defence Against the Dark Arts, but that was definitely a good thing. She still felt like herself wearing it. And, whilst she was still not entirely sure what that possibly meant as a concept, it definitely felt better to be it than to feel alien and uncomfortable when she looked in the mirror – she had already had quite enough of that for one year.

She had been unsure about what to do with her hair. Normally, her hair was cropped short, ending just under her ears – another of her daddy’s tendencies towards practically, or so she believed, as he didn’t have the time or inclination to do a lot of brushing or learn how to braid and the like (Cleo had never reflected on how many other things he had willingly learnt, in having to play both mother and father, and thus had never noticed that this perhaps was something of an inconsistency in the otherwise devoted parent who seemed ready to do anything for her). However, as they neared the end of term, her hair had grown out quite a bit, almost brushing her shoulders. She had very little idea how to style it, and it wasn’t really long enough to do much with even if she did. However, she had worked two small braids into it, one starting from each temple, joining in a slightly messy knot at the back of her head, whilst the remainder of her hair hung loose. She had collected a few flowers from the garden and inserted these at intervals around the braids. It felt right to have something garden-related in her outfit seeing as she would be hanging out with Parker. She had considered bringing him a flower for his buttonhole, because she thought people sometimes did that with suits, but she wasn’t sure that girls brought boys flowers, and it made it feel a bit too much like a date, when it was just two friends hanging out.

She made her way to the entrance hall, keeping an eye out for Parker. Spotting him, she made her way over.

“You look very nice. It’s a good suit,” she complimented him. She felt a bit uncomfortable doing so, partly because saying that sort of thing to Parker was strange, and also because most people tended to return compliments, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to hear him say that about her. But it just felt like something they had to get through, to say to each other, because she knew he was excited to wear his suit and it would be unkind not to comment. It was also true, she supposed, she just felt funny drawing attention to how someone looked because it was the last thing she wanted anyone to do to her.

OOC – permission for Cleo and Parker’s pre-ball conversation about the suit established with his author

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    • Hoping I don't turn into a pumpkin... or snag a Prince — Cleo James, Mon Jul 9 08:41
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