I thought it might be fun to write Reed’s friend Aubrey since I’ve written so much Reed now. If you haven’t read Reed’s story, you can find Parts 1-9 here.
“One…two…three! Open your eyes,” Carrie says excitedly.
I muffle a gasp as my eyes adjust to the sight of myself in the mirror. My naturally straight blonde hair is shellacked into tiny corkscrew curls. And my makeup. There simply aren’t words.
“It’s lovely,” I say, pasting on a smile.
“That means she hates it,” Reed says dryly as she sprays her own mess of curls.
“No, I didn’t say that,” I say, fingering a lock that has fallen in my face.
“You look fabulous,” Carrie says, stepping back to admire her work. “The men are going to want to eat you alive!”
Nothing about that sounds appealing. I attempt to remove some of the dark gray eyeshadow with a swipe of my finger.
“Stop, you’ll smear it,” Carrie says. “Speaking of eating you alive, we have something for you!”
Carrie runs into the bedroom attached to the bathroom we’re all crowded into while Reed continues to fluff her curls. I catch Reed’s eyes in the mirror as I attempt to tone down my curls by smoothing my hands over the top from root to tip. She gives me a sly smile. I know she’s loving every minute of this.
Truth is, this bachelorette party is more for Reed and Carrie than me. I would have been happy going out for a nice dinner and drinking wine in our pajamas back at home afterwards. But no, Reed and Carrie insisted we have an all-girls beach weekend, complete with bar crawl.
“This,” Carrie says, holding up what appears to be a candy necklace, “should have gone on before we did your hair. I’m afraid we’ll mash it down putting it on. Reed, help me.”
I have no idea why a candy necklace is a part of my outfit for the night, but I have a feeling I’m not going to like the answer. “What is this for,” I ask as Carrie and Reed position themselves on either side of me.
As they stretch the necklace between them and attempt to get it over my hair without it touching my crisp curls, Reed says, “It’s for a little game we’re going to play. Don’t worry about it for now.”
In the mirror, I see Reed and Carrie exchange a knowing glance before they burst into laughter. They’ve already taken a couple of shots of vodka, which might be why my hair and makeup ended up prostitute-esque.
“Here, drink up,” Reed says handing me my wine glass.
I don’t want to get too drunk too quickly tonight, but I did agree to the Chardonnay if they’d quit harassing me to take shots. I dutifully take my glass from Reed’s hand and drink a long sip.
“What are you wearing tonight?” Carrie asks as she applies eyeliner in the mirror.
“Oh, I’m so excited. I got something new,” I said, raising to go into the bedroom.
“I hope it fits over your hair,” Carrie yells from the bathroom as I open my suitcase.
I unzip the built-in garment bag portion of my luggage and remove the hot pink dress I bought last week at Bloomingdale’s. Toting it into the bathroom, I say, “Tada,” and hold it up for the girls to see.
Blank stares are all I get in response.
“Aubrey,” Reed says in a tone that I know really says bless her heart.
“What,” I ask, looking back at the dress. “It’s practically fuchsia. You told me to pink out something exciting.”
“Honey, that didn’t excite anyone but the salesgirl who cashed the commission check,” Carrie says. “It covers you clear from your throat to your knees.”
“It’s okay,” Reed says, taking the dress from my hand. “I knew we couldn’t trust you to buy something appropriate for a real bachelorette party. So, I swung by the mall and grabbed something before we left town.”
My stomach does somersaults at the thought of what Reed might have picked out for me. She’s currently in a black sequin top with a v-neck that dips down to her navel and a white skirt so short I can almost see enough to verify my belief that she’s not wearing underwear.
Now the wine doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. I take a gulp before Reed returns to the bathroom with her purchase.
This time the gasp comes out before I can stop it. It would take multiple bottles of wine to get me to wear the top Reed is holding before me.
“I can’t wear that,” I say, shaking my head vehemently.
“Oh, come on now,” Reed says as if talking to an irrational child, “it’s a good four inches longer than mine.”
“You don’t mean that’s a dress?” Suddenly the top I wouldn’t even consider wearing with jeans was a dress.
“Of course it’s a dress, silly. Now don’t be ridiculous. I made sure it would come down almost to your knees so you wouldn’t protest.”
“I don’t know how short you think I am, but the bottom of that dress, if that’s what you want to call it, won’t even be in the same zip code as my knees. And it doesn’t even have a neckline because nothing is anywhere near my neck. What kind of bra are you supposed to wear with that anyhow?”
“None,” they both declare in unison before bursting into fits of laughter.
“Very funny, you two. Now where did you put my dress?”
“Well, about that. You know how klutzy I am. I might have accidentally spilled some cranberry juice on it when I was making my cocktail,” Carrie says.
“You what?” I’m completely panicked. I didn’t bring anything else I could wear out tonight, and there’s no way I’m completing the stripper look by putting on that thing Reed bought with this hair and makeup.
I realize Carrie and Reed are going to great efforts to stiffle laughter. Relief washes over me. They must have been joking about ruining my dress.
“Very funny. Now where’s my dress?”
They exchange looks I can’t quite read.
“Seriously, where is it? I can’t wear that,” I say motioning towards the red thing Reed is still dangling from a hanger.
“So, the word “accident” might have been a tad misleading,” Carrie says, trying not to giggle. “I might have purposely spilled something on that horrible frock so you’d have to wear this fabulous little dress Reed got you.”
I can hardly breathe I’m so angry. Teeth clenched, I look from Carrie to Reed and back again.
As crazy as Carrie and Reed can be, they’ve never tried to drag me into their world. I can’t believe they’d ruin a brand new dress to get me to dress up like a whore for my bachelorette party.
“She needs another glass of wine,” Reed tells Carrie. “Go get her one.”
I still haven’t spoken because I can’t find the words. Miss Delilah has always preached that you should say nothing if you can’t say something nice. So, I silently fume, clutching my wine glass in my hand so tight I’m afraid it’ll break.
As soon as Carrie can be heard in the kitchen opening the refrigerator, Reed stands before me and puts her hands on my shoulders. “I swear to you that I didn’t tell her to do that. You know how she can get. We both just want you to have a good time. This is the one time in your life you get to be wild and crazy. Take a deep breath and let’s just go with the flow.”
I can’t hold it in any longer. “She just ruined a $450 dress! And there is no way I’m wearing that,” I say, pointing to the red heap on the counter.
“Deep breaths,” Reed says. “Here,” she says, grabbing the wine bottle from Carrie who has reentered the bathroom, “let me refill your glass.”
I hold it out to her as instructed, thinking that perhaps another sip or two will help calm me before I say something I’ll regret.
No one understands why I’m friends with Carrie and Reed. Least of all Mitzi, Karin and Blair, who are in their own suite getting dressed.
I met Reed at a birthday party back in grade school. It was a pool party and she was diving backwards into the deep end. The parents were all enjoying cocktails at the other end of the yard, so I felt it was my duty to tell her that she could get hurt.
“You want to learn how,” she’d asked when I warned her that she could crack her head open.
I was drawn to Reed like a moth to a flame. I knew she’d burn me one day, but I couldn’t stay away.
Reed is everything I’m not: vivacious, loud, carefree and fearless. We got in trouble one time in high school. A teacher thought we’d been drinking. We hadn’t, we just couldn’t stop laughing. It happened all the time with Reed. She’d say or do something stupid and we’d get into fits of laughter we couldn’t stop.
I didn’t want to be Reed all the time, but sometimes it was nice to escape from my world of always saying and doing the right thing. It was fun not to care what anyone thought. As long as no one saw me doing it.
“I already looked through your suitcase. You didn’t bring anything else you can wear out for a night on the town. You’ll wear the red dress and look fierce,” Carrie says, breaking the silence in the room.
“At least try it on, then you can refuse to wear it,” Reed said, handing it to me.
I take another gulp of my wine and retreat to the bedroom. They were right; I have nothing else to wear. I want to want to wear the dress, to look sexy, but I don’t. I don’t want to be the bachelorette who makes a fool of herself drinking from phallic-shaped straws and making out with random strangers. That’s the kind of bride-to-be who wears this dress.
I wiggle the dress down over my hips and close my eyes as I turn to the mirror.
I’m shocked to find that it’s not the second skin I expected. It shows off my hips and cleavage I didn’t know I had.
I turn to see how bootylicious I am, but instead find that while the dress proves I have a butt, it doesn’t evoke images of Kim Kardashian. That’s sure to disappoint Reed, who I think aspires to that look.
“See, you look fabulous,” Reed says as she enters the bedroom after a small knock on the door I closed behind me.
Carrie bursts in behind her. “You’re so hot. I would do you!”
I feel the color flood to my face. It’s sort of flattering in an embarassing kind of way. I’ll never admit it to them, but there’s a tiny part of me that enjoys how I look right now and the attention it would likely provide later on, but it just seems distasteful. I’m nearly a married woman.
Besides, the other girls will be horrified. I might be able to get away with going out with Carrie and Reed like this, but not the other girls. What if they tell their mothers? Miss Delilah would faint if she saw me in this.
There’s a knock on the door, as if on cue.
“I’ll get it,” Carrie says, bouncing out of the room, the long dark waves of her hair trailing behind her.
“I can’t wear this,” I say, reaching for the zipper in back.
Reed’s hand closes over mine. “Yes, you can,” she says firmly. “Who gives a rip what Mitzi, Karin and Blair think? I know that’s what you’re worried about. You feel great in this, don’t you? I know you sure as heck look phenomenal.”
“It’s too much. What if they tell their mothers and it gets back around to Miss Delilah?”
“Then blame it on me. She already thinks I’m a drunken hussy,” she says, laughing as she fluffs my hair in the mirror.
“Just remember. Those there are all old married hags and they’re just green with envy that you still have this killer body and can wear this dress. Now go out there and show them what you’ve got,” Reed says, shoving me towards the door before slapping me on the backside like I’m a pitcher being dismissed from the mound.
I smile as I leave the room. That’s why I’m friends with Reed, because every once in awhile she rubs off on me, and I always end up having a great time.
Maybe tonight will be one of those nights.