Things that Charlotte Johanssen is really good at: school. Reading. Thinking. Learning. Listening to her friends. Singing (but only in the shower, never ever in public). Writing letters and emails to people who’ve moved away. Daydreaming.
Things that Charlotte is not so good at: figuring out what outfit to wear. Talking to new people. Going to parties. Almost all sports. Speaking up in class, especially if the mean girls are sitting at the back ready to roll their eyes if she says anything. Understanding relationships.
At fifteen, she still does exactly the same thing she did at seven when there’s something that’s really freaking her out.
Hi Stacey! I know you’re super-busy but I have a DATE tomorrow night and no idea what to wear. HELP!
Love, C xxx
Stacey calls rather than emails back. “Where’s the date, Char?”
“We’re going to the movies.”
“Movies and dinner, or just the movies?”
Charlotte feels her heart speed up. “Oh, God. I don’t know. We said the movies but maybe that means dinner after? Or as well? I don’t know, Stace, how do dates work?”
“Honey, relax. You’re going to be okay. Just be yourself.” There’s a pause. “Look, she’s going to be nervous too.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” Charlotte sighs. “But it’s like she knows so much more about me than all this dating stuff. I mean, she’s seen her sister get ready for dates for years, you know?”
Stacey laughs. “Yeah, but it’s Mal. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she looks so much better now than when we were friends, but – come on. She’s hardly the queen of style. You know, Claud’s home right now – you want me to call her and see if she can help you out?”
Charlotte shakes her head, then realizes Stacey can’t see that over the phone. “I can’t pull off a Claudia Kishi ensemble, Stace. I just want to look nice. But the right kind of nice. Pretty, but not too girly and fake. Or childish. I want to look –”
“Sexy,” Stacey supplies.
Charlotte blushes. “Yeah.”
“Okay. Listen. Vanessa already thinks you’re sexy, otherwise she wouldn’t be going on a date with you. Plus you are, so just – wear something that you’re comfortable in. A little fancier than you’d wear for school, but not for, like, a wedding or a big party. Do you still have that red dress? Maybe that with that little black jacket over it. With boots.”
And suddenly Charlotte can see that it’s the perfect outfit. “Thanks, Stacey.”
“Call me afterward and tell me all about it, okay?”
“Yeah. I will.”
She hangs up the phone and realizes her hands are shaking.
Okay. She has an outfit for her first real date with Vanessa Pike. It’s the one thing that’s been driving her crazy all week and now that problem’s been solved.
Stacey just said I’m sexy.
Oh. My. God.