The Lonely Hearts Club
Page 24

 Elizabeth Eulberg

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"Do you even want to know what the club is about?" I said. "Some friends and I have decided to stop dating guys ... at least until were out of McKinley."
Dads eyes lit up. "Penny Lane, that is the best idea for a club!"
Mom looked thoughtful for a minute before she said anything. "Penny Lane, is there a reason why you are doing this?"
My heart started beating quickly. She knew. I shook my head. "Not really. there were a lot of factors, I guess. But I'm just sick of my friends getting hurt.. ."
"Well, again, Penny Lane, this is just super." Dad reached across the table and grabbed my hand. "I want you to know that I'm more than willing to move more tables into the basement when this really takes off. to think that our baby girl has started a Beatles Club!"
"It's not a Beatles Club!" I pulled my hand away. He winked at me. "Well, a father can dream, cant he?" Mom sat silently at the table. I wasn't sure what she was making of all of this. But she didn't say a word when the food came and Rita and I dove into our red meat and enjoyed every bite.
It was strange. I'd been to countless dances and semiformal events since grade school. But this was the first time I'd been dress shopping with a group of friends. it really cemented the importance of the Club, and how much fun we could have without guys. I did think the salespeople were a little annoyed at having six teenage girls running around the dress section screaming at each other, but it didn't take long for Rita to take control.
"On a scale of hotness, you rate at scorching, baby!" she said to Amy as she walked out of the dressing room in a black dress.
As I watched, my sister grabbed her cell phone and started to mimic a cheesy game show host. "Next up, we have Amy Miller, wearing a black satin dress. Notice the beaded detail on the cap sleeve and the Empire waist to accentuate her ample bosom, . . ."
Amy blushed, did a little twirl, and curtsied.
the door opened to the dressing room next door. "Are you ready for me?" Tracy asked as she walked out for us to all admire her dress . , . whatever it was.
We all stared. Tracy was wearing what was best described as a smock -- a hideous, floral smock that even my grandmother wouldn't have been caught dead wearing. Tracy strutted down the hallway to the three-way mirror. "Hey, Pen, I thought I would get the wardrobe ready for when were old maids." She smiled as she took the smock off to reveal a red silk fitted dress with a red sequined belt underneath. She looked amazing. "Come on, Rita -- what's my hotness rating?"
"Red hot all the way!"
Tracy did a little clap and jumped up and down. I noticed that she was behaving more and more like Diane every day.
She would've killed me if I'd told her that.
"Looks like you've all got your dresses," Rita said as we inspected one another's choices. Diane had found a pink flapper dress, Jen had a classic strapless black dress, and Morgan was wearing an Empire-waist red silk dress, while I'd chosen a black dress with a halter top and fitted lace skirt.
We lined up in front of the mirrors for a full view.
"You know, "said Jen. "I like that I found a dress for me. it always been about whether he'll like it enough --"
"Yeah, "said Amy. "Like it enough to take it off."
Jen smiled. "I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders."
Diane nervously bit her lip. "I know, especially since I can concentrate on other things. Actually, that's where I need your help, Jen. I've decided to quit cheerleading after Homecoming .. . and try out for the basketball team."
there were a couple of gasps. Rita started applauding.
"Holy crap!" Tracy exclaimed. "Diane! You're .."
Diane blushed and looked down.
". , . going to completely kick ass!"
Diane lit up. "You think?"
"Hells, yeah! I can't watt until Principal Braddock hears the news. He'll die when he finds out one of his beloved cheerleaders is ... urn, switching teams, I guess."
Diane laughed. "I can only imagine the rumors that will be swirling around once I tell the girls."
"Do you mind me asking why you decided to join the team? it isn't as easy as it looks," Jen said.
"No, I don't think that at all I've always loved basketball, and I would practice out side with my dad sometimes, I guess because he didn't have a son to play with. But I want to be part of a team. I want to try something different. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I'm sick of cheering for other people. I want someone cheering for me."
"Do you want to come over this week and run drills?" Jen offered.
Diane smiled. "that would be amazing. Ryan is already going through plays with me, and we've been practicing on the weekends."
"You have?" Tracy asked.
"Yeah!" Diane's expression quickly changed. "Watt -- there isn't anything going on between us. I hope that's not what you think."
Tracy shrugged.
"He's been encouraging me for a while to do it, and I needed some practice to see if I was hopeless. But he seems to think I'll do well. Probably not start or anything, but that doesn't really matter to me. I just want to be on the team."
Jen nodded. "that's the spirit! And I'm sure you're going to be great."
"I don't know .,."
We all erupted with words of encouragement. I could see Diane's confidence growing as she got the support from everybody.