The Lonely Hearts Club
Page 25

 Elizabeth Eulberg

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Tracy put her hand out and we all stared at it for a second. "Come on .." she said.
I put my hand on top of hers, and one by one everyone else followed. there, in our new dresses, in front of mirror after mirror.
Tracy looked at me to say something.
"to our new members, our kick-ass Homecoming dresses, and Diane Monroe, basketball goddess!"
We cheered and hollered. the poor sales ladies nearly keeled over at their registers.
Once we'd bought our dresses, Tracy suggested we "pig out so much we don't fit into them anymore." We did our best.
After we said good-bye to everyone, Tracy drove Rita and me home. Tracy popped a CD into her car stereo. "I have a surprise for you, Miss Penny Lane," she said. the Beatles began to fill the car.
"Wow, Tracy! I can't believe . . ."
"Yeah, well, I like to think that I can be full of surprises as well!" She winked at me.
Rita leaned forward between the driver and passenger seats. "You know, Pen, you guys are going to get more and more popular. Dad is going to have to build a new addition to the house to fit you all in."
I smiled. Maybe Rita was right. Maybe this was only the beginning.
Tracy turned up the volume and we all began to sing along.
"I've got to admit it's getting better . , ."
Chapter seventeen
A WEEK LATER, THE TIME CAME for me to go to the dance, and it was a total and complete disaster.
What had I been thinking? My mind was racing. Why had I made such a big deal about us going to Homecoming? I couldn't be seen in public looking this way!
there was banging on my bathroom door. Diane. "Come on, Penny -- what are you doing in there? Were all dying to see how you look."
I was pretty sure I was having a panic attack. "Uh, just a second . . ." I tried to adjust the dress for the millionth time, but it wasn't helping. there was no way I could go like this. I wanted to walk into that dance with my head held high. I swore this was not what I looked like at the store. I started feeling moisture form around my eyes. Great, not only did I look ridiculous, I was going to ruin the makeup Diane had spent so much time on.
"Penny Lane -- get your butt out here now!" Diane howled, her fist banging more.
All right -- these were my friends, and they'd have to be honest. I would just go out and see what they had to say. Maybe I was overreacting.
Or maybe I was going to be sick.
I opened the door.. . .
"Ta-dah!" I did my best to make a dramatic entrance, but didn't dare make any eye contact.
"Penny, you look beautiful." Diane beamed. "I'm so used to seeing you in T-shirts and jeans, but look at you!" She was jumping up and down. I had never known anybody to be more excited about going to a dance ... with a bunch of girls.
Of course I knew Tracy would get down to business. "And look at your chest -- who knew you had such a rack?"
Diane hit Tracy on the arm.
"I know!' I said. "I'm so horrified. it didn't look like this when I tried it on. Maybe it's the bra." I looked down and all I could see was my cle**age.
"Please," Diane countered. "You have such a rockin' body, and you need to start showing it off."
"I know. It's sick," Morgan said. "Do you have any idea how lucky you are that you don't have to watch what you eat?"
Diane came over and started adjusting my hair. "Don't worry, you look great. Plus, it's really not as bad as you think. Look at all of you -- not just your chest -- in the mirror. You're beautiful."
As we arrived at school, we all double-checked our hair and makeup. I was becoming more confident in my outfit, and -- t hated to admit it -- there was a part of me that was dying to see what the reaction would be from some of the guys.
I could feel the music vibrating before we even opened the front door. I picked up the pace, suddenly wanting to get to the gym and get the entrance over with, I hurried inside, not sure what to expect. At least nobody was laughing or pointing at us.
then I heard it -- the high, screeching noise of teenage girls when they spot each other at formal events.
"AAAAMMMMYYYYYY -- you look sooooo beautiful!"
"OHMYGODJEN, killer dress.'"
"Look at YOU.'"
"No, look at YOU'"
"Get out of here. I cannot believe you're wearing that color."
"No, YOU get out."
Kara, who had ended up going with a date, looked at the six of us and said, "So, you guys really are serious about the Club, huh?"
"We sure are," Diane said with so much enthusiasm, I thought that she was probably the most excited of all of us.
"Well... good for you." Kara wrapped a shawl around her thin frame. "I don't think I could ever do that, but good for you guys."
Diane grabbed my arm. "Come on, let's dance." the six of us maneuvered onto the dance floor and started moving in time to the music. A few of our friends started to join us. the music was too loud to have a conversation, but I did find myself explaining the Club anytime a new person joined, us.
I swung around and was surprised to see that our circle of six had doubled -- Kara had joined us, along with a few other juniors and seniors.
After an hour of nonstop dancing, I took a break to go to the restroom and make sure I had some makeup left. I was having so much fun, I almost completely forgot about all the couples at the dance. I smiled at the thought of all the girls who were spending more time on the dance floor with us than with their dates.