faux fur shrug

things we carry inside us // (1)

we all carry these things inside of us, that no one else can see. they weigh us down like anchors. they drown us out at sea
Warnings: mention of scars.
A/N: i promise things will start getting better soon with this haha. title & summary from BMTH’s Chelsea Smile.
**
Returning home after my first day of college, all I want is to shower, change into my pyjama’s, and get straight into bed. As soon as I open the door and Drake’s raps hit me I know it probably won’t be happening.

My three room-mates are in various states of undress; Betty is wearing a flowing, floral blouse and a black a-line skirt, frowning as she smooths down the clingy fabric. Veronica is dancing around the living room, clad only in a pair of sheer black tights and a lacy bra, hair pinned up and half-curled. Cheryl’s head pops out from around her bedroom door when she hears me coming in. Her eyes are dusted with dark browns, lips coated in her signature Maple Red lippie, and she squeals in excitement as I walk down the hall.

‘Storm! You’re here!’

Dropping my backpack with a thunk, I lean against the doorframe of her room. Glancing in, I see a red dress laid out on her bedspread, a pair of silver heels waiting by the floor-length mirror, and a faux-fur shrug draped beside the dress. ‘We are all going to our first college party!’ She informs me gleefully.

‘We?’

Cheryl hits me with that Blossom stare - fierce and unrelenting. I feel my resistance falling away as Betty sidles up behind me. 'Guys?’ Her voice is uncertain. 'I don’t think I have anything nice to wear.’

Cheryl’s eyes nearly pop out in horror; before she has the chance to make a cutting remark, I take the blonde by the wrist and pull her further down the hall. 'You can borrow something of mine.’

Relief washes over her face. 'Really? Are you sure?’ Smiling, I enter my own room, opening the wardrobe and scanning the scant contents. Most of my stuff is still in boxes, some half-open and items scattered all across the floor. I run my hand over the clothes rail, selecting a pale pink skater dress and holding it out to Betty. She holds it up against herself. 'It’s a bit… short?’

I shrug. 'If you’ve got it, flaunt it, Bets.’ She laughs at that, and retreats to her own room to change. Resisting the urge to rest for even a moment, I resign myself to finding something decent to wear. Nothing in the wardrobe stands out, so I root through a few of the boxes marked 'clothes’ until I come up with something casual but cute.

Betty reappears at the door, tugging at the hem. She’s trying to hide a smile, as she looks to me for an opinion. 'Gorgeous, girl,’ I tell her honestly, watching the blush spread across her face. 'You think?’

'I know,’ I correct her, grabbing my makeup bag and straighteners. 'Go see what the others say,’ I encourage, and she slips out again. I hear Veronica wolf-whistling, and grin. Betty has probably turned completely crimson - even after a mere day of knowing her, her crush on the sassy brunette is no secret to anyone, except to said sassy brunette.

Closing over my own door, I shrug out of my first day of college outfit - black leggings and an oversized maroon hoodie, black canvas runners, then pull my hair out of the messy top-knot I had it in. Before even attempting to wrangle my hair into a respectable 'do, I step into a pair of distressed shorts, pairing it with a light grey tee shirt with an alien printed on the right side. I hesitate - though the scars on my arm are pretty faded, they’re still just about visible. I’m not ashamed of them, but people tend to make assumptions about their origins - but, hey. Screw it. Let people think what they want to, right?

I debate between dressing up the casual outfit with a pair of heels or sticking to comfort with sneakers, then leave the decision to before we go.

Blonde strands with knots the size of fully-grown cats in are not fun to deal with- I yank out more hair than I brush every time the bristles pass through the thick waves. I’ve been growing it for about two years now - not that it was particularly short, but I haven’t had in cut in a long time - and it just about grazes the small of my back. I call out to Ronnie, asking her to braid it.

Waiting for her to come in, I start putting my face on. Swiping foundation on, then attempting to contour. Emphasis on attempt. When everything looks blended, I check myself out on the dresser mirror - I can’t see a difference, really. Moving on, I shade my eyes silver and black, blending and blending and blending until I’m satisfied with how it looks. My greatest enemy comes next - liquid eyeliner. It takes about ten minutes to get it evenly applied, little wings stretching out from the corner of my eyes. When that nerve-wracking exercise is finished, I put on a few coats of mascara and apply a nude lip, standing back to appraise myself.

Ronnie taps on the door - 'are you decent?’ I smirk at the mirror. 'Depends on your definition of decent.’ I tease back. She steps inside, twirling for me, showing off her little black dress. The top is tightly fitted while the bottom flares out; showing off her long, smooth legs. She winks at me and then climbs onto my bed, careful of the skirt of her dress, sitting cross-legged, patting the space in front of her. I toss the hairbrush to her and grab a handful of ties, leaving them in a pile by her knee. I sit at the edge of the bed, relaxing momentarily as her fingers run through my hair. It’s comforting; usually, physical contact makes me flinch, but this is nice. She hums along to Clean Bandit, playing from the living room, twisting my hair around itself with nimble movements.

'So, where are we actually going tonight?’

'Our friends have a house share a few blocks over - guys we knew in high school. They’re having their own freshers party.’ She pauses, looping some more hair over and under. 'You’ll like them,’ she tells me reassuringly.

I say nothing. She finishes the braid and pins it around my head in a crown - clapping her hands excitedly as she surveys her work. 'Beautiful!’
I look in the mirror again; a stranger’s reflection staring back at me. My skin is still tanned from travelling, my hair lighter from all the sun. With the make-up, I even look a little older, and Veronica’s braid sets the whole ensemble off perfectly. I thank her quietly, and stand up to toe on a fresh pair of pristine white Vans. I’d meant to wear them today, but changed my mind last second, choosing an old battered pair of black sneakers that were a little bit comforting - old and familiar. Tonight, though, it is out with the old and in with the new. No more hanging on to fragments of the past - except for maybe one. Finding my jewellery box, I dig out a long silver chain. The charm on it is simple, a half-tied knot, a symbol and a promise. Swallowing hard, I manage to tie it around my neck, surprised to find myself smiling as I look down at it. Maybe I don’t have to let go of everything.