CHAPTER NINE: BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

Heather, the main plastic, was a Prima Donna in a Tiara. A true Swan princess. She was equally loved and loathed. Loved because she looked perfect, like an Ice Cream Sunday – loathed because her attitude was bitter like Scottish ale. By all means, she had everything. A nice flat, a posh Porsche, his arm always wrapped around her neck like a human scarf. Yet she secretly was a mess. 

Tattoos of her grief written as tiny streaks of keloids across her wrists, conveniently concealed behind chiffon sleeves. How many times had she tried to take her own life. Just to get it over with. Bipolar, semi-anorexic, full-blown Bulimic. She was a perfect doll type, couldn’t keep anything down. The only thing Heather craved for more than attention, was a giant, transfat, mustard-dripping, gravy-filled Mac and Cheese burger with side pickings of Wings and fries. That plus a huge footlong with absolutely no vegies. But how would she? How could she? So she contended with carrots and calorie-drained protein shakes.

One could only hope that her soul wasn’t tainted. But it was corrupted pitch black. Heather’s life was a lust funded campaign. A sexpreneur femme fatale who didn’t spare sensuality in the pursuit of fame and fortune. This made her emotionally stoic and hardened. And she would walk on the brittle souls of those underneath her, like Adelide, who had been invited to her party on that fateful day. Perhaps the only good thing about Heather’s own life was Jason. And even though according to her, theirs was a loosely open relationship, she really had a sweet-spot for him. He was a transmutation of her emotions. An incarnation of her vulnerabilities – her kryptonite. 

Heather had started feeling like she was loosing the reigns of power and she had to put her foot down. Someone had parked in her spot at school and cut her in line at the cafeteria. She had to do something. And who better to be made an example than Adelaide, the girl who always had a hoodie on and sat at the corner away from everybody. Heather knew Adelaide. How couldn’t she? She desired her invisibility. Adelide was like a spectre – an apparition that hazed through school unnoticed. Heather’s desire to be like her consumed her to the very core. She craved attention, but secretly desired invisibility. But she couldn’t have the best of both worlds. So she decided to punish Adelaide. Get her to come to her party and humiliate her by putting the spotlight on her.

**********

Heather put on her silk evening dress and veiled her face behind a masquerade mask. Her lust for mischief was soon to be quenched in a carefully orchestrated plan to break the very fabric of Adelide’s reality. She had never felt this invested in anything before. The essence of her pain had birthed a phoenix of fury. And nothing was to delay her – not even Jason who was looking for her. 

Someone tapped Adelaide’s shoulder. She turned back only to be met by the glaring glow of a pair of eyes peeping through a sparkling long-nose mask. She knew it was Heather. The hazel eyes, the well poised gait, her hair that shot over the mask and sofly land over half of her face. 

‘Nice of you to show up. Started fearing you wouldn’t make it,’ Heather spoke over her shoulder as she weaved back through the labrinth of silhouettes that were the invites to her party. And as expected, Adelaide followed like a loyal Terrier. They got to the lounge and Heather put on a slideshow that had been paused on her TV. 

‘If I may have your attention. Today is a special day, not just for me but for one of us who I am sure we have seen but haven’t ever noticed.’

Heather spoke to a forming crowd as she ushered Adelide to come and join her at the centre. ‘And just to make her feel welcome, I made a short slideshow for her..’

She pressed play.

A rather pleasant stream of Adelide’s school pictures started playing. She faintly wondered where all these pictures were obtained but she didn’t let that steal her moment. She was too excited to care anyway. Plus she had just been endorsed by the Queen Plastic herself. This was bound to change her social standing in school. Suddenly, all her facebook posts would start to get hundreds of likes an tens of shares; a far cry from the three likes she always got – from her mom, the creepy neighbour and the facebook bot she was sure her dad had hired. 

The excitement she saw on people’s faces suddenly turned to frozen stupor followed by bellows of laughter. Adelide turned only to see herself in her most compromising situations. Practically the most embarassing pictures she had never taken. Pictures of herself fondling a pillow with Jason’s poster stuck on it, captioned ‘pillow-slut’, her struggling in the pool during a swimming session tagged ‘Loch Ness Monster’ and some even more embarassing unmentionables. It was an avalanche down to rock bottom. She was stupefied.

Turning back, all figures had masked their faces with balaclavas and masquerade masks and faded into the still darkness, with only their glaring eyes spearing right through her soul like Shaka Zulu’s mini-javelins. 

‘Poor Addy, thought your dreams were valid, but you are just a shack, even your face is squalid, so run to your mummy, you can never be a bunny’. 

The credits ran. 

Everyone laughed even harder. Heather had won once again. Adelide’s invisibility cloak was now broken. In her mind, she had been stripped naked. Down to the bare minimum. She ran into a room she thought was the washroom and locked herself in. She wanted to look at the mirror once again and wonder about the mostrosity that stared back at her. But the mirror was hazy from the mist that had settled on it. She buffed it only to see a very familiar face staring back. She almost jumped through the window. 

Jason had been sitting on the toilet bowl all that time. It was the men’s designated lavatory for that particular party. Adelide pretended to look away, but just to hide her tears.

‘Don’t close your eyes…my pants are on

She looked back. He had a couple of boxes of things that looked like pregnancy kits in his hands. Some were also in the bin right next to the bowl. He looked unusually uncentered. He noticed her staring and remembered he had all those things on him. He fidgeted a bit as he tried to hide them while changing the topic. 

‘Heard what Heather did from the other room, Adelide.’ He knew her name, ‘Really sorry..’

Adelide kept quiet as a sudden tear drew a new smudge down her left cheek. She glanced her eyes to the ceiling as if looking through the roof and into the distant galaxies.

‘Tell you what, I also can’t be here right now. You want to get out of here? I have my Mustang outside..’

Adelide put her hoodie back on and sobbed a bit. Pulled her sleeves over her palms and used them as a napkin to dab her tears. 
****To Be Continued****

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