The Wager

By: Calista Kyle

On top of all that, I'd somehow managed to get an eye infection, and couldn't wear my contacts. I'd have to wear my thick prescription glasses this evening. It was just freaking perfect. As if I didn't already feel out of place enough, I had to look like a total dork on top of it all.

I was tempted to call Mel and tell her I couldn't go. I even went so far as to pick up the phone and dial her number, but when she answered, she sounded so excited and nervous, I didn't have the heart to back out. Mel had rented a suite at the Lexington Hotel for us to use for our preparations. It was a convenient location since it was only half a block from the gala so we wouldn't have to worry about fighting traffic to get there.

The suite was a bustle of activity when I first arrived. Mel had really gone above and beyond when she said she'd take care of everything. There were racks of dresses placed to one side of the room and hair and makeup people running all around. In the middle of it all was Mel. She was sitting in a chair in front of a vanity mirror deep in thought.

"I think you should let us dye your hair black," the hair stylist was telling her.

"You really think that'd be a good idea?" she asked.

"Oh for sure! It'd go perfect with the theme this year."

"That's true...but I don't know," she hesitated.

I could tell by the way she was tugging on her ear that she was actually considering it. That would have been very bad. It would have made my skin problems look miniscule in comparison with the train wreck that would have been her hair.

"Don't do it," I said, stepping forward into the middle of the room.

They both turned to look at me and I could see Mel's face light in surprise.

"Lily! You made it," she said.

"I told you I'd come, didn't I?"

"Yeah, but I was afraid you'd figure out a way to back out at the last minute."

I hid my guilty expression by turning my head briefly and looking over the dresses. "As if you'd let me," I answered.

Mel shot me her infectious grin and turned to introduce her hairstylist, Jose, to me. "This is my friend Lily, I've been telling you about."

"Hi, it's nice to meet you," I said sticking out my hand.

Jose looked up appraisingly. I could tell he was less than pleased by my appearance. After all, I wasn't some golden haired goddess. My face was covered with zits and I wore my thick plastic frame glasses that made me look like a giant bug. It wasn't going to be easy for him to make me look presentable.

At last, he took it and shook it lightly. "Enchanté."

I tried hard not to roll my eyes, so instead I turned to look at Mel. "Why would you even consider dyeing your hair black?" I asked.

"Jose was just saying that he thinks it'll make me stand out. Really make my eyes pop and my skin just glow," Mel said.

I cocked my head at her as if she'd just lost her mind. "Do you not remember your little Goth phase a few years ago? I'm sorry, but black hair is not for you."

I hoped the reminder of her ill fated attempt to darken her hair back in college would be enough to make her think twice about doing it again. Her natural red hair and green eyes paired with her fair skin made her look ethereal. Black hair just made her look old and washed out.

"Well, the theme is chinoiserie this year--"

"And you think dyeing your hair black will...what? Make you look more Asian? Are you serious right now?" I asked.

Mel flushed embarrassingly and looked back at the mirror. "You're probably right. Now that I think about it, my mother would probably ban me from ever attending again if I embarrassed her."

Jose huffed and shot me an irritated glare. He kept his mouth shut, but I knew he wasn't happy with me at all. He excused himself and left the room for a cigarette break, taking his small entourage with him. Once the door had closed, I turned back to Mel, and raised a sardonic brow at her.

"Nice guy," I said.

"Don't mind Jose. He's really a doll when you get to know him better."

"Sure, if you say so," I mumbled.

Mel got up from her chair and turned to face me. Her expression became serious and her lips turned down into a frown once she got a better look at my face.

"What happened to your eye?" she asked.

"Ugh, don't even get me started. Today has been beastly. I somehow managed to get an infection in my eye, so now I've got to wear these monstrosities," I said pointing to my glasses.

Top Books