Massie Block did a full twirl and watched the sequins on her dress bounce a soft, shimmery light all over her room, her three way mirror, and, of course, her friend’s wide-mouthed smiles. As soon as she stopped twirling, the fabric hung loosely at her knees and Bean yapped nervously in the silence that followed. Massie felt a bead of sweat fall dangerously close to her eyebrow as she waited for her friend’s ratings, their eyes flitting from her perfectly curled hair to her perfectly tailored dress to her perfect sexy-yet-not-slutty heels.
“Well…..?” Massie asked nervously.
“Ehmagawd, it’s perfect,” Alicia spoke barely above a whisper.
“A total ten,” Dylan said confidently.
“Really? You guys think it fits my sweeter than sweet sixteen?” Massie asked them with a coy smile.
“It’s amazing,” Claire smiled back at Massie.
Massie smiled back at the mirror, pleased with how well the night was going so far. She had been 16 years old for less than 24 hours and she was so happy, her cheeks actually hurt from smiling.
“Shit, what time is it?” Massie asked, scrambling to shove a few more beauty products into her clutch.
“It’s almost eight, we should probably get going,” Kristen answered.
“Alright. Are you all ready to take be the first passengers ever in the BMW!?!” Massie laughed as she jingled her shiny silver key that was smacking haphazardly against a purple monogram circle, the MBE shining in the bedroom light.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Kristen, Dylan, Alicia, and Claire squealed together as they imagined showing up to her party in the back of Massie’s brand new, pastel blue BMW Convertible.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Massie said as she took off toward the garage, the other girls stumbling after her.
“I can’t believe your mom let you get your license on the day of your birthday! I have to wait until I have been ‘properly trained to drive safely.'” Alicia groaned, using her fingers to quote her mother’s words of wisdom.
“I’m getting my license the day I turn 16,” Dylan said with a shrug.
“Your mom would let you get a tattoo if you told her it would boost her Daily Grind ratings,” Kristen shot back.
“No one is getting a tattoo, that is beyond tacky. Now, help me pick out the perfect song,” Massie slid into the drivers seat and popped the hood on her convertible, letting the smoky Fall air rush over her.
Claire quickly plugged her iPhone into the car’s jack and turned up “Good Time” by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Alicia let out a whoop, Dylan started singing – very badly – her favorite chorus, Kristen was laughing at Claire who had a big chunk of blonde hair stuck to her lip gloss, and Massie let a very natural smile play onto her lips as she watched her best friend do what they did best; warm her heart without even trying.
Massie pulled her baby blue car out of her driveway and onto the main drag of Westchester, her eyes focused on the road but they kept getting distracted as she drove by her favorite landmarks. Did that old church always look so green? When did she need to turn next? Had that cute boy always been working on his car in the front yard? Massie widened her eyes as she took in the road that up until now, had never changed. All of a sudden everything looked and felt so different.
When Claire’s iPhone changed to the next song, Massie turned up the volume and started singing along with the girls and before she knew it, they had pulled up to the country club. Once she pulled into her favorite spot, she cut the engine but let the music continue to play, the girls in the back seat practically dancing in their cream colored leather seats.
As soon as the car went quite, the girls hopped out and made their way to the front door, their heels clacking against the pavement.
“Do you think everyone’s here already?” Claire asked nervously.
“Of course! We are over ten minutes late which means they are probably anxiously awaiting our grand entrance,” Massie smiled as she smoothed out her hair.
“I’m so nervous!” Kristen applied another layer of lip gloss and checked her reflection in a Mercedes door mirror.
“We’ll be fine! Just remember what we practiced so you don’t embarrass yourself,” Massie winked at the girls as they opened the doors to the country club, the quiet lobby calming their fears.
Massie turned right and walked down a long hallway, nervously trembling even though she knew that she had nothing to worry about. When she imagined walking into that gorgeous ball room where everyone was watching and wishing her a fantastic birthday, she could feel her heart leap. It’s not that her birthdays had never been fabulous in the past, this year felt more real. Massie hadn’t invited her entire grade like she always had in the past, she had only invited people who she actually knew. No one that knew her as the infamous Massie Block would be there, only people who called her “Mass”, invited her to parties and sleepovers, asked if they could tag along on a shopping spree, or even took the time to get to know the girl behind the flawless reputation.
Massie gripped the door handle and turned it slowly as the girls stepped inside.
Massie Block shimmied through the crowd with Derrick leading her and the Pretty Committee following her. She could hear a loud voice over the speakers, calling her up to the front of the room but she was having too much fun to pay attention. She was smiling and mouthing “Hey” to guests as she slipped by, not wanting to have all eyes on her again.
When they finally came up to the food table, they were standing next to a large pink cupcake tower that had delicate flowers and rhinestone 16’s on top of a mound of fluffy icing. Massie smiled at the tower, pleased they matched her theme as well as she had thought.
While most girls go for a pink and girly sweet 16 party, Massie had wanted to take it to the next level. Large light pink strips of gauzy fabric started at the edges of the circular room and were pulled up, meeting at the center in an explosion of white Chinese lanterns that cascaded soft white light across the entire room. When looking up at the ceiling, Massie felt like she was in the middle of a circus-tent-gone-glam. Small pods of white lounge chairs that were littered with pink and glitter pillows lined the outside of the room and on one end, a large table was overflowing with pink candy, pink white chocolate covered strawberries, pink cupcakes, and pink lemonade.
Massie smiled out at everyone who was staring back at her, waiting to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. As soon as the DJ started the song, everyone sang to her as Massie tried not to be embarrassed. She smiled back at the crowd and at the Pretty Committee who was dancing and singing the song as silly as they could. She looked over at Derrick who was wiggling his butt while singing, something she couldn’t help but laugh at. As soon as the song ended, she blew out a cupcake that held three sparkler candles and everyone came forward, wishing her happy birthday and hugging her.
Before she knew it, everyone was dancing again, even though they only had the room rented for another 15 minutes. She let Derrick lead her to the center of the floor as he enveloped her in a large hug.
“I haven’t had a chance to give you your birthday present yet,” He whisper-shouted in her ear.
“Well you better hurry, my birthday is almost over,” she said with a sly grin.
Derrick smiled back at her and pulled out a small box from his pocket and handed it to Massie, the ribbon holding it together about to become undone. She slipped off the top and smiled up at him when she saw what it was.
“You didn’t have to do this!” she kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Look, it has all of your favorites. I figured you were getting a little old for a charm bracelet so I thought a charm key chain would be more appropriate” Derrick said as he thumbed through the gold and silver metals.
Massie examined her new key ring. A gold ‘M’ hung down in the center of all the charms, small diamonds running up the side. There was also a brown leather D, a puppy paw print, a Louis Vuitton emblem, a silver shoe, and a gold crown with a purple amethyst stone in the middle. Massie smiled as she looked over every charm.
“What’s this one supposed to be?” She asked, holding up a charm that consisted of five hearts, each one a different color that hung down in tiers.
“Five hearts. One for each member of the Pretty Committee,” Derrick said, giggling.
“Ohhhh! I love it. Especially the D, here,” Massie said as she laughed.
“I thought you would. If you ever decide you don’t like me anymore, you’re free to take it off,” he said, playfully knocking his elbow into hers.
“I don’t think that’s possible,” Massie giggled as she let him twirl her around.
After one more song played through, Massie noticed that the party was slowly dying, probably due to the staff walking around the perimeter and picking up trash.
“I should go. I promised I’d drive the guys home,” Derrick said with a frown.
“Alright, thanks for coming even though we didn’t get to see each other that much,” Massie said staring into his blue eyes.
“It’s alright, seeing you for five minutes was worth it. Happy birthday,” Derrick said with a kiss on the cheek, and then he was gone.
Massie searched the floor for the girls and finally found them eating the left over food, Dylan balancing three cupcakes on a pink plate. Once everyone had left, they gathered up all of Massie’s presents and walked toward the door. Massie reached to open the door, but suddenly stopped.
“What’s wrong? Are we locked in?!” Alicia asked.
“No. Before we go, I just wanted to say how much I love you guys. I never thought I’d be turning 16 with you still by my side and I can happily say it’s the best surprise of this entire day,” Massie said as she pulled them in for an embrace.
Massie gripped the golden doorknob and turned it, the soft pink light streaming through the crack and eventually lighting up the hallway. Massie grabbed Alicia’s hand, Alicia grabbed Kristen, Kristen grabbed Dylan’s, and Dylan grabbed Claire’s. The girls stepped through the door together, as they always had and always would.
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