Life is a masquerade. Part one. This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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"Kasey, come on try this on! It will be perfect on you!" Kiera- my best friend, orders me excitedly, picking up one of the many gorgeous, elegant and most fashionable couture dresses from the long winding silvery rails of the expensive prom dress store and shoves it into my arms . I smile faintly shaking my head.

“Oh no that’s way too pricey for me and anyways it would look better on you!” I reply, looking sheepishly towards my group of friends as I glance up and down at the somehow immaculate white floor and ceiling. They don’t notice as my face suddenly turns about three shades whiter, they are practically oblivious.

“Don’t be silly it would look way better on you! I’ll pay for it if you like, and anyway I’ve already bought my prom dress!” She replies, the other girls nod in time with each other. There were nine of us altogether- me, Kiera, Jennette, Sal, Maya, Denise, Alisha, Layla and Perry. We were the school It girls, perfectly groomed, perfectly sized and lead perfect lives-of course this was not always the case!

I had a secret that nobody, not even Kiera knew...

“Just think of it as a loan, I buy this for you, you pay me back later!” she laughs although I can tell Kiera is serious. I always can! Kiera is the eldest and richest of all us, she is one of those picture perfect girls you see on American drama shows set in school, perfect in every way and ruler of the roost! She is the lead wolf of the wolf pack willing to do anything to make herself look better than she really is, I myself have shamefully caught a little of this from her... however, it is important to remember without her wolf pack she would not be nearly as strong as she appears.

“Okay fine!” I finally give in; the dress is gorgeous after all. I suddenly find myself say “I’ll have to try it on first though...”
“Of course Kasey, when don’t you try on stuff?” she laughs again though this time sarcastically.

“It will be perfect!” Jennette, my other best friend who is slightly quitter than Kiera says with a kind manner. Jennette is the most naturally pretty girl of the group; she hardly wears makeup unlike the rest of us.

I waltz my way into the changing room, with a fake grin of happiness on my face.

“One!” I say confidently to the woman, she hands over the round tag with a giant number one on. I smile slightly bigheaded before walking towards one of the curtained off doors. I shut the velvet purple-coloured drapes blocking off the rest of the world from me. From this.
I take a deep, hearty breath as I close my eyes tight shut!

Unbuckling the ribbon lace back of the fuchsia-pink gown, it sparkles. Anybody who would get offered this dress for free (for now at least) would grab it by both hands, it is the type of princess dress, one off Chanel’s, Elie Saab pretty, that kind of thing.

Anybody, but not me.

I gaze at in awe, wishing I was only perfect enough for it. It fits me like it’s my own skin, drapes off me like a wedding gown, all bows and sparkles. The sweetheart shape corset fits perfectly against my chest! I love this dress...yet it can never be mine!

“Didn’t fit properly, obviously was oversized!” I say, lying as I walk back through the changing room doors towards my friends – who are still looking admiringly at all the other dresses.

“Oh that’s a shame!” Jennette sighs. Kiera gives me a look of wonder. I raise my eyebrow.
“What?” I ask quickly.
“Nothing!” she replies.

I lay back on my double bed, legs aching from all the walking around. I just put my head down on my pillow and begin thinking about everything, when my peace is broke by the telephone ringing loudly. I pick it up, it’s late! It’s Kiera.
“Hey Kiera, what’s up?” I ask though not suspiciously for the late time, she rings all the time, no matter if its four o’clock in the morning or one in the afternoon, if Kiera’s awake you should be too.

“Got everything sorted for tomorrow?” she asks once again excitedly.
“Tomorrow?” I repeat.
“It’s prom night, how could you forget Kasey? You’ve been planning this forever!” She says almost shouting at me.

“No I didn’t just... I don’t really feel up to going, there’s a lot going on and my dress is practically ruined!” Just as I said that, I gazed towards the door where my long, navy blue sparkling gown that my parents bought me, hung.

“Well you weren’t going in that thing anyways, nope I bought that dress you tried on, I knew how much you liked it! It’s okay, I know you only said it was too big because you felt guilty using my money!” She says proudly. Oh no!
“Ha ha yeah you’re right!” I lie again. Although she’s my best friend, that doesn’t mean she can’t hate me also.

“Okay, so come to mine about half ten tomorrow morning, the other girls will be there and some others from school too, we are going to outshine the lot of them!”
I laugh. Typical Kiera.
After half an hour of Prom talk, Kiera hangs up leaving me exhausted.

I walk over towards my long, rectangular Mirror. Pulling off my oversized hoodie and peeling down my skin tight leggings, I stand bare legged and bare unclothed in only my vest and knickers. My skin glows with the thick layer of tan up towards my shoulders then my chest is bare and pale, the skin bruised with black and blue. I lift up my vest, my stomach looks swollen. Patches of brown leave me looking like a bruised peach, the scars and cuts decorate my legs along with the same effect, the tan only helps my arms, jeans, leggings and long maxi skirts hide my thin legs.

What am I going do? I cannot go to such a big event looking like I’ve been through hell and back. I have no other option but to go though now.

I reach for my fake tan once again and blend it into the rest of my skin with a glove, another bottle open I do the same. I’d rather be a full orangey peach than a bruised one!

The next morning, at half ten precisely I knock on Kiera’s door, she opens it instantly whilst I’m still knocking as if she knows exactly when I arrive either that or she was waiting for me.

“Hi! I see you have your makeup and that!” She says, very observantly as she looks down at my shell shaped vanity cases. I smile, although I feel nervous. “And love the tan!”
“Yeah, I did it before I got here!” I lie again, although that one seems like a pointless fib.

“I didn’t think about that, but my complexion is naturally tanned anyways!” she fibs now. I know she uses tan beds. They aren’t good for her but she never does care!
We were all dressed by six o’clock and we are now leaving the house at seven. The house is huge, decorated in all sorts of fancy ornaments and stuff, things that again or only ever seen on TV and in magazines. I try to enjoy myself as the music blares and the prom team announce Maya’s name as queen but all I can think about is the bruises and the fake tan coming off. The end of the prom is here. I walk towards the limousine, with the other eight girls in the group. We all are on our way to Kiera’s house once again; she’s asked us to stay. I agree as do the rest, slightly forced by Kiera herself.

We spend most of the night chatting about boys and people from school- it’s hard to believe it’s the end, then we watch a film, a huge bowl of cheesy, jalapeño and salsa covered nachos call our name. I grab for one just as one of the girls begin to speak.

“Kiera are you still going out with that Luke?” Denise asks me. I almost choke on my nacho. Instead I kick the bowl; thankfully I am now in my pyjamas so my dress isn’t ruined however it spills all over me, up my leg.

“Here!” Layla passes me a towel and begins rubbing my pyjama bottoms, it smudges it even more. “Sorry!”

I shake my head. “It’s okay!”

“Here go and change into them!” Kiera chucks over a pair of short bottoms to me. My heart throbs, aching with a sickly pain. “They are the only ones that will fit you!” I scowl looking hurt although I know I’m the thinnest of the girls.

I pick them up and go into her on suite bathroom. I feel sick as I chuck off my long pants that hang down to my ankles, then I pick up the shorts and throw them on. They are still slightly baggy on me, though I prefer it if they are. Tan can’t hide long scars and deep cuts.

I stumble through the bathroom, pulling my t-shirt down though it can’t hide me, not really. The other girls gasp, some of them anyways; the rest look at each other in shock.
I pretend not to notice; the tears fill up my eyes, making them red with hurt and pain though I force myself not to cry. Kiera stares directly at me. She knows I’m hurting. A tear drops from my left eye.

“What’s happened to your legs?” She gasps. Eventually. She sounds terrified, I blush.

“Nothing!” I reply.
Another lie.

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