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When the Sun Sets (part 6)
She’ll tell me about what happened once 5 p.m. arrives. For the time being, I gathered Rochelle’s dance stuff and put it in her duffle bag. I did the homework from my original classes and before I know it, 5 o’clock rolls around.
I hear the door open from the kitchen table. I run over to it.
“I knew it.” Rochelle muses. “I just knew it!” She shut the front door.
“What?” I’m curious about what happened with Tucker. Rochelle starts up the stairs and to her room. I shut her bedroom door behind me.
“Tucker likes you!” she squeals.
“What?” Tucker? My best friend who treats me like one of his buddies?
“Tucker Ashton likes you! No, loves you!” she said.
I sit on the bed and try to take this in.
“Okay, here’s what happened. Tucker began to ride his skateboard. I didn’t because I didn’t want to get into another accident before tonight’s performance. He noticed, stopped riding, and walked beside me. He took me—err, you to the park. You know the one where you had the accident?” she explains. I nod. “Yeah, there. And he showed you he could do an, ‘Airwalk Grab.’” She used air quotes. “It was so cool! He ‘got a lot of air’ off of a ramp, grabbed the ‘nose’, and in the air he kicked his front leg, front and his back leg, back! I was enthralled!” I can tell she’s unfamiliar with skating terminology.
“What? And I missed that! Dang! What else happened?” I ask.
“Well, you congratulated him and he asked you to take a walk with him around the park. You and Tucker stopped at the small, smooth stone wall. You sat on it and he stood on his skateboard.”
‘I’m glad you hung out with me today, Michelle.’ Rochelle uses a too-deep voice to imitate Tucker.
“That’s not how Tucker sounds!” I giggle, and let her continue.
‘Yeah, me too.’ She uses a girly voice that definitely doesn’t sound like mine.
‘You’re always there for me.’ Big voice.
‘Yeah?’ Little voice.
‘And I wanna do the same for you. Michelle, do you wanna go out with me?’ Big voice.
“And you said yes!” Rochelle went back her original voice.
“Oh my god, Ro! Thank you!” I hug my sister. “I am extremely happy that I’m going out with Tucker!”
Tucker and I have been friends forever; I guess sparks are beginning to fly. I stop celebrating when I realize, I’m not in my own body. I’m in Rochelle’s.
“Rochelle, how am I supposed to go out with Tucker if I’m not even in my own body?”
“Oh my god, Michelle. I must’ve forgotten about that. I mean, it’s obvious to, like, everyone that you two should be together, so I guess I just got excited and said yes for you when you had the chance. I didn’t think about me in your body. I’m sorry.” She says.
“It’s okay.” I say.
“We will find some way to switch back.” She sounds so sure. I smile, hiding my slight disappointment. “Oh yeah, one little detail I forgot to mention… Tucker kissed you and walked you home.”
“What?! Tucker kissed me and I wasn’t even there to enjoy it?” I roar.
“Again, I’m sorry! It would have messed up the mood! Are you mad at me, Michelle?” she asks me.
“No…” I say. “’Cause I got a little lip-action from Marco.” I confess, teasing her.
We both start laughing and hit each other with the pillows on her bed. We’re really bonding. We stop and I look at the clock. It’s 5:25 p.m. It’s time to get to the ballet’s last practice before show time. Rochelle grabs her dance bag and we get out of her bedroom.
Mom and Hazel drop off me and ‘Michelle’ at the Anaheim Ballet. If I didn’t go with her, Mom would wonder why ‘Michelle’ was going and not ‘Rochelle’. They say they will come back with Tucker and Marco once everyone is dressed appropriately.
To attend a ballet, one must dress up. And that I did. Before we left, Rochelle picked out a different dress, pair of shoes and jewelry for me to wear. We were in a hurry to get to the rehearsal so I didn’t get to see it. Rochelle said while she and the cast were practicing, I could sneak in a shower in the girl’s locker room and get ready there. She gave me the combination to her locker so I could use the shampoo inside.
Rochelle put up her hair so no one would know she, in my body, would be dancing. I did the same and left her to rehearse on the auditorium’s stage.
I walk into a locker room with gray lockers, pink walls and white linoleum floors. It’s empty. Everyone must be onstage. I search for locker 196, Rochelle’s locker. I look on the slip of paper she gave me with the locker number and combination on it. I spin the three numbers listed and unlock the lock. There is a matching set of sweet pea shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion, Rochelle’s makeup bag and a brush. Rochelle must have taken her costume out already. I strip down to my bra and underwear and delicately place the dress and its accessories inside the six-foot tall lockers.
I take the shampoo, conditioner and soap to the sinks where they keep a stack of neatly stacked towels. I take one soft, warm white one and go to the showers.
I don’t take too long showering because I want to see the rehearsal. I lather on some lotion when I get back to the locker. Still in my towel, I walk over to the sink and use one of the blow-dryers to dry my hair.
Once it’s dry, I try to style it. This is much more difficult without Rochelle here. I don’t know how to make myself look girly. So I take one Seventeen magazine by the towels and refer to that. I see one article where the girl’s hair is in a fancy bun. I do as best I can to make my hair like it does in the picture and there’s a layered lock of wavy, brown hair that just doesn’t cooperate. I leave it tumbling down my shoulder to the side and realize it looks better like that.
Time for makeup. I’m inexperienced when it comes to using makeup too. All I know is how to put on lip gloss. I take Rochelle’s makeup bag and use whatever is in there. I use the Seventeen magazines as my guide again. It shows me how to apply foundation, powder, eye shadow, mascara and all that other stuff. After fifteen minutes, my face looks great, for a tomboy. Very simple. I take the makeup bag back to the locker.
I unzip the black, plastic garment bag to reveal a stunning piece of clothing. It’s a floor-length, body-hugging, back-exposing, black silk dress, with a modest v-neckline. It is so simple but very elegant. I slither into it. I put on the black strappy 3 inch heels that were sitting at the bottom of the bag. A bag within the garment bag holds mom’s diamond necklace and a hair comb decorated with crystal flowers.