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Friendship Fiction Drama

TW: violence

Gina stared into her closet. The clothes were packed so close together that she could barely tell one item from another, but that wasn’t why she was having trouble deciding what to wear. The truth was, she didn’t know how to dress without him. She always planned her outfits around him. His tastes, his moods, his temper.


When was the last time she could wear a cute pair of heels and not be called a slut? When was the last time she could wear makeup without someone passive-aggressively asking who she was trying to impress? When was the last time she could wear a sweater just because she liked it and not because it hid bruises well? When was the last time she chose what to wear to a party? Hell, when was the last time she even went to a party?


She sighed and threw herself onto the bed, giving up the clothes hunting entirely. What was the point? She wasn’t even sure if she wanted to go to this party. Her friends meant well. She knew that. She knew they were only doing this to support her, but she still didn’t want to go.


Gina glanced at a pile of cardboard boxes stacked in the corner of her small, studio apartment. How long had it been since she left him? Three weeks now? She knew it was the right decision, she did, but she still couldn’t help missing him.


That fact both annoyed and disgusted her. Miss him? That selfish, cheating, abusive bastard? He made her life hell for five years. Why should she miss him?


The more she thought about it, it wasn’t really him that she missed. It was the familiarity. Yes, he was neglectful. Yes, he was controlling. Yes, he was physically and emotionally abusive. But she knew that. 


She knew exactly what he was like and what to expect from him. She knew to keep herself busy with laundry on Sundays because he got easily agitated watching football and would be more likely to lash out if she was nearby. She knew that Thursday was a safe day because he was always in a better mood after fucking his secretary. Or, as he called it, “working late.” She knew that she couldn’t cook with pepper unless she wanted to clean mashed potatoes off the wall, she knew that his work clothes should be set out no later than seven unless she wanted to be dragged out of bed by her hair, and she knew exactly what to wear each and every day to keep him placated. 


But now? Now she didn’t know what to do. She built her entire existence around being what he wanted, around doing whatever she had to to keep herself safe. So who was she now that he was gone? Now that there were no expectations, no consequences, no fears. She made herself into his perfect little punching bag. She’d been playing that role so long she wasn’t sure if she remembered how to be anything else.


Who was she without him? Who was “Gina?” She tried to remember her life before him. Who was she back then? Did that girl even exist anymore? And if she didn’t, then who would she become next?


There were vague flashes of memories. Dancing and laughing with friends, popcorn flying when someone jumped at a scary part in a movie, a bright-eyed girl with a warm smile and a passion for life. 


Gina turned to look at the mirror on her nightstand. No. That girl didn’t exist anymore. The face that stared back at her more than confirmed that. Who was this woman with empty eyes and a sickly complexion? Why did she look so absolutely hopeless? Was there even a chance that a woman like this could be helped? She didn’t think so.


But, apparently, her friends did. That’s why they were having this party tonight. A “long overdue girls’ night out” as they called it. Something to “celebrate” her newfound freedom. Shopping at the mall, dinner and drinks at an Applebee’s, and a late-night movie. Nothing too wild, nothing too unusual, but things that she hadn’t been able to do in quite a long time.


How long had they been begging her to leave him? How many of her other friends had given up on her entirely, saying it was her own fault for staying? So many people abandoned her, she started to believe his lies. That he was the only one who was truly there for her, that he was all she would ever have in this world. After all, if she left him, then she really would have no one.


The girls refused to let that happen though. Sandra, Helen, Katie. They stuck by her side through it all. Through the pain, the fear, the bruises, they stayed with her and supported her. How could she have ever found the strength to finally leave him without them?


Wasn’t it Sandra who got her this apartment by making some arrangements with her uncle? Wasn’t it Helen who offered to bring her meals and groceries for a few months until she could get a job? Wasn’t it Katie who sent her husband as a bodyguard the day she finally packed her bags and left him? 


And what was Gina doing to repay them for all that? Wallowing in self-pity and looking for excuses not to go to the party they’d planned just for her. Pathetic. She didn’t deserve such good friends. She didn’t deserve people who loved her so much. Maybe he really was what she deserved.


A sudden buzzing of the doorbell broke her from these thoughts. She glanced at the clock. Seven. She wasn’t meeting the girls for another hour. So who could it be?


Panic filled her body. Was it him? Did he find her somehow? Her stomach churned violently, the room started to spin, everything felt cold.


“GiGi, it’s us!” A familiar voice called.


The most relieved sigh exited her body. Katie. Gina took a few deep breaths until the room stopped spinning. She stood up and went to the door. She peeked at the peephole. Sure enough, the girls were waiting outside. She unlocked the door.


“What are you guys doing here? Is my clock off?” Gina asked.


“No, but we figured you probably weren’t anywhere close to ready yet,” Sandra commented, nodding at her pajamas.


“Oh,” Gina looked down, ashamed. “That’s-”


“Don’t worry about it,” Katie insisted. “That’s why we came by. Girls’ night out starts now, and it’s starting with a makeover!”


“Y-you don’t have to!” Gina stammered. “I-”


“It’s happening, so you might as well accept it,” Helen said firmly. 


Gina bit her lip and nodded. After all, it’s not like she had any clue of what to wear herself. She couldn’t even pick her own clothes anymore. How pathetic.


By now, the girls had developed a kind of sixth sense when it came to Gina and her negative thoughts. Luckily, distracting her from them was pretty easy. They just had to make her focus on something else. And there was an easy target not far away.


Helen threw an arm around Gina's shoulder and led her back to the still-open closet.


“Now, the GiGi I know would want something fun and flirty for a night out,” she commented. “How about the classic little black dress?”


“No way!” Sandra said, digging through the clothes. “We’re celebrating, she needs something more festive than that. Oh, how about this red dress with the cutout shoulders?”


“God, I forgot I even had that,” Gina murmured.


She reached out and touched the soft fabric. She used to love this dress. She hadn’t worn it in ages though. Too “slutty” as he called it. He said that about a lot of the clothes she used to love. Did this mean it was finally okay to wear them again?


“Then that’s decided,” chirped Katie, pulling it from the closet. “Sexy, red dress that absolutely has to be paired with kitten heels!”


“Kitten heels for mall walking?!” Helen exclaimed. “No way. Low, wide heel. Cute and functional.”


“What about makeup?” Sandra chimed in.


The girls gasped and immediately started rambling about what makeup would be best. Natural? Glam? Evening? Highlighter? Wing-liner? Smoky eye? They tossed around words without ever seeming to decide on anything.


Gina just smiled. Arguments about the best makeup to wear on a girls’ night out, a group of friends gathered around a closet laughing, a night of fun plans ahead of them. This felt right. This felt like Gina. 


"You know what? We have time," Sandra pointed out. "Let's try a couple looks and GiGi can decide what she likes best."


Katie and Helen nodded in agreement. The girls rushed Gina to the bathroom and started talking excitedly about the makeovers they had planned for her. As they did, Gina looked in the mirror. In those previously hollow eyes, there was a hint of sparkle. Maybe, just maybe, that bright-eyed girl wasn’t dead after all.


May 12, 2021 11:35

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1 comment

Pippin Took
20:13 May 15, 2021

I like it!


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