After Shawna made her way to her posse, Aaliyah couldn’t help but feel time slow down all at once. The people adorned in masks and disguises all kind of melted and faded away, just leaving the glowing lights around her. There was no sound though, as if the scene had been muted by a TV remote. She drank in the tranquility that had ran through her veins, kissing at her exposed skin glistening in euphoric sweat. To anyone looking from outside the glass she probably just looked like a girl drunk as fuck and zoning out on just a few cups of punch. Slowly her mind came back to her trying to remember where she had left off and where she was meaning to go. For some reason the sound of Old Town Road had her thinking of cowboys. Life sprang back into focus, the sound blaring in her ear, “Chanel!” that’s right how could she forget. Her little rendezvous with Shawna had taken her away from Julie and Chanel, hopefully she could make it back in time before she even noticed. After all, Aaliyah did have a knack for being invisible.
Moving in what she thought was adeptly like an assassin was just her just marginally squeezing in between bodies, throwing whatever weight on her bones she had to help. Racing to the finish line she made it just in time, even with a second to spare to fix her crooked crown. Heavy is the head that wears the crown after all. Gasping for air she replied softly, “Oh yeah, I don’t think I could eat anymore either” the girl said gagging up some of her drink before forcing it down. She didn’t need Chanel to ask to know she was belligerent enough to do just about anything, “I might need another refill, partner” another joke probably failing to land.
The Monarch herself turned to face them grabbing Chanel first and pulling her into dance. To be perfectly honest, Aaliyah had no idea about the realms of men or what kissing and relationships meant. But if she did know one thing, its that she wanted to dance for the first time in her life and not just in the privacy of her shower. Tossing her cup behind her and cracking her neck she joined the two on the dance floor. It wasn’t a moment later that Julie had unexpectedly excused herself, confused Aaliyah drew closer to Chanel. In a not so quiet whisper yell she asked, “You think she’s alright? Where do you think she’s going? By the way this song is my jam!”
As the redhead stumbled away in a manner lacking the elegance and grace that typically characterized a monarch, Chanel found herself following her friend with her eyes until she was finally out of sight. Chanel didn't see it as an unusual occurrence for Julie MacMillan to take a quick break in between drinks and dances; so without thinking about the matter any further, Chanel simply shrugged her shoulders and refocused her attention on Aaliyah. "I'm sure she's fine," the young woman said with only a hint of hesitancy in her words. "She probably just needed to cool it for a second. I mean we were knocking these damn drinks back like they're water. Shit, I'm surprised that I'm still functioning." But as Chanel continued to dance around to the song that Aaliyah proclaimed as her "jam," she couldn't help but take a few quick glances in the direction that Julie had run off in.
Maybe it was the way that she'd planted a big fat kiss upon the lips of that painfully brainless jock earlier on that night, or perhaps it was the tone of her voice when she'd excused herself from her friends just a few moments ago. Hell, maybe it even had something to do with how she'd been seen staring in the direction of one of their newly returned friends. Either way, Chanel had known Julie for years, so it was natural that she had grown to be pretty good at reading her and detecting whenever something was on her mind. It may have taken her a few more moments to realize it thanks to the alcohol, but after having one last glance over at the back doors, she came to the conclusion that something wasn't right. "You know..." Chanel started again after the song had ended, "Maybe we should go check on her... just in case. Besides, I think we could both use a break, right?"
Still functioning, right, if that’s what you called what state the two of them were in. Lost in the rhythm of dance and music, her body went on autopilot while her brain focused on the conversation at hand. “You know I’m surprised I’m still sentient! I could have sworn I would have puked by now!” she exclaimed even though Chanel could hear her perfectly well. It wasn’t that she hadn’t arrived at that level yet, rather she was walking the tight rope between black out drunk and feeling right. She had some close calls with her heaving but the idea of Chanel holding her hair while she puked all over herself and cried left a mental image powerful enough to stop her. And besides, mama didn’t raise no bitch…or so she thought. “Did I ever tell you how much I worshiped you guys, you’re both like the prettiest girls in school and I look up to you both,” her sober thoughts coming to light in her drunken actions.
Aaliyah couldn’t really tell if Chanel was paying attention or not, but regardless her gaze stayed fixated on her matching her glances at the bustling crowd where Jules was swallowed into. Despite her state it was comforting to see that Chanel was just as human as she suspected and maybe Shawna was wrong about them using her. A small smile creased her cheeks as she nodded, “Yeah I think we do and maybe on the way you can tell me about what happened with that hunk of meat she kissed. I don’t think I’ve ever had a boy look at me.” The amount of information she was oversharing was embarrassing, if only she could see herself side by side. Before the next song started Aaliyah grabbed Chanel’s hand and led the way, only partially tripping over herself. Heels were still new territory and being drunk didn’t help, “I think I saw her go this way.”
As the two girls carefully made their way towards the back, the drunken cowgirl doing most of the aggressive shoving and cursing, Chanel began to tell Aaliyah all of the background information of the event that had transpired not too long ago. She started off by asking her if she remembered someone who went by the name of Aurelio, and ended the rundown by giving her the pep talk she'd been wanting to give her since the first day she'd laid eyes on her. "Girl, you're just as fucking pretty as Julie and I are. Hell, probably even prettier. Guys didn't not look at you because you're not gorgeous, they didn't because you don't think that you are... if that makes any damn sense." Chanel knew that it was the alcohol that caused her to ramble on without thinking much about what she was going to say. Nevertheless, she continued on. "I used to always see you in school walking around in your sweatpants, which we're gonna have to burn by the way, and your head held down. I think that tonight was the first night that I've actually seen you with a little bit of confidence outside of a damn chess match. And yeah that might just be because of the punch you drank but girl, haven't you noticed? Guys have been looking at you all night. I'm telling you, confidence goes a long way. And uh... cute outfits help, too."
Aaliyah somehow managed to end up behind Chanel wondering when she was the one being hogtied and wrangled around like some bandit. Regardless of how she got there, Aaliyah listened intently on the breakdown of what transpired between Julie and Aurelio. The muscles in the wetsuit was the same one she casually walked past after the assembly, when she attempted to say hi mid stroke. The embarrassment from the cringy memory burned hot on her skin. “Oh, poor Julie, we should definitely see if she needs us or some space” Aaliyah said frowning, the cosmetic gashes in her mask beginning to ooze blackened blood. However, her frown was quickly replaced by a surprise pickachu with the pep talk coming out of her queens’ mouth. It was hard for her to string words together, well harder than it was normally. At first it was pure gibberish, but then her words took form “...No…I mean yes. Yes! It makes perfect sense. You’re right! You’re right I am fucking gorgeous” she shouted with a rush of adrenaline. The young girl giggle covering her mouth, she rarely swore but somehow this moment felt right.
The thought of burning her sweatpants kind of weighed on her, yet she had to shed her old skin eventually. ”But what about on my off days she said under her breath. “I just…I don’t know I thought no one liked me. I’m awkward and I cause accidents frequently you know? The only two boys I ever talked to vanished without a trace. And then at homecoming when you said we weren’t friends, none of it made sense to me. I’m really bad at this you know? I want to be good at it. I want to be good at fashion and make up just like the two of you. I mean I never really had friends unless you count my teams” Aaliyah paused before continuing, “This whole day just meant a lot to me and I had a lot of fun tonight so thank you. I guess you're right too, cute outfits do help. I thought they were looking at you or my white ass eyes” she said jokingly. “Come on, let's find Julie and me some more confidence. My feet are starting to kill me, I don’t know how you girls walk in these.”
Soon, the pair had come to a stop on the backyard patio; Chanel let her eyes scan the small groups of people for Julie before she finally spotted her in the last place she’d thought to look: the very center of the swimming pool. "Well, I've found our Monarch," Chanel said to Aaliyah as she nodded in the direction of the floating redhead. "Question is... what do we do now?"
Chanel stopped dead in her tracks, which left the unknowing Aaliyah to bump into her like a sack of potatoes. Catching herself she apologized while she managed to get her outfit right and then herself right. Her eyes met with Chanel’s at the pool of red filling the otherwise bluish water, it was actually quite poetic, like blood polluting the water. “I didn’t know our Highness liked to swim… especially in her underwear,” she said almost sounding questionable. “Uhhhhhhhhh” Aaliyah muttered before a lightbulb went off in her head, “That’s it!” she turned to face Chanel in brutal excitement. “Let’s ditch the costumes and jump in with her!” Whether this was a good or bad idea was yet to be seen.
For what felt like ages, Chanel stared blankly at Aaliyah; it wasn't until after a few more moments had passed that she finally let out a deep breath and pulled the cowboy hat from atop her head. "Well... I guess it's a good thing that I decided against wearing a wig and got my hair braided instead, huh?" And soon after she said that, Chanel quickly began to undress, starting with the god-awful pair of cowboy boots that had started to hurt her feet shortly after her third drink. Normally the young woman would've felt slightly self conscious after stripping in front of a few of her classmates, but the liquor that coursed through her system helped her suppress all of those feelings. Chanel waited a few seconds for Aaliyah to follow suit before preparing to make their grand cannonball jump into the pool.
“I think your hair looks just as good when it’s natural” she said in somewhat of an agreement with Chanel. Aaliyah was a little taken aback and self conscious having eyed Chanel’s curvy figure from head to toe. At least if anyone was actually looking they would be focused on her instead of Aaliyah. So with that the girl stripped off her dress and put down her crown, finally removing the heels that were leaving her feet sore. “Yee haw I guess” she shrugged, following Chanel into the pool with her own cannonball.