I didn't want to do. I so did not want to go.
But what could I do? Mother was ordering me and I couldn't appear rude.
So I reluctantly climbed into Flavia's cars while chills shuddered through me and kept quiet as she drove me to the local shopping centre.
I tried to ignore her smile which I had the uncomfortable feeling was related to my fear.
At the shops, I felt more at ease. After all, she wasn't going to harm me in a public place, was she?
"So... why did you bring me here?" I asked, as we got out of the car.
"To go shopping, silly. Why else?"
And with that she pulled me into a clothes store. She instantly took me to a particular area of the store and began pulling dresses off racks and putting them against me, looking to see if they would suit me.
"Look, shouldn't we get to know each other a bit first before we start hanging out like this?"
Flavia shrugged. "I'm Flavia, you're Rose. I'm 19, you're 17. What else is there to know?"
"Well, I do-.. Wait! How did you know I was 17?"
"Your mum told me, silly," Flavia said, laughing.
Okay, she was starting to scare me again. My mum had barely had any time to tell her I was 17 and even if she had something about how quickly she had said my age told me she was familiar with the fact.
Flavia looked at me, one hand on her hip, pouting. "Relax, Rose. You'll be no fun if you don't chill out."
And strangely, freakily, I did relax. And something made me enthusiastic for the rest of the shopping trip (which included eating lunch in a cafe, buying new shoes and make-up, and going to the bowling alley) right until I got home. It wasn't me, though. The real, sane me was cowering inside my own body, screaming at the fake me to stop acting so stupid.
Flavia took me home and it was frankly a wonder I was all in one piece.
"That was fun," she said cheerfully. "See you tomorrow."
I walked inside, carrying shopping bags full of items I doubted I'd ever wear, feeling very surreal, and collapsed onto the couch.
"How was your trip, honey?" Mum asked.
"Fun," I replied faintly.