The next instalment of Katrina’s New Clothes
Though Katrina felt shy towards the girls, it was like her dress gave her some new courage and bravery. Placing her last plate down she stood up and faced the girls.
“Do you like it?” She pointed to her dress. She waited while the girls huddled together for a few moments, and then they sprang their heads back up.
The tallest girl, Emily, grinned from pigtail to pigtail before responding “like it? I love it, I want it, it looks amazing” and just like that Katrina befriended some not so bad but instead some delightful girls.
Tracey, Katrina’s best friend, had been hurt by Emily’s crew frequently in the past, so much so she had made a promise to Katrina to never make friends with the nasty crowd. It was Tracey who turned up first to Katrina’s house, she opened her car door and froze in horror on her seat. She could see Katrina pouring pretend tea into a cup which was being held by Emily. She also spotted Rebecca and Faye joining in with the tea party. Everyone looked, and this made Tracey feel angry.
Getting out of the car, Katrina noticed Tracey had turned up. She bit her bottom lip and went over to her friend, just as she opened her mouth to speak, Tracey burst out “what are you doing with Emily’s crew? You know they how horrible they are” Katrina replied with “not always, they have been really nice to me today, they love my dress”.
Tracey had noticed the dress but was still angry. Rebecca and Faye were overhearing the girls talk and giggled at Tracey, Faye shouted out.
“Don’t worry about Katrina, we will take good care of her.” Tracey just scowled at her.
“Well my new friends are at my party now, I can’t just turn them away,” Katrina said in a matter of fact.
“Yes you can, it’s either me or them,” Tracey said stubbornly, “And don’t forget about Olive, Vera, Lucy, Jessica, Polly, and Wendy, when they turn up they will think the same”
Katrina just shook her head and did nothing, she had no idea what to say. Then that was that. Tracey turned on her heels and went back to her car, unhappy that Katrina chose her new friends.
Tracey was right though. When Jessica and Polly turned up, they had the same reaction and stayed less than a minute before turning away, Olive lived down the road so she could see Emily’s crew from a distance – she quickly turned back around and headed home. Vera and Lucy were sisters, so they turned up together and decided to stay for a while. Things got a little tense when Faye and Emily found a slug and thought it would be funny to hide it in Lucy’s teacup as a joke. Lucy didn’t find it funny at all. Katrina was appalled momentarily but quickly found it funny when she saw Emily and her crew laughing hard, she had to join in to impress her new friends right?
Wendy turned up wearing denim jeans and a top with a hole in, the crew thought it would be funny to poke the hole in her top with a stick, but Wendy didn’t find it funny, she ran off in tears leaving her favourite teddy at the party.
After Vera and Lucy left, Katrina’s mum popped her head outside “Is everything OK girls?” she asked, they all nodded.
“Oh I see you have new friends, where’s Tracey gone? I thought I saw her here earlier. What about Vera and Lucy?”
Katrina casually answered with “There wasn’t enough room for all of them with my new dress and friends” and she finished with a big smile.
Her mum wasn’t convinced though. “Hmm, maybe you should think about squeezing your old friends back into your tea parties,” said mum. “You’ve known them a lot longer, and they were all excited to come today, I guess they went home feeling sad”, and she paused for a moment to let the power of those words sink in before turning on her heels and going back into the house.
Faye spoke first “I don’t like Tracey anyway, you’re better off without her, she always wears tatty looking shoes, and she never smiles at me”.
Katrina didn’t like what was being said about her friend, so she replied with “She just likes to play rough, that’s all, she’s got a great imagination, and some afternoons we will play princess games for hours”.
Faye scoffed at her “Play rough? Like a boy you mean? Maybe she should go and play with the boys then”, and Rebecca and Emily burst into laughter.
Katrina felt uneasy, it wasn’t nice hearing hurtful comments about her friend, so she quickly changed the subject “You liked my other friends though, didn’t you?”
Emily spoke first “Not really, no. Stood next to you and your beautiful dress they hold you back, you can reach your potential as a princess by ditching the peasants and sticking with other princesses”, and she flicked her fair “like us”.
Katrina felt torn by this. She loved her dress, she loved the fact Emily’s crew was there, but she was starting to feel upset because her friends weren’t there. “I know, if we put some of the chairs away and I get my mum to ring them up maybe my friends could come back, we could start again, and everyone will like each other, and we can talk about my dress, and it will all be good”. Katrina spoke.
Mulling it over Rebecca said “I’m happy for us princesses to stick together, the riff-raff make us all look bad” Faye and Emily agreed.
“Stop saying those things about my friends” Katrina snapped back, she had had enough. Standing up she brushed her dress down took a deep breath “I want you to leave.” She couldn’t believe those words came out of her mouth, but she carried on. “I always wanted to be a part of your crew, but now that I’m in it I want my old friends back, and you gone“.
She stood up and started packing the tea party away. Emily, Faye and Rebecca glanced at one another, they had just been put in their place, and they didn’t like that.
Emily spoke “Riff-raff stick with riff-raff girls, rule number 1, princesses need to stick with princesses” the others agreed with nods.
“I don’t care what you think anymore, you are mean, unkind and horrible to everyone else. In my eyes that makes YOU riff-raff” and she shooed the girls off the front lawn in such a hurry she got a bit of dirt on her dress. Emily and her crew sniggered at this and were off back down the road within seconds. Katrina was fuming. She was mad she let them play, she was mad her dress got ruined and most of all she was mad with herself for allowing her other friends go home, clearly all of them angry at her choice of invites.
Her mum stepped out of the front door quite quickly and gave Katrina a cuddle. Katrina was grateful for this and full to the brim with emotion she cried into her mum’s arms. “Can you help me, mum, I want my friends back, is it too late?”
Her mum stroked her hair and softly spoke “it’s never too late to want to change. People have been hurt badly today, but the fact you recognise you want to repair the damage done shows what a mature and loving girl you are. Come on let’s go in, I have an idea”.
The idea was simple. Have another tea party and invite her friends around again. It was arranged for two days time. This time though, they should turn up wearing their prettiest of dresses. All of her friends were phoned, but Katrina didn’t know if any would come, she kept her fingers crossed and wished for something good to happen.
The first to arrive were Vera and Lucy. Vera turned up with a gold dress with butterfly wings on. It was very sparkly, like a diamond made from stars and Katrina thought it was a lovely dress. Lucy wore a silver dress, with lots of layers and a matching headband, again Katrina thought she looked angelic.
Greeting them both Katrina stood sheepishly, twirling a corner of her dress over in her fingers briefly “I’m sorry for upsetting you the other day, slug tea is an awful idea anyway, what were Faye and Rebecca thinking?”
Lucy replied “They thought slug tea was nice, ew!” and Katrina nodded in agreement then asked quietly “Friends?” Vera and Lucy smiled and gave Katrina a big hug.
Wendy turned up next, but she wasn’t wearing a dress, she had jeans on and a different top to the one worn 2 days before, but it suited her. “You know I’m not a dress kind of girl, I graze my knees a lot in dresses, so I prefer jeans or trousers,” she said defiantly. “Emily’s crew aren’t coming are they?” she asked cautiously.
Katrina said “Definitely not, they will never be welcome to any of my parties again” and Wendy found that a comforting thought. “Good, my skin still itches from where they prodded me with a stick, I won’t let anyone do that to me again” Wendy finished. At this Katrina handed her precious teddy bear over and Wendy gave it a big loving squeeze.
While the girls talked, Jessica, Polly and Olive turned up. Olive, who was wearing a turquoise dress with bunnies on had prepared an excuse for not turning up the other day and rehearsed it over and over. In her head, it felt correct.
She spoke, “I was on my way to yours when I got called back by my mum, she said Grandma was stuck in the bedroom, and they needed my help, so I turned back.”
Katrina bought the fib but replied with “Oh well that’s fine, don’t worry about it, for a moment I thought you saw Emily’s crew from a distance and ran back home” Olive laughed so hard she admitted to her fib. Katrina told her it was probably for the best she avoided the crew as they weren’t at all nice and went into detail about the afternoon.
The sisters, Jessica and Polly, hadn’t stopped to talk to Katrina when they arrived but instead busied themselves with the tea party. Katrina tried to say something to them but they just acted like no apology was needed and that they had moved on. Their dresses were red with white polka dots on, they looked like twins though there was a 2 year age gap. Katrina was happy to do just carry on as usual with them.
All the girls were having fun, for what felt like the whole afternoon but by 3pm Tracey still hadn’t turned up. Katrina felt sad. The girls were talking about all the horrible things Emily’s crew got up to and how glad they all are to be rid of them when a car pulled up. It was Tracey, and suddenly Katrina felt nervous and a bit scared, she saw Tracey was wearing the same blue dress like hers and looked even prettier than herself in it. “I didn’t choose you, I broke our promise and I’m so sorry Tracey. The things I let them do, I don’t know what they were thinking”
Tracey crossed her arms defensively “They were only thinking about being mean because that’s all they know, mean people aren’t ever nice.” Katrina nodded, “Yes I’ve learnt the hard way on that one” she hurriedly tried to find the right words to say before splurting out “I love your dress, it looks better on you than me. I hated it when you left the party, I’m glad you came today, please can we just be friends once again?”
Tracey left an awkward pause before coming out with “I didn’t go and buy this dress for nothing, it reminded me of you and how special you are to me” and she looked happy to have said this to her friend. Both Katrina and Tracey hugged then went over to the tea table. There was plenty of cups, plates and cutlery for everyone, Katrina had saved a space for Tracey, it was at the top of the table so everyone could easily see her and one another.
That afternoon the girls had the best tea party ever, no one was mean, they all joked about Emily’s crew, and more importantly, they all fawned over each other’s clothes and everyone was happy with what they were wearing. Everyone felt special, Katrina realised she didn’t need a new dress to feel like a princess, her friends had already made her feel this way all along.
I hope you enjoyed this read, you can find more short stories, prose and scripts here.
I do appreciate any feedback so feel free to pass anything back, all suggestions, ideas, and improvements will be taken on board.