Authors: Aubrey Michelle
Do It Well
Good Girls Do It Well
By Aubrey Michelle
Copyright 2016 Aubrey Michelle
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real people, places, or events is strictly coincidental. Please note that this book may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without the expressed written consent of the author.
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Everyone always tells me that I need to put myself out there more. I feel like every other day, someone is telling me that I’m never going to find a man by keeping myself holed up at home all the time. Regardless of how many times I insist that I’m not even actively looking, I get the same responses. I’m always told that the best man will come along when you’re not looking for love. That’s a term I’ve heard thrown around at least a hundred times but it never really sits well with me. What if I’m not actively looking because I’m really not interested in finding love? I’ve had too many bad experiences with men that have promised me the world only to leave when they find out that I’m not the social butterfly everyone expects me to be.
Lexi is my sister and, although we are identical twins, she is pretty much the opposite of everything that I am. While people are often referring to me as shy and sweet, I frequently hear people call my sister the black sheep of the family. She is confident and outspoken. If she has something to say to you, she’s going to say it regardless of how her words make you feel. If you’ve ever seen the movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, Lexi is exactly like the Regina George character that’s played by Rachel McAdams. I’ve often speculated whether or not the movie was actually based on my sister’s life.
My friends always ask me why I put up with her. They love to tell me that, as an adult, I don’t have to deal with the things she says to me. A lot of people have said that they wouldn’t blame me if I stopped talking to her and completely cut her out of my life. Although putting a stop to all of her nonsense once and for all by completely ceasing contact sound nice sometimes, I could never do it. The two of us have been through way too much together. There were times when she was the only person there for me and vice-versa. We helped each other through the darkest times in our lives. She wasn’t always the person she is now.
When we were thirteen years old, my sister and I went off to teen travel camp. We’d attended summer camps ever since we were in kindergarten but being able to go to travel camp was a big deal. It meant that you were one of the big kids and you got to do a lot more exciting things. Instead of doing normal camping stuff, we had a summer full of trips and experiences. That year, we were able to go deep sea fishing, speed boating, and tubing on the Delaware. On top of that, we were taken to a New York Yankees game, a New York Liberty WNBA game and Camel Beach water park. I never wanted it to end and neither did Lexi. It was stacking up to be the greatest summer of our lives but that changed in the blink of an eye.
There was only about a week of camp left and we had just woken up. We were getting dressed when we got called into the counselor’s office. When we walked in, we were greeted by two police officers and a woman who worked for Westchester County social services. Overnight, our home had burned to the ground and neither my mother nor father were able to make it out. We went from enjoying a fun summer surrounded by our friends to being orphans in a matter of seconds.
We were turned over to social services immediately and placed in a temporary home. That home became the first of many that we would land in as we were shuffled around in the system. Many times, the state of New York tried to separate Lexi and me but we fought hard to prevent it. We were fed plenty of excuses about how the only places the state had available didn’t have room for both of us. Each time we heard those words, we fought with all we had to make sure we had each other. We kept telling ourselves that we only had to make it through until our 18th birthday. Our parents had been successful entrepreneurs and had left us both hefty inheritances. As soon as we were legal adults, we would be able to claim the money and start new lives for ourselves. I tried to make the best of a terrible situation and kept a positive outlook no matter what. Lexi found that much harder to do. The experience changed her and I wondered if she would ever be the same.
Out of the system for five years, I was determined to make sure that everything my parents built continued to grow to match their vision. After their deaths, a consulting group that had worked closely with them stepped in and made sure the business ran smoothly. Again, the business had been left to my sister and I but neither of us knew anything about the business world. My parents kept home life and business life separate and we were too young at the time to learn anything from them anyway. I was amazed to see that the consulting group was able to not only keep the company afloat, but they made it thrive in ways that my parents would have loved. Once I was of legal age, I attended business meetings to see if I could get a handle on what was going on. Instead, all I saw was a group of young professionals that loved the business just as much as my mom and dad did. In the end, we worked out a deal that would allow them to license the name LexiBelle Ventures, which my parents chose because it was a combination of me and my sister’s names. On top of the licensing agreement, my sister and I would both retain a total of 25% of the company but would not be active in the day to day business. This ensured we would always have income and could focus on what we were going to do with our lives next.
Even at 23 years old, I still didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do. I’ve thought of becoming a doctor or a lawyer but neither of those really piqued my interest as much as I would have liked. I really thought I might enjoy being a social worker and using the experiences I saw within the system as a blueprint for what not to do. It sounded good but, even with my heart in it, how much would I actually be able to change? When I started thinking that way, I realized I was back to square one, which was having no clue what to do with my life. I did know, however, what I was going to do on that particular night. After much prodding and begging by one of my best friends, I was going to be attending the annual Scarsdale Gala. I’ve never been to one before but everyone around here says that everybody who’s anybody attends the gala. I don’t think I’m one of these everybody’s who’s a somebody but I was talked into going regardless.
“What are you going to wear to the gala?” Lexi asked me early the week before.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I responded. “I’ll probably just pull something out of my closet. I’m sure I’ve got a dress in there somewhere.”
Lexi looked at me as though I had two heads.
“Sarabelle, don’t you know that the Gala is
social gathering of the year? Just pulling out some old dress from your closet isn’t gonna work. Besides, I’ve seen the clothes you keep in there and, trust me, you’d get laughed out of the building.”
“What? I would not. Besides, what does it matter what I wear? It’s just a dance.”
“Just a dance? Are you kidding me right now? Do you even know where this event is taking place? Come here, let me show you.”
Lexi grabbed her laptop and came over to sit on my bed. She opened it up and brought up the website of the Grand Roosevelt Ballroom. It was gorgeous. The whole place looked like it was straight out of Cinderella. Of course, Lexi would be the one who would get the attention as the princess. I wouldn’t be noticed at all. I may as well have been the fairy godmother in the background saying bibbdy-bobbidi-boo.
“It’s beautiful,” I said. “What am I going to do? I don’t even know how to start shopping for something that would look good for this gala.”
“What is wrong with you? One of these days you’ll wake up and realize that you’re rich and can do whatever the hell you want. Take your ass down to The Best Dressed of Westchester and pick out a damn ball gown. I don’t know why you have to make everything so difficult.”
She was right. There was nothing in my closet that would even come close to being good enough to wear into that ballroom. I swallowed my pride, called Best Dressed Westchester and spoke with Michelle. She asked me a bunch of questions and when she realized that I needed a dress for the gala, she made an appointment on the spot. By that evening, I was hoping I would have my dress.
When I got to the shop, I was surprised to see that I was the only customer there. Michelle explained to me that they only do private appointments when selecting dresses for the gala. I didn’t know what all the excitement was about and wasn’t particularly fond of that big of a deal being made for me but I was already there so I went with it. Several racks of dresses had been selected for me and I spent the next three hours trying on a variety of dresses. I have to admit, it made me feel like a princess and for a little while as I allowed myself to escape into that fantasy world. By the time I walked out of there, I had agreed to buy a beautiful dress made by Jovani. The dress even had a name. It was labeled as “The Belle of the Ball” which I thought was corny and amazing all at the same time. Michelle told me that it would be taken in and adjusted for my exact measurements, ensuring I would look fabulous.
“When do I come to pick the dress up?” I asked.
“Honey, we have so many orders for the gala right now and my tailor is working as fast as he can. I can only promise you that it will be ready the morning of the gala. If it’s any earlier than that, I’ll be sure to call you and let you know.”
I’d been pacing around the morning of the gala hoping that I’d have something to wear that night since my dress still hadn’t been tailored for me. I called the shop and Michelle said there were a couple dresses that were still ahead of mine. She kept promising me that it would be done in plenty of time and that she’d call me when it’s done. Now, it was almost noon and I was still waiting. A friend of Lexi’s was coming over to do our hair and makeup but it was important that I be in my dress when she got here.
“Will you sit down, Sarabelle? You’re annoying the shit out of me with all of your walking back and forth,” Lexi griped.
“I’m sorry Lexi! It’s just that if this dress isn’t ready in time, I won’t be able to go tonight. As much as you’ve all been on me to get out of the house, I know I’ll never hear the end of it if I don’t show up.”
My phone started ringing as soon as I had finished my sentence. My dress was ready and waiting for me to pick it up.
“Do you want to come with me to pick it up, Lexi?” I asked my sister, excited to show her what I had picked out.
“No, it’s okay. I’ll see it whenever you get back. Besides, I can only imagine what a dress you picked out must look like. If I go with you, I probably wouldn’t let you leave the store with it.”
I couldn’t believe how mean and hateful she was being to me. While it was true that she hadn’t been overly kind to me for quite some time, she usually stopped short of being mean to me directly. On the other hand, I could kind of see where she was coming from. I don’t really have the greatest fashion sense in the world. I’m not like the rich and famous people we’re constantly surrounded by; I’m more of a homebody who likes to kick it in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe it’s because when we were battling to stay together in foster care, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I’ve never been a materialistic person, unlike my twin. That didn’t change the fact that I thought the dress I had picked out was gorgeous and I didn’t care what she said. I was happy with it and that’s all the mattered.