By the time we pulled into the mall parking lot I had already struggled not to hyperventilate and won. In fact, I had achieved a sort of zen-ish calm. I was so afraid of what would happen if I freaked out and Megan left me behind and Mr. Salvatore got ahold of her that all my usual fears paled in comparison. I mean, they were still there, but the crowd of strangers doing their shopping all around us barely even registered.
Megan, on the other hand, was just about bouncing with excitement. I knew she went out to browse for fun with Fumiko a lot, but I rarely joined them. Most of the time when Megan and I go shopping together I’m in a rush to get my groceries and get home – in fact, even though I know how much she likes to browse outfits I don’t think I’ve ever let Megan take me out with the express intention of getting something impractical and ‘fun.’
She seemed absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity now. “…and a really cute top,” Megan was saying as she half led and half pulled me toward one of the stores. “But modest. The only sheer bits are the sleeves, under the lace. Oh! And there’s another one with polka-dot skulls, if you’re thinking ‘adorable gothy.’ Or…” She stopped outside a store with displays that had a lot of corsetry, lace, and dark fabrics. “Well, there’s a lot you should try on,” Megan told me. She turned me to face her. “Are you sure about this?” She asked while studying my face with belated skepticism.
I smiled. Megan’s enthusiasm was a little contagious, and trying things on would mean a changing room – and a changing room would mean privacy, as long as I could ignore the possibility of security cameras and peepholes and creepy people slipping mirrors under the doors.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s my New Year’s resolution,” I offered by way of explanation. “I’m going to try new things and be less of a shut-in.” Actually, my New Year’s resolution was to be a better friend to Megan – especially since I still felt all guilty and deceptive about my efforts to keep her safe from Mr. Salvatore. But since Megan liked going out and that was new to me, it was basically the same thing.
Megan beamed. “Okay,” she said. “Then we should just look around a bit first. Grab anything you might like, and we’ll sort out the winners after you try them on.” She spun before I could respond to her decision that there would be more than one winning outfit. “Let’s go!” Megan exclaimed, and pulled me into the store.
It wasn’t huge, as stores go, but it was crowded with merchandise. Most of it looked dark with splashes of color, though some of the displays were flat out goth. There was a small section with tee shirts and jeans, but the rest of it looked like blouses, skirts and corsetry. Mostly the sort of stuff I could imagine Megan in while being held down and pleasured. Not the sort of things I wore.
I was starting to have second thoughts – and third and fourth. I don’t have the shape or confidence to pull off the kinds of outfits Megan can – but wasn’t that the point? I veered away from the jeans and tee shirts. Whatever I got, it had to be risqué enough for me to make a legitimate case for not wanting to go to the office in it – however embarrassing that might be.
That turned out to be my answer to the whole situation: instead of just staring at things and thinking ‘hell no,’ I looked for things I could imagine on Megan or Fumiko, and then grabbed the smallest size on the rack. Once I got out of the mindset that I was browsing for me, I actually started to get into it. I knew from her cosplays that Fumiko had no problem with tiny skirts or elaborate getups and, well, Megan can make anything look good.
I started to flounder after the third or fourth rack, when I realized I had a huge armload of stuff and Megan had wandered off without my noticing. As soon as I started looking for her, though, she re-appeared with her own selections in hand and a big grin on her face.
“You’re really getting into this!” she commented cheerfully. I did my best to smile back like I wasn’t starting to feel ill.
“Yep!” I agreed, since that was all I could manage without dropping everything and running for the restroom.
Of course, Megan is my best friend so she knew I was starting to feel overwhelmed despite my best efforts. “Come on,” she said gently. “The changing rooms are back here.”
Megan led me to the back of the store and into a rather spacious room with one of those booth doors that don’t reach the floor or ceiling, a small bench, a full length mirror, and a couple of empty clothing racks. She helped me get everything onto one, but when she turned back to the door she didn’t leave – she just locked it.
“Uh…” I said when she turned back to me. Megan snorted.
“Oh please,” she said. “You’re doing really well so far, but I know you. If I leave you alone in here you’ll look at everything in Abby-vision and decide it looks awful on you. So I’m staying to give you an unbiased second opinion. Deal?”
I nodded weakly and Megan smiled. “Good,” she said – and picked a skirt and blouse off the rack. She thrust them toward me. “Now, let’s start with these. No, not just over your jeans,” she added with an air of authority. “Strip, missy.”
Now, I’m sure Fumiko and Megan have shared a dressing room in the past. Probably a lot. And I’ve never thought anything of it – except now I couldn’t stop thinking about Fumiko teasing me at lunch, about how she thought Megan and I were lesbian for each other. And the things Fumiko would speculate about if she were here. I mean, I’d never really considered it before, but a dressing room is a kind of intimate space, you know?
I took off my shoes. Megan kept holding out the skirt and blouse. I ducked down a little to hide my furious blushing behind them while I worried down my pants. Undressing is a kind of intimate activity, too. Even if Megan clearly didn’t think so. Hell, I was just being freakishly shy and embarrassed about dirty thoughts I wasn’t even having, wasn’t I? Those thoughts weren’t my fault! Those were all Fumiko’s ideas. She started it!
I felt like I had to be completely scarlet by the time I straightened, but the mirror behind Megan assured me it was just my face. In the past when I’d needed new clothes and Megan would come along she would often pick out things she thought would be ‘so cute’ on me, which I would then obstinately refuse to try on anyway. But the fact remains that Megan has often – as a friend! – told me she thought I was super cute, or could be if I wanted to.
But people don’t sexify ‘super cute’ unless they’re super touchy feely and too drunk to care who they’re making out with. So for purposes of my imagination – which was over actively pursuing Fumiko’s teasing – it wasn’t Megan and I alone in a changing room, it was Megan and Fumiko. Which was kind of upsetting because my go-to genre is BL, not yuri, but shipping Megan/Fumiko was alarmingly hot.
Especially since I knew they went shopping like this all the time. Who knew how often they ended up locked alone together in a dressing room, stripped down to their lacy lingerie; admiring each other…. Maybe they were trying on lingerie, even, and then there was the urge to touch a particularly enticing curve while complimenting a particularly risqué bra. A hesitant but inevitable brushing of fingers against skin – fingers that were hastily pulled away, but not before the caresses’ recipient gasped in surprise at the indecent pleasure that jolted through her, and….
I hurriedly pulled off my shirt so it would cover my face for a second. Then I grabbed Megan’s offering and turned toward the wall while I dressed again. Okay! So it was a lesbian fantasy and it was getting me going. That didn’t mean anything. Jimmy and Carl could do it for me, too, and that didn’t mean I was a gay man! I mean, I’m not even male so how could I be? Plus, wasn’t I making out with Hans last night? And this morning?
This was totally Fumiko’s fault. And I couldn’t even decide who was pushing who up against the mirror in order to fervently kiss and finger her, because I don’t have lesbian fantasies.
So, after Mr. Salvatore left town and Hans blew me off and everything got back to normal I was going to have to find some good yuri to add to my collection, wasn’t I?
Fortunately, Megan seemed to assume that all my awkwardness and blushing had to do with trying on a new, outrageously immodest style – and not with my inability to stop picturing my best friend and only other friend smothering each other’s moans with kisses while passionately getting off. Even more fortunately, I soon managed to hit terminal embarrassment and stop registering the passage of time. Before I knew it we had gone through everything and I was back in my normal clothes.
A few things ended up on the discard rack: some tops that Megan had been ambivalent about and one that she’d decided didn’t fit right. My input had been mumbled and largely ignored. Personally, I thought the jeans she’d brought in for me to try were at least a size small, but she’d put them on the ‘keep’ rack.
“So,” Megan asked me, “favorites?”
I blinked. I was feeling a bit dazed, but at least my imagination had run its course. And being a little stunned let me carry through on my plans without being excessively hesitant. Since the objective was something I’d be too embarrassed to wear to work, I picked out a fluffy skirt with black pleats and lacy fringes and a faux corset top (all cloth, no boning) that laced up the back. Megan had all but squeed when I’d tried on the combination, and I’d felt like a sorry excuse for a slutty goth princess ballerina wannabe – so it was pretty much perfect. I took them off the rack and held them up.
Megan grinned. “Okay. Go get rung up.” She scooped everything else off the rack and followed me up to the front counter.
The cashier was a somewhat sullen looking brunette with a lot of makeup and piercings. I put my two items on the counter. “Hi,” I said when she didn’t look up. “Um, I’d like to buy these,” I added when she did. “And I guess those will need to be hung up or something?” I frowned at Megan. “Shouldn’t we have just left those back there?”
Megan laughed. “Oh no,” she said. “I’m getting these for you too,” she added, and plopped her armload on the counter next to mine.
“Megan!” I protested, but she shushed me with a shake of her head.
“Sorry, sweetie,” Megan said. “I’m getting my holiday shopping done early this year. Besides, it’s a New Year’s resolution so you’re going to need more than one outfit for going out in. Especially with a guy like Hans on the hook.”
I gawked at her. “But… that’s way too much!”
Megan scoffed. “Hardly. You still need shoes for tonight’s outfit. And stockings. Or tights? We’ll have to see what they have at the next place.”
“No,” I protested. “I mean, that’s too much to spend!”
Megan laughed. “Oh, please, Abby. I’m loaded. You act like I’m not, but I am and I want to spoil you, so let me.” She made a gesture that encompassed everything on the counter. “All of this,” she told the cashier.
I sputtered, but Megan slipped in front of me and started to fish her wallet out of her purse. Finally I managed to wail: “Megan!” But she just turned around and stuck her tongue out at me.
“If it’ll help you feel better,” Megan said with an impish grin, “I’ll let you carry all the bags.”