After no more than a minute, Karyn spun her subject around and pointed her at a full-length mirror.
Athena's jaw dropped.
Karyn had put her into Sarah McMillan's cheerleading uniform.
This was a mistake. This was a horrible mistake. Athena had let herself be lead into a trap, and now she was definitely caught. No matter what she did, no matter how long she lived, she would always know what she'd look like in a cheerleader's uniform. And not just any cheerleader's uniform, she realized as her eyes fell upon the pink-stitched "C" above the left breast, it was a cheerleading captain's uniform.
Maybe it wasn't too late. Maybe, so long as Athena hadn't actually spoken to Miss Fine, she could extricate herself from the process that had consumed Karyn. Had consumed Zoe.
Athena spun in a fury, dodged around Karyn, and picked her black clothes up from off the floor before darting out of the closet, out of the bedroom, and down the hallway to the staircase.
As she scrambled down the stairs, she heard the voice of Miss Fine calling from below: "Oh, Athena, are you heading out?" It was a sickeningly saccharine contrast to the disdain that Athena had been greeted with, from Susan, just a few minutes earlier. "You're not leaving without us having a talk. Come over to the living room, we'll have a quick chat"
Athena stopped, and started walking down the stairs. "Damn my skirt keeps flipping up. Wait. No. Not my skirt. Karyn's skirt. NO! It's m- Sarah's," Athena thinks. Her thoughts are conflicted, bouncing between fear of Miss Fine and somehow jealousy of Sarah. She wants to keep fighting, but she knows what she looks like as a cheer captain. Well as much as a cheer captain as a goth can be, with her pale white makeup and dyed jet black hair.
She walks into Sarah's or was it Karyn's, whatever, The McMillian living room. It was a fairly massive room, larger than Athena's parents' first floor. Sitting upon the lavish l-shaped couch was one Miss Fine. The lighting in the room was never great, but you'd never tell with Miss Fine's beaming smile. "Come, sit next to me. I won't bite. You know that by now," Miss Fine says, patting down the space to her right. Athena approaches, looks at the couch, and sighs in resignation. Miss Fine shifts back a bit, allowing her to look at Athena. Athena sits down, and crosses her legs. "Now Miss...no. You've managed to come this far. We can call each other by our first names. Athena, call me Rebecca." "Look Rebecca," Athena says almost spitting out the name, "I don't know what you're doing but you won't win. I'll keep resis-" "Athena do a standing scorpion please?" Miss Fine interrupts, batting her eyelashes. Athena grunts rather unladylike, but gets up and nails the stretch.
"Athena, for someone who hates cheerleaders, you sure did that stretch rather well. As expected for the captain of the squad," Miss Fine applauds. Athena's eyes pop open and she drops the stretch. She shakes her head a bit and realizes what happened. "YOU! YOU TRICKED ME!" This time, Miss Fine is the one to shake her head. "No, Athena, I'm not doing anything. Have you considered that you're naturally just flexible and rather competitive for a-" "Cheer captain," Athena replies sardonically. "I'm not a fucking cheerleader or a captain. Get off that stuff, Rebecca..."
"Athena, I think you're being rather judgmental. You're a natural. You go into stretches instantly. You're ambitious. Being a cheerleader isn't even bad at all, you've just been living with the sterotyp-" "The stereotype that they're not bottle blonde bimbos, they're all totally smart and rah rah don't suck off the entire teams," Athena snarks back. "Wow, bottle blonde? Aren't you blonde under the black hair?" Miss Fine points out. "How do you even kno-," Athena steps back. "Athena, you forgot to dye your eyebrows. They're pale blonde. They're adorably well kept up for someone who acts all badass and doesn't give a shit." Athena squints her blue eyes at the lovely Miss Fine. "You're trying to gaslight me, you bitch," Athena starts, before taking a breath to continue her rant.
Or she would until Miss Fine beat her to the punch. "Athena, there's no gaslighting. The only mental manipulation going on is that you miss your friends and feeling peer pressure. Zoe and Karyn make for lovely cheerleaders. All I've done with them is remove their envy and judgment. Shown them a hint of their potential. But for you, I don't need to do such a thing. You're already ambitious. I'm sure that when you get back home, you'll look up other stretches and find that you can do them easily. That's all you, that was there and has been there. Do you know that Zoe, Karyn and most of the squad will have to spend good money on yoga classes just to catch up with you? I'm sure even in your goth phase you notice-"
"That's it, I'm out." Athena turns and stomps to the door. Her gold and blue pleated skirt bouncing up, revealing her cute pink panties, and not the dress code mandated spanx. Miss Fine smiles at this, and says one more thing, "Athena. Zoe and Karyn will be wearing their cheerleader uniforms with the rest of the squad. It's Spirit Day tomorrow. And if you don't want to be cheer captain, I can always arrange for someone else to be captain. Oh, and do mind the dress code if you do show up. I will enforce it for you girls, it's not like I forgot how girls your age are. Spanx, not panties."
Athena does that horrible grunt-sigh that young women tend to do, and slams the door shut.