“ Maybe we should turn around?” Dawn asked Graham , the little Homean, no bigger than her thumb and standing in her cupped hands. It was the standard arrangement whenever they had to go somewhere.
Now they were passing through the city, a forest of shining buildings rising up to the heavens, making even Dawn feel small. She wished her school was bigger but it was a tiny little thing, barely waist high and even then it was because of the lightning rod that added twenty feet to its pathetic height.
“ Wait, I thought you wanted to go?” Graham turned his head up towards Dawn’s, her hazel brown eyes begging him to say yes.
“ I don’t, this kind of thing isn’t for me,” Dawn looked away. Graham had been over the moon when she said yes, it was as if the most beautiful girl on Home had said yes to him. Dawn knew she wasn’t that girl, she considered her body to be inadequate at best.
Jessica never agreed with Dawn’s assessment, she’d tell Dawn how lucky she was to look so beautiful at her age. Dawn, no matter how much she analyzed her body in the mirror, couldn’t find an ounce of beauty in herself.
“ I think dances are stupid, it’s for people who can dance without worrying about stepping on someone, for people who are popular. I’m none of this,” Dawn groaned.
She moved delicately and deftly, her feet gently touching the ground before lifting off with the grace of a gazelle.
“ It is,” Graham agreed.
“ So we’re not going?” Dawn asked, hope welling up inside her. She might just get her wish.
“No,” Graham replied flatly, bursting Dawn’s hopes like a balloon being pierced by a needle.
“ Pleeaaaseee?” Dawn begged the little guy in her hands.
“ We have to try it out, just once. At least you look good, you look like a comic book character,” Graham tried his hand at a compliment. He learned quickly that whenever Dawn hesitated , buttering her up usually got her fragile self-esteem up and ready to try something new.
“ Oh? Which one?” Dawn hoped it was someone powerful and beautiful, like Wonder Woman or even She-Hulk.
“Gee…that’s so creative,” Dawn answered sarcastically.
“ Well you got the size thing down,” Graham replied, throwing his arms up in defence of his views.
“ I wish I got the size changing down too, shrink down to a smaller, more compact body. You could invent that shrink ray I’ve been wanting, can’t wait to be able to look you in the eye,” Dawn gushed, feeling whimsical.
“ Until then, you could try dressing like Giganta,” Graham chuckled, Dawn rolled her eyes.
“ I don’t have her body. Maybe my mom ought to try, everyone would love it,” She blew air out of her cheeks, the comparison between the two giantesses never failed to down her spirits.
“ No, your mom looks more like Kitty Pryde, her work clothes even resemble hers too,” Graham added his own point in.
“ Yeah, maybe the writer got his trip to Home or something?” Dawn suggested it would be amazing to know that someone other than Tucker had come to Home.
“ Or it could be pure coincidence, sometimes two people can think of the same idea, no matter how far apart they are.”
Dawn thought it made sense but her mind had zeroed on in something else. Namely, her looks against Jessica’s.
Whenever Dawn looked at her mother, she often saw everything she wasn’t. She wanted so much to make her mother proud but after all those incidents at school, she just wanted to show Jessica she could be good at something.
Dawn peered over hands, wondering if her dress made her look fat.
“ Graham, be honest. Does this dress make me look fat?”
Graham knew he was fat, his rotund gut stretching his tuxedo out was proof of that. He tried to dress in baggy clothes to conceal it but he had to balance it without looking like a heap of clothes.
Looking left and right, he could spot the slightest definition of muscle on Dawn’s biceps. Dawn had a willowy frame,his was almost elliptical.
“ Dawn, you weren’t and have never been fat,” Graham dispelled Dawn’s own self doubt.
“ Maybe I should make my dress bigger, it’s a little tight,” Dawn resisted the urge to tug at the spots where her dress bunched up, she didn’t want to drop her only friend.
“ Leave it,” Graham told her sternly.
“ I don’t want people to say I’m big, fat and clumsy,” Dawn said to her consternation.
“ No one will say that at the dance, they will...be too engrossed by how good you look.”
Dawn’s pale cheeks flushed a pale rosy red, Graham’s unexpected compliment prompting this reaction.
“ Aww...that’s sweet of you.”
Graham grinned sheepishly, he didn’t know why but her current get up of cyan dress, her platinum locks all tied up in a braided ponytail was getting his heart pumping. They had been friends for years but never before had her mere appearance provoked such a reaction from him.
“ T-thanks,” He stuttered ever so slightly as they continued their trek.
“ Maybe after the dance you come over to my place, talk about how silly we were dancing?” Dawn asked Graham. They usually spent a lot of time at Dawn’s house. Neither of them ever thought of going over to Graham’s, there wasn’t space and his neighbours were not going to tolerate her stepping all over their lawn.
“ Okay but you got to keep Lucky locked up, that little lizard nearly bit me last time I came over.”
Although Lucky had no teeth, he did have a beaked mouth lined with blunt teeth, ideal for chomping on fruits and if he wanted, clamping down on Graham’s meaty forearms. Something he nearly accomplished before Dawn had scooped up the reptile, scolded him for being a bad host and sent him on his way.
“ I can’t, he’s too adorable to lock up,”
Graham glared at her, pointing at his arm to remind her of how she nearly ended up with less of her friend.
“ Oh come on…” Dawn whined.
Graham didn’t relent.
“ Okay I’ll keep you on my shoulder. I just find it so adorable, my little Lucky protecting his mommy, it’s so sweet!”
Graham saw it differently but he could see the appeal, Dawn treasured her pet and he would do the same if he were in her shoes.
“ I understand but you got to keep him on a leash or one day there’ll be nothing left of me.”
“ Oh gods George, we’re early! You aren’t supposed to be early for school dances!” Edmund’s loud nasal voice rang out. A few teachers stopped and stared, puzzled by his outburst.
Most of the teachers, as well as the various student committees were committed to setting up decorations, most of it a sickly green and pasty white. The sole reason being that green and white were the school’s official colours.
Edmund had resorted to drinking the punch, a bright orange saccharine drink. He cursed George under his breath, dragging him all the way to a dance. Edmund had made it a point never to attend any school event not listed as mandatory. He considered all of them a waste of his precious time and more importantly, such events were for losers. Or so he believed.
“ I heard you, what’s wrong?” George panted, his lanky frame hunched over from running across the schoolyard. He’d never moved so quickly before. He wished he didn’t , his rented grey formal suit now bore blacker sweater stains.
“ What’s wrong!”Edmund eyes widened, his oversized nostrils flared, bulbous nose pulsating as he fought back the urge to thump George.
“ I’ll tell you what’s wrong George. We’re here, at some crappy dance so you can confess your love to that freak!”
Edmund gestured at some distant point, fingers trembling with rage.
He grunted in frustration and pushed back his unruly curls with his hands. He really didn’t want to touch George, a simple touch would probably lead to something more violent.
“ I-I told you, it’s important that I tell Dawn how I feel about her. I got to do it before someone steals her away,”
Edmund facepalmed himself, hand sliding down his face and stopping at the collar of his coal black vest. He muttered something about the infiniteness of stupidity and love , George looking flummoxed by it all.
“ George,” Edmund said in his calmest and sagely voice.
“ There is no one competing with you over Dawn. That would be the equivalent of two boys fighting over the right to get dropped off the school roof.”
George took it badly, pouting and stamping his feet.
“ No! You don’t understand, it’s love. I’ve loved her ever since I laid eyes on her. And what she do ?! Go and get chummy with that walking tub of blubber, probably just using him for his brains,” George scoffed at the very idea of Graham actually being loved by someone.
Deep down, he prayed hard the idea was as false as he thought it was absurd.
“ Shit sticks,” Edmund cursed under his breath, standard protocol whenever George’s absurdity became too much for him.
“ Dawn’s a freak!”
Edmund shook his head, itching to bash George’s head in. He wouldn’t though, not to his closest friend. No matter how much of an idiot George was, he was still Edmund’s idiot.
“ George, if you haven’t realised, girls don’t date boys who make fun of them. What are you going to do about that?”
Edmund folded his arms triumphantly, convinced he had George stumped.
“ I’ll turn a new leaf, go clean, do whatever it takes to get her on my side,” George proclaimed.
“ I don’t think it’s a good idea but I got your back, Georgie boy.”
Edmund had to have his back, he had been looking out for George, keeping him out of trouble from teachers or from malicious students, they were everywhere.
“ Thanks Ed, tonight will be the night where I reveal my hand, where I show the world’s kindest angel how I really feel,” George said dreamily.
“ Sure, if you like a beanpole, I like my woman with something to grab on to,” Edmund said to himself. George heard nothing.
“ When did you decide she was your love?” Edmund switched to a less drab topic, getting inside George’s head was never boring.
“ I told you just now, the first time I laid eyes on her. Her body is nothing next to her mother’s but then again, no one is next to her.”
“ So why Dawn? Why not Jessica?” Edmund asked, George’s line of reasoning made little sense to him.
“ Because Jessica is married to one lucky alien. Lucky bastard. Dawn on the other hand is single and I don’t know how no one has even seen the beauty within her,” George gushed.
Edmund wanted to vomit. He didn’t, his suit was too precious to risk.
“ More like a lot of gas, I bet you forgot about that didn’t you?”
George hadn’t forgotten the smell but he remembered the guilt he felt. Guilt over hurting his secret love.
“ No I didn’t,” George huffed.
“Can’t believe you still like her after that, my clothes still smell like her ass,” Edmund’s nose burned, a phantom wound from the past.
“ I think we’re all only homean, Dawn is just allergic to nuts. I bet if Betty Rhodes farted you’d be claiming it was a blessing from a goddess!”
Edmund pressed his fingers against his lips, demanding George keep it down.
“ Say it don’t shout it. I don’t need the world to know that, it’s a secret,” Edmund rolled his eyes, George could be so thoughtless at times.
“ That’s disgusting, even if I loved her I wouldn’t smell her-”
The ground began to shake, rhythmic rumblings from an all too familiar source. Everyone at Adder High had become accustomed it , no one even bothered to look up at the source of it.
Except for George, delighted to see Dawn and Edmund, very much displeased she even bothered to show up.