n Emily’s bedroom, the girls were all chattering excitedly, over-tiredness fuelling them more than anything. That…and the prospect of pizza! All, that is, except Danielle. She had undressed alone, in the corner of the room, without looking at or speaking to any of the others, and Lucy walked through the door just in time to see her wriggling down into her sleeping bag and turning to face the wall, making it clear that she didn’t want to talk.
“Come on Danielle, the pizza will be here soon.” Em called over to her friend, sounding a little worried, and not wanting a bad mood to spoil the evening. “You weren’t to know abut what Dan told us, but I think maybe in a strange way you’ve done him a favour. Now it’s all out in the open, so let’s get on with this party!” She’d already slipped back into her onesie whilst Lucy was out chatting with Dan, not in the least bit self conscious about how she was dressed. She was around friends, after all, and if she couldn’t be comfy on her birthday then when could she?
The others murmured in agreement. In truth, they all thought Danielle had been out of order, even Laura and Katie who were her best friends, but nobody wanted to cause any more of a scene. They weren’t going to try too hard to convince Danielle to join them, though, thinking that perhaps a bit of time to cool off may do her some good.
In her sleeping bag, Danielle was crying silently, determined to stay where she was, not wanting to be around the others. Her feelings of anger had taken over, and combined with a strong sense of fear she’d lost all interest in the sleepover. She just wanted to be on her own, wanted to go to sleep and wake up tomorrow when it was time to go home. She knew that she’d made a fool of herself, and strongly suspected that her friends all hated her right now, Daniel especially. Why wouldn’t he, after all she’d just humiliated him in front of everybody, forced him to admit to his secret. But the venom in her made her think that he was such a baby for wetting his bed at 11, so maybe he deserved it after all? She was so conflicted, everything was muddled in her mind, and she just wanted it all to go away.
“Let’s go down, Em, I’m sure Danielle will follow us when she’s ready.” Laura had stood up, dressed in cute, fluffy kitten pyjamas complete with a pretend bobtail on the back. She was actually glad that Danielle was out of the way, as she knew that she’d not be able to resist a remark about her childish sleepwear, but they were her absolute favourites and so snuggly and comfy.
“Nice tail Laura” Katie giggled, noticing her friends outfit as she pulled on her own fleecy nightie.
“Haha, thanks! I’d forgotten about that, but they’re sooooo warm.” She blushed slightly, but nothing would have made her take them off, not even Danielle’s sly comments.
Looking through her bag, Lucy weighed up her options – the PJ’s she’d brought were just basic cotton ones, practical but pretty boring. Her nightdress, on the other hand, was maybe a little too babyish, although after seeing Laura’s tail she decided to go for it, and nearly burst out laughing after pulling it over her head, as she turned to see Becky wearing the exact same one, only in a different colour!.
“Snap!” Both girls yelled, grinning. They’d both harboured similar concerns about their choice, but were relieved to see that they had nothing to worry about.
A loud ‘ding dong’ from the hallway signalled the arrival of their supper, and the 5 girls jumped up and dashed to the bedroom door, leaving Danielle huddled up in her bed, trying to block everything out.
“Dan, are you ready?” Lucy shouted as they passed Lisa’s bedroom door.
He popped his head out, quickly glancing to see what the girls were wearing, and promptly burst out laughing. “Haha, you lot all look nice and snuggly. Awesome! Erm, well I was ready, but if we’re going to cozy and comfy then I’m going to get changed quickly, and I’ll meet you downstairs, ok? Where’s Danielle? I don’t suppose she’s got cute PJ’s like those on, has she?”
“She’s erm…well, in bed. Sulking, I think. We’ve left her too it, she’ll come down when she’s calmed down a bit. Hurry up, or we’ll eat all of the pizza!”
Chuckling, Dan closed the door too again, and then dove into his bag, eagerly hiding for his own fleecy ‘jamas, stripping off the shorts and t-shirt he’d been wearing in favour of his bright yellow Pikachu PJ’s, the ones he’d only thrown in ‘just in case’, and the ones that he’d never normally be seen dead in outside of the privacy of his own bedroom. Heck, he didn’t even let his Mum see him wearing them anymore!
As he left Lisa’s room and stepped onto the landing, he had a sudden instinctive need to make sure that Danielle was ok. It was probably his fault that she was feeling bad, as even though she’d been the one trying to make fun of him, there was no way she could have known about is little secret, he’d made sure of that. And by announcing it to the group as he had, he knew that it would have made her feel really awkward, which he’d never intended. He knew all about feeling awkward and uncomfortable, and wouldn’t wish that on anybody.
Knocking gently on Em’s door, he opened it slightly and called through “Danielle, are you ok? It’s Dan, can I come in for a sec?”
Rolling over in her bag, Danielle contemplated ignoring him and pretending to be asleep. But he was intrigued, what did he want? She expected him to be mad with her after what she’d just done, but he didn’t sound that way…he sounded genuine. “What is it?” She mumbled, keeping her head hidden under the covers, but peaking out so she could see him as he entered the room.
Dan padded over the floor towards where he could see her lumpy shape hidden under the sleeping bag, and crouched down beside her. “I’m sorry for springing that on you Danielle, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. I know it probably made you look a bit mean after what you’d said, and I just wanted you to know that it really doesn’t matter. No hard feelings, yeah? “
“Y…you’ve nothing to apologise for Daniel. It was me, I was being horrible. I’m so sorry, I…I didn’t mean it, honest.” The tears that had flowed so easily threatened to fall again, and Danielle did her best to blink them back. It was hard enough for her apologising, not something that came easily to her, and the last thing she wanted was to cry like a little baby too.
“Well, I’ll do you a deal then. I won’t say anything more about what you said about me, if you promise not to laugh at my Pikachu PJ’s, how’s that?” Chucking, he reached over and pulled back the very edge of the sleeping bag hood, just far enough so that she could see what he was wearing, prompting a loud laugh and a cheeky grin from Danielle, as some of her dark feelings began to lift.
“Very cute, maybe I can see what Lucy see’s in you after all!”
Dan looked pleased at this compliment, and held out a hand, encouraging Danielle to wriggle out of the bag. Noticing her silky satin pyjamas, he remarked that everybody else had gone for cutesy, cuddly and comfy, so maybe she’d be a bit more comfortable if she changed into something similar.
“I’ve not got anything like that. Well, ok, at home maybe, but not here.” She gave him a look which said quite clearly that if he dared to even mention her owning ‘cute’ pj’s to anybody else, she would make his life hell.
“I’m sure Em won’t mind you borrowing something. You’re a similar size, and honestly it will probably help to break the frostiness a bit. Come on, let’s have a quick look and see what we can find.”
Giggling, the two rummaged through Emily’s wardrobe, and soon found a frankly ridiculous fleece nightdress with a giant picture of a wooly sheep on the front.
“Perfect!” Dan declared, holding it up in front of Danielle. “You’ll look adorable in this, and you’ll fit right in with the rest of us.
“I’m not wearing THAT!” She shrieked. It’s…well, it’s just stupid. And I never wear a nightie anyway, never mind one designed for a 3 year old.
Frowning slightly at her indignation, Dan thrust it into her hands “Now now Danielle, there’s no need for that – remember what caused all of this in the first place? You’ll probably feel a bit silly, but look at what I’m wearing! And Laura’s even got a tail, wait until you see. I’ll wait out on the landing, need to go to the loo anyway, so you get yourself changed and then we can go down together. Hurry up, Luce has already threatened to eat all of the pizza….and I’m not sure whether she was joking or not.”
Striding purposefully out of the room before the girl could object, Dan took himself off to the bathroom, and then waited on the landing, hoping that she would soon follow him out. He wasn’t disappointed, a few minutes later the door handle turned slowly and then a rather blotchy, tear stained face with streaks of the black mascara she insisted on wearing ‘because it makes me look older’ evident down her cheeks appeared.
“Don’t laugh!” She huffed, smiling a small, coy smile as she pulled the door open.
Dan just smiled widely. “That’s much better. Come on, let’s go and face them together. I hope there’s pepperoni left!”
“Ewww, yuck, no, tuna and sweetcorn!”
And with that, the pair made their way downstairs to join their friends, Dan feeling much better now that he knew Danielle was ok, and even Danielle herself feeling much lighter than he had done all evening, although the niggling fears and worries still plagued the back of her mind.5
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