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The schoolgirl fantasy might be alluring to some, but Amelia felt the complete opposite as she looked herself over in the mirror. She hadn’t expected to change into the Westridge uniform right away, but that’s the first thing Ashley had taken her to do. The handicap bathroom gave her privacy, which she was grateful for; changing in a bathroom always felt a little dirty, but having a private room was a lot better than wrestling with clothes in a tight stall.
It had been simple enough to remove her classy outfit, but putting on the uniform wasn’t quite as simple. The green plaid skirt had a stubborn zipper in the back, the white blouse was a bit too snug in the chest, and Amelia hadn’t ever tied a tie before. She wanted to leave the bathroom with the whole outfit intact, as asking for help from a student didn’t particularly appeal to her. Instead, she watched a tutorial online and mostly figured it out after a few tries.
The girl staring back at her in the mirror did NOT look like an adult. Even with perfectly done hair and make-up, she looked more like a high school senior than a recent college graduate. Her padded bra was offset by the blouse and blazer flattening things back out, as the petite girl usually paired her enhanced bras with the perfect tops to give herself a more mature image. Chest or no chest, it was more that she was dressed like all the other teenagers who had been sent off to boarding school here.
How was this a good idea? Surely some high schoolers could handle a few classes with a differently dressed woman in the room. And, while empathizing with them by going through the same process sounded logical when Mrs. Thompson explained it, Amelia was only now thinking of a major flaw in the administrator’s plan–earning respect was going to be a lot more difficult after all the students saw her dressed like this.
Unfortunately, Amelia didn’t make the rules. And she was desperate for the job. Maybe she was overthinking things. If every applicant did this, then it should simply be part of the students’ culture at this point. She was just being self conscious about her size, and had to put her ego and her usually maturity-focused attire aside for a day.
She fiddled with the tie and blazer one more time, then stepped out of the private bathroom. Hopefully Ashley wouldn’t judge her for taking so long. Or, more importantly, she hoped that her dawdling wouldn’t make her late for the first thing on the morning’s schedule.
“Millie! You look so cute!” Ashley exclaimed, the moment Amelia stepped back into the hallway.
Millie . . . ?
Amelia had never, EVER been called that. Not once in her entire life. She had gotten her fair share of ‘Amy’ over the years, which she was fine with, but ‘Amelia’ was definitely her preference. It was more mature, sophisticated; especially ever since she started college. Her full name was yet another way to counteract the way that puberty had absolutely screwed her over.
But ‘Millie?’ It wasn’t just immature. The awful name sounded like what you’d name some freckled farm girl. Not that there was anything wrong with growing up out in the country, but that just wasn’t at all an image Amelia had of herself. And to be called that by a high school girl, of all people? Ugh.
“It’s Amelia.” She responded in as flat a tone as she could manage without sounding bitchy at the same time. After all, Ashley had been nothing but helpful so far. Still, the young, dark haired girl was a student. Authority was important, especially when Amelia was still fairly young herself. And at an all girls’ school, showing you disliked something was a surefire way for that thing to be used against you, even as an adult. With that in mind, she added, “Or Amy, I guess.”
A preferred nickname was better than a cringeworthy one. And a casual response was a better approach than an offended reaction.
“Amy is nice,” Ashley said, “Anyway, come on. We’ll have to find you some shoes at the Lost and Found, and then it’s time for your aptitude test.”
Wait, what? “Ashley, my shoes are fine.” Amelia said. She had checked on the school’s site the other day. Black heels adhered to the dress code as much as flats did, and she obviously preferred the former for the extra few inches of height.
“No, they’re not. You’re auditing middle school classes, Amy. Westridge only allows girls in 9th grade and up to wear heels.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m just here for the day.” It didn’t occur to Amelia that she might be sitting in on the younger grades’ classes, but her schoolgirl get-up was enough of a price to pay for the job. Wearing some girl’s used shoes and demoting herself to a more immature appearance was yet another sacrifice she hadn’t prepared for.
Ashley just shrugged. “I was told to treat you like any other student on her first day here. That means flats, Amy; not heels. But if it’s really a problem, I guess we can go check with the office.”
A trip upstairs would delay them further, and possibly make Amelia look bad if she complained about something that was objectively pretty trivial. It also only dawned on her after three uses of ‘Amy’ that Ashley was exclusively using her first name. “It’s Ms. Martin,” she said, correcting the girl. Better late than never.
“What did I just say?” Ashley gave her a curious look, “I’m not supposed to give you any special treatment. This is your first day at Westridge, you’re more or less a student, and your name is *Amy*.” With a smile and a friendly wink, Amy conceded at the end. “Don’t worry. If you end up teaching here, I’ll call you Ms. Martin as much as you want.”
Had Mrs. Thompson told her about this? Now that it had been a few days, the interview was more of a blur. Amelia knew that she was auditing classes, complete with a student uniform, but what about the rest? Being treated like a student was a lot different than dressing like one, though it did line up with empathy the administrator had mentioned. Maybe she had misheard, or misremembered; maybe Mrs. Thompson had left out a detail or two, considering it was the end of the day on Friday and her mind could have been elsewhere.
“I know. I’m not asking for special treatment,” Amelia said. Deciding to save face in front of her guide for the morning, not wanting to look bad in front of a future student, she just went along with it, “If it’s policy, then I can change shoes.”
Ashley just nodded, with a faint smile. “Good girl.”
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Stories of Age/Time Transformation