Content warnings for this story (click here for guide):
Ash had thought nothing could be worse than the china doll outfit or the bimbo get-up, or the horrendous princess froof, but it seemed Lily was a very creative child.
It was hard to walk in the oversized floppy shoes, and the huge spotty tutu made it hard to fit through the school doors. A spotty top with puff sleeves and a fluffy ruff went very well with the carrot-orange curly bunches plonked on her head. Each bunch was tied with a huge spotty bow, matching the silly bow tie around her neck.
Lily had taken 20 minutes to do Ash’s clown make-up, and it showed. Ash’s face was bright white with circles of red on her cheeks, huge false eyelashes, a downturned mouth and a big blue teardrop dripping down her cheek. Lily had donned a sparkling ringmaster’s jacket and a neat curly moustache.
The worst part was the ridiculous clown nose, which honked when squeezed. Lily invited everyone passing to honk her doll’s nose, and of course, everybody did.
Finn had collapsed in fits of chuckles when he saw Ash’s costume that morning, and Ash had glared and sworn at him, blushing beneath her paint.
“God, I hope Lily’s got PE today,” he laughed. “I can’t wait to see you flapping round the sports field in those shoes.”
After the nose and the stupid outfit, the third worst thing that day was the kazoo. Lily insisted on playing a little circus song on a kazoo every time they entered the classroom, prompting everyone to split their sides at Ash’s dorky display.
“One more day,” Ash repeated to herself. “One more day and my punishment will be over. I can do this. God, it surely can’t get any worse.”
At lunchtime, fate managed to ramp up the humiliation even further. The lunch menu that day included lemon meringue pie and custard, and Finn had a word with the lunch ladies. He watched Ash to see if she would behave.
As predicted, she didn’t quite manage to be a good clown doll. When the fiftieth student called her Bonzo or Spotty and told her to do tricks for them, Ash saw red. She stormed out of the dining hall, her big shoes slapping along the lino, leaving her ringmaster all alone. Finn dashed around the side of the building and met her halfway.
“Ahem! Aren’t you meant to be sitting with Lily?”
Ash felt her face grow hot. “I just…needed to get out of there. It’s…it’s hard! It’s embarrassing and I hate it, ok?”
“Not nice being bullied, is it?” said Finn.
“No,” Ash said, her real mouth pouting beneath her downturned make-up. “No, it’s not. I realise that now.”
“You look kinda cute as a clown,” chuckled Finn. “Very silly, but cute as well. I can tell that you’re blushing, even though your face looks like a snowman’s.”
Ash looked down at her feet. “Shut up,” she said, but couldn’t help smiling.
“You going to go in there and face up to this, or do I need to tell your mum that you’re ducking out of making amends?” said Finn.
“Ugh, fine,” scowled Ash. “I’ll go back in.”
She turned to go, but Finn grabbed her poofy sleeve. “Not so fast.”
He drew her close, until her red nose nearly bumped his pink one. Ash’s heart pounded and she closed her eyes, bringing her lips towards his.
She felt Finn’s arm wrap around her waist and a tiny “oh”, escaped her lips.
And then she felt the custard being poured into her pants.
Ash stomped furiously along behind Finn, wincing at the cold liquid sloshing in her waterproof clown trousers. Ewwwwwwww!
As they re-entered the dining hall, Lily looked hopefully up.
“You found her! You found DumDum!”
“That’s right, Lil. I found your doll. She had a little custard accident though. Whoops!”
He shook the baggy fabric between Ash’s legs and she cringed.
Lily laughed uproariously and blew a tune on her kazoo.
“And to say sorry for running away,” continued Finn, “DumDum has something she’d like to ask you.”
Ash shot daggers at him, but Finn raised one eyebrow to remind her what the alternative was.
Ash held out the full lemon meringue pie Finn had bought.
“I’m sorry, Lily. Please will you…sigh…you know….”
Lily’s eyes widened.
“I’ve always wanted to do this!”
She took the gooey pie in her right hand, and squished it right into Ash’s face. The dining hall shrieked with laughter at Ash’s pie-covered face.
“One more day…mumbled the poor clown doll, as a clod of cream fell off her cheek. “One more day….”