Lily was born, blond hair-blue eyed, to a young mother in a big city. Abandoned as such, Lily made her way from orphanage to orphanage in the early years of the depression. “Everyone needs more money” was explained to her questions of adoption or homes.
When she was seven, she stood tall and slender, with pale blonde hair that hung straight down to her knees. Her pale complexion caused her to stand out all the more to the black pavement before the church’s door.
Father Pete welcomed her in and smiled at her. Lily looked back at her former caretaker who had already begun walking off. Lily was surprised at the smile, but she gave a small one in return.
“We’re going to take care of you, okay?”
She followed him into the back rooms where there were other girls. Maybe 20 girls around her age were settled about a small room, many reading their bibles and a few curled up in the four twin beds in the back. “I’m sorry if we don’t have many things, hun, but I promise we always make do here.”
“There aren’t enough beds, Father…”
Lily stopped and lowered her head as her cheeks became red, “Pete”.
“That’s better. And there aren’t enough beds, no. But everyone here learns to share. Why don’t you let Kimmy and Paula over there show you around and introduce you? I need to get ready for mass.”
The priest walked away, still smiling, and closed the door behind him.
Lily walked over to the other girls, slowly. Their pale faces turned as red as hers when they heard their names called and they waited silently for Lily to approach them. The two girls introduced themselves to Lily and they talked for a little while before leaving her with a bible.
Lily tried to read the big book, but her schooling had not prepared her for the text and she spent a lot of the time rehearsing and comparing characters’ names.
Lily was eventually approached by a taller girl. Her face was white, like all the other girls, but she was a bit more developed and her skin had more color. “Hello, Kimmy and Paula told me you were Lily. My name’s Margaret.”
Margaret laughed, “You’ve been sitting on the floor by yourself. You don’t want to be too quiet: otherwise no one will like you!”
Lily frowned, “That’s not very nice!”
Margaret laughed again, “Of course it is! I’m trying to help you! Here, I bet it would be good if you were dressed properly.” Margaret handed Lily a silk dress. It was beautiful and intricate and Lily had been eyeing the others’ dresses up until then. “You can have this one, it was Steph’s. She was around your size. Well, before she started getting fat.”
“Where did she go?”
“She left. She had been the oldest, but now I am.”
“Why did she leave?”
“I dunno, although I bet it had something to do with her being fat. You’ll see it when the people come in for church on Sunday: everybody out there is fat and ugly. But everyone here is beautiful! Even Pete.”
Lily thought for a second, “He does have a pretty smile.”
“You’re really funny, Lily. Why don’t you get into the dress and I’ll introduce you to everyone else.”
Lily took the dress, “Where’s the bathroom?”
“What for, do you have to piss?”
Lily blushed again, “No… I need to get changed somewhere.”
“Just do it right here, silly! There’re no outside people who can see you; just us.”
Lily looked around and no one seemed to be paying her much attention, “O…Okay,” and she started to remove her clothes. What she removed was ragged and filthy, and she eyed the clean dress excitedly.
Standing in her underwear, she put the garment over her head and tried to wriggle into it.
“Here, let me help you.” Margaret moved closer and Lily stopped moving.
“Thanks…” Margaret reached down and pulled Lily’s panties down around her ankles. Lily squealed and felt the other girls looking at her then, some of them even giggled at her.
“I thought you were going to help me!” Lily was writhing around now, trying to get the dress down over her exposed parts.
Margaret helped her pull the dress down and straightened it out. “I am helping! You forgot your undies, they’re dirty from the outside and that’s just gross! Nobody’s going to like you if you’re dirty, and you should stop yelling like that, you don’t want the wrong kind of attention.”
Tears were rolling down Lily’s face as she bent over to try to pull her panties up again. “Hey!” Margaret pushed Lily to the ground and ripped the underwear from her hands. Margaret gathered up Lily’s old clothes and left the room with them.
Lily curled up and sat in the corner, still weeping softly. The other girls had lost interest and turned away. Margaret returned shortly and stood over Lily. “Don’t be stupid.” Margaret lifted her own dress so that Lily could see beneath it. “See? Nobody here wears undies, everything is clean and we don’t need them. Now get up, you’re being weird.”
Lily took Margaret’s hand and stood up. “Wow, you’re warm.” Margaret lifted Lily’s hand to her face and Lily almost shivered to feel how cold it was against her palm. “I know! I’ll help you out. You can share my bed tonight. Since I’m the oldest I get to decide who sleeps where and when. Sleeping with me means you won’t be put on a crowded bed.”
“Why can’t I sleep alone?”
“Wow, stupid, weird, and selfish. You need to work on your attitude if you want to make any friends here. Nobody sleeps alone, we don’t have enough beds! Those four sleep during the day time, but they have to use the back two beds so others can have the first two to sit on and stuff.” Margaret pointed to the four bodies on the beds Lily had seen before. “They have to clean the church while we sleep though, because then we won’t be in the way.”
“Why do those four do the cleaning?”
“Because they’re not as pretty as us, duh. Why should we have to do it?”
“I dunno…” Lily looked over to the sleeping forms. Their dark bodies were still even though there were girls around them talking and moving. There was actually a girl sitting on a bed next to a sleeping form as the other two beds were full of others and their books.
“Come on, let’s meet everyone else!” Margaret led Lily through the room and introduced her to every girl who was awake. The girls seemed to be kind to Lily, or at least those that didn’t seem to be as aloof as she did, and Lily relaxed as she met more of them.
After being led around by Margaret and talking and reading with a lot of the girls, Lily was smiling. By night time she looked to be more comfortable in the new home. As it was getting dark, the sleeping girls had gotten up and Lily saw them leaving the room. She seemed perplexed as she saw them go. They all looked to be attractive girls. A couple were dark with beautiful black hair, one was light skinned, but not as light as Lily’s own skin, and the last had very light skin but Lily started as she walked by because she looked like a boy, and was just as tall.
Lily did not have long to look at those girls though, as Margaret had pulled her over to the beds. “Here, it’s time to get ready for sleep.” Lily watched as Margaret stripped off her dress and folded it carefully and placed it in a small bin. She handed a bin to Lily. “Come on, Lily, I’m tired.”
Lily looked down at the bin and slowly started pulling her arms through the sleeves.
“Are you trying to keep me up all night?” Margaret grabbed at Lily’s dress and pulled it off of her, and tossed it in the bin. “Come on.” Margaret pushed Lily into the bed and curled up around the smaller girl. Lily squeaked as the older girl’s cold flesh touched hers, but Margaret let out a small moan. “You’re so warm!” Margaret was soon asleep as Lily lay there, shivering, through most of the night. She heard the four girls who were still awake come into the room at times to clean, but Lily eventually closed her eyes and slept.