Chapter 1

“Hey, this is cute!”

            “Mom, no. I’m not going. I told you that already!”

            “Do you realize how long it took me to even set this up? You’re going.”

From the time Scarlett had graduated school, two years prior, she hadn’t had a boyfriend; arealdate since before her Jr. Prom.  In efforts to help, her mother had set up a blind date with one of her friend’s sons’.

            “He’s going to take one look at me and leave the restaurant.  I’ll be doing usbotha favor by bailing on him.” she shot back. Scarlett had long, untamed, brown curls, deep brown eyes, and a long, skinny, unmetered figure.

            Hesitating, she said “Do this for me, your mother.  I want a grandchild someday, you know.  I’m never going to get one if you lock yourself away from the dating world!”

            “But mom —”

            “No buts!”  Tania said, interrupting her, “He’ll be there in two hours. Go get dressed. Now.”

            “GAHH!”  She stormed off to the bathroom, dress in hand, with a huff.

            She stepped into the room, slammed the door, and went directly to the mirror.What would make this face appealing?She asked herself.  As a child, she was bullied.  Scarlett had never been pretty, never smart, and defiantly not athletic. She removed her glasses and peered into her reflection.  For 15 minutes, she observed her face.  She studied every scar, every freckle, every dimple…every imperfection.

            “Honey?”  Tania asked as she softly knocked on the door.  Slowly, Scarlett opened it, allowing her mother to see that, still, she was not ready. “Baby, let me help. I’ll do your hair.”

            “Fine.” She replied, giving up.  It was pointless to fight with her mother, especially on a night like tonight.  Tania took a flat iron to her hair for 50 pitiful minutes, spraying it with so many different cans and bottles; Scarlett was afraid that they might faint from the lack of oxygen.  When she finally finished, she took a step back to admire her ‘master piece’. “Okay, now go.  Let me get dressed in peace.”

            “You are so beautiful, Scarlett. I hope you know that.”  She said, stroking the hair she had just perfected. 

            “Out!”  She shoved her mother out the door, locking it behind her.  Scarlett returned to her space in front of the mirror, pushing her glasses back to their position on the bridge of her nose.  As she settled in, she gasped.  Normally her brown hair was wild and impossible to control, but now, it was straight, sleek…beautiful, her mother had been right.Woah, when did she become a hair stylist…Whatever.Shaking the thought from her mind, she returned her attention to her face, which she knew would be harder to improve than her hair.

            “What do I do?” she whispered. 

The reflection that peered back at her was the one she always saw.  The same dark brown eyes that seemed darker than usual due to the thick bags that rested beneath them.  Insomnia, she had medication to help her, but she never took it.  Tania was unaware that she had stopped taking it. Between her dark eyes was the same nose, seemingly too small for her face, which curved up at the end.  The children of her class would pick out that feature, they’d taunt her by saying she was just like a baby piglet.  Just below that her petite nose was the same mouth, what she though was her best feature. Her lips were soft and pink, not needing any lip gloss to make them shine. Behind her lips laid the best set of teeth, straight; after five years of braces, and as white as tiny pearls.  Tania often told Scarlett to smile more, to show off her elegant smile. Her chin was the same; slender, but defined. The same freckles were scattered across her high set cheek bones, never fading.

            A half an hour later, when she emerged from the bathroom, she found her mother waiting at the door.  Tania had pulled a chair from the kitchen and sat down with one of her books to wait, so she was sure to approve of her daughter’s appearance.  Scarlett had used the past thirty minutes to cover the darkness around her eyes, she dabbled blush over here freckles to hide them as much as possible. A light arch of green eye shadow reaching to just below here eyebrows made here dark brown eyes pop. Below here eye she drew a thin line of dark eyeliner, also attracting attention to her deep brown eyes. Scarlett had never been good at applying mascara, this was obvious.  Her eyelashes were clumped together with globs of the pitch black substance. 

“Mom, I need help!” she said, a hint of tears in her voice.  She was just so stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of this whole night.

“Just tell me what I can do, baby.” Tania replied, placing the bookmark back on its reserved page.

“I don’t know how to fix this.”  This time the cry was more noticeable.  Her mother saw a single tear run down her cheek, that’s all it took.  Tania was up in an instant and by her daughter’s side.

Rubbing Scarlett’s back, cooing her, she softly said, “Come on darling.”  She slowly turned both of their bodies back to the bathroom. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” Following her mother into the bathroom, Scarlett let herself have one short sob.

The End

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