The Beautiful Girl
Bella switched the fan on blast, hoping to wash away the heat. The air conditioning in her room was broken. She’d have Michael call the maintenance man later, if she didn’t roast before then. The windows were open, letting a few cold breezes ruffle the papers on her desk. Stacking them up, she cleared them away, tossing them on her bed. With quick fingers she gathered assorted pens and dropped them into a cup.
Reaching into the drawer, she pulled out her art book. It was stuffed with failed paintings and sketches, but she found a clear piece of paper. Smoothing out on the desk, she left the room, and came back balancing paints, brushes and a water cup in her arms. She wanted to be quick. The surprise had to be ready.
This would be her best work yet. She could feel it. There was no way in hell that this would turn out terribly. Bringing out her sharpest pencil, she began the light sketch. The slight stretch of the forehead, the downwards point where the eyes would be. The soft curve of the cheek, and the jaw curled upwards slightly. She erased the extra lines.
Her excitement grew. She bent forward over her work. She drew thin lines that would show where the mouth and nose was. A straight nose like her own, and tiny cupid lips. The eyes were large, like orbs, and she deepened them, getting the corners down to a point. A lightly drawn circle to the side was the beginnings of an ear.
With the details done and to her satisfaction, she moved onto the paints. Lovely little bottles with names of their colors sat in a snug row, waiting to be picked. Titanium white. Orange. Lemon yellow. Bella squeezed a bit of the tan into the palette, dabbing it with water, mixing it with the white. The result was a soft, creamy color.
Bella put paintbrush to paper. The brown hairs smoothed the paint down, blending with the paper. She worked quickly, before the paint dried, adding in white and pink to highlight the skin. Slowly, the face came to life, with white eyes and white lips. Brown deepened the nose, and she flicked it across the cheeks, freckles now dotting the skin.
The lips were painted in with piglet pink, looking like a baby rose. She framed the eyes with light brown lashes, and filled the orbs with green and black. Big green marbles stared back at her, the pink mouth smiling shyly. A few finishing touches settled the eyebrows, smoothed the jaw, and structured the ear.
And now for the hair, the crowning glory. She went liberal with the brush, free with abandon. Wild wisps of curly brown hair blew around the face, like the wind had tossed it into the air. Long and tangled, golden brown curls, much like her own, finally finished the painting, and she sighed. The face was beautiful, hopeful, the green eyes lit with joy.
The door downstairs slammed. Bella heard rough stomps coming up the stairs. She jumped up excitedly, ecstatic and sweaty, and ran to the doorway. “Baby? Is that you?”
May pulled a purple earphone out of her ear, scowling at her mom’s bright face, the golden brown hair sticking to her sweaty cheek. “Yeah, what is it?” She drawled. Even with the earphones in, Bella could hear the rock music from where she stood. May’s lips were smeared with black, her eyes overshadowed with dark purple, and her long black hair was streaked with purple. Metal spiked through her lips and ears.
“Can you come in here a minute? I want to show you something.” Bella beckoned, her green eyes glowing.
“Mom, can it wait? My boyfriend’s picking me up in five minutes.” May smacked her bubble gum, her combat boots leaving mud on the stairs as she went up.
“Please, May, come see.”
May groaned, following her mom into her room. Bella skipped to her desk and picked up the painting, holding it up for May to see.
May chewed her gum, unimpressed. She flicked a dark bang out of her eye with a black painted finger, taking in the light brown hair, the freckles, the big green eyes. “So what? It’s a picture of you.”
“No it’s not, look closer,” Bella beamed. May rolled her eyes and looked closer. The nose was long, and straight, like hers. Her mother’s wasn’t like that, it was small, like a button. The lips were like a small rosebud, while her mom’s lips were wide and always smiling. A smattering of freckles were splattered on the cheeks. Her mom didn’t have freckles.
May’s heart jolted. It was her.
Bella went to put her arm around her daughter. May was speechless, tears welling up in her big green eyes, and spilling over her powdered skin, leaving trails of black. Bella stroked her black hair, and reached up a warm thumb and wiped away a tear, “Don’t you look beautiful?” She smiled.
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