Drift (Book 1 of the Merallo series)

When Mariah's best friend Jace moves to the other side of town it feels like they are drifting apart. They no longer have any classes together and he starts making new friends and dating Kiara who is pretty, popular & the best at everything.

Then, Mariah discovers something she is good at, swimming. With an unusual offer from Murray, the swim team superstar, Mariah has the chance to ruin the blossoming romance. All Murray wants in return is a kiss.

With a warning from her mum, famous for her fortune-telling skills, to stay away from Murray, Mariah has to choose between accepting Murray's offer or following her or letting Jace go. But her complicated romantic life is just the 'spark' of her problems as Mariah learns she's a type of mermaid. Now, she needs to learn to control her storm summoning powers before she loses control and hurts someone or worse, kills them.


6. 6. Make-up Mishap

Mum's homemade ylang ylang shampoo had helped lift my spirits and alleviate the cramps.  She called it 'the blob' which sounded as un-glamorous as I felt. I was marking my calendar each day, so we could determine my cycle, and today was the first day I had not marked the date in red.

Wrapping a towel around myself, I headed for my wardrobe. What to wear?

I wanted something feminine to remind Jace I'm not one of the lads, after all I am officially a lady now. Unfortunately, I didn't have much in the way of 'girlie'. I lived in jeans or shorts. Then, there at the back of the wardrobe was a yellow crinkle summer dress that I'd forgotten about.

I threw the dress on and checked how I looked in the mirror.  I scrunched my hair and studied my face. I still looked plain. Freckles speckled my face and my eyes looked small and almost invisible with the blonde lashes and eyebrows so pale that they may as well have not been there. I headed to my mum's room to see if she had any make up I could borrow.

Hunting through her draw, I finally found it. A little golden coloured wash bag full of old make-up. She had foundation, powder and lipsticks, pencils, shadows and blush. Everything a girl could wish for. I sneaked back to my room with my stolen treasure.

Inside the bag I found a tiny mirror and sat crossed legged in the middle of my bedroom floor studying my face. It was a bit mucky from the powders, so, I dusted it off with a bit of tissue paper.

First, I applied the lipstick to add some life to my colourless lips. I pulled off the lid from the shiny black tube and was impressed by the vibrant red colour. I applied it to my lips. It was bright... too bright; when I glanced at the mirror, all I could see was my radiant pout screaming for attention. The red didn't look right; it looked out of place on its own.

I decided I needed more make-up.

The rest of my face still looked plain. I rummaged through my loot. Then I found a pot of blue eye shadow. There was no brush so I smudged it across my eye lids with my finger.

I looked.... different with make-up on.

Then I lifted the mascara brush and tried to apply it to my strawberry blonde lashes. Ouch! I nearly screamed as I poked the brush in my eye. I blinked furiously and when I looked in the mirror I saw little black dots all over my eyelids. I tried to rub them away with my finger but ended up with dark smudges. No matter how hard I rubbed, they wouldn't come off.

I looked in the bag for something to remove it and to my relief, found the foundation. Phew. The shade was Golden Honey and I quickly applied it to mask my mess using the sponge provided in the compact. Blotting the creamy texture over the black marks, I needed quite a bit. It looked better but I could still make out the marks and my cheeks were now a different colour to the rest of my face. Deciding then that I needed to apply the foundation to the rest of my face, I began applying the gloop all over. Finally, my face was... an ugly shade of orange.

"What are you doing?" gasped my mum as she entered my room holding a pile of clean clothes. I didn't know what to say. I felt guilty. Caught red handed - or red lipped in my case. Mum's face began to crack into a smile and then she was laughing. "You look like a cross between a tangerine and a clown!"

"Mum!" I snapped, jumping up and pushing past her in my race to the bathroom. What a horrible thing to say! The bolt bit into my palm as I slammed the barrel across, locking the door in my haste. That would keep her out! I started running the water and splashing the colour from my face but it was never ending! Plus, it was getting worse. I looked in horror at my reflection; I was going to be stuck looking like the Joker forever. I felt so stupid. My eyes prickled with tears.

"Mariah, I'm sorry." Mum apologised sincerely with a knock at the door, "I have some oil based remover if you want to borrow it. Some of that stuff is meant to last at least twenty four hours."

Numbers flashed before my eyes. In eighteen hours I would be at Jace's house and I couldn't let him see me like this. I began to panic, scrubbing at my cheeks until they were red raw. Frustrated, I realised I had no choice but to accept mums offer. Slowly, I unlocked the door and let mum lead me back to her room.

I sat on her bed whilst she pulled a blue bottle from her dresser draw and a cotton pad. She poured some of its contents onto the pad and began to wipe it across my face. At first the cool pad was soothing against my hot flushed cheeks. "Hold these against your eyes." She passed me two pads and I pressed them against my eyes whilst she took care of the lipstick. She began to rub harder, to get the more resistant smudges off my cheek, it started to hurt. I sat with my eyes shut whilst she said soothing words throughout the process, "Almost done." she would say, "I'll just get this bit here." Then she took the pads from my eyes and swept them across my face. Finally she said, "That's it!"

I opened my eyes and glanced in the mirror. My face was a little pinker than before but I was me again. "Thanks."

"Why were you putting on make-up?" mum asked. "You're pretty just the way you are."

I wasn't sure how to explain, so I just kept quiet. I rubbed my damp cotton socks together and wondered if like Dorothy in Oz I could wish myself somewhere else, somewhere where I wasn't the next disaster waiting to happen. Although, what I truly wished was to be someone different, someone who fits in and looks normal or if I have to stand out, if that's the sort of person I am, why can't I be beautiful and popular like Kiara. It was obvious why Jace was into her. I was no competition.

"Is it a boy?" she probed and her eyes searched my face. "Are the other girls saying you should wear make-up?"

"No!" I snapped. "I just wanted to try it."

Mum wasn't happy with my answer. She had seemed pleased when I started my period; 'my little girl is growing up,' she had said proudly, but the thought of me wearing her make-up really upset her. "Well these colours are not for you. They are for people with dark skin like me."

It was true; I looked nothing like my mum. I had always wondered who my dad was and whether I looked like him. Mum had never told me anything about my dad and whenever I asked her about him, she would change the subject or respond with silence. Today, I wanted to know and I couldn't help but ask, "Where do I get my looks from?"

Mum didn't answer. "I want my make-up put away, back in my draw! Now!"

I returned to my room and gathered together the shiny pots and pretty colours and placed them back in the gold bag. I returned the bag to the draw where I found it and headed downstairs.

"Sorry mum." I whispered bashfully.

"It's okay." she sighed. "I am just not ready for you to be grown up. First your period and now this," She held out her arms for a hug and I welcomed them. "I guess we are going to need a shopping trip to get you sorted."

"Really?!" I gasped excitedly.

"Really." she nodded. Then her face changed all serious, "We'll buy nice natural colours, I don't want you looking like a clown again."

"Me neither." I grinned and flung myself forward into her loving arms.

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