Chapter 2

“There’s the birthday girl!”
“Hello Emily,” I said. Mom glanced at me reminding me that I shouldn’t call Emily, just plain Emilia, and I definitely shouldn’t call her Emily. My mom was funny in that way. When around adults, I had to call them ma’am, miss, mister, or sir. However, Emily was only 20 years old, and said it was okay to call her Emily.
“How are you? What is it now? Fifteen?” Emily asked.
“Yes, ma’am. I am well, thank you.”
She turned to Mom and asked, “Will you be having the usual treatment?”
“Yes, Miss Emilia. Thank you,” Mom answered. Emily is the owner of Emilia’s Peace. She had to drop out off high school to support her dad who got injured at work, and then he got laid off. She really liked doing hair and makeup, so she started her own business with her college savings.
“Mrs. Moon, please have a seat,” Emily said gesturing toward the red chairs in the front, “Maya will be with you shortly.” “Alexia, this way.” Emily led me back to a salon chair. It was orange, with yellow swirls on it. It spun around and was soft. When Mom wasn’t looking, Emily would spin me around, and we would try our hardest to not burst with laughter and screams of joy and excitement. As I jumped in the chair, Emily asked, “What’s the dress you and the Mom’s picked out this year look like?”
“Not a dress this year. Black t-shirt with a heart with wings on it. Black pants, white skirt, short with a peace sign, with a chain attached, black boots — super comfy– and black and white striped fingerless gloves,” I said.
“Oh. Little miss grown up. High end fashion girl, huh?”
“Nah. Just thought it was cute, ya know?”
“So what did she say when you picked it out? Did she flip out?”
“A little, though I think she tried to hide it. However, it only took about and hour and a half.”
“That explains why y’all got here early. What did her face look like when you said you wanted, what I suppose she would call, the ‘I cannot believe my daughter is turning into one of those little punk kids’ outfit?”
“Like this,” I said, making a twisted up face, like I smelled rotten eggs.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha. Nice. So, how you want your hair?”
“Out’s fine. Trim to the middle of my back.”
“Your nails?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“Subtle looking, I guess.”

In just a few hours, Emily washed, dried, and cut my dark red hair, painted my dull, short nails snowflake white, and layered my eyes with black and white eye shadow.
“Voila!” Emily said, spinning me around to face the mirror to show my new grown look.
“I love it!” I shouted.
“Glad. Now let’s go watch your Mom freak out again.”
“Ha ha.” We walked up front to where my mom was waiting, after her makeover.
“Mrs. Moon? Lexi is finished.”
My mom looked up at me and I swear I saw her eyes go blank. “What in the world are you wearing?” I opened my mouth to respond, but Mom cut in and said, “Never mind. Miss Emilia, here is your money. Tell your father I said hello. Alexia, lets go.”
I turned to Emily, who gave me a smirk with a little sympathy. “Goodbye Miss Emilia,” I said, trying to hold back a smile as best as I could.
On our way through the parking lot, I thought of how long Mom had her grey Chrysler. Small. A long scratch on the roof and the backseat was full of plastic bags, napkins, magazines, folders, and old newspapers and it always smelled like rain. My mom’s car didn’t match her personality at all. She got that car about 20 years ago, not long before my brother was born.
When we were in the car my mom didn’t say any more about my makeover. However, she did ask me if there were any changes I wanted to make to my dinner.
“No. Same as usual,” I said. Silence. I looked out the window to see that we were at the grocery store.
I started to get out the car, when my mom said, “Stay here. It will be faster this way. I will be back soon.”
“O-okay?” I closed the door and decided to take a nap, so I laid my head back on the headrest and closed my eyes. I wonder why Mom didn’t want me to go with her. She said it would be faster, but now that I think of it she sounded kind of stricter than normal. Her eyes weren’t that inviting either. I guess she just wanted to get started cooking, so we could have more time to get prepared. Whatever it was, I’m just so excited that it’s my birthday. Nothing could ruin today, except dad forgetting the cake. Ha ha ha.

“I hate you!” I was startled by someone shouting. “Wake up you worthless piece of trash! This is all your fault! Murderer!”
This shook me to full consciousness. Who was yelling this? Who were they yelling at? I looked out the window to see who the person screaming was, only to see my mom, along with others, staring at me. She was screeching at the top of her lungs. “I hate you! This is all your fault! You selfish, spoiled little brat!” What? Why was she saying this? “You just had to have your stupid cake! It’s not like we don’t do enough for you!”
I got out of the car and asked my mom, “What are you talking about?”
“You’re the reason your father is dead!”


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