Beauty

Beauty

A Story by selkietales
"

A girl wishes to be pretty and starts hearing whispers at the back of her mind~

"

                "You're not my daughter!" she cried, her tear-stained face red and drippy. I frowned.

                "Yes, I am. She-" I pointed the prone figure my mom was crying over, "-is not your daughter. I know it's a little confusing, Mom, but seriously, we look way different. And don't I look more like your daughter than she does? Be rational here! If you were to see pictures of us you'd know who is who." I attempted to keep a level head about the situation. Maybe I should separate my best friend and my mom? I'm not sure I should move her, though, since she seems to have a concussion and is just lying there...

***

                “How ever did you manage to find such a girlfriend?” I asked, teasing.

                “It’s because I’m just so naturally gorgeous, darlin’,” he joked, striking a pose. His girlfriend laughed, a tinkling sound. She had luscious, flowing brown hair, perfect red lips, a light blush over slightly tanned cheeks, and a lusty body. She glanced at me and I felt a small moment of triumph- her eyes were very average and brown where I had unusual blue-green ones.

                Gabriel said goodbye as he slipped his arm around her waist, offering warmth in the chilly air and guiding her away from me.

                “It was lovely to meet you, Alexandria,” I called with a close-mouthed smile. It felt stiff, but my teeth are bad and I don’t like showing them, especially to competition.

                “The pleasure’s all mine,” she returned.  She found his hand and held it in hers, preferring that to his arm around her. Noting the many people around I knew I should turn away lest anyone I knew saw me, but I couldn’t tear my eyes from his retreating form. My hand was merely accompanied by and old book on some pagan religion that my mom had given me to read in detention. Like that would happen when I had Gabriel to think about.

God girl, get over him already!

I kept looking until they were figures about to disappear into the distance.

If only I could have Alexandria’s good looks. Then maybe Gabriel would finally see that I’m grown up and he doesn’t need to be my brother anymore.

                I adjusted my backpack and turned around to head to school. My head lightened and I swayed, arm automatically reaching out to steady myself but finding nothing. I stumbled and thought I saw the sidewalk writhe, bubbling and spitting, before the world righted itself. It felt as though my ears had been cleaned. Weird.

Spider silk hair

I felt watched and a chill crawled up my spine, but I shook the feeling. It was probably just nerves. Surely my best friend could help me feel better about this whole mess. Talking to Sarah usually did the trick for at least a little while. I walked towards my school with more spring to my step, shoes connecting to the sidewalk for shorter periods of time. Sarah has always said I walk too quickly to class, but can I help just wanting to be at my destination? Skipping the times in between would make life so much simpler. In fact, not knowing anyone would make life simpler. I could read, write, eat, sleep, breathe air, and just, I don’t know, have fun I guess. I never would have met Gabriel if I had the option to skip the middle times.

                He’s really a great guy, you know? When I was little I took a tumble down a mountainside and he saved me. I still have scars from that on my face. I guess that was when I lost my heart to him. It’s too bad he’s always filled to role of an older brother, being seven years ahead of me. I’m seventeen, he’s twenty-four. Young enough that none of his girlfriends are ever worried about my existence, nor do they have to be. I only see him once a month for our arcade day, so this morning was really weird. Alexandria must have wanted to go out for breakfast or something.

                It’s six-thirty in the morning. Why are they together?

                I shoved the thought away and saw the hobo with no right arm. He’d set up his can and cardboard signs at the edge of an alley entrance, begging for money. “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” one said, while another had “I WASN’T LIKE THIS UNTIL THE DRAFT.” The signs were progressively more anti-war/government from there. He’s like a road mark I pass every day on my way to school. He caught me looking and sneered, holding out the old tin bean can.

                “Sorry man, I’m late!” I said with an apologetic smile. “Another time.”

                “Late for what? What kind of school starts this early?” A strange, almost angry look overcame his features. "You'd better watch out, Lana, or you'll never go back." He was obviously not very happy today, and that last line practically screamed creepy stalker. I usually put my change from lunch in his can on my way home or the following morning, but resolved not to do so today.

Diamond eyes

                “Not school, detention. See you later!” My backpack thunked in rhythm to my steps. I turned the corner and saw my school. The chill from earlier came back.

                Upon entry the secretary motioned me over.

                “You’re five minutes late, so-“

                I held out a thermos of chai tea.

                “-So,” she continued, “Since your offense wasn’t that bad I’ll wave it for today. Go sit down and you’ll be out once the first bell rings at seven-thirty.” She smiled, grabbed the thermos, and traded her cup of water for a cup of tea. Her face lit up, showing a kind of beauty through her withered skin. I felt a pang in my chest, but tried to ignore it.

Berry-stained lips

                “Thanks Mrs. Edenheim!” I sat at a desk in the empty adjacent room. It didn’t feel empty, though. In fact, it felt downright crowded. I swear I kept seeing things moving at the corners of my eyes.

                I looked for the old book and noticed it was no longer in my hand or bag. I must've dropped it when I'd had that dizzy spell, so I pulled out my math homework.

                It wasn’t until around seven that I could hear students and teachers arriving and by then I’d finished my math and was starting my English. The familiar voice of the ever handsome John Bennett rang out in the secretary’s office.

                “Heya, sorry Mrs. Edenheim but I was a little caught up this morning. Could you maybe let me off the hook this one time?” I could just imagine him giving her a puppy-dog face.

                “Fine, fine, I won’t give you extra time. But you’d better be here after school or tomorrow morning to serve the other half!” She sounded like the opposite of stern. Actually, it was kind of creepy how simpering she sounded. Wasn’t she, like, fifty?

                John strolled in and sat at the desk to my right.

                “Nice thermos she had there.”

                I glanced over from my homework. “Nice eye candy you provide. Too bad it only works on old women.”

                “Hey, I’ve gotten a lot of girls with this face! How could you ever say no to it?” He looked at me hopefully.

                “No.”

                “Aw come on-“

                “Sh, please, I’m doing my homework.” I didn’t necessarily want to do it, in fact before he walked in I’d just been doodling along the edges, however if completing it kept him quiet then I might not punch him. That’s actually why I was serving this detention. Not punching him, per se, but losing my temper with a girl in class.

                He huffed and stared off into space for a moment before turning back to me.

                “Hey, could-“

                “No.”

“Fine. Jeez. Just trying to be friendly.” He huffed and stared off into space again.

                I couldn’t stand him. He was the epitome of attractiveness and popularity and I was probably the only person who didn’t like him. Also, he and Sarah had been hanging out a lot lately. It was even interfering with Sarah and I’s plans. She’s been cancelling her plans with me for him, but I knew he was a guy who probably end up leaving, just like the others.

 Ivory teeth

                But seriously, does he need to be around at all to make me feel worse about myself? I’m an A cup, too skinny, and I have a very homely face. Loveable, but homely. In addition, while most girls want to be skinny, I read in multiple places online that skinny isn’t what guys want. Not that fat is, but some place in between. So, despite last year’s “Operation: Get Lana a Boyfriend” mission, I’ve never had one. Besides, I'm still stuck on Gabriel. It wouldn't be fair to go out with a guy when I don't even have special feelings for him.

                My best friend Sarah is my opposite. She’s a social butterfly, beautiful in every sense, and has a great wardrobe. In addition, she’s never had a short supply of male admirers. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve actually had a few myself except that they’re the kinds of guys who, literally, don’t wash themselves or just want in my pants. Sarah said that they’re just immature little boys who couldn’t judge someone’s worth even if it was spelled out for them.  Despite that, she was the one who usually did confront them and spell it out for them. As usual, I’m the background person, even in my own love life.

Petal-soft skin

                The first bell trilled.

                I shoved my notebook and pencil into their designated places before heading off to first period math. Sarah joined me. We somehow have managed to be in the same classes this year after deciding that last year was too boring without each other. Despite this, she usually only talks to John Bennett, her longtime crush.

                That might have been why he wanted to be on friendly terms with me earlier. Not for me, but for her. For the thousandth time in my life, I wished I was pretty like Sarah.

                I sighed rather loudly and looked down.

                “You’re totally not listening to me, Lana!” Her loud voice and hand on my arm interrupted my thoughts. I felt a flash of guilt and tried to remember what she’d been saying.

                “Um… You said something about a restaurant?” I tried.

                “Yes, Lana, yes. About eight topics ago. Whatever, are you okay? You seem really out of it. Oh, snap, the bells about to ring. Come on!” She tugged my arm, questions forgotten, and we ran down the empty hallway, entering the class as the bell rang.

                “Nice of you ladies to show up,” the teacher commented.

                It was going to be a long day.

 

                Earlier, at lunch, Sarah and I ate at a table that was mostly male. Attention was usually given to Sarah, naturally, and I kept feeling uncomfortable. I’m usually just fine with Sarah being the center and me off to the side. More time to think or whatever, especially since I know I’m Sarah’s best friend. Her number one. So no matter how hard these guys try, they wouldn’t trump me, because I’m her most important person.

                Except that today’s lunch questioned that.

                John Bennett and Sarah were holding hands.

                I knew her next boyfriend would come sooner rather than later, and I guess I did expect John to be the next, but I didn’t think this relationship would be different than the others. Sarah actually looked at him like she truly loved him and she’s also against PDA’s. Hence the weirdness of the handholding. I didn’t like it one bit. If I’d been the pretty one, would these guys be threatening our friendship by getting close to Sarah?

                These make a woman’s beauty

                On these thoughts, I fell asleep. The uneasy feeling that had started this morning had intensified and I could have sworn I heard whispering all day, so it was no surprise I woke up in a cold sweat at three am. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My haggard face stared back. Resting my forehead on the cold mirror I wished with all my might.

                “I wish I was prettier than the girls in school. Oh, and Alexandria, too!”

                I thought I could hear the whispering again, but I didn’t care. I felt my eyes tear up.

                “Even if I had to give up something, something important, I wouldn’t care. I just… I just want to be pretty. Maybe then I could have what Sarah has.”

                Depressed and a little appalled at my break in behavior, I went back to bed. In the morning my mom waltzed in my room.

                “You’re looking as lovely this morning, Lana dear. Hurry up, it’s time to go get ready school!” She smiled benevolently at me.

                “Yeah yeah, lovely as ever,” I grumbled and made my way to the bathroom to pee. I went to wash my hands and, despite knowing I looked like crap, I looked up.

                Only I didn’t look like crap. I was still Lana, but my features looked slightly more mature, more… pretty. Something else too, that seemed familiar but I couldn't quite place it.

My hair was smooth-

                Spider silk hair

                My eyes shone with a radiance I hadn’t seen before-

                Diamond eyes

                My lips had a natural redness, like they’d been stained-

                Berry stained lips

                My smile was shades whiter-

                Ivory teeth

                My skin was no longer rough and scarred-

                Petal-smooth skin

                I looked refined, like a lady-

                These make a woman’s beauty

                I squealed with excitement and reached for my cell phone. The possibilities were racing through my mind: Gabriel might stop viewing me as a little girl needing protection, I might attract normal guys, I wouldn't have to be scared of showing my face- I immediately dialed Sarah to share the good news.

                “Hello?”

                “Sarah? Oh my gosh, you’ll never believe this! I made a wish to be beautiful last night and it came true and-“

                “This isn’t Sarah,” a tear-filled voice replied.

                “What are you talking about? You’re Sarah. I’d know your voice anywhere.” My brow furrowed in confusion and worry. “What’s going on?”

                “I…” She hesitated.

                “Hold on, I’ll go to you. Maybe that would be easier.”

                “No!” she yelled. “No, I’m sorry but I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want anyone to see me.”

                A voice sounded in the background. “Sarah honey, who are you talking to?”

                “Lana,” she managed, before breaking into sobs. I felt panic rise in my chest and I quashed the small feeling of wonder that finally, maybe now I was the pretty one. The phone switched hands.

                “Lana? This is Sarah’s mom. Honey, I’ve got some bad news. Sarah was with that boyfriend of hers, John something? And they got in a car accident. Don’t worry, everyone’s fine-“

                “Fine!? You call this fine?” Sarah’s voice erupted. I could hear her mom’s retreating footsteps and something breaking. I started to shake slightly.

                “Sorry, Sarah’s not doing so well. The glass from the windshield cut her face up. They say her eyes are perfectly fine, although they’ve changed to a more green-blue... But don’t worry, Sarah and John just had bumps and bruises otherwise. It was a freak accident, really. A cow had escaped from a nearby farm and walked into the road in front of them. Not much they could do from then on-“ She kept babbling about random things from the accident while my mind went on hyperdrive.

                Just as I came upon a realization, Sarah’s loud voice cut across her mom’s, vocalizing the thought.

                “You made a wish to be pretty last night? Well, I guess you got your wish by stealing my face! Look in that goddamn mirror again, Lana! Whose face do you see!? Whose f*****g face!?”

                Excitedly, hysterically, I looked in the mirror and saw Sarah staring back.

                And they can make you, too

© 2012 selkietales


Author's Note

selkietales
Any review is a great review! and wow, this is way longer than I usually write...

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Featured Review

This was really great! You set a very relateable tone throughout this story about insecurity, and you showed Lana's feelings of herself really well. I liked how you used characters like Gabriel and Sarah to springboard off into more of Lana's narration regarding her poor self-image. I also like how Sarah acted as a parallel character for Lana, as someone she wanted to become like, although it was a little freaky at the end that she literally DID become her. The twist was really interesting and unexpected, but I'm not sure you necessarily need it. Like I said, the whole theme of insecurity rings so strongly throughout the story that the end kind of takes away from it a little. But it's by no means bad, perhaps Lana can realize that even though beauty seems like her answer to happiness, the frailty and dependence of it can also lead to unhealthy behavior, like how Sarah breaks down after the car accident.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This was really great! You set a very relateable tone throughout this story about insecurity, and you showed Lana's feelings of herself really well. I liked how you used characters like Gabriel and Sarah to springboard off into more of Lana's narration regarding her poor self-image. I also like how Sarah acted as a parallel character for Lana, as someone she wanted to become like, although it was a little freaky at the end that she literally DID become her. The twist was really interesting and unexpected, but I'm not sure you necessarily need it. Like I said, the whole theme of insecurity rings so strongly throughout the story that the end kind of takes away from it a little. But it's by no means bad, perhaps Lana can realize that even though beauty seems like her answer to happiness, the frailty and dependence of it can also lead to unhealthy behavior, like how Sarah breaks down after the car accident.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was a very cool story! It was like a modern fairy tale. And I liked the ending- it makes me wonder whether she's ever going to wish things back to the way they were. Great job as always!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

never pass up on one of selkies writes (: well done sis you always have a mysterious way to possess your reader and draw them into what you are writing! keep it up -s

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I usually pass up long stories about teen agers. But this one held my interest. You wrote it extremely well. And yes, there are a few errors, but nothing you can't fix.
From what else I've seen of your work, I'd say you're on your way to be a pretty good writer.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Woah. I was not expecting that. At all.

Well written and very meaningful, though I did notice a few (not many) grammatical/spelling errors. On the whole, brilliant work!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 27, 2012
Last Updated on June 29, 2012

Author

selkietales
selkietales

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About
Hi I'm Vivian Wallace and I'm 17 :) My friend Randi and I plan on becoming published authors, so we are working on our skills and just having fun by writing a silly super hero story together (S.H.O.V... more..

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