It was going to be the best day ever. For once I was going to be one of the interesting girls with exciting news to share. I could just imagine myself walking down the path to school looking flawless, and I’d tell everyone my big news about how I won a chance to be in an ad in the American Ingénue modeling contest. Then, I’d share with my close friends how I got my first kiss and that my boyfriend, Vladi Yagudin, and I were back together. Yup, this was going to be the day dreams were made of… and then I walked into the bathroom and reality smacked me in the face. There sat a big, red, disgusting blemish right in the center of my cheek.
There were places where one could hide a giant flaw on your face: the forehead, neck, anywhere by the hairline, but the center of the cheek? Seriously? And it was the protruding type of breakout, so concealer would just make it look like a beigey colored mountain.
Why today? I mean, every time I’ve ever had any modeling news, some girl at school would say (usually behind my back and just loud enough for me to overhear) how surprised they were I could be a model, or they’d make a comment how I must have gotten picked because of my height or something. And now this huge, bulging thing rising out of my face just proved them right. I got in the shower hoping the steam would miraculously shrink it. No such luck. I tried a hot washcloth, an ice cube, and a slice of cucumber, which I thought I read can take down inflammation, but, much like that article that promised that mayonnaise would thicken my hair and instead left me with a greasy, stinking mess — this was also a big, fat failure.
“I hate my life,” I said staring in the mirror.
“I thought last night you said everything was glorious,” my mother said, standing in the doorway with a cup of coffee.
“That was before my stupid skin decided to betray me. Look at this pimple.” “Hon, I’m sure it’s not as bad as you — oh wow. Well… uh, do you want to borrow some of my cover up?”
“I knew it! I’m hideous. I am a troll. I am gross—”
“You’re fine. You just broke out. Probably from all that foundation they used on you over the weekend at the Ingénue competition. TV makeup is a lot heavier. In a couple of days it will be gone. No big deal.”
“But Mom, I was going to tell everyone about the Ingénue stuff today.”
“So, how is your breakout preventing that?”
“They’re all going to stare and say, ‘Why her? She’s not that great. She’s not even pretty. Just look at her nasty skin.’”
Landry, no one would ever say that. For one, it’s not true, but that’s such an awful thing for anyone to come out with. You’re making too big a deal out of this—kids aren’t that mean.”
Okay, that confirmed it: my mother was never, EVER a teenager. I used my Little Rose cosmetics concealer on it and even tried to use my round brush to blow dry the right side of my hair into my face to cover the pimple. It would help if I knew how to properly work a round brush. I had watched hairstylists use them on me, and it seemed so simple. They would whisk the brush through fast and my hair would come out looking smooth, yet full, and it would lay just right. But when I tried it by myself, I got the brush caught EVERY single time. I’d wind up with bristles clumped with hair that had been pulled out. And the part of my hair that didn’t come out into the brush would be sticking straight out like a witch’s. I was convinced beauty schools taught hairstylists some sort of sorcery to get the perfect blow out with a round brush. It was the only possible explanation.
I did the best I could with my hair and put on the navy sweater and khaki pants that made up my boring Hillcrest Academy uniform. The school acted like they were super laid back without a traditional uniform. “Oh, at Hillcrest, we don’t implement a uniform, but rather our students partake in a color code.” Seriously? We were all dressed in boring beige, khaki, navy, and white — all colors that made me look like a dead goldfish. Once in a while we could sneak certain shades of blue in, like that boring washed-out blue you see mail carriers wear.
“Landry! Get your tush moving. The bus will be here in less than two minutes,” Mom said.
“Coming.” I grabbed my jacket and my baby blue backpack. I rushed to the kitchen where Mom had put my lunch money on the table.
“Don’t forget I have a meeting at five at work so you cannot miss the bus or else you’ll be stuck at school, got it?” she said.
“Right, miss the bus and have to live at the school due to child neglect.”
“Funny. Do not dawdle in the hall after your last class. Get right out there to the buses.”
Dawdle? Seriously? I was not a little kid, but I nodded and walked out to the bus stop where my friend Devon Abrams was standing eating a breakfast bar.
“Hey, where’s everybody else?” I asked, glancing around.
She shrugged. “I saw Ericka Maines’s mom pull into Tori Robins’s driveway. They’re getting a ride today. Probably because they want to go over the review sheet for the big social studies test.”
My stomach dropped. No. NO. Nonononono. I had completely forgotten about the test. With all the American Ingénue stuff online last night and Vladi coming over, and the kiss—the last thing on my mind was school. There was no way I could pass this test. If I could just run home before my mom left, I could tell her I felt sick and she might let me stay home and I wouldn’t fail my test.
Feeling sick, I began to walk toward my house when my mother’s car backed out of the driveway and tore down the street. I started to jog down the street hoping I could catch up to her at the stop sign.
“Landry?” I heard Devon calling after me.
Diamond Avenue was a pretty busy street in Grand Rapids, but for the first time ever in life, my mom just had to pause for a second before turning onto it and taking off, leaving me standing there panting and sweaty. No, this could not be happening. Now my big day to announce my news was ruined. I was going to flunk a test, and I was all gross and sweaty and I was pretty sure my deodorant was failing me. To make matters worse, I spun around in time to see the bus pull up. Luckily, Devon saw me running and told the driver to wait. I felt like a total idiot as I ran to the bus getting even sweatier.
“You need to be on time,” the driver told me. “I can’t wait because you got up late.”
“I was there, I just—”
“Please be seated,” she said, cutting me off. Meanwhile, people were smirking at me for having to run down the sidewalk to catch the stupid bus. I sat down next to Devon who immediately handed me a mirror.
“That bad?” I asked.
“Um… not your best. Do you have any powder? You’re kinda shiny, too.”
I groaned. “I have some, Landry,” Peyton Urich, one of my best friends, said reaching over the seat with her anti-shine powder compact.
Peyton had dark red hair, so we didn’t have quite the same coloring, but we were both pretty fair, so the powder wouldn’t look too weird.
“Does anyone have a tissue? I need to apply it.”
“No worries, you can use my powder puff thingie,” Peyton said.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to get it gross.”
“Nah, you’re fine. I wash it once a week anyway.”
I opened her compact. Great. All the running and perspiring had caused most of my concealer to fade away.
“Anyone have any cover up?” I asked. No one did, but Ashanti Russell, my other bestie, let me borrow her plum lip gloss so the focus would be on my lips and not my pimple.
“Don’t worry,” India Allen said, leaning over the seat. “Everyone will be worried about the test that no one’s ever going to notice a zit.”
I knew she was trying to be helpful, but all I heard was, “Your skin is gross and prepare to flunk out of school.” It was just not my day.