Fix'er'upper

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Fix'er'upper

Postby Amelia on March 21st, 2016, 11:47 am

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35th Spring, 516AV

“Amelia, you are making a big deal out of this and it truly is not needed.”

”Rubbish!” A childish tantrum flared up inside Amelia, but she managed to calm her temper just long enough to tightly say: ”Mother. Please. Let me do your make up for tonight. Nothing too drastic, just something to…” She winced minutely, drinking in the tired greyness of her mother’s complexion, the dark circles under her eyes, ”… just to clean you up a bit. Like a shiny coin.”

Jona Trisswell huffed and ignored her daughter who continued to flap around her like a panicked little dove. “You’ve got the wrong idea, Amelia, really. You have. This isn’t a date or—”

The younger woman threw her hands up in the air in an exaggerated and dramatic act of surrender. Her eyes became wide with pretend fear. ”Whoa, of course not! Who even said the ‘D’ word?” The truth was, Amelia had. Several times that day and many times over the previous days as well, the word ‘date’ had been on her lips, ever since she caught wind that her mother’s old friend and fellow artist would be visiting the city. ”But this guy… Theo, is it?” she paused to allow her mother an exhausted nod, ”Yes. Theo is visiting and this will be the first time you’ve seen him in – how many years?” She knew the answer of course. Tired mother and her enthused, pushy daughter had had this exact conversation many times over the past three days.

“T—”

”Ten years!” Amelia interrupted, her voice shrill and desperate. Why could her mother not see the true meaning behind Theo’s arrival? Ten years without a single visit from this apparent close friend, just long, secretive letters sent and received every season. And now, so soon after her disgusting father left with that little slut on his arm, Theo had planned to visit Lhavit, for the first time in ten years. It was not a coincidence, even though Jona was quite convinced otherwise. ”He’s coming to see you for the first time in a decade, so soon after learning of what happened with—“ The word father caught in her throat, but not out of sadness but utter and unconcealed rage. Swallowing her anger, Amelia continued briskly, ”you can’t say it’s just a coincidence, mother. He’s coming to… to woo you!”

Jona snorted. She had never been wooed in all her life, not when she was an art student at Zeltiva University, and certainly not by Cliff Trisswell, who she had later married and been betrayed by. As a young woman, she had been too busy with her art and her equally dedicated friends to bother about romance. Oh, there had been kisses and disappointing sexual escapades, of course. In fact, Theo had been one of her more frequent lovers, but the two had never paired up officially. They were too similar, with their habit of reading too much into things and overthinking every little interaction between them. “Theo is just a friend.” She said absently, but the older woman had become distracted by something; her appearance.

To Amelia’s credit, she had not been wrong when she claimed her mother needed to be cleaned up. Her reflection was a woman she barely recognised: lines, dark circles, greying skin. She looked the epitome of tired and old. Recoiling, Jona considered how the last time she saw Theo she had been a whole ten years younger, the mother of a demanding child but nevertheless a talented artist. He had taken two of her paintings with him when he left Lhavit, and had sold them less than a season later. What did she have to show him now? Nothing. She had not painted a single thing since Cliff Trisswell declared he was leaving her, and had instead spent her time crying and staring miserably out the window.

She could not face Theo like this.

“Fine. Make up. Nothing too fancy.” Her green eyes still on the mirror, Jona clawed a hand through her matted hair, once blonde like Amelia’s but now more silver than gold. “And maybe a plait in my hair, too.”

Amelia beamed, nodded and sharply instructed her mother to sit down on the stool before the mirror. And then she was off, hurrying to her bed and yanking up the bag of cosmetics she kept protectively by her bedside. Upon returning to her mother, she stood beside Jonan ad inspected both of their reflections in the mirror.

Mother and daughter looked uncannily alike, both with bright green eyes, similar hair (ignoring Jona’s greys), sharp chins and petite noses. Despite their fundamental similarities, aging had set the two women apart. Amelia, in truth, was abolished at how her mother’s complexion had changed in recent times. Yes, some of that was due to aging, but more so thanks to her father’s betrayal. Jona had been left devastated and shocked by his adultery, and the emotional turmoil had taken its toll on her appearance.

Never will I let a man’s presence of absence effect how I look..

”You need moisturiser, first.” Amelia said softly, her demeanour and attitude dissolving away now she had become victorious with her mother’s tired defeat. She opened a small tub of a white, cream liquid which she subsequently scooped onto two fingers. Lightly she dabbed her mother’s forehead and cheeks, leaving behind a blob of moisturiser with each prod. With a circular motion of her fingertips, she began to rub in the cream. ”This will help with your wrinkles . And will make it easier for me to put the make-up on.” She made sure to spread the moisturiser over every inch of Jona’s face, paying close attention to the circles under her eyes and the lines beside her nostrils.

Part of Amelia felt pity towards her mother. Whilst Jona had never been the most charismatic of women, lacking the bolshiness and confidence her daughter had in spades, she had never been a defeatist either. Until now, of course. She had allowed her life and appearance to unravel, taking to traipsing around town feeling sorry for herself rather than getting on with life and painting.

A far larger part of Amelia felt pity towards herself. With her father’s income vanishing with him, and Jona’s artistic inspiration shrivelling up like a prune, it had fallen to her to find employment. She had done so with little trouble, but the full weight of earning money and paying for things nevertheless rested wholly on her shoulders. Cliff had taken with him the most valuable for his possessions, leaving only tat and junk for his wife and daughter to sift through. They had sold what they could, fetching a meagre price for his left over suits and artefacts. But the money, and that gained from the selling of their old, luxury home, had been gobbled up by their purchasing of their new abode and the furniture within it. In her own words, Amelia felt as if she had sold a prize-winning stud for a three-legged donkey.

And so her enthusiasm for her mother’s visitor – he would be arriving in less than a bell! – was not entirely selfless. He was a well to do artist, big in the world of people who sat sipping coffee whilst clicking their fingers as someone on a poorly-lit stage read a dramatic poem. Amelia herself had only a casual interest in art, but she appreciated the income it generated much more passionately. If Theo Barker was the answer to her mother’s upset and Amelia’s tight financial situation… Well, he would be welcomed with open arms.
Last edited by Amelia on March 27th, 2016, 5:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Fix'er'upper

Postby Amelia on March 21st, 2016, 12:08 pm

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“I don’t want you to get carried away, Amelia. I really don’t think you understand the situation.” Jona’s tone was mild, but there was an undercurrent of frustration as well. She was a patient woman – art needed patience to fully bloom and mature, she felt – but there were times she really felt like knocking some sense into her daughter. “Theo is—“

”A friend. I get it!” Again Amelia’s interruption cut short her mother’s words, and this time Jona sighed and simply gave up. Though she liked to think herself wise and astute for her age, Amelia really could fail to see the obvious sometimes. ”I have guys who are just friends as well. I get that, mother. I really do. But at the same time, sometimes things are lying right in front of you without you seeing it.” With that, she nodded firmly, quite impressed with that last philosophical statement.

“Amelia, really. You went out only yesterday with that poor boy. Who is it -- Ralph? Roger?”

”Rupert.”

“Yes, him. And he’s been buzzing around you for years. Are you and Rupert just friends?”

”Of course!” Amelia said prickly, rubbing the last of the moisturiser into her mother’s chin a little too forcefully. True, she had known Rupert for five years and for almost that entire time he had been desperate to date her. And she had let him, being the charitable woman that she was, but in truth she found Rupert a little repugnant. His hair was carrot-top ginger (an impossible colour to match one’s outfit with) and he stood barely two inches taller than her. But he was kind, and desperate to please her. When she was lonely, or it had been a while since her urges had been satiated, she would visit Rupert and suggest they meet up. The evening out usually ended with him paying for dinner, drinks, entertainment, and her repaying him by spending the night under his hot, sweaty body. Over the years she had tweaked him ever so slightly, changing little bits of his appearance and personality, so that now he was almost acceptable. He was funny, sweet, and thankful for even the most innocent of kisses or fondles.

But funny and sweet did not a husband make. Amelia needed someone who was less under the thumb and more like her, independent and proud. She had always imagined herself with someone older than she was, someone who didn’t need her, but wanted her in his life. Rupert was the opposite: each time they slept together he would climax by loudly claiming his undying love for her, which was really quite the turn off.

”Anyway, I don’t think I’ll be seeing Rupert again, not in that way at least. He’s a friend, that’s all.”

With that debate over, Amelia continued with her mother’s make over. Using one of her three cosmetic brushes, she dabbed bristles into a pot that contained a thick liquid the colour of peach. Then she began to spread the paste over her mother’s skin, using a light pressure to ensure those deepening lines were aptly filled and concealed. When she had covered Jona’s face with a fine layer of the make up, she went on to blend the paste into her neck, so as to avoid an obvious and embarrassing line of make up along the chin-line. The colour was not quite right for her mother’s complexion, being a shade too warm for Jona’s greying skin, but it looked fine. Amelia made a mental note to ensure that the braid she would later put into her mother’s hair would come over her left shoulder so as to conceal the worse of where the paste had gotten into her hairline.
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Fix'er'upper

Postby Amelia on March 21st, 2016, 12:29 pm

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“I like Rupert. He’s always been so good to you.” Jona had always been one to favour the underdog, the podgy loner kid who would one day be labelled as most eligible bachelor. “A good man is hard to find, Amelia. Believe me.”

Those final words cut through the air with more poison than Jona had intended. Her resentment was not for Amelia – not entirely, anyway - but for her husband and the concern that her daughter was missing out on a genuinely kind man. Deciding to aim for Amelia’s love of all things fiscal, Jona changed tack: “And his father’s business is going well. When he dies, Rupert will inherit it.”

”Oh great, and then I’ll be known as Mrs. Baker and we’ll have lots of doughy little children made of bread and pastries! Please, mother. I’m not becoming a baker’s wife. Plus, you know bread made me bloat.”

Once more Jona found herself beaten into silence. Under the vanity table, her knuckles whitened with tension and frustration. “I’m only saying that this conversation works both ways. You can’t claim that I’ve ignored Theo all this time without admitting you’ve ignored Rupert.”

But of course Amelia had not ignored Rupert. She had made every effort to use him in as many ways possible: free dinners, free drinks, endless compliments and gifts. And not once had he complained – though what could he complain about truthfully? It was how their relationship had always worked: he treated her and she returned the favour by gifting him with her company and body. He had been the perfect first kiss and first sexual experience for her because he had been so grateful that she had chosen him. It had all been a real ego boost for Amelia, but every time they came to repeat this circle of gift-swapping – it occurred two or three times each year - he would become too attached and clingy. She would have to avoid him for days, ignoring the panicked knocks on the door and the poems he left for her. Eventually he would get the hint, sulk for a bit, and maybe even walk around with another girl on his arm just to spite her. But eventually he came back. He always did.

”Mother, Rupert is a friend. That’s all. But Theo? Theo is coming all this way just to see you. And this visit coincides with the first time you’ve been single for –” She shrugged, having had no real clue or interest in her mother’s past relationships until now, “—a long time, I’m sure. And you’re saying that’s all a coincidence?” Amelia snorted, shook her head, ”you’re the naiive one.”

And as usual, Jona said nothing. But the smile on her lips spoke a thousand words to Amelia: for the first time in a long time, her mother was excited.

”I’m going to do your eyes now, okay? Look up.”

As her mother’s pupils rolled to the back of her head, Amelia gently tilted Jona’s head backwards, all the better to see the thin line of skin she planned to line with khol. She held her mother’s head steady with her left hand, and with her right touched Jona’s bottom lash line with the tip of the black khol pencil. Sweeping her hand horizontally, Amelia left behind a faint trail that accentuated her mother’s almond-shaped eyes. The left eye was done, and Amelia moved swiftly to the right.

The second eye was less successful than the first, however. Whether it was the pencil, Amelia’s ability or the shape of her mother’s right eye, the end result was a little lopsided. The seamstress did her best to correct it, wiping away the worse of the crooked eyeliner and filing in the gaps. But, truth be told, it was obvious her mother had not gone to a professional.

No matter, Amelia told herself, feeling the beginning of panic swelling in her chest, I can work with this.
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Fix'er'upper

Postby Amelia on March 21st, 2016, 1:00 pm

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”Now, do you want pink or red lips?”

Opting for what she hoped was the more modest of colours, Jona responded with, “Pink.”

Nodding, Amelia plucked out another cosmetics brush, this time one that was far skinner and smaller than the one she had used on her mother’s face. After botching up Jona’s right eye, she needed to do a damned good job on the lips.

With a steady hand Amelia outlined her mother’s lips, carefully accentuating the dip in the cupid’s bow and curve of the plumper lower lip. Though the shade of pastel pink suited Amelia’s fresh complexion well, even with the thin film of make-up on, Jona’s skin still seemed grey and drab. The pink lips, if anything, exaggerated this more than concealed it.

As Amelia stopped in her make over and a frustration growl escaped her throat, Jona peered curiously at her daughter. Worry was written all over her face. “What? What is it? Do I look terrible?” She twisted around to try and check on her reflection, but Amelia wedged herself between her mother and the mirror.

”No, no!” The panic in her voice did nothing to calm Jona’s nerves. ”This shade of pink just doesn’t suit you though. I’m going to mix it with some red lip pomade to brighten it up.”

Mother and daughter watched each other for a challenge moment, wherein Amelia tried her best to look confident and collected. In truth she felt guilty and panicked, worrying now that she may have made her mother look worse in trying to conceal her obvious tiredness and aging. What was the saying about letting people age gracefully?

“Fine.” Jona grunted, unhappy and still anxious.

Nodding and pleased with her play-acting, Amelia set about mixing the two lip pomades together. She dabbed a small amount of the pink on the back of her left hand, followed by an even smaller blob of red. The colours were subsequently mixed together, blending to create a pink that was warmer and redder than what Amelia had previously applied to her mother’s lips.

”Much better!” She said, genuinely pleased as she stepped away from Jona’s altered look and allowed her mother to investigate the woman in the mirror. ”See how the red warms your complexion up? I just need to add some rouge and then your make-up is done!”

“I have to admit,” he mother said tersely and reluctantly, “you’ve done well.”
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Fix'er'upper

Postby Amelia on March 21st, 2016, 1:31 pm

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The rouge was dabbed lightly along Jona’s cheeks, bringing out yet more colour from her otherwise pale and grey complexion. When she was finished, Amelia was utterly chuffed with her work. It never ceased to amaze her how such little changes could drastically improve one’s appearance, and one’s subsequent mood as well. Even her mother was smiling now as she leant towards the mirror, touching her cheeks and nose with a critical eye. “Thank you, Amelia.” She said, and not just for the make over. “But I hope you don’t expect that just because I’m wearing make-up Theo and I will suddenly get married.”

”Of course not!” Amelia retorted, her hand waving the idea dismissively away. ”I think these things take time, but really mother, you’re not getting any younger.”

“Amelia!”

[b]”It’s true.”
The daughter sniffed, dancing around her mother and clutching the fine silvery hair that otherwise fell limply down Jona’s back. ”You said you wanted a plait in your hair?”

Jona was still offended, but nodded curtly. “Simplicity, remember. This. Is. Not. A. Date.”

Behind her, and unbeknownst to Jona, Amelia grinned. Her mother’s resolute belief that her meeting with Theo was lacking romance only made the seamstress more certain of the opposite. What man, other than one in love and hoping for a romantic reunion, would travel so far just to see a friend? Plus, she could recall many times where her father – the ignorant pig – would tease her mother about Theo. “She’s writin’ a love letter to her other fella.” He would say, grinning and nudging Jona playfully. She in return would laugh and quip back an equally witty remark, “oh, yes. You watch out, Cliff, otherwise I’ll run off with Theo.”

At the time Amelia presumed that their joking was simply evidence of their sturdy, eternal relationship. Plus, it helped that Theo lived so far away. But now she considered those memories with a newfound perspective. Her father – the dirty old man – had probably been chasing young girls even back then, and was simply waving his wife’s lack of adultery in her face. Teasing about Theo had been Cliff’s way of saying: yes, you’ve got nobody to run off with but I’m fucking anything with legs.

Amelia’s lips curled into a silent snarl as she imagined her father, broad shouldered and tall, hand-in-hand with the slut of a girl who he’d been having an affair with. She didn’t even deserve a name beyond Bitch.

She prised her attention off of the past and back to her mother’s hair. ”A fishtail plait.” She decided aloud, setting to work instantly and before Jona could question the verdict. Amelia separated her mother’s hair into two sections, pulling both forward as she had earlier planned to do. Now both sections hung, separated only by Amelia’s fingers, over her mother’s shoulder. Mentally the seamstress labelled the front most part Section A and the chunk of hair behind it Section B.

Whilst holding Section B of her mother’s hair in her right hand, Amelia plucked a thinner, smaller slice from the the back of the section and passed it over, joining it instead with Section A. Releasing Section B from her grip, Amelia now picked a narrow slip of hair from the front of Section A – the part of the hair closest to her mother’s face – and passed it back to Section B.

This pattern was repeated several times, with many mistakes made along the way. Her mother’s hair was clean, and thus slippy to grip and hard to hold in place. Several thin strands of hair fell out of their sections and had to be tidied up along the way. By the time she was finished, the braid resembled a fishtail plait, though certainly a messy one.

It worked though. Just.

Jona was pleased with the overall effect of her make over, though she tugged at the plait a little too much for Amelia’s liking. There was only enough time for her mother to mist herself with lavender infused water before there was a knock on her door.

Amelia’s stomach lurched, her chest heaved with anticipation. Mother and daughter shared a grin – by now even Jona had been made excited by Theo’s visit – before both strode towards the door. A brief pause wherein Amelia checked her mother’s teeth for lip pomade stains, and then the door was opened.

Theo was a handsome, well groomed man and Amelia liked him instantly. He wore a crisp shirt, dark britches and his brown, though slightly salted, hair was slicked back in a style she had not seen before. Charisma dripped off him, from the casual stance he took whilst leaning on the wall, to the breezy smile that pulled on his lips.

This, she decided there and then, is my soon-to-be step-father.

“Jojo!” He cried gleefully, pulling Jona into a close hug. And was that a kiss they shared?!

“Hello, Theo. How was your journey?”

“Oh, don’t even remind me of that frightful boat.” He exclaimed animatedly, waving his hands in disgust at the mere memory. Amelia laughed – she just couldn’t help it. She was too excited by this exuberant new light in her life, and already she could feel her mother’s mood improving as well. Suddenly his attention fell to her, and Theo held his arms out, catching Amelia and twirling her around like a dancer. “And look at you, Miss Amelia! You have grown into a gorgeous girl, haven’t you?”

Well, there’s no denying it.

”Yes, I have.” She said, pretending to be shamed by her own beauty. The three of them laughed altogether, and Amelia basked in the glow of adoration and attention.

“She’s certainly more grown up than how you described her.”

An unknown, and unexpected, voice. Amelia frowned, paused in her showing off and peered beyond the doorway, beyond even Theo. An equally handsome man stood behind him, though this gentleman was taller and more muscular than the artist. A bodyguard? Not a brother, as they shared not a single familial trait. But a fellow traveller, perhaps.

“You must be Harry.” Jona was suddenly stepping around her befuddled daughter, and hugging this stranger. When they separated, mother turned to daughter with a smug expression on her face. “Amelia, this is Harry. Theo’s new husband.”

Amelia could only close her eyes as the reality of this situation washed over her. Humiliated, disappointed and suddenly quite emotional, she congratulated the happy couple with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. But always, in the back of her mind was the question:

Why me?
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Amelia
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Fix'er'upper

Postby Aladari Coolwater on July 26th, 2016, 2:26 pm

ImageGrades Ahoy!


Name:Amelia

XP Award:
  • Persuasion +4
  • Cosmetology +4
Lore:
  • Cosmetology: Pale Skin Needs Darker Colors
  • Cosmetology: Fishtail Braid
  • Theo: Married a Man

Comments :
What a wonderfully entertaining thread! I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I loved the terse back and forth between Amelia and Jona, and the ending was a great twist.

If you feel I've missed anything, or have any questions, please feel free to PM me. Please don't forget to edit your grade request to reflect your thread's graded status. Thanks!
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
- Cornelia Funke
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