I was blissfully comfortable in my marshmallow bed, my limbs securing the duvet around me as I was rudely awaken by my Mum hammering at my door. Not even waiting for a response, she barged in like a swinging gate in a storm. I barely had time to open my eyes when she pulled my blinds up, clapping her hands together.
“Mum, what the actual-”
“Finish that sentence the way I believe you were going to and I’m going to smack your arse,” she declared, hands on her hips as she stared down at me with a smile on her lips. My mother was one of those mothers that had me young and was often mistaken for my sister. Unlike me, she had a beautiful complexion, her sea blue eyes framed by thick dark lashes. Her chestnut brown hair fanned around her face, as she perched herself beside me on the bed.
“Sudocrem,” she murmured, turning my face to the side as I sat up, grimacing. It must’ve been early because the streetlamps were still on outside my window. “Darling just put sudocrem on them before you sleep, it helps get rid of them.”
“Mum, I really don’t care about a few spots. I’m seventeen, shit happens.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled, before peering at her again.
“What are you so excited about?” I asked curiously, as she covered her mouth with her hand.
“Well, you know William’s son is coming to live with us?”
I knew what was coming. My eyes lost all element of tiredness as she looked at me hopefully. My dad left when I was about two, ending up in prison of all places. I didn’t know him and my grandparents were so amazing, I didn’t feel like I missed out. But Mum had recently remarried- to William- call me Will, Gisele- her previous boss. William was okay, I guess. He was usually working in his study or away exploring possible business ventures around Europe, and my mum often went along with him. But his son from his previous marriage had to come and live with us now we were all living together.
“You’ll probably barely notice each other,” she said airily, forcing a smile on her face. “He’s nineteen and studying law. He’s very busy with that, but I just thought I’d tell you because, well. He’s coming today.”
I suddenly sat up, my mouth dropping open as I stared at her.
“Today? Are you shitting me right now?”
My mom sent me a death stare at the use of language in her presence, but I truly didn’t care.
So some geek was coming to live in our house? We had only been here four weeks and it was still feeling new to me as it was. Now this?
“God, I hope you’re not going to throw him a welcome party,” I grumbled, annoyed that I would no longer have the house to myself whenever they were away. I loved being on my own, binge watching films and ordering clothes online. No one telling me to worry about my spots, just me being me.
Now I was going to have some nineteen-year-old law student hanging around, demanding the tv and eating all my food.
“Which room is he having?” I demanded, as Mum frowned.
“Well, you’re a clever girl. It will be the spare one, of course.”
“But there’s two.”
My mum sighed before standing up.
“No, one is Wills study. The other one-”
“Is right opposite mine! Ugh.”
“For once in your life Gisele, think of someone other than yourself,” she snapped, before sitting up and composing herself.
“His name is Daniel and he will be here this morning. His mother is dropping him off on her way to the airport.”
“Why can’t he live with her?”
I held my hands up, knowing when to stop asking questions. I knew that Will and his ex-wife had a rough divorce- mainly because he was with my mum behind her back.
Now I was stuck with Daniel and his stupid law crap whilst they swanned off around Europe.
“Don’t fall back to sleep. Get up, get dressed and make an effort for meeting your-”
I stared at her in horror, as she smiled sweetly.
“He’s not my brother,” I snapped as my mum flinched.
“He may not be by blood, but he is by marriage. Please try, for me Gisele,” she pleaded, wringing her hands together as I sighed. Seventeen years older than me and still about a million times more beautiful. She smiled hopefully at me, before leaving my room.
Life was depressing.
I laid back on my pillow, calling my friend Lila, eager to vent my frustration.
“Yo,” she drawled, as I suddenly remembered it was stupidly early.
“Shit, did I wake you-”
“Nope, I’m just cleaning the stables. What’s up? You pissed the bed?”
I chuckled to myself as I explained the situation, as she groaned with empathy.
“Well if he’s some hot Shawn Mendes lookalike he can live with me.”
“I doubt it. He’s a nineteen-year-old law student. I’ve got to get ready, apparently he’s coming today.”
“Gis, it’s seven am. What time is he coming?”
“It’s what?” I echoed, my body suddenly deflating with tiredness.
“Seven am. Night.”
I ended the phone call before wrapping my duvet back around me, sending curses to my mother as I tried to desperately claw back any remnants of sleep.
Was she insane?
Who wakes someone up at seven am to tell them to get dressed in preparation for her stepbrother turning up?
My mother. That’s who.
She wasted hours of her life trying to convince me to make an effort, piling make up on to ‘bring out’ my best features, as she tried to convince me to wear clothes that quite simply didn’t flatter me. She was still a size ten- whereas my thigh was probably that. I liked my body though; my stomach was ok and my hips were a little wide but who cares? I’m me.
My getting ready routine consisted of twisting my hair into a bun or leaving it loose to dry after a shower, slapping on some moisturiser before curling my lashes. My lashes were my favourite part of my face, dark and long. Lila asked me regularly if I used anything to help them grow.
I just couldn’t even answer that. Who did these things?!
I must’ve drifted off as the next thing I knew, there was a commotion coming from outside my door.
What the hell...
I opened my eyes, reaching for my phone to see it was midday.
Mum was gonna flip her lid. I began to stretch as I heard another loud thud, this time against my door as I let out a yelp.
I stomped over, ready to throw the door open when I heard my Mum speak.
“I’m afraid she’s tired so she may still be asleep.”
The voice I heard reply was dripping in disbelief.
“Yes. I’ve tried convincing her to wake up earlier, but she just loves her sleep.”
Why did my mum sound embarrassed? Of what, me sleeping? I shook my head as I blew my fringe out of my eyes, checking my pjs covered me appropriately before swinging open the door.
“Oh! Good morning Gisele,” my mother said politely, before sending me daggers with her eyes. I folded my arms as I leaned against the doorway, my eyes falling on the tall, handsome man who stood in front of me, looking at me curiously.
His eyes were the first thing I noticed- a deep hazel green that seemed to change colour as his eyes narrowed. Surely that’s not possible? His hair was dark and messy, his jaw set as he watched me.
“You must be Daniel. I’m Gisele.” I stuck my hand out as he frowned, before shaking my hand softly.
“Have you really been asleep? All this time?”
I scowled at him as he shook his head n disgust.
“I was running at six am, I can’t stand to laze about,” he declared, as my mum nodded enthusiastically.
“I’m seventeen. I’m tired. I’m technically still growing,” I snapped back feeling cornered by the two of them. Daniel moved his disapproving gaze to my mum, before rolling his eyes.
“Yeah well, it was great meeting you, but I’ve got to unpack.”
He walked into his room, tugging his suitcase behind him before closing the door.
“He looks so like Will! Such a dream boat,” Mum sighed.
“I’m going back to bed.”