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"Hold still will you!" Maren exclaimed impatiently when I flinched upon my eyelid making contact with eyeliner. "My apologies for not being used to having an eyeliner poke my eye." I remarked sarcastically.

She rolled her eyes putting it away. "Well at least I'm done." She said taking her pocket mirror and passed it to me. I had never worn make - with the exception of lipstick and lip gloss - since I never found the idea of my skin being covered in layers upon layers of foundation and other beauty products which took time to put on. That and because I prefer my natural look over looking like an off brand cheap rip off of Barbie or Kim Kardashian. I was reluctant over the idea of wearing makeup on my birthday I had to give props to Maren for doing a good job.

My eyebrows were elegantly shaped. The foundation was matched my light melanin skin. The light eyeshadow and eyeliner made my hazel eyes pop out and the nude lip gloss made my thin lips look full and plump. Overall, the makeup enhanced my natural look.

Though I was happy with the makeup, I had a small issue with the dress. It was a long sleeved mini black dress with diamond buttons on the right shoulder that Maren picked and bought earlier that day when we went shopping. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice dress, but it was a bit too short. Short enough to expose my legs - thighs included. At least I could wear pulling socks with it.

Out of the blue, I heard my phone ringing from wherever it was hiding. "Mare, do you know where my phone is?" I asked digging through the heap of new clothes on my bed. "Heads up." She said tossing my phone towards my direction. Luckily, I caught it before it could hit the ground and break. I wasn't going to spend another five hundred dollars on a new phone. "I still don't get why you switched from iOS to Android." She said.

"Bruh do you have any idea how expensive an iPhone is? At this point it shouldn't even be considered a phone; it's a lifestyle. You pay for most of the shit that comes with it and my broke ass can't afford it."

She rolled her eyes and as I reached for my glasses. "Uh-uh. I didn't put my blood, sweat and tears putting all that eyeliner and eyeshadow only for you to cover them with them eyeglasses, Beverley." Maren said. "Well I certainly didn't choose to have problems with my eye sight, Maren." I retorted. She sighed. "Do you have at least better frame to wear with your outfit?" she asked. "'Cause that semi-rimless frame is a no-no for me."

"Well thank God I actually did," I opened my backpack and took out the case which contained my full-rimmed framed glasses. "just in case you get on my ass about it."

She rolled her eyes and went to the bathroom to do her makeup. I quickly swiped the 'ACCEPT' button and Gran and Dad appeared on my screen.

"Oh, my goodness. Honey! Is that you?" Gran squealed in delight. "Yes, Gran. It's me." I replied with a languid smile. "You look beautiful." She complimented.

"Y'all should thank me for that 'cause it took a lot of begging to get that child to agree to put on makeup for her birthday." Maren chimed in.

"Anyway," I rolled my eyes. "how were y'all holding up while I was gone?"

"I was doing just fine. Your father, however, was checking on his phone every five minutes hoping you'd call to ask him to drive all the way to Eaglesvale and take you home." Gran gaped at my father; whose face was already flushed with embarrassment. "I had to confiscate his phone so he wouldn't disturb you."

"Well sorry for being a parent. I can't help that I worry."

"That's what you said the day Brooke and Jake announced their engagement and when Brooke told us she was pregnant."

Dad's face flushed a darker shade of red, grumbling under his breath. "What time is the gala starting?" he changed the topic. "Around ten pm. We should be leaving in the next hour or so," Maren told him. "depending on what time Claire will get here with Beverley's surprise and how long it will take."

As if on cue, the was a knock at the door. "That should be her." Maren walked over to the door and opened it. There stood Claire, Kevin and Matthew, all dressed for the gala, along with two chefs who were holding a three layered cake with black icing, white roses on the top of each layer and two lit candles on the top layer, singing happy birthday to me. I felt a little embarrassed by the gesture, but I smiled, nonetheless.

"Can you place the cake next to the birthday girl for the photo, please?" Matthew instructed the chefs. They followed his request and placed it next to me. Maren took my phone and fixed my dress before getting out if the shot. "Smile." He brought the camera to his face. I did as I was told and waited for the process to be done and over with. "Nice, I'll have these printed for you." He smiled at me.

"Blow your candles out." I heard Gran say.

I closed my eyes and blew my candles out as everyone cheered and applauded. "So, what's your wish?" Claire asked. "I cant say. Universal laws prohibits the disclosure of wishes." I answered a little more dismiss that I originally intended to, but no one noticed.

"Honey Bee. Your pops wants to talk to ya." Maren said handing me my phone. "Dad?" I inquired.

"Can we talk somewhere private?"

"Hey, Mare. I'll be outside at the balcony if you need me." I informed her.

"Coolies! But be sure to make it back before the cake is finished. I don't want you bitching and moaning about it when that happens." She said.

I rolled my eyes and proceeded to the balcony with the assurance that I was going to be alone. "I still cant believe how much you've grown, Beverley." He said. "How does it feel?"

"I don't know," I shrugged languidly. "It doesn't feel any different than it was before it turned twenty one."

"That much I can understand, and you'll get used to it as time goes. What I meant was; are you happy that you're twenty one?"

The question caught me off guard. "Your sister was very much ecstatic when she turned twenty one. I mean you've reached the age where you don't have to rely on me and your grandmother and start living your life and make your decisions." He told me. "Are you happy about that?"

The silence welcomed me into an embrace and cocooned me better than any butterfly or moth to be. He was right about all that; it's just that I was apathetic about it. I never really thought about the freedom and independence nor did I care about it. I had already came to the conclusion that my life was going to be the same regardless and I wasn't really going to make use of the independence anyway and probably in years to come.

I was still yet to know what I truly desired in life and still yet to find my own happiness. Art and panting couldn't really be something that made me happy. It was more of am outlet for me; a hobby I found pleasure in and something I did in honour of my mother. Happiness and pleasure were two different things where one had unlimited bliss and the other had limited bliss respectively.

So rather than dwelling on thoughts I had no answers to, I focussed on what I deemed was important; getting through my three years in university and hope to make it in the Art industry.

"I know your life hasn't always been the best with you growing up with your mother and all. Especially after finding out what really happened to her when - "

"Can we not talk about her. Please?" my tone though firm, faltered a bit. "I'm sorry," he said. "I just wish I could have given you a better life."

"Dad, you did the best you could for me and Brooke even though mom wasn't there. Gran did so too. I wouldn't have made it this far."

"I know. But I also want you to remember that you're an adult now and it's not going to be easy." He said. "Although you have the freedom and independence, you have to bear in mind that there are consequences for every choice and action you make, and you will be held accountable for it.

"Your grandmother and I won't always be there to pick you up the same way we did when you were growing up, so you need to take charge of your life and be responsible, you here me."

"Mhm," I hummed curtly to which he responded with a sigh.

"I just want what's best for you, okay? That's all I'm asking."

"I know and I'll do my best to do just that." I forced a smile.

There was a brief moment of silence. "You should go and join the others. I hope you have a goodnight." He said smiling at me.

"I will, Dad."

"I love you, Bee."

"Love you too, Dad."

And that concluded our call. I let out a sighand every part of me felt drained after that conversation. I took a deep breathand regained my composure. I made my way back inside with optimisms of having a good evening

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