3 | Put A Little Party In It

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The sickly-sweet scent of flowering purple wisteria and white roses invaded my nostrils, triggering bittersweet memories of my childhood

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The sickly-sweet scent of flowering purple wisteria and white roses invaded my nostrils, triggering bittersweet memories of my childhood.

At the end of hot summer days, lightning bugs would flash along the edges of my mother's garden where she planted the beautiful southern flowers. Caleb loved to try and catch the bugs, but would squeal like a little girl when one actually touched his hands. The familiar smell was a welcome surprise. It clung to the strands of my hair while I sat in front of Madison's desk like a child ready for a makeover.

"What kind of perfume is that?" I glanced over my shoulder.

"It's called Southern Seduction." Madison's soft hands maneuvered my head until I was staring forward at the mirror on her desk again. "Head straight. Don't mess up my masterpiece," she mumbled with a bobby pin hanging from her lips.

I laughed and stared at her through the mirror. "Are you serious?"

She nodded as her fingers weaved in and out of my hair so gently it threatened to lull me to sleep. She stuck the bobby pin in my hair to hold one of the braids. "You have beautiful hair." She lifted a few of my dark curls closer to her face and analyzed them in the light.

I played with my fingers in my lap. "Thanks. I want to add some color to it, but my momma always told me to leave it be."

"You're eighteen. It's your hair. You can add some color to it if you want. Your momma can't do anything about it." She snapped her fingers, giving off plenty of sass by bobbing her head back-and-forth.


As usual, Madison was right. College was my chance to do and be what I wanted. While I was away from my mother, I didn't have to keep up the image of perfection.

If only it was that simple.

Madison secured the last bobby pin in my hair and stepped out from behind me. "Done." She spun the chair around as she placed another mirror in my hands.

She had intricately twisted my dark hair into two separate braids that fell along my shoulders, leaving only small wisps of curls to frame my face. "Are you sure you don't want to become a hairstylist?"

"Hell no." She shook her head with a fierce quickness. "I grew up helping my mom in her salon every day after I got out of school. She met a lot of great people in her little downtown Atlanta shop, but she didn't get paid enough for the kind of luxurious life I want to live." She applied a matte red Tom Ford lipstick and readjusted the straps of her little black dress.

My eyes wandered to her closet which I knew housed a few pairs of red bottom heels. The shoes were most likely more expensive than my whole wardrobe put together, but Madison got them as gifts from her much older ex-boyfriends. From what she said, she only dated men in a certain tax bracket.

"You want to live in New York after you graduate, right?" I asked.

"Yes! The lights, the weather, and all the opportunities. Dreams come true in New York." She dug through her purse on the bed to find her phone. "What about you? Where do you want to live after college?"

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