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My father glances up from his book as I walk into the kitchen. He’s sitting at the kitchen table, reading as always, with a bagel covered in Nutella on a plate beside him and chocolate milk in a glass. Dad, just like me and Mom, has a real thing for chocolate. Mom is standing at the counter, pouring sugary cereal into a bowl with the gallon of chocolate milk next to her. I smirk at her.
“What?” she flips her red ringlets out of her eyes. “I never promised to be a dietary role model.”
“Or any other kind of role model really,” Dad smirks at her.
“Shut up!” she tosses a piece of cereal at him.
Dad swats it away and looks me up and down. I don’t know why, I always dress like this. My favorite black, silver studded leather jacket, still just a touch big on me, a navy blue tank top and black skinny jeans with knee high buckled boots. I’m told it makes my skin look even paler and my loose red curls and neon green eyes look even brighter, but I really don’t care about other people’s opinions.
“What is it with you and that red lipstick?” Dad shakes his head and tucks his dark hair behind his ear. “You’re thirteen, you don’t need to wear makeup.”
“Says the man who gave her permission at ten,” Mom shoots him a look. I smile slightly. Red lipstick is also a part of my daily routine.
“I didn’t think she’d actually do it!” Dad complains.
“It’s not just lipstick, Dad,” I tell him.
“What, is it enchanted?” Dad cocks his eyebrows sarcastically.
“No,” I shake my head, smiling. “It’s battle armor. Red lipstick tells the world that you feel awesome today and you’re not afraid to show it. You’re bold and beautiful and you don’t care what anyone else thinks. Red lipstick says that no matter what the world throws at you, you can handle it and toss it right back at them. It means you don’t take crap from anyone, no matter who they are. Red lipstick means you are up to the challenge and you refuse to back down. That’s why I wear red lipstick Dad.” Mom tosses an arm around my shoulders.
“That’s my girl,” she kisses the top of my head. “I musta done something right when I raised you.” Dad smiles, genuinely rather than sarcastically.
“I think that’s a very good answer,” he nods.