So I would love to start this story with a sentence like, oh I don't know…

Once upon a time, a beautiful girl with no cares in the world awoke slowly, fluttering her gorgeous long eyelashes at the ceiling for a moment or two before rolling onto her side and staring contently out at the peaceful world beyond her window.

… But, regretfully, I can't.

Instead, I have to start it with this.

"Amber Jones! You get up this minute, young lady!"

I sat bolt upright with a loud, unflattering snort, my puffy eyes jerked wide awake by the shrill tone of my mother.

Running my fingers through my knotty, un-brushed hair and blinking furiously to get used to the bright light that shone in from my windows, I turned slowly to face Mum, who stood in my bedroom doorway, her hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed in fury.

"Whassthematter?" I mumbled, suppressing a wide yawn as I stretched.

"What's the matter? What's the matter?" shrieked Mum, throwing her hands in the air for added exasperation.

"That's what I just asked," I muttered under my breath, not game enough to let Mum hear me when she was in such a furious, throat-ripping state.

"Have you forgotten what today is?" Mum exclaimed.

I narrowed one eye for a moment in thought. "Um… I guess so…" I said slowly.

Mum's eyes flashed dangerously. "Today is the day that your Aunt Marie and her kids come over!" she reminded me.

I groaned audibly. "Don't I have school today?" I asked hopefully, for I would rather take on hours of unexplainable boredom then have to face Aunt Marie – who isn't truly my Aunt, mind you – and her kids.

Mum glowered at me. "Get. Up. And. Get. Dressed," she spat through gritted teeth before turning and slamming the door on the way out causing my window panes to rattle.

I winced as I threw the bedclothes off me and slid to the floor, the cold bare wood biting at my feet. I crossed the room to my mirror to see what I had to work with this morning.

Again, I wish I didn't have to explain myself to you in such a way. I don't exactly like being the person who makes people's eyes pop out at their computer screens.

Well, I guess I can't really escape telling you what I looked like in the morning for too much longer.

My usually straight, shoulder-length light brown hair stood at least two inches off my scalp in a large ball of frizzy mess. My blue eyes glinted out sleepily from my red-rimmed, puffy eyes. My pajama top was hanging off my slim frame and my baggy pants were hanging halfway down my butt. To top off the picture, I had a trail of dried spit leading from the corner of my mouth to my chin.

'Lovely,' I thought sarcastically, frowning at the mirror and tugging at a strand of my hair. 'Oh well, better get started.'

With one last resigned look at the mirror, I turned and walked over to my wardrobe, throwing the doors open and contemplating my outfit choices.

Hmm… Aunt Marie and her kids that I haven't seen since I was six years old… what to wear? What to wear?

Should I go for the sophisticated look with a knee-length pencil skirt and my white blouse and little-to-no make-up? No, that would look like I was trying to impress them, which I wasn't.

How about a punk look with a skull-print top and skinny-leg jeans and heavy eyeliner? No, I wouldn't want to scare them off… yet.

A teeny-bopper look, then? Short skirt, revealing top and lots of make-up? No, I wouldn't be caught dead in that.

Finally, I settled on a white shirt with a low cut V-neck that had Choose Love written in pink lettering across the middle and dark skinny jeans.

I walked into my en-suite and stared into the mirror at my hair, wondering how on Earth I was supposed to negotiate all the knots out. Sighing, I grabbed a brush and hacked at my hair, only succeeding in ripping half my hair out. After seventeen years of being alive with my hair, why hadn't I learnt that ripping at my hair never worked?

Moaning in pain, I grabbed a bottle of conditioner, squirted some into my palm and rubbed it through my hair. I then continued to comb my hair slowly, smoothing out the knots. After washing the conditioner out, I towel-dried my hair and scrunched it up slightly as it was still drying so as to obtain waves in my locks.

Before leaving my bedroom I applied a small amount of eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss. I smiled at my reflection, marveling at my transformation from homeless bum to just a regular girl.

Feeling better now that I had woken up, I skipped out of my room and all the way downstairs. I bounced into the kitchen, grinning brightly at my moody step-sister, Veronica.

Veronica and I shared a, what you say, love-hate relationship. Not to make her out to be a bitch or anything like that, but she just loved to bring me down at her every chance while I thrived on pushing her buttons and getting under her nails like an annoying piece of dirt that just wouldn't budge.

"Good morning, dear Veronica," I said happily in a sing-song voice.

"It was a good morning… until you got here that is," Veronica sniped, glaring at me.

I beamed in an overly-happy way at her and said, "Oh, Veronica, it makes me so happy when you're so ecstatic to see me! Usually people tend to be moody first thing in the morning but you… you just light up a room with your optimism!"

Veronica grumbled a few choice swear words before returning to her magazine.

Smiling to myself, I turned and grabbed a box of cereal out of the cupboard and began to make breakfast. A couple of minutes later I slid onto one of the stools that surrounded the kitchen bench and began to eat.

Just as I took my first bite, however, the kitchen door swung open. I looked up, expecting to see Mum or David – my step dad – walking through the door, but instead, I saw –

"Amber, Veronica, welcome your Aunt Marie and her kids Gabrielle and Tristan," Mum announced, smiling.

After this short introduction, a couple of things happened that I wasn't too proud of.

Upon looking at Aunt Marie, Tristan and Gabrielle – or rather, just ogling at Tristan – my jaw dropped, exposing half-chewed cereal and causing a steady stream of milk to drip down my chin. My hand suddenly relaxed and my spoon slid from my grasp, landing in my half-full bowl and sending milk droplets flying everywhere.

I shut my mouth and blinked furiously, trying to rid my eyes from the stinging milk. Looking up through narrowed, burning eyes I saw a range of different expressions from the party that had just witnessed this little uncoordinated act.

Mum was looking at me with a mixture of disapproval and anger, probably for the fact that her freshly-cleaned kitchen floor and bench-top was now splattered with milk. Aunt Marie looked sympathetic for some reason that I couldn't quite grasp whilst thirteen-year-old Gabrielle looked confused at my behaviour. Veronica was smirking at me, obviously for the fact that I had just made a total idiot out of myself in front of Tristan. Said boy was looking at me with a slight frown yet a small smile tugged at his lips.

As I looked up at Tristan for the second time, my jaw threatened to go slack once again. The fact was: he was simply gorgeous.

His longish black hair sat in that deliberately messy, totally hot style, the fringe reaching just above his glittering deep green eyes that were framed by dark eyelashes. He was wearing a three-quarter sleeve shirt unbuttoned at the front, exposing the dark T-shirt he wore underneath and dark jeans. Even the way he stood was completely stunning. The way he leant slightly to the left with his hands in his pockets and an extremely adorable smile curling his lips was extremely attractive.

"Ahem… Amber, you remember Tristan, don't you?" Mum said suddenly. "You used to play naked in his paddling pool."

Oh, God Mum. I could die from embarrassment.