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#1 Jcrazy

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:51 PM

WORLD LINE

"Hamlet's fatal flaw was his inability to act, but here I was, standing with my fatal flaw, trying to make the decision: to be or not to be.

It wasn't even a question."



1

Two weeks of pure devotion to Ms. Henley's mid-semester paper ended up being some of my best work. I managed to formulate enough diverse sentences about the history of Jane Austen that was eight pages on the dot, not a word more or less. I had applied myself, ignoring my phone for an entire weekend to make the assignment my primary focus. I'm not saying this is a totally uncommon occurrence, but rarely have I started an assignment in my four years of high school more than twenty-four hours prior to its' due date. I was feeling proud of myself and the paper.

Until now.

"Your paper, Emery," Ms. Henley requests, stretching her hand out towards my desk.

"It was just right here, I swear..." I mutter, half to myself, half to her. I dig furiously through my bag, pushing past the layer of gum wrappers, hair ties, and broken pencils. My heart rate picks up when I hear the frustrated sigh of my English teacher, followed by the amused snicker of the kid behind me. I huff, returning to fumble through the stack of disorganized papers my binder has to offer me.

I already know I'm wrong. The paper is at home, sitting on the end of my bed. I could have sworn I grabbed it, but thinking back, I remember the text message from Destiny that distracted me midway through packing my bag.

"I do not accept late papers, Ms. James." Ms. Henley's voice invades my thoughts that are feeling equally as disarrayed as the English section of my binder. I cringe at the sound of it and then again at the mess in front of me.

I know what I'm about to do. I worked too hard on this paper for my effort to be diminished by some grouchy teacher's schedule. The thought of Freezing makes me sick to my stomach, but I want this grade more than I've ever wanted one before.

Trying my best to ignore Ms. Henley's ramblings about my general lack of punctuality, I slide my sweaty palms against my jeans. I take a deep breath, then another, then another. I close my eyes. When my heart has returned to what I think is normal, I find the switch in my mind.

And...freeze.

There's never been a logical explanation as to how I find it inside myself to make it stop, make it all stop, but I do. It's like a fire alarm in my head, expect when I open my eyes there is no fire. Just a classroom full of unmoving students and a clock frozen at 9:17.

***

I walk along the sidewalk in uncomfortable silence. I hate the silence that frozen time brings. It's almost unbearable. There is no wind, no leaves rustling, no sound of cars in the distance. At times I swear I can hear my own heart beat, but I imagine I'm just delusional.

Regardless, the pounding of my feet against the pavement is overtly obnoxious. It's the only sound. I wish fleetingly that I could drive my car, but know it's no luck. Cars don't work in frozen time. Nothing works. Not even, I discovered during one rushed morning of the ninth grade, my hair straightener.

The fifteen minute walk seems to take a lifetime, but eventually I arrive at my house. I drag my key to the lock and wriggle it to the right until the door opens. The creak it makes when I pull it towards me is deafening in comparison to the silence.

A shiver runs through me when I come face to face with my frozen father, his tie swung to the side as if he was in a hurry and his coffee mug filled to the brim. He doesn't have an early class to teach, but he's still close to being late. The fuzz on his cheeks reveals he didn't have time to shave and I regret my extra long shower this morning.

I creep past him like he'll unfreeze at any moment, but I know he won't. It's all up to me. He won't unfreeze until I let him.

I see my mother in the kitchen, the house phone pressed to her ear, her mouth frozen mid-laugh. She is undoubtedly talking to my grandmother who calls every Wednesday morning like clockwork. I feel bad for interrupting their conversation, but I know that's stupid. Time will unfreeze and they'll pick up right where they left off.

I slip past Patrick's room, knowing he's probably still asleep, not planning on waking up until his noon class is about to begin. The fan in my room that's always in constant rotation is still; the string hanging from it is stopped at an unnatural angle. I examine it for a brief moment, shrug, and continue on to my bed where my paper rests. Bingo.

The trek back to school is more bearable than the one to my house had been, but I'm still on edge. I always am when I decide to freeze. The fear that maybe I won't be able to unfreeze... Maybe it's irrational.

Fifteen pretend minutes pass and I'm sliding back into my desk. I slip the paper under my binder and rearrange myself into the position I had been in when I froze time. Hands on my jeans, eyes closed, head bent forward. I find the lever, the switch, the something in my mind.

And...unfreeze.

It's like the music on your iPod suddenly being turned to the max. The hum on the air conditioner is overwhelming, Ms. Henley's gritty voice is one hundred times louder than it should be, and the kid who is tapping his pencil to my left makes me grimace.

"Oh," I say, once I've found my bearings. "Here it is, Ms. Henley." I tug the paper from underneath the binder and slide it into her waiting hand, offering her a terse smile.

"Hmph." She stares at it like she doesn't even want it. "Thank you, Emery."

***


This story is my CHILD. I have been nurturing the idea for what what I guess is years now and have been writing it for months. Even though I've been writing for months, I still have very little of the actual story written (slightly over 12k at this point, I think). Despite how important it is to me, you can still hate it. That's totally fine :) Because sometimes I really hate it too.

Obviously this first chapter was really short. Originally, it was a little longer, but I entered a writing contest on the Go Teen Writers blog, which I recently discovered, and it was a submission of the first 1,000 words of your story. I wanted to enter the whole chapter though, so I edited it down and actually ended up liking the outcome better than what I had originally written (Less IS more). Out of the 200 entires I surprisingly am in the top 20 right now! Super awesome.

My point though: the rest of the chapters are/will be a much more reasonable length. Also, these first 1,000 words are not all that thrilling. Trust me when I say the rest of what I've written so far is way better (in my opinion). This was just the necessary that needed to happen before the rest unfolds. Also, World Line? Definitely a working title.

ANYWAY. I hope you guys liked it well enough and will comment. Your words mean way more to me than my own ever do. :) :) :)

Edited by Jcrazy, 10 April 2014 - 09:53 PM.

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#2 24moon100

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:59 PM

YES. 

 

I. am. so. pumped. for. this. you. don't. even. know. 

 

All I can say that if these first 1000 words are your definition of bland then I can only imagine that the rest will be explosive. 

 

Every time I read your stuff, it makes be want to to burn mine to ashes and then burn the ashes.

 

It's just so...fluid. It comes together so nicely, so easily. I say this every time but it's true. Even since I first read your Avalon High fanfic I have noticed this about your writing. The more I think about it the more I believe that it is something you are a natural at.

 

And you are right there: Less IS more. Not always. There are times when it is not. But it is definitely important to know when things should be left out when when they shouldn't. I hope to one day master that skill, although I really don't think I have a concise bone in my body. It's worth a shot either way. :P

 

Literally, where was my ability to freeze time all those days I forgot my softball shirt? That would've saved me an awful lot of grief.  

 

I wouldn't have had to run down and backs to the point of puking, for one. 

 

On a different level, I thought that was a solid way of kicking off the story. Forgetting a paper/assignment/(in my case)sports gear is the worst. Just reading about it was enough to give me that mini heart attack I always get whenever that does happen.

 

This reminds me a tiny bit of a show I tried to watch on Netflix but only made it to the third season called Charmed. It was about witches and they all had a specific power. One was telekinesis, one was premonitions, and one was freezing time. I think you've seen Pretty Little Liars, right? The girl in the show who can freeze time is Aria's mom, actually... 

 

*Coughs* So that was irrelevant. 

 

Lol.

 

Anyway, I see a great potential here! I hope you finish this one because out of all your ideas I feel like you can go the most directions with this. I will always have a place in my heart for your other stories, but I also know that this one will be awesome too. :)

 

Please, whatever you do, don't stop writing. I will read whatever you write. I swear it. 

 

UPDATE SOON

 

With love and virtual hugs—

 

MEG

 

Ps. I love the name Emery. 


Edited by 24moon100, 10 April 2014 - 11:05 PM.

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#3 Jcrazy

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:34 PM

Meg: A comment, YAY! :D Thank you so much.

I definitely put a lot of effort in to write the appropriate first chapter (believe me, for some reason I changed it like 472 times), but I realize that it wasn't very "exciting." That's what I meant by "not thrilling" I guess.

Fluid is awesome! Thank you! That's actually a strange compliment to me, because a lot of the time when I read something shortly after I've written it, I feel like it's choppy or I'm using the wrong words. Maybe that's how everyone feels (?), but I dunno! Thanks.

Freezing time would be the bomb. I would love it. Emery hates it. Psh. Yeah, when I tried to imagine a situation I would use it in, forgotten homework was the first thing that popped into my mind. Ever since I was little, I'd always PANIC when I'd realize I had forgotten something for school. I don't know why—it's not the end of the world if you forget your English paper—but it's just always caused me so much STRESS.

I've never watched Charmed, but yes I have definitely seen my fair share of Pretty Little Liars :P I can totally picture Aria's mom on a show like that though. She has a look about her haha.

AHHH, thank you again and again for your comment. Made me feel like I made the right decision posting this. You're awesome!
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#4 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 06:32 AM

I HAVE NO TIME TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE SCHOOL BUT YOU KNOW I WILL BE COMMENTING ASAP


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#5 Jcrazy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:29 PM

This is a really random edit, but the italic part at the top before the chapter is supposed to be in present tense, not past. I don't know how I screwed that up.
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#6 Jcrazy

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:30 AM

2

I was twelve the first time it happened. Patrick and I were watching a Harry Potter movie that had just come out on DVD and I had to use the bathroom. He refused to pause the movie and we started bickering.

I can't recall the exact words I thought and then said to him, but it was something about how I couldn't just stop time. The next thing I knew, the TV screen was frozen on an image of Ron Weasley's face, Patrick's frame was stilled, his eyebrows furrowed, and the sounds of my dad cooking in the kitchen had ceased.

Panic ensued until I quickly realized I could unfreeze it all—I just had to think about it hard enough. I started blabbering to Patrick about what had just happened. His only response was to role his eyes and reluctantly pause the movie for me to pee. I mentioned something about it to my mother the next day and she stared at me in confusion for a brief moment before returning to the laundry. I never mentioned it again.

Weeks were spent playing with my new ability until the thought intruded itself into my mind: What would happen if I couldn't unfreeze time? It was enough to scare me out of freezing for a few months. Since then, I've only used it sparingly. A handful of times, really. Mostly for silly things, like my English paper.

Maybe it's a blessing. Maybe it's a curse. Maybe I should tell someone. Most of the time I can pretend it doesn't exist, but there's an ever-present nagging that's remained since I was twelve, making me aware of its presence.

"That little b!tch."

Destiny's bitter sounding words drag me from my reverie and I lift my gaze from the locker to look at her. Her dark eyes are trained on something down the hallway and I turn to follow their direction.

Martin is walking towards us, which is nothing unusual. We meet here everyday before lunch. However, the blonde girl bouncing beside him is an unwelcome addition, and I groan as I look back towards Destiny.

"You're not really jealous, are you?" I ask, raising an uncertain eyebrow at my best friend. "She's his lab partner. They have to work on their AP project together."

Destiny shrugs, which I know means that she is. It's illogical. She and Martin have been dating since the ninth grade, two weeks after we met him in our freshman gym class. They're inseparable, in love, and sickeningly intolerable to be around. Somehow, though, I've dealt with them, managing to restrain myself from strangling either one of the two.

Martin parts ways with the blonde just before he reaches us, a wise decision on her part. Destiny's glaring daggers in her back as she sashays towards the cafeteria.

"You don't look happy," Martin observes, his mouth setting in a firm line and his eyebrows coming together as he stares at his girlfriend.

"I think it's because of your less than hideous lab partner," I say, nodding in the direction Katie Wescott had gone.

Martin's eyes widen and he looks at Destiny with a slight grin. "That b!tch? Hell no. She's annoying as all get out. Have you ever really looked at her? She's fugly."

I stifle a laugh, knowing it's all BS. Katie's one of the nicest girls I know, plus I would kill to look like her, but his words do the trick. Destiny is smiling as she reaches out, grabs a fistful of his shirt, and pulls him down for a kiss.

Destiny has nothing to be insecure about, considering she has always been pretty. I don't even think she had one of those awkward middle school stages. Her hair is dark and annoyingly long, and her skin stays fair and clear year round. She's tall and rail thin and manages to make me feel insecure on a daily basis. Martin and her look disgustingly perfect together. His Philippine mother and African American father reproduced a gold mine of attractive sons—all tall, lean, and mind-boggling handsome.

"We ditching?" Martin asks me when he pulls away from Destiny, wrapping an arm around her waist.

I nod once and he throws his other arm around my shoulder. We dodge teachers and the school's SRO until we escape through the back doors of the school and into the safety of a comfortably cloudy day.

Leaving school grounds for lunch had been a privilege given only to seniors in years past, but it was stripped away sometime during my sophomore year. Needless to say, no one was too happy about this. Martin, Destiny, and I choose to showcase our rebellion by leaving for lunch at least twice a week.

Sometimes we test our luck and drive across town to McDonalds or Taco Bell, but usually we stroll as inconspicuously as we can to the park that's located somewhere between the school and our houses. There are swings and benches and, on warmer days, a lady selling lemonade across the street at a neighborhood house.

We get to the park, mundane and mindless conversation having filtered in and out the whole way there. There is a woman kneeling beside a toddler in the sandbox and an elderly couple sitting together on a bench, holding hands. The couple casts the three of us a disapproving glance. We're wearing our book bags and it's noon—it's obvious to even them that we're skipping.

Regardless, we go sit on the swing, Destiny in the middle. My eyes find the spot near the sidewalk, beside the lamppost, that takes me back eight years earlier every time I see it.

I was nine and it was mid-November—not warm, but not unbearably cold either, as was typical for Autumn days in this area. Patrick had somehow convinced me to push him on the swing. Maybe he had promised me the same treatment in return. Dad was sitting at a picnic table a few yards away, his face undoubtedly buried in a book about protons or ancient Egyptians or life on Mars.

Pushing Patrick came to a halt when I noticed the man beside the lamppost. His gaze was trained on my face for a brief moment, which even as a nine-year-old I found odd and unsettling. He dropped his gaze to a small sheet of paper in his hand, then looked back to me, then back to the paper. His expression changed to mild frustration and he balled the paper up, sat it in a trash can, and pushed his hands in his pockets. He turned around with a swift eagerness and started walking down the sidewalk, away from the park.

Child-like curiosity got the best of me and I ignored Patrick's stern "keep pushing!" Instead, I skipped over towards the trash can and reached in to pull out the crumpled paper atop the garbage. I briefly admired the neat handwriting in a way that no fourth grader should care to, but then my interest shifted to the familiar sequence of letters on the paper.

EMERY JAMES, it said. I remember scrunching up my face and looking down the street, but the man was already gone. Beneath my name was a number, fourteen, and a plus sign beside it.

I showed Patrick and he accused me of writing it myself. Defenseless and pissed, I crumpled it back up and threw it in the trash can.

It didn't strike me until later that day that I should have kept it, and it didn't occur to me until a couple of years down the rode that I should have told my dad about it. It was the strangest and most inexplicable moment of my life. That is, if you disregard the whole freezing time thing.

I'm drawn back to the present by the kick of Martin's shoe against the pebbles beneath the swing set. It has always baffled me as to why they would put rocks as opposed to grass or sand beneath the swings here, but it's made me cautious, so maybe that's a good enough reason.

"You're quiet, Emery," Destiny observes.

"Is that a broad speculation of my overall personality or a jab at my current mood?" I ask, trying to joke, but also trying to use enough words to throw her off.

"Your mood, dude," she says, bypassing my attempt at distraction.

I shrug, trying to find words to cover for my silence. Luckily, Martin seems to have found them for me.

"She's obviously been stunned stupid by my good looks."

"Oh gosh, Martin," I say, pretending to cover my cheeks in embarrassment. "How'd you guess?"

His snort and Destiny's amused laughter fill the answering silence until they don't anymore. We're left in an even stranger quiet and I know I'm to blame. Freezing always leaves me feeling bizarre for hours afterwards. There's a startling charge in my body that remains. Almost like I'm untouchable, but if anyone were to touch me, I would shatter. It's the definition of being on edge.

"You sure you're okay?" Destiny asks a few beats of silence later.

I nod once, then reconsider and shake my head. "I kind of have a headache." It's not a lie. I usually do get stress headaches after I freeze. "Maybe I'll just go home after this."

Destiny's fishing out her supply of painkillers before I can even finish my sentence. Her dad's a pharmacist and rarely do you find her without a bottle of Ibuprofen, Advil, and Tylenol in her purse, among other prescription drugs.

I reach for the Advil before she can pull out a bottle of something stronger and pop two in my mouth. Martin offers me the Gatorade from his book bag and I nod.

"Is it a migraine? Is your vision blurring? Does loud noise or bright light irritate you?" Destiny claps right beside my ear and I jump, giving her a what-the-hell look. She grins. In addition to having a drugstore in her purse, she also tends to think she's a doctor.

"Thanks, Doc, but I think I'll be alright," I say, smiling. "I just need a nap."

***

I do nap. Instead of heading back inside the school when lunch period comes to an end, I make a slight detour towards the parking lot. Martin and Destiny tell me to feel better and I drive off with hope that no teacher or principal is catching me leave without checking out at the attendance office first. When I walk in my front door, the path is straight to my bedroom.

I wake up hours later to the sound of Dad cooking dinner and Mom and Patrick yelling at a basketball game on television. I find the clock, realize it's past six, and calculate. Five hours.

Freezing really does a number on me.

In my quest for sleep earlier I had completely forgone changing clothes. I peel off my jeans and sweater and exchange them for one of Patrick's old flannels and my pajama pants. I'm horribly mismatched—red flannel on top of polka dot pants—but I can't find it in me to care while in my fuzzy state of consciousness.

"Hi," I say, groggy, when I get to the foot of the stairs. It seems like it should be morning, but it's nearly dark out and the Eagles are playing from Dad's iHome beside the front door. Typical signs that's it's nighttime at the James' household.

From my position I can see to the left where the family room is. Patrick is holding the remote in his hand and his feet are tucked under his lap. He looks awkward and childish and I smirk to myself before glancing at my mother. There's a scowl on her face and I look at the TV to see that their team is losing by twelve. To the right of me is the kitchen where my dad is. He's pulling Lasagne out of the oven.

"Hey there, Kiddo," Dad says, wiping his brow with an oven mitt when he sees me. "You okay? You were in bed before I even got home."

I nod, wrap my arms around my stomach, and walk towards him. "Migraine," I say, because it sounds worse than headache. "I came home early and fell asleep."

He frowns. "That sucks."

I laugh. My dad has his PhD in Chemistry and is a professor at the local University, but he still says things like "that sucks" on a regular basis. Better than Martin's dad, who's owns a restaurant, but tends to use words like "lugubrious" and "perspicacity" in casual conversation.

"Agreed," I eventually say, pulling a cup down from the cabinet and filling it with water from the sink. "When's dinner going to be ready?"

"Dinner's ready!" he calls to Mom and Patrick, winking at me.

"Bring it to us!" Mom yells back.

Dad and I roll our eyes together. I grab a stack of plates and he grabs silverware along with the casserole dish of lasagna. Five minutes later, we're all eating in front of the TV, watching the last few minutes of a college basketball game unfold.

"Classes?" Dad asks, muting the TV during a commercial break. He looks at Patrick and me, but I know the question is mostly directed towards my brother.

Patrick nods, swallowing an unnecessarily large bite of lasagna. "Good. I went. I learned."

Patrick had gone away to college the year before. Fresh out of high school and never having been away from home before, he went a bit overboard. There was a report card of entirely F's, thirty hours of community service for a public urination charge, and a psycho ex-girlfriend who refused to leave his dorm room. He drank his way home. Dad told him if he stayed here for a year and went to the community college, that he would consider letting him go back.

"Good." Dad looks at me. "You?"

I nod a few times. "I turned that paper in. You know, the one I spent approximately a year on?"

He nods.

"Then I got a hellish migraine and ditched."

"And your day?" Dad looks at Mom and raises an eyebrow.

"Cindy Garfield came in today and asked for a bob. A /bob!/ I swear. Then she started talking about bangs. She does know she's only thirty-five, right? She doesn't have to act like she's having her middle age crisis quite yet." Mom cuts hair, but I think her real job title could be more accurately described as a professional gossiper/therapist. She always knows who's pregnant and who's cheating and she has probably saved more than a handful of marriages in her time as a beautician.

Dad tells us a science-y joke that one of his students told him—something that was "so-damn-ium funny." His endless supply of chemistry jokes have gotten old, but none of us really have the heart to tell him. We all sort of love them, despite their goofiness. We all sort of love each other, despite obvious flaws. The one constant for me has been their inability to change. They've always been the way they were, something I admire and wish I could say the same for myself.
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#7 24moon100

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:05 PM

Hurrrrayyy! An update. :D

 

I think it's pretty cool how normal Emery's life seems despite how not normal she is. It was interesting to get to know all the other people in her life. Her dad seems pretty chill, and I like that. This is just an assumption of mine but I have a suspicion the that her dad was partially inspired by Walt in Breaking Bad, what with him being a Chemistry teacher and all. 

 

Just a theory of mine. ;) 

 

So this chapter has left me with a lot of questions. Who was that mysterious man watching her? What did he want with her? What could the migraines mean? How did she get her power? Is she an alien? 

 

All of these questions better be answered soon. I do not like not knowing...

 

I wonder if she has other abilities...

 

You see what I mean? So many questions!

 

Favorite quote:

 

"You're quiet, Emery," Destiny observes. 

"Is that a broad speculation of my overall personality or a jab at my current mood?"

 

 

Haha. I thought that was very witty, and I like witty, so that's why I picked that. 

 

By the way, where does she live? When you described the climate it made me wonder where this takes place. 

 

Anyway, not much else to say. This is brilliant. You are brilliant. I want to know more.

 

Can my comment get anymore cliché than that?

 

Almost:

 

PLEASE UPDATE!!!  :heartbeat:

 

—MEG

 


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#8 Jcrazy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 11:10 AM

Meg: Thank you so much!

My intention when writing this story was to make her life seem completely ordinary, save the fact that she can freeze time. I wanted her friends and her family to be the epitome of normal. Destiny and Martin are loosely based off two friends of my own who are, to me anyway, the two most NORMAL people on this planet haha. Not gonna lie—her dad is totally a chemistry professor because of Breaking Bad :P But he kind of reminds me of my dad, if my dad was more laid back lol.

YAY, questions. Yeah, they'll definitely be answers to all those questions in the upcoming chapters, but you'll probably just be left with more questions if I'm being totally honest :P

The quote you picked out was actually something I almost deleted so I'm glad you picked that! Makes me feel like I made the right decision when I decided to save it.

When I started this, I didn't really have a planned location as to where the story was happening. I was kind of just hoping that it would fall into place. But the area I've described so far is a combination of the neighborhood I used to live in and this nice community right by my high school. Plus, the weather i described was pretty typical for where I'm from. So, I eventually just settled on North Carolina, but I haven't actually said that IN what I've written of the story yet.

Again, thank you. You're awesome.
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#9 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:45 PM

“I’ll be commenting ASAP.” Lol. Well, that was definitely not as “ASAP” as I was hoping, but… At least I’m finally getting there haha. :P Took long enough.

 

Also going to do this comment in list format because I’m too lazy for true coherence in paragraph format. #yolo

 

-First of all: The name Emery is AWESOME. Deserves endless appreciation.

 

-Didn’t you have to write a huge paper on Jane Austen? If so, that’s awesome. If not, I guess I’m delusional haha.

 

-I freaked out just reading about her forgetting her paper. This actually just happened to me last week in bio, and my bio teacher is kind of psycho, so I almost had a mental breakdown. :P What I’d have given to be able to freeze time… (Thankfully, my dad was able to run it in for me at lunch, so even though I couldn’t freeze time to go get it, it worked out okay.)

 

-I feel weird for noticing this, but your lack of linking verbs makes me want to cry from happiness (also jealously because as much as I try to eliminate them, I CAN’T).

 

-THANK YOU for not going into a billion details about the process of freezing and all sorts of backstory in your first chapter because that would’ve driven me crazy.  It would’ve disrupted the flow. You just go for it, and it reads very nicely. I should take a lesson from you haha.

 

 

And...freeze.

 

So I definitely thought of The Incredibles as soon as I read that line. :P I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that movie…

 

-What a freaking fantastic beginning. Very polished and promising (which makes sense if you said you have it in a writing contest). I’m super interested already. :) I don’t think it had to be thrilling from the get-go—it’s an interesting beginning without stuff blowing up and tons of kickass action. :D

 

-YES. Just like I’d hoped. More detail on the freezing in the next chapter. Just like it should be.

 

-The leaving for lunch bit made me laugh. First the Jane Austen part, and then this. I guess if the reader doesn’t know you or anything, then it’s just part of the story. But I KNOW. :)

 

-Hmmm. Odd man with an odd piece of paper. I’m thoroughly interested…

 

-Destiny’s doctor attitude made me laugh. I’m liking your characters so far, which is good. I guess it would be hard for me to NOT like your characters, but whatever. As usual, they’re interesting and likeable.

 

 

"Migraine," I say, because it sounds worse than headache.

 

Made me laugh. :)

 

-I really liked the end of the chapter with her family. There was a great mood you established there that reminded me a lot of my own family (except my dad tells pastor jokes, not chemistry jokes :P).

 

So I am really interested to see where this is going. I like how NORMAL so much of it seems, and then you have this freezing time stuff and the whole note with her name and the odd number on it. It’s almost a bit sinister. I’m enjoying it so far, but I think I’m going to become OBSESSED as it progresses. :D It has everything I want in a story so far.

 

Above all, of course, your writing is perfect. Just thought that needed pointing out lol.

 

SO. *Jesse Pinkman voice* UPDATE, BI/TCH. I demand more…

 

-Artemis


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#10 Jcrazy

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:40 PM

Artemis: Lol I am sure I have had a longer "ASAP" than yours before. I probably have a long line of things I promised to do ASAP waiting for me somewhere.

The name Emery IS kind of awesome. If I had to change my name (I wouldn't bc Jamie rocks), it would probably be in the list of contenders.

I sure did have to write a long ass paper on Jane Austen that I received THE BEST GRADE IN THE CLASS on. *finger snaps* Okay, not cool, Jamie... But, yes, I did :P I kind of wondered if anyone would notice that (anyone meaning you).

Oh goodness I am glad someone was able to bring you the bio work D: I seriously don't know why, but forgetting homework always sends me into cardiac arrest. I feel your pain, dude. Freezing time, though...that'd've helped. (Is that'd've the correct conjugation of ‘that would have’ or is there no such thing as a correct conjugation of ‘that would have’? The world may never know.)

You noticing my lack of linking verb makes me want to cry from happiness because I didn't notice my lack of linking verbs!! :)

Omgg I am also so glad I didn't go into freezing backstory too. I mean, of course I'll be threading in details about it during the story, but if I had just been like BUH-BAM!!!! that could have been annoying, for you AND me.

Aw, I haven't seen The Incredibles in so long!!! I need to watch that again :D Shoutout to you for also remembering my escapades of leaving school for lunch! Lol, I just had to add that in there. Luckily this semester I simply leave before lunch so no more ditching for me :P

ODD MAN WITH AN ODD PIECE OF PAPER, WHO COULD YOU BE! Mwahaha. The world may never know. (Yes, you will find out)

Destiny's doctor attitude! Haha. Yeah, I have had my fair share of friends who seem to carry around a shi.t ton of pain relievers in their purses. Is that typical or do I just hang out with sketch people? ;D

Pastor jokes sounds just as good as chemistry jokes! My family also participates in evenings like the one I described quite frequently, so seeing as we both can relate, I believe I did at least a decent job in giving Emery a typical family and home life.

Anyway, thank you so so so so much. And can I just say I withheld laughter when I saw "UPDATE B!TCH!" Basically made my week, thank youuu. :P
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#11 Jcrazy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:02 PM

Hiiii. Uh, warning because drug use/underage drinking in this chapter? Hashtag gotta love high school.



3

Ever since I turned twelve, I've dreamed almost incessantly. Puberty, freezing time, and an obscene amount of dreaming seemed to come all at once for me. You can imagine how delightful my middle school years were.

Most of my dreams were about freezing. I would imagine myself taking a drive to the beach and being the only person there to enjoy the view. Of course, my not-dreaming self knew that cars and electronics didn't work in frozen time, but dream me was happy to pretend. Eventually the dreams ventured to me freezing for strange reasons—to save a life, to stop a wreck, to steal something. I've never been comfortable with the idea of freezing, even for petty things like my English paper, so the situations have are alarming to wake from.

I wake up sometime far too early in the morning and look at the clock. 4:07. I stare at it and it doesn't faze me for a few minutes until I realize it's still 4:07. A frustrated groan fills the noiseless space and I look up at the fan. It's still. I close my eyes and breath and unfreeze.

By my count, this is the fourth time this has ever happened. Freezing in my sleep has only been a problem when I've frozen the day before. It's unnerving, but I remember the dream I was having and realize it isn't that far of a stretch.

I'm not tired. Given my nap the day before, it isn't surprising. Staring at the ceiling fan can only entertain me for so long and around 5:30 I force myself up and into the shower. I'm ready an hour later, but I still have another one before I have to leave. Coffee sounds like a good idea to me and at 6:45 I'm scribbling a note to my still-sleeping parents, saying that I left early. Usually they get up around seven, Dad getting ready for classes and Mom going over her appointments for the day.

At the gas station, I park and see a few sleepy students that I vaguely recognize pumping gas. Inside, I fill up my medium sized coffee cup, shove a handful of vanilla creamer in my jacket pocket, and find a place behind a few people in the check out line. I grab a bag of M&M's for myself when I get to the front of the line and, as an afterthought, grab Destiny and Martin one. They're the kind of people who surprise you with Dairy Queen when they know you have had a bad night, or buy you a cute shirt just because—in Destiny's words—"it came in your size and not mine!" They're great friends, and I know I'm not a bad one, but sometimes I can feel shitty when in comparison. Buying them candy sometimes helps to compensate.

After paying, I still have thirty minutes before the time I usually get to school. I stall for a moment outside of my car, sipping my coffee and staring at the cars and trucks passing by, en route to wherever their morning routine may take them. I remember swinging the day before and slide back into my car.

The park is completely empty, but I guess that's fairly normal for seven in the morning. There's a frail-looking lady in jogging clothes speed walking up and down the sidewalk and the occasional person coming outside to grab their newspaper. My car is on the street, beside the lamppost, and my coffee is between my hands, warming them. It isn't cold, but the air has an Autumn morning chill, accompanied by dewy grass and a too-bright sunrise.

My phone vibrates and I remove it from my pocket. It's Destiny, asking about a party tonight and if I want to go. And I do; I really want nothing more than something that will make me forget about freezing. I hate that I hate it, but I would willingly pass it on to anyone, even if they didn't want it.

Apparently I'm occupied by my cell phone for longer than it feels, because just as I'm firing off a final text to Destiny, a throat clearing to my left startles me.

I have never been a particularly anxious or uneasy person, but being on edge for nearly twenty-four hours seems to have morphed me into one. I clutch my coffee a touch tighter and breath a sigh of relief when I realize the person looks seemingly innocent. A guy, older than me—maybe even older than Patrick—is standing a reasonable distance away, holding the bar that supports one side of the swing set. There's something just vaguely familiar about him. I don't have time to place what it is before he speaks.

"Is this swing taken?" he asks, and there's something so wonderfully proper and strange about the words and the way he says them. What if you were young and a kid rushed up to the swing beside you? You're expecting them to wordlessly plop down and start swinging back and forth, but what if they stopped to inquire about the swings' availability? I wonder for a brief moment if there's a child out there who has already been instilled with the manners and respectfulness to ask for permission on playgrounds, the same way an adult would when out in public.

His eyes are wide and I realize I've left his question dangling in the space between us.

"Yeah, of course," I say, but I stand. "I was just leaving anyway."

"No," he says quickly, too quickly. I raise an eyebrow at him, take a sip of my coffee, and wait for more of his words. He touches a hand to the back of his neck, then looks me in the eye. "I mean, you don't have to go. I'll leave if you don't feel comfortable."

The question is at the tip of my tongue before I can stop it. "Should I feel uncomfortable?" I don't, at least not yet. He's acting too awkward to make me feel like I have anything to be worried about.

He shakes his head. "Absolutely not. I'm unarmed, I promise."

I laugh, but he doesn't, and I'm left feeling like the awkward one. I thought maybe he was making a semi-attempt at flirting with me, but I remember that it's seven in the morning, we're on a swing set, and he's a good few years older than me. Not exactly typical grounds for trying to get a girl's number.

"Sorry," I say, but I don't know what I'm apologizing for. "I really do have to get to school though—" I realize this is too much information if this guy is, in fact, a psychopath "–so the swing set is all yours."

"Oh." He looks like he wants to say more, but he doesn't, and I've never felt more confused by a person. "Okay. Well, uh. I'll see you?"

I blink. "Um. Maybe."

I gracelessly stomp over to my car, avoiding muddy spots formed from where it had rained the night before. When I start the car, I allow myself to look back over at him for a moment.

He's seated in the swing I vacated, hands holding the chains on either side of him. I notice his clothes—tan corduroy jacket, black T-shirt, and light colored jeans that fit just a bit too loose. It's familiar, as is his hair that's buzzed so short that I can only assume it would be a brownish color if grown out. He's tall and he's lean and he's normal looking, but I know from briefly talking to him that normal is not an entirely accurate assessment.

***

"Maybe he's one of Patrick's friends," Destiny suggests, popping a green M&M into her mouth. "Or he's a pedophile. Regardless, I say we were smart to avoid the park today and come to McDonalds. It's Friday. Let's be hellions."

"In agreement," Martin says, nodding and tipping the pack of M&M's back, devouring a good portion. "What if he's, like, a drug dealer? His behavior sounds suspiciously drug dealer-esque, Emery. Maybe he was dropping all the normal hints and you just weren't picking up what he was putting down since, you know, you don't snort cocaine. Maybe ‘is this swing taken?’ is a code."

"For?" I ask, staring at the road ahead of us. We're in Martin's Jeep and there's a pile of fries on the console that we need to finish, along with the M&M's, before we get back to school.

"For ‘I've got the crystal meth we discussed via coded text message last night.’ I don't know? Seems plausible."

"Totally plausible," Destiny agrees, reaching for a fry.

"So, I'm confused. Was he a cocaine dealer or are we gravitating towards the crystal meth?" I flick my gaze between the two of them.

"I'm actually getting a strong inclination that he was just trying to sell you some pot. Call it a sixth sense, but he may have been more harmless than you suspected," Martin says, shrugging and then winking at me in the rear view mirror.

"Your assumptions about fabricated drug dealers are one of the many reasons why I love you," Destiny sighs, sarcasm thick in her voice as she puts an emotion-laden hand to her heart.

"And you guys' ability to turn a perhaps serious situation into a sarcasm-filled car ride is the very reason why you're my best friends," I say.

Destiny looks at me, grinning, in the space between her headrest and the seat. "It's our job and we take it seriously."

I smile, tip my head back, and let a peaceful easy feeling sneak up on me.

***

I'm feeling more than just a little peaceful and easy hours later, after school, when Destiny, Martin, and I have been at Katie Wescott's party for a couple of hours. It's almost eleven and I'm a comfortable type of buzzed after two drinks and a shot that somebody thrust into my hand the moment I walked through the door, while Destiny is verging on hammered and Martin is just giggling. He's stoned. None of us smoke or drink very much—we pride ourselves on being "good kids" most of the time—, but when we do, I tend to get silly and Destiny and Martin tend to get affectionate. Towards each other, that is.

I leave them more-than-just-cuddling on a couch in Katie's living room and go to the kitchen. It's packed with people—some younger than me, some older than me. The kitchen table is being used for beer pong, although I'm ninety percent sure they're just using water and taking shots whenever they get the inkling to. People are hoarding their alcohol, guys clinging to a case of beer that they've brought and claimed. Girls are acting s.lutty and desperate, even the pretty ones. It's cliche and I can't even be totally sure I'm enjoying myself, but it's so typically high school that I can't deny the comforting normalcy of it all.

"Hey, Emery," a voice behind me says, and I spin around to see Colton.

"Colton!" I say, grinning. I fling myself at him, wrapping my arms around his neck, and now I look like every other desperate girl in the room. I take a step back.

Colton Fields has been my something ever since I can remember. We met back in elementary school and he liked to throw rocks at me during recess, up until one day in the fourth grade when he kissed me beside the monkey bars on a dare. In middle school, there was an awkward phase where I was taller than him and his voice cracked a lot, but then in eighth grade he got cute again. We "dated"—meaning our parents took us to movies and we held hands in the school hallway. We lost connection after middle school and I hardly saw a glimpse of him during the ninth grade. Somewhere around the beginning of my sophomore year, he got a car and asked me out. We were together for most of the year, threw a lot of "firsts" out of the window together, and then broke up during the summer.

Ever since, we've maintained a friendship that Destiny and Martin like to call me out on from time to time. It's not at all as strange as they think it is. We get along at school, still text occasionally, and when we're both bored enough at parties, we like to hook up. Simple as that.

"You're here with someone?" he asks, standing too close to me.

I nod, then realize what he's asking and reroute. "Well, with Destiny and Martin."

"They're still together?" Colton asks. I can smell beer on his breath and pot on his clothes. It's a terrible combination and even tipsy me doesn't find it very appealing. I step back a little, bumping into the side of the fridge.

"Over three years now," I say in lieu of just saying "yes." I like to brag about Martin and Destiny, even if they're currently off doing things I wouldn't even speak of.

"Damn. That's insane. Did you ever think they'd stay together this long?" he asks.

"To be honest, no. But I'm also their biggest fan. I came up with their couple name last year, you know? Started calling them Mestiny. Really caught on their for a few class periods," I say.

"Why not Dartin?"

"Because Dartin sounds like a verb and people can't be verbs, Colton."

"I forget how smart you are, Emery."

He flirts with me for a few more minutes and I know that I'm not going to go off somewhere with him. I'm not drunk or bored enough, but it's funny to watch him try. Feeling like this, like a normal, albeit slightly inebriated girl being hit on is so unsurprising. There's nothing I like more than being unsurprised.

"So, do you want to—"

"No," I say before he can finish. He looks dejected, but then nods and shrugs his acceptance.

"I actually sort of brought a girl," he admits, and he has the decency to look somewhat sheepish. "But I lost her half an hour ago. Have you seen Amber Shelton?"

"Making out with Jordan Neese on the back porch." I raise an eyebrow at him and he chuckles instead of looking disappointed.

"Yeah. Whaaaata b.itch."

We talk in a much more friendly manner than before for a few minutes until I spot Destiny and Martin walking into the kitchen, holding hands. Every other couple is wrapped up in one another, gazes and hands wandering, and I smile a little at the simplicity of their joined fingers. Sure, I know they were all over each other just minutes before, but they can go from that to this in three, two, one. I excuse myself from Colton and walk over to where Martin is taking a hit off a blunt someone offered him.

"You need to stop," I whisper as inconspicuously as I can into his ear. "You're supposed to drive. And I have to be home at 12:30."

"You can't drive?" he asks, a desperate look on his face as someone offers him another hit. Why do stoners love to share? He shakes his head at the blunt. "Des and I were actually thinking about spending the night. She doesn't wanna go home. And plus... I'm slightly wasted."

"Martin," I groan, but this isn't that unexpected. Both of their parents are a lot more relaxed than mine. Sometimes I'm jealous of the fact, but sometimes I wonder what the hell their Mom's and Dad's are thinking. "...I can probably just walk. It's only like a fifteen minute walk."

Suburban living has it's upsides, but they sure don't feel like upsides when you're talking about walking home half-drunk in the dark.

"You shouldn't have to do that. Isn't there someone here sober enough who could drive you?" He glances around, then shakes his head. "Yeah, okay. There's not. Could you call Patrick?"

"I think he was going to a bonfire outside of town tonight." I try to smile at Martin. "Really, it's fine. We live in Blakeshire, not the East side from The Outsiders. I'll be fine."

"Whoa, you just took me back to seventh grade English class, Emery," Destiny, who up until this point I had thought was too drunk and thus too unfocused to talk, says. Her hands make their way up to my hair and this is how I know she's really drunk: when she starts twirling her fingers through random strands of my hair and telling me how "touch-ie-ball" and "so so soft" it is, is how I know she's past-the-point-of-no-return-wasted.

"You sure?" Martin asks, ignoring his girlfriend.

"Of course."

I hang out for another thirty minutes, but decide to head out a little before twelve with a promise to Martin that I'll text him when I get home, even though I could stay a little longer. The thought of being around so many drunk people when I'm not getting anymore intoxicated isn't all that appealing.

There are cars parked on the road and people inside of them doing God only knows. Other than the excess of cars and light around the house, the music isn't loud enough to be heard once I'm at the sidewalk. Regardless, I still think Katie Wescott must have some low-maintenance neighbors if not a single one has complained.

"Need a ride?"

I glance at the car packed full of what I can only assume are stoners. I'm five feet away and the smell of marijuana is penetrating even from a distance.

"No, thanks." I give them a weak wave and continue walking down the sidewalk. I glance back warily when they start the car, but relax when they drive past me. It's pointless for me to even be concerned.

It's silly for Martin and Destiny to have to worry about me making it home. If anything did happen—say, a lunatic murderer leaped out of the bushes and threatened my life—all I would have to do is calm down, freeze time, and walk away. Just walk away. It's as sickeningly easy as that. Whereas anyone else would have been wrapped with fear, I wouldn't be. With freezing comes fearlessness and with fearlessness comes a lack of human emotion.

I let my thoughts take over for my feet. They carry me the rest of the way home.

***

I wake up sometime during the night thinking about a tan corduroy jacket and a wrinkled sheet of paper with my neatly written name on it. There's an instant connection between the two followed by an immediate sense of recognition. And I know who the man from the park is.

***

Weird man from park! High school parties! Normal ex-boyfriend! Haha. Colton is a reoccurring character here, so his introduction into the story here is actually very vital. Tell me what you think about chaptaaa three!
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#12 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:06 PM

Hells yes! An update! I'm going to ACTUALLY comment ASAP this time...


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#13 Jcrazy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:11 PM

Hells yes! An update! I'm going to ACTUALLY comment ASAP this time...


swag
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#14 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:17 PM

This has to be record time for a comment from me, right? Lol.

 

Oh, God. Freezing in your sleep would be pretty horrifying. I never would have thought about that, so I’m glad you threw that in. The more dimensions you add to the ability, the more realistic and understandable it becomes. So cool way to start off a chapter. :)

 

I really enjoyed the paragraph where she talked about buying the M&Ms for her friends. Gave some great character insights, and you know I’m all into that haha.

 

Your freaking adjectives are so great. I love how you make sure not to use the” obvious word” to describe objects—instead you find a more unique one, and that enhances the writing so much. Your descriptions are so pretty. At the gas station (fun fact: my all-time favorite setting for everything is a gas station, as I’m sure you’ve noticed from my Pinterest) and the park, I could visualize everything perfectly. Great job transporting the reader into the scene.

 

Kind of on a similar note: I love how you describe the other people at these scenes. Whether it’s the old lady jogging or the sleepy teenagers, you keep adding to the imagery and adding in an important dimension that I know I always seem to forget.

 

I hate that I hate it, but I would willingly pass it on to anyone, even if they didn't want it. THIS IS CHARACTER INSIGHT GOLD. Just saying.

 

I got a bad feeling as soon as the guy at the swings showed up. That scene was painfully awkward and just slightly unnerving. Nothing bad happened, but you just know it has to be very significant. Maybe he’s the odd man with the odd paper from her childhood? Or he’s at least somewhat related to that whole plotline? Hmm.

 

"What if he's, like, a drug dealer? His behavior sounds suspiciously drug dealer-esque, Emery. Maybe he was dropping all the normal hints and you just weren't picking up what he was putting down since, you know, you don't snort cocaine. Maybe ‘is this swing taken?’ is a code.” // "For ‘I've got the crystal meth we discussed via coded text message last night.’ I don't know? Seems plausible." // "So, I'm confused. Was he a cocaine dealer or are we gravitating towards the crystal meth?" Absolute gold. Not gonna lie. “This swing is taken” definitely reeks of subtle sketchy drug dealing undertones… :P But this definitely sounds like a conversation between me and my friends. The amount of meth jokes we make on a daily basis is astounding.

 

It’s not a real YA book with underage drinking and illegal drug use, right? Haha. I actually like when writers are honest about that kind of thing, because what’s the point in pretending it doesn’t happen? It’s ignorant if you write a book in a modern high school setting with no mention of that kind of thing, because it’s obviously incredibly prevalent no matter where you go.

 

It's cliche and I can't even be totally sure I'm enjoying myself, but it's so typically high school that I can't deny the comforting normalcy of it all. If you aren’t proud of this brilliant sentence, then you definitely should be now that I’m confirming its absolute accuracy. I feel this sentence in my SOUL, Jamie. I feel this so often it’s not even funny. Great way of putting that feeling into words. Perfect wording.

 

"Because Dartin sounds like a verb and people can't be verbs, Colton." Hashtag I love this.

 

Sometimes I'm jealous of the fact, but sometimes I wonder what the hell their Mom's and Dad's are thinking. This is one of the only typos I noticed this chapter. Just some apostrophe misuse. I won’t say more because you’re a grammar badass, as we all know. :P

 

I WAS RIGHT!! The last part of the chapter! HELL YEAH I PREDICTED IT. Not that it wasn’t an obvious connection or anything, but it just makes me happy when I’m not super wrong on something lol.

 

All right. So. The chapter overall: So many great lines. To be honest, there were so many lines that sounded like they came out of a John Green novel. As you know, that is the highest of compliments in regards to YA lit, so take that to heart, man. This was a beautifully executed chapter—your best yet. I am kind of sitting here in awe. You are awesome.

 

-Artemis

 


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#15 Jcrazy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 10:35 PM

Artemis: Your comment has filled me with so much joy and positivity that I could cryyy. Rough past couple of days. Emotional wreck yes that's me :)) Haha, but really: THANK YOU.

Sleep freezing was not a thing until I was struggling with the beginning of the chapter and it came to me. But my point is to make freezing out to be a totally mental thing, so I knew I wanted to include it as soon as I thought of it!

I believe the M&Ms paragraph was written on a day when I thought my own friends were acting really shitty and I was wishing I had friends that bought me M&Ms :P

Anytime you compliment me on my word choice I get super happy because I feel the same way about YOUR word choice :P I love that you're able to easily visualize the scenes. As a writer, you can always see your own scene even if you haven't described a lick of it, so when you realize someone else is seeing it too...it's awesome. There's some quote about words being nothing until someone other than the writer reads them and gives them life inside their mind (I think that's a quote. If not, it should be). That's how I feel when someone tells me they can see or understand what I've written.

Painfully awkward is my speciality (I was actually just writing this short fluffy story based around the concept of awkwardness) ;) I knew I wanted her meeting with the park guy to be uncomfortable, just to clue the reader in on the fact that he was different than every other character I've introduced.

God bless ya for pointing out my drug dialogue :P Gotta say those have been my favorite lines to write too. I knew I needed a scene to show off their humor and that one fell right into my lap.

Yeah, I'm glad you see the drug use/alcohol/other unfortunately high school-y things that way. That's how I see it too. When authors avoid it I'm just like...hellooo? By mentioning it you're either preparing younger generations for the s.hit to come or telling older kids stuff they already know good and well. I mean, if it's at least a YA book, you can talk about drug use. Cooome on, world. Suck it up.

It's cliche and I can't even be totally sure I'm enjoying myself, but it's so typically high school that I can't deny the comforting normalcy of it all. I AM proud of this line but I wasn't going to say anything because that would make me look like so self centered. :D So THANK YOU for allowing me to brag. That line came so easily because that's how I feel when I'm out with people a lot. It's like "yeah I think I'm enjoying this hanging out with friends thing, but sitting in front of the TV might be just as good."

Be still my heart, that was an ugly apostrophe typo! Phew. Thank you.

Yesss, the park guy IS the guy who had the paper with her name on it many moons ago! Obviously that's very confusing right now, but will make more sense LATER, I promise! :)

You compared some of my lines to John Green lines, so now I'll just go happy cry in a corner somewhere, k? Legitimately, that's the best compliment anyone can give me. YOU are awesome!

Thanks, Artemis! Your comments are always super appreciated.
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#16 24moon100

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 06:37 PM

I will be reading this as soon as SAT madness is over, kay? Kay. 

 

:D


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