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The Art of Going With the Flow


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#1 24moon100

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 06:51 PM

The Art of Going With the Flow

Life happens. Roll with it.

 

Despite her degree in education, Emma Singer doesn’t have the slightest idea of what she wants to do with her life. She had a plan once. That was before. Before she tried teaching and quickly discovered that it wasn’t her calling. Before her longtime boyfriend, Cody, was sleeping with another girl. Before her dad was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer. Before she started attending group therapy sessions for her “depression.” Before she met Mr. Shizuoka, the perceptive old man that owns the tea shop just below her new apartment flat...

 

Now, it appears evident to Emma, all she’s got going for her is a part-time job at the Barns & Noble, her major weight loss, and the fact that she gets to pay easy rent just as long as she remains roommates with her older brother’s good friend Ethan.

 

Will Emma be able to work out the kinks in her life, or will she find that the kinks might actually be blessings in disguise?

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

I stared blankly at the apartment listings, barley registering anything on the page. I was both sleep deprived and starving, a combination that only served to increase my distraction. I sat at a corner booth by myself, sipping a diet coke while I waited for my brother Jared to show up. 

 

He was always running late. 

 

The summer afternoon sun rays slanted in from the windows, and if it wasn’t for the intense air-conditioning circulating the restaurant and the cool drink in my hands, I would’ve been throughly drenched in sweat. Today it was about a hundred and five degrees, as was the standard August temperature for Texas, and the only people not inside were those walking briskly from their cars to the safe haven of an air-conditioned building. I watched the heat waves ripple outside. Just knowing that I would eventually have to step back out into them made several phantom beads of sweat prickle the back of my neck. 

 

The heat was relentless that summer. The coolest it managed to dip down to was ninety degrees and that was in June. The worst part of it all was that I had to sleep in it. Hence my recent development of insomnia. There was no air-conditioning where I was currently staying, which was at my friend Evelyn’s, so for a hot-blooded woman like myself it was like living in a sauna. There wasn’t even a window unit. Oh sure, there was a celling fan, but it was practically useless. A ceiling fan by itself had no chance of battling this oppressive August heat.

 

Don’t even get me started on the humidity. 

 

In my previous condominium, the one I shared with my now estranged boyfriend Cody, there was plenty of air-conditioning. I missed it desperately, specifically the air-conditioning part. I would’ve still been living there if it wasn’t for our nasty break up and the unfortunate reality that I couldn’t possibly afford the rent on my own with only a part-time income. Cody and I split up after I found out about him cheating on me with one of my best friends (and now, appropriately, one of my ex-best friends). I say that lightly because, really, there is no other way to divulge that sort of information without sounding pathetic and broken. And I, for one, was determined not to be pathetic about it. I didn’t want to allow them the satisfaction. Instead of moping around eating ice cream and feeling miserable like I normally would’ve done, I bought myself one of those workout DVDs (Jillian Michaels edition) and trimmed down my waistline. 

 

If religiously exercising with Jillian Michaels is not considered productive therapy technique then I don’t know what is. 

 

“I know, I know,” Jared said as he hastily slid into the booth across from me. He had his palms raised up in an apologetic gesture. “I’m late. Before you get all pissed, you should hear what I am about to tell you.”

 

To my astonishment, my brother wasn’t alone. He’d brought along a friend and that said friend had already slid into the booth next to him.

 

“Em, you remember Ethan?” Jared explained when he noticed the direction of my gaze. 

 

Jared might have been my older brother and all, but any sibling resemblance between us ended there. Where he had mousy brown hair cropped short, mine was extremely long, semi-wavy, and practically bleach blonde. Where he had deep brown eyes, I had pale blue ones. Where he was six feet tall, I was five-foot-five. Where he was tan, I was not. Where he liked to wear athletic grab, I’d been told on many occasions that I dress like a hipster...

 

Anyway, you get my point. 

 

“Um, yeah.” I smiled tentatively at Ethan, still a little taken aback. I hadn’t expected him to be joining us. “I remember Ethan.”

 

Ethan wasn’t an easy person to forget. He, unlike myself, was a total genius. He didn’t flaunt this particular side of him, simply because Ethan wasn’t the kind of guy to flaunt, but you just knew after a certain amount of times hanging out with him that the guy was freakishly smart. For instance, he was a whiz with technology. One time, Jared had like five viruses on his computer, and Ethan managed to expunge them all. I think I remembered him mentioning once that he was especially interested in working with medical and space technology. Although, from what I was aware, he was currently working with Apple pay the bills. 

 

Like my brother, Ethan was tall. He had to be at least two or three inches taller than Jared. He also had the kind of silvery grey eyes incased in thick dark lashes that people, like myself right then, sometimes struggle with looking away from. Ethan kept his dark hair long, but at the same time short enough to where the hairline curved neatly against the top of his neck and his bangs just barely grazed his eyebrows. 

 

I suddenly became awkwardly fascinated with my straw rapper, if only to have an excuse to divert my eyes from his.

 

“Well, good, because I think I’ve found you a solution to your house-hunting problem.” Jared beamed at me, indicating to Ethan with his thumb. “Ethan needs a roommate.”

 

I nearly choked on my diet coke. “Oh my God...are you serious?

 

“Absolutely.” Jared beamed some more. I glanced over to Ethan for confirmation and he smiled, nodding his consent. “And the rent would be really cheap too. Ethan’s got a great set up.”

 

Then, as if awakening from a daydream, Jared blinked rapidly at me, tiling his head to the side. It didn’t take long for it to dawn on him since the next words he blurted were, “Wow, Emma, you’re not fat anymore!”

 

A comment like this would’ve normally offended me if I wasn’t still reeling from the shock of learning that Ethan wanted me to be his roommate. 

 

“Oh, sh*t.” Jared’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t mean to say it like that! I meant that you look noticeably, err...skinnier.”

 

Shaking his head in disapproval, Ethan chuckled. “You should know better than to comment on a girl’s weight, Jared.”

 

For reasons I cannot fathom, I found myself narrowing my eyes at Ethan and saying defensively: “I don’t care if people bring up my weight. Why would you assume that I would care if someone mentioned my weight?”

 

Of course, my snapping at him only further validated that yes, I was insecure about my weight and that no, I did not like when people brought it up.

 

Ethan raised his eyebrows in amusement. “Ah, is that so?”

 

“Yes,” I stammered.

 

Ethan shrugged. If he noticed that I was blushing profusely he didn’t let on. “Sorry then. My mistake.” 

 

Jared cleared his throat sheepishly, and was visibly relieved for the waiter’s interruption just then. We all took this time to order our burgers. Kirk’s was a dinner-style burger joint located just outside the downtown area of Austin, and was also Jared and I’s designated meeting place. Due to conflicting schedules, Jared and I didn’t get together all too often, but when we did it was mostly at Kirk’s. 

 

“So, what do you say, Emma?” Ethan asked a minute later, after the waiter left. His tone was casual but I didn’t miss the tactfulness of it. This was, after all, a serious decision. And even though we were both perfectly mature adults, him being twenty-six and I being twenty-four, I couldn’t just ignore the whole opposite-sex thing. It was one thing to be sharing living courters with my boyfriend, but Ethan? He was one of my brother’s best friends. I’d known him since I was in high school

 

I don’t know why, but the prospect of sharing an apartment with him seemed more than a little intimidating. Not that he himself was exactly intimidating. He was just, well, Ethan

 

I bit my lip, contemplating. “It depends,” I stalled. “How much would I be paying for rent?”

 

If Ethan detected the source of my misgivings, he didn’t show it. “Really cheap, like Jared said. Technically you wouldn’t even be paying the rent. I can cover the rent just fine on my own. It’s the extra bills that I would need your help with.”

 

“You mean to tell me that all I’d need to pay for is the utilities?”

 

Ethan nodded. “Pretty much.”

 

“I don’t know if I can accept that.” I frowned, even though I’d already made up my mind on the matter. The promise of air-conditioning was too irresistible. “It seems like you’re getting the short end of the stick.”

 

Ethan shook his head, smiling at my feeble attempt at being fair. “Are you kidding me? You’d be contributing significantly.”

 

By that point Jared felt compelled to interject. “God, is this some female independency thing? Because if so you shouldn’t be so damn irrational. Emma, you’ve been complaining for months about needing a place to stay. It really can’t get much sweeter than this.” 

 

I ignored my brother. To Ethan I said, “How much would it be if we split both the cost of rent and the utilities fifty-fifty?”

 

Ethan scratched the back of his neck, mentally calculating. 

 

“Emma...” he trailed off wearily after a minute or so of mental math. “Honestly, I don’t mind. Don’t feel like you have to split things fifty-fifty with me. I’m happy to carry the slack.” 

 

“You’re dodging the question, Ethan,” I pointed out accusingly. 

 

Ethan sighed. “Truthfully, Emma, you wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

 

“Aha! I knew it!” I wagged a finger at him. “I’m a charity case aren't I?”

 

Jared huffed indignantly, taking the liberty of interjecting again. What he had to feel indignant about, I was at a loss to know. “Okay. This is getting ridiculous, Em. So what if Ethan is being charitable? You should be grateful that he’s giving you such a reasonable deal!”

 

Thanks to Jared’s outburst, his words sank in and I realized with soaring embarrassment that he was right. What was I doing? After all the shitty stuff that had happened to me in the past few months, was I really about to spurn this spot of good luck? I glanced at Ethan—right then he was most likely regretting his offer to have me as a roommate and thinking of a polite way to retract it—and smiled contritely. 

 

Something about the way he smiled back managed to sway me.

 

“Okay, Ethan, when can I move in?”

 

 

 

__________

 

 

Hey, people! I hope you like this new story of mine. I make no promises, but I plan on taking this one far. I know this has to be my billionth story on here, so bear with me. It's not going to be perfect. I'll tell you that right now. It's going to have unnecessary drama and fluff and typos and all kinds of things that it probably shouldn't have. And I think, the perfectionist in me aside, that if I'm ever going to finish something I just have to accept that the first draft is going to suck. That being said, be kind and constructive with your criticism. I'll need it. :)

 

Enjoy!

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 24 March 2014 - 06:59 PM.

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#2 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 07:08 PM

YAAAAY. :D I'm so excited! I missed reading your stuff on here. This looks super promising!

 

I'm currently working on my own draft right now (ironic that you posted tonight; that was my plan too :P), so this comment is going to be super short. First of all, love the concept. Seems like there will be lots of fun stuff ahead. I love stories that are just about life. This seems like a fun idea that will bring plenty of funny and sad and sweet moments in the future. :)

 

I also love the title. I know you've posted just a bit here, but it seems to work very well with what you've set up.

 

Character stuff is great so far. (I loved the whole Jillian Michaels bit, by the way.) Interested to get to know Emma and Ethan (wink wink). I feel either a great brother-sister-esque friendship or a budding romance in the air...

 

Can't wait to see where you go with this! Like I said, so glad you're posting again. I think you have a great outlook--it doesn't have to be perfect, no matter how much it may pain you as a writer. :) It's a first draft, and first drafts are perfect opportunities to write a bunch of crap. Haha.

 

-Artemis


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#3 24moon100

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:41 PM

YAAAAY. :D I'm so excited! I missed reading your stuff on here. This looks super promising!

 

I'm currently working on my own draft right now (ironic that you posted tonight; that was my plan too :P), so this comment is going to be super short. First of all, love the concept. Seems like there will be lots of fun stuff ahead. I love stories that are just about life. This seems like a fun idea that will bring plenty of funny and sad and sweet moments in the future. :)

 

I also love the title. I know you've posted just a bit here, but it seems to work very well with what you've set up.

 

Character stuff is great so far. (I loved the whole Jillian Michaels bit, by the way.) Interested to get to know Emma and Ethan (wink wink). I feel either a great brother-sister-esque friendship or a budding romance in the air...

 

Can't wait to see where you go with this! Like I said, so glad you're posting again. I think you have a great outlook--it doesn't have to be perfect, no matter how much it may pain you as a writer. :) It's a first draft, and first drafts are perfect opportunities to write a bunch of crap. Haha.

 

-Artemis

 

First of all, Artemis, thank you for the comment! It's always a joy to read your comments.  :) One of the best feelings, I think, is posting a new story and reading the first comment. So thank you being the first. :P

 

That is funny how you were planning on posting today too. I'm very excited to read it! I think we were both long overdue posting-wise. 

 

As far as the concept goes I'm happy you approve. :D As you pointed out, I really wanted to do something simply life-based this time. I've always liked the idea of having a moral to my story. That's what I was aiming at back in The Truth About Stereotypes, but obviously TTAS was a flop because it jumped all over the place and was not very realistic. This, I'm hoping, will be more real if you know what I mean. 

 

Yes, the title! I love it too. Normally I suck at titles so I feel like this is a step up for me. I even googled it and nothing else came up so that means it's 100% original! Haha. 

 

The Jillian Michaels bit was actually inspired from when I babysat last weekend and I noticed they had one of her DVDs. But yeah, you're awesome for appreciating the reference. :D

 

I can't wait to introduce all the characters more! This story is going to have a nice variety of them, I can already assure you. Emma and Ethan's budding relationship is going to be especially fun to write. ;)

 

Don't let me delete this one. I need to get over my thirteen chapter hump. Even if it means I'm writing crap, I don't want to quit on this. As far as my story ideas go, this has been one of my most developed so far. 

 

I'll try to have the next chapter up soon, since I realize the first one was kind of short. 

 

Thanks again for reading! :)

 

—MEG


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#4 Jcrazy

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 10:14 PM

Meg, you're NOT going to freaking delete this, do you hear me?! Hah.

This is awesome so far, but just to encourage you: it's okay to write crap sometimes. If you get to a point in this story where you're in a slump and thinking "why should I even go on," realize you will get OVER that slump. Yeah, the writing might not rock all that much and you may write four straight chapters of fluff that have no vitality to the plot, but it's okay because all that can be fixed when you're DONE with the story! I'm determined for you to get past that 13th chapter this time!

ANYWAY. This story sounds really inviting so far. The summary was the type of book I'd pick out to read on a lazy day when I want a sweet and easy going story to fall into. Definitely right up my ally, and it sounds like right up yours too. I'm glad you found something you want to write about.

Random points I feel the need to make:

I have a brother named Jared! Wow! Unfortunately he has no smart and attractive friends named Ethan.

I love that you described her style as hipster because my friends and I have been making it our goal to dress hipster. Like we legit went to thrift shops today lol (random sorry).

Your writing is hella awesome don't ever ever ever stop.

So ummmm POST ANOTHER CHAPTER, MEG.
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#5 24moon100

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 11:25 PM

Meg, you're NOT going to freaking delete this, do you hear me?! Hah.

This is awesome so far, but just to encourage you: it's okay to write crap sometimes. If you get to a point in this story where you're in a slump and thinking "why should I even go on," realize you will get OVER that slump. Yeah, the writing might not rock all that much and you may write four straight chapters of fluff that have no vitality to the plot, but it's okay because all that can be fixed when you're DONE with the story! I'm determined for you to get past that 13th chapter this time!

ANYWAY. This story sounds really inviting so far. The summary was the type of book I'd pick out to read on a lazy day when I want a sweet and easy going story to fall into. Definitely right up my ally, and it sounds like right up yours too. I'm glad you found something you want to write about.

Random points I feel the need to make:

I have a brother named Jared! Wow! Unfortunately he has no smart and attractive friends named Ethan.

I love that you described her style as hipster because my friends and I have been making it our goal to dress hipster. Like we legit went to thrift shops today lol (random sorry).

Your writing is hella awesome don't ever ever ever stop.

So ummmm POST ANOTHER CHAPTER, MEG.

 

I will not delete this. I will not delete this. I will not delete this...

 

I really do want to make a goal of getting over my thirteen chapter slump. With y'alls help, I hope that I can. The encouragement you've given me has already done wonders for my motivation. Besides, I can't possibly live with the shame of letting you guys down yet AGAIN. Nope. Crappy or not, I'm going to finish this sucker. Lol.

 

It's funny when story ideas come to me. I came up with the summary of this while I was babysitting last weekend. I didn't have my computer with me so I typed it up in the notepad app on my phone and when I got home I went straight to writing.

 

I'm glad that the summary is the type that would grab you. How you described it is basically the exact direction of where I aim to go with this. :)

 

I love the name Jared. That's a cool coincidence about it being your brother's name. I picked it mostly because it's the name of one of my favorite actors, Jared Padalecki. :D

 

That's awesome about you and your friends making it your goal to dress hipster! Recently, it has been one of mine as well. Hah. 

 

Anyway, thank you so so much for reading and commenting, Jamie. I feel like I'm on a cloud after reading your comment. It's nice to have such positive feedback and support. This is the kind of stuff that is going to help me get over my 13 chapter slump. :)

 

Now all that is left is for YOU to post something, Jamie. ;)

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 24 March 2014 - 11:28 PM.

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#6 Gee{or}jah

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:04 AM

MEG!! This is awesome!! I love having new Meg stories to read, because I always enjoy them:)

I can honestly empathise with Emma, education degrees are hella boring and I don't blame someone for not being able to handle 30 crazy kids, trust me it's not easy. My headache can vouch for that :P

Every time I read about seasons and temperatures inform an author who isn't Australian I am always totally confused. 105 degrees? Say whaaattt?? And in June, man it's freezing cold then! Haha. Me and my alternative Australian ways.

Seeing you post has made me want to write again. Pleeaassseeeeee keep with this one, your amazing meg:)

Post another soon!

<3 Georgia x
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#7 24moon100

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:02 AM

MEG!! This is awesome!! I love having new Meg stories to read, because I always enjoy them:)

I can honestly empathise with Emma, education degrees are hella boring and I don't blame someone for not being able to handle 30 crazy kids, trust me it's not easy. My headache can vouch for that :P

Every time I read about seasons and temperatures inform an author who isn't Australian I am always totally confused. 105 degrees? Say whaaattt?? And in June, man it's freezing cold then! Haha. Me and my alternative Australian ways.

Seeing you post has made me want to write again. Pleeaassseeeeee keep with this one, your amazing meg:)

Post another soon!

<3 Georgia x

 

GEORGIA! HI. Thank you! :D Seeing that you are reading makes me super excited. 

 

I'm glad you can empathize with Emma. It's nice to know that she can be relatable. :)

 

As far as the temperature thing goes, no that is not an exageration. It really does get up to 105 degrees F in Texas. :/ I can see how that would be confusing to you since everything is backwards for you ever there. ;) Man, can I please come and visit you. I'd love to go to Australia.

 

And, yes. You should start writing again. I miss reading your stuff! 

 

Anyway, again, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It brightened my otherwise dreary day. 

 

Expect an update this weekend! I'm about halfway done ch2 it right now. :)

 

—MEG


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#8 24moon100

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:20 PM

CHAPTER TWO

 

“Okay, that’s gonna be twelve-fifty. Do you have a Barns & Noble membership card with us?” I said to the man I was checking out, stuffing his copy of How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life into a bag and giving it to him. 

 

He was a middle aged guy, probably in his late fifties, with a balding head, graying mustache, and reading glasses. He nodded and forked over his membership card for me to swipe. Judging by his laugh lines, I felt like he would be safe to joke with. 

 

“Tell me if that’s worth reading.” I gestured to the book with my eyes. 

 

The man shook his head, but a smile sprouted on his face. “A young girl like yourself shouldn’t be worrying about the rest of her life.”

 

“And why would that be?” I asked, using the too-sweet voice I reserved solely for paying customers, children, and elderly people.

 

The laugh lines around his eyes deepened. “Trust me, you haven’t lived long enough yet. Give yourself at least a good ten or so more years, then you can go ahead and start worrying about the future.”

 

And with that the man turned and walked out the door, leaving me to meditate on that. 

 

What did he mean about not worrying about my future? How could I possibly be too young to worry about my future

 

Isn’t that why I went to school? So that I could prepare for my future?

 

Some people. I swear. They’re all walking around with a bag of loose screws.

 

Then again...look at where my degree in education had gotten me. Instead of teaching little kindergarteners their ABCs like I’d once aspired, I was now working a double shift at the Barns & Noble making minimum wage. Normally I would be part-time, but I had to fill in for a coworker. 

 

I gave the clock a despaired glance. One more hour. Oh, Lord help me. Speaking from historical experience, the last hour always feels like two. 

 

While I took care of the next person in line, I tried to think of pleasant things to pass the time. 

 

It’d been about a month since the move. Thanks to Ethan’s fully functional air-conditioning—even though it was technically ours now, I still considered the apartment his, mostly because it was too soon for me to think of it as anything else—I’d been sleeping blissfully. 

 

No more heat-induced insomnia for me. At last! I was free from the fires of hell.

 

Not to mention, as roommates, that Ethan and I got along fabulously. All the previous anxiety I’d once had about the arrangement being awkward seemed to evaporate as soon as I realized that it was just like living with my brother, only everything was neater. Well, okay, that’s a lie. There were still some things that were awkward. For one, Ethan seemed to find it perfectly okay to walk around the apartment without a shirt on. This was mostly in the morning, before he changed out of his PJs, but regardless of the circumstances, it made me uncomfortable. 

 

Why did it make me uncomfortable, you ask? 

 

Because Ethan may or may not have been sporting a six-pack underneath all those graphic T-shirts he normally wore.

 

Not that I was attracted to him or anything. No, I just happened to find the well defined muscles of his naked chest rather, um, distracting. 

 

For him to have that awesome of a body it made me wonder if he, like I, worked out with Jillian Michaels in his spare time. And if not Jillian, then who? Because maybe I should get myself a copy of whatever he was watching. That is, obviously, if he was watching any workout videos. Not everyone likes to burn their calories by mode of DVD instruction. Some people prefer more conventional methods of exercise such as visiting the gym or going for a long run in the park. I, personally, did not share this preference. I didn’t like to workout in public. I was too self conscious for that. 

 

Speaking of awkward, need I mention the Evelyn Incident?

 

Before I get into that, though, let me just take a minute to tell you about Evelyn. 

 

Evelyn, despite her faulty air-conditioning, ran a tight ship. She was a single mother of a five-year-old boy she named Jeff after her father. And if being a full time mom at twenty-five wasn’t enough, Evelyn worked three jobs. One as a masseuse, one as a bartender, and one as a sign crafter. Although, strictly speaking, the sign crafting was more of a freelance thing of hers than a legitimate job. 

 

I met her my freshman year of college; we had taken the same Psychology101 class together. I’ll never forget the first time Evelyn spoke to me. She came up and sat down next to me the second day of Psych101, eyed me up and down, and then announced, in a loud enough voice to horribly humiliate me in front of everyone else, that my shirt was on backwards.

 

Evelyn and I, we didn’t have much in common.

 

At least back then we didn't. 

 

I was the quiet geeky one who ate too many Butterfingers. She was the stony unapproachable one you saw smoking between classes. Yet somehow, by some miraculous force of nature, we established a friendship. 

 

Ev was one of those types of free spirits that always said what was on her mind no matter how ridiculous or personal or rude. If you asked her if you looked fat in something, I guarantee she wouldn’t hesitate to give you a straight answer. That’s just the kind of woman Evelyn was. She was all truth and no bullsh*t. 

 

And that was what I liked about her. 

 

Evelyn looked a lot like Avril Lavigne, if Avril had black hair instead of blonde. The facial features were the main giveaway; the sharp cheekbones, the dark makeup, the thin lips. But as a forewarning you should never mention this to Evelyn. She got it a lot, and whenever someone brought it up to her she would turn fire hydrant red and then proceed to call them a very nasty slew of cuss words. 

 

If it had been me, I’d have been flattered, but Evelyn apparently didn’t hold Avril in the same esteem. 

 

So back to the Evelyn Incident:

 

In celebration of my new living arrangement, Evelyn came over to have some Champagne (when I realized there was no Champagne we settled for wine) and watch TV with me while Ethan was at work. Ethan worked monday through friday, and occasionally on Saturdays, while my schedule adhered to a more flexible system. I usually had Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays off if I could help it. I generally asked for the morning-through-afternoon shifts, so Ethan and I normally got up around the same time to report to work, but that also meant that I’d get home a few hours before him. 

 

This particular time, it was a Friday and I was off. 

 

While she was with me, Evelyn left Jeff with the babysitter. Since she had to juggle three jobs, she left him with the babysitter quite a lot. Jeff didn’t mind, according to Ev.

 

“So, have you seen him naked yet?” Evelyn wanted to know while a rerun of Friends played muffled in the background. She was referring to Ethan. 

 

We were sitting on the couch in the living room, drinking our first glasses of wine while we waited for my casserole to bake. Evelyn was a vegetarian so I had to think of something that didn’t involve meat. Three-cheese pasta casserole seemed like a safe dish to go with. 

 

“Evelyn!” I gasped/giggled. By then the wine had begun to take effect. “No! Ew.”

 

She shrugged. “What? It was a valid question.”

 

“I don’t think of him in that way,” I explained to her. 

 

“Oh.” She contemplated this. “So what do you think of him as?”

 

“I don’t know,” I admitted, slumping deeper into the cushiness of the couch. My stomach was all warm and tingly from the alcohol. I was notorious for being a bit of a lightweight, so after a few gulps it was no shocker that I was already buzzed. “It’s hard to say with him. He’s like a friend, but not really at the same time. I wouldn’t picture him as a brotherly figure either, considering the way I get when he walks around without his shirt off.”

 

“I see.” Evelyn nodded, sipping her wine thoughtfully. “I think the term you’re looking for is ‘it’s complicated.’”

 

I let her words seep into my toxin-relaxed brain. “Yep. That sounds about right.”

 

“I wonder how he feels,” Evelyn pondered. “Maybe I’ll ask him.”

 

“Don’t do that,” I whined. Thanks to the alcohol, the whine came out more childish than intended. “You’ll just freak him out.”

 

“I’ll have you know that guys admire my directness,” Ev shot defensively. 

 

“Only some of them do,” I corrected, rolling my eyes. “Most of the time it just freaks them out.”

 

The apartment was on the smaller side, only two bedrooms and two baths. It was situated on the seventh floor and sat above the White Lotus, a tiny Japanese-esque tea shop. You had to pass through it in order to get up to Ethan’s flat, which always made me slightly guilty whenever I didn’t buy anything from there. Not because I felt like it was obligatory of me or anything, but because I felt bad for the poor little old Asian man who owned it. There were rarely any customers at the White Lotus. Most people preferred Starbucks over Japanese herbal tea, and I was unfortunately one of those people. 

 

The living area and the kitchen area were meshed together, and there was no designated dinning area so we just ate at the kitchen bar on stools when it came time for meals. Thankfully, the apparent had a laundry room, so I didn’t have to haul my dirty clothes off to a Laundromat. Despite its limited space, the place didn’t feel cramped. There were plenty of paneled windows that faced the main street and wood floors to give it a more open feel, plus a balcony feature, and at night you could see all the city lights twinkle from the living room. 

 

Luna, Ethan’s golden retriever, suddenly sprang from her nesting spot on the couch and bounded for the door, whining excitedly. Ethan walked in moments later carrying a bag of groceries and wearing his work uniform: jeans and a white long-sleeve tee pushed up to his elbows underneath a blue T-shirt with the apple logo on it. Luna wagged her tail eagerly, as was her custom whenever Ethan came home, sniffing him and licking him joyously as he bent down to pet her and say hello.

 

“Hey,” he said casually when he noticed us on the couch.

 

“Hey. How was your day?” I replied back. 

 

“Swell,” Ethan answered in a tone that suggested that it had been anything but swell. In the short time that I’d been living with him, Ethan made it no secret to me that he did not enjoy his job. To him, it was a necessary evil. As mediocre and unfulfilling as things got at Apple, he knew he had to do it. Ditto my job at Barns & Noble.

 

I could empathize with him on that level. Although, unlike Ethan, I didn’t have any aspirations anymore. He knew what he wanted to be. I didn’t. There was a time I thought I’d make a good teacher. Look how well that turned out for me. 

 

Ethan set down the bag of groceries, as well as his keys and wallet, on the kitchen island. “And yours?”

 

I shrugged. All I had done that day, before Evelyn came over, was lounge around in my PJs and read. Thanks to my employment discount at Barns & Noble, I got to read a plethora of books for cheap. “I don’t know if I would call it swell, but it was my day off so I guess it was fine.” 

 

“Today I was on the phone with a client I could barely understand for two hours. You be the judge of who had a better day,” was Ethan’s response to that. 

 

“Wow, that sucks,” I said sympathetically. 

 

There was a tiny pause, then the sound of Evelyn clearing her throat. 

 

“Yeah, hi, I’m Evelyn,” she chimed in. 

 

Evelyn wasn’t much of a believer in pleasantries. She liked to get right to the point, no dilly dallying. 

 

Taking the hint, Ethan strode over to where Evelyn and I were sitting and made himself comfortable in the reclining chair next to the couch. Then, introducing himself to Evelyn, he smiled. It was a nice smile. Not perfectly straight or anything, but the kind of smile you saw on someone who never got braces because they didn’t need them. Besides, I felt like there was a certain charm about the imperfectness of it. Not, of course, that I was attracted to him. 

 

And from the moment Evelyn smiled her sly, calculating smile, and said, very businesslike, “So, Ethan, what is your take on Gay Rights?” I just knew that I was going to need another glass of wine. 

 

To Ethan’s credit, he handled Evelyn’s ‘directness’ with more grace and humor than I could’ve hoped for. 

 

“Personally,” Ethan began after she’d questioned him on his political views. Evelyn was hardcore Democrat so I silently prayed for him to say that he was also a Democrat if only to save him from one of her long-winded monologues. “I don’t favor a specific party. This is my opinion, obviously, but most of the politicians these days are all of bunch of liars and cocky bastards. I feel like voting in today’s society is simply picking the lesser of two evils.” 

 

Thus commenced Evelyn’s twenty-minute monologue on politics. 

 

I could feel myself squirming a while later as we ate the casserole I made, knowing that Ethan was probably feeling the same way, only he was doing a better job of masking it. 

 

I loved Evelyn, I did, but you could only take her in small doses. I especially never made it a habit of introducing her to people because of this very scenario playing out in front of me. This time, though, I couldn’t have avoided it, since Ev had insisted on meeting him after hearing about my new living arrangement with him.

 

I’d have to say that the true curve ball of the evening was when, after drilling him on his religious standpoint (he wasn’t very religious, he informed her, on the account of having atheist parents), she went, “So how exactly would you describe your relationship with Emma? I asked Emma her feelings about you and she said, ‘it’s complicated.’ Would that be your feelings as well?” 

 

But Ethan never got to a chance to answer that one because, drunk off my ass as I was from consuming those three glasses of wine, I blurted, “Okay! I think that’s enough from you, Evelyn!”

 

And then, haziness encroaching on my vision and consciousness, I passed out. 

 

I know it was dumb of me to do that, knowing what I did about my tendency to pass out after more than two glasses of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage or that matter), but I think part of me had kind of been hoping that I’d pass out.  

 

The next morning, I woke up on top my bed covers, fully clothed with a quilt draped over me, and a very bad hangover. Not bad enough to engender vomit, but bad enough to leave behind a blood-pumping heartache and an awful taste in my mouth. When I eventually dragged my feet out of bed, showered, and walked into the kitchen, Ethan was there pouring himself a bowl of cereal and acting as if it were a typical Saturday morning. I did my best to act the same, even if inside I was mortified. 

 

Ethan and I didn’t talk much about the Evelyn Incident after that. 

 

It was probably for the better. 

 
__________
 
 
Hey guys. Hope you liked chapter two. :)
 
Please let me know what you think!
 
—MEG

Edited by 24moon100, 27 March 2014 - 11:27 PM.

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#9 Jcrazy

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:41 PM

HAHA I like Evelyn. She seems pretty honest and straight forward. Definitely a likable character. I like how she just said "yeah hi I'm Evelyn." lol I would do that.

Compliments to you on Emma's internal monologue. It's really easy and enjoyable to follow along with :)

I'm guessing the older man she met at the beginning of the chapter will be showing back up? Hmmm?

I know working at Apple might not be the job Ethan is after, but I've always thought the Apple genius people in the stores just have the coolest jobs :P They make me feel dumb because they know EVERYTHING.

I want to see more of Ethan and Evelyn! Evelyn because she's funny and Ethan because we don't know too much about him yet. Exciteddd.

Anyway, technically speaking, it was really good chapter! I didn't notice any major errors other than a few word mix ups. Oh, and Barnes and Noble has an E in the Barnes lol. No biggie, but I figured I'd mention it.

Update again! I'm likin' thiss.
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#10 24moon100

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 07:23 PM

HAHA I like Evelyn. She seems pretty honest and straight forward. Definitely a likable character. I like how she just said "yeah hi I'm Evelyn." lol I would do that.

Compliments to you on Emma's internal monologue. It's really easy and enjoyable to follow along with :)

I'm guessing the older man she met at the beginning of the chapter will be showing back up? Hmmm?

I know working at Apple might not be the job Ethan is after, but I've always thought the Apple genius people in the stores just have the coolest jobs :P They make me feel dumb because they know EVERYTHING.

I want to see more of Ethan and Evelyn! Evelyn because she's funny and Ethan because we don't know too much about him yet. Exciteddd.

Anyway, technically speaking, it was really good chapter! I didn't notice any major errors other than a few word mix ups. Oh, and Barnes and Noble has an E in the Barnes lol. No biggie, but I figured I'd mention it.

Update again! I'm likin' thiss.

 

Haha, yeah, Evelyn. I'm glad you like her because you should expect to be seeing a lot of her. Her character role is vital. :)

 

Emma's internal dialogue is possibly going to change soon. Right now it's pretty lighthearted as I get the introductions out of the way, but I have a feeling she's going to be loosing some of that lightheartedness coming up. Not to spoil anything but some things are going to happen that are going to hit her hard.

 

I'm glad you like it though. It's always nice to know when you're doing something right. :D

 

Haha. The older man in the beginning is actually like the spitting image of my dad. I described him exactly the same. The book he bought was an actual book that my dad has been reading. My dad is really into those sorts of books. He also listens to a lot of motivational speakers... Lol. 

 

I think Ethan is fine with his job for the most part. He just wishes he could be doing something more.

 

You will be seeing more of him though, don't worry. I still have to introduce some more stuff before I can get further into him but as far as characters go he'll be one of the main ones. 

 

Lol. I never spell Barnes & Noble right. That darned "e" it always alludes me. I never can seem to spell "lose" right either. I always just assume that there is supposed to be another "o" because it sounds like it. Anyway, thanks for the hint. :)

 

I'll try to update as soon as I can! I'd like to update more frequently, like once per week, so we'll see how well that goes... 

 

As always, thanks for the comment! :D

 

—MEG


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#11 24moon100

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:32 PM

I feel as though this chapter lacks something, but I'm posting it anyway. 

 

Regardless, I hope you like it. :)

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

 

When the rain came down in a torrential downpour that first day of September, I wasn’t prepared for it. It was late afternoon, around four-thirty, and I’d just rapped up my shift at B & N. Not an hour earlier the sun had been out and shining proud, casting its mighty glaring beams through the many windows of the store, baking me and everyone else in a heat surely reminiscent of August. It didn’t even get cloudy until ten minutes before I stepped out into the bustle of the shopping center and walked to my car. Even then, the chance of rain seemed doubtful, so I didn’t worry about it.

 

When the rain did decide to strike, I was at the park, watching a big group of people fly kites, which was probably the worst possible place to be caught without an umbrella.

 

Here’s the thing with me and rain: we didn’t mix well. Not even rain really so much as what accompanied it. The thunder. The lightning. The hail. The wind... You see, I had an irrational fear of thunderstorms. ‘Fear’ would be putting it mildly, I guess, but basically wherever there was thunder, whenever there was lighting, hail, ect., I go into hysterics. They have a word for it—Astraphobia—but even with a fancy name, it didn’t make the condition any less embarrassing. 

 

Happens to the best of us, I know. Can’t say I haven’t tried getting over it, because I have. 

 

Lucky for me, thunderstorms weren’t a common occurrence in Texas. At least, not typically. I mean eighty-five precent of the year we spent combatting severe drought so whenever there was a little bit of rain people were usually way thrilled about it rather than swallowed up in panic. 

 

I don’t even know why I decided to stop by the park that day. I guess it was just one of those random impulses you get when you don’t have much else to do with your time and aren’t in the mood to go home yet.

 

I sat on a wooden bench, a thick historical fiction novel poised in my lap. The group of people with their kites were laughing with one another and it was a pleasant background noise to read to. I had lost interest in watching the kites early on. Despite the number of people—roughly fifty of them at the least—there were only a total of three kites billowing in the wind. Granted they were gigantic, but whatever. You can only watch a kite for so long.

 

The grey clouds seemed accumulate quickly and aggressively overhead, as if they were purposefully conspiring against me. I hadn’t noticed, of course, too engulfed in the pages of my novel, until a single droplet of rain fell from the sky and landed on my cheek, where it slid down the skin of my neck to the white collar of my graphic tee and then soaked harmlessly into the fabric. 

 

Terror gripped me. I sat immobilized in place for a long moment, slowly tilting my face toward the greying sky. Another droplet of water fell, this time splashing on the page I was reading, causing the ink to bleed and the paper to bloat. 

 

Get a grip Emma, it’s just rain, I thought to myself uselessly. 

 

My car was a five minute walk from where I was. If I hurried I could make it there before the real onslaught began. If anything, I needed to take shelter. Fear of thunderstorms or no fear of thunderstorms, I didn’t want to get soaked. Stuffing my book into my purse, I sprang to my feet. The group of people with their kites were already rolling everything up. I imagined they must have been as angry with the rain as I was. The rain dampened everything. 

 

Just as the rain started to pick up, the parking lot where my car was stationed came into view as I sprinted for it. I sucked in a breath, a slight tinge of relief settling over me. My heart was racing, my chest was aching, my limbs were trembling. 

 

Once I was safely in my car, my clothes dripping and my hands shaking uncontrollably, I revved up the engine and was about to back out of the parking space when a loud crack of thunder exploded in the sky. To say I panicked would’ve been a serious understatement. 

 

Frantically fumbling for my phone, my breath leaving me in short, erratic intervals, I dialed the first number that popped into my head. 

 

I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die

 

I tried to focus on not hyperventilating. It was not working.

 

“Hello?” my dad’s voice questioned a few strangled heartbeats later. He must have noticed my raspy breathing, since next he added, “Oh, God. It’s happening isn’t it?”

 

Something about hearing the familiarity of his deep, concerned voice managed to normalize my breathing enough for me to speak. “D-dad,” I stuttered. “W-what do I do? I’m all by m-myself.”

 

“You know what to do, Emmy. Deep breaths,” dad instructed with an equal hint of firmness and lightness in his tone. “Think happy things. What about puppies? You like puppies, right?”

 

For a moment I was able to smile a little, but then the insistent patter of rain on the metal roof of my car awakened me from that moment and instead further plunged me into irrationality. 

 

“Has it started to thunder yet?” dad questioned, his words layered with a soothing calm I wished I could’ve felt. 

 

As if in answer, a deafening sonic blast of lightening and thunder clapped together with a force so powerful it shook my bones. I let out a blood curling scream, tears gushing down my face like someone had turned on a facet.  

 

“Okay! Yep. That was a loud one,” dad remarked. He was trying to keep his voice steady for my sake but I could sense that he’d betrayed some of that steadiness for the worry I knew he must’ve really been feeling. It always terrified him to see me get like this. He would always say the right things to me, he was the only one who could reason with me when I couldn’t be reasoned with; ever since I was little my dad was the shoulder I always leaned on. He was my best friend and my solid ground whenever things seemed to slip out from under me. He was my anchor in a storm. 

 

Suddenly, he pipped up. “Hey, kid, you want to know a secret?”

 

Another slam of thunder. Another fit of hysterical sobs. 

 

“W-what?” I asked him finally.

 

“After every storm,” he whispered, “there’s a rainbow.”

 

I laughed weakly, sniffling. The rain had subsided somewhat, with it the rapid thump of my heartbeat, pausing briefly so as if to allow my dad and I a chance to talk without its distraction. “That is not a secret. Everyone knows that.”

 

“Did you know that there’s a pot of gold at the end of rainbows?” 

 

“Yes.” I laughed again. 

 

Even though the storm was far from over, miraculously the rigidness in my muscles slowly began to relax. 

 

“And the leprechauns? Do you know about them?” my dad went on. “They guard the pot of gold, you know.”

 

“Yeah, I know about the leprechauns.” My voice was still severely shaky, but it was a definite step up from the screaming and sobbing. 

 

“If you know about the leprechauns then you must know about the angels,” dad assumed. 

 

“What about the angels?” I asked. Someone hastily slipped into the car next to mine just then. I watched in a detached sort of way as they drove off, wondering what it would’ve been like to be that person, to be able to live without cowering over something as harmless as thunder.

 

“The angels are making music up there,” dad explained to me. “The thunder is just heaven’s version of drums.”

 

“So what is everything else, if thunder is angel music?” I wanted to know. 

 

“I’m not sure,” dad admitted. “What do you think?”

 

“I’m not sure either,” I said, frowning a little. I could see how the thunder would be music, but what would the rain be? What would the lightning be?

 

“I tell you what: if I ever meet an angel, I’ll ask them.”

 

The thought of my dad having a conversation with an angel about the weather was somehow ridiculously hilarious to me. 

 

“If you do, you’ll tell me what they say right?” I joked.

 

“Of course,” dad promised, and we both laughed.

 

He wasn’t there with me, but I tried to picture him as if he were. I imagined his shinny bald head, his sun wrinkled forehead, his coffee-stained smile, his wildly bushy eyebrows and equally bushy blond mustache, his wide, childish blue eyes, his long crooked nose, his favorite Hawaiian T-shirt... I tried to focus on him, tried to recall every detail, every feature, however insignificant, so that I could pretend like he was truly right there sitting beside me. 

 

We talked for a long while. In spite of how spooked I got, my dad stayed on the line the entire time, never failing to reel me in after each episode of irrational, panic-stricken madness. Even after the storm had passed, I stayed on the phone with him.

 

And when it was eventually time to say goodbye, I glanced up to notice the rainbow arched over the park. Like shooting stars, rainbows were rare to come by. I was in awe. 

 

“You were right about the rainbow,” I said to him. “I should probably go find that pot of gold now.”

 

My dad had only one thing to say to that. “Catch me a leprechaun while you’re at it.”

 

 

__________

 

Despite how short the chapter was, it was important for me to reveal her fear of thunderstorms and her relationship with her dad early on. I could've found a way to drag it out somehow, but I've decided not to dwell on it any longer and to keep it the way it is. I will fiddle with it later but for now I should, as Dory would say, just keep swimming. 

 

I just have to keep reminding myself that the first draft is going to be messy...

 

I'll try to post the next chapter soon but just so you all know I've got a lot of upcoming events so it all depends. 

 

Happy reading!

 
—MEG

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#12 Jcrazy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 11:19 AM

Aw, this was such a sweet chapter because of the conversation with her dad!

Even though I cannot relate to Emma's situation at all (honestly, I love a good thunderstorm so long as it doesn't spoil my plans) I was able to empathize with her. She just seemed so terrified, I would HATE to have a fear like that.

I loved how the second her dad picked up the phone he knew what it was. "It's happening, isn't it?" Lol, I just found that really sweet but also kind of funny. He definitely seems like a cool guy, especially because of the way he was able to talk her down. If there's ever another thunderstorm, that's what she needs to do: just call her dad hah.

To be honest, I thought she was gonna call Ethan. It would have been cool and all, but I liked the conversation with her dad too much to wish that it had been Ethan.

Anyway, EXCELLENT CHAPTER. I don't think it was lacking like you said :D :D :D I just want another one! Haha.

UPDATE SOON.
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#13 24moon100

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 02:35 PM

Aw, this was such a sweet chapter because of the conversation with her dad!

Even though I cannot relate to Emma's situation at all (honestly, I love a good thunderstorm so long as it doesn't spoil my plans) I was able to empathize with her. She just seemed so terrified, I would HATE to have a fear like that.

I loved how the second her dad picked up the phone he knew what it was. "It's happening, isn't it?" Lol, I just found that really sweet but also kind of funny. He definitely seems like a cool guy, especially because of the way he was able to talk her down. If there's ever another thunderstorm, that's what she needs to do: just call her dad hah.

To be honest, I thought she was gonna call Ethan. It would have been cool and all, but I liked the conversation with her dad too much to wish that it had been Ethan.

Anyway, EXCELLENT CHAPTER. I don't think it was lacking like you said :D :D :D I just want another one! Haha.

UPDATE SOON.

 

It makes me very relieved to know that you do not think there is something lacking, because that was the main reason I hadn't posted it for so long so I'm glad I went ahead and did it. :)

 

The reason I wanted her to have a fear of thunderstorms was mostly to do with the fact that I was watching Because of Winn-Dixie and I don't know if you've seen it but in the movie the dog has a fear of thunderstorms. It was probably way unnecessary of me to add that part about her, but at this point I'm just going with the flow. ;)

 

Haha. That makes me smile that you wanted her to call Ethan. But as you saw it needed to be the dad to pick up the phone. Her dad will be an integral part of the story, just as Ethan is, so I had to give this chapter to him. Ethan will be in the next chapter though, so don't worry. :D

 

Thanks for your comment! It brightened my otherwise depressing Sunday. :P

 

—MEG


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#14 Jcrazy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

I used to LOVE Because of Winn-Dixie! And haha, yeah, just go with the flow ;) No, but really, I can see her fear of thunderstorms being used later in this story. Sometimes I surprise myself when a random detail weaves it's way back into the story later on.
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#15 24moon100

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 02:56 PM

I used to LOVE Because of Winn-Dixie! And haha, yeah, just go with the flow ;) No, but really, I can see her fear of thunderstorms being used later in this story. Sometimes I surprise myself when a random detail weaves it's way back into the story later on.

 

 

Hah. Yeah. I have a feeling it'll weave itself back in later on. ;)


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#16 24moon100

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:48 PM

Hello lovlies. 

 

Here is a fluff chapter because I can't for the life of me write anything with actual substance right now. 

 

Enjoy. :)

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

“That...” Ethan trailed off, shaking his head and staring at my ancient flip phone in repulsion. “That has got to go.”

 

We were sitting on the leather couch in the living room watching Legally Blonde. Ethan hadn’t specifically opted for Legally Blonde, but halfway through, after he had taken his evening shower, he decided to join me. It was only when my phone started to chime softly from my pocket that I had to pull it out and answer it, revealing to Ethan in the process how lazy of a person I truly was. I’d had the thing since I was in high school, I could’ve upgraded it a long time ago but I was simply just too lazy to trade it in. And anyway, I’d developed somewhat of a weird affection for it. I felt...pity for it. In a world of iphones and androids that little guy was probably one of the last of its kind. It felt wrong somehow to give it up for a phone with a touchscreen, just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Besides, it wasn’t like I could afford the cost of a data plan. 

 

I tried to pretend like I didn’t know what he was referring to. “Excuse me?” 

 

“Your phone. It’s a dinosaur. How long have you had that for?” Ethan clarified. 

 

I rarely used my cellphone, unless to call or text people, so this was probably the first time Ethan had noticed me with it. By the wonderment in his expression, it was clear he could not fathom why I would own such a prehistoric device. 

 

“Not that it is any of your concern.” I sniffed, defensive now. “But I happen to like my phone.”

 

“But—” Ethan’s eyes flickered to my cell. “Don’t you want something that doesn’t flip?”

 

I shrugged. “No.” 

 

“May I ask why?”

 

 “I don’t know. I guess I’m old fashioned.”

 

Ethan was not convinced. “If it’s money that’s the issue, you do realize I have a very nice friendship with Apple and would be more than happy to hook you up with something that doesn’t still have buttons with numbers on them.” 

 

“I appreciate where this is going, Ethan, but I don’t need a new phone.”

 

Ethan looked like he wanted to argue further, say something to persuade me otherwise, but instead he gave my phone one last disapproving glance before saying, “If you say so.”

 

I tucked my knees into my chest and snuggled deeper under the throw blanket, rapping it tightly around me so that all that was poking out of it was my neck and head. I took silent delight in the fact that I was actually cold, rather than hot, for a change. In my summer months spent with Evelyn, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to shiver. I had grown so accustomed to the sensations heat brought with it—sweat, drowsiness, nausea—being able to curl up under a blanket and watch a movie felt surreally normal and alien at the same time. 

 

I glanced over at Ethan to find that he was already staring at me. He must have noticed I was cold since the next thing he said to me was: “I can turn down the AC if you want.”

 

I shook my head, smiling. “No. I’m fine.”

 

Ethan laughed. “You look like one of those people in the Snuggie commercials.”

 

“I will take that as a compliment. Snuggies are cool.” 

 

“Although with an actual Snuggie you would have arm holes,” Ethan corrected himself, holding up the popcorn bowl in his hands. “How do you plan on eating this now?”

 

“You could always feed me the popcorn,” I suggested with an air of playful sarcasm.

 

Sometimes it amazed me how naturally our banter unfolded. It was like we were operating as friends, but to really classify us as friends, well that would’ve been a misclassification. He was my older brother’s best buddy, someone I knew from when I still wore braces. Even though we were roommates and all now, it was still hard not to think of him as the guy Jared used to play video games with. 

 

“I am not your servant,” Ethan said while popping a piece of popcorn into his mouth.

 

“Fine,” I said. “That popcorn tastes like cardboard anyway.”

 

As Ethan polished off the popcorn, my gaze kept absently wandering to his chest. Thanks to his annoying tendency to walk around without a shirt in the mornings, I knew exactly what lay beneath the thin barrier of his white cotton T-shirt. If I had to be honest, I’d begun to develop a crush on him. Not a major one, like my crush on Johnny Depp, but big enough of one that I desperately wanted to reach out and feel the firm ridges of his abs. I didn’t, of course, but I wanted to. 

 

It was stupid of me to want to. The pathetic thing was: I probably only had a crush on him because he was a person of the opposite gender and right now the only male besides my brother and dad that I’d had a stimulating conversation with since my break up with Cody. 

 

Though confused with my feelings as I was over Ethan, I did know one thing positively: I wasn’t going to screw up everything by making things between us awkward. I liked being able to fall asleep without waking up in a lake of my own sweat. I did not want to move back in with Evelyn just because I thought it might be fun to see what Ethan’s abs felt like. 

 

So don’t get me wrong. Ethan’s an awesome guy, there was no ignoring it, but if I wanted to keep the peace I knew I could not afford to explore any of the petty romanic feelings towards him I might’ve secretly possessed.

 

Looks like Evelyn ended up being right about the ‘it’s complicated’ thing. 

 

Man. I needed a new hobby. 

 

Maybe I’d take up karate lessons. 

 

Soon Legally Blonde had rolled into Legally Blonde 2. Apparently there was a marathon going on. It was about eight o’ clock and we were halfway into the second movie by the time Jared pounded on the door. Luna barked from Ethan’s lap and trotted behind him eagerly as he reluctantly peeled himself from the couch to go answer the door. I remained balled up inside my blanket, too cozy to even consider moving. 

 

Ethan opened the door to Jared with his arm slung around a short brunette girl I instantly recognized as his fiance, Hanna. Ethan greeted my brother with a stunned look whereas I knew exactly why my brother was here. He had called me two hours before, before Ethan had after teased me about my flip phone, telling me that he’d be picking Ethan and I up for a concert, but I’d completely spaced. 

 

“What are you guys doing?” Jared chastised. “I told you to be ready!”

 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ethan said honestly. 

 

That’s right. Because I forgot to tell him. 

 

Jared marched past Ethan without a word and reached down to yank my fuzzy blanket away from me. I gave a cry of protest as cold air rushed in and stung my exposed skin.

 

“Get dressed. We leave in ten minutes,” Jared demanded. His eyes bulged when he suddenly registered what I was wearing—one of his oversized high school baseball T-shirts and a pair of girl boxers. “What in the hell? That’s my shirt!”

 

Meanwhile, Ethan had invited Hanna to come in. Jared whirled around to fix Ethan with the same furious glare he’d fixed me. “You too, pajama boy!”

 

“I don’t even know what I’m getting dressed for,” Ethan objected. 

 

Jared let out an exasperated sigh. “Emma didn’t tell you?” 

 

“Yeah, about that... I might have forgot,” I said, apologetic.

 

Jared released another dramatic sigh and dragged a hand over his face. “We’re all going to The Blue Pineapple to listen to some live music. The band’s local but they’re the sh/t.”

 

“Do I know them?” Ethan asked.

 

“Probably not. They haven’t been around for that long,” Jared informed. 

 

Ethan directed his gaze at me. “You agreed to this?”

 

I laughed. “Not exactly.”

 

Where Jared was concerned, everything was just assumed as a yes. People hardly ever said no to him for the very reason that he’d go ballistic if you did. 

 

“One of my friends is in the band,” Hanna interjected. “He’s the bassist. I could introduce him to you, Emma, he’s super hot.” 

 

“Okay.” I smiled, brightening.

 

Ethan frowned. “Emma and I both have work tomorrow.”

 

“Don’t worry, Ethan.” Jared rolled his eyes, dismissing it with a wave of his hand. “I’ll have you children home by midnight.”

 

I raised my hand. “Is this a fancy club we’re going to? I haven’t been to The Blue Pineapple before.”

 

Jared thought about it for a second. “Yeah, I’d say so. The coke there costs about eight bucks.”

 

“I’d wear something classic,” Hanna threw in. “Like a little black dress.”

 

My eyes skimmed Hanna. She was wearing a silver sequined dress with wedge heals. Her short brown hair was curled and her makeup was a little over the top, but it worked for her. 

 

“If that’s the case, I’m going to need more than ten minutes,” I said.

 

Jared heaved a third sigh, this time less exaggerated than the others and more of the tired variety. 

 

“Fine. But just remember this the next time I’m ever late to something of yours.”

 

“Jared, you’re late to everything,” I pointed out.

 

“My point exactly.”

 

When I emerged from my room thirty minutes later in a strapless little black dress (courtesy of Hanna’s instruction) and equally black heals, Ethan and Jared kind of gaped at me for a long, flattering moment. I hadn’t gotten to wear that many dresses since I’d lost weight. I sort of felt like a butterfly; it was like, after spending twenty-four years trapped in a cocoon of insecurity and fat, I was finally getting to spread my wings to the world. It was almost ridiculous to think of myself as a changed woman, but that’s what I felt. It wasn’t just the fat, either. The weight was only the beginning, I had a feeling. My metamorphosis wasn’t over yet.

 

And then I remembered something, something I promised myself I was going to start doing more of. 

 

“Hold on,” I said. “Let me get my camera.”

 

Outside of The Blue Pineapple, we stood together in a line; I was in the middle of Ethan and Jared, my arms hugging their waists and theirs hugging mine. I’d told the person holding my camera to take two pictures. One normal one and one goofy one. It was something I had always done with pictures. I liked the idea of having two versions of the same immortalized moment. 

 

To them it might’ve felt silly, but to me we were capturing memories. 

 

__________

 

 

—MEG


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#17 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:10 PM

I’m feeling very crabby right now (legitimately spent my entire day cleaning every last inch of my room), so prepare for a godawful comment. :P I’m going to do it in my usual list format because I’m lazy as hell (as we all know) and because it’s easiest for me to think/organize with lists. Pardon me if it gets weird or off topic or whatever. I write these as I’m reading the chapters and not after, so I’m going to guess it’ll be a bit scattered. Also: direct quotes in bold. :)

 

-I swear all anyone does is worry about “the future.” My older sister has spent this whole last year obsessing over college, and even though I’m not close to that yet, I’m still stressing out—partly for her, and partly for when I have to deal with all that. I think sometimes we all need to chill and live in the moment a bit more.

 

-The last hour always feels like two. Ugh. That’s as true as it gets…

 

-Ethan’s six-pack deserves all the attention she’s giving it. Hahaha. :) “Distracting” is definitely the right word for it.

 

-And if not Jillian, then who? This just killed me for some reason…

 

-Can I just say that I love Emma’s self-consciousness? It’s so nice and real. The part about her not liking to work out in public was humorous and relatable. Nice job, dude.

 

-I was the quiet geeky one who ate too many Butterfingers. Sentences that describe my life: that one.

 

-This is going to sound weird, but I kind of promised weird when I prefaced this comment. So here it goes. I LOVE IT when you reference celebrities (i.e., Avril Lavigne and Jillian Michaels) and you just call them by their first name. I don’t know—something about it makes me giggle. Like the part with Jillian Michaels that I quotes earlier in the comment and the “Evelyn apparently didn’t hold Avril in the same esteem” part. I guess it may be a natural thing to do (??), but something about the choice enhances Emma’s voice in my head.

 

-Ethan worked monday through friday. Just remember to capitalize days of the week haha. :) For some reason, after starting Spanish this year, I never want to capitalize them. I’m anti-capital-letters as it is (don’t ask me why; I just like lower-case letter better), so that whole rule in Spanish has only magnified my hatred. Lol.

 

-So, have you seen him naked yet?” Evelyn, asking the real questions. ;) (Have I mentioned that I love Evelyn so far? Also her name is just fantastic.)

 

-Love the Friends rerun playing in the background. Friends reruns in the background is a pretty frequent occurrence in the life of India. :)

 

-Most people preferred Starbucks over Japanese herbal tea, and I was unfortunately one of those people. Hahaha. :P Along with this quote, I also love how she feels guilty for never buying anything from the White Lotus. Whenever I go into a store like that and don’t buy anything, I feel like the workers give me the evil eye and it makes me feel SO guilty. Once again, I really relate to Emma.

 

-Not perfectly straight or anything, but the kind of smile you saw on someone who never got braces because they didn’t need them. Great description.

 

-The Evelyn Incident ranks among my favorite things you’ve written. So good. I laughed the whole time.

 

-Thunderstorms used to scare me shitless. As it is with most childhood fears, I’ve outgrown them, but I could still relate to Emma’s panic. :)

 

-So kind of an extension of that last comment: I feel like Emma’s phobia of something silly like thunderstorms is STILL relatable, because everyone has an irrational fear like that. For instance, I think I’m going to have a heart attack whenever I’m near needles. I had to get numbed at the dentist the other day and the dentist guy felt so bad because I was all shaky and pale and almost in tears lol. Even if there’s a scene with a needle in a movie or TV show, I start freaking out. It’s really bad. So, even though most people don’t share Emma’s irrational phobia of thunderstorms, I think they should still be able to relate to her panic.

 

-I love that her immediate reaction was to call her dad. Priceless. Even better that he knew EXACTLY what was going on because it had happened before. :P

 

-THAT WAS SUCH A CUTE CHAPTER. Oh my gosh.

 

-A fluff chapter? Yes please. I’ve been working on a 500+ page true crime book (Helter Skelter, which I’m sure you’ve heard of or at least heard me talking about on here recently) where the author really likes to go into detail about every single thing he possibly could (like how much change was in the pockets of the murder victims, because that’s so relevant, right?), and I feel DEPRIVED of all things good and fluffy. You can only do cults and gruesome murders for so long…

 

-I felt...pity for it. I’M DYING.

 

-Okay, super off topic (of course), but can we just talk about the flip phones in Breaking Bad for a second? EVERY SINGLE TIME they would answer their dumb little flip phones, I giggled to myself. Sorry, but whenever anyone talks about flip phones, I just picture Walt *%^##ing at Jesse in one of their bazillion phone conversations, and it makes me laugh…

 

-It was like we were operating as friends, but to really classify us as friends, well that would’ve been a misclassification. I know I’ve just been SO HELPFUL with CC so far (I suck, I know; it’s just so enjoyable that I haven’t thought much about the CC part of the comment), but I will say that this sentence stuck out to me as awkward. The structure didn’t work for me, plus there was a bit of bothersome repetition. Because I’m lazy and you’re obviously intelligent enough to do so on your own, I’m not going to offer any solutions as to fixing it lol. :P

 

-Not a major one, like my crush on Johnny Depp. I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING AT THIS. Best line so far, easily.

 

-She needs to feel his abs ASAP, by the way.

 

-Loved the ending of this one too. :) It was just a great chapter over all.

 

So.  To conclude. WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN READING THIS??? I’m pissed at myself. Literally, I am addicted. If this was in TV form and on Netflix, I would be binge-watching like CRAZY right now. I freaking love it, Meg. It reminds me a lot of New Girl, but with way less sex haha. Long story short, you are fantastic. Your writing seems even better than your previous stuff here. It feels much more natural and less forced (not that it seemed “forced" before! Don’t take that the wrong way). I feel like your flow is better. It’s smoother.

 

Basically, update soon because I am ready to read the crap out of this thing.  :hyper: 

 

-Artemis


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#18 Jcrazy

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:15 PM

-Okay, super off topic (of course), but can we just talk about the flip phones in Breaking Bad for a second? EVERY SINGLE TIME they would answer their dumb little flip phones, I giggled to myself. Sorry, but whenever anyone talks about flip phones, I just picture Walt *%^##ing at Jesse in one of their bazillion phone conversations, and it makes me laugh…

I realize this isn't my story to respond to comments on... BUT YES OH MY GOD. SAAAAME. What was WITH all the FLIP PHONES? Hahaha. I'm so sorry. I just had to say that YES I AGREE.

(I also realize this isn't a proper response to your last chapter, Meg, which I ADORED. I will comment ASAP.)
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#19 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:19 PM

I realize this isn't my story to respond to comments on... BUT YES OH MY GOD. SAAAAME. What was WITH all the FLIP PHONES? Hahaha. I'm so sorry. I just had to say that YES I AGREE.

(I also realize this isn't a proper response to your last chapter, Meg, which I ADORED. I will comment ASAP.)

 

IT'S NOT JUST ME! I think when they started the show flip phones were still "a thing," and so even though technology evolved

in real time they were still stuck in a time period where they still used those in the show. Granted, I don't know exactly when the show started or how much time really passed in the show, but that's my guess. Either way, it's hilarious. And I'm happy I'm not the only one who thinks so.


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#20 Jcrazy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:29 PM

Hey! I'm here.

Ethan's distress about Emma's phone at the beginning of the last chapter killed me. :P So funny. I can't say I disagree, but I feel Emma's sentimentality. So sweet of him to offer up his Apple worker connection though!

“But—” Ethan’s eyes flickered to my cell. “Don’t you want something that doesn’t flip?” Love it. His feelings towards flip phones... :D I just got a kick out of it.

Emma's internal monologue where it comes to Ethan amused me to no end. Of course it's not as extreme as her Johnny Depp crush... Lol. The fact that he's watching Legally Blonde with her kind of makes ME have a crush on him though hahah.

She should be proud about her weight loss transformation! And she should definitely take pictures to capture these new moments and memories. I hope she does take up photography. It might surprise her how much she likes it ;)

Anyway I love your words! They always feel so...easy? Like it just flows easily when you write? That's how it sounds at least. I'd kill for that :P

Update soon!
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#21 24moon100

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:34 AM

I know I am a horrible person for not replying to this sooner, but the best I can offer is a lame excuse involving the words "summer" and "school." My reply is bolded and in red because I do not feel like giving it in paragraph format. 

 

 

I’m feeling very crabby right now (legitimately spent my entire day cleaning every last inch of my room), so prepare for a godawful comment. :P I’m going to do it in my usual list format because I’m lazy as hell (as we all know) and because it’s easiest for me to think/organize with lists. Pardon me if it gets weird or off topic or whatever. I write these as I’m reading the chapters and not after, so I’m going to guess it’ll be a bit scattered. Also: direct quotes in bold. :)

 

I am also very tired and lazy right now so I will reply to your listed comment in red bold. :) Plus listed format is totally fine so no need to consider yourself lazy for it. 

 

 

-I swear all anyone does is worry about “the future.” My older sister has spent this whole last year obsessing over college, and even though I’m not close to that yet, I’m still stressing out—partly for her, and partly for when I have to deal with all that. I think sometimes we all need to chill and live in the moment a bit more.

 

I couldn't agree more! All anyone ever thinks about nowadays is college and the future and I'm just plain sick of it. 

 

-The last hour always feels like two. Ugh. That’s as true as it gets…

 

I wrote that speaking as someone who has worked. The time drags so much when you are on the clock. :/

 

-Ethan’s six-pack deserves all the attention she’s giving it. Hahaha. :) “Distracting” is definitely the right word for it.

 

For the life of me I do not my I feel the incurrable need to give all my male protagonists six-packs. It is so cliché but at the same time I cannot help myself. 

 

-And if not Jillian, then who? This just killed me for some reason…

 

haha. I have been on a health kick lately and I've been feeling the strong urge to buy one of her dvds out of obligation to my story. Lol. 

 

-Can I just say that I love Emma’s self-consciousness? It’s so nice and real. The part about her not liking to work out in public was humorous and relatable. Nice job, dude.

 

I model that part of her after myself, so thank you for appreciating it. :)

 

-I was the quiet geeky one who ate too many Butterfingers. Sentences that describe my life: that one.

 

Butterfingers are my life, man. You don't even know. The struggle...

 

-This is going to sound weird, but I kind of promised weird when I prefaced this comment. So here it goes. I LOVE IT when you reference celebrities (i.e., Avril Lavigne and Jillian Michaels) and you just call them by their first name. I don’t know—something about it makes me giggle. Like the part with Jillian Michaels that I quotes earlier in the comment and the “Evelyn apparently didn’t hold Avril in the same esteem” part. I guess it may be a natural thing to do (??), but something about the choice enhances Emma’s voice in my head.

 

Weird is my favorite. So never hold it back, okay? I will be sure to refer to celebrities by their first name from here on out. ;)

 

-Ethan worked monday through friday. Just remember to capitalize days of the week haha. :) For some reason, after starting Spanish this year, I never want to capitalize them. I’m anti-capital-letters as it is (don’t ask me why; I just like lower-case letter better), so that whole rule in Spanish has only magnified my hatred. Lol.

 

I am so bad with capitalizations (lol while I was writing that I capitalized "capitalizations" on accident)! Thank you for pointing that out! I need to keep a better eye out for that stuff. 

 

-So, have you seen him naked yet?” Evelyn, asking the real questions. ;) (Have I mentioned that I love Evelyn so far? Also her name is just fantastic.)

 

Yeah, when writing Evelyn I do admit that I love how outspoken she is. That's probably what I enjoy most about her character. 

 

-Love the Friends rerun playing in the background. Friends reruns in the background is a pretty frequent occurrence in the life of India. :)

 

YES. Friends is literally one of my favorite shows. I watch the reruns all the time. 

 

 

-Most people preferred Starbucks over Japanese herbal tea, and I was unfortunately one of those people. Hahaha. :P Along with this quote, I also love how she feels guilty for never buying anything from the White Lotus. Whenever I go into a store like that and don’t buy anything, I feel like the workers give me the evil eye and it makes me feel SO guilty. Once again, I really relate to Emma.

 

I'm so glad you can relate to her! Out of all the main chatars I've written so far I feel as though Emma has come out the most relatable so I'm thrilled I'm not the only one to think so. :D

 

-Not perfectly straight or anything, but the kind of smile you saw on someone who never got braces because they didn’t need them. Great description.

 

Confession. I may or may not have stolen that one from Meg Cabot.... Not word for word, but I remember her saying something along those lines that once. 

 

-The Evelyn Incident ranks among my favorite things you’ve written. So good. I laughed the whole time.

 

Haha. Awesome. My only regret about that scene is that Emma passed out so easily. I should've made her consume more wine so that the blackout would've been more believeable. But oh well, I just have to keep reminding myself that this is just the first draft. 

 

-Thunderstorms used to scare me shitless. As it is with most childhood fears, I’ve outgrown them, but I could still relate to Emma’s panic. :)

 

I love thunderstorms so it's kind of funny I made her so afraid of them.  I got the idea from Because of Winndixie if you've ever seen that movie. It's about a dog basically and it has a fear of thunderstorms. :)

 

-So kind of an extension of that last comment: I feel like Emma’s phobia of something silly like thunderstorms is STILL relatable, because everyone has an irrational fear like that. For instance, I think I’m going to have a heart attack whenever I’m near needles. I had to get numbed at the dentist the other day and the dentist guy felt so bad because I was all shaky and pale and almost in tears lol. Even if there’s a scene with a needle in a movie or TV show, I start freaking out. It’s really bad. So, even though most people don’t share Emma’s irrational phobia of thunderstorms, I think they should still be able to relate to her panic.

 

That is such a good point. I never thought about it that way. Thank you. :) Now I feel a little better about making her afraid of thunderstorms. 

 

-I love that her immediate reaction was to call her dad. Priceless. Even better that he knew EXACTLY what was going on because it had happened before. :P

 

I can't wait to get more in detail about her dad. The only issue is I'm not sure on how I want to get into that yet. Since he is an important part of the story I want to make sure I get it right, you know?

 

-THAT WAS SUCH A CUTE CHAPTER. Oh my gosh.

 

 

 

-A fluff chapter? Yes please. I’ve been working on a 500+ page true crime book (Helter Skelter, which I’m sure you’ve heard of or at least heard me talking about on here recently) where the author really likes to go into detail about every single thing he possibly could (like how much change was in the pockets of the murder victims, because that’s so relevant, right?), and I feel DEPRIVED of all things good and fluffy. You can only do cults and gruesome murders for so long…

 

Haha. Well I am glad I can give you a bit of fluffy relief then. :)

 

-I felt...pity for it. I’M DYING.

 

:)

 

-Okay, super off topic (of course), but can we just talk about the flip phones in Breaking Bad for a second? EVERY SINGLE TIME they would answer their dumb little flip phones, I giggled to myself. Sorry, but whenever anyone talks about flip phones, I just picture Walt *%^##ing at Jesse in one of their bazillion phone conversations, and it makes me laugh…

 

I am sorry to say I have not finished BB yet, I don't know why (don't hate me) but I just haven't gotten very into it. I'll probably go back to it later and realize the error in my judgment but for now I'm giving it a break. Lol. 

 

-It was like we were operating as friends, but to really classify us as friends, well that would’ve been a misclassification. I know I’ve just been SO HELPFUL with CC so far (I suck, I know; it’s just so enjoyable that I haven’t thought much about the CC part of the comment), but I will say that this sentence stuck out to me as awkward. The structure didn’t work for me, plus there was a bit of bothersome repetition. Because I’m lazy and you’re obviously intelligent enough to do so on your own, I’m not going to offer any solutions as to fixing it lol. :P

 

You are so right, that sounds majorly awkward. Even as I was writing that it felt off. Thank you for the CC. :)

 

 

-Not a major one, like my crush on Johnny Depp. I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING AT THIS. Best line so far, easily.

 

Can we all just agree that Johnny Depp is freaking awesome? 

 

-She needs to feel his abs ASAP, by the way.

 

But then there wouldn't be any sexual tension, silly! :P

 

-Loved the ending of this one too. :) It was just a great chapter over all.

 

 

 

So.  To conclude. WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN READING THIS??? I’m pissed at myself. Literally, I am addicted. If this was in TV form and on Netflix, I would be binge-watching like CRAZY right now. I freaking love it, Meg. It reminds me a lot of New Girl, but with way less sex haha. Long story short, you are fantastic. Your writing seems even better than your previous stuff here. It feels much more natural and less forced (not that it seemed “forced" before! Don’t take that the wrong way). I feel like your flow is better. It’s smoother.

 

 

 

Basically, update soon because I am ready to read the crap out of this thing.  :hyper:

 

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING SUCH A LOYAL READER AND EVEN BETTER FRIEND. It is comments like these that give me the motivation to continue even when I feel like what I'm writing is absolute garbage so THANK YOU AGAIN.

 

 

-Artemis

 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 10 July 2014 - 01:36 AM.

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#22 24moon100

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:47 AM

Hey! I'm here.

Ethan's distress about Emma's phone at the beginning of the last chapter killed me. :P So funny. I can't say I disagree, but I feel Emma's sentimentality. So sweet of him to offer up his Apple worker connection though!

 

“But—” Ethan’s eyes flickered to my cell. “Don’t you want something that doesn’t flip?” Love it. His feelings towards flip phones... :D I just got a kick out of it.

Emma's internal monologue where it comes to Ethan amused me to no end. Of course it's not as extreme as her Johnny Depp crush... Lol. The fact that he's watching Legally Blonde with her kind of makes ME have a crush on him though hahah.

She should be proud about her weight loss transformation! And she should definitely take pictures to capture these new moments and memories. I hope she does take up photography. It might surprise her how much she likes it ;)

Anyway I love your words! They always feel so...easy? Like it just flows easily when you write? That's how it sounds at least. I'd kill for that :P

Update soon!

 

I honestly thought I replied to this a long time ago and am so sorry for not doing so sooner. I've been crazy busy, even though that should not be an excuse for my neglect of this site. 

 

Anyway, I just want you to know it is because of you and Artemis that I have found the will to write another chapter of this. I have been having serious doubts about this story for a long time now and it was the will to not give up again that has kept this alive. If it wasn't for your encouragement and support, I don't know if I would still be writing this story. So thank you. :)

 

Haha. Anyway I'm glad you liked the fluff chapter. I always get anxious when I post those because I don't want them to sound too fluffy that it feels fake. 

 

The flip phone thing was fun to write. Ethan *spoiler alert* may or may not end up getting her a new phone for christmas. Lol. 

 

Thanks again for your comment you know how much they mean to me, Jamie. You've stayed with me ever since the beginning, and for that I will forever be amazed. :)

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 10 July 2014 - 01:48 AM.

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#23 24moon100

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 02:22 AM

CHAPTER FIVE

 

 

Simply, there wasn’t any way of avoiding it. 

 

It was either skip it now, and face the wrathful dragon that was Evelyn, or suck it up and save myself the much less needed melodrama. 

 

Honestly, I couldn’t understand why she wanted me to go so badly. She knew poetry readings weren’t my thing. It’s true that I had a deep appreciation for the arts, but I was more of the musical type than the poetry type. Sure, I played several instruments, my favorite being the piano. I did love books, and I wrote stories (secretively) quite frequently, and I might even say that I was a decent painter. But of all those things, poetry never found its way into the mix. Especially the stuff Evelyn liked. Heck no. The stuff Evelyn was into was downright disturbing. Always borderline satanic, always death related, always depressing. If I didn’t know her so well, I’d have been concerned for her. 

 

Bottom line here? I really, really didn’t want to go. I had much better things to do with my time (like be a couch potato and watch stupid chick flicks) than listen to a bunch of emo wannabes recite garbage. 

 

“So why is it so important hat I go to this one?” I asked Evelyn as she and I sat in my car at a light, on the way to the cafe place she was so absurdly fond of. I tried to use minimal bitterness with my words. “You said it was a ‘must see.’ I’m curious. What makes this reading so special?”

 

Evelyn rolled her eyes. She must've sensed my resentment and was not sympathetic. 

 

“My brother’s gonna be there, okay?” she said flatly. “You know, the one that just got back from Japan? I need to catch up with him and I want you to meet him.”

 

“Oh.” I mulled it over. “Well I guess that makes sense. But then why the poetry? Don’t tell me he’s into that stuff too.”

 

“I wish you would give the poetry a chance.” Evelyn sighed. “If only you’d open up that narrow mind of yours, then you’d finally see how truly inspiration—”

 

“Ev, the last time I went to a reading a guy was talking about setting chickens on fire and feeding them to his mother’s—”

 

“He was an exception.”

 

“He wasn’t even the worst one! Remember that chick who wrote about how we are all just possessed by worms?”

 

“Emma, please. You clearly did not understand the hidden meaning behind what she was trying to convey.”

 

“What kind of hidden meaning could you possibly have gotten from that?”

 

“You see, what she really—”

 

“On second thought, I don’t want to know.”

 

The cafe wasn’t too far from Evelyn’s place, so we were there within fifteen minutes. It was sandwiched between a sketchy pub and an adult movie store, so that must tell you something about the location. It happened to be a rougher side of town, with rough looking people to go along with it, but I guess with Evelyn it was the rougher the better. She wasn’t exactly the sort to go eat at any nice restaurants or go shopping at the mall. She liked to stay edgy, that was just the kind of person she was. There was no changing her.

 

Frankly, I felt as though she was the one with the narrow mind. Big deal, I don’t like poetry. At least I tolerated it. Evelyn? She refused to be within thirty feet of the Hyatt. It's completely ridiculous. It's as if she had a phobia of any hotel over two stars. I would know because I’ve been to Vegas with her. We could’ve stayed at a resort, one with a casino and room service and nice towels that they fold into animals, but no, she insisted we stay in a crappy motel outside the city with a bed that had more springs than cushion and walls thinner than tissue paper.  

 

When we got there I parked on the curb and fed the meter a few quarters. Evelyn was still inside my car fiddling with her seatbelt, her side had the broken belt that always took forever to get off but was oddly easy as pie to put on.  

 

The air around the cafe was pungent, encompassed with the scent of fresh ground coffee beans, mildew, and cigarette smoke. The bricks holding up the place were faded, crumbling, and long since vandalized to a point of no return. A battered sign dangled from a metal post outside, just barely legible enough for it to make out: Ruby’s Coffee House.

 

For such a simple name, the cafe was quite the opposite. For one, it was certainly no Starbucks, and I’m not just saying that because of the shabby location. Ruby’s did not serve anything but straight black coffee. You want a latte? Mocha? Frappuccino? Don’t go to Ruby’s. They will only laugh in your face. 

 

For another, people didn't go there to drink the coffee, they went there to do things like read poetry and talk about societal concerns like gun control and woman’s rights. The coffee was only a side thing. 

 

Evelyn finally managed to free herself from the belt and in so doing she gave a yelp of triumph as she stumbled out of the car. 

 

“Remind me never to put my seatbelt on ever again,” she said, panting, although I was ninety-nine precent sure the panting was merely theatrics. 

 

“You know, usually it’s the other way around,” I said as I reached inside my purse for a piece of gum. I didn’t prefer the coffee at Ruby’s so I decided I’d chew some gum so I’d have an excuse not to order any. “Usually people need to be reminded to put their seatbelt on.”

 

“Not me.” Evelyn shook her head vigorously. “Nope. I’d rather risk death.” 

 

I shot her a disapproving look. 

 

“You should really get that thing fixed. I mean it. I felt like a caged animal in there.”

 

“Well, if you give me the money to pay for it, I’d be more than happy to.”

 

Evelyn gave me a foul look. “No need to be a smart ass.”

 

I shrugged. “Sorry, but it’s in my nature.”

 

Once inside Ruby’s, we found a booth in the back next to the bathrooms. Not the most ideal of spots to end up, especially in a joint like Ruby’s, but it was all that was available. That is, unless we wanted to sit on the floor. 

 

“Gabe said he’d be here soon,” Evelyn leaned in to whisper to me while a lanky, pony tailed guy recited a poem relating to the apocalypse. At least, that is what it appeared to be about. “You’ll like him, Em. He’s insanely hilarious, like I’m talking fall off your chair hilarious, and he loves all that weird indie music you like. He’s not all bad looking either, but I can’t exactly be the one to tell you that since he’s my brother and all...”

 

Suddenly, a light bulb had gone off above my head.

 

“Hold on.” I squinted at her skeptically. “This isn’t a set up or anything? You’re not trying to set me up with your brother are you?”

 

Evelyn laughed a little too harshly, which immediately gave her away. “What? No!”

 

“Oh my God, Ev, I can’t believe you set this up!” I fumed. 

 

Evelyn signed. “I don’t see what the big deal is.”

 

“The big deal is that you’re meddling in an area of my life which does not need meddling!”

 

“But you haven’t even given him a chance yet! So what if I maybe, possibly set this all up. I’d say it was a pretty generous thing of me to do. Not many sisters are cool enough to offer up their older brothers to their best friends. Since when am I the bad guy for sacrificing my own personal misgivings over the awkwardness of you dating my brother for the sake of each of your longterm happinesses?” Evelyn said, although it was hushed as to not disrupt the pony tail guy’s poem. 

 

I pinched my temples irritably. “Do I look like someone who wants help in her love life to you?”

 

“Save it, Em. Don’t pretend like you don’t want a man in your life. You so obviously want a man, you just try to convince yourself that you don’t want one because of what Cody did to you. Which I get. I really do. But you need to wake up now and smell the roses. Cody was a jerk. Men can be huge assholes. They usually are. But I can tell you without a doubt that my brother is not an a--h---- and that he would be super good for you if you’d at least get to know him a little.”

 

“I have a feeling you pre-rehearsed that speech.”

 

“Believe what you want. I still bet you ten bucks the instant Gabe walks in you’re gonna be drooling all over him.”

 

“Ten bucks? That’s all? You really must not have that much faith in us after all.”

 

Evelyn glared at me. “Can you quit being a sarcastic *%^## for like two seconds?”

 

“Yeah. I can. When I’m asleep.”

 

Gabe eventually showed up. By that time I had cooled off from Evelyn and I’s argument and once I had it was easy for me to see why she thought him and I would make a good couple. He was funny, that was for sure. She did not over exaggerate about that part at least. He was the type of person who made you laugh over the most simple of things. However his looks were fairly average, if I was being brutally honest. He was nothing remarkable, what with his cropped brown hair and brown eyes, but even still he had an air of attractiveness about his personality that made up for the dullness of his appearance. Supposedly Gabe had been in Japan for a year on company business, however what company he didn’t say, only that it had something to do with engineering. When I asked him about the music part, I was amazed at how similar our tastes were. 

 

Basically, we were kind of perfect for each other. 

 

The only problem? It was beyond glaringly evident to anyone with the slightest intuition that Gabe was gay. Either Evelyn had decided to leave that part out of her description or she genuinely did not know.

 

Once the reading was over and we were in my car, I informed Evelyn of this. 

 

She laughed hysterically for about a solid minute before calling me an idiot. 

 

It was then that I realized Evelyn would probably never know what was right in front of her, and yet still have the audacity to accuse me of having a narrow mind.

 

And for the first time in my life I was strangely okay with that. 

 

__________

 

I know it's been ages, and this chapter was kind of a filler, but I'm hoping you liked it! As always, comment! It's been a while since I've read one. I've forgotten what it's like. :P

 

Hopefully now that I am free from summer school I will have the time to update more! No promises though. ;)

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 10 July 2014 - 02:32 AM.

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#24 24moon100

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 01:47 AM

Hey guys, so I've got another update for you! I hope you don't think it's too overly sad. My intentions are not to make you sad, but to give you some more insight into Emma's character. After two filler chapters I needed to make a more serious one.

 

Enjoy. :)

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

When I was a kid, I was picked on a lot. The petty stuff, mostly. It wasn’t ever directly to my face—nothing like you would see in the movies—but somehow, someway, the ugly truth would find its way out. It was always about how much of a “tomboy” I was, and how “fat” I was, and how I was too “weird.” Kids can be surprisingly vicious, my mom would tell me whenever the teasing got rough enough. Like wild animals, she would say, they prey on the vulnerable. They’re too cowardly to pick on others of their own breed, so they target the ones they know they can hurt. When I had asked her why they wanted to hurt me, she told me the most amazing thing: 

 

Kids like that like to hurt you because you’re special, Emma. They feel threatened by how beautiful you are on the inside. Your soul is like a rare and precious gemstone, and they want to take it from you. So you’ve got to learn to protect your spirit, Emmey. You should never let silly strangers destroy such a valuable thing.

 

My mom was a very wise, down-to-earth woman. She was also strong, and kind, and funny, and beautiful. Simply, she was enchanting. Inside and out. The whole package, as my dad would put it.

 

My mom is with the angels now. It’s been that way since I was nine. I never knew real loss until I lost her, and even though time has healed the surface wounds, I think about her everyday and miss her with a terrible ache within that I don’t think will ever truly leave me. 

 

The night my mom died, there was a thunderstorm. 

 

At the time I didn’t have a fear of them. The thunderstorms, I mean. At least, the fear wasn’t as out of proportion as the one I endure now. The fear was still there, I imagine, just unawakened. Really, it all started with the storm, the one that happened the night my mom died. It was the catalyst, I guess you could say. When I think about it, I can see why it was the catalyst. It was the darkest moment of my life. It was a night I wish I could forget. 

 

It was summertime. I was down by the river, sitting on the swing Jared and I had made a time ago from some rope and a spare block of wood, contemplating going for a swim, when it started to drizzle. I didn’t care much about the rain, since I was in my bathing suit already, so I stayed on the swing. I knew not to go swimming when it was raining though, knowing what I did about how prone the river was to flooding. 

 

I remember feeling lonely. Back then, I considered Jared my best friend, so I didn’t have much to do whenever he decided to hang out with some of his other friends. Ethan never minded when I hung around with them, but I knew the same could not be said about the other guys Jared associated himself with. They weren’t particularly fond of me, I knew, as was the custom of the general population of my school. Don’t get me wrong, my friendlessness didn’t last forever. I did happen to make friends once I got to middle school. 

 

I stayed outside until the thunder kicked in. Once the thunder kicked in I jogged up the slope to my house. Stanley, our Great Pyrenees, was barking anxiously from the fenced area beside the house. He usually didn’t freak out when it came to storms, so to see him so berserk made me nervous. I let myself in through the front entrance and then went to the other side of the house to let Stanley in.  

 

The house was empty except for me and Stanley. My dad was with my brother on a fishing trip and my mom was scheduled to work the graveyard shift at the clinic across town. I was supposed to have a babysitter that night, but the girl canceled last minute due to a "family emergency." Since I was nine, I was on the border of being old enough to start looking after myself but also young enough that I couldn’t be trusted to be left alone. Under the tight circumstances, my mom had no choice but to leave me by myself. 

 

Had she just stayed home... 

 

It wasn’t long before thunder and lightning became seismic. Stanley calmed down once I had let him in the house. I, in turn, was now the anxious one. I remember those quiet moments in between the thunderclaps. They seemed to be louder than the actual thunder, because they revealed just how empty that house really was. The thunder was deafening, that was true, but that brief silence between each quake of thunder was consuming. There was only me and Stanley and all I wanted was to have someone, anyone, there with me so I wouldn’t feel so alone. So I wouldn’t feel so helpless. 

 

My mom called the house shortly after she realized the storm was serious. I answered it, crying as I did. “Emma, I know it’s a big storm, but you’ve got to be brave for me, okay? I’m coming home, but you’ve got to keep it together until I get there. Can you do that for me?”

 

“How long until you get here?” I sniffled. 

 

“As soon as I can, sweetheart,” she told me, a warmth in her voice that I will never forget. “I love you.”

 

“I love you, too,” I said back, not knowing then that those would be the last words I would ever say to her. I am grateful, at least, that they were the good kind and not the bad kind. As last words go, it’s always better that you have the good kind.

 

After I hung up, I wrapped myself up in a blanket, hugged Stanley to my chest, and sat by the door to wait for my mom. The power went off not long after it got dark, but I didn’t move, not even then. I stayed there by the door and cried into Stanley’s fluffy white fur, shaking and wondering if my mom was ever going to come. I sat there, working out scenarios as to what was taking her so long—all of them tragically optimistic. Maybe her car ran out of gas. Maybe she was stuck in traffic. Maybe she lost her keys to the car. Maybe she had a flat tire. Maybe she was stopping to get us something to eat. Maybe she got caught up at the clicic. 

 

But soon the optimism faded and the worry crept in. 

 

The fear crept in, I should say.

 

In at nutshell? It was the worst night of my life.

 

When the next morning finally arrived, after the storm had passed, the police officer came to the door. He asked me where my father was. I told him that was home alone so he asked me to come with him. 

 

He took a funny route on the way to the police station. My parents usually just took the other way, since it was quicker. When I asked why we were going the long way, the police officer only shook his head. He had done the same thing before, when I had asked him if he knew where my mother was. He had shaken his head, not because he did not know, but because he didn’t want to tell me. 

 

The way we usually went, you see, you had to cross a low water bridge in order to get to the house. We only went the long way when there was flooding. 

 

Turns out there was a flood that night, and my mom had taken the short way. She tried to cross the bridge and the water toppled her car. 

 

Anyway, I guess I’m telling you all this because it’s time you understand why thunderstorms are so traumatizing to me—because I associate them with that night. It’s not for any pity parties, it’s not for backstory purposes, I just want someone to understand why I hate them so much. 

 

Hopefully one day I will get over this fear, but for now the best I can do is try and live with it, like I do in the case of not having a mother around anymore. 

 

It’s hard, but I live with it. 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 14 July 2014 - 01:54 AM.

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#25 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 03:09 PM

YES TWO UPDATES *internal screaming*

 

-My big problem with poetry is that so much of it is so POUTY. Like, hey, I understand where people are coming from (I’m a sad person, too), but do you really need to write the same poem over and over again? I swear all emo poetry sounds exactly the same. There are only so many ways to tell the world you’re an angsting youth.

 

-Always borderline satanic. Great line. :P

 

-Why do poetry readings always happen in cafes??

 

-He was an exception. Oh my god. That killed me.

 

-It was sandwiched between a sketchy pub and an adult movie store. WHAT A LOCATION.

 

-I’m afraid I’m more on the Evelyn side of things. I love dingy hotels and gritty places. (Not so much the emo poetry.) It’s more interesting. Although I’d never object to the luxury of a resort either. Don’t get me wrong.

 

-Don’t go to Ruby’s. They will only laugh in your face. This is clearly the most hardcore coffeehouse EVER. (Or maybe not, since they don’t really go there to drink coffee. Either way, pretty hardcore.)

 

-“Weird indie music” is the only music a person needs. Seriously.

 

-Evelyn’s pre-rehearsed speech was pretty great. This chapter has been incredibly entertaining so far.

 

-Quick CC: “over exaggerate” is redundant. “Exaggerate” on its own is fine. :)

 

-HE’S GAY. Ahh, I did not see that coming. Hilarious twist.

 

-I stayed outside until the thunder kicked in. Once the thunder kicked in… Just overuse of the same phrase I thought I’d point out.

 

-Wow. That was so sad. You wrote that chapter really well—the flow was good and you captured the situation perfectly through a child’s eyes. I especially enjoyed how you painted the picture of her mother at the beginning and set the tone for the rest of the chapter. Well written. :)

 

-Sorry this is so short. I usually like to go into greater detail, but I’m in the middle of writing my own next chapter, so I’m sure you’ll get it. :P This story really just keeps getting better. I feel like it would make a good TV show. It’s very visual in my head where it works that way.

 

UPDATE AGAIN PLEASE. :) It was such a long wait before you updated that I was worried you’d abandoned this bad boy. Keep it up. I’ll be reading as soon as you update again.

 

-Artemis


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#26 24moon100

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:21 PM

Artemis: I completely agree with your views of poetry. Couldn't have put it better myself. :P

 

Also, I do not know why they always happen in cafes. I remember I did a reading once for a poem of mine (I'd won a contest my english teacher made the whole class enter) and it was in a cafe so I think they really do only happen in cafes...

 

Haha. I kinda figured you were on the evelyn side of things. I think her side is interesting, but I prefer the Emma side of things because I am a neat freak/germaphobe and I like clean. 

 

I've never been a hardcore indie fan, but I do sometimes find myself listening to it when I'm in a certain mood. I like it, but I have to be in the mood to listen to it. My friend and I are going to see Miniature Tigers on the sixth though, which I'm pretty excited about. They are probably one of my favorite indie-rock bands aside from Goldspot. 

 

Evelyn, I think, is the type of person that likes to dish out pre-rehearsed speeches because she usually is in situations where pre-rehearsed speeches are needed. She's just thorough like that. Lol.

 

Thanks for the CC. Needed that. :)

 

Haha. He's gay. Yeah. I needed him to be gay because I didn't want Emma to have any relationship stuff yet. I'm saving the mush for later. 

 

I feel weird about chapter six honestly. I knew I wanted to talk about her mom, but I feel like I over did it as far as her death went. Maybe when I revise this I wont go into so much depth. I'm still contemplating it, though. I feel like that chapter important but at the same time I don't like how I executed it. It could be better. Not exactly sugar-coated but not exactly transparent either. Oh well. I just have to keep telling myself this is a draft and that I'm going to change my mind about things. 

 

Thanks for the comment! 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 21 July 2014 - 09:23 PM.

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#27 24moon100

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:27 PM

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been to the lake. 

 

Decades probably. Latest I could recall being on a boat was several years ago, when I was still going to college. I guess I just got too busy studying and whatnot. Either that or I simply did not know that many people with a boat. Recently the entirety of my friends seemed to consist of Evelyn, my brother, his fiance Hanna, and Ethan. All of whom, sadly, did not possess a boat. The rest, like my friends from work for instance, I categorized as friendly acquaintances rather than legitimate friends considering we never got together outside of work. All of my previous friends were those I met through Cody, ergo the reason I am no longer in contact with any of them. 

 

It’s a funny story how I ended up on this boat actually. Not ha-ha funny or anything, but funny as in interesting.  

 

Weirdly enough, it has to do with that night at The Blue Pineapple. 

 

Once we had gone inside the club, Jared and Hanna were immediately sucked into the chaos surrounding the dance floor. Ethan and I snagged a booth in the back to avoid the pounding vibrations of the speakers and the harsh blue lights centered on the stage area in the front. I kept my camera out while Ethan and I waited for our drinks, occasionally snapping picks of the club and of him. Whenever I stopped point the lens on Ethan, I liked that he wasn’t shy. Most people I tried to take pictures of would usually hold their hands up over their face or duck their head, but Ethan didn’t mind it. He would smile, or pose, or make a goofy face. It was refreshing of him. Aside from Evelyn, he was one of only people I’d met that didn’t like to hide.  

 

“So what’s with all the pictures?” he asked me after a few rounds, leaning in from the other side of the booth so that I could hear him over the music. “Thinking of making a blog or something?”

 

I glanced down at my camera. Before, the camera had been my mom’s. Photography had always been a special hobby of hers, something she loved to do when the opportunity seized her. After she died, I made a silent vow to myself that I would follow in her footsteps. It seemed only right of me to. I couldn’t just let a such nice camera lay around to collect dust. That would be a waste. 

 

“There’s no real reason,” I admitted to him. “I just like it I guess. That and I owe it to my mom. She was a photographer.”

 

"That’s awesome.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Absolutely. If you’re going to do something, it’s most important that you like it.”

 

“Not everything I do I like,” I said. 

 

“I don’t think it’s humanly possible to like everything you do. That would be like saying you like going to work and paying for gas and having to wake up early. There’s just no way.”

 

“Then what did you mean by that?”

 

Ethan laughed a little, however it looked like it was mainly to himself. “I meant that if you are given the choice of doing something, like photography for example, it’s better to truly like it for what it is rather than to do it for lame reasons.”

 

“I think I see what you’re saying now. Kind of.”

 

Ethan reached over for my camera, turning it over in his hands until the lens was focused on me. There was a momentary flash and then a click. 

 

“I’ll just leave it up to you to figure out what I meant, since apparently it is still a mystery to you.”

 

Eventually, after Ethan and I talked some more and finished our overpriced drinks, he asked me if I wanted to dance. I accepted graciously, or as graciously as I could on account of the minor detail that I hadn’t been asked to dance in a millennia and that it was Ethan, my roommate/brother’s best friend, who was asking me. However I reasoned that the motive behind the question probably was nothing more than a friendly invitation between friends for the sake of having fun.

 

We danced for a couple of songs. He wasn’t a very good dancer, so it turned out to be more amusing than anything else. Ethan knew how to slow dance at least, or according to him anyway, but anything past that was strictly out of bounds for him. I made a promise to teach him some moves soon. 

 

After the band wrapped up their last song, Jared and Hanna found us so that we could all go backstage together. We were led to a room with dark blue walls, dim lighting, mismatched furniture, and a refrigerator. The band was already hanging out on the sofas and chairs, opening beers, eating chips, and lighting cigarettes. 

 

One of the more boyish-looking band members leapt up from the couch to wrap Hanna in a hug. He seemed normal enough. Lean, tall, shaggy blond hair, green eyes, pale, slightly crooked smile, excellent bone structure. Long story short: Hanna was right about him being hot. 

 

“Guys, this is Charlie,” Hanna introduced. “Charlie, meet the guys.”

 

Once the pleasantries were out of the way and everyone got settled, Charlie ended up inviting me to go look at his car with him. Hanna had somehow managed to pitch to Charlie that I was a huge fan of the classics. My dad liked to take me and Jared to car shows when we were kids, so that’s where I got it from. My favorite was the 1967 mustang convertible simply because it was a car I could visualize a girl like myself driving one day. If I were only able to get my hands on one, that is.

 

His car was a 1969 black charger, and we wound up making-out in it. Predictable, I know. A guy shows he his 1969 charger and I decide to play tongue tennis with him. Nobody saw that one coming, I bet. 

 

“We better get back to the group,” I had to say once things started to get a little too handsy for my taste. I wasn’t a prude or anything, but I did have values, and I was not one to push first base with random strangers, no matter how cool and charming they appeared to be. “They’re probably wondering what’s taking us so long.”

 

Charlie groaned and started to kiss down my neck since I had turned my face away from him. There wasn’t really a whole lot of light to see by that night, other than a streetlight that occasionally flickered and the moon, but somehow I was able to discern the important details—like where his mouth was and where his eyes were looking. “I’m sure they don’t care,” he reasoned in a lush, beckoning voice. 

 

It had been an awful long time since I’d been kissed. So long, in fact, that I had forgotten how much I loved it. And so that’s why I will admit that when Charlie began trailing his lips along my jaw and whispering sweet nothings to me, I lost all sense of restraint and went straight back to kissing him. I was like someone who had stranded for several brutal days in the desert, suddenly offered a jug of water from a kind passerby.

 

I didn’t kiss him forever or anything. I wasn’t that desperate. It was just long enough for me to savor it so that if I had to go without kissing again, I would be good. 

 

And is it so wrong of me that I wanted to savor it? It is, after all, human nature to crave affection. If said affection, under the circumstances, happens to be in the form of kissing, who would I be as a human being to deny it? Humans may claim to be superior, intelligent, life forms. But stripped down we are nothing but creatures ruled by our deepest instincts. 

 

“You are probably the first girl I’ve met that’s both sexy and loves cars,” Charlie said to me on our walk back to the club. His comment made me blush, but thankfully it was dark enough outside so that he couldn’t see me do it. It felt gratifying to be complimented, especially by a guy as attractive as Charlie was. It also felt strange, because I wasn’t used to it. 

 

Before rejoining the gang, we exchanged numbers in the ally behind the club. He informed me that his friend owned a boat and that he wanted me to come with him the next time they went out on the lake. He also said that he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. 

 

I told him I wasn’t either.

 

__________

 

 

“ETHAN!” I screamed. “ETHAN! HELP!”

 

I was crouched on top of the bathroom counter, which was no small feat considering the size of the bathroom counter, staring down at the floor with a feeling inside that could only be pinned as a combination of panic and disgust. 

 

Ethan burst through the door moments later, his hair disheveled and in his pajamas. He seemed to be just as panicked as I was, his eyes landing on me in a wild, disoriented sort of way. 

 

It was, after all, the middle of the night. I had most likely just woken him from a deep slumber. He probably thought we were being robbed or something. 

 

“What?” He asked me worriedly. “What’s going on?”

 

I pointed to the floor with one hand while the other covered my mouth, stifling a whimper. 

 

“Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!”

 

His eyes narrowed on the spot I pointed two, his eyebrows furrowing. In the corner of where the shower stall met the wall there was a huge cockroach. Just looking at it made me want to gag and sprout goose bumps at the same time.

 

When he realized what the issue was all about, all previous concern seemed to melt from him and he straightened. 

 

“You mean the cockroach?” Ethan wondered, looking at me in exasperation.

 

I nodded my head, biting my lower lip aggressively.  

 

What was he waiting for? Couldn’t he see I was mortally in danger?

 

“Why would I want to kill it?” he asked me seriously. 

 

Was he being for real? Did he really just ask that question?

 

“Because they are gross and I hate bugs! So please, just kill it already!” I begged him, the anxiety in me rising with each passing second. 

 

Instead of killing it, Ethan turned and left the room. 

 

“ETHAN!” I gasped. I couldn’t believe it. He was actually going to let me contend with the beast by myself. So much for him being the hero in this scenario. “Ethan, wait! Don’t leave me in here! Ethan!”

 

Ethan returned a minute later with a plastic container. 

 

The sigh of relief I let out could’ve been heard from Mexico. 

 

“Chill out, Emma. I just went to get this—” he indicated to the tupperware. The he added, as if to explain his sudden departure, “I think it’s dumb to kill bugs like that when you can just as easily take them outside.”

 

“No.” I stared at him like he was nuts. “I think it’s much better just to kill them.”

 

Ethan gave me a patient look.

 

“Yeah, but think about it this way: which method leaves behind cockroach guts and which doesn’t?” 

 

Huh. He had a point there. 

 

“Your way, though, gives the sucker a greater chance of escape,” I countered, nervously eyeing the corner the cockroach was in. It wasn’t moving now, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t going to. 

 

Ethan rolled his eyes. “No it wont.”

 

“I happen to know from experience that cockroaches are extremely resilient creatures. They are not so easily slain.” Before he could say something else, I threw in, “Sorry, or caught.”

 

Ethan shook his head.

 

Ugh. Men. They are so stubborn. 

 

“I still vote we do it my way. Unless you’d rather kill it yourself?”

 

My throat dried up at the thought of being left alone with it again.

 

“Did I say kill it?” I laughed, skittish. “Silly me.”

 

Ethan grinned. “I had a feeling you’d see it my way.”

 

A couple futile attempts later, and to my utter amazement, Ethan was able to trap the roach inside the container. He held the sealed bowl up, the roach scuttling around inside frantically, to show me that the bug was indeed under control and no longer a threat. 

 

“See?” he said, his voice layered with triumph. I’d have been triumphant too if I had just captured a cockroach with a tupperware container. Grossed out, most likely, but triumphant nonetheless. “Doesn’t it feel good to know that we’re giving this little guy a second chance?” 

 

I cringed away from the container. Just because there was a layer of plastic separating us, did not mean I was comfortable with being anywhere near it.

 

“I don’t like cockroaches, so I’m gonna have to say no on that one.”

 

“Okay, well, I’m going go free him now. Where would you like him to go? Your bed or the pantry?”

 

I shot him a dirty look. “That is not funny.”

 

He smirked. “Yes, yes it is actually.”

 

“You are going to let it go outside, Ethan. Are we clear on that? Outside.” I enunciated the last word for good measure. 

 

Ethan nodded, saluting me. “Yes, ma'am!”

 

“It’s not funny!” I repeated, frowning. “Lot’s of people can’t stand bugs. I am one of them. It’s perfectly normal.” 

 

“That is true,” he agreed. “But what happens when I’m not here? What are you going do then? Happy as I am to help a damsel in distress, I can’t take care of all your insect problems. Eventually you are going to have to learn to fend them off yourself.”

 

I scowled at the floor. “That’s exactly what my dad says to me.”

 

“Your dad must be a brilliant man.” 

 

“Yeah, I’d say so.” 

 

“So are you going to get down from there?” Ethan questioned with a raised eyebrow, referring to my tense defensive position on top of the bathroom counter. “That can’t be comfortable.”

 

I blushed, suddenly embarrassed. Wow. Up until then, I hadn’t realized how completely ridiculous I must’ve looked to him. 

 

I said, with all the dignity I could rally, “I will get down from here as soon as that thing is removed from the premises.”

 

“You know, Emma, fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.”

 

Wait. 

 

...

 

Did he?

 

Oh my God. He did.

 

Okay. I couldn’t help it. I caved. I know I was supposed to be peeved with him, what with the teasing and everything, but I couldn’t help it. Ethan quoted Harry Potter. I just couldn’t be bitter anymore, not after that. All I was left with was respect. Respect, and a little bit of something else that I didn’t have an exact name for, yet whatever it was it seemed to cause the crush I had on Ethan to morph into a slightly larger crush. However, just to be clear, it was still significantly lesser than the crush I had for Johnny Depp.

 

“Okay, you win.” I smiled, climbing down from the counter. “I can’t argue with the words of Hermione Granger.”

 

And together we went outside to give the ugly cockroach its second chance. 

 

 

__________

 

 

I promise the next chapter will not be as fluffy as this one turned out. Right now my chapters are either too intense or too light, and I am frustrated to find that happy medium between the two. But hopefully you enjoyed! The second half of the chapter was inspired by a recent encounter of mine with a cockroach in my bathroom. I am the type of person that needs other people to get rid of my bugs, so I thought it would be a nice spin in the story if Emma were to have the same experience. I feel like this also reveals a lot about the nature of Ethan and Emma's relationship.  :)

 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 21 July 2014 - 09:35 PM.

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#28 24moon100

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:45 PM

Edit because this is bothering the heck out of me:

 

Humans may claim to be superior, intelligent, life forms. But stripped down we are nothing but creatures ruled by our deepest instincts. 

 

 

Correction: Humans may claim to be superior intelligent lifeforms, but stripped down we are nothing be creatures ruled by our deepest instincts. 


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#29 24moon100

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:55 PM

Another random edit: I just realized that I capitalized "with" in the title. Did not mean to do that...


Edited by 24moon100, 21 July 2014 - 09:55 PM.

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#30 24moon100

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:33 AM

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

My relationship with Cody had been something of a novelty when it started out.

 

He and I met my junior year of college through my roommate, Vera, who was incidentally his cousin. Cody liked to come over frequently to see Vera, being that they were close. Usually it was just to hang out and have a few beers or to pick her up for things like parties. Whenever he’d stop by and Vera was out, or in the shower, or otherwise occupied, he’d stick around and hang out with me instead. 

 

Cody was always complicated. I never tried to deny that he wasn’t. But he didn’t seem to mind that I was on the heavier side the way other people did. That was explicit from the beginning, when Vera first introduced us. Most people like to think that they don’t care about that sort of thing, about a person’s weight, but all they’re doing is kidding themselves. Everyone is guilty of it in some degree. Even I, someone who’d been fat-shamed the majority of my youth, will admit to caring about it. Cody, though, he wasn’t like that. He didn’t care that I wasn’t a Barbie doll. Or if he did, it was hardly a care. Maybe it was because he wasn’t Mr. Perfect either, so he got how it felt, or maybe he just saw something in me that out-shined any personal prejudice. I know it’s a little pathetic, but I still believe that what he felt for me in the beginning was genuine, even now after the nasty way things ended between us.

 

So I won’t lie and and tell you that Cody was an ass/hole, because that wouldn’t be the truth. He was good. For a time. But people change. They don’t mean to, or maybe they do, but either way you look at it it’s inevitable. Everyone changes. Some for the better. Others for the worst. It’s a fact of life. 

 

Ugh, I sound like a cheesy inspirational quote.

 

Cody was an art major. His true talent rested with his painting, but he also did a heavy amount of sculpture work on the side.  He liked to wear tons of hats—mostly baseball caps and the like—which would cover most of his red hair. He also had a large, deeply-set pair of green eyes that reminded me of sea foam. He was pale, but not as pale as you might expect a guy of the ginger variety to be. But mostly he was unlike anyone I’d ever met—different in the way he spoke, the way he dressed, the way he did things—and at the time he was just what I needed. 

 

Cody was the type of guy you automatically got along with or you automatically didn’t. In our case, we got along splendidly. Even before we dated, Cody was friendly to me in a manner I was not familiar with. The way he’d say my name, like it meant something special...I don’t know, he was just different like that. 

 

But he had a tangled personality. He’d be passionate, but phlegmatic. Generous, but selfish. Comical, but dark. Arrogant, but modest. Gentle, but firm. Honest, but secretive. Cody was always contradicting himself, so you never knew which version of him to trust or which one you were going to get. He wasn’t bipolar, exactly, but at times it felt like it. His childhood had its shadows, too. His mother died during childbirth complications, which left him and his younger brother to a father who was both temperamental and a drunk. He had scars from where his dad got violent with him, I knew, but the subject was never an open one. He didn’t like to bring any of that stuff up. I didn’t blame him, so I never pried. 

 

I remember our first kiss like it was stamped to my memory with permanent red ink. Except Cody, I had only ever been kissed once, and that was at summer camp when I was fourteen. Imagine my horror when I found out that kiss at summer camp had been nothing but a cruel dare. So, really, I like to picture Cody and I’s kiss as my first one. It was one of my best memories, I’d have to say. Our first kiss, I mean. Call me a sap, I don’t care. That’s what it was. 

 

Vera had been out again, something to do with her girlfriend’s birthday, so Cody volunteered we play cards in her absence. It was an odd thing for him to suggest, but I didn’t turn it down. I liked his company, and I liked cards, so I couldn’t see a reason to say no. I mean, other than having to study. But who needs studying when an attractive guy wants to play card games with you?

 

We went through a number of games, ranging from go-fish to crazy eights to slapjack, but Cody soon grew tired of it and later opted that we go out somewhere. He wanted to wing things, because that’s the kind of guy Cody was—he did almost everything spur of the moment, the opposite of me, a fervent planner—so we wound up just going back to his place when we realized we didn’t feel much like partaking in any of the city nightlife activities. 

 

Cody’s place was an old, pink-bricked, most likely haunted, one-story fixer-upper house he shared with his little brother on the skirts of the city. He assured me once that he had enough money to live somewhere nicer, courtesy of many enthused art collector’s wallets, but he preferred to stay in that house because it was his grandmother’s and he wasn’t ready to let it go. 

 

I guess most kisses are at random. You don’t exactly plan where and when you are going to have one, unless you’re standing at a wedding alter or something of the like. Our kiss was not random, that I know with confidence. I know I shouldn’t be so certain about something so debatable, considering I had no grounds to be certain when the man I’m talking about was a man of utter impulse, but even so I was positive Cody knew he was going to kiss me before he woke up that morning. 

 

Cody had taken me inside, antique perfume and other grandmother-like smells masking most of the more unpleasant male odors, only to lead me back outside to go and look at the fireflies. 

 

I remember him telling me he loved his grandma’s house because it held some of his dearest memories as a kid, like her teaching him how to paint, and card games, and him and his little brother chasing the fireflies around the yard. He said his grandma passed away a few years earlier of heart failure. 

 

“This is fun,” I had said to him decidedly, cupping a firefly in my hand and sticking it in one of the several jars with poked holes in the tops Cody had sitting out. “I used to do this all the time with my brother Jared. In the summer there were always millions of them down by the river.”

 

Cody cupped his own firefly, but didn’t stick it in the jar like I had done. He let it go after a few seconds.

 

“I really like you, Emma,” he said. 

 

“I really like you too, Cody,” I said. 

 

“That’s nice of you.” He smiled, his face glowing in the porch/firefly light. 

 

“I’m a nice girl.” 

 

“You deserve a nice guy.”

 

“That’d be nice,” I agreed.

 

“My gran would tell you that you’ve got a beautiful soul, and that you should hold on to it tight. I’d agree with her.”

 

I smiled at the sky. 

 

“My mom said something along those lines to me once.”

 

“She knows what she's talking about,” he said, nodding. 

 

A pause. Crickets.

 

“Cody, why are you playing with my hair?”

 

“Because I like your hair, Emma.”

 

“Okay, so why are you touching my back?”

 

“I was just admiring its sturdiness.”

 

He moved his hand to the side of my neck.

 

“Is this what I think it is?”

 

“What do you think this is?”

 

“Are you going to kiss me?”

 

Cody laughed. “Emma, out of all the girls I’ve ever kissed, you are going to be the first one who has ever asked me that question.”

 

And before I could offer up any type of reply to that statement, he crushed his lips to mine and kissed me until I forgot everything.

 

So that’s that. We kissed. We became a couple. He and I—after four months of dating, I must stress—started to have regular sex. Once we hit the one year mark, and after his brother moved out of the city, he sold his grandma’s house and bought an apartment for us that also happened to be a block from his art studio. We went on mini-vacations. We gave each other stupid couple’s nicknames. We got each other gifts, even when there was no specific occasion. We were happy.

 

Strange thing, happiness. It never lasts. Not for me, anyway.

 

Things between us slowed after we got that place together. That’s when I noticed the shift. Cody had become more irritable with me, and therefore less affectionate. At first I suspected he was just going through a creative block, and that’s why he was in a foul mood all the time, but I soon found that to be a gross miscalculation on my part. He was at the top of his game, actually. The bitterness had nothing to do with his not being able to paint and everything to do with being tied down to me. 

 

Commitment issues. Cody had commitment issues. 

 

Out of all the perils in the universe that could’ve been our downfall, and the world decided it would saddle Cody with commitment issues. I mean, come on. Chandler had commitment issues in Friends and he still married Monica. That’s not to say I had any intentions of marrying Cody, I just would’ve preferred that he stay faithful while we were living together.

 

I read once about the “Four Horsemen” of communication—metaphorically as in the biblical apocalypse—that take part in the collapse of relationships. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. It’s interesting how quickly those four things can slither their way into a relationship and bulldoze it. One minute you’ll be sitting poolside with your man tossing back a salted margarita and the next you’ve got the Four Horseman riding up your ass and another girl sleeping in your man’s bed. 

 

The night Cody and I broke up, I’d just gotten home from a particularly stressful day of work. 

 

Cody was on the couch when I walked in, watching an Adam Sandler movie and downing a beer.  I noticed with unease that there were several other empty bottles of beer scattered on the coffee table next to his propped up feet. 

 

“You had something to eat yet?” I asked him tiredly from the kitchen. 

 

“No,” he responded blandly, sounding thankfully sober. Cody didn’t get drunk easy like I did. “You can order us a pizza if you want.”

 

“We’ve had pizza for two nights in a row,” I chided. “If you don’t like my cooking, fine, but think of something a little more creative than pizza.”

 

“I like your cooking just fine, Emma.” There was a defensive edge to his tone that I’d been accustomed to for some time. “I’m just sick of you complaining about how you’re always the one who has to do it and how I never chip in.”

 

I was aghast. “That’s bullsh/t.”

 

Cody got up from the couch and staggered into the kitchen, giving me one of his fed up looks. 

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, was I too blunt for you? That’s my bad, I forgot how sensitive you were.”

 

He came to stand directly in front of me, close enough that I could smell the stench of the beer on his breath. I glared up at him, putting forth all my strength to keep the tears from welling. 

 

“I’m not sensitive, you’re just being a jerk,” I refuted. 

 

Cody sighed. “You think everyone is a jerk. They look at you in the slightest wrong way and you automatically think they were specifically put on this Earth to harass you.”

 

“How many beers have you had?” I wanted to know. My tear ducks were screaming but I wasn’t going to cry in front of Cody. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. 

 

“What does that—” Cody started to say, exasperated, but I cut him short.

 

“Answer the question.”

 

His eyes lit up with agitation. 

 

“I’m not drunk, dammit. Stop being so dramatic about everything.”

 

I pinched the bridge of my nose, fighting the urge to slap him. He was being the aggressive one, not me. I didn’t want to stoop to his level.

 

“Go ahead and order the pizza,” I said, my voice clipped and nonnegotiable. “I’m making myself a bowl of soup and then I’m going to take a shower. If the real you decides to make an appearance, I’ll be more than happy to talk to him.”

 

He tried to make a few more jabs at argument after that, all of which I ignored skillfully, before returning to his territory on the couch. We’d had fights like that one in the past, and a little distance was normally enough to cool us off after stuff got heated. Mostly, I blamed the alcohol for the fights, but that was because I didn’t want to blame the real cause. 

 

So I had myself a bowl of soup and I had myself I shower. Cody must’ve realized his error quickly after the event because, and to my astonishment, while I was taking my shower he chose to slip in with me. He apologized, and I was too much of a sucker that I forgave him. 

 

“I’m worried about us,” I confessed just as we were crawling into bed for the night. Cody switched on the bedside lamp so that he could look at me properly. 

 

“Why would you say that? Because of that fight we had today?” Cody stared at me, not comprehending. “I told you, Em. My blood was just a little hot. That’s all.”

 

“But your blood has been ‘just a little hot’ for a while,” I said, my voice low. I didn’t want to land myself another argument, especially not before bed, but I needed to get my feelings out. “It’s like you’re riled up all the time and it’s aways me that seems to set you off.”

 

Cody inhaled slowly. He, I could tell, was also trying to control his fuse. Probably because if he did blow up he knew he’d have to sleep on the couch. 

 

“Also, I’m pretty sure you’ve been lying to me about the poker nights,” I blurted, not able to help myself. “I ran into Ralph the other day and he told me he didn’t know anything about them.”

 

Cody exhaled sharply. “Ralph doesn’t know anything.”

 

“Yeah? And I suppose Tony and Zeek don’t know anything either?”

 

Cody tensed up, his eyes suddenly betraying him. They were the eyes of a guilty man. 

 

“Em, I’ve been meaning—”

 

“I don’t want anymore lies, Cody.”

 

Cody shook his head. “You’re reading too much into things. I only lied about the poker nights because I didn’t want you to worry.”

 

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Worry about what?”

 

“I’ve been seeing a specialist about my knee. I might have to get surgery.”

 

“Why wouldn’t you want to tell me something like that?”

 

“I just didn’t want you to stress about it. You know how you are, always fretting about other people. I didn’t want to add to the load.”

 

I reached out to ruffle my hand through his hair. He mirrored the action then pulled my head towards his chest so that I could lay on it like a pillow. 

 

“You shouldn’t have to lie about it though,” I said to his skin. “I don’t care if you think you’re saving me the worry, I want to know about it.”

 

“Okay, no more lies,” Cody promised, coaxing me to sleep. 

 

Around two in the morning I woke to Cody’s cell going off in the living room. I told him I’d get it, since I needed to go pee anyway, and sprinted to answer it for him. I must’ve been too drowsy just then to register the suspiciousness of the hour at which the person on the other line was calling, because when I answered the call I was enormously stupefied to hear the familiar high-pitched tones of my best friend Greta.

 

“Err, Emma?” she said, just as stunned. 

 

“This is she,” I assured her, almost robotically. 

 

“Um, hi.” She coughed. 

 

“Hi, yourself.” I didn’t cough. 

 

The puzzle was finally arranging itself together. My worst doubts were about to become ugly truths. My best friend was booty calling my boyfriend. 

 

Cody walked into the living room, wearing a rigid expression. His face all the confirmation I needed. 

 

“You fu/cking w/hore,” I said to her, and then I hung up. 

 

 

——————

 

 

Heyyyy! So, we finally get to know about Cody and her break up! Eight chapters in and I've got a long way to go before I can touch on everything. This is a start though. :) Please let me know what you thought about this one! This turned out to be a pretty long chapter for me. Took me a while to write but hopefully it payed off. 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 30 July 2014 - 01:40 AM.

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#31 24moon100

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 07:30 PM

Some more fluff. :)

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

I stood at the checkout station in Walmart, sifting though the bills in my wallet. Two tens. A five. Three ones. I was out of money again. 

 

It didn’t come as much of a surprise. It had been a month since my last paycheck. I’d be paid in a few more days—Friday on Halloween—yet I couldn’t help the sad, deflated feeling I got when seeing the contents of my wallet. I had a credit card, of course, but I only ever used it when I did things like go out to eat and pay for gas. My cash was my main medium of pay. I had a debit card too, but I rarely used it.  Whenever I used my debit card, it was to buy things online or as a backup from when I was short on cash; other than that it had no purpose. I used checks to pay for Ethan’s utilities. My bank account took care of the rest of my bills.

 

Really I liked cash because it was easier to know when you were out. With debit cards and credit cards, you’re always running the risk of exceeding the limit or people stealing your identity, something I found downright terrifying. 

 

I assessed the items on the conveyer belt. A package of Oreos. Some toothpaste. A six-pack of Dr. Pepper. Tampons. A tub of peanut-butter. A bottle of bubble bath. A bag of pretzels. A twelve-pack of socks and a three-pack of underwear since I’m cheap and can’t afford Victoria’s Secret. A loaf of pumpkin bread, a large pack of skittles, and some candy corn (Halloween encroaching). Toilet paper. A pack of gum. 

 

Reluctantly, I put the gum back on the shelf.

 

The checkout lady scanned everything and stuffed it all in bags. Let’s just say that when I saw the total, it was way more than what I had in my wallet. 

 

With a heavy internal sigh, I dug out my debit card. Never in my life did I want a higher-paying job than I did right then. Dramatic or not, it was the semi-probable-truth. That was it. I was done. I needed a new career. I needed to find something else, something better

 

After ditching the teaching scene, I didn’t want to think about trying to find another career. I was too despaired for that. I had just spent several wasted and grueling years in school and in training, only to realize that, as much as I loved children and wanted some of my own one day, I had no idea how or any real intention to teach them their ABC’s. I don’t know what had taken me so long to figure that out—denial, determination, blindness—but whatever it was I wish I could’ve snapped out of it sooner. 

 

I guess, after having envisioned myself as a teacher for so long, the thought of being anything else kind of felt out of place to me. It was like if a bird suddenly decided it wanted to be a giraffe. Although in my case being something else would actually be possible. It would be difficult, but it would be possible. 

 

The difficult part was the part I was having issues with. That’s why I settled for my job with Barnes & Noble. Jared knew the boss, so I already had a leg up, and I figured it would be cool to work in a store where I could get discounts on possibly one of my favorite things in the world: books. 

 

But as I stood there in the Walmart, forking my card over to the slightly pulp checkout lady, I realized that I could not live like that any longer. Living paycheck to paycheck was not the right way to go about life. They say money cannot buy you happiness, but it can sure take the stress away. I needed to put my talents to use, be something more. I needed to be able to support myself independently, without the help of my friends and family. I needed to be able to afford my own apartment. I needed to be able to fix the dumb broken seatbelt in the passenger side of my car. I needed to not run out of cash and be forced to use my debit card when on my late night Walmart runs. 

 

I needed a lot of things, I realized, and yet most those things would probably stay that way. In the need pile. Constantly nagging at the back of my mind. Making me crazy.

 

When I dragged my feet through the door of Ethan’s apparent, Walmart sacks in hand, I was happy to find that Ethan was still up and milling around in the kitchen. However I was not happy to discover the pretty girl propped up on one of the stools chatting with him in a way that could only be pegged as flirtatiously. 

 

She was brunette. Her hair was long and layered, light, neat waves splayed across it. She wore a skirt, but thankfully there was nothing mini about it. Instead it was a bright orange maxi skirt that draped over her ankle-crossed legs, paired with a cropped black top that let a strip of dark skin peak out. She wore gold gladiator sandals and her nails were perfectly manicured with yellow paint. This, I got, from looking at her back. Wounded self esteem that I possessed, I dreaded to see her face.

 

Ethan wasn’t a private guy, per-say, he just wasn’t the type to let you in on personal business unless you pried it out of him, so the topic of whether he had a girlfriend or not never came up between us. Lately he had been more comfortable with sharing things with me, but never anything major. Usually the personal crap he shared with me was work related. His favorite was venting to me about difficult customers. It was a topic we could both relate to. Being a regular employee of Barnes & Noble, I had encountered my own fair share of tricky customers. Not as many as Ethan seemed to face, but a memorable amount. 

 

What I could not understand was the spark of jealously I felt upon seeing this girl on his stool—excuse me, our stool—since I was doing such a great job of not thinking about Ethan in the kind of way that you link uncontrollable rages of jealously to. My crush on him was minor at best. It was a puny crush. Silly. Dismissible. Irrelevant. I had more attraction to Charlie, the hot bassist I met at The Blue Pineapple, than I did to Ethan. Ethan was just a friend to me. A friend to Jared. Yet somehow I couldn’t choke down this horrible hateful distaste that was bubbling up my throat. 

 

For all I knew the pretty girl on the stool was the nicest person on the planet, and at one glance I already hated her. 

 

I wonder how that happened. How I could hate someone with so much devotion after only giving them one measly glance. It seemed twisted. Preposterous, even. Especially since I could not figure out why.

 

“Emma!” Ethan smiled at me from the kitchen. For a man that was taken, he was sure happy to see me. Then again, Ethan was always happy to see me. I was his friend and, if I had to be immodest, I was indeed likable enough to inspire a smile from him. “Yay. You’re home. Come meet Lucy.”

 

Lucy. Yuck. What a despicable name. 

 

I smiled feebly back, chest-fallen when my eyes fell upon Lucy’s face as she swiveled around in the stool. Life is not fair, I tell you. How can girls like Lucy have such flawless skin when I have to scour the internet for the perfect face-clearing home remedy and still have yet to find one? It’s just not fair. I thought of the pimple I had on my forehead, the one that was momentarily hidden by my bangs, and cursed to myself.

 

Her eyes were her only blemish. They were brown and slightly too close together. To be clear, the brown part wasn’t the blemish—although personally I did happen to prefer the lighter shades—it was the fact that they were too close together. 

 

What the hell was wrong with me? I was a monster! I was so jealous of this pretty girl on the stool that I did that thing where I would scrounge for all the ugly imperfect things about the person to make myself feel better about all the ugly imperfect things I saw in myself. 

 

“Um, hi,” I said lamely, doing my best not to clench my teeth. 

 

I thought back to my revelation at the Walmart, the one about my needing to find a better career. I wondered what Lucy did for a living. Probably something wonderful and high-paid. 

 

“Ethan’s told me so much about you,” she offered, giving me her winning smile. 

 

I wanted to slam my head in the freezer.

 

Has he?” I said with false interest. 

 

“The way he talks about you, it’s like he’s in love,” she joked. 

 

Lucy.” Ethan snorted, swatting Lucy playfully, but I could detect the ghost of a blush on his cheeks. He was tan so it was hard to tell if he was blushing.

 

“I’m Ethan’s friend, by the way. We work at Apple together,” Lucy informed me, hopping from the stool and crossing the room to hug me. After the hug—casual on her part, awkward on mine—she stooped to take a Walmart bag from my hands. 

 

So...I’d been jumping to conclusions. Lucy wasn’t a girlfriend. She’d been a friend all along. A mere work buddy. Wow. Talk about jumping to conclusions. Sure Lucy was definitely potential girlfriend material for Ethan—what with all those office romances you hear about—but in the meantime, I was relieved to know, I could rest easy. Secretly I hoped she had already found her soulmate so that Ethan could not entertain any ideas of making her more than a friend. 

 

Yep. This was big time jealousy coming on. Apparently my crush on him had escalated without my knowing. 

 

“If I hadn’t met Ethan’s girlfriend already I’d have thought you two were a couple,” Lucy went on, following me into the Kitchen. “He talks so highly of you, Emma. It’s really sweet.”

 

Ethan swatted Lucy again, this time in a less playful, more if-you-don’t-stop-embarrassing-me-I’m-going-to-kill you way.

 

“Girlfriend?” I nearly dropped my bags. All my hopes, dashed in one cruel instant. I whirled around to look at him and tried not to sound upset as I said, “Ethan, you never mentioned you had a girlfriend.”

 

Ethan scrunched his forehead, as if to imply that he was thinking about it hard. He probably was. “Huh. I thought I did.”

 

“How come I haven’t met her?” was my next question. 

 

“She’s a busy person, travels a lot because of work,” he explained with a shrug. “The only reason Lucy’s met her is because Lucy and I have known each other for a longer time frame.”

 

I thought about how long I had been living with Ethan.

 

“So she’s been out of town for three months?” I couldn’t seem to fathom the reality of that.

 

“No, more like two months,” Ethan corrected. “She’s in Moscow right now, I believe.” 

 

“Don’t take it personally, Emma,” Lucy assured me. “Ethan’s weird about stuff like that. Took him an entire year to introduce me to her.”

 

Ethan scowled at Lucy. “That’s not true! I’m positive it was six months.”

 

“Because that’s such an improvement.” Lucy rolled her eyes. 

 

I discovered many things about this mysterious girlfriend of Ethan’s via Lucy. Her name was Cady. They’d been together for a little over a year. And she was a flight attendant, hence the alleged long bouts of travel and reason I never saw her around the apartment making out with Ethan or something of that unspeakable nature. 

 

I hated her already. 

 

Ethan poured Lucy and I some red wine—since the Evelyn Incident I had stocked us up on a few bottles of it because I liked it better than Champagne or whisky, the only strong liquor Ethan could account for—before we all went to sit out on the balcony. 

 

We had a lovely view of the city from there. Everything was lit up like a Christmas tree. The skyscrapers twinkled and towered above everything else, gigantic and marveling. That was one of the best parts about living in the city, I thought. The way it always seemed to be alive, no matter what light you looked at it in. It was always awake, always brimming with possibilities. 

 

And as I stared out at those blinking lights, all my worries seemed dim.

 

 

—MEG


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#32 G.dance

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Posted 19 October 2014 - 10:09 AM

-new reader-

Hey.. I've read this story a little while ago, and i wanted to tell you that you are an amazing writer ! Seeing as nobody'd ommented your last chapter, i was afraid you'd abandoned it, so i decided to do it, even if it's just a short comment.
I hope you will continue this story and you'll update soon, because this story is truly brillant.
Sorry if there's any mistakes,

G. 😊
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#33 24moon100

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 02:10 AM

-new reader-

Hey.. I've read this story a little while ago, and i wanted to tell you that you are an amazing writer ! Seeing as nobody'd ommented your last chapter, i was afraid you'd abandoned it, so i decided to do it, even if it's just a short comment.
I hope you will continue this story and you'll update soon, because this story is truly brillant.
Sorry if there's any mistakes,

G.

 

Hi there! Wow sorry I'm just now seeing this but thanks so much for your comment! I haven't really abandoned it I'm just going through a bit of a dry spell I think so I'm not exactly sure when I'll update but hopefully it'll be soon. Haha. Thanks again for the comment! Means a lot!

 

-MEG


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#34 G.dance

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 08:29 AM

Take your time ! I'm just happy to see you didn't really abandoned this story, and I understand you need some time to write another amazing chapter ;)

G.
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#35 24moon100

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 05:54 AM

CHAPTER TEN

 

 

 

 

The office floor was unfurnished except for a circular arrangement of lawn chairs, a kitchenette with a coffee maker going, and a tinted ceiling-to-floor window on the wall that had a view of the street. Well, and the pictures. There were several oddly framed pictures on the walls, all of them of birds. It was all very eclectic. It smelled like cinnamon and vanilla extract, probably to correspond with the autumn season. During the winter months the room smelled like peppermint and pine needles. During the spring and summer months, the room was saturated in sweet, fruity scents. Everyone was already seated.

 

How I was there is kind of a long story. The condensed version: a year ago Evelyn thought I was depressed, somehow running around with the false idea that I wanted to tell complete strangers my problems, and decided to sign me up for a group therapy session. She kept claiming that it worked wonders for her poetry buddy, Ned. She’d drone on about how Ned had come full circle from the slob that he used to be and that he’d finally found peace with being the city garbage man. He no longer drinks his sorrows away. 

 

I’d like to say I humored Evelyn just for the hell of it, but truthfully I went because I was curious. Could talking to these people help? Did I really seem as depressed as Evelyn was convinced? Is group therapy like they portray in movies? I had to see for myself. 

 

Now? I go just about every month. 

 

There is one thing I’ll say about it, before I go on. It is not like they portray in movies. At least, not the kind I’m involved with. 

 

Wanda, our group counselor, saw me first. Wanda’s a big lady with dark chocolate skin, sun spots, and a friendly gap-toothed smile. She’s about sixty-five years old and has the thickest southern accent I’ve ever heard. She likes us to call her Mamma Wanda. I don’t know why but it cracks me up. In her spare time Mamma Wanda likes to teach kids piano and she doesn’t like it when people give her sass. Her biggest thing is her birds. She’s got probably about twenty different birds living with her and she’ll talk about them to anyone who’ll listen. Most people get cats when they’re lonely. Mamma Wanda has her birds. 

 

“Emma—wonderful to see you. Come on and sit,” Wanda said, waving me over to join them. “We’re about to start, just waiting on Kelly.”

 

I had no clue who Kelly was, but I shrugged and snagged the seat between Joe and Belinda. Almost everyone attending the session I knew already. 

 

First there was Joe—the guy to my right. He’s probably about my dad’s age. He isn’t much of a sharp dresser but he’s always wearing these insanely expensive shoes, which I find strange. Joe is one of those paranoid types who will rant about government conspiracy theories and believes in the zombie apocalypse. He’s got a bomb shelter and everything. Mamma Wanda tells him he’s full of sh/t. He tells Mamma Wanda that she doesn’t believe because the government has brainwashed her. 

 

Belinda—the girl to my left—was a whole other story. Belinda’s glitch is compulsive lying. She’s several years my senior, but she’s so dramatic and immature that it doesn't feel like it. Belinda likes to pretend that she’s rich—she’s not, she’s really just a caterer—so she spends a ridiculous chunk of her savings keeping up false appearances. Mamma Wanda also tells her that she’s full of sh/t. 

 

Yes, as you probably guessed, Mamma Wanda’s methods were not exactly conventional, yet oddly they were effective. After Mamma Wanda tells you are full of sh/t, you start believing it. Maybe it’s because she’s a sixty-five year old southern black woman with twenty birds. You know you’ve got a problem when somebody like that tells you you’re full of sh/t. 

 

Then there was Roger. He sat next to Belinda in the circle. Roger has an addiction to gambling. He’s in his thirties but has a bald spot already. He doesn’t have a romantic life either, which he mentions a lot. He blames that part on his bald spot. Since it is a relatively supportive circle, I would never say this to him, but I think the reason he doesn’t have a love life is more than just about having a bald spot. Mamma Wanda tells him he’s full of sh/t too. She’s less mean about it though; probably because of the bald spot thing. That’s the one part he can’t control if he wanted to. Must suck for him. 

 

We also had Donna. Donna is nothing too incredibly special. She’s got raging self esteem issues and that’s about all. She’s still in college, studying business or something. I suspect Donna’s got so many insecurities thanks to her perfect best friend, Lana. She’ll bring up Lana every chance she gets. Of course, Mamma Wanda tells her that she’s full of sh/t. She also tells Donna that it doesn’t do any good to dump on yourself because your own opinion of yourself is the most important opinion. She doesn’t say it exactly like that, but I summarized. 

 

It’s when Wanda says stuff like that—blunt honesty with no sparing of feelings—that earns my respect. Despite what so many people would think—Wanda knows what’s real and what isn’t and she’s not afraid to tell you. She’s ten times more wise than anyone I’ve ever met, and she’s also perhaps the craziest. 

 

Mamma Wanda the best goddamn shrink in the business. I don’t care what anyone else says. 

 

Ned the garbage man was sitting next to Donna. He waved at me as I sat down. He thinks we’ve got a connection because of our mutual friend Evelyn even though the only time I see him is either in therapy or at Ruby’s the cafe/poetry hub. Ned’s an okay guy, don’t mistake me, but I don’t think I could be friends with him. Shallow of me to admit, but he smells too much like rotten banana peels. Not to mention he likes that awful dark poetry Evelyn makes me listen to. I just don’t see a future for a friendship there. Ned also thinks it’s okay to take pictures of random strangers and post them on Facebook. He likes to pretend it’s art or something. Mamma Wanda tells him he’s full of sh/t. Ned listens to her words like they’re Gospel. 

 

Lastly sat Wade. He didn’t like to talk much during our group sessions, but he definitely would get to talking on the walks out. He’s been trying to nail me ever since I started. Wade’s got a sex obsession, you see. He’s been in trouble with the law multiple times because of it. Before you jump to conclusions, he’s not a rapist. More like public nudity and disturbance charges. Most recently, he was caught half drunk and not wearing any pants outside a flighty soccer mom’s house, cussing at her door and waving his pants in the air. Ever since he’s been here getting is psyche evaluated. Mamma Wanda doesn’t tell him he’s full of sh/t though because he flatters her. (Being obsessed with sex, it makes sense a guy like Wade has mastered the art of flattery.) Wanda does tell him that he has a sinful habit and that he shouldn’t think of woman as expeditions so I guess that kinda makes up for it. 

 

As you can tell, you meet some colorful people in group therapy.

 

I’d like to think that I’m the normal one of the group, but I know that’s a load of bull. I’ve got more issues than I can count on my fingers. 

 

Our mysterious Kelly entered moments after I sat down. Mamma Wanda told her to take a seat between Wade and Roger. I didn’t even know her problems yet and felt bad for her already.

 

This session would be more interesting than usual. New comers always made things extra interesting. Most of them never sticked though. They usually did one session then moved on. Not everyone can appreciate Mamma Wanda’s genius. 

 

Mamma Wanda didn’t start us off with the “okay, everyone, tell us your name” crap you see in the movies. She simply pointed to each of us and summed us up in one sentence. 

 

“Hello, children, call me Mamma Wanda,” Wanda began. I forgot to mention that she likes to call us children. I guess since she’s older than all of us she assumes we’re children. I don’t know. I’m too afraid to ask. What is more strange than that is how she refers to us as her birds. Apparently we aren’t just children, we’re birds. “Kelly here is a new bird, so we will get to know her well today.”

 

Wanda went on to introduce each of her “birds” to Kelly. When she landed on me she said, “Ah, this is Emma, she lost her mother as a child.”

 

Normally, that introduction would’ve shook me hard, but Wanda’s done it so many times that it doesn’t bother me anymore. At least she doesn’t introduce me like she does with Roger. “Hello, children. This is Roger, he has a bold spot.”

 

We all get used to it. Because, hey, it’s therapy. All your problems are supposed to be laid out on the table. If we wanted to hide our sh/t we wouldn’t be here. 

 

After introductions, out came the baton. You think I’m kidding. I’m not. Mamma Wanda invented the special baton. It’s sparkly with rainbow ribbons on the ends, but Wanda takes it more seriously than anything. There is no interrupting when someone has the sparkly baton. 

 

Wanda thrust the baton at Kelly, smiling her gap toothed smile. 

 

“Kelly should have the baton first. Anyone disagree?” No one disagreed. I think Kelly wanted to disagree, but Wanda probably scared her too much. Kelly took the baton tentatively. 

 

At first glance, Kelly seemed normal. She also seemed my age, possibly a little younger. Her hair was brown and cut to look like she was growing out a pixie. She didn’t dress too adventurously. Jeans, sandals, and a blue tank top with a simple one-charm silver necklace. I could see Wade eyeing her carnivorously—Rodger with pointless hope—and my pity for her grew. 

 

“Um. Hi,” Kelly spoke. “I um, have never done this before. I don’t really know how it works.”

Mamma Wanda smiled at her like she wanted Kelly to go on. The rest of us gave her understanding looks. We’d all once been in her spot, so we knew the awkwardness well. Also, being experienced, we knew the sacredness of the baton. Kelly was on her own until she passed it to someone else. 

 

“What do I say?” Kelly fumbled. Poor thing. She had a lot to learn.

 

We all sat in silence for a moment, watching as Kelly scrambled for the right thing to say. What she would find out is that there was no right thing to say. You just said what you needed to say—no stress. Sure, Mamma Wanda will tell you you’re full of sh/t, but you know she’s only doing that because she cares. 

 

“I guess I’m here because of my mom,” Kelly said. “She’s got Parkinson's.”

 

We were all silent. That’s the magic of the baton. The person speaking can’t tell if you’re silent because you’re shocked or silent because of the baton. Even without the baton I had a feeling we’d all be silent. Kelly just dropped a bombshell on us. 

 

When she realized we weren't going to comment, she kept going. She talked about her mom mostly. She described what Parkinson’s does, apparently assuming some of us didn’t know about it. Hearing it all—my hart broke for the girl. 

 

When she handed the baton back to Wanda, Wanda didn’t even say that Kelly was full of sh/t. Maybe that’s because Kelly was the first one of us who wasn’t full of it. It was too soon to tell, but Kelly’s problems seemed like the kind you don’t criticize. I know when I told everyone about my mom, Wanda was respectful of that. Certain things you don’t have control over. Those are the problems you’re allowed to have. Not the ones you invent. I think that’s what Mamma Wanda tries to tell us. She has a crazy way of doing it, but it works. 

 

I thought about that as everyone had their turn with the baton. Even as I walked to my car, Wade trailing me the entire way, I thought about it. Whenever I thought about my little problems, I’d think about Kelly and her ginormous one. They seemed so insignificant suddenly. How did I have room to dwell on not having a higher paying job when Kelly’s got a mom with Parkinson’s? 

 

I fell asleep that night thinking about everyone else's problems. The more I did, the more I felt better about my own. 

 

—MEG

 

I felt like this was a great chapter for me, despite how far fetched it might be. It doesn't have a lot of dialogue, mostly introductions and descriptions, but I hope y'all have a good laugh with this one. It was fun to write. There ended up being a message in there too, which I hadn't planned on. All around, I'm happy with it. I'm planning on posting again soon hopefully, so stay tuned!

 

Enjoy. :)


Edited by 24moon100, 29 December 2014 - 06:02 AM.

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#36 G.dance

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 06:59 PM

Yes !! Fantastic update !
I'm not the one for long comments, so I'll just say that :
First, I like how little by little, we get to know Emma better. You just don't tell things right away. I like that each chapter is different from an other - in one you tell the story of her mom, in another it's her relationship with Cody, or here, her therapy group.

Wanda seems like a funny character, maybe she has harsh words, but I'm sure she knows exactly what she is doing.
Love the "you're full of sh/t" ; awesome !! 😂
You're right, this is a great chapter, be proud of it!

Sorry, I'll try to make a longer comment next time, you don't deserve such a little thing..
You're absolutely NOT full of sh/it, so keep on updating when you have time 😉😘
G.
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#37 24moon100

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 09:49 PM

Yes !! Fantastic update !
I'm not the one for long comments, so I'll just say that :
First, I like how little by little, we get to know Emma better. You just don't tell things right away. I like that each chapter is different from an other - in one you tell the story of her mom, in another it's her relationship with Cody, or here, her therapy group.

Wanda seems like a funny character, maybe she has harsh words, but I'm sure she knows exactly what she is doing.
Love the "you're full of sh/t" ; awesome !!
You're right, this is a great chapter, be proud of it!

Sorry, I'll try to make a longer comment next time, you don't deserve such a little thing..
You're absolutely NOT full of sh/it, so keep on updating when you have time
G.

 

Haha. Don't worry about making it long. I'm perfectly happy with anything, it's all the same to me. As long as someone is reading I'm grateful. :)

 

That being said. THANK YOU. It really means a lot to know what you think. It's great to know that you like that each chapter is different. I wasn't sure if it was having the right effect but your affirmation is good enough for me. I'll keep doing that. Haha.

 

Mamma Wanda will be making more appearances, so I'm glad you like her. She's a little crazy, but the good kind. lol. 

 

Since I am apparently not full of sh/t, I'll post the next update after this. :D Thanks again for your feedback! Loved it!

 

—MEG


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#38 24moon100

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 10:10 PM

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

 

 

September was over. Now Thanksgiving was already at my door, knocking and knocking, and I wasn’t prepared to answer it. Jared and I would be having it at my Dad’s house this year, like we always did. Jared’s plus one was Hanna, his future wife. Mine, well I still hadn’t figured that out yet. I was too preoccupied with what pie I was going to bake to worry about bringing anyone. Besides, I didn’t have too many options. Evelyn was out of the question. The last time I brought her to Thanksgiving she made a huge fuss over the turkey, thanks to her vegetarianism views. She felt obligated to entertain us with a thirty minute lecture on the slaughtering process. Nope. Never again. That left who? Colin the bassist from The Blue Pineapple? The Colin I'd been semi-not-really dating for the past month? We both decided our relationship was going to be casual. I just didn’t see what was casual about inviting him home for Thanksgiving to have pie and meet my dad.

 

“Ethan, I need help.” I dropped beside him on the couch, legs crossed and turned to face him so that he’d have no choice but to look at me. “What pie should I make this year?”

 

He was in the middle of an action movie; something to do with Bruce Willis. He didn’t seem too incredibly into it, so he put the TV on mute so we could talk. 

 

Ethan scratched his chin. “You can’t really go wrong with apple.”

 

I shook my head. “Hanna’s allergic to apples.”

 

Ethan thought about it for a second. He shrugged. “Personally? I’m a fan of peach.”

 

I raised my eyebrows, smiling. “Peach?”

 

He nodded. “Sure. My aunt Edna used to make awesome peach pie.”

 

“Oh, were you and Edna close?” I asked him, suddenly nosy. He’d never mentioned her before.  

 

Ethan’s shoulders tensed, like they did whenever I asked him a sensitive question.

 

“Never mind,” I said quickly. “You don’t have to tell me.”

 

Ethan managed a smile, although it seemed slightly pained. “No. It’s not that.”

 

My forehead creased. “What happened?”

 

At first, it looked like he wasn’t going to tell me. Ethan had trouble telling me anything serious about his life. He wasn’t the type to open up about just anything with just anyone.

 

Miraculously, he did this time. 

 

“Edna passed away around the time I graduated college. She, uh, took me in when—” he broke our gaze. He tried to look everywhere but my eyes. “My parents left.”

 

Holy hell. 

 

I laid my hand on his leg, trying in my own awkward way to be comforting. My intelligent response was, “Oh my God, Ethan.”

 

Ethan stared at my hand for a long moment, which made me anxious. Was I crossing a line? Did I really know him enough to be comforting him that way? What exactly did I hope to accomplish in this little heart to heart? 

 

He glanced at my hand again before meeting my eyes. He sighed. “This conversation escalated quickly.”

 

I nodded, still processing. “No sh/t.”

 

Instead of doing the predictable thing—which would’ve been to tell him how sorry I was about Edna and his parents—I did the instinctual thing. I got up on my knees and fell on top of him, squeezing Ethan in a hug that said all the words for me: that really sucks. He hugged me back a little dazedly, but he seemed to get the message. He didn’t have to hide this stuff anymore. I knew what it was like to go through tough life sh/t. He wasn’t alone. 

 

Then we started to laugh, because laughing was easier. 

 

“Okay, okay.” I released him from my hug, still giggling. “Sorry for attacking you.”

 

Ethan grinned. “No, no. You can attack me anytime. Free of charge.”

 

I smiled, blushing a little as I did. “Shut up, pervert.”

 

We went back to watching the Bruce Willis movie that turned out to be Armageddon. Ethan kept looking at me weird after that, although I couldn’t tell why exactly. I tried to pretend like I didn’t notice. He was probably staring at me that way because he got bored of the movie and found my messy ponytail more interesting. My ponytails are quite notorious for their messiness. Especially after a hard workout. Woof. That’s a sight. 

 

When the movie was done, we migrated to the kitchen for some ice cream. We didn’t bother with bowls. 

 

“So what’re you doing for Thanksgiving?” I asked Ethan between scoops of ice cream. It was the kind with the cookie-dough chunks in it. “Having it with—um, what’s your girlfriend’s name again?”

 

Of course I knew her name, I just wanted him to think I had forgotten. It’s simple psychology. Make him think you don’t care about his having a girlfriend so he doesn’t suspect the real truth, which is that you might care...a lot. 

 

“Cady,” Ethan informed. “And no, she’ll be working then. I think I’m just going to stay in for this one.”

 

I gave him a stern look. “That’s depressing, Ethan.”

 

He shrugged. “I don’t mind.”

 

“Don’t you want pie?” I questioned, the seriousness in my voice absolute.

 

“Believe it or not, they sell pies that you can heat up yourself. Everything is done for you, you just just have to pop it in the oven.”

 

I shook my head. “No. That is not acceptable. You are coming to Thanksgiving with us.”

 

Ethan chuckled. “Oh, so I don’t get a say in this?”

 

“No. You will eat my pie and that is final.”

 

Ethan’s eyes lit up with amusement. “Can’t argue with that, boss.”

 

I smiled contently. “So I guess I’m going to need some peaches...”

 

Ethan sighed and took out his car keys. “Okay, I’ll drive.”

 

____________________

 

In the days approaching Thanksgiving, I kept myself busy. Ethan helped me with that peach pie, so that was out of the way. I made several more pies that weren’t peach, because you can never have enough pie. After I made the pies, I made cookies. In case someone didn’t feel like pie. 

 

“You need a massage,” Evelyn suggested, sensing my restlessness. We were out on the balcony, trying to enjoy the sunset. Unfortunately, I couldn't relax. Even the wine was having little effect on my nerves. “You are so tense I’m starting to get a crick in my neck just being around you.”

 

“It’s just—I invited Ethan to Thanksgiving,” I admitted. “It’s really freaking me out.”

 

Evelyn nodded like it all made sense to her now.  “You want him.”

 

She didn’t even have to ask. She said it like it was a statement of fact. Like it was humiliatingly self-evident.

 

I shot her a dismayed sideways glance. “Badly.”

 

“What’s stopping you?” Ev wanted to know, sipping her wine calmly. “Jump his bones.”

 

“So many things.” I groaned. “One, he’s my roommate. Two, he’s my brother’s best friend. Three, he’s got a girlfriend.”

 

“Yes, okay. I can see your dilemma.”

 

“I mean I don’t get it. I have this great thing going with Colin. I don’t need to be pining over someone who’s obviously off limits. Yet I can’t help it. It's...Ethan.”

 

Evelyn gave me a look like I was mentally unstable. 

 

“That’s bull. Colin is going nowhere with his life. Ethan treats you like a princess. There is a major difference.”

 

“Ethan does not treat me like a princess,” I said, my tone practically dripping with denial. “He treats me like a friend. End of story.”

 

Evelyn twirled a strand of hair with her finger, pursing her lips. She was not convinced. 

 

“You suck at lying.”

 

I stared out at the sliver of sun fading into the horizon. In a way, I felt like the sun. It was losing it’s battle to stay aloft in the sky. I was losing my battle with Evelyn. 

 

I slumped in my chair, deflated. “This is so messed up.”

 

Evelyn picked at her fingernails. She didn’t seem very sympathetic of my situation. She probably thought I was being pathetic. 

 

“You need a grand gesture,” Evelyn finally said. 

 

“A what?” I wasn’t sure if I heard her right.

 

“A grand gesture,” she repeated.

 

I was confused. “What kind of grand gesture?”

 

“Oh, you’re hopeless,” Evelyn said, setting her glass of wine down. “You know what I’m talking about. A grand gesture. Like Lloyd holding that stupid boom box over his head all night to show Diane he had the balls to prove his affection.”

 

“I don’t know where I’m going to find a boom box.”

 

“You’re hilarious,” Evelyn said flatly. 

 

“I’m sorry, Ev,” I said more seriously. “I appreciate what you’re saying, I just don’t think it’s a smart idea.”

 

Evelyn shrugged, already over it. “Do what you want. That’s what I’d do. Actually, I’d try to seduce him, but I don’t recommend that for you.”

 

I laughed. “You don’t think I can seduce him?”

 

“Frankly, no. You’re too clumsy.”

 

I took a sip of wine. “If I got him really drunk—”

 

“Don’t. I beg of you.”

 

We sat out on the balcony until Ethan came home. When he did, I was grateful that Evelyn didn’t make a scene. She simply said hello and then went on her way. Intuitively, I knew she was only doing that so I could have time alone with him. Perhaps she underestimated my guts. I was definitely not gutsy enough to be performing any grand gestures. Not then, I wasn’t. 

 

I did the easy thing instead. I called up Colin and told him to meet me at The Blue Pineapple. 

 

________________

 

Well. There it is. Chapter eleven. Hope it was satisfying. :)

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 30 December 2014 - 10:16 PM.

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#39 24moon100

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 03:33 AM

Hi, so, random edit: Colin's name is supposed to be Charlie. I mixed that up on accident. Just to clear any confusion it might bring. :)


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#40 G.dance

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 06:33 PM

Hey ! So sorry, I wasn't there for a while...
Again, a beautiful chapter. Totally satisfying. I really like your writing.
We get to know more about Ethan ! This is good, his relationship with Emma is just... I simply love it.
Short comment again, sorry! Can't wait to know what will happen on Thanksgiving ! :)
G. 😘
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#41 G.dance

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 11:26 AM

Hi!
So it's been a long time, and I was just wondering if you'd given up on this story. I really hope you'll continue it though, because I just love it, but well I can understand that it's not your priority. 😊
G.😘
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#42 24moon100

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 08:24 PM

Hi!
So it's been a long time, and I was just wondering if you'd given up on this story. I really hope you'll continue it though, because I just love it, but well I can understand that it's not your priority.
G.

 

Hey! What a nice surprise. :) Thanks for the confidence boost! I needed it. ;) As for continuing this story, I honestly don't know if I will at this point in time, but I might decide to rewrite it if I don't come up with any other new story ideas over break. Don't worry though, I've been itching to get back to writing for a while so I'm sure I'll be posting something very soon! 


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#43 G.dance

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 01:22 PM

Aha you're welcome! ;) well I'm happy to know that I'll read more of your stories! I have to say that I really like this one, but I'm sure you'll have tons of other fantastic ideas. Can't wait to read more of your work :)
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#44 24moon100

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 12:40 AM

Aha you're welcome! ;) well I'm happy to know that I'll read more of your stories! I have to say that I really like this one, but I'm sure you'll have tons of other fantastic ideas. Can't wait to read more of your work :)

 

Thank you! :)


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