New Kids in the First Year – End-of-Excerpt

Chapter 05: Black Sheep

This is where the excerpt for my school series book comes to an end.

I am very ecstatic to see the number of views it’s got. I know one shouldn’t be quantifying creativity and I’m not. I’m just saying that it hadn’t garnered this much attention on a site like Wattpad that is supposed to be known for teenage users! This book is aimed for them and they didn’t want to read it! XD Personally, I find that funny!

The audience at Quotev changed my mind, though, when I thought people didn’t like to read stories like this. I was sure then that whatever you want to write, the right audience and the right writing style that suits both you and your audience is enough!

Anyway, I hope to finish this series one day and start publishing it.

See you all in my next post!

Melodious Music of the Month – 18

Three years ago, I posted my last Melodious Music of the Month post.

To-day, I shall be resuming it. I remembered it suddenly, as I was going through my media on this blog and spotted a Tonight Alive image.

Anyway, here is my Melodious Music of the Month… a new song and band that Instagram advertised to me this week and I got hooked:

 

“Thoughts” by Faime

 

Do let me know how you felt about it!

 

New Kids in the First Year – Chapter 05: Black Sheep

Chapter 04: New Classes 

 

CHAPTER 05: BLACK SHEEP

The only people who hadn’t spoken many words among the First Years were Lucy and Lacy Linton, Trent Sawyer, and William Evans.

“Hey!” Angelina went up to where the Lintons were quietly mending some tears in their dresses in the First and Second Years’ common room. “I’ve been wondering… Are you twins?”

Lucy and Lacy looked up, exchanged glances. “Well, you can say we are,” replied the latter with a small smile. “We’re just a few months apart.”

“That’s nice!” remarked Evangeline. “No wonder you’re in the same class!”

“Well, we didn’t want to be separated if we could help it. I think you two feel the same.”

“Yes, yes, we do. So, where are you from?”

“We’re from the Southern Province. This is our first time in a boarding school, but I expect it is so for all of us here. Where are you from, twins?”

“We’re from the Central Province – the same as this one.” Angelina smiled. “We live on the other side.”

“That must be closer to home, eh?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

On the other side of the room, Trent sat reading a book. Janet Mary Swenson crouched down near him and with shining eyes, tried to read its cover. Trent, noticing her from the corner of his eye, turned a little away, to block her vision. At once, Janet Mary moved accordingly.

Trent instantly flared up and jumped to his feet. “Hey, girl, what’s your problem?! Why don’t you just leave me alone!?”

Little Janet Mary, who looked a little too young to be in the First Year at a higher studies school, gave him a sweet smile. “But I want to see what it is! I love books so much!”

Trent made an irritated noise and stamped out of the room, leaving a dismayed Janet Mary.

American Jessica Morton sidled up to her. “Ignore that guy, JM. Come, I discovered the library yesterday, right here in school. I think you’ll love it!”

Janet Mary insisted that it was her first name and that Mary was not her middle name. So, the girls began to call her ‘JM’; she didn’t mind one bit.

Now, she accepted Jessica’s kindness with a small smile and a nod. “Thank you.”

As they left the room, Jessica asked, “Where are you from, pal?”

“I’m from the UK. Though really, you couldn’t tell it from my accent, eh?”

“Well, I’ve never seen a British or heard them, so I wouldn’t know.” She winked.

Back in the room, Amelia Johnson, a Second Form33 student, stood up. “Anybody object if I turned on the radio?”

They all shook their heads and she turned it on. The radio was tuned to a classical songs channel; she changed it to Russian songs.

“Ooh, I love that one!” said Nina, the little Russian Second Year girl. She and her twin, Antonov, began to nod along to it.

William Evans looked around when the radio started blaring out music, and snorted. ‘Silly little Slavans and their stupid ways. I wish I could go back home to my own room. I don’t owe anything to these idiots!

 

~*~

 

Marie and Louie sat in the playground where some of the older kids were playing hockey.

“I wish there was badminton here,” she whispered, as she watched the game idly. “I even brought a racquet in the hopes. Eh?”

“We could ask around. There actually is a court – that Sixth Former showed us, remember?” he told her.

“Yes, yes, I know… but it’s not a one-person game.”

“Oh! Yes, I can always play with you – you know that.”

“But your heart lies in table tennis. I don’t want to deprive you of that!”

“Hush now, my darling sister. When I’m not playing that, I’ll play badminton with you.”

She kissed his cheek affectionately. “Merci. Still, I wish somebody else we knew played.”

Pourquoi pas? We don’t know the rest of the class yet – perhaps if we ask them, somebody will come forth.”

“Do let’s!”

 

As they made their way up the stairs, tall and strapping Philomena Thomas was descending the stairs with Sunny Peterson, one of the sports captains.

“Hey there!” Philomena exclaimed, stopping the twins. “I know you guys! You came with me on the tour yesterday, didn’t you? Ain’t you First Formers?”

The twins nodded. “We are,” replied Louie. “This is Marie and I’m Louie. What’s up, Philomena?”

“Is there a William Evans in your form? I believe he is in your form, isn’t he?”

Louie’s face scrunched in thought, but Marie said, “Oh yes, isn’t he that tall brooding boy? Ma parole! – I do believe I haven’t seen him open his mouth for anything!”

“Oh, that boy? Yes, I did – to yawn!” Louie giggled behind his hand.

The older kids suppressed giggled themselves. “Yes, I can understand,” remarked Sunny. “Well, tell him that Sunny Peterson – me – is calling him, will ya? I’ll be in the badminton court.”

At this, Marie’s eyes shone. “Oh-oh! May I come, too, please, frère? I’ve been wanting to play badminton here!”

Sunny laughed light-heartedly. “I’m afraid not, mon chéri. It’ll be a private conversation.” He paused, as a rather embarrassing thought come to him. “I… actually, I want him to meet me there because…” he went red. “Well, because it’s usually empty these days.”

Marie was disappointed. “You mean… there won’t be anyone playing at all?”

He shook his head. “I’m sorry.” He perked up suddenly. “Hey, are you meaning to play sometime?”

“Yes! Will you amuse me, please, Sunny? Not now, but whenever you want. When my brother isn’t able to!”

He cast a glance at Louie. “Yes, sure, I’d love to! You know what? You share a common room with the Second Formers, right? Go and collect names of who all would like to participate in the badminton matches coming up this term. We had hardly none last term and – because the few who wanted to play either fell sick or had some family emergency. In the end, me and a former Sixth Former played and… well, it wasn’t overall encouraging, you know?”

Marie nodded. “I am sorry about that. Well, I’ll do as you say. Where shall I meet with you, please, frère?”

“Same place. But please wait until I’m done with William, eh?”

“Yes!!” She hugged Louie. “Thank you, Sunny Peterson!”

The four said their goodbyes and went merrily on their ways. They rushed the rest of the way to their common room and burst in. Everybody present – even Trent and William – whirled around immediately, as the twins stood at the entrance panting.

“Well, first things first,” said Louie, sensing his sister’s impatience. “William Evans? Yes, you. Sunny Peterson is calling you. I expect you know him?”

For the first time that they all saw, the boy in question opened his mouth: “Yes, I do.”

“Well, you’re to meet him in the badminton court. You remember where that is?”

William looked impatient now. “Yes, I do. Obviously!” He grunted and moved towards the door, brushed rudely past William on his way out, hurting Marie, who stood just beside her brother, who clashed with his back onto her. She whimpered, suppressing a full-on groan, as her head collided with the door frame. William didn’t even turn around.

“That boy makes me angry!” growled Louie, his little fists in balls. “Wait till he –”

But Marie caught his wrist and pulled him into the common room. “It’s no use, frère, and you know it. Just forget it.”

Louie was not to forgot such a slight to his sister so easily, it seemed, as was proven soon enough.

Susie rushed towards them. “Hey Louie!”

The boy, still angry, looked suspiciously at her. “What?”

“Hi!”

He frowned. “Uh… hi?”

“Look, I just… I wanted to tell you that… Well, while I appreciate your love for your sister and to protect her, please don’t pick a fight so publicly. Try and talk with tolerance instead.”

He nodded, albeit reluctantly. “All right, I’ll try.”

“Well, at least take him asidethen fight,” quipped Philip, who had a younger sister he felt the same way towards.

“Philip Rangers!” exclaimed Susie in astonishment. “Don’t put such ideas into his head!”

“No, Susie, he’s right,” said Louie, his mind made up. And when that happened, he was usually obstinate. “One fistfight should keep that guy on his best behaviour.”

No amount of appealing and cajoling by Susie or Marie would get through his head. Fed up, the former went to confront Philip.

“What in the world is the matter with you?” she asked, her face scrunched in annoyance. “Were you brought up with gypsies or in a circus, maybe? Well, they’re more well-behaved… so, perhaps some animals brought you up, like Tarzan?”

“Love that comic!” Philip said with a grin.

She smacked him hard on the arm. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that!”

He was shocked; he hadn’t been expecting firmness from a girl smaller than him. “Er – yes, ma’am,” he muttered.

“If you can’t talk anything better, you’d better not give people advices,” she hissed, before she stamped out of the room to her own dormitory, leaving behind a gaping audience.

For a few minutes, the entire room was filled with silence. Philp felt uncomfortable, for he knew Susie had been right and he should’ve apologised. He sighed.

He looked around, badly wanting to change the subject. “So guys, how was your summer vacation?” Nobody spoke; most of them were hiding behind their books or other material, though he felt sure they were secretly eyeing him. “I’ll start. I was quite alone at home, what with my parents going to some place or the other on work and having only Martha for company! But Martha was good company and we played a lot sometimes, when she did not have much to do!”

“Oh.” The students started and looked around. It was little Pauline, who had sympathy in her eyes. She was always sensitive to other children whose parents didn’t spend much time with them. “What did you and Martha play?” she asked in her small voice.

Philip smiled at her, grateful. “We played badminton.”

At once, a gasp resounded in the room. All eyes now looked up and around. It was Marie; her face was flushed.

“Philip, you play badminton?” she asked. “Oh dear, now Susie’s gone… I wanted her to be around, too! – William, too!”

“Well, idiot, don’t just stand there freaking out,” said Jessica boldly. “Spill it!”

“Oh yes!” She cleared her throat, suddenly calming down. “Sunny was very excited when I told him I played badminton and he wanted me to collect a list of names of those interested in playing for the school.”

“Me!” Philip raised his hand confidently.

“She!” suddenly cried Carla, raising a terrified Pauline’s hand. The latter covered her face with her other hand.

“Not me, please not me!” she kept muttering.

“Well, at least try,” Marie told her, going to her place in the common room to get a pen and a sheet of paper. “You can always do badly on purpose and get out of being put into competitions.”

“Isn’t that awfully dishonest, though?” Jack countered.

“Frankly, I wouldn’t care.” This from Joan Wilton of the Second Form. “You want something done, you make it happen.”

Jack didn’t seem convinced, though he didn’t say anything.

Marie went around the common room and wrote down names of students interesting in badminton. Some weren’t sure if they would be chosen to play for the school, but wanted to play the sport nonetheless. The Carlson twins were excited to go in and give it a shot. Janet Mary was more of an indoorsy person; if anything, she liked to fool around in the table tennis court. She didn’t know a thing about badminton.

“I could teach you if you want,” Jessica offered her. “I had played for some junior tournaments before I came here, though I didn’t win anything. We could have fun and learn together.”

Janet Mary’s eyes went wide and sparkly at this. “Really?! You will?!”

“Sure!”

They should’ve been at the library, but came back when they saw that it was locked and the library hadn’t returned from his vacation yet.

Carrie was very interested, too, as was Joan Wilton of the Second Form.

When she was done, Marie stood up with a grin, going over the list of names. She looked around the room. “Did I miss anybody?”

“No!” replied the others.

“Great! I’ll be giving this to Sunny then. Louie, come with me, please!”

The twins headed towards the door, Marie in the lead. No sooner had she skipped out, than she hit face first into a fleshy wall and fall down with a groan.

“I don’t remember there being a wall here!”

“Hey, that’s the second time you’ve been inconsiderate!” Louie’s voice startled her. She opened her eyes and saw that she had bumped into William, who was also lying on the ground.

“Oh dear, oh dear!” She instantly went to give him a hand up. “Come, take my hand!”

William blinked several times at her, as she repeated her instruction impatiently. He finally took her hand and got up. ‘I really don’t need help, you know,’ he thought, ‘I could’ve done on my own. But, you know, if you insist, who am I to refuse?

She gave a courtesy. “Please ignore my brother. I should’ve seen you coming. It’s my fault. Please forgive me!”

William was so shocked that he actually heard himself say, “Uh… yes, yes, of course! No problem!”

Marie stopped talking at once and turned her startled blue eyes on him. He saw the disbelief.

“No, really. It’s all right. No harm done!” A ghost of a smile appeared on his face, which relaxed her.

“Ah! Thank you. William. Oh! Also… do you know if Sunny is still in the badminton court?”

“Yes, he told me he was meeting with a First Former. I expect that’s you?”

“Indeed. And, um, are you… do you play badminton?”

He frowned, but his response was polite: “No, actually, but I’d like to give it a try. Why, are you playing now?”

Marie gave a nervous laugh. “I wish I was… but no. Maybe another time?” She looked at him hopefully.

He turned away. “Whatever, man.” And walked back into the room.

Marie turned to a bewildered Louie. “Well, if that ain’t success, I do not know what is!” She skipped away, leaving him to follow her when he recovered in his own time.

 

The children inside the room had seen the little episode, too, and were most astonished.

When the brother-sister duo left, silence reigned for what seemed like a long time.

Then, everybody began talking excitedly at once:

Did you see that?!”

William Evans being nice to someone!?”

“That guy doesn’t seem half bad now, does he!”

“Marie seems to be some kind of fairy!”

For some reason, the last remark stood out and everybody agreed that Marie was a fairy.

But as the term went along, they realised this may not so true after all…!

 

 

End of Excerpt

New Kids in the First Year – Chapter 04: New Classes

Chapter 03: New Friends 

 

CHAPTER 04: NEW CLASSES

The next day, the students found their timetables on the noticeboards outside their dormitories, just as the school headgirl had instructed them.

The bell went off at half-past-six in the morning, which was the signal for every one in the school – at least, the students – to wake up and start getting ready for to begin their day. Susie, one of the last girls who arrived the previous evening, found the timetable and informed the rest of the girls. She met Jon outside, having a look himself. Philip and Jack Roberts came out to have a look, too.

“We have assembly at eight o’clock,” read Philip, “and then, roll-call at quarter-to-nine. Classes begin at nine.” He turned to Susie. “Then, why do we need to wake up at half-past-six?”

The girl shrugged. “I suppose it’s the norm here. Anyway, sleep early and you’ll have a lot more time to do a lot of things the next day!”

“Sleep early, yes. But wake early, too? Nah, I couldn’t afford that. I can get ready in the blink of an eye!”

“Boasting again, are we?”

They all turned around to see Robert Thomas coming out of his room.

“Take no notice of him, Susie Jones,” he added, “for, he can exaggerate this roof to the sky!”

Everybody burst out laughing, Susie included.

“That was a great way of putting it, I admit,” said Jon.

“Anyhow,” said Susie, “it’s almost half-past-seven. We need to have our breakfast at eight!”

She bid the others a temporary goodbye and went back inside.

“I wonder who our class head is going to be!” said Carrie Wilton to two other girls who were setting out their clothes while they waited for whoever was using the bathroom to come out.

“Perhaps we won’t be having any,” mused Pauline, one of the girls. “What do you think, Carla?”

“Maybe they’ll ask us to volunteer and then have a vote,” Carla said.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Susie, going up to them. She had been the first student in the dormitory to get ready. She mostly liked having the bathroom before anybody else, even back at home.

Jessica Morton came out of the bathroom and instantly, another girl who had been the nearest, rushed in!

“Poor Janet Mary – she’d been holding her stuff for so long!” remarked Evangeline sympathetically.

“Well, I’m all ready now,” announced Marie, hefting her backpack. It was light, really, though it looked very heavy. She placed it on her bunkbed. “How long till classes start?”

“Not for another hour, at least,” replied Susie, and then, proceeded to repeat the timetable she had memorised from the noticeboard outside.

Nine!” squealed Marie. “Then, why was I asked to wake up and start getting ready three hours early!?”

Susie laughed. “Two and a half, but I get what you’re saying! Jon was complaining of the same thing!”

“Whatever,” Marie rolled her eyes. “There’s a roll-call at quarter-to-nine? Any more during the day?”

Susie thought about it. “No, as far as I could see. Why?”

“We had a roll-call two times every day in our old school, at Little Hearts. It was to make sure that no kid has gone missing in between. We’d know if they had and their parents would be informed.”

“Wow!” All the girls gathered around her.

“Where there any actual cases like that?” asked Carla, her eyes shining.

“Yes, in fact, actually. Two kids. Different days, of course. One boy got lost during a nature walk; he got distracted by a bunch of butterflies that were playing in the garden we were in. It was quite big and had a lot of people. Ever since then, teachers began to be more cautious about bringing us to that park only when less people were around.”

The girls gasped.

“I hope they found him!” said Pauline, the most sensitive of them all.

“Yes, of course. He had realised that his class were no longer with him, so he began to cry, looks like. Some couple took him in and began to entertain him, until our teacher found him. Oh, it was a day, I tell you!”

“What was the second time?”

“She was a rich girl – a girl who came from a rich family. She was kidnapped!”

Another round gasps; louder this time. “How?!”

“In the middle of a busy school day, one of the maids working in the school took the girl away with a piece of chocolate! We’re not told not to take anything from strangers, but she… she was known to us! We didn’t even suspect she could be criminal!”

The girls gaped.

“We saw some pretty bad things there, all right,” said Marie, not too happy by then. “The world can be pretty mean to us. Anyway, the girl was found by one of the guards in the school who thought the maid was acting suspicious. Don’t know what exactly he thought was suspicious. But it was a good thing, none the less.”

“I agree,” said Susie. “Well, let’s hope such things don’t happen to any of us. Like Philomena told us yesterday, we must be in at least groups of three… up to five. Let’s hope we all shall remember that!”

 

~*~

 

New classes began at nine in the morning.

The First Years were rounded up by Miss Green after assembly and up to their class. The room was rather small, though too big for a class of twenty students. The roll-call was taken there.

“Now,” said the mistress after. “You’re all fresh young twelve-year-olds, here to learn more than you did before to-day, and become good individuals. I hope you’re ready for some higher levels of all the subjects you’ve done before!”

The students all gave each other nervous glances. Miss Green noticed and smiled.

“That’s not a problem. I shall leave you all to get acquainted with the syllabus in the first week. But from the next week, please promise me you’ll try very hard. The first year is always a giant step from the sixth standard, so there’s no way around it, other than working very hard. I’m sure some of you who have older siblings know of this already.

“But don’t get scared. Whatever you need help with, you have your classmates and dormmates to ask. You can also come to me. We’re all here to help each other grow!”

The children looked at her in awe.

“Now. I shall be teaching you Geography. Your first hour to-day is Maths, so Mr James will be here shortly to start the lesson. Ah – here he is!”

A tall, rather middle-aged man entered the room, his eyes on the twenty students in the class. He had a jolly pleasant smile on his face. “Good morning, students,” he greeted affectionately.

The students at once stood up. “Good morning, Mr James!”

“Good morning, Miss Green,” he tipped his hat.

“Morning, Mr James. The class is all yours. Everybody has been called and accounted for!” Miss Green gave him a pleasant smile and walked away.

Mr James set his books down on the table and turned back to the class. “Now, settle down, please. Good. Now then, tell me what you all did in your last Maths class.”

The children each took turns to stand up and explain everything they had learnt. They each rather liked this middle-aged teacher whose cheery smile never ceased.

Ah, this school isn’t going to be so bad, after all!’ they thought.

 

Chapter 05: Black Sheep

New Kids in the First Year – Chapter 03: New Friends

Chapter 02: Start of a Grand Term

 

CHAPTER 03: NEW FRIENDS

 

Angelina suddenly noticed a middle-aged woman approaching them.

“Ooh, twins I see!” She had a pair of glasses on her nose and a notepad and pen in her hands. “Are you, by any chance, Angelina and Evangelina Carlson?”

Angelina giggled as Evangeline suppressed her anger. “Why does everybody here call me that!?” she exclaimed. “No, my name is Evangeline! No extra ‘a’!”

The woman smiled sheepishly. “I’m so sorry about that. I suppose when your twin in named with a name ending with ‘a’, people tend to believe yours would, too. I’ll see to it that this will not be a problem for you in the future.”

Suddenly, Evangeline felt ashamed. “Uh – no, that’s all right. I suppose I should get used to people confusing and correct them politely.”

The woman chuckled. “You’re well-mannered, I see. Oh – where are my manners! I’m Miss Green, First Year mistress. You’re all First Year?”

“Yes, please,” replied Robert Thomas. “We’ve all just visited the Headmistress. Where are the dormitories, please?”

“Well, aren’t you keen on staying here!” Miss Green beamed. “Come along now!”

The five children followed behind the mistress.

The dormitories were located on the first floor, in the eastern wing of the great building.

“The western wing is for the Second Years,” explained Miss Green. “Next year, I suppose you’ll all be shifted there. But for now, it’s these two rooms here—ten children in each. Boy, you’re to take the last one; this room is for the girls.”

They opened the first door and peered in. It was empty of anybody, but there seemed to be a lot of bunk beds and tables and chairs, all very tidy.

“Now remember—you’re to clean your own rooms every day. We have maids coming to clean only once a week. So, make sure your dormitories are clean. You can make a timetable of who will clean when – perhaps three children at a time. That we leave up to you.” She turned on her heel. “If that is all, then I’ll be going back to round up the rest of your classmates.”

“Are we the first?” asked Philip.

“Indeed. Now, your luggage will soon be up by the janitors. You can claim yours and start unpacking. Lunch will be at one o’clock, so be at the basement, at the table assigned to you. I’ll be waiting.”

When the children didn’t have anything more to say, she left.

 

They found all their luggage in the girls’ room, along with those of the other First Year students.

The boys lugged their bags away as the girls pulled them to the beds they chose and began unpacking.

“Oh! Hey Angie, remember how I said I didn’t pack the shuttlecock? Well, here it is!”

“Oh, that’s great, Evie! Oh, here’s the pencil I was searching in the train! I can’t believe I didn’t pack it in my backpack!”

“Hey, Carla, are you sure that’s the right cupboard for your dresses?”

There sounded a rap on the door. Every girl looked up.

A tall royal-looking girl stood at the doorway, in a blue t-shirt and jeans, and a tennis racquet stood over her shoulder in one hand.

“I take it you’re all the new First Years?” she said in a quiet deep voice. The girls in the room nodded slowly, hardly daring to look at one-another. “Good. There are more of you to be expected. More of the boys, too, of course. One of you, come to me when the rest of your mates are here.”

“Y-yes, ma’am,” said Carla, for the lack of a better word.

The tall girl suddenly smiled. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me. Where are my manners! You look very scared to be assaulted like this by an upper year student! My name is Philomena Thomas and I’m the headgirl of the school. I’m in the Sixth Year. It’s my duty to introduce the First Years and any new girls who arrive anywhere else in the school to the entire building. So, it’s a free tour, guys!

“When the others arrive, check the next dorm, as well, then come find me in the fourth floor, Room 41.”

“Yes, Philomena!” the girls replied in chorus, now feeling a little less shocked.

She flashed a huge grin and left.

“Gosh, isn’t she the first senior we actually talked to?!” said Carla, being the first to break the silence that followed, as usual. “I think I’m going to like her a lot! What about you!?”

Pauline nodded. “Yes, I think me too.”

The twins beamed together. “I think so, too!”

Just then, another rap sounded on the door and this time, a couple of kids stood at the doorway, both with naughty twinkles in their eyes.

“Is this the First Year dormitory?”

The four girls exchanged delighted glances. ‘They look like fun!’ they thought.

“Yes, this is the girls’s dormitory. The boys’s is the one next door.”

“This one?” The boy pointed in the direction that Robert and Philip had gone.

“Yes.”

“All right then.” He turned to the girl with a sweet smile. “Take care, now, Marie. We’ll meet again in the dining room, I suppose.”

The girl nodded. “Oh boy, I hope I get used to being separated from you, Louie.”

“I’m sure we both will.” He winked at her. “Holler if you need any help, okay?”

She nodded and hugged him, before coming inside with a bag trailing behind her.

Carla spoke up: “There’s the trunks. You can look yours up and start unpacking. We’re to be given a tour of the school later by the headgirl!”

“The headgirl!” The girl named Marie repeated, her eyes shining. “Ooh, is that all our luggage? Thank you so much! I’m sorry, what’s your name? Actually, let’s all introduce ourselves! My name is Marie Jackson, and I’m half-French. The boy who came with me is my twin brother, Louie.” She paused. “Actually, we’re both halfFrench.”

Evangeline laughed. “I can tell!”

“I say!” she exclaimed suddenly, staring back and forth from the Carlsons. “Are you both twins, too!?”

The other girls noticed she didn’t really have a French accent. It was more local to Slavian.

“Yes!” replied Angelina. “I’m Angelina Carlson and this is Evangeline Carlson. That wild red-haired of a mess is our neighbour, Carla Wilson –”

“Hey!” Carla yelled in mock-complaint, before tackling the twin.

But this didn’t faze Angelina from going on: “– And that shy little cute girl is Carla’s cousin, Pauline. Can you tell they’re both cousins?”

Marie Jackson giggled. “Nope. They look very unalike!” A hint of French graced her voice now. “Magnifique! It will be very nice knowing you! Are we expected any more shtudents?”

“Yes,” replied Evangeline. “I believe they’re going to be as many as the bunks in both the dorms!”

“I see!” The little half-French girl lugged her trunk by its wheels towards the bunkbed by the window.

“I actually claimed the lower one there,” Carla told her, “but you can have it if you want.”

Marie turned to her. “Oh… Well, can I, then?”

“Sure! I’ll take the top!”

“Are you… sure you don’t have a problem with it?”

The others suddenly realised that she had become a little nervous.

“Yes, I don’t have any problem,” Carla assured her. “Just, let me remove my stuff from there.”

“Hello girls!” a pleasant English voice sounded from the doorway. They all turned around.

Pauline blushed and quickly hid behind her cousin.

“Hey there!” the latter greeted him. “First Year, are you?”

“Yes,” replied the pleasant, freckled boy. “But it looks like I’m in the wrong dorm?”

“Well, not quite wrong. This is the First Year girls’s dorm. The boys’s is next door.”

“Ah, makes sense! Thank you so much! Would we be meeting up somewhere?”

It was Evangeline who spoke now: “Actually, the headgirl from Year Six came to let us know that she’ll be giving all the new students a tour of the school. We’re to report to her as soon as everybody arrives.”

“I see! There must be a list of students somewhere around here, right? Ah yes, right here outside! Well, I’ll let you know when all the boys have arrived. Then, one of you can go to the headgirl.”

“Sure thing! Thank you so much!”

“By the way, my name is Jon Smith. I suppose we’re all new here?”

“Yes, yes,” replied Carla. “I’m Carla, and this is my cousin, Pauline. She’s a little shy, especially around boys. The twins are Evangeline and Angelina. And that girl at the far corner of the room – she’s Marie Jackson.”

“Oh wow! I’ll have to keep repeating all those names over and over to remember them!” He gave a pleasant laugh. “Anyhow, I need to unpack. See you all in a while!”

 

~*~

 

Soon after, more girls and boy arrived.

Marie volunteered to check the names off the list placed outside the dorm rooms, to see if all the girls anticipated have arrived. When Jon came out and told her that all the boys in his dorm have arrived as well, she rushed off to the fourth floor, in search of the headgirl’s room. Louie insisted on going with her.

“All the students have arrived?” asked Philomena in her pleasant trill. “I’ll be there in a bit. I’ll round up all the new girls in the other years, as well. Thank you. What are your names again?”

The twins told her.

“Marie and Louie? Sounds French. Are you?”

“Indeed!” replied Louie. “Well, half-French, at any rate. We have relatives from there.”

“Ah! I have relatives in France, too, though they’re not native to the country. Been there a few years for work, is all. I think most of them intend to return home soon.”

The twins spoke a bit more about their shared interest, before they left to go back to their dormitories. In about ten minutes, Philomena Thomas came back with a crowd of some other girls and boys, and the First Year students had a grand tour of the school.

 

Chapter 04: New Classes

New Kids in the First Year – Chapter 02: Start of a Grand Term

Chapter 01: Off to a New School

 

Chapter 02: Start of a Grand Term

 

The car stopped directly in front of a tall, ancient-looking gate and the three girls pranced out on one side.

Over the gate was an arch that read “St. Ann’s Higher Secondary School”. The girls ran for it.

“Hey girls!” yelled Mrs Carlson. “I have a few things to tell you! Also, one of us need to escort you to the Headmistress’s office!”

The girls came back towards the car looking sheepish. They glanced back at the gate and saw that the grounds of St. Ann’s Higher Secondary School was teeming with girls and boys, men and women, all of them in some kind of uniform they’d never seen before.

“Now, listen carefully,” said Mrs Carlson. “Mrs Wilson and I will escort you to the headmistress’s office. We’re to see her again individually. The twins with me and Carla with her mother. The fathers will look for a parking spot for the vehicle, but they may or may not join us. The school is crowded at this time of the day – and no wonder! – so, stay close, okay?”

“Okay, Mum!” replied the twins and Carla said, at the same moment, “Yes, Mrs Carlson.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

The girls stuck together as did their mothers, as they weaved their way through the mess of people talking, shouting, and laughing. A lot of them seemed to have been at the school before, for there was also some hugging and catching-up. The three young children looked at them all in awe; they hoped to know all these students someday.

I know—I’m going to drag Angelina, Carla, and Carla’s cousin along with me around the school and talk to everybody!’ thought Evangeline in delight. ‘Yes… that’s what I’ll do!

Of course, provided she got the time!

The headmistress’s offices were located in the ground floor and the corridor was quite crowded. A lot of parents and students stood or sat in chairs; many of the students seemed shy or nervous or excited.

“They must be new like us,” whispered Carla to the twins. “Oh wow, there’s Pauline!” She raised her voice a little: “Hey Pauline!”

A young bespectacled girl looked up from where she had been staring at the floor under her feet. When she caught sight of Carla, a bright smile lit up her face and she tugged at an Indian woman in front of her.

“What is it, Miss Pauline?” asked the woman.

“My cousin Carla has come, Ms Kumari. Can I please go to her?”

Ms Kumari looked to where Pauline’s eyes gazed and a bright smile appeared on her face.

“My, if it isn’t the little naughty girl! Carla, is it? Nice to see you again, after such a long time!” Ms Kumari’s accent reminded the twins of a South Indian woman who could speak English very fluently. She and Pauline made their way towards them.

“Rishita! How pleasant it is to see you again!” greeted Mrs Wilson with a big smile. “Oh yes, my sister did tell me little Pauline was coming to the school, too, but I completely forgot! Hey Pauline, how are you doing?”

Pauline’s smile had turned shy upon seeing the new faces. “I’m doing great, Aunt Janet. How do you do?”

“We’re doing fine.”

“Where is Uncle Leo?”

“He and the twins’ father went to find a parking spot. I think they will take a while in this crowd! – what with to-day being the last day before school reopens!”

The little girl nodded. “I understand. Perhaps they’ll have to park in another spot and stay there, in case the car needs to be moved.”

As they spoke, Angelina studied the young girl. ‘Wow, up close like this, Pauline seems really intelligent. Um… what’s that word? Perceptive? Yes, I think so. I should look it up in the dictionary later. I don’t remember noting that when I last saw her. But that’s just a memory that flashed to me when Carla spoke about it.

Time passed and the two fathers did not arrive. Eventually, Mrs Wilson received a message, which she relayed to the others:

“They said they parked the car at a no-parking zone. They’ll be waiting for us there. If they find a spot in the meantime, they’ll go for it.”

“That’s fine by me,” remarked Mrs Carlson. “I don’t think there will be a problem, seeing as how the situation is to-day!”

Just then, a young woman emerged out of the office with a pad and a pen, a pencil sticking from her left ear. “Angelina Carlson? Is she here now?”

Angelina leapt up, raising her hand. “Here I am!” she exclaimed, her heart racing.

“You have a twin, don’t you?” The woman scanned the list on her pad. “Evangelina?”

“Evangeline. Yes, ma’am.”

“Please come, both of you. With your parents.”

The twins exchanged nervous glances, before their mother took their hands and followed the young secretary. There was another corridor, the twins saw with wide round eyes.

The secretary paused at the door at the end of the corridor and turned to them. “Please go in. Headmistress Maria Christopher is waiting for you. Girls, please be on your best behaviour.”

They didn’t intend to be ill-mannered, but they realised that the young secretary was genuinely concerned.

“Yes, ma’am, we will,” Evangeline replied for them.

She left and Mrs Carlson opened the door. They all walked inside; the door slowly swung shut.

A majestic woman sat behind a great desk, making the twins feel meek. ‘I don’t think nobody in their right minds can be mischievous with someone like her around,’ thought Angelina. She almost giggled. ‘Like Carla would correct me – “anybody in their right minds”!

The headmistress observed them carefully and Angelina sank a little deeper into her seat. Suddenly, the woman smiled.

“It’s all right, I’m going to gobble you up like a goblin.” Her laughter trilled merrily.

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed and the twins exchanged smiles with their mother who sat in between them.

“St. Ann’s School has been around since 1866, teaching students good morals and values, preparing them to be good citizens of the country, stop wars, be sensible diplomats, and be good examples to the next generation.

“We expect this from very girl and boy who passes out from St. Ann’s. We expect them to be proud of who they have become and be happy, and be a success wherever they choose to go.”

The twins couldn’t take their eyes off the imposing woman as she spoke. In the end, she beamed at them, pleasant crinkles forming around her eyes. They felt the sudden urge to sit up straight in their chairs, and swallowed.

 

~*~

 

Carla and her mother were next to go in.

When she saw the Carlson twins come out, she noted that their faces showed something in between awe and joy.

Well, at least the headmistress didn’t seem to have scared them,’ she thought with a gulp.

Angelina hugged her when she came near. “I heard it’s your turn now. Good luck!”

“She’s not very bad, really,” whispered Evangeline. “You’ll like her.”

Pauline nodded. “Yes, indeed. She gave me a bar of chocolate the last time I was here.” She grew red in the face all of a sudden. “Because, because…”

“Carla Wilson, please!” yelled the secretary. “Is she not here yet?”

“I’m here! Sorry!” Carla dashed towards where her mother stood, in front of the woman.

“Good. Please follow me.”

The twins turned to Pauline. “Because?”

“Well, because I got so scared, I cried as soon as I entered the room!”

 

~*~

 

Carla took just as much time as the twins; after her, a few other boys and girls went in.

Pauline was the last to go.

As the four girls were making silent conversation amongst them, a young boy came up to them.

“Hey, girls.”

They turned around, eyes wide in shock. Their mothers had drifted elsewhere, leaving Ms Kumari with them.

“What do you want, young man?” she asked. “You attending this school, as well?”

“Yes,” the boy nodded. “I just thought I should make some friends, now that my turn is over. You seem to be my age, so I approached you. I hope you don’t mind.”

Ms Kumari laughed good-heartedly. “No, no, not at all. Just making sure.”

“Great!” He turned to the girls. “My name is Robert Theodore Thomas. My friends back home, they call me BT – you can, too, if you like.”

Angelina frowned. “Shouldn’t that be RTT?” she mused. “Or maybe RT-squared.”

The young boy gave a pleasant chuckle. “Well, I wouldn’t recognise it immediately, I suppose. You know, Robert can be shortened to ‘Bert’. And take the first letter of the last name.”

Carla giggled. “Good one! Ooh, who’s that boy coming up behind you? He seems to be your friend.”

Robert turned around. “Ah, Philip!” He waved his hand.

The other boy came over, panting. “Finally found you! Where all do you keep disappearing, man!?”

The girls giggled and his attention landed on them. “Oh hey, making friends, already?”

“Yes,” replied Robert. “Hey, you didn’t tell me who you are.”

Carla stepped forward. “I’m Carla Wilson. This is my cousin, Pauline; she’s still awaiting a Certificate of Approval from the headmistress.” She grinned at her cousin, who blushed. Pauline refused to look at Philip and Robert no more than a glance or two.

“And these like-as-peas-in-a-peapod here,” Carla’s eyes shone on the twins, “are Angelina and Evangeline Carlson. I can’t tell you which one is which – you’ll have to figure that out for yourselves.” She grinned mischievously.

The twins smothered their giggles.

Evangeline stepped beside Carla.

“Well, the one’s usually Evangeline, the youngest of them,” quipped Carla.

This time, Pauline, too, couldn’t help joining in on the laughter.

“Pauline!” came the voice of the secretary, which the girls got used to by now.

“Ooh, my turn!” Pauline turned to the girls. “Wish me luck!”

“Good luck!” The girls and the boys wished her, as Ms Kumari took her by the hand.

The nanny turned to give Robert and Philip a stern stare. “If you make any false move, I’ll make sure you’re behind bars!”

“Uh – okay,” replied Philip, exchanging glances with Robert.

Suddenly, she smiled. “That’s great! See you when we come back!”

When nanny and her ward left, the boys heaved a sigh of relief. “Man, that Pauline’s got a good knight at her side, eh?” remarked Philip.

Carla roared with laughter. “Yea, like, definitely! Rishita is badass! She was in the armed forces before she took an early retirement to take care of her mother.” Her face grew less amused and more grim. “Her brother was in the front lines when he lost his life in a border conflict.”

“Oh, so sorry to hear that.”

“It was a couple of years ago. She’s got better at coping, I think. Anyway, she doesn’t talk much about it now.”

“Gotcha. Remember not to mention it, right?” said Robert.

Carla nodded. “Yes, indeed.”

 

Pauline came out as happy as she was when she’d gone to meet the headmistress; if possible, even more.

Ms Kumari beamed. “I say, I’m impressed with this headmistress of yours here—very precise and sincere. Apparently, she has a lot of expectations from young Miss Wilson here!” She gave the young girl in question a friendly thwack on the back.

 

Chapter 03: New Friends

New Kids in the First Year – Chapter 01: Off to a New School!

Summary

 

Chapter 01: Off to a New School

 

“I say, we had a great time back at Granny’s!” said Evangeline Carlson, excitedly, to Carla Wilson. “The South Coast Beach was fabulous this summer!”

“Too bad it ended too soon!” her twin, Angelina, agreed. “But, I love that we’re going back to school. We’re ready to make new friends!”

Twelve-year-old Evangeline and Angelina Carlson were back home after a long summer, to find their best friend and neighbour, Carla Wilson, in bed with a bad cold.

“I’m so sorry you missed it, though,” said Evangeline sympathetically. “We all missed you there.”

Carla sighed, though the smile on her face never left as her friends spoke. “Nah, that’s all right. I’m sure I’ll be right as rain in no time at all!”

“Well, the new school is going to start in the third week of June,” Angelina reminded her. “You were sick the whole of past week. Whatever did you do at Spain?”

In Spain,” corrected Carla. She looked about to sneeze and began frantically looking for a handkerchief, which the other twin handed her quickly. She sneezed. Rubbing her nose with her cloth, she replied in a nasally voice: “It was terribly hot and I went swimming every day. That’s what.”

Evangeline giggled. “Well, maybe you should’ve given some breaks in between.”

“I tell you—I swam, eat ice cream, and had cold drinks every chance I got!”

“Did those cold drinks,” asked Angelina, her eyes twinkling, “by chance contain soda?”

Carla’s mouth twisted into a pout. “So what if they did?”

“Carla, you’re allergic to soda! Your body positively rejects it! Why don’t you accept it!?”

“I don’t want to!” Poor Carla scowled and turned away, much to the concern of the twins.

“Okay then,” said Evangeline, “what do you know about this new high school Mum and Dad are taking us to?”

Carla instantly cheered up – well, as much as could in her state. “It’s a boarding school! – we’ve never been to one, have we?! It has a tennis court, a badminton court, a library – for your research, Angel! – and indoor games, and – and –”

“Oh my, you’re getting too excited!” Angelina turned to her twin. “I think we should just leave –”

“NO!” Carla looked horrified. “Please… not again! I want to company – I haven’t had any for days! Please, oh please!”

“All right, fine.”

“Gosh! – you don’t have to touch our feet or anything. We’ll stay for as long as you like.”

 

~*~

 

The day that the three girls would go to their new school was approaching rapidly.

“Where’s the list, please?” asked Angelina, looking here and there.

Carla’s mother handed a paper to her. “There – the same for each of the three of you. I’ve got some of them. Can you please read out the list for me, so I’ll know if I missed anything. Gosh, shopping for three children is such a mess!”

While Angelina obeyed Mrs Wilson, her twin was busy watching the time. Carla, who was feeling much better by now, walked up to her, a sock in hand.

“What are you staring at? Waiting for someone?”

“Our parents are going to come home any time soon. Your dad went to pick them up. Surely, even with a lot of traffic, they’d here by now!”

“Oh, didn’t you hear? They aren’t going to come!”

Angelina stopped talking and at once lifted her head to where the others were standing. “What did you say?!” she exclaimed. “Mummy and Daddy aren’t going to come to see us off on our last day before school!? And we haven’t spent a lot of time with them at all!” Tears gathered at the tips of her eyes, ready to fall down at any moment.

“CARLA” her mother yelled in annoyance. “Don’t tease your friends like that! Angelina dear, please stop crying. Your parents will be here any time soon. Yes, Evangeline, that best friend of yours is just pulling your leg.”

The twins sighed in relief and glared at Carla, who at once felt ashamed and even a little proud of herself.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Preparations carried forward, as Angelina tried not to cry again. In a shaky voice, she rattled off the remaining items in the list.

“Oh dear – tennis racquets!” exclaimed Mrs Wilson. “I haven’t bought any! There’s just two – one for Carla and one her father uses every day!”

“No worries,” Evangeline had joined her twin now to help her along. “No worries – I’ll circle that with this pen and we can buy it on our next trip.”

“Oh good! Thank you, Evangeline. You’re very level-headed, unlike me.” Her aunt gave her a grateful smile. “Now, what else is left?”

“Uniforms and shoes and socks,” replied Evangeline. “I remember you buying them two days ago. For all three of us.”

“That’s good! Well, I think I remember, too. Anyway, that’s all, isn’t it? We’re no missing anything?”

“No, Mrs Wilson. Just the tennis racquets. We have badminton racquets that Mum said she’d be bringing when she and Daddy came.”

Just then, the doorbell rang and Angelina went running towards it. She opened the door and there, on the apartment floor beside the lift, stood her parents!

“Mummy! Daddy! We missed you!” She flung herself on both of them at once, nearly toppling them back. They laughed and ruffled her hair.

Mr Carlson stood her back on the ground. “Now, if I remember correctly, you’re going to a new school in two days’ time, correct?”

Angelina nodded. “A boarding school. I’ve never been in one.”

“I’m sure you’ll like it. It’s where your mother, your aunt, and I went.”

She took one of the heavy suitcases and dragged it on its wheels. “Yes, that’s why I’m looking forward to going there! But I won’t be back at home for a whole term and I’m afraid if I’ll get homesick.”

“Afraid I’ll get homesick.”

She jumped and turned her head; she was inside the flat by now. It was Carla who had corrected her, as usual.

“Same thing,” she retorted with a childish jut of her chin.

The parents giggled.

“Don’t worry about homesickness, child, you’ll have your sister,” reassured the twins’ father. “And Carla, too. She’s new to boarding school, aren’t you, Carla?”

“Yes, indeed,” cheerfully agreed the young girl in question.

Angelina exchanged glances with Evangeline, who didn’t look too sure. It wasn’t like they thought their best friend was lying, but because she mingled with new people quicker than they did, something that bothered them.

Maybe she’ll leave us and go,’ they both thought. ‘We may not be friends again when we finally come back from school.

 

~*~

 

At last, the day when the three girls had to leave their home.

Mr Wilson was driving them all to the school, which was just a three-hour journey from where they stayed. The girls were restless and eager to see their new school again.

“I remember when we went their during the application process,” said Angelina, a little too loudly. “It was sooo huge…!! Remember Evie?!”

“Yes, of course, I do,” replied her twin with a wide grin. “You can keep voice lower now. I’m sure Mr Wilson is having a hard time driving because of you talking so loud!”

“Loudly,” provided Carla generously.

“So loudly,” Evangeline corrected herself. “Anyway, class don’t start until tomorrow. We’ll have plenty of time to explore and get to know our new classmates!”

“We’ll probably have dormitories!” said Carla, her eyes wide with thrill. “Remember all those days we read about school in Enid Blyton stories?!”

The twins grinned at her wickedly.

“Hey guys, what is it?” Carla blinked innocently.

You did,” Angelina told her. “You read. We don’t read books.”

“Ha!” Carla suddenly grinned. “We’ll have to see about that!” Her eyes suddenly lit up like a torch went off underneath her. “Oh hey, my cousin Pauline will be there, too! I found out about it a week ago, but forgot to tell you!”

“Ooh, I remember when we met her – don’t you, Evangeline?”

The twin in question looked doubtful at this. “Uh… I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll recall when I see her again.”

“That’s okay – you guys saw her only for an hour two years ago! Can’t expect to remember her! Anyway, here we are at the school!”

They weren’t quite yet, but they could see the tall, imposing structure at a distance when the car rounded a corner. The girls gradually grew quiet, shivers of awe going up and down their spines and their skin tingling all over. They stared at each other, a grin slowly growing on their faces.

Something tells me we’re going to have lots of fun for the next few weeks!’ they thought.

 

Chapter 02: Start of a Grand Term

St. Ann’s School #1: New Kids in the First Year

I shall be posting a few chapters from my newly edited school series novel, “New Kids in the First Year”. I used the Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021 as an opportunity to dedicate myself to finishing the editing and the total was a whopping 50,199 words!!

 


 

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Friendships

 


 

Description: 

When Evangeline and Angelina Carlson join a new boarding school after their primary education, they’re introduced to a whole batch of new kids like themselves and fit right in along with them. St. Ann’s School proves to be rather impressive in every way and they enjoy themselves despite it being mostly a season of rains. There is also the promise of tournaments and matches against rivals schools.

But bad news awaits one of their friends that shock the entire First Form and changes their perspective on life forever. Will it stop them from having their midnight feast and enjoying with their families on Half-Term Day?

To top it off like a cherry on a cake, badminton is a dying sport at St. Ann’s – a fact that shocks not only the Carlsons, but also their friends. The entire First Form is willing to do anything it takes to revive the sport before it dies completely.

 

Chapter 1: Off to a New School!

Nicole’s Choice

Nicole wasn’t very impressed with what she was seeing before her.

    But then again, when it came to dates, she never was. Nobody she dated impressed her—neither men nor women. In fact, it seemed like her dating choices weren’t exactly to be trusted.

    So, you may wonder why she was on this date now – with a woman called Samantha Love. At first, when she heard the name, she had to admit it sounded almost romantic. Now, she wondered why. Samantha Love? Who names themselves like that—the descendent of St Valentine? Did St Valentine ever have a descendent? Or, maybe a child of Cupid or Venus. The kind of world Nicole lived in, she wouldn’t have been surprised if the second theory turned out to be true.

    “I went to watch the Winter Olympics last year and it was so exciting!” Samantha was saying. “I met a lot of sportsmen – oh, so hot…”

    She went on and on, perhaps describing each of those sportsmen she supposedly met – Nicole didn’t listen. She just nodded and smiled where necessary and appropriate. She also threw in an occasional “I see” and “Oh!” to add special effects.

    Finally, the shadows started growing longer in the café she sat on her date with Samantha and that prompted her to check her watch. It was six o’clock.

    She cleared her throat and leaned forward. Samantha stopped talking – she had been saying something about meeting the Emperor of Japan – and looked expectantly.

    ‘She literally has no clue I wasn’t even listening!’ thought Nicole. ‘That’s a huge relief.’ Because, she wasn’t usually the type to not listen to people – she did. Just, not during dates. They always ended in disasters, one way or another, so she stopped listening to people on her dates.

    Aloud, she said, “So, I need to leave now, I’m sorry. I need to visit my mother before sundown.”

    Samantha smiled brightly. “Oh yes, sure! I need to be leaving, too!” She stood up. “It was great meeting you! I think we should see each other again!”

    ‘Uh-oh,’ thought Nicole, though she gave a bright smile in return. “Sure thing!” she agreed, though inwardly, she thought, ‘No way, thank you very much. We shouldn’t have met in the first place.’ She stood up, too, and moved from the table.

    “Great!”

    Nicole and Samantha walked together as far as the main road.

    “So. Need a ride back home?” offered Samantha.

    Nicole shook her head politely. “No, thank you. I can go on my own.”

    The other woman nodded. “Great! So, I’ll text you and we can meet up again!”

    What Nicole really wanted to say was, ‘No, that’s all right – I think we should call it.’ But, what she ended up saying was, “I think so, too. Perhaps next week?” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she began to regret it.

    This seemed to make Samantha even happier, for she suddenly hugged her. Nicole stiffened in shock.

    ‘O…kay!’ She tried not to panic.

    Luckily for Nicole, Samantha left her in a few seconds, waved goodbye, and walked away towards left. Nicole found herself staring at her as she walked away, particularly at her gait and the way her waist moved when she walked—side-to-side with no proper rhythm, which seemed to awaken something inside of the woman that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

    ‘Snap out of it!’ she chided herself. ‘Stop staring at her and leave!

∞∞∞

    “How was the date?”

    Nicole looked up as she entered the cemetery. Her older sister, Andrea, stood at the grave that she came to visit, her husband, Matthew, standing beside her, his arm wrapped in hers and pulled close to him. There was no one else in the vicinity.

    “I told you not to get involved in my love life,” answered Nicole, not very graciously. “I made the decision to take a break from dating. I decide when I start again.”

    Andrea made a show of rolling her eyes as the younger woman approached the grave. “You said that two years ago!” she pointed out. “Timmy was a jerk and the others you’ve dated since… well, they weren’t exactly bright. I get it: you want someone who gets you. I guarantee Samantha is just the woman for you!”

    Nicole frowned and folded her arms across her not-so-big chest. “I’m sorry to say that you’re wrong. Only thing she did there was talk all about herself – how she met this famous person, that famous person –”

    “Well, she does do a lot of charity work.”

    Nicole snorted. “Bet it’s all just for show.”

    Andrea frowned in irritation. “Look, she’s my best friend – my only close friend. You better take those words back.”

    “Well then, newsflash: I make bad dating choices; you make bad friendship choices.”

    Nicole could tell that this made her sister furious.

    But, all Andrea said was, in a calm ice-cold voice, “I hope you didn’t blow that date.”

    Nicole sighed. “I would know if I were listening,” she muttered.

    “So, what did you do?”

    “Nothing. Look, I don’t think she’s into me, okay? In fact, I think she’s into guys.”

    Andrea looked taken aback now, maybe even a little confused. “Come again?”

    “She’s straight, Andrea.”

    “Is that so?” The older woman didn’t sound convinced.

    Nicole didn’t care. She came there to see and talk to her mother and that was what she was going to do. She knelt in front of the grave and bowed her head in silent prayer. She wasn’t particularly religious, but she loved her mother when she was still alive. Every time she came to the cemetery, she hoped her mother would be listening to her.

    Ten minutes later, her face tear-stained, Nicole stood up. She felt an arm around her shoulder and she relaxed into it. No matter how much they fought, Andrea would always love her unconditionally. Having almost zero social life of her own, she was glad of this.

    “I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “She… When we were leaving, she said she’d text me later and fix… fix another date. Maybe I’ll try harder then.”

    Andrea kissed the top of her head. “I know you will.”

∞∞∞

It turned out that Nicole didn’t have to wait a week to meet her date again.

    She was back in the cemetery the next night, looking for a ghoul she knew was making trouble across the town—making unusually strong winds (it was summer season, when the winds weren’t so strong), uprooting random trees and electrical poles, and even scaring the wits out of poor young children by appearing in front of them. Kids below fifteen years were more likely to see spirits, even if they weren’t a mediator like Nicole was.

    Nicole had magic – this she’d known for a long time. She just couldn’t understand how she could be the only one in this side-career.

    “Boo!” a voice said close to her left ear.

    She whipped her head around, pinching her lips so she wouldn’t scream. There, beside the tree she was hiding, stood the last person she expected to see.

    “Samantha, right?” she gasped, calming down. She had been afraid it was another ghost. One angry one was enough to handle for one day, forget about two at once.

    The other woman nodded and sidled to her side. “So, a little bird told me you think I’m always talking about myself.”

    Nicole could feel herself blushing fiercely. “Er – I’m sorry. I’m just not into dating right now. I didn’t want to go yesterday, but Andrea said I should because you were expecting me…” She sighed. “I’m sorry.”

    To her surprise, Samantha smiled, almost knowingly. “I know.”

    Nicole swallowed. “You… you knew?”

    Before anybody could do anything else, a strong gust of wind hit them directly in the face. Nicole almost lost her footing, if not for the hand that grabbed her just in time. She realised it was Samantha.

    “The ghost’s here!” shouted the other woman. “You going to do this now or what?!”

    Nicole wondered how she could see the ghost, but didn’t bother asking just then. There was always time for that later. She nodded once. Samantha let go of her, just as she raised her arms skyward.

    “O, Lord of the Dead,” she chanted, “I beg thee to take the soul unclaimed and ravaging the world of the living! Please, I –”

    Something strong hit her hard in her gut and she lurched forward, an incredible amount of pain raising from her stomach. Her eyesight quickly became blurry and she passed out.

∞∞∞

It had been three years since Nicole awoke next to a person who wasn’t part of her family.

    It was back in twelfth grade and she was attracted to the most popular girl in school, Kyla. They often had sleepovers, which raised in her heart hopes about dating her at some point. But then, school ended and they drifted apart, until, eventually, she felt town for good. She didn’t even leave a contact number behind.

    Nicole’s heart was broken and it stayed that way, until, two years later, she met Timmy, the complete opposite of both Kyle and herself. They’d started dating pretty quickly, but it was only several months later that she had started seeing the signs and how he was really mentally abusing her. He had gradually, very subtly, began to take control of every part of her life, including her friends and family, until, in a year after she graduated college, she had no one to talk to except him. She realised this the day her mother died.

    Fortunately, Andrea had been watching out for her. The moment things got out of control, she had swooped in and removed her little sister from the mess. That was when Nicole knew she’d never ever truly hate her.

    It had been two years since she left Timmy. He hadn’t forced her to sleep with him yet, but he might have, if she had stayed any longer. That thought made her shudder every time.

    Now, the person next to her was a woman—Samantha. And the place they were in seemed more deserted and foggier – certainly not how she remembered the cemetery being. Surely after the angry ghoul had left, things had quietened down?

    ‘No, there’s something wrong,’ her conscience told her. ‘This is not the cemetery – we’re somewhere else.’ She caught herself staring at Samantha’s face: eyes closed, mouth set in a relaxed expression, and her chocolate-brown hair thrown haywire on the ground she lay.

    ‘She’s beautiful,’ thought Nicole. She suddenly realised she had known this fact all along, but had never allowed herself to admit it.

    Just then, she heard a muffled sound and got to her feet, swift as a cheetah. Her eyes darted around, surveying for any attack from anywhere.

    Beside her, Samantha groaned and sat up. She shushed her urgently, before the sound became louder again and she realised it was the sound of footsteps. She instantly grew wary.

    Then, from above them, came an odd battle-cry: “Cheetos!”

    On instinct, Nicole grabbed her companion’s wrist and ducked both out of the way of the rocket swooping down at them. It landed at the exact spot they had been at. The thought of what might’ve happened if she hadn’t moved in time was something Nicole didn’t want to think about.

    “So, we meet again!”

    The ghoul, the woman realised, was a man. A boy, really. But, a strong one, of that she was sure. She’d learned, albeit the very hard way, to never underestimate spirits of young people, especially teenagers: they had both physical and mental stamina to inflict more pain than she ever could.

    “Stay back, Samantha!” she ordered. “I’ll take care of this!”

    “No, wait!” Judging by her voice, Samantha seemed to be recovering quickly. “Let me help you!”

    Nicole rolled her eyes; she didn’t have time for this. “Just do as I say!”

    “Oh,” the other woman sounded bewildered. “If you say so.”

    Now, the woman could concentrate safely on the ghoul. “So! Caused enough havoc on the living already?” she said, tauntingly. “Where have you brought us now? Surely this isn’t Earth?”

    The boy’s face broke into a cruel smile that somehow made her heart do a little dance inside her chest. ‘This is not the time or place to fall in love!’ she chided herself.

    But even she had to admit that the ghoul looked very familiar…

∞∞∞

Suddenly, her eyes widened as she remembered.

    “Timmy?!” she exclaimed. Instantly, she wished she hadn’t said it.

    Dread filled her heart as images and videos of her time with her longest ex filled her mind and body, slowly consuming her soul. She found herself back in Timmy’s apartment, hunched on the sofa the moment she realised that all her old friends had deserted her. How had she let this happen? She was normally the one with many connections and acquaintances. But, seemingly overnight, nobody seemed to care about her to even message her. Only Andrea and her mother ever did and now, she found out that her mother, who had been hospitalised for cancer the previous week, just passed away.

    She turned her foggy gaze towards the kitchen where she could hear Timmy making dinner for them both. She wanted more than ever to talk to him, but when she’d earlier tried to make small talk, he had brushed it aside. It wasn’t the first time he had been doing this and she didn’t dare to wonder why. Could she bring herself to ask him for comfort now?

    She let her gaze wander slowly around the room, until it caught her phone lying silent on the table near her. A crazy idea formed in her mind. Should she do it…?

    The scene suddenly changed and Nicole was back in her room, on her bed, her eyes stinging. She put her hands to her face and realised that she had been crying hard. She somehow knew it was because of what Timmy had done to her – and the realisation that she had just seen the cold body of her mother, who had died a couple hours ago.

    ‘I’m reliving this memory,’ she thought. ‘Why? I thought I’d moved on… it’d been three years, after all…

    Something glowed in front of her and she looked up. Beyond her bed, standing with a bow in a hand and a red-tipped arrow in another, stood a young boy. He wore nothing but a loincloth and a knowing smirk.

    “Here you are, sad and lonely,” he said. His voice was a bit on the squeaky side, like it was on the verge of maturing. “You have two choices, dear Nicole—either admit that you want to be loved again or keep sitting here for the rest of your life.”

    Nicole gulped. Two choices? Really? She couldn’t believe it. It was so easy to pick one. Were choices in life really that easy?

    “I choose to sit here,” she said, her voice calm.

    The boy raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

    She wanted to say “Yes”, she really did. But, something in her mind kept poking her, so that she didn’t say it. Instead, she found herself hesitating. Did she really want a lonely life? She’d love that. But then, an image began to shimmer to her right. When it solidified, she realised it was Samantha, looking around as if searching for something.

    Nicole realised she was searching for her.

    “She cares for you, too,” said the boy. “Surely, you don’t want to abandon her in a place she doesn’t know?”

    “Where is this place?” Nicole growled.

    “The Netherworld.”

    Nicole’s stopped breathing. The Netherworld was the place for dead spirits before they went into their afterlife. Living beings couldn’t survive there! How long had she and Samantha been there—an hour? More?

    “We need to leave now,” she muttered. “Tell me, Cupid, what should I do?” She paused. “You are Cupid, aren’t you?”

    The young boy flashed a giant smile. “Guilty as charged! Now – as to what you can do… Well, you can make the right choice.”

    “Obviously, it’s not the one I chose.”

    The smile was the only answer she got.

    “Great,” she muttered through her teeth. “Fine, I choose Samantha. Now, let us go!”

    Cupid’s smile spread even wider. “Excellent!”

    All of a sudden, the bedroom disappeared and Nicole found herself back with Samantha in the foggy corridor. The other woman’s back was to her and suddenly, she whirled around.

    “Nicole!” she cried and embraced her tightly.

    With a wave of relief, Nicole hugged her back. “Look, I need to tell you something.”

    Samantha pulled her head back. “What?”

    Without thinking further, Nicole leaned forward quickly and pressed her lips to hers. It was warm and delicious, a feeling she had missed for two years.

    She pulled away. “I want to go on that date with you.”

The French Revolution – Part 2 | The Rebellious 18th Century #1

Finally, almost a year later, I managed to complete and publish Part 2 of “The French Revolution”!

Next up is a little break from “The French Revolution” to learn some concepts in History. So stay tuned!

Parchments of the Times Past

Continuing from Part 1 of the French Revolution (1789).


Before going on, very sorry for the late post. More than late, actually……. I had a lot of things on my plate! 


“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in his book, “Social Contract“. 

It’s a book that explains the theory of state-formation – a contract between the state (government) and the people… but that’s not what we’re here to learn to-day. I’ll gladly post about the various theories of state-formation another time – they’re very interesting! 

But to-day, we’re here to know Part 2 of the French Revolution. 

18th Century French population under the king was divided into three estates, according to their financial abilities:

And that’s where the issue started.

Also, with people like Rousseau, one of the greatest intellects of Europe at the time… and maybe all time. 

View original post 1,073 more words

“Wherever He Goes” by Vania Rheault | Review

My Review of “Wherever He Goes” by Indie Author, Vania Rheault

 

  • This is a standalone book.
  • It’s a little mature, perhaps targeted to readers above 20 years of age. 

 

Back-of-book description:

When Aiden offers to drive Kat across the country, she has no choice but to say yes.

Kat tries to convince herself it won’t be so bad. Aiden’s easy on the eyes, and he does rescue her from Stan the Scorpion. It’s not her fault that anything that can go wrong does go wrong.

Okay, so maybe she shouldn’t have offered to call roadside assistance for that elderly couple. Though, how was she supposed to know they’d steal their rental truck and leave them with an old clunker full of cocaine?

But he shouldn’t have eaten those fish tacos at the town fair by the lake. And he certainly shouldn’t have kissed her that one time by the fountain at that casino in Las Vegas. Even if it was romantic.

Yeah, she shouldn’t have shared his bed after that crazy kid held a gun to her head robbing a convenience store in that little town in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been so kind.

Maybe she shouldn’t have been so adorable.

He probably shouldn’t have fallen in love.

And she definitely shouldn’t have let him drive away.

Setting out on one last road trip, can Kat convince Aiden that their destinations are the same after all?


 

Genre: Romance, Adult fiction, Adventure

 


 

My review:

 

A Very Unique Book That Should Be A Bestseller!

“Wherever He Goes” was the one of the best romance books I’ve ever read.

The title was a little intriguing, though it was obvious to me that it was a romance. The cover said that, too – and also that it was going to be a road-trip. Oh, the cover was very beautiful!

When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. The entire story was in third person past tense, which is my most favourite. The plot, too, blew me away! I’ve never read something like that before!

The characters in this story are in their late 20s, a genre I’ve never actually read. It was very refreshing. I’ve seen women and men in their 20s acting selfish and nasty to each other, in one way or another, but in “Wherever He Goes”, the characters were mature and acted their ages. This was one of the things that really made me love this book. There was no unnecessary drama or affairs that simply give me a headache, if not anything else.

Katrina gets herself into a scandal unintentionally and her fiancé instantly breaks off their engagement, sitting halfway across the country. This agitates her; she wants to go back home and explain to her fiancé the whole truth, because he refuses to answer her calls. When she tries to do so, there is a flight strike – just her luck.

Aiden, with whom she had got into the scandal, wants to help her out, since he feels guilty about it. He had already booked a rental car to travel around the city, so he offers to drive her back home.

Halfway across the country, just so a stranger could tell her fiancé she still loves him and the scandal was nothing? Seems illogical, right? Well, not when there’s an attraction already in place.

Katrina reluctantly agrees and they begin their road trip.

On the way, the two young people come across a lot of action, adventure, lost children,… they were all described so well and they made a lot of sense. The author’s choice of words were excellent, as was the editing. It was a very good read for me, someone who gets annoyed with books riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes. There were almost no mistakes, at all – just a few, but they didn’t hinder my reading one bit. I loved this book and I loved how the author unravelled her characters, made them human, gave them flesh and bone, so to speak.

I felt really good reading this story.

I’d recommend it to anybody who loves contemporary urban romances and doesn’t mind a smattering of steamy scenes. I can’t think of comparing this book to any others, it’s so unique! I’m glad I got the opportunity to read it. I’m definitely reading more books by this author and you should, too!

 


 

Find Vania Rheault’s “Wherever He Goes” on her profiles on: Amazon.com, Amazon.in, and Goodreads.

Follow Vania Rheault on Facebook to get news about her writing, new releases, and other updates!

Have a great day!

Life Update – 30/03/2021

Hello there!

The new year has been going steadily. This third month has been just the regular slow, which was good. The thought of my impending wedding lies heavy on my mind and I try not to think about it too much. 

My work has just started and will start its momentum this week. So, until then, not much to say in that department. 

I’ve been writing less and reading more. My fiance bought some Enid Blyton school series books for me that I chose during one of our dates, and I’ve been reading them steadily. I was a little sorry that I didn’t get all the books, but still, having some is always better! Reading them takes me back to my teenage years when I really enjoyed Enid Blyton books, among others, and how much I learnt from them. I still do. 

I’ve been re-reading “The Young Foreigner”, in order to proceed with the sequel with as less mistakes as possible. The second book is halfway done, but I’m getting stuck with the details that’ve already been mentioned before. Also, I need to make a cover for it that matches my new cover for “The Young Foreigner”. 

On that note, I have news for you all: I have been making amatuer videos on YouTube. Read on below to subscribe to my channel!

A few weeks ago, I started another fantasy story, in another fictional world that I created. I have just written about two and a half chapters, but I’m now more into creating countries, maps, and characters, specific cultures for each country – details like that. 

I’ve been working on the Time Duology, as well. Some of you may know that I have a romance novel manuscript called “Time for Love”; I’m working on writing the sequel. In fact, I’ve already started writing it and was halfway into plotting, when I realised there was just too much gap between the two books. So, I’ve decided to write a Book #1.5 to bridge the gap. It’s a collection of short stories about all the four main characters and their lives, before Book #2. It’s like writing fanfiction of my own story, and I’m loving it! Not only will it bridge the gap, it will also give in more detail the personalities of my characters. 

In another news, I’ve made my own logo! It’s on top of this article – the one in the blue!

I’ve also started expanding my short story “Nicole’s Choice” into a short story collection featuring my two main characters. I want to upload that story on this blog at some point, before removing it completely from Wattpad. I’ve put this short story collection project on hold for the time being, until I get some new ideas. 

I’ve started reworking/editing my school series, which was inspired by Enid Blyton’s school series. Of course, the plot and setting are entirely different, as are the culture and languages, but it’s going to have a large main cast with a variety of personalities. Not a fantasy, either, which is a challenge I successfully completed in my teenage. Of course, I only wrote, like, two and a half books in that series, which is supposed to have six; the point is that I’ve made it possible for me to write a non-fantasy fiction at a very early age, which is a good sign. I started editing from the beginning, because I quite forgot what the plot and sub-plots were, and the characters and their backgrounds. I abandoned this series a few years ago because, when I posted it all on Wattpad, I didn’t get much reads. Back then, I cared a lot about numbers. Then, I put it up on Quotev and got a lot of readership for it. That’s when I realised that it’s still possible to find an audience for any book! It was one of the incidents that made me realise numbers and popularity doesn’t matter to me, as long as I’m writing what I want to write. 

I’ve not been writing any poetry so far, but an itch has begun to write another short story – mostly, another in the LGBTQ+ community. I mean, a solo one, not related to any of my stories. I believe I’d got some ideas a day or two ago, but I can’t recall them now. 

I’ve put the sequel of “M For Maria” on hold for now. I may need to change the first book’s POV. I’ll have to get it through enough beta-readers to make that decision. I got it through only one so far, and I’m not even sure of my exact target audience range. It’s a new adult fiction, yes… But you know, “The Young Foreigner” was enjoyed by a large range of age groups, which surprised me a lot! 


I’m starting to wonder if I need to revisit some of my lighter-mode stories and work on them for some time. I mean, the school series is light, but my earliest novels and WIPs were more standalone and didn’t have an overarching plotline that continued the entire length of the series.

Neither does the school series, now that I think about it… 

The other day, I was wondering why I write only series. Now, I realise that I have some standalones, too, that don’t have any intention of converting into series: my middle-grade contemporary novella, my young adult mystery/thriller, and my beauty and the beast retelling in a modern setting. I have now developed a desire to write a retelling in a historical setting, which could give me confidence to write a pure historical fiction. I have started drafting a historical fantasy book that may or may not become this. I need to think up of a fairy tale to retell. 

Also, a sequel to “Stuck in Time” is in the works. I haven’t started writing or even plotting it yet, but I know for a fact that the series is going to be standalones with no big overarching plot. Well, to begin with, it was supposed to be a standalone, with no sequels at all, but you know the muse – it kept poking my head, until I finally gave in and said I would make the book into a series. Like, the Nancy Drew books, or the Hardy Boys books, or the Trixie Belden books. Not a specific overarching plot, but with certain developments in the characters. 


I recently got some books from a couple of bookstores that I need to read. I have some reading obligations for at least half of next month, so I cannot get to my books until then. But they sure seem very attractive!!

I’ve started the Enid Blyton ones because I need something light to read now and then. 


That’s all for now!

You can also check out my other blogs and social media: 

Avalon’s Scribbles | Parchment of the Times Past | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon 

You can subscribe to my channel here!

Thank you! See y’all in my next post! 

 

The Missing Head – 2. Long Time, No See.

1. A Filling Conversation

2. Long Time, No See

Rohan Harrison couldn’t believe the sight in front of his eyes.

The girl was a good deal shorter than him (but then, he was taller than the average male Rosenberger), with large grey eyes and a pink, beautiful, totally kissable mouth. Her nose was sitting almost like a button in the middle of her face, bringing out her adorableness. Her thick reddish-brown hair was tied in a high ponytail, enhancing her picturesque face.

In short, it was Eisha Manali, his long-time crush—the girl he never expected to see again, so far away from the city he’d first met her.

He could tell she was as shocked as him. But did she recognise him?

“Rohan?!” she squeaked.

Rohan found himself grinning widely, a wave of happiness gushing around him. “Yes!” he exclaimed. “Yes, it’s me! Gosh, I’m so glad you remember me!”

The blush that tainted her lovely sun-kissed cheeks only served to make him love her more. He only hoped she felt the same about him. In the little time they got to spend together – or, rather, under the same roof – he never knew how she saw him.

But her recognising him now – and even remembering his name! – had to be something, right?!

The girl suddenly looked shy and stepped away. “And I… I’m –”

“Eisha Manali,” he grinned. “I know! We used to be in a couple of the same classes!”

A slow grin formed on her face. “Y- Why, yes! History and Life Science, I believe, right?”

He nodded. “You took German, I took Japanese. I remember thinking how our tastes were polar opposite!”

It was only after those words made out of his mouth that he realised it was probably the wrong thing to say. What would she think, now that she knew he thought about her?! Freak out and run away screaming? He fervently hoped not.

Much to his relief though, her smile grew wider. “Yes, yes, definitely! I remember arguing with you about Socialism and Democracy in World History class!” She laughed in that same quiet manner he always remembered. Oh, how it swelled his heart! If only she was his to embrace and cuddle… “What have you been up to?” she added. He could see genuine interest in her eyes.

He opened his mouth to respond.

“Rowan!”

He shut his eyes, biting back an annoyed curse. His best friend, Christopher, had lost himself in the crowd of the stalls surrounding them a while back and was now searching for him.

Rohan opened his eyes again, afraid that he wouldn’t find Eisha again and that meeting her had just been a wonderful dream… but, there she was—with those large expectant eyes. He just noticed the small gold-coloured ornaments dangling from her ears.

He stepped towards her. “Hey, do you mind coming somewhere with me? I think it’s too crowded here to talk normally.”

She looked around her and seemed to realise for the first time where she was, as her eyes widened. She turned back to him and nodded. “Sure! But –” she hesitated.

Oh right! Someone who barely knows her is asking her to go somewhere with him! How stupid of me!’ He resisted the urge to hit his head with his palm. ‘Terrific restart, Rohan! Or, I should say, restart.

She seemed to sense his feelings, for she quickly went on: “Actually… I don’t mind going with you. It’s just that I’m new here and I might lose my way…” Her voice trailed off.

A sense of relief overtook him. “Oh, that!” he breathed. “Where do you live?”

She looked over her shoulder and pointed vaguely. She turned back at him, frustrated, and shook her head. “I think… it’s Willow Street?” She paused, frowning. “Number 339… I believe.”

At first, he looked shocked. ‘Should I tell her such a number doesn’t exist?’ he wondered. Looking at the gradual shift from frustration to unease – probably at his own expression – he decided not to. Instead, he went through his head to make a list of all the houses he knew in Willow Street.

Then, it struck him!

“Oh! – I think you mean Number 329!” he exclaimed, relieved. “I know that place! It was on rent for a year or something, until we heard that someone was moving in. Glad it’s you guys!” He gave her a short bow. “I can take you back there, no problem!” He took her wrist. “Hurry, before my friend finds me!”

Eisha seemed perplexed, as if her brain was trying to process all that he said at the speed of light. But Rohan was glad to see she actually trusted him: She let him take her hand willingly. He hurried her across the road and away from the market crowd, where he could hear her breathe out deeply in reprieve. He looked at her as he slowed down.

“I know – I hate crowds, too,” he told her. “I only came here because my friend, Christopher, dragged me. And then, he left me to explore all the mechanics stores.”

Her smile came back on as she relaxed. “The one we’re now escaping?”

“Don’t get me wrong – he’s actually my best friend,” Rohan explained. “It’s just that he can get a little too excited sometimes. And I’m not a fan of machine parts. I am a man, but machines I do not understand!”

She giggled; the sound of it was refreshing to his mind as his heart skipped a beat in delight. “Sounds like a lifelong friendship!”

He was intrigued. “Really? You think?”

“Of course!” His heart jumped around merrily in his body when she beamed at him. But before he could say anything else, he realised just in time that he arrived at his destination. “Here we are.” He opened the gate and stepped aside. “Ladies first, please!”

Eisha happily stepped inside. Rohan followed her and closed the tiny gate behind him.

As they walked side-by-side on the rocky path, he could tell she was excited about what she saw by the shine in her eyes. They grew lovelier and greener by the second.

“This place is absolutely incredible!” she breathed at last.

He grinned. “Yes, I come here whenever I want to get some peace of mind – or you know, escape lunatic friends!” He laughed.

Eisha looked around. When she spoke again, surprise tinged her voice: “You’re right – there’s not many people around here.”

“It’s actually one of the rare times, because of the festival at the marketplace.” When she gave him a quizzical look, he clarified, “The place we met. Re-met. Whatever. You know, right?”

She nodded, her smile bordering on laughter. “So. I was asking. What are you up to these days?”

“Well, you know, I completed school. Started college last September. It’s summer break now” He paused. “What about you?” Inside: ‘How is it that we go to meet here of all places?! Do you secretly love me back and wanted to be with me forever and ever?!’ But he knew it was just wishful thinking.

“My father transferred here a month – more, actually. We got news that he would be expected to stay here for a while… like… a looong while.” She stretched the “long”. “We followed behind after I got my results and entered into a college here.” She paused abruptly, almost as if she was hesitant to talk more. “I… I’m… actually surprised to find you here.”

He bobbed his head up and down. “Exactly! – me too!” he exclaimed. “I was so stunned – I thought for a moment I was dreaming!”

She laughed and her cheeks reddened. “Me too! I mean – what is the chance!? Like – I thought you were in London?”

“That’s right. My mum moved here for work and so, we all moved over, as well.” He paused. “It was the year I joined college.”

“That’s wonderful!”

Rohan was confused. “What is?”

The blush came back to Eisha’s pretty round cheeks again. “Uh – I mean… it’s wonderful that we get to meet again – after a long time!” she blurted, before she practically zipped her mouth shut and turned away.

Rohan suppressed the laughter trying to seek its way out of him, lest she ran away from him in embarrassment. He just got her back; he wasn’t going to let her go away that easily again.

“Hey,” he whispered, leaning forward.

She turned around, blinking in surprise.

“I want to show you something.”

3. Take Me Home, Soldier

“Christmas at the Inn” by Andrea Twombly | Review

My Review of “Christmas at the Inn” by Indie Author, Andrea Twombly

 

  • This is a short story.
  • It is the first in the “Rose and Briar Inn” series. 

 

 

Back-of-book description:

“The sign says NO VACANCY, not VACANCY.” The innkeeper’s gruff reply belied his handsome face, and Angela Perkins took a step back.

Heading north for the holidays, things certainly hadn’t gone as she had planned. A snowstorm, an apple pie, and an old friend, all conspire to bring her to a crossroads. Will a Christmas Eve detour send her back to her snug village home, or will she forge ahead and let a turn in the road lead her to newfound happiness?

In this, the first entry in her new Rose and Briar Inn series, internationally beloved From Women’s Pens author Andrea Twombly weaves a warm story of the Christmas season, rich in challenges overcome and courage discovered along a twisting road to love.

You won’t want to miss this one!

 


 

Genre: Friendship, Rejuvenation

 


 

My review:

A lovely tale for a quiet day!

“Christmas at the Inn” is a lovely little story, one that swept my heart in love and happiness. It was very simple to read. Though the language towards the end seemed like it could be improved a little more, I enjoyed reading this book a lot.

The cover is such an attraction! – I took to it as soon as I saw it!

I will not say much more about this short story. The less that’s revealed in a review of this book, the more enjoyable it gets to read the actual story. It’s true! Trust me: That’s how it happened to me!

I am looking forward to reading the sequel. I definitely recommend this as a cute Christmas read!

 


 

Find Andrea Twombly’s “Christmas at the Inn” on her profiles on: Amazon.com, Amazon.in, and Goodreads.

Follow Andrea Twombly on Twitter to get news about new releases and other updates!

 

Have a great day!

Life Update – 26/02/2021

Hello!

We’re well into the second month of the new year now. It’s been good so far, if not great.

I got engaged at the beginning of this year, to a man who is so wonderful he doesn’t deserve a Darkness-addicted person like me. I mean, man, he’s so pure and kind-hearted! – opposite to me! XD

Anyway, life has been good, but the future is scary, too. I don’t want to think about it now, in case I jinx something.

Work life is fine – it’s become a bit more hectic than usual since this past week. I’m just about managing to keep up. And oh, when I do keep up… it turns out I’ve made some mistakes.

Coming to my writing life now… it’s been rather good, actually. I’ve got some ideas for a couple of new stories (possibly both series). I know I’ve listed so many books that were works in progress… but I may have to knock some of them aside. Or, manage to write all of them. I’m determined enough to try!

On Sunday, I got some me-time, which I spent rather judiciously. I was burnt out with interacting and working combined – for two weeks in a row! On Friday, I made a small mistake at work (it seemed rather undo-able to me at the time) and I freaked out. Fortunately, my senior was understanding enough to help me calm down, even if a little bit. Then, I thought I’ll be able to work on Saturday after a good night’s sleep and so, I committed to the task. Turned out, it was a Very Bad Idea.

So, Sunday was the only day I actually got to rest. Even that day, my Mum and Papa were going to a function and suggested I come along. I didn’t want to let go of my only me-day, so I refused. I made my lunch (the other half of it – the cooking part). It was a good day. I rewatched some of “The Mentalist”, I wrote snippets of stories whenever I felt I could expend the mental energy. I may even have taken a nap unknowingly.

It was on that day that I took up my old series again and began to gather intel and write out backstories and descriptions. It was a three-part paranormal/supernatural story (not sure which) with a dash of romance. I had written two books seven years ago, over a period of five years, and abandoned them (temporarily) because I got not-so-favourable comments on Wattpad. When I decided I didn’t care and liked what I wrote, it was too late–I was already deep onto another paranormal/supernatural story.

Anyway, on Sunday, I didn’t get a whole lot done (considering my state of mind), but it was still a good amount. I pulled out the covers I made for them; they were good, but not exactly gorgeous. So, I began to add to my Pinterest boards for that series. There were some filled in already.

As the days passed, I added little by little and now, I think I have enough ideas for the covers. That backstory is still untouched since Sunday, since the covers part was a more important. I think I’ll continue that in a bit.


You know… I started writing this blogpost three days ago, but couldn’t finish it; I was too tired from work. This morning, as I was logging in my attendance, I realised that the next official working day is in March! – straight from the 26th, in that! XD

Anyway… coming back to my writing…

My newest fantasy idea is going to have to be a series – I mean, what’s a fantay novel without a sequel, right? One book isn’t enough to explain everything about a world! I remember having to study the Earth for six whole years! – that’s six textbooks! XD And if we include Civics and History, we get eighteen!

This story is going to be darker in nature than my Sahara Chronicles; though both are going to be epic fantasy adventure. And romance will be present… but it won’t be easy. Well, it’s never been easy before, so you know what I mean.

Speaking of which, I keep finding myself wondering why it is that I insert romance troupes in every single story I’ve ever written. Okay, there’s one relatively-old, relatively-new WIP that doesn’t have a romance, only pure friendship, but still – what about the others?

Have I been influenced by the books I read? No, because Enid Blyton never wrote romances. Well, there was no romance in the books of hers that I read. Not the Narnia Chronicles (the books, at any rate). But yes, most of the other authors’s books that I read did have this troupe.

In fact, I started reading pure romances only in my very late teens. I wasn’t interested in them before then. What got me into romances is a whole different story. (I’m in the middle of drafting a blog about how my reading and writing life began.)


Ah… that was long… even though I wrote quarter of the words three days ago. I suppose reading them counts, eh? I feel like something has changed inside of me after writing it all down.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

See y’all in my next post!

 

The Missing Head – 1. A Filling Conversation

Prologue

1. A Filling Conversation

Her head pounding, Eisha Manali stared at the chat messages on her phone:

How is the fight?!

Flight!!!!!

I meant flight – you know the plane…

Of course, you know what I mean

 

Did you have anything?!

It’s been like a week since I saw you!!!

A year!!!!

She rolled her eyes, a small smile on her face.

Have you reached yet??

How was the flight?!

 

Did you get too scared?!

Should I come and get you?!

Were the flight attendants rude to you?!

Did they give you whatever you wanted!?

That’s right—there were thirteen in all. She sighed. The pounding in her head increased.

Oh, Preethi,’ she thought, ‘how well you used to look after me!

A knock sounded on her new bedroom door and she looked up from her perch on the bed to see it opening and her father peering in.

“How’s my baby doing?” he asked with a loving smile.

Eisha tried to smile through her tiredness. Her eyes burned with the strain of a long journey across two continents. “A good long sleep should do the trick,” she replied.

His gaze reached down to the phone she was holding. “Is Preethi still worried about you?” he asked knowingly.

She let out a light laugh. “Of course she is—she always has been.” A great yawn overtook her and she held the phone out to him. “Do you mind, please?” she whispered.

He came in and took the phone from her. “Your mother and I will talk to her,” he promised. “We’ll tell her you can talk to her after you feel better.”

Eisha’s head barely hit the pillow when she fell fast asleep. Her father stared at his sleeping beauty a while longer, before closing the door softly behind him.

Even her dreams haunted her: blurry images of some familiar-looking figures, a key dangling in front of her, and herself running away from something… or towards something…

When Eisha opened her eyes, it was still as sunny as it had been when she had fallen asleep.

She turned to the table beside her bed and found her phone sitting on it once more. It was on charge. She lazily tapped the screen twice to wake it up and saw the time.

“How can this be?” she wondered aloud. “It was around three o’clock when we arrived at this house…” Her gaze wandered towards the date and she tapped the screen again. “18 July…”

Suddenly, she shook her head and sat up, her face a picture of horror.

“17th July!!” she cried. “We arrived here yesterday!!” She paused, unable to process the thought completely. “Which means… I slept exactly twenty-four hours!?”

Eisha jumped off the fluffy bed and raced towards the bathroom to freshen up.

~*~

It was a couple hours later that Eisha got the permission to go out: after she had had a decent meal that filled her stomach to satisfaction.

Not that she could ever have enough food!

Her father had been staying in the town of Filling, Rosenberg, for more than a month now, before she and her mother followed him after she finished her school. She was the only one in her family – and friends circle back in India – who hadn’t flown before and that was why, her best friend, Preethi Kulkarni, was so worried. Preethi’s family was very rich and they always went everywhere in planes. She had even gone on a cruise twice by the time she was fifteen!

Fifteen…’ thought Eisha with a sigh and she shuffled along the sidewalk. ‘I used start school with Preethi back at home… And now, I’m starting college in this strange country and I do not know of anybody here.

She strolled along aimlessly, glancing over her shoulder at times, to ensure that she was keeping in sight of her new house. It didn’t feel very friendly yet, but she had a good feeling about it in the long-run. She even looked around for any prominent landmarks, so she’d know how to return.

The further she walked, the more crowded the street became. But this did not process in her mind. She slipped her phone out of her pocket and began to search for a number.

“Found it!” she whispered to herself. She touched the screen once and the call went off. She looked left and right as the call tried to connect and decided to wait at a section of the sidewalk.

The dial tone rang for almost ten seconds, before a voice sounded on the other side:

“Hello?”

“Hi Preethi! It’s me, Eisha!”

“Eishaaaaa!!!” Preethi dragged the last syllable of the name, making the young girl smile. “I spoke to your parents!! How are you!?”

Eisha laughed nervously. “You won’t like it,” she sing-songed.

“Tell me, please!!!”

She sighed. “Okay. Well, I slept yesterday… and woke up to-day.”

Silence greeted her from the other side.

“I mean, I slept a full twenty-four hours, Preethi.”

“What!?”

“Jetlag, I guess. I mean, I am behind you now, right?”

“What!?” There was a pause. “Oh! – yea, yea, definitely! What’s the time there now?”

Eisha checked her watch, before silently cursing herself. “Wait, I’ll check.” She removed the phone from her ear and opened the Time application. She swiped a couple more times, before putting it back to her ear again. “It’s around five-twenty in the evening here.”

“Great! It’s almost ten here… I think. Anyway, is there anyone familiar there?”

“Nah – not that I know of, anyway. Papa’s friends – colleagues, obviously.” A pause. “None of whom I’ve met. Like I said, I was asleep.”

“Yea, obviously. Well then, how are you feeling now?”

“I’m feeling much better than when I came… well, when we arrived at the house.”

“Oh well. I’m sure you’ll get used to it.”

“Preethi?”

“Yea?”

“I miss you.”

“Yea, whatever.” Translation: I miss you, too, dummy.

“I mean it. Like – we used to do everything together for, like… how many years now? Fifteen years?”

“Longer. We were born friends, remember?”

Eisha let out a quiet laugh. “That we are, yes!”

“I mean like… we’ve been friends since before we even born! … or conceived!”

She chuckled. “Definitely!”

Preethi suddenly yawned through the connection. “Well then, I’m getting sleepy here. Don’t stay up as usual, okay? Get some sleep.”

“Yes, mom, I will!” Eisha mock-saluted, though she knew her friend couldn’t see it… but that didn’t mean she couldn’t sense it.

Preethi laughed. “Oh… I miss babysitting you so much! You’re so vulnerable – so innocent! Who will take care of you now?!”

Eisha grinned. “I’m a big girl now – almost eighteen! I can very well take care of myself, thank you very much!”

“Yes, yes, absolutely!” Knowing Preethi, that was sarcasm.

“You know it’s true!”

Preethi sighed. “All right, then. But keep updating me every day. Got it, young lady?”

“Yes, mom.”

“All righty, fine. Take care! I’ll have to finish up some work for tomorrow before I go to bed.”

“Good night. Sweet dreams.”

“Same to you!”

Eisha cut the call and slipped the phone back in her pocket. She looked up as people suddenly thronged around her. She could feel panic raising in her chest, but tried to suppress it as best as she could.

You’re fine with strange people around you,’ she kept chanting over and over. She kept looking behind her to make sure she wouldn’t go too far away from her new house.

It was just as she glanced behind her a fourth time, that she bumped into a soft fleshy wall. She gasped and stepped back. Lucky for her, there was no one immediately behind her. She blinked, her cheeks turning pink in embarrassment, and looked up at the person who turned around.

This time, the gasp stuck in Eisha’s throat. The sun-burnt face attached to the body she just bumped into was a perfect circle, comprising of blue eyes and a perfectly-rounded nose. The lips looked to be stained with green, but that didn’t bother her. The face was attached, further, to black curly locks of hair.

She wondered if she had been transported into another dimension whilst asleep.

Her heart skipped several beats. She couldn’t believe her eyes… this couldn’t be possible…

Could it?

2. Long Time, No See

A Choice So Unexpected

Under normal circumstances,

I don’t see how I could’ve met you:

You’re not exactly the type I’d have ever seen myself with.

 

But then, as I spoke to you,

I grew to understand

That you’re really, really just the man I ever wanted.

 

You like a lot of things I liked;

You do a lot of things I don’t know how to do;

You like a lot of things I don’t;

It seems to me that we fit perfectly

Just like a jigsaw puzzle.

 

When we met, I wasn’t even looking

I’d given up on meeting someone of my standards;

The ones before you turned out dull and boring;

The ones after you were bland and uninteresting.

 

You are the one I find very exciting—

At last, here was someone I could build adventures with in my head,

With the chance for a hope to actually fulfil them.

 

I hope together we build a great future –

A force that none can predict or stop –

A team that is strong in unity –

The future that will set a new record.

 

You were probably the person I dreamt of one night:

One without face, but made all of my favourite food,

One who really wanted my happiness,

One I could really see myself spending the rest of my life with,

And grow old with.

 

I had a vision just a few days ago,

Of the future we’d build together, kids we may have.

I think it’s a good sign!

 

Under normal circumstances,

I don’t see how I could’ve met you –

But in the end,

It was you I chose

And it will always be you I will ever choose.

 

Thanks for saying yes to me.

My happiness of finding you is beyond measure.

My Goals & Hopes for 2021

Happy New Year 2021!!

A new year, a fresh start!

I suppose I am one of those people who have been lucky during lockdown, since my life turned around so drastically. I am very grateful for that – I had been waiting for it for almost a year… and then, when lockdown struck, I was sure I wasn’t going to get a job at all, looking at the economic situation. But I did get one, very unexpectedly, and I thank the Fates for that.

This year, I have not had that many depression bouts, I guess. In the final two months of the year, I also got something that is so precious that it is irreplaceable. I took it the second I got the chance. I know I’m not going to back out of it, but thrust on and move forward, with it in tow.

Coming to my writing life…

Legally, I cannot publish any other book until 2022, but I can still write offline. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing since I signed up for it. I’ve been writing as much as I can, finishing books at my leisure. I actually did finish a few books this last year – some that I started before 2020 and some that I started in the year. Let’s take a look at the list (it includes novels, short stories, and poetry):

  1. Time For Love
  2. Nicole’s Choice
  3. Stuck in Time
  4. The Value of Love (short version)
  5. The Royal Maiden
  6. Here We Are
  7. Forbidden
  8. A Love Like No Other
  9. A Choice So Unexpected
  10. The Prophecy
  11. A Quiet Date
  12. Strange
  13. A Fresh Start

I think that’s it… perhaps there’s one or two more that I left out, but that’s fine – 13 is good enough for me! I loved all the stories and poetry that I wrote so far in my life; they all each hold a special place in my heart.

My Goals & Hopes for 2021 are many. There are some works in progress that I hope finish by the end of this year. Especially:

  1. The Missing Head
  2. The Royal Sceptre
  3. The Goodacre Lodge
  4. The Nightwalker
  5. Why Santa Claus Should Be A Man
  6. The third book in my school series (still haven’t come up with better titles for them all)
  7. The Actress
  8. Secrets (I think the title will be changing)
  9. Ellie Jordan and the Cursed Love
  10. The Value of Love (long version)

A lot of books to finish, I see! But since they’ve been half-written already, they shouldn’t take a whole lot of time. I hope…

I also hope to resume my 18th Century series in my Parchments of the Times Past blog. I have the second part of “French Revolution” drafted a long time ago, but haven’t been able to post it. I shall resume that this month.

Anyway, that’s my first post in this blog this year. Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year 2021 again!

See you all in my next post!

Life Update – 27/12/2020

Hello all!

I’ve been posting a few writings of mine ever since the last Life Update. Very few, I know, but it’s great, considering how tight my work schedule had been. Also, in this month, I’ve been out on a road trip to another city in another state, for family business.

That reminds me: I have a great news that I will definitely share with all of you in a while.

Now, that work done, we came back home on Christmas Day. It was a tiring ride, but also, fun. 😀

Meanwhile, I made an account and a page for my author-self on Facebook. You can find my account page here and my Facebook Author page here. I just got started, so hoping to make some connections from scratch and get into some writing circles. You can follow my page if you want. 🙂

The other day, I found some old CDs; I was going through them, when I found CDs of Tintin books and animated movies, and Astrix books. I watched a movie and was excited that I still remember what happens in the end!! (The movie was “The Castafiore Emerald“.) I remembered every little detail from the hundreds of thousands of times that I read the books! I realised I wanted to read them all again! And oh, blistering barnacles, Captain Haddock!!

I started writing a short story about Christmas just a couple days or so before Christmas Day and it still isn’t completed. I realised it wasn’t going to be my regular one-shot kind of short story, but a longer one. Maybe about 50 pages. Wait… I just saw that I was only on page 4, so… perhaps 25 pages. But I do have a rough plot floating in my head, just waiting to pop out and say “Boo!”. 😀 Maybe I’ll post it on my blog sometime.

Have you read my old stories and poetry? You’ll find them here: POETRY | SHORT STORIES | Excerpts of THE YOUNG FOREIGNER.

I’m also on other social media, if you’re interested to know: PinterestWe Heart ItInkitt, StoryMirror, Avalon’s Scribbles, GoodreadsQuotev, InstagramTwitter, and Parchments of the Times Past.

Thank you for listening to my story. See ya!

P.S. As usual, I may write another poem for the New Year yet again. 😉

The Prophecy

Winter is coming…

It wasn’t just a “Game of Thrones” reference – not in the world that Ayesha lived. Ayesha wouldn’t care for the series, anyway. And she wasn’t a fan of reading books in general, let alone try and get through a 9000 or so pages of a novel.

To her, it was real life.

Winter is coming and one will die.

To Ayesha, it was a prophecy foretold by a royal seer the day she was born eighteen years ago. The seer had also predicted the exact date and time of when this would happen.

She looked up at the huge grandfather clock, ticking away like it had no care in the world. Why would it? – it wasn’t alive, therefore, it actually had nothing to care about. She gulped—it was half past eleven. Half an hour more and the prophecy would come true.

Ayesha Sinhala was a young princess of the Sofia Dynasty, which ruled the northern part of Silone in the land of Normania. Silone was the only country she knew, but now, she had resolved that if she had to, she would leave all that she knew behind and start afresh, so everybody she loved would be saved.

They said babies often never remembered their childhoods, but she could remember the scene clearly. The seer, an aged woman with sparkling white, neatly-combed hair, and clothes of a pauper, pointing to her with her gnarled pointing finger, and saying, “Winter is coming and one will die. A royal blood’s decision will seal the fate of the world or doom it for eternity. Only the Door of Andrios will save this day, eighteen years hence!”

Now, Ayesha gulped. That was about the only clear memory she had of her childhood.

Once the seer had made her proclamation, Ayesha didn’t remember what happened, but her mother, the Queen of Silone, told her years later that the woman had dropped unconscious to the floor. She had been taken to the infirmary, where she had slipped into a coma. After three days, upon examination, the head physician who had attended to her declared her dead.

It was my doing,’ the young girl thought now. ‘I was born and that’s why the poor woman saw such a dreadful prophecy and died. I should… I should open the Door and go away, so everything and everybody I love would be better off and their fate will no longer be doomed for eternity.

Ayesha swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat as her gaze went back to the Door of Andrios that stood tall and looming before her in the cave she tracked it down.

The sun wouldn’t be up for another three hours. No one will find me gone until then.

She took a deep breath and let it out. It was quarter to midnight. The Door wouldn’t open until the exact hour of midnight, when night began to turn to day.

The words of the prophecy spoken in the old woman’s frail voice went over and over in her mind as she waited: “Winter is coming and one will die. A royal blood’s decision will seal the fate of the world or doom it for eternity. Only the Door of Andrios will save this day, eighteen years hence!”

She gulped, pushing down the fear that was rising from her stomach. She had waited eighteen years for this; she wasn’t going to back out now. It was the perfect chance—she could do this.

She closed her eyes to focus better on her determined thoughts.

All buzzing and fidgeting outside the cave slowly dulled as her mind quietened. She swallowed slowly and deliberately.

It’s almost time. I can do this. I can save the whole world from being doomed if I can do this. And I will!

The loud gong of the clock striking midnight hit her eardrums and she snapped her eyes opened, a little startled. She blinked, but her focus returned almost immediately.

Ayesha watched as the great Door of Andrios opened slowly, a bright white light spilling onto the floor, its beam widening as it got more room to flow.

When the Door of Andrios opened completely to its extent, just as the gonging ceased, Ayesha stepped forward – one, two, three, four…

And then, she stopped.

The bright white light faded away and there, at the bottom of the Door on the other side, stood a young man.