June 23, 2018, 03:18:06 PM

------------------------------------------

If you have Login Problems Use the Login in Top Menu Bar


------------------------------------------
If you have a problem registering here, Leave a msg at our FB Page >> Here.

Plz Don't use Hotmail to Register. You might not receive Activation mail. Use Other free mail provider like Gmail or Yahoo.






Author Topic: Shaved Ice 2.0  (Read 106 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

  • Student writer with no other talents whatsoever
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
  • Gender: Female
  • Spectating until I'm invited into a game
    • View Profile
Shaved Ice 2.0
« on: June 04, 2018, 05:44:49 PM »
So I'm about halfway through the first draft of this, and it isn't really coming along. Hopefully I can finish it during camp nano. This is, for a lack of better words, really, really bad because I haven't even started editing, but I thought maybe I could get some feedback anyway. I don't have a synopsis, but long story short Miles won silver, Ray confessed, Fiona's aromantic and the Finnish coach wants Miles' talent.

Chapter 1
Spoiler
“Miles! You’re better than this!”

Miles bit his lip against an irritated retort as he began the pattern again. A quadruple axel, followed by a few seconds to regain his footing, then a consecutive triple lutz and triple Salchow, and a back scratch spin to finish it off. It was a slightly more difficult version than the most important part of his silver medal winning routine, and he should have been doing it fine.

He wasn’t, of course, instead tripping over his own skates on the buildup to the triple jumps and nearly falling flat on his face.

“Verde!” Jonas’ voice was strict and harsh from where he leaned against the boards. “What the hell is wrong with you today? You can pull this off fine!”

“I know!” The blond couldn’t hold his tongue anymore, and he sighed, taking a deep breath. Snapping wasn’t going to get him anywhere, even if he really, really wanted to bite the Finnish man’s head off. “I’ll do it again.”

Jonas nodded as he began the setup again, his  green gaze briefly landing on Ray, who stood behind the stands on the other side of the rink. “Good.”

Miles shook his head at Ray’s sympathetic look, trying to focus on pulling off the little routine. He hated being yelled at, butting heads with his coach, anything that wasn’t smooth and comfortable, and Ezra had noticed it early on in his career. Positive reinforcement had always worked better on him, and Ezra knew it. Ezra knew him.

Why do I have to do this then?

He honestly had no idea. It had been more than a compliment when Jonas had offered to coach him, and Clem and Cole had been enthusiastic about the idea, but Canada was his home. He loved his country, and his life how it was, even if his skating conditions  weren’t perfect. Still the offer tempted him. He loved skating too, and it had been his dream for years to be on top of the skating world…

Well, apparently it hadn’t been his choice, because Ezra had stepped in and made an offer himself. Jonas was to coach him in Canada until the large competition kicking off the season in October, when Miles could take his pick of coach. Cole and Clem were used to constantly being on the move, and transferring to Aspen Ridge would take little time.

In other words, Miles was stuck with a new coach for half a year whether he liked it or not. And as he cracked again under Jonas’ harsh look, stumbling through a jump, he decided on the latter. He bit his lip. Ray sighed quietly. Jonas shook his head. “We’ve done enough for the morning. I’ll see you after school.” With that, the Finnish coach left the two boys in the rink.

“I’m gonna want to stop skating by October,” Miles muttered under his breath as he stepped off the ice. Ray sighed, resting an arm atop his head. “It could be good for you to go to Finland, you know.”

“That isn’t what you’re supposed to say.’”

“Well, if you think I’m going to say ‘I love you’ and ‘don’t go’ and ‘stay because I’m here’ or some *censored*, you’re sorely mistaken,” The taller boy replied with a yawn, either oblivious to the flush working its way onto Miles’ cheeks or completely ignoring it. “I think you should choose based on your career, not based on anyone else”

“Still…” Miles sighed as he pushed open the door to the change room. “I… I don’t know, Ray. What am I supposed to do?”

Ray simply shrugged, giving a little shake of his head to avoid the question. “Go get changed. We shouldn’t be late, midterms are coming up.”

The short blond nodded, letting the door swing back behind him. Despite the fact it wouldn’t be anything new for Ray to see him change, the change room had always been someplace the Spanish boy had almost avoided. It wouldn’t make much sense for him to be inside with him anyway… And there was some sort of new, nervous tension between them since the championships.

The championships. Miles could feel himself blush every time he thought back to it, the stupidly brash leap of faith, the heat of the moment kiss… Hell, it had all been embarrassing and somewhat uncomfortable. They hadn’t kissed since, even if it was all Miles wanted sometimes. He had a feeling some part of their lack of romance was about the people around them.

It still felt strange to be in some sort of romantic relationship with Ray behind everyone’s backs. Though Miles wasn’t particularly concerned about coming out (he wasn’t so sure about Ray, considering his Spanish family and their customs), both of them had decided there was no need to tell the world unless they were sure of it working out. They were testing the waters to see if a romance between them would even work.

I hope it does…  Miles put the doubt out of his mind as he slung his skating bag over one shoulder and his schoolbag over the other, left the change room and made his way out of the rink. Ray fell into step with him as the warm, humid air hit them both. The saying about April showers and May flowers was all too true in their hometown, and the small blond sighed as they paused under the overhang to look into the pouring rain. “Of course it’s raining…”

“Mhm.” Ray sounded as if he was predicting the downpour-he probably was, knowing him. Miles watched as he pulled an umbrella from his bag and opened it with a little smirk. “You should pay attention to the weather once in a while, Bubbles, it’d do you some good.”

Miles simply crossed his arms over his chest as Ray began out into the rain. The taller boy glanced back at him. “Well? We have school in thirty minutes.”

Though he hesitated, the blond followed his old friend into the rain, his cheeks nearly catching fire as Ray casually slid an arm around his waist, pulling him into the shelter of the umbrella. Though he'd intended it to be lighthearted and playful, Miles couldn't hide the curiosity in his voice as he mumbled, “The hell are you doing?”

“This is a small umbrella,” Ray replied simply, no sign of any sort of nerves in his voice-if he hadn’t opened up back in Vancouver, Miles would’ve wondered if he ever got nervous. “I could just let you get wet instead, but it’s coming down pretty hard.”

Miles let out a half-irritated puff of air, but let himself lean into Ray, just a little bit. He was familiar and comforting, and his touch sent shivers down his spine knowing that the purpose of it was romantic, or at least something that was a little more than friendly.

“What courses are you taking next year?”

“Hmm?” The blond blinked as they turned the corner to the main street. Ray hand left the place where it’d been resting on his hip, to his dismay, but Miles replied nevertheless, “Two French courses, autoshop, English, math, physics, dance and history.” He sighed as they approached the intersection, muttering, “Ms. Raies wants me to join the high performers program, though.”

“High performers program?” Ray asked, and he nodded. “You know, for the professional athletes and crap?”

The Spanish boy nodded, giving a little wave to Fiona as she practically ran towards them, huddling under the small umbrella Ray held as they all waited for the light. “No, I know what it is,” He replied after a moment of shifting so all three of them could try and fit under the umbrella. “I’m just not a fan of a lot of the kids that’re part of it. Hey, Fiona, I’d appreciate if you weren’t trying to push me out from under my own damn umbrella.”

“I’m not!” Fiona whined, and Miles couldn’t tell if she was being legitimate or teasing as she tried to keep herself under the umbrella. “What the hell is wrong with the weather here? It was beautiful yesterday!”

"That's Canadian springs for you," Ray sighed, adjusting the umbrella and sending a little shower of water down the side. A drop of the chilly water hit Miles' cheek, and out of habit, he wriggled closer to Ray as they began to walk. He swore he could see a blush in the Spanish boy's cheeks, and he had to admit that whether they were shy and awkward with their almost nonexistent romance or not, the blond liked seeing Ray get flustered. it was nice not to be on the receiving end for once.

"Well it better get drier than this soon!" Fiona huffed as they made it across the street, still half-huddled under the umbrella. "My hair's gonna be a right mess by the end of the season..."

Glancing over to her, Miles could see that her dark, curly hair, tied into twin ponytails was indeed beginning to frizz into more of a puff than usual. Though he could understand she was upset (Angela tended to get the same way, even if her hair wasn't as naturally fluffy), he personally thought it was cute. Fiona's style really could accommodate for any hairstyle, and he had a feeling she knew it.

"Hey, where's Angela?" Fiona asked as they passed under the canopy of evergreen trees on the path, the rain halting as it got caught in the thick layer of needles. "She hasn't been around as much... Is she okay?"

"She's fine," Miles muttered, crossing his arms over his chest as they came up to the path to the school. "Just with the Lopez kids."

The short girl laughed. "You sound like her dad. Do you not approve of her with the Lopez kids, dad?"

"Shut up," Was all Miles could mutter as Ray filled in, his own voice bordering on laughter, "He's overprotective. Not that it's very intimidating, just kind of adorable."

"Like a Chihuahua," Fiona agreed, and this time the Spanish boy did laugh, quiet, musical and scarily close to making Miles' brain melt. He savored every one of his old friend's laughs, even if they were at his expense... Like that one was. "I know, right?" Ray replied as he put his umbrella back in his bag and they entered the school. "I say that too."

"You guys are the worst, you know," The blond boy huffed, checking his phone for the time-his skating practice had obviously slowed them down, because the bell was set to ring at any moment. Ray gave him a look, something between his usual deadpan look and a little smile-something Miles had seen a lot more since the tension of the awkward love triangle had been resolved. "You know you like it Bubbles. It's cute."

Cute. Ray had called him cute before things had gotten complicated, but he had a feeling it didn't mean the same thing anymore-at least it didn't to him. The short skater could feel himself blushing, and with a little puff of air, he looked over to both of his friends. "I'm not cute. And the bell's going to ring any second, and I have to drop off my skating stuff to the studio before class." He was pouting, he could feel it, shifting both of the bags on shoulders as he gave both Ray and Fiona a little wave and turned down hallway. "I'll see you two later."


Despite the fact no one would have been surprised at that point if he arrived late, Miles was sure to be in his seat when class started. He was glad to see Angela there too-sometimes he wondered if Cole would be a good or a bad influence on her. Luckily, it seemed it was good at the moment.

"You look like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed."

"No *censored*," Miles mumbled as the bell rang. Even if they were obviously apart more than usual, the Verde twins still kept each other up-to-date with what was happening in their personal lives, at least to the point Angela knew why he looked like he did. "Jonas is killing me. And Fiona and Ray are calling me a Chihuahua now."

"Well, they aren't wrong. And Jonas could really help you, you know."

The blond boy rolled his eyes, fiddling with a bit of hair that had fallen out of his ponytail. It had been a hectic half-year for not only him but the rest of the family, and the last thing on anyone's mind was cutting his hair. "I'm not a Chihuahua. And the only reason you're on board for this is because Cole's staying here while Jonas is coaching me."

His twin shrugged with a little smile as she opened her notebook. "I'm not denying that... And you're pretty much the human embodiment of a Chihuahua." Miles crossed his arms as Angela continued with the mischievous grin on her face. "You're small and cute and you've got these big puppy eyes and everyone thinks you're perfect and adorable but then they learn you bite like a bitch. Chihuahua in a nutshell."

"Well then aren't you just a Chihuahua too?"

"Verde!" Both of them looked up at the last name barked from the mouth of their teacher, Miss Anderson, who was obviously unimpressed with them. "Class has started. I love to see siblings getting along, but I won't hesitate to separate you two!"

"Yes, Miss," Angela replied on cue, and though he was a little more reluctant, Miles nodded too. "Yeah. Sorry."

Though he had a feeling his sister didn't want to be split up either, the moment Miss Anderson began teaching again, she leaned over, whispering, "Yeah, but I don't bite. I'm like a cute Yorkie or a Westie."

"I don't think so," Miles argued, though he knew he was smiling-their conversations were almost always odd and pointless, and it seemed like the one in their first period class was no exception. "I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure that isn't how twins work."

Angela opened her mouth to argue, but was cut off by the teacher again, who sounded much more irritated. "Angela! Miles! I'm not warning you any more! Cut it out, it's only first period."

"Sorry," Both of them replied in unison, and though he had a feeling it was going to come up in the near future, they dropped the topic. Even so, Miles couldn't help but think about what Ray and Fiona had said. I'm not a Chihuahua... And I'm not cute either!

Though as he began taking notes as the teacher spoke and he thought back to his conversation with his friends, Miles had to note that he really couldn't bring himself to hate Ray calling him cute.


“So Angela’s just permanently MIA now?”

“I mean, technically she isn’t,” Ray shrugged, taking a french fry from the large basket on the booth's table. "She's either with Cole or at the Lopez's apartment. So she's never truly missing."

"So she is," Fabian replied with a huff-as far as Miles could tell, he was most unimpressed with Angela's new boyfriend. He was civil, sure, but it was apparent to just about anyone that he didn't like Cole, or at least him dating Angela.

So did he really have a thing for Angela? Or is he kidding around? I can't tell...

"C'mon, Fay the second you have your eyes on a girl you're the same," Leo argued. "You'd ditch the rest of us for a foreigner in a heartbeat."

"Damn. You have so little faith in me." Though he was acting almost identical to how he usually was, Miles could tell he wasn't happy whatsoever about the topic. "What about you, Miles? I always thought you'd be the first to get a boyfriend, not Angela. How're you faring?"

The blond simply glared across the table. "I'm not gay."

"I'd beg to differ," Ray replied with a little smile-was he teasing? "I'm ninety percent sure he's got his eye on someone."

Miles kicked his best friend hard. The only people that knew him and Ray were cautiously dating were Fiona and Angela, and he intended to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, it seemed like Fiona was in on the taller boy's teasing, and with that catty, mischievous grin, she nodded. "Ooh, yeah, I think I know who you're talking about."

"See?" Fabian grabbed another couple fries with a little nod. "Told you he's gay."

"They're messing with you," Miles argued giving both of his Spanish friends a look-not that either of them seemed to care. Fiona was still grinning, and while Ray wouldn't meet his eyes, the short skater could see the amusement written all over his face. "I've got what I need. Trust me."

"Mhm." Leo grinned at him. "Seems legit."

"This isn't about whether Miles is gay or not," Fabian finally intervened, to his relief. "Angela's been ditching us for that Finnish asshole since you guys game back from Vancouver, and it's annoying."


"You've literally never met the guy," Fiona reminded him with a little smile, and Fay rolled his eyes, grabbing his school bag and sliding out of the booth. "I know I don't like him. What junior is going after sophomore girls anyway?"

"It isn't like they met in school either-"

"How many *censored*s does it look like I give?" Even though Miles had to agree with his friend, the pissed look on Fabian's face was funny, especially considering he usually cared about very little. The raven-haired boy turned around to leave the diner. "I've got a date tonight. I'll see you guys."

The door to the diner swung shut, and Fiona let out a laugh. "He really doesn't like the idea of Angela dating, huh?"

"Well neither do I," Miles replied, watching as Ray took a french fry from the basket, tossed it up, and impressively caught it in his mouth. The blond boy rolled his eyes, muttering, "You're a show-off."

The handsome simply Spaniard shrugged with a smile, and Miles rolled his eyes again, before turning back to Fiona. "None of us are happy she's dating."

"I mean, I have no problem with i-"

"No one asked you, Leo!" Miles interrupted in time with Fiona-despite the Leo usually agreed with the majority, the usual dynamic in the group since Vancouver, and the redhead had suddenly become the odd opinion out. With a shake of his head and a little chuckle, Leo stood up. "Well damn. I don't feel welcome anymore."

"Don't take them so seriously," Ray sighed. "They're being dicks."

Fiona crossed her arms, flipping hair out of her face dramatically. "Hey! Rude!"

"I've gotta catch the four-o-clock bus anyway," The tall redhead replied with a shrug. "Gotta pick up my sisters. It's Friday, my dad's working late. Have a fun weekend."

"Aww... Well bye!" Fiona waved after him as he left, while Ray sighed. "You two are ridiculous. You scared off all our friends."

"We did not," Miles argued as Ray took the last french fry, repeating his showy trick from before and pulling it off flawlessly-too flawlessly. "You've been practicing that."

"Nope." The taller boy licked his lips and swallowed. "Never done it before today."

"Liar."

"Call me what you want," Ray shrugged, standing up to Miles' dismay-he'd wanted to spend a little more time with his friends, but it didn't look like it was happening. "But I've gotta go. I have homework to do."

"Come on, Ray!" Fiona complained with a pout. "It's Friday! We haven't hung out outside of the diner since the championships!"

"My driving test is this weekend," Ray replied apologetically, giving both him and Fiona a little smile. "I'll see if I can come over and help you study for midterms though, promise."

"Only if I can come too!" Fiona chirped, and though Miles was about to nod, the handsome Spanish boy beat him to it-"Hey, what if I wanted to have an afternoon alone with my boyfriend?"

Miles could feel his face heating up, and took a sip of water to avoid spluttering out something embarrassing as Fiona squealed. "Aww! I'll leave you two be if you want! You should've just said so!"

Ray let out a little laugh, shrugging his school bag over his shoulder. "We'll see how it goes. I'll see you two later." The short blond could feel his already burning cheeks somehow get even hotter as a light, casual kiss was pressed to his cheek. "Bye."

As his boyfriend left the diner, and Miles finished off the water in the glass in an attempt to put out the fire burning on his face, Fiona nudged him with a grin. "Aww! You two are so cute together!"

"He's so random," Miles breathed, still somewhat stunned-though he was sure he was absolutely head over heels for his childhood friend, Ray was hard to pin down, and there were days where they'd speak only a sentence or two to each other, and others when he'd be surprised with a hug or a kiss on the cheek goodbye. "I wish he'd just stop dancing around it and kiss me already."

"You kissed at the championships, though, didn’t you?"

"That doesn't count," He huffed as Fiona paid the waiter the bill. "It was awkward and... it didn't count, that's all."

"Why don't you kiss him, then?" She suggested, pushing herself up and out of the booth. "Be proactive! Don't let Ray have all the power in the relationship!"

"I..." Miles bit his lip as they left the diner (luckily, the rain had stopped by then). He wasn't really one to talk about his relationships, but Fiona had proven to be good at pulling things out of him, and it seemed pointless to fight it. "I'm not a good kisser, Fiona, you know that…”

"I could always teach you," The short Spanish girl teased, and with a little smile, he shook his head and replied, "Sorry, Fiona. I've got a boyfriend now."

"Good to know you're loyal, at least," She smiled as they came up to the street corner where they went their separate ways. "I'd be pretty disappointed if all my hard work was worth nothing."

"Hard work my ass,"  He teased as they stopped on the corner. "All you had to do was make sure I did well with my skating and get us together in the same room."

"Do you know what I had to do to get Ray to realize he might have a thing for you?"

Miles could only imagine-Ray wasn't an emotional person, and he also wasn't one to think about how he felt about people until it was brought to his attention. The blond smiled a little. "You must've been really up in his face about it."

"I basically had to scream at him 'you're *censored*in in love with Miles'," She laughed too, shifting her backpack on her shoulders. "I'm glad you two are together now. It doesn't feel like you're shooting daggers at each other anymore. And you're very cute together. I hope it works out, even if Ray's still pissed I manipulated him a little."

"I... I hope it works out too," He admitted truthfully feeling a little bit of a blush working its way onto his face. Whether it was puppy love, infatuation, or something else entirely, Miles liked the closeness he had with Ray since the championships, even if the majority of it was making up for lost time.

"Good luck," Fiona said with a smile as the humid wind began to blow and lifted her puffy ponytails a little. "He's a tough one to crack. But I think it'll be worth it."

The small blond skater smiled as she began to turn to walk down her street. "Yeah. I think so too."


"Hey, you're finally back. Took you long enough."

"Huh?" Miles blinked at his sister's voices from the living room-Angela typically stayed with the Lopezes until late, especially as April hit, and though he was surprised, he couldn't deny he'd missed her a lot. They'd been attached at the hip practically since they'd been born, and it was weird for them to be leading completely different lives all of a sudden. "Hey. You're home..."

"Yeah, Cole's training until five." She motioned for him to sit next to her on the couch, where she was scrolling through something on her phone. "But that isn't why I was waiting for you. Remember Logan?"

"Tremblanc?" She nodded, and Miles raised an eyebrow, suddenly more curious. Logan Tremblanc was born in their year, but had an early birthday-in other words, he'd begun competing in senior competitions a year earlier. They knew each other, not well, but they crossed paths, and Logan was just as competitive as he was. They hadn't spoken in awhile, though, save a few words at the world championships. "What about him?"

With a look that said 'see for yourself', Angela turned the screen of her phone towards him. She had Twitter open, and he recognized the picture on the screen immediately-it was the Canadian team's group photo, with him, Logan, and the other rookies, as well as the longtime competitors. Canada had placed nicely overall, with a handful of medals, and the team looked happy. He looked happy, with that signature snowflake on his cheek and his usual cheesy peace sign held up to the camera. It was a nice picture, and he had a hard-copy version pinned to his bulletin board, just as he did for every one of his big competitions. He cocked his head at his sister. "We have this picture. What about it?"

She rolled her eyes. "The actual tweet, Miles."

Oh. The blond boy bit back a snappy reply, and scrolled down to read the text. It was in French, not that he minded, but for simplicity's sake, he read it aloud in English-"'The Canadian team did well overall this year, but of our talented group, only one of us placed on the podium in the men's free skate. I'm coming for you in the October Open, Verde.'" Miles blinked up at his twin. "What?"

"He's challenging you," Angela replied with a grin. "You've got a new something to worry about."

He’s challenging me? Miles knew what rivalries on the ice looked like. They typically began with the younger, more outgoing skaters, and some of them-most of them-ended badly. Though him and Cole had always had a friendly competitive streak, he had a feeling Logan meant his challenge in a whole different way.

“Did you reply?” He asked after a moment of thinking, and with a little smile, Angela nodded. “Yeah. I told him he’s out of his mind if he wants to start something with you, but he’s stubborn. I think we’ve got a rival.”

Reading over the tweet again, Miles took a deep breath. He could feel his usual competitive spirit stirring-a rival could be fun, and he liked the competition. He could feel a grin working itself onto his face as he replied, “Yeah. Looks like we do.”

On a completely unrelated note, how do you give good feedback? I've been meaning to for some of the stories here forever, but everything I want to say sounds conceited or stuck up or harsh, or it feels like I want to change the whole piece, even if it isn't my intention. I know how much it can mess up your flow to get bad or unhelpful feedback, especially if you don't know what to do with it, and I'd rather say nothing than do that... But I do want to help out as much as I can. I didn't think this deserved its own topic so here we go.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline Coryn

  • Director of the MR Science Division
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19975
  • Gender: Male
  • Secretly a 13 year old girl.
    • View Profile
Re: Shaved Ice 2.0
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 10:35:53 PM »
Well I don't have the time to read your chapter atm, but I can comment on the feedback thing.

I think you're mostly there, because being honest with the author about how you feel about the writing is important. Given how you describe your feelings about it though, I think what you're lacking might be the ability to also point out the positives. Good critique is about what was done well and poorly. It gives a better summation, and let's you sandwich things together, so it's not a wall of bad news or good. There needs to be a little give and take.

You also have to ask yourself "Is this something objectively wrong with the story, or something subjective?" For instance, if you find a plot hole, that's objective, and is something that you should bring attention to, but of you don't like the setting, then it's subjective, and isn't really important for the writer to hear. If something isn't strictly to your taste, then it shouldn't affect your criticism. That's just something you need to bear. Then again, if the setting is boring because it's been done to death (generic fantasy world, for instance), then you can give tips about how to make it more unique.

Ultimately, always leave it to the writer to decide if they want to accept your critique or not. Don't fight them if they reject it. That just leads to a big fight. Always encourage them to take what you say with a grain of salt. As a reviewer, we can't write their story for them. They have to figure it out for themselves. All we can do is offer some ideas, and then let it be.

I hope that helps.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline EffulgentFirefly

  • Student writer with no other talents whatsoever
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
  • Gender: Female
  • Spectating until I'm invited into a game
    • View Profile
Re: Shaved Ice 2.0
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 06:46:11 PM »
That's true. I always just worry that people are going to take it as a personal attack or see it as something wrong etc or that even worse, what I say is something I think is objective but is actually just me being subjective, I guess. Maybe I just worry too much. :/ Thanks, though. Really anything helps me out when it comes to me giving feedback.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

  • Student writer with no other talents whatsoever
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 127
  • Gender: Female
  • Spectating until I'm invited into a game
    • View Profile
Future scene that needs feedback
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 10:46:33 PM »
This isn't a chapter, but it is something I'd really appreciate feedback on. This takes place near the middle of the novel, and actually was inspired by a comment a beta reader gave me about Ray's little sister, and developing her a little bit more. This little subplot has more to it, but this is just the scene I've had in my head for awhiile. Again, I'd really appreciate feedback, especially on Ray's reaction and the interaction between them, I guess. I'll rewrite it when I get around to the part in the novel.

Also, I usually don't do these things, but trigger warning, I guess. Cutting and suicide mentions and all that. Don't read if you aren't into it.

Spoiler
“Hey, Mari, do you want to grab some ice cream? It’s getting real nice out, and I’ve got a little cash left over!”

There was no reply, and Ray blinked in surprise. Whether they argued or not, she didn’t usually ignore him.

Maybe she’s sick? She hasn’t been looking great lately…

“Hey!” The Spanish boy huffed up the stairs, spinning his house key around his finger. “I don’t like being ignored, you know. You should be happy I’m even offering you ice cream.”

There was still no answer, and Ray rolled his eyes as he made it to the top of the stairs and realized the bathroom light was on, and the door was open - an odd combination. With a raised eyebrow, he went to poke his head in the door. “Geez… Close the door, will you…” He trailed off as he stopped in the doorway to the bathroom, the words snatched from the tip of his tongue as he took in the scene before him. “Mari…”

She was there, sitting on the tiled floor with what looked like a pocketknife - the pocketknife she’d been given for her thirteenth birthday, if he could recall. There was a tiny bead of blood on her wrist, and though their eyes were locked in a shocked stare, Ray could see the anguish written all over her face. Even though there was complete silence between them for a long few minutes, there was nothing that needed to be said between them.

Ray could put two and two together. There was only one question left, as he finally managed to open his mouth and force a tiny whisper out - “Why…?”

“I’m… I’m a total *censored*-up,” She replied, and though her voice wavered, she sounded like she was telling the truth - or she thought she was, at least. “I’m a mistake, Ray… Mom and Papa wanted you… They wanted you and they were prepared to face the consequences. I’m a *censored*ing mistake, Ray. I messed up out *censored*ing family, I…” She was crying, he realized, tears streaming down her cheeks, and Ray felt his heart practically break for his little sister. “You know just as well as me that the Escarras wouldn’t have flipped their *censored*ing lids if I wasn’t born… And if I wasn’t such a *censored*ed up kid with a *censored*ed up mind…” She dropped the knife, to Ray’s relief, and began to sob into her hands. “I could never be perfect enough for them, for Abuela, for Papa…” Mari sniffed and looked up at him with tears streaming down her face and ruining her carefully done makeup. “You were always the perfect one. They wanted you, they loved how Spanish you looked, they wished you’d move back to Spain and live under their custody… And I’m such a mess! I’m a mess, with my stupid red hair and stupid blue eyes and stupid freckles and anxiety and mood swings and-and…” Ray could only keep a straight face and kneel down beside her on the floor, grabbing away the pocketknife that had dropped to the floor as he did. Mari wiped tears out of her eyes, though she was still sobbing almost hysterically. “Do you know how much better you and Mom would have it if I wasn’t born? If I wasn’t around? How much money you’d save on *censored*ing therapy and pills? How much emotional stress about our families? Why am I still here, Ray? To make me and everyone else miserable?” Mari took a shuddering breath, before she met his eyes again. “I don’t want to be here and be reminded every day that I’m such *censored*-up! I want anything but that!”

“Mari…” Ray sighed, reaching over to rub his sister’s back as she cried. “You’re not a *censored*-up. You’re as much of an Escarra as I am. You’re my sister.”

“Mom and Papa didn’t want me. The Escarras think I’m a living sin. You know that.”

“Mari…” The older teen ran fingers through his hair and bit his lip. He and Mari both had their issues when it came to their family, but hers tended to run much deeper. It was difficult to help her sometimes, especially considering what she said was true to a certain extent. He was planned, he was an Escarra in the eyes of their Spanish grandmother. And though he knew that he loved her, his parents and the Callaghans loved her to the moon and back… She was a mistake to the rest of the Escarras.

She’s a little bit like Miles, really… overemotional and overthinking…

“Did you know,” He mused, deciding to take a similar approach to dealing with his boyfriend’s worries - just talking, calming her down. “That I helped name you?”

Mari sniffed. “You didn’t.”

“Mhm.” Ray smiled, just a little bit as he hugged his sister around the shoulders - though he was obviously too young to remember the incident, he’d been told it enough times. “We were in Madrid when you were born, and Mom and Papa asked me what I wanted to name you. And I walked right over to where you were in your chair and you grabbed my tiny finger with your even tinier hand. And guess what I said?”

“I don’t know. Mari?”

“Well, Mom and Papa were contemplating naming you Maria after Abuela or something more spunky-sounding,” He continued as Mari’s crying became quieter, repeating the story he’d been told a dozen times. “And I said we should name you Ella. Mom liked that especially, so she proposed they name you Mariella. And that was that.”

“Hm. I don’t believe it.”

“A real shame you shortened it to Mari instead of Ella when you got older,” He teased her a little bit, and though she was still crying, he swore he saw her roll her eyes. Ray sighed. “I always wanted a sibling, you know. And you’re the best sister I have.”

“I’m the only one you have.”

“Exactly.” He smiled at her, just a little bit. “If you died, I wouldn’t have another one stashed in the closet. So don’t.”

She didn’t reply, crying into her hands - though at least she wasn’t sobbing hysterically anymore. He sighed again. “Mari. Come on, the floor is freezing, and your makeup is a mess.” He reached over her to grab a couple squares of toilet paper and wiped her face as well as he could, forcing her to look at him. “Are you okay to shower?”

She didn’t reply, and Ray bit his lip - he didn’t know how much he trusted her, especially with no idea how prone to hurting herself she was at the moment. Quietly, he did his best to try and think about what he’d done before, with her, or with Miles.

I’m… I’m awful at things like this… How do I do this? What do I do to help her?

“Wash… Wash your face,” He encouraged softly, trying to keep his voice steady as he helped her to her feet. She stumbled, but he caught her, letting her lean into him. “Okay? And… And we can talk to Mom when she gets ho-”

“No!” The volume of her voice nearly startled him into dropping what weight she was putting on him, and he raised an eyebrow at her. “Mari… It’s fine to ask for help-”

“We don’t have the money for me to be sick,” She interrupted him, her voice still quavering. Mari sniffled, looking up to him as her lip bottom lip quivered. “We don’t have the money for pills or therapy or for mom to worry about me instead of working. You-you can’t… Please, Ray, please…”

“Mari…” Ray sighed again and swallowed. No matter how independent he and his sister had become after the divorce, he’d always had his mother to fall back on. It was all they’d been taught in school, after all - in situations like the one he was in, he was supposed to go to his mother. To someone.

What the hell do I do? She needs help. She needs… Someone…


“Take a second,” He advised her - most of her tears had stopped at that point. He grabbed a washcloth from the rack. “Wash your face and turn in early, alright? And I’ll call in sick tomorrow.”

“Wha… Why…?”

“Sometimes…” Ray began hesitantly, looking at both of them in mirror above the bathroom sink he gave her a little, sympathetic smile. “Sometimes you need a moment, Mari.”

“Mom won’t let you do that…” Mari whispered as he wet the cloth with warm water and handed it to her. He smiled, this time for real. “Then we’ll skip. Simple.”

“What? You wouldn’t.”

“We’re taking a day off tomorrow, alright?” The older teen insisted, letting her lean against the bathroom countertop. “No school. No people, no stress. Just us. Maybe we’ll go to Wonderland. It won’t be busy in the middle of the week.”

Usually, she would have argued - though Mari was a partier, and she’d skipped a handful of times, she would have accused him of being sick or possessed on a normal day - but with a tired, defeated look in her eyes, Mari nodded. Ray nodded back. “Wash your face. I’ll make your bed. Alright?”

There was initially no reply, and Ray put a hand on her shoulder. “Mariella. You’ve gotta promise me you aren’t going to do anything to yourself, okay?” Despite how hard he’d been trying to hide the fear in his voice, he could feel it leaking through the cracks in his defenses. “Really, Mari… Promise me you’re going to wash your face and brush your teeth and…” He shook his head, trying to compose himself. “I’ll stand outside the door if I have to… But I don’t want to have to.”

“I’ll… I’ll be fine,” She finally replied, in a voice that didn’t quite convince him, but he had a feeling that not trusting her wouldn’t make the situation any better. “I promise.”

Slowly, Ray nodded, making sure the pocketknife was in his pocket as he turned to leave, letting the door stay open - at least if anything was off, he could perhaps hear it from her room. Dazed, he stumbled into her messy room.

How did I not notice she was like this?

Had he been too preoccupied with Miles and his career? Or too worried about his own health, or the twins? He had no idea.

I guess it doesn’t matter now… What’s happened has happened.

Still listening for anything in the bathroom, Ray began to make his sister’s bed, laying out her usual set of summer pajamas on top of the duvet. He had to stay strong and keep himself intact… Because as soon as he fell, Mari would too.

How did I miss this, though? If I hadn’t gotten here when I had…

No. Forcefully, he pushed the thoughts away. He’d gotten there before she’d done anything too awful. He was helping her. That was all that mattered. Taking a deep breath to clear his mind, he fluffed her pillow and poked his head out the door. “Hey. You done?”

“...Yeah,” Came her weak reply after a moment, and Ray watched as she left the bathroom with a clean, tired face. He motioned for her to come into her room, feeling oddly like they were young children again. “Come on. I’ll tuck you in.”

“You’re treating me like a kid,” He heard her mumble on her way into her room, and he shrugged as he turned around to let her change. “Sometimes that helps.”

She didn’t say anything else, and he patiently waited until he heard the creak of her weight on the bed to turn back to her. With a sigh, he began going through the motions of the bedtime routine they’d had when they were younger, flicking off the harsh, ceiling light and trading it for the softer one by her bedside. Ray pulled up the low, wooden chair next to the bed as he motioned for her to lay down, tucking the sheets and duvet around her. “Comfortable?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.” The Spanish boy let himself sit back on the chair, watching his sister get comfortable under the blankets. She glanced up to him, musing in that tiny, crackling voice that sounded nothing like the confident, boisterous girl he grew up with, “Are you just going to…”

“Sit there?” She nodded, and he sighed, resting his chin in his hand. “Well, I’d usually read a story to you when you were a kid, but… I don’t think that applies anymore.”

There was a moment of silence between them, before Mari suggested quietly, “Tell me a real story. Like some gossip or something.”

“What?” Ray raised an eyebrow, even though he couldn’t help but smile a little - of course she’d say that, it was so much like her. He’d usually refuse, but the Spanish boy had a feeling it’d be helpful for her, in one way or another. With a sigh, he began, “Well… Not a lot has been happening that you don’t know about.”

“Hm.”

“I guess…” Ray hesitated - he wasn’t sure how much he wanted to share with his talkative little sister, but he had a feeling anything would take her mind off what was troubling her at that point. “Well, you can’t tell mom about this, okay?” She nodded, and he had a good feeling that she was being honest for once. With a deep breath, he admitted, “I’m… dating Miles.”

“As in… Miles Verde?” Mari asked in her whispery-tired voice, and licking his lips, Ray nodded. “Yeah. We haven’t told anyone yet.”

“Oh.” She blinked at him, her voice still hushed and hoarse. “Are you gay?”

“I don’t know. Are you a homophobe?” He half-joked. He and Mari made offensive jokes almost nonstop when they were on good terms, but he’d never really asked her about standpoint on potentially controversial topics. It hadn’t even occurred to her she might be against him being into guys, especially because most people in the area didn’t care one way or another.

“No,” She replied with a yawn. “I’m just surprised. You and Verde…” She smiled at him, just a tiny, tired one. “Good luck. It’d be cool for him to be my brother-in-law.”

“We’re sixteen, Mari.” He rolled his eyes. “And Abuela would *censored*ing murder me if she knew I was dating a French boy.”

“So? You two could work out. Gay marriage is legal here.”

“I…” Ray hesitated - him and Miles had known each other for practically forever. He couldn’t imagine his life without the blond boy, whether it be as his best friend or as his lover.

But marriage… I’ve never liked the idea of being married.

“You’re making me think about things that won’t happen for years,” He decided on saying as she stifled another yawn. “And you’re tired. Get some sleep. I can tell you about my thoughts about marriage when you’re feeling better.”

“I don’t want to get married,” Mari admitted sleepily as she snuggled into the pillow, sounding remarkably like a child again. “I’ll fall in love… But Mom and Papa…”

“...Yeah,” Ray sighed, reaching over to find the light switch. it seemed he wasn't the only one jaded from their parent's messy relationship. “I know. Don’t think about it, okay? Get a good sleep.” He smiled at her, reaching for her her hand. He squeezed it tightly. “Tomorrow will be better.”

She nodded, and he stood up, beginning to flip the switch on the lamp, but the redhead reached out to grab his hand again. “Hey… Wait.”

Ray cocked his head. “Yeah?”

“No…” She yawned - crying must have tired her out, alongside the stress. “No lullaby?”

Lullaby? Ray could feel his face flushing. He’d sung Spanish lullabies to an anxiety-wracked, lonely Mari until she’d hit double-digits or so (maybe the occasional one in middle school), but it had been years since he’d done so. He raised an eyebrow. “Are… Are you sure?”

“It’s… Routine, isn’t it?”

Well. He supposed it was, and though he was feeling somewhat ridiculous, he sat back down and cleared his throat. “Do you remember… ‘A la puerta del cielo’?”

She nodded, and putting away his pride for a moment, Ray licked his lips, cleared his throat, and began to softly sing the familiar lullaby. It had originally been something his abuela had sung to him, and then something he’d eventually sung to to her. He smiled as he repeated the quiet, calm tune as Mari drifted off, just as he’d done as a younger child. Certain things never changed.

As he finished the song quietly, and Mari’s breathing evened out into a sleeping pattern, Ray reached over to turn off the light. With a long sigh, he stood up to leave, glancing over his shoulder before he closed the door. He smiled at how at ease she looked, just a little bit, even if it felt forced and tired, and quietly closed the door behind him.

A last little note. There're a plethora of f-bombs in this. Sorry. And when Ray mentions him and Mari going to Wonderland, he's referring to Canada's Wonderland. I dunno if non-Canadians know what that is, but if you don't, you should check it out. The lines are long and the food is expensive, but it's worth 100%.

I promise this is the end of me flooding the forum with my crappy writing, at least until life stops whupping my ass. Cheers.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D