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My first book. Two chapters I have a lot more. Opinions?

The weeks started to fall into each other and before I knew it Halloween had arrived. I got to fourth period math class where I sat in front of Ryan, Jess’ locker neighbor. He was fidgeting a lot more than usual, as I felt his feet kicking the back of my chair. I turned around after Mrs. Stravos assigned our group work and said

“What is wrong with you?” I spoke harshly.

“ITS HALLOWEEN!” He smiled awkwardly, and I giggled back at him.

“Okay weirdo, this algebra isn’t going to do itself” We worked on the assignment and one of the first groups finished.

“So, how’s Jess doing with the James guy?” Ryan was just trying to make conversation, but I didn’t want to talk about the Travis twins. In all honestly James was a complete gentleman, almost too good to be true. I was so happy for Jessica, but honestly, I was beyond jealous for their happiness...

“Great.” I smiled and lucky for me Mrs. Stravos put the answer key to the assignment up on the projector. Ryan and I fixed the two problems we got wrong and he went up and grabbed the homework for us.
“More work? It’s Halloween weekend!” I complained to him as he handed me my sheet.
“He laughed, now you sound like me!” We laughed. The bell rang and I jumped out of my seat, finally lunch period was here. I went to my locker only to pass Penny standing outside of her English class door. Her and Asher both looked upset and were in the middle of a heated discussion. I only heard the last of the conversation as I slowed down to catch Laura…

“Maybe we don’t like each other as much as we thought.” Laura went into her class and Asher headed towards the stairs, as the discussion had left them both upset.

I made it to the cafeteria, where Jess was waiting for me with James outside.

“Finally! Car, where have you been? James is going to be late for Tech.”

“Sorry major distraction upstairs.” I turned to James “Hey you have tech with your brother,right?”

“Yeah why?” He looked confused.

“I think I just saw him and Penny arguing upstairs, maybe you should talk to him see if he is alright?”

“Yeah, thanks Carly” He patted my back and gave Jess a hug as the final bell rang for class to start.

We grabbed our hot lunches from the cafeteria and sat at our usual table, in the corner by the stage. I went to plug my i-pod mini in when Jess stopped me.

“If Asher and Penny break up, it wouldn’t be your fault, and I could talk to James-“

“Absolutely not, I do not want to be that girl who chases a guy who likes someone else, we have been through this.” She smiled and nodded.

“I did not know sixth grade Carly, but I know you now, and you aren’t chasing anyone. You aren’t that girl Carly and I think Asher will see that.”

“Honestly? I don’t like him like that, he is cute, but just not my type.” I lied through my teeth and she knew I was but the subject dropped.
“So tomorrow you can still sleepover?”

“Yes, after my soccer game, you said your step mom can pick me up?”

“Yeah probably around four thirty we are getting a pizza.”

“Great my favorite!” I went to my i-pod mini and started my algebra homework. Jess went over to talk to her friends from her art class. By the time the end of the day came, I was beyond ready for the weekend. As I went to get onto the bus Jess waved me to come over to her and James who were cuddling on the back of the flag pole.

“So, James has news.”

“Oh James, I am so glad you are going to the doctor, but I think your head will catch up to the rest of your body eventually.” Jessica laughed, and James made a face unamused. “I was kidding” I nudged his shoulder, so he would sense my sarcasm. He then ignored my joke and said

“Anyway, Asher and Laura broke up after tech class. He got a note from her and he talked to her and they agreed to stay friends but now I am on damage control this weekend.” Jess tried to hold back her excitement and I gave her a look to knock it off.

“I am so sorry, well I hope he is okay.”

“What she means is that maybe you could tell-“I cut Jess off yet again

“That you should tell Asher I am really sorry. That’s it right Jess?” She nodded as I pinched her arm

“OW! Carly that’s my arm!” I gave her serious eye intense look and ran to my bus.

I got onto the bus and sat down across from Laura who was talking intensely to Marigold about her break up. I turned to my bag pulled out my I pod and started my ritual daze out the window. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, Laura was a good person and I was trying to avoid drama this year. I really did like Asher, just from our few conversations when I could catch him with James and Jessica. He seemed kind, funny, and very thoughtful. Maybe if I just waited until Penny was over him and then I could ask her permission to like him. It all started sounding ridiculous in my head and then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and saw Laura gesturing me to get up, I then noticed it was my stop. I smiled at her and mouthed thank you as I got off the bus. 

               I got through the back door to find my dad at the kitchen table with flashcards and textbooks surrounding him. I just walked by quietly trying not to break the silence, so he could continue to study. My cell phone started going off with messages and calls, as I looked at is I saw it was Jess. I decided to turn my phone to silent, so I could get ready for my babysitting job. I had agreed to watch some of the neighbor’s kids, so they could take the older children out trick or treating. I then heard the house phone ring and my father had gotten up from his seat.

“DAD I WILL GET IT, ITS’ JESS” I yelled as I grabbed the cordless phone in my room.   Click.

“Hello?”

“CAR! Guess what?”

“Jess I am not in the mood to talk right now, I have to leave soon to go- “

“CARLY! I talked to James and he said Asher thinks your cute!”

“WHAT! JESSICA WHAT HAPPENED” I felt my heart sink to my stomach and knots of pain started entering my body.

“Okay, well you can’t get mad, but you ran away really suspiciously, and you looked really upset. James pressed me to tell him, so I did. “I paused fearing the worse to come out next.

“What did you tell him exactly?” I took a deep breath.

“That you liked Asher since the day we first met them, you backed off because he had a girlfriend, and you did not want me to tell him any of this but I think you guys would be adorable together.”

“JESSICA I COULD KILL YOU.” I felt tears running down my face. “NOW I AM A PATHETIC GIRL WHO NEEDS HER FRIEND TO GET HER A GUY!”

“STOP CARLY! James just called me and said he told Asher everything! He said that Asher thought you were cute too, and well when James was talking to him about asking a seventh grader out he mixed us up!”

“You make no sense Jess”

“You are thick girl! Anyway James remembered we were having a sleepover tomorrow and asked if they could come over for dinner. So I asked my parents and they said yes but I figured we got to talk to your Dad, so I called you.”

“I don’t know Jess, my dad is never going to say yes, and he doesn’t even know that Asher exist.”

“My step mom is ready when you are so here going nothing!” I walked out into the kitchen covering the speaker of the phone with my hand.

“Dad, Jessica’s step mom Lauren wants to talk to you about our sleepover tomorrow” My Dad looked up from his work and smiled

“Everything okay?”

“Yes, Jessica made some last-minute changes and Lauren just wants your permission for me to still go there.” He nodded, and I handed him the phone. I walked back into my room leaving the door open so I could at least hear his side of the conversation.

“Well that all sounds good as long as you and Dennis are home.”

“Okay great, we will see you tomorrow.” CLICK.

“CARLY ANNE!” My father yelled for me to come into the kitchen.

“Yes Dad?”

“So who are James and Asher Travis?”

“Two eighth graders, and James is Jessica’s boyfriend.” I went into a panic pause and the words came out like word vomit, but my dad smiled.

“Well I said yes, but I want you to call me after they leave, that’s my only condition.” I smiled and went over to give him a hug.

“YES! I will call you before bed, PROMISE!” I grabbed the phone off the table and went into my room to call Jess back.

“Hey Carly?” Jess was more excited then I was, her tone was ecstatic.

“I can’t believe this is happening! I hate you so much right now!” I laughed, but my stomach was still in knots and I went to lay down on my bed.

“No you love me and I think your about to get yourself a boyfriend!” The small knots in my stomach started to feel like rocks rattling around.

“SHUT UP!” I giggled trying to hide my anxiety.

“Okay, well we are going to take my sister out trick or treating soon. Be ready at four thirty we are going to pick the boys up first, then you.”

“Okay, have fun see you tomorrow.” CLICK.

Time went slowly for next twenty-four hours, I babysat two toddlers, came home, put my soccer stuff out for the next day and went to sleep somewhat early. If you could call it sleep as I woke up every two hours with severe stomach pain. It was all my nerves, as all I could think about was what I was going to say to Asher. My mind brought me in and out of a daze. I got up and looked at the clock to see it was a quarter to five, and went to the bathroom to grab some water. I tip toed back to room only to have more knots enter my stomach. My head hit the pillow and I went back to this time last year. I thought about why I was so nervous, and the memories from sixth grade hit me;

I had my first official crush, and everyone played along like he liked me back too, only I found out why they call it a crush. It hurts a lot when they do not return the feelings back. He liked a different girl in our grade who was prettier, skinnier and smarter than me. He wasn’t a bad guy, he did nothing wrong, I just was not the girl he wanted to be with. I blinked, and I was back to reality but all the feelings I felt last year were coming back. I was nervous and scared that if I opened my heart I would be left crushed again.

I turned over and looked at the clock it was quarter to seven, I had to get up for my soccer game. I went into the kitchen where my step mom was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. I got myself some cereal from the cabinet and went to get the milk out of the fridge.

“Are you excited for your sleepover with Jessica tonight?” I had almost forgotten, until she brought it up how much my stomach hurt, I put the milk back as I turned around.

“Yes, thanks for picking me up tomorrow.” I smiled as I grabbed a granola bar from the cabinet and put the cereal back.

“No problem, it will be sometime before eleven thirty.” She smiled as she went downstairs with her coffee.

I went back to my room and put my hair up in a tight pony tail. I put my uniform on, placed my cleats and shin guards in my bag.

 

The game went well, my team won three to one, and I helped my Dad coach my sisters game after ours was done. Dad had coached us for almost as long as we had started playing. Same groups of girls pretty much stayed with us year to year. We were a separate family out on the field we all had each other’s backs and we respected one another. There was no drama on the field, it was my favorite part of the sport, no time to talk, judge, or bully each other. There were two goals one to protect and one to score. We worked together and found that we were stronger than anyone could have predicted. After my sister’s game ended, I went home to get ready for the big night.

 

 

                                                                                   CHAPTER

                                                                       

 

I showered and packed my over night bag for Jess’s house. I took my hair straightener out to turn it on, and put on some dark skinny blue jeans. I threw on a bright turquoise V-neck that had a white undershirt that covered my chest. I pulled a dark grey Aero hoodie over my head and put my dark brown hair into a half up pony tail, just so it was out of my face. After straightening the rest of my hair, I put a simple amount of eye liner on and some nude lip gloss that barely showed. As I put everything away I felt the knots returning to my stomach and a tear fell from my cheek. Into the kitchen I went for an Aspirin when before I could turn around I saw Jessica, James and Asher walking from the car to my back door.

I ran into my room, grabbed my bag and threw my vans on my feet. My dad came up the stairs and went over to the window to wave to Jess’s step mom. I placed a kiss on his cheek and ran out the door smiling at Jess and the boys.

“Hey” Asher said directly looking at me. Jess got into the front seat of her step mom’s Jeep. James went in first as Asher gestured for me to slide in next, right in the middle next to James and him. I felt his leg touch mine and my heart sank into my stomach as I went kind of frozen. He was wearing a dark red polo and dark jeans. The front of his hair had hair gel in it, and he smelt of mint cologne. He looked like he put a lot of effort into getting ready and I slid back into the seat trying to breathe. Jess’s step mom must have seen my pale face or heard my heart through the silence because she smiled at me through the rearview mirror.

“Carly, how was your game?” She asked

“We won, so did my sister, it was a good day over all in my house” Asher turned to me

“What do you play?” I tried not to pause when I talked but everything was coming out into broken pieces.

“um Soc-cer.”

“Nice, James and I are into kick boxing, we go to the gym down by the school.” My hands started getting sweaty from rubbing them on my jeans so hard. I just nodded and smiled. We pulled into the pizza place where Jess and James offered to help Lauren get the stuff to the car. I took a deep breathe as Asher got back into the car where we were by ourselves. He stared right at me, putting his hand on my knee. I tried not to melt but his eyes were such a deep blue and it made me forget this wasn’t a dream. He tapped my leg as I went almost frozen and he was talking.

“So, is what Jess told James true?”

“I guess that depends on what exactly she said” I smiled and turned my head towards the window, tapping my foot in all my nervousness. Everyone got back into the car and we reassembled and got to Jess’s house. As I dropped my stuff in her room, James and Asher helped her dad get the food on the table. Jess met me in her room.

“Carly, you got to relax, he likes you.”

“Yeah well that’s so easy for you to say, he just broke up with Penny yesterday!”

“Take your sweatshirt off, and I will tell my parents we are eating down stairs, so we can watch a movie. As long as the door stays open we are good.” We both giggled, and I threw my hoodie on her bed.

I was the last to walk down stairs and Asher handed me a slice of pizza, and soda.

“Thanks” I smiled, Jess and James were snuggled on the couch under a blanket. I sat on the ground trying to not interfere with their cuddling session and Asher placed himself right next to me. Jess turned on The Notebook and we started watching. I watched intensely for the first fifteen minutes not even touching my pizza. Until I found that when I did finally eat, I put my plate down and instantly Asher’s arm swung around me. His arm was tight, and I could feel the veins in his muscles against my back. I decided to be brave and I laced my fingers in-between his.

After the movie I had found my self completely leaning up against him and the ending had Jess and I in tears, which as we got up to stretch Asher wiped mine from my face.

“It is just a movie.” He smiled, which made me go frozen again, because nothing came out of mouth. James and Jess saw my frozen like state and I started to tremble on my words until Jess spoke.

“Let’s go outside and jump in the leaves!” Jess sounded like a six-year-old but we all laughed and agreed to go outside. Jess checked in with her parents and I went to grab my sweatshirt.

We got outside, and Asher grabbed my hand as we ran into a giant leaf pile that Jess’ dad hard probably taken hours to rake. We flew into the next and into another after that.  He truly wasn’t afraid to have fun and it was the most fun I had off the soccer field in a long time. We laughed and threw leaves at each other until Jess’s Dad yelled that the boys would be leaving in twenty minutes.

Jess and James had planted themselves sitting against a tree where they were talking, and I was laying on the ground, Asher came to join me like he had done all evening.

“Carly?”

“Yes”

“Is what Jess told James true?”

“Yes, I like you.” He smiled and we both glanced at each other as I was blushing.

“I like you too Carly.” The worlds that came so easily out of his mouth meant more to me then he would ever know. I cuddled in next to laying my head on his chest and he warmed my hands up with his. I stared deeply at the sky trying to remember all of this moment.  The air was crisp like it was on any other fall night, I didn’t feel cold though. The sky was the darkest I had seen but the stars were brightening it. Each one so clear like tiny crystals in a chandelier, getting brighter as it grew darker. I took a breath and turned my head to the left just a little when a star came shooting across the sky.

“Did you see that?” I turned to Asher.

“Yeah, a shooting star, pretty cool.” He looked at me and I laid back down.

“I have never seen one before, it was beautiful.”

“Like you” With that he placed a kiss at the top of my head and all I could think about not wanting to move, being frozen like this was something I could handle. “So, Carly, will you be my girlfriend”

I sat up and looked at him to see if he was joking but his smile was genuine, and he was still holding my hand.

“Yes.” I bit my bottom lip and hugged him tight, as we watched a car pull into Jess’s driveway. James gave Jess a kiss on the cheek and got into the car. Asher turned to me

“Maybe Jess can give you my number and we can talk tomorrow?”

“Sure, that would be great.” I smiled and leaned in for a hug which he returned wrapping his arms completely around me to give me a snug squeeze. He whispered

“I’m really happy I came tonight.” I smiled as he got into the car and Jess grabbed my arm as we walked inside to her bedroom.

Her step mom finally left after asking tons of question, I saw it was already ten o’clock. I grabbed my phone and dialed my house.

“Dad?”

“Carly? I was getting worried, did those boys leave?”

“YES! Sorry, Jess’s step mom was just talking to us about some stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?” My dad sounded curious.

“Just if we had fun and if we wanted to do something like this again.”

“Well do you?”

“I think so, Asher is really nice!”

“So, which one was Asher, red shirt or brown?” Leave it to my dad to narrow the guy down by shirt color.

“Red, he is really nice Dad, him and his brother do kickboxing.”

“Okay, well as long as your okay. You girls going to bed soon?”

“Eventually”

“Sounds good, good night honey”

“Night Dad”

CLICK.

With that Jess came back from the bathroom and was in her pajamas. I went to change into mind and when I came back Jess was on her phone texting.

“James wants your number to give to Asher?”

“Okay,” I tried to keep my excitement contained but Jess was determined to pull it out of me.

“OH, MY GOD! TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE MOVIE! I saw you guys get cozy before they left, what happened?”

“Well he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes.” I was blushing so hard and the word vomit was in full force after everything that had happened.

“I KNEW IT! James said he was going to do that, but I didn’t know how you were going to react with the whole Laura think.” All my happiness had rushed away and left my body. Did Penny deserve this? I was being that girl who goes after someone else boyfriend not even a day after they break up. I was no better then the girls I judged, and didn’t talk to. I was a selfish brat who put her feelings first.

“Earth-to-Carly we lost you again?”

“Sorry, Jess I am so stupid, I got so caught up in the moment I forgot about Asher and Penny’s break up.”

“No worries girl, James said that Laura initiated the break up, and Asher just was not as into her as he thought so they said they would stay friends. There were no tears, I think everyone was just upset, but that’s totally normal!”

“UGH! Jess I just feel gross now, like I am a back-stabbing bitch.”  I buried my head into my pillow and for the first time since the car ride to Jess’s house the knots came back into my stomach. Except these knots weren’t the nervous anxious ones like I had previously, these were guilt pain knots and felt much worse.

Suddenly Jess’ phone started to ring, and she grabbed it before her parents could hear.

“Hello? Hey Asher! Yes, she is still up, here you go!” She handed me her phone and I took a deep breathe in exhale.

“Hi?”

“Are you having second thoughts?” It was like he was here when Jess and I were talking.

“No…I mean I just want to make sure Laura is okay with us.” More word vomit coming out.

“Well I could talk to her about it on Monday, but we left things really good. It just wasn’t working out.” I smiled.

“Okay, well that sounds like a plan.”

“Good, well I called to make sure you knew how I felt was real, I am all in Carly.”

“Me too.”

We ended the conversation and passed the phones to James and Jess who were eagerly waiting to talk and say their goodnights. I plugged my phone into the charging port and started moving blankets to the floor for me to sleep on. Jess handed me one of her extra pillows, and I tucked myself between two blankets. I started to drift into sleep when Jess turned towards me.

“Car?”

“Yes Jess?”

“I think you should be happy, you deserve this.” I smiled and thought about everything bad that happened last year, the feelings of not being good enough, and over dramatic had gone away today. I had felt wanted, and that was something I thought I would never feel. Maybe just for now I could accept that even if I didn’t deserve it, I could feel this way just for a little while.

Comments

  • Ok... Good points.... Proper English, paragraphs, grammar, spelling; basics are covered. That's 80%+ right there. Next, you seem to be following an outline and youve thought it out. Excellent. Lots of characters. All very good. Now... Slow down. There's a data dump going on here. Jess, Asher, Penny, Dad... It reads okay to you because you know what's going on and who these people are. To the rest of us it's a bit of a blur. So slow down. Write more short sentences, and give us a moment to learn who's who. Great start. As a rough draft, well done. But pace the information. Spread the exposition. Take time to look around. Hope that helps.
  • Apologies for the lack of paragraphs. Thumb typing on phone.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    All of Skoob_ym's point's are excellent. Some of the punctuation with your dialog seems odd, and I think that more than once the sentence following a line of dialog should be a separate paragraph.

    An example of the former might be: 
    “Carly, how was your game?” She asked
    Which should be: “Carly, how was your game?” she asked.

    (And, by the way, I noticed far too many instances where there is no punctuation at all at the end of a quote.)

    An example of the latter might be:
    “So, which one was Asher, red shirt or brown?” Leave it to my dad to narrow the guy down by shirt color.
    Which might better be:
    “So, which one was Asher, red shirt or brown?”
    Leave it to my dad to narrow the guy down by shirt color.

    Other than these things and what Skoob_ym suggested, you are off to a flying start.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    edited January 9
    I would also point out that  Asher may need some time to get over the relationship with Laura before jumping into something with Carly Anne. Unless, of course, he's nefarious.

    Also, Laura and Penny seem to be interchangeable. Are they the same person?
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    edited January 9
    ...
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