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Eight Reasons Why I Kissed Hayden Beaufort (Part 1/8)

by TriSARAHtops


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

To be honest, I didn’t expect it to happen either. It isn’t like I woke up this morning, knowing how the day would end, and being able to have any control over how things turned out. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, and I don’t want you thinking that I set out to surprise you like I did. You can blame me all you like, but just know that if one thing had happened differently, this would have been a normal day for the both of us.

I can tell you want me to explain everything, even though you don’t seem able to meet my eyes right now. It’s not like you think, I swear. I didn’t use you, and it wasn’t premeditated to fulfil some ulterior motive. There was a sequence of events – eight of them – and it’s as simple as that. Well, maybe it’s actually a little bit complicated. But each of these events are the reason why things turned out the way they did.

Eight reasons. Eight reasons why I kissed Hayden Beaufort, eight reasons why I bailed on you, eight reasons why I sent you that text, and eight reasons why I came home wearing Naomi’s clothes.

Please believe me.

.

#1: PUGNACIOUS DOGMA’S DRUMMER

“Whaddya think?”

“Honestly?”

“Of course.”

“Well frankly, you look like a bit of a tosser.”

“Oh.” Eugene’s face fell.

“Sorry, but you said I should be honest,” I said, trying to tell if he was genuinely hurt.

“Yeah, but…” he grimaced, “You weren’t supposed to be proper honest. Like, the truth but in the nicest possible way.”

We started walking. I glared at one of the primary school mums after she nearly ran me over with her gigantic pram, then turned back to Eugene.

“Would you be offended if I said that was the nicest version of the truth?” I teased, trying to reconcile the image of my friend that existed in my head with the one that stood before me. For a guy with such a dorky name, Eugene had always been pretty rock ‘n’ roll – unkempt and loutish, with a veritable aura of cool – but sometimes his taste did leave something to be desired. Like now.

“Jeez, Liv, it’s just a haircut. How bad can it be?” He subconsciously ran a hand up to fix his hair, as though he could change how I felt about it by ruffling it slightly. And it wasn’t the haircut itself that was the problem really, more the fact that it made him look like every other guy in the school. Short on the sides, longer on the top; a wimpish version of a mohawk. It suited him, in a way, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Maybe it was just too drastic a change, and I’d get used to it after a while, I tried to convince myself.

“I guess.” I shrugged. “Just liked your old one better.” The last time I’d spoken to him, he’d had a mop of wavy hair that reached almost to his shoulders. Unlike some guys with long hair, Eugene wore it well; it wasn’t the least bit ratty or greasy, and it had suited him to a T. It fell in his eyes and he could flick it back, and it was as much a part of his onstage identity as his guitar was.

“It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.” He sounded terse, and I was sure that I’d properly offended him. It felt like I’d been managing to that more and more often lately. For someone who was supposed to be tough as old nails and rock an I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks attitude, he got pissed off pretty easily, and could hold a grudge for ages. I wasn’t sure why this bothered me so much. The fact that he couldn’t take someone bagging him had nothing to do with me, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to apologise for something as little as disliking his hair.

“Course it will,” I said quickly, “You guys still playing that gig next week?”

Eugene stopped walking and frowned. He didn’t answer me for a lengthy minute, just stared me down with an unreadable look on his face. This bugged me; not because he wasn’t answering, but because this was what I usually used on him. And more often than not it worked, too. As annoyed as I was, I glared back, determined not to let him win using my technique. Eventually he crumbled and said, “Yeah, I think so. Depends on if Freddie stops acting like a friggin’ diva and agrees to get off his high horse and play at a pub.”

“What’s he expecting? To perform at a bloody stadium?”

Eugene rolled his eyes. With this movement, I knew I was forgiven, because there was nothing I could do that could measure up to Freddie’s antics. The only reason that Freddie was still a part of Eugene’s life was that he was the drummer of the band they were both in, and since decent drummers were such a rare commodity around where we lived, this made him kind of irreplaceable. I knew how much Eugene and Theo, the band’s bassist slash singer, wanted him gone, and hearing that he had kicked up a fuss again came as no surprise.

“Doesn’t he get that you guys are underage?” I asked. “There aren’t exactly stacks of places that’ll let you in.”

“He thinks that we should pick and choose where we play so we can get a reputation.” I’d heard this story before. Eugene seemed to spend half his time complaining about Freddie’s misguided views on the band. “Apparently, we should be serious, and not spend our time playing for small-town drunks. His words, not mine.”

“That’s my parent’s pub he’s talking about,” I grumbled, “We’re doing you guys a favour by letting you perform. Maybe I’ll see if Audrey can knock some sense into him. It isn’t like there are gonna be many other places ‘round here that’ll let you perform.”

“I’ve tried telling him that.” Eugene shook his head and started walking again. I followed, and he continued, “He won’t listen. If you ever meet a drummer, tell me. Please.”

The bell rang before I could say anything else on the subject. As I waited for the electronic dong-dong-dong­ to become silent, I placed my hand on Eugene’s arm. Ever since we’d been little, we’d had a silent way of communicating, even though right now, I had no clue what I was trying to say.

“See you tonight?” he asked, as we parted ways towards our respective lockers.

“Uh-huh,” I replied, “See you then.”

* * *

That afternoon, I tidied my room: putting away odd pairs of underwear, shoving my school uniform into the wardrobe and rearranging my CD collection. Eugene and the rest of Pugnacious Dogma, as they had recently decided their band would now be called, were coming over, along with a couple of my other friends. The guise was studying, but we all knew that the most productive thing we’d end up doing would be deciding whose iPod we’d plug into my speakers. Even my parents knew this, but they still let us catch up every Friday night when they were off working at the pub. I think at some point they’d realised that we were all too unmotivated to cause any real trouble by the time it got to Friday night, or perhaps they just wanted to confine us all to a place where they knew where we were. Whatever the reason, I appreciated their trust, and the others appreciated the chance to get out of their own houses.

“I think we need to address the elephant in the room,” Theo said, after Tahlia, one of my only remaining friends that I’d known since primary school, had won the weekly battle to play her music as the soundtrack to our conversation. Speaking over the warbling electro-pop music, Theo continued speaking from where he was lying, spreadeagled, on my rug, “Eugene, what the fuck have you done with your hair?”

As pretty as his voice was, even when he was talking, Theo’s vocabulary was somewhat less enchanting. I couldn’t remember having a conversation with him that hadn’t involved him swearing at least once.

Eugene raised an eyebrow. “Got it cut.” He didn’t elaborate further, so I poked him in the shoulder.

“Told you so,” I said. He sighed and slid forward so his arms were handing over the edge of my bed and buried his face in my doona. Lying next to him, I copied his posture, and when he looked up I screwed my face up into a grimace. He pulled a face of mock horror back. He was looking more like himself now, even with the shorter hair.

Theo began to speak again, but Tahlia cut him off, asking him from her position sitting on my desk, “Written anything new lately?”

He sat up onto his elbows and shrugged. “Eugene said he had something.”

“It’s nearly done. I’ll show it to Liv then you and Freddie check it out.” It was the usual process; Eugene would write the lyrics and come up with the tune, he’d show it to me, I’d work out the chords and then he’d show it to the others. Even though I had zero actual musical talent, my musical theory was pretty good, or at least, better than Eugene’s. And I liked being a part of the band, even in this anonymous form.

“Tell me when you finish it. But anyway, I hear there’s a new kid over at Henchley,” Tahlia said, “And, he’s a drummer.”

“Shit,” Theo swore, lying back down he stretched his arms out until he was taking up my entire rug. “He any good?”

Tahlia shrugged, “How should I know?”

“You brought him up.”

“All I know is what my friend told me. And that is that there’s a new kid in her year level and he plays the drums.” Tahlia leaned back and stared at the ceiling. I listened, as she started to sing along to the song playing over the speakers. Her breathy voice was captivating, even though she wasn’t trying. I don’t know how many times I’d wished that I’d had a voice half as good as hers.

“Speaking of drummers, where is Freddie?” I asked. When he was taken out of the context of the band, he was usually okay to hang out with. And besides, as I was constantly being reminded, he was Audrey’s boyfriend, which apparently meant I was supposed to give him a chance.

“Probably with Audrey. She told me they were coming,” she said. As soon as the words left her lips, her phone beeped. Looking at it, she announced, “That’s her. Just a minute. Hello?”

“Like it’s any mystery why they aren’t here,” Eugene said to me quietly, raising an eyebrow. He didn’t guffaw, like Theo would’ve, he just said it. I knew what he meant. We’d seen less and less of them since they’d started going out.

“What?” Tahlia exclaimed suddenly. “Well, come over here… Okay fine, I’ll come over to yours. Don’t argue with me, I don’t want you by yourself.”

She hung up, a look of outrage on her face. She huffed once, then said, “Audrey just told me Freddie broke up with her. Dunno why. But…” Tahlia trailed off nervously.

“But what?” Eugene asked, looking over my shoulders at Tahlia. She bit her lip.

“He’s leaving the band,” she confessed. “I told Audrey I’d be there, so I’d better go. It’s too bad, guys.”

“I’ll tag along with you,” Theo said, and they left quickly, leaving Eugene and me alone together.

We regarded each other for a long moment, trying to understand what had happened. Eugene sighed, then swung his legs around so his was sitting on the edge of my bed. He was slouched over, and said, “This can’t be happening. I take back what I said about him… I didn’t want this.”

I looked at him. “Careful what you wish for.”


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Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:03 pm
StellaThomas wrote a review...



Hey! So I know I said I would review this AFTER my exams, but I actually read it on the tram the other day so I feel like I have to review it now!

Mostly, I really liked this. I love your little preface, and I can't wait to see how all these things add up. I think it's such an interesting construct to a story, especially because this first part - this first reason - is so innocuous and fun. BUT ONWARDS.

Liv and Eugene. I ship it. Can I ship it? Because I do. Weirdly though, all the discussion about Eugene's hair reminded me of The Walking Dead where there is also a character called Eugene whose hair also causes a lot of discussion. His 'Tennessee Tophat'. Anyway, I just thought you should know where my mind went with that!

I really liked the friend group portrayed - my least favourite trope is that teenage girl who only has one friend. I like that there's a group. It makes things more realistic. Also that her parents trust her because they know she's too lazy to get into trouble - again, so real xD

One thing that seemed off to me - is this the UK or the US? Everything seemed very British to me, except then someone said 'pants' and then someone said 'high school' - are these more common usage in the UK than I thought? To an Irish reader they seemed out of place, so I'm just wondering.

The other thing that particularly bugged me was Freddie's exit. I realise he's a tosser, but it still seems so strange that his girlfriend would call her friend to tell his band that he's quitting. The chain of contact there just seems too long-winded. Of course, maybe he is the kind of the guy who would just ditch without warning, but if so, the whole phone call just seems too... neat. I don't know. I just didn't find it a particularly satisfying plot point - to have Audrey call rather than him himself. Maybe it's just something to consider.

A final point - that last line, "Careful what you wish for." I think the whole last bit could be so much stronger if there was a focal point in the first scene where Eugene specifically said "I wish he'd just quit" or something. The way it is currently, while there's clearly a lot of ill-will, as a reader I didn't find a particular springboard line that came back into my mind at the end of the chapter. And as a story, as a piece of prose instead of a piece of reality, I think it's much stronger if there is something strong and concrete and CERTAIN that readers can look back and think "Oh yeah, he did say that, didn't he?" It'd pack a lot more punch when we get to the end of the chapter.

Other than that, good job, I'm looking forward to the next seven parts! :)

Hope I helped, drop me a note if you need anything!

-Stella x




StellaThomas says...


ARGH it just registered that there's an edited version of this - which was actually the version I read (I remember scrolling down to Noelle's review) so I suppose my points still apply, I'm really sorry for the confusion!



TriSARAHtops says...


Thanks for the review! To answer your question, it's set in Australia, hence the hodge-podge of more British/American words. :) Blue also asked about the setting, so I guess I'll have to make it a little clearer, without going all "g'day mate" and stereotypical.
It doesn't matter too much whether you read the edited version or this one... some of the dialogue's a little different, and I got rid of the preface (which is a recent edit) after I realised where the story was going. :)
Thanks again! All this really helps. :)



StellaThomas says...


OH AUSTRALIA MAKES SO MUCH SENSE xD I don't know why I didn't consider than an option. I kind of assumed there'd be more talk about beaches and surfing. Yes, I watched a lot of Home & Away back in the day.



TriSARAHtops says...


Haha, this story's probably more Neighbours than Home and Away (never thought I'd type that... o.o). It's set somewhere in the outer suburbs or a bit further out, so no beaches XD.



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Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:39 am
LittleFox wrote a review...



Hi there! LittleFox here :)

I'm really grateful for all the advice you've given me on my novel, so I thought I would return the favor and write some reviews for some of your stuff. So without further ado, here we go!

The thing I pick on people the most for is flow, but you've got great flow here. It is very easy and comfortable to read.

I also enjoy the characters so far and the pacing of the story. This isn't exactly the genre I'm interested in, but I think I'm hooked.

I honestly can't pick out anything negative to point out in this. I'm really liking your writing style as well as the story, so I will defiantly be reading more of this!

Keep up the wonderful work!

-LittleFox




TriSARAHtops says...


Thanks!



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Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:54 pm
aricus101 wrote a review...



This is absolutely captivating. All the little details you add into this story are what really make it worth reading, and not many authors do that. Your character development is perfect, and the details that you added made their personalities more lifelike as well. I actually enjoy a book with a bit of language in it, just because it makes us understand the characters and their motives that much better. You have done such a good job with this first part, and I can't wait to read the others.
Congrats on a great start,
Ari




TriSARAHtops says...


Thank you :-)



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Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:59 pm
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deleted3 wrote a review...



Hi SARA!

This is a response to your official review request that you posted on the forum :-)

I like the characterisation of the story so far, you have a way of making your characters feel real, and your set up is incredible! It's very How I Met Your Mother, where you have the reader anticipating a specific event. I've even forgiven the fact that you haven't introduced the title character yet.

First thing is that there is a common trap with first person where we don't get a good sense of your main character because we are essentially "possessing" her for the duration of the story, and so we miss out on key information like her name, and it takes a bit of time to decide for sure that she really is a she. So I'd like to have read more gender cues and her name being used a few times so that we are getting to know your narrator better than the characters she observes and judges through her personal filter. Perhaps give her strong unique opinions about something or someone.

You've got the hairstyle opinion which is good, but maybe... I don't know, get an external character to make a judgement about her? Then we get an idea of how other people perceive her and we get a nice comparison with how she feels about herself. These can often be drastically different, because of the face we put on for everyone else. These are mere suggestions on how to give us a solid sense of Narrator herself, which is not based on how she sees everyone else. Include her physical appearance as well, something not too obvious like: "Eugene leaned his elbow on my head in that way he knew annoyed me, but it was just a hazard of being so short." Again, mere example, you know best what her physical attributes are.

That's the biggest red flag for me, but otherwise you are skilled when it comes to describing the other characters. I also got a good sense of the group dynamics, especially by who goes to the off-scene girl's aid when she has been dumped, and who stays behind. I am looking forward to you building up on each of the character's personalities and skills. You've given us good reference tags for some of the characters, like Tahlia is the one with a great singing voice, Theo curses, that will help me to remember who is who in the next chapter.

Good Job!




TriSARAHtops says...


Thanks for the review! Everything you've suggested is a massive help... I've already gone through and added her name in the dialogue a few times, kind of trying to get the balance between knowing her name and having it mentioned way too often. Your suggestions will really help.
As for the title character, I wasn't planning on introducing him for a while, instead having a bit of mystery about his identity, but clues woven throughout. Do you reckon this would work, or does it feel like I should be more blatant in my introduction?



deleted3 says...


No, I like the idea of a mystery character! Why do you think How I Met Your Mother managed to go on for so many seasons? Of course that style of story isn't for everyone, but many will appreciate it. You just don't want to give the impression that you've forgotten your story purpose.

Like if your intro is about an epic worm hole through space and time, then you talk about the challenges of being a teenage rabbit for the first five chapters, your readers will be confused at best, and will feel tricked at worst. It's a balancing act. The way you keep them riveted is keep coming back to your intro hook in subtle ways, like how you said you'll drop clues. That said, I didn't notice any clues in this chapter.

You don't have to even mention the title character, maybe discuss the narrator's kissing history, or something. Whether she is a novice or a veteran kisser, or whether her friends think she's a novice when really she's a veteran, or the other way around. All this would be interesting to build her character, as well as creating foreshadowing for what is to come. Mere suggestions though, it's writer's choice. Good luck :-)



TriSARAHtops says...


That's actually an awesome idea! :-) Thank you again!



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Sat May 31, 2014 4:16 pm
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TheCrimsonLady wrote a review...



Hello, love!

Aurora here for a review!

So I really like where this is going. I also am in love with your title.

So onto the actual review part of this review.

I know that you mentioned that Eugene was nothing like his name, but I still found it really hard to reconcile with this (stereotyping at it's worst, what can I say?)
I didn't find any glaring problems with your grammar and thought that it was really well written.

The main character obsessing over Eugene's hair also bothered me. I started thinking "Yeah, I get that it looks out of place, now go on."

I would have liked more description of where they were (I didn't realize they were at school, but caught on with the bell. Maybe start with them being dismissed from or being in class).

That's all I have for you! Keep writing, I want to know the second reason!




TriSARAHtops says...


Thanks for the review! I was a bit worried about the hair thing - I knew it was going on for a bit long but there were a lot of details I wanted to include that were revolving around the conversation, but I've come up with a scene that should hopefully fix that, as well as giving a bit more context about the setting (another concern I had, which I attempted - unsuccessfully - to fix.
Just a quick question: did you pick up on Liv's name? (my main character, if the answer's no). Because another reviewer didn't and I wanted to see if it was a recurring problem.





I did not pick up on Liv's name.



TriSARAHtops says...


Okay, going to have to fix that too! Thanks. :-)



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Sat May 31, 2014 12:49 pm
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SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hello TriSarah, Wolf here for a review. (Please excuse any spelling/grammar errors, for I am typing this on my phone.)

So usually I will start off with some nitpicks, but I did not seem to find any glaring grammar mistakes through my two read throughs. This doesn't necessarily mean it's completely prefect, but none are large enough to be distracting. Nice Job!

So for first half of the story, I was a little confused on where they were. When someone said, "Whaddya think?" (I assume Eguine) I thought he and the protagonist (for I don't know the Main Character's name) were in some kind of store, trying on clothes and getting opinions. Then the haircut was mentioned, and I assumed that they were just in the haircut parlor. The school bell confused the heck out of me. Was it a church bell? A clock tower bell? Only was it cleared up when the lockers were mentioned. The point of this spiel is to suggest to make the setting more clear. It would also help if slightly more description was added, but for the most part this was fine.

I love the vocabulary in this. I find it very unique and it's enjoyable to see different words used in different contexts. It just makes it all the more interesting.

This seems like an interesting topic, and you wrote this part out very well. I like your writing style a lot. I can't wait to see another part to this! Keep Wrtiting,
~Wolfare




TriSARAHtops says...


Thanks Wolfare! Your review was really helpful, and confirms some things that I was concerned about. In my first draft I got to the bell scene and realised that I hadn't mentioned where the they were at all, so I threw in a quick line about the school car park, but I was still worried it was too vague. Another reviewer's brought up that I dwelled on the haircut a bit much (another concern), so I planned on doing some tweaks where it's revealed that they're wearing school uniforms, and they talk about people at school. Might give a bit more context.
Thanks again!




cron
Change isn't inherently good, but you can't stop it, so let's just enjoy the ride. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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