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Chapter Two (The Mate Between Brothers) Improved Version

by deleted1967


Oakley was woken up the next morning by the sound of busy traffic outside her window, impatient business men and women honking their horns at drivers in front of them. Stretching out her arms, she slowly slid her legs out from under the covers and sat up at the edge of her bed. Her brown hair stuck to her neck, falling out of its messy bun at the top of her head. Her eyes felt as if they had been glued shut, that every opening of her eyelids was an effort.

She was stumbling down the hallway, following the rich scent of fresh coffee, when she found her aunt sitting at their kitchen table, newspaper in hand.

"Good morning, Oakley!" Her face brightened a little, but her expression looked a little off. As if she were watching her best friend marry a man she never quite got over. "How was your sleep?"

Oakley yawned, "It was good." If she were to mention the fact that she'd tossed and turned in her bed all night thinking about Ben, she would definitely upset her. Especially since today marked the third year anniversary of the accident...

"What are you reading?" Oakley said, gesturing to the newspaper. She reached up into the cupboard to grab a plastic cup, "I don't think I've ever seen you read those things. Into sports now, are you?"

"No," Aunt Laura chuckled humorlessly, "I'm looking at the job openings. Have you ever been to the Cockpit? They need a waitress."

Oakley muttered, "I'm pretty sure the Cockpit is a sleazy bar downtown, Laura. Why are you looking for a job, anyways? I thought Anna got everything sorted out at the library..?" She grabbed a new jug of milk from the fridge. She pulled off the ring around the cap, opening the garbage to throw it away when she noticed three recyclable coffee cups in the garbage. She looked up to see another one on the table in Laura's hand.

"Yes, Anna and I figured everything out. But it's actually Colin this time," her voice stuttered, "I, um, got fired from the bakery."

"What?!" Oakley almost spilled her milk. She turned to stare at her aunt, "You got fired from the bakery? Why? When? How?"

It was then that she noticed the dark circles around Laura's eyes, the pink puffiness of her nose and the pale tone of her face. "Last night. Colin said that he needed someone that could always be on their feet, and he noticed that around... this time of year... I tend to get a little sloppy. But, 'cakes can't be sloppy, Laura.'" She shrugged.

"But that's terrible!" She sat down with the woman, reaching out to hold her hand. "They can't do that! You have a right to be a little sloppy! You're still..." mourning the death of your child, she wanted to say. "having a bit of troubles getting the hang of things. Colin can't just fire you."

"It doesn't matter, Oakley." She sounded depleted, "I'm looking for a new job. One that will be better, hopefully."

She gave a sympathetic smile, "It will be better, a lot better. But, why don't you just take a break for a little while? I can get a job somewhere close. I know the Beef Buffet is always hiring. I could ask Leanne if she needs any help with the kids at the day home. Just take a break."

"No," Laura replied without hesitation, "No, Oakley. I couldn't let you do that. I still have to go to the library. I still have to work. It takes time to get a job, Hun. Maybe I'll go ask the Beef Buffet if they want to hire me."

"Fine," Oakley sighed, standing from her seat, "But I'm still going to ask Leanne about the day care. I can help out too y'know. I'm sixteen."

"Yeah, and you won't let me forget it." Laura laughed, "Aren't you supposed to go somewhere with Maxine today?"

"Oh shoot!" Oakley yelped, dashing to her bedroom. She fell onto her sheets, grabbing her phone and unplugging it from the charger wall.

How was it 1:30 already?

Her phone was clogged with messages from her best friend. "Where are you?" "Are you coming?" "You were supposed to pick me up a half hour ago." "Are you sleeping?" "Oakley, I swear to God if you're sleeping." "WAKE UP CHILD." "WHERE ARE YOU."

She quickly wrote a message back to let her know she'd be at her house in a half hour. She ran to the bathroom, soaping her hair in the sink and running leave-in conditioner through it with her fingers. She wrapped a towel around her head, speeding to her closet. She rummaged through her clothes, trying to find something decent to wear.

In the end, she picked out a pair of high wasted jean shorts with galaxy print leggings, a Twenty One Pilots tank top that she bought from her last trip to Hot Topic, and a loose unbuttoned black cardigan. She wasn't a fashionista, but it was comfortable enough. Her hair was down over her shoulders, still a bit damp from her hair dryer. Her lashes were coated with mascara, and her lips were glossed with cinnamon lipstick.

She sighed into her mirror. She wondered that if she knew how to put on make up like Max that maybe she'd be prettier. She knew that she could pull off cute, and her aunt always called her beautiful, but her aunt had been her adoptive mother ever since she was born; she couldn't help it.

Stepping back into the kitchen, she found Laura still sitting at the table, though she had traded out the newspaper for a puzzle book. Oakley hugged her goodbye, "Is Grandma awake yet?"

"I'm not sure. Though it might be a bad idea to go and check. In case she's reading." Laura gave her a cautious look.

Her Grandmother seemed to believe that reading was some sort of ancient ritual. For it to be interrupted would be for hell to unleash its wrath upon you, if hell were actually just an old lady with a threatening stink eye.

"Well," Oakley laughed, "I'll just leave her alone then. I'll see you later? Oh, what time do you have to go to the library today?"

"Oh, I have today off, thankfully. When you get back do you want to order some Chinese food? We could stay in and watch horror movies," Laura replied with a raise of her eyebrows. Even though the rings around her eyes showed how sleep deprived she was, and that she probably wouldn't make it through movie night, Oakley shrugged, "Sure. Sounds like a plan."

It only took a minute for her to pull on her high tops, grab her keys, and shuffle out the door. She wondered how much lecturing she would get from Max about being late. Oh, the joys of Max.


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Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:11 pm
Kale wrote a review...



Hello hello, and Happy Review Day! On behalf of the Knights of the Green Room, and as a representative of the Will Review for Food forum, I am here to rescue your work from the back of the Green Room with a (hopefully healthy) dose of #TNT .

With that said, I think it worth noting that I haven't read the previous parts, so if I bring up something that was already addressed in those, feel free to disregard me. ;P

The first thing I noticed was that you opened this chapter with a very passive sentence. While passive voice does have its place (and I'm rather fond of it personally and use it a fair amount in my own nonfictional writing), it's typically frowned upon in most fiction because it really slows down the action and can muddle the sequence of events and their importance. I bring this up because, reading through, I noticed you have quite a few sentences in the passive voice throughout this, and considering how short the chapter is, that's a lot.

So let's take a closer look at the first sentence so you can see some possible ways to tackle the passive voice in a more active fashion.

Oakley was woken up the next morning by the sound of busy traffic outside her window, impatient business men and women honking their horns at drivers in front of them.

So, there's quite a bit going on in this here sentence. The main action is Oakley waking up, however you spend quite a lot of time on the what it is that woke her up, which is fine. It adds flavor to the setting.

Unfortunately, one of the things about the passive voice is that it de-emphasizes the main action in favor of highlighting all the other things. You can use that to great effect, especially if you're trying to hide information from the reader in plain sight, but it can be a bit off-putting to readers who care more about what Oakley is doing than her surroundings.

If you really feel the details of the noises are super important, what I would recommend is breaking them off into their own sentences. Something like

Honking horns. Yelled profanities. A screech of brakes. The ping-ping of the crosswalk signal. Oakley woke to these sounds pouring in through her open window.

puts a lot more emphasis on her surroundings and helps set the stage for a not-so-pleasant wakening and gives you more room to describe the specific noises without making all the details too difficult to track.

If you want to focus more on Oakley's actions and feelings, however, you can go a very different route:

Oakley woke up the next morning to the sounds of busy traffic. She looked at the clock and groaned, wishing that the businessmen and -women outside her window could be a little less impatient and a lay off the car horns for a minute.

Now, I don't know Oakley's character very well, so my suggestion for her reaction is probably way off, but considering the theme of loss that seems to be touched upon in this chapter, I think this latter approach is more the way to go.

Hopefully this was helpful, and let me know if you have any questions!




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Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:38 am
rosette wrote a review...



Hi Bailey!
I read the first chapter of this novel a while ago, and had been meaning to check this one out but as you can see, I never got around to it. Until now.

There's not much action in this story. It's definitely much calmer than how I remember the first chapter, which is nice. I feel like I'm just peeking in on Oakley's life over here.

She grabbed a new jug of milk from the fridge. She pulled off the ring around the cap, opening the garbage to throw it away when she noticed three recyclable coffee cups in the garbage. She looked up to see another one on the table in Laura's hand.

1. I think you should combine those first two sentences so it would look more like: "She grabbed a new jug of milk from the fridge, pulled off the ring around the cap, and was about to throw it away when she noticed three recyclable coffee cups in the garbage."
It might just be me, but when three or more sentences began with the same word, like the "she" here, I tend to freak out. It looks very monotonous. (There was also the repetition of "garbage" in the second sentence).

2. The recyclable coffee cups caught my attention. Typically, people I know own mugs and reusable coffee cups that they drink their coffee with at home. I don't often hear of recyclable ones.

Oakley muttered, "I'm pretty sure the Cockpit is a sleazy bar downtown, Laura. Why are you looking for a job, anyways? I thought Anna got everything sorted out at the library..?"

Who is Anna?? What does she have to do with all of this??

It was then that she noticed the dark circles around Laura's eyes, the pink puffiness of her nose and the pale tone of her face. "Last night. Colin said that he needed someone that could always be on their feet, and he noticed that around... this time of year... I tend to get a little sloppy. But, 'cakes can't be sloppy, Laura.'" She shrugged.

So I thought this was really sad. Poor Aunt Laura!
But I also think we could use some background here. How long was Laura working at this bakery? If Colin noticed her behavior at this time of the year changed, it must have been a little while. And how good was Aunt Laura at this profession? I mean, if she was a fabulous cake maker, I don't see why Colin would fire her for getting sloppy this time of year. I would think he would understand. And just how sloppy were those cakes turning out, anyway?

Her lashes were coated with mascara, and her lips were glossed with cinnamon lipstick.

The way you worded this, using the past tense "were" doesn't sound quite right. Maybe if you were describing someone, and while you are describing her, you're also saying what she's doing. You could say, "She coated her lashes with mascara, and glossed her lips with cinnamon lipstick."

Her Grandmother seemed to believe that reading was some sort of ancient ritual. For it to be interrupted would be for hell to unleash its wrath upon you, if hell were actually just an old lady with a threatening stink eye.

This made my day. xD

---

I will admit, I read one of your following chapters - I think it was chapter four - so I have an idea of where this is going. But I'm still intrigued with this whole story, and curious how Ben will tie back into all this.

If you have any questions about anything I said, do let me know, and if I came across as harsh, I apologize!
Have a fantastic night, and Happy Review Day!
-rosette




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Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:35 am
Aralynne says...



I like the story. I haven't read chapter one or tge prologue yet but plan to. Oakley sounds like an interesting girl. I can't wait to meet Max in the coming chapters. You are a good writer. I can't wait to see more work from you. Keep writing.





"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."
— Fredrich Nietzche (Philosopher)