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E - Everyone

Heartless: Chapter One (Extract)

by xMuserQueenx


Chapter One:

16th June 2018

My name is Izzy Lainton. To you or any other that might sound like an ordinary name - but the life I live is far from ordinary. I’m sixteen years old, and well let’s just say for a sixteen year old I don’t exactly live the stereotypically perceived life of a teen girl - parties, boys, makeup, fitness obsession, oh no. But then again, it’s not like I’ve ever been provided with the opportunity so what’s the point fantasising about what you could never have in the first place, eh?

And this is my story.

My life is sorely dominated by one thing and one thing alone - the fact that I’m related to The Hamilton Family a.k.a mother’s perfectionist family. For decades, her family name has been what did the mayor call it as his latest private birthday? Ah, that’s it. “The beating heart of Serngate”. Over the top, I know, but then again when you come from a family of over achieving perfectionists then there really isn’t any escaping it. From competing in Great Britain’s National Gymnastic Team to being a member of an International Winning Dance Troop, to scoring a scholarship at Annalois Vendetti Arts College, our family has known nothing but success. Our achievements have been recognised and commended from everyone to the Queen to celebrities, with us even earning the title of “England’s Inspiring Family”.

However, living life as one of the family isn’t as all as it seems.

As you are about to learn.

Today was my cousin Madi’s 14th birthday, so as per Hamilton tradition Iris (who’s my grandmother by the way, but to be honest she doesn’t have enough of my respect to call her that) had ordered our family around hers for the day, to celebrate the “wonderful” young woman that she was becoming (Iris says that but it’s only because she won the solo award for her latest dance competition). Honestly, I do feel sorry for Madi. She’s the second youngest out of the Hamilton cousins after Clara, so they both still actually have a chance of breaking free from the curse (if they see our family for what they truly are).

As you are about to see.

At roughly 11:30 this morning, Mum parked her midnight blue Ford Fiesta on the pavement opposite her semi detached house. It was a modern building with sleek windows, a rustic mahogany door and a compact garage - she’d bought it with the money that Granddad left her, after his death three years ago (rest in peace, Grandad), and showed it off at every opportunity.

“Now, be on your best behaviour Izzy,” Mum whispered, as we carried Madi’s presents up the gravel driveway. “Your cousin has achieved so much in the last twelve months so today really is about celebrating her-”“I’ll try,” I said through my teeth. “But I can’t guarantee any promises.”

“Guarantee?” My brother Aaron said, shaking his head, as he walked up to the door. “God, you really do not know how to think about anyone but yourself, do you?”A few moments later the door opened, and out came my dear grandmother - Iris Hamilton. She was dressed in a mint green silk dress and white heels, as her snow grey hair was curled up into a bun. Considering she had four children, none of them looked like her, which in my eyes is a fortunate escape for them, but for them devastating as their precious mother fails to live through them. As soon as she saw Mum and Aaron, her wrinkly skin (I say wrinkly more lined) emerged into a smile.

“Joanna, Aaron,” She said. “How lovely it is to see you both, please do come in!”

“Alright mother,” Mum answered, kissing her on the cheek. “It’s good to see you too. I’ve brought Aaron and Izzy along with me-”

“Very good,” She nodded, smiling at me coldly. “Glad that you could make it Isabel. Good to see that you’ve started to rearrange your priorities and put your family first, don’t you think?”

It was time to play happy families once more.

“Here she is! The birthday girl!” Iris exclaimed, as my cousin Madi entered the kitchen, fifteen minutes after everyone had arrived. She wore a midnight blue dress and matching heels, which immediately made her look at least seventeen. Her copper hair was curled into mermaid waves and fell just past her chest, as her emerald green eyes glimmered with happiness.

The pearly grey walls were covered in burgundy red birthday banners (her favourite colour), as a 14 balloon sat swaying in the corner. A huge pile of cards (when I say huge there must’ve been at least 20) were arranged across the marble worktop with an extensive range of gift bags propped up against the top of the radiator. Iris had hung a compilation frame of shots of her at dance competitions directly below the clock, reminding us all of how proud that she’d made the family.

“Wow,” She said, beaming excitedly. “I certainly wasn’t expecting all of this-”“Don’t be silly,” Her older brother Joseph said, walking up and hugging her to his waist. He was a tall man (I say man well he’s nineteen so he’s closer to a man then he is a teen), with a chiselled body, hazelnut brown hair and pear green eyes. “It’s only what you deserve. Happy birthday sis.”

“Thank you,” She said. “And thank you all, for coming. Especially you, Izzy.”

“No problem,” I said, with my arms folded across my chest. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

“But you were quite happy to miss my birthday though weren’t you?” Joseph incited.

“Yeah, alright,” I snapped. “I missed your birthday, big fucking deal-”

Meet Joseph. The eldest out of the Hamilton cousins. Arrogant. Patronising. And, yeah, that’s a good word - a liar. Son of Uncle Samuel (the eldest Hamilton child) and his suck up wife, Cassie, he’s currently studying an English Literature and History Degree at the prestigious Reighton University, in his desperate hopes of becoming a teacher. Ever since a young age, Joseph was moulded with Hamilton values and attributes, which resulted in his seven year success in football (which he has now given up as sport just “isn’t his thing” anymore). Now, out of the cousins, I suppose you could say that I don’t like him the most - which in my defense I have a very good reason for.

He pushed me down the stairs last year.

“Oi,” Iris intervened, as she flicked the switch of the kettle. “That’s enough, you two. We’re here to celebrate your cousin’s birthday, not to listen to you two at each other’s throats-”

See what I mean?

“Who’s at each other’s throats?” My brother Aaron echoed, as he opened the back door, followed by a mild aroma of cigarettes. He combed his coffee brown hair to the right, as his ocean blue eyes fixed upon me.

Aaron. The second eldest out of the Hamilton cousins. Like Joseph (or the brother he wished he had), he is studying at University, I say University but he’s actually studying at Annalois Vendetti Arts College (I know posh right) - basically, he’s studying to become an actor. But if anyone asks, we’ve all gotta tell him where he’s going, and how proud that we are of all of the challenges which he has surpassed.

“Your sister and Joe are arguing again,” She said, rolling her eyes. “She’s probably still looking for a reason to blame him for her accident last year-”

“Will you ever just let it go, Izzy?!” He snapped, walking over to Madi. “You fell downstairs, big deal. It was an accident and nobody’s fault-”“Are you sure about that?” I challenged. “Because the last thing I remember is seeing Joseph’s face at the top of the stairs.”

“Then you must’ve remembered wrong,” He spat. “Come on Madi, let’s sit down at the table, away from the narcissist.”

“Narcissist?” I echoed, angrily. “At least I wasn’t the one who pushed their cousin downstairs-”“You’re not still trying to blame Joseph for your accident, are you?” Mum sighed, as she wandered back into the kitchen, whilst typing on her phone. Her light blonde hair was drawn back into a high ponytail, as her turquoise blue eyes were covered by heavy mascara. She wore a navy blue floral printed draped top with charcoal black jeans, in her bid to try out a new ‘boho’ aesthetic (recommended to her by her precious little sister Emily).

Which really didn’t suit her in the slightest.

“Thanks for the support, mother(!)” I said, banging my head against the wall. “Nice to know that you can rely on your own parents to help you out when you need it”

“It’s not a case of helping out, you know Isabel,” Joseph interrupted. “More of a correct recollection, which I’m sure that everyone else in this room would match mine, don’t you?”:


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Sat Nov 27, 2021 7:35 pm
zippyzonks wrote a review...



Helloooo! Here to write a review : )

I was very intrigued by the title, by the way. Gives off a lot to the imagination.


Immediately the first line stuck out to me. “My name is Izzy Lainton. To you or any other that might sound like an ordinary name - but the life I live is far from ordinary.“ - Makes you wonder, what kind of life has she lived? Also with the “to you or to any other,” was different. Most people would use “somebody else,” or “anyone else.” Excellent choice in wording there! Sticks out! Izzy seems to be a more independent character, making her seem to be more vocal of her opinions.

“the fact that I’m related to The Hamilton Family” - love Hamilton the musical, probs has no relevance though!

“Over the top, I know, but then again when you come from a family of over achieving perfectionists then there really isn’t any escaping it. From competing in Great Britain’s National Gymnastic Team to being a member of an International Winning Dance Troop, to scoring a scholarship at Annalois Vendetti Arts College, our family has known nothing but success.” - Great description! With such talent and success running through the family, it must be difficult for Izzy to feel ‘ordinary’ as her name.


“Thank you,” She said. “And thank you all, for coming. Especially you, Izzy.” - Awesome dialogue! Proper format is good, too.


“Son of Uncle Samuel (the eldest Hamilton child)“ - now this is a good kind starting so far, but parentheses in writing can throw the reader off sometimes, coming off as unnatural. I would maybe change it to something along the lines of, “The son of Uncle Samuel, who happens/happened to be the eldest of the Hamilton children, and his suck up of a wife, Cassie.” Go on from there.

“Thanks for the support, mother(!)” I said, banging my head against the wall. “Nice to know that you can rely on your own parents to help you out when you need it.” - Again with the parentheses, also in dialogue. ““Thanks for the support, mother!” I exclaimed, banging my head against the wall.”” I also understand this feeling, getting brushed off by someone like that 😅.

Overall, super interesting story so far! Keep writing and happy holidays!




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Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:55 pm
RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hello!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was a pretty solid start to the story. It has a good pace and it was quite refreshing to read this chapter. From what I got, this is a story about the perfect family in society and a picture of what goes on behind their walls. Your main character, Izzy has a really strong voice. She is a teenager, alright, but she is quite humorous. Her study and colorful opinions on the different members of her family was a treat to read. It is very clear that she does not fit in among the rest of them and that is something the entire family is aware of. Maybe that is why they hold her in such cold contempt.

It is interesting, that everyone is a little awry of the main character. The entire family has such strongly differentiated opinions about each other, I am not very sure whom to believe. On one hand, I can understand the posh workings of the Hamilton family; their half truths, their need for perfection, and their desire for extravagance and maintaining a perfect reputation in front of society. On the other hand, I can also imagine Izzy being a narcissistic as so many of her cousins claim her to be. She is certainly a little dramatic and very strongly opinionated. I have a feeling she is one of those no nonsense person, who is who she is in your face. Well, I already like her!

Your introduction was direct and it humorous and it gives us an idea of Izzy as a person. I felt as if the first few paragraphs were very well thought out as you described the family and it's various members. However, as you moved on to the party, it seemed like you hurried a little. The ending was almost abrupt, like a long conversation that ended without any warning. It came out of nowhere. You did mention that this is an extract, so I am guessing there was much more to this chapter? Because you simply cannot end a chapter like that, especially not the first chapter, unless it is a cliffhanger (which I am guessing this was not).

Some points I noticed:

But then again, it’s not like I’ve ever been provided with the opportunity so what’s the point fantasising about what you could never have in the first place, eh?


This sentence runs a little too long, and it needs a break which it does not get. I would suggest putting a full stop after 'opportunity' and starting a new sentence from there. Also, I think you have got a spelling wrong. It's 'fantasizing' not 'fantasising'.

Also, I noticed that at some parts you write dialogues from two different people in the same line. Like,

“Wow,” She said, beaming excitedly. “I certainly wasn’t expecting all of this-”“Don’t be silly,” Her older brother Joseph said, walking up and hugging her to his waist.


“At least I wasn’t the one who pushed their cousin downstairs-”“You’re not still trying to blame Joseph for your accident, are you?” Mum sighed,


Both these times, you put two dialogues from two different people next to each other in the same line. I would suggest giving each person their separate paragraph for dialogue. Otherwise, it does not read very well and looks clumsy.

There were also a few errors in punctuation here and there, but those can be considered insignificant.

That's all for today.

This was quite the start to the story and I am interested to see where you take this. I hope you continue with this. Keep writing and have a great day!




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Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:35 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi xMuserQueenx,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

First of all, welcome to YWS. I hope you enjoy the site and will have a lot of fun! :D

That was an interesting first chapter. I liked the way you told the story and the structure of it, and I also like the fact that it's about an ordinary "extraordinary" family, and one character naturally falls out of it. I thought for the first chapter it was a good way to use Madi's birthday to introduce the other characters, which also gives the reader a great insight into this family you described at the beginning.

However, I would recommend you to work a bit on the build-up. I think you jump from one point to another in a hurry and sometimes I even get the impression that you want to start explaining something but then you just cut off and move on.

I also found the ending a bit too chaotic and fast paced. You had a good pace at the beginning, but suddenly everything escalates from one second to the next. It seems to me that a lot of information is missing that you didn't give here.

Otherwise, I recommend you always write down the dialogue in a new line, because otherwise it seems confusing who is speaking.

Still, I felt it was a great first chapter. There were a few flaws in it, but overall it was a good start to a teen fiction.

Other points that caught my eye:

For decades, her family name has been what did the mayor call it as his latest private birthday?

There is a misspelling of "as" here, that should be an "at" in this case.

(who's my grandmother by the way, but to be honest she doesn't have enough of my respect to call her that)

The insertion of such information would make the most sense if you put it with the person in question. It's good that you say it's the grandmother, but the rest of the information would be better with her introduction a little later. This would also fit with her first dialogue, where she doesn't name Izzy and adds a comment. The reader can then also make a better characterisation out of this, because at this point here, where you've added the info, the reader can now wonder if Izzy isn't just a 16-year-old petulant teen girl, or if the grandmother has done something wrong.

As you are about to learn.

As you are about to see.

There's just a paragraph between the two sentences and I would try to leave that alone. It has this nasty quality of being in the right, and I think the reader first has to make up his own mind in the first chapter who is actually in the right. Again, this teen girl; she knows that everything she does is correct and everybody else is wrong. :D

she'd bought it with the money that Granddad left her, after his death three years ago (rest in peace, Grandad)

Since both spellings are possible for Gran(d)dad, I would try to focus on one spelling. Otherwise it looks unprofessional.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




xMuserQueenx says...


Thank you for your review




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