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Rae's Notaphinies (chapter 1)

by Blak


She was dumfounded, or rather, terrified. Knowing how much of a mess she was, she certainly wasn't prepared for this. Neither emotionally, nor mentally. Especially considering his family's morals & beliefs. This was a deep predicament. Evelyn's heart was beating so fast, she feared that she may see it spring out of her chest & rip her blouse any second. She was biting her lip so hard, that she could experience the metallic, sharp taste of her blood. Swallowing was painful as if she was suffering from a sore throat, she gently grasped her aching throat, strands of her coarse, long, ebony hair also got caught in her grasp. Her body leaned dependently against the wooden restroom door & slowly sank to the floor.

She sat there for a few seconds. Her gaze momentarily glued to the floor's oval tiles. Suddenly, it seemed as if her friends' & family's' distorted faces were illustrated on them, every single one of them glowering at her. Promptly shifting her gaze to the grey sky, visible through the small window, she contemplated how she will face everyone once she steps out of the restroom door. Pondering about how her mother kept urging her to end the relationship, the kind of struggles she suffered & what led to this, she concluded she could never do it at this stage in her life. As well as the fact that it wasn't her fault, it was his. Of course, after all, this was what humans often liked to believe whenever they made mistakes. Trying her best to compose herself, she slowly stood up and took deep breaths to calm herself. Even though that had never truly aided in subsiding her anxieties. She could never figure out whether she was doing it wrong, or whether it simply wasn't meant for her. Regardless, she didn't know what else to do.

She reluctantly stepped out of the restroom and made her way towards the kitchen. Only her & her mother lived in this modest bungalow. Right now, it was shrouded in silence, which only made it easier for Evelyn to hear her rapidly thumping heart.

Her mother was just as shocked & worried. Not wanting to believe it, she protested "T-there must be a mistake" ....."Why don't you check again?"

"M-mum,...I already did several times...N-not to mention my symptoms" she bit her lip.

Her mother was now furious. She screamed at the top of her lungs. "How did this happen!? How could you let it happen?! It's only your first year of uni and..." while frowning, she sighed deeply. There was a prolonged & painful silence following that. She was trying to calm herself down & slowly process the dilemma she had just been swamped with. Staring at the wonky marks which the worn-out wood of the kitchen floor had been sown with. As if to acknowledge her expression

At last, Evelyn broke the silence.

"I-I'm sorry. B-but it's actually not my fault!" she exclaimed, while her dark eyes overflowed with tears & a gloss glided over them. Although she did feel bad for putting all the blame on Royce, in this very moment, she was desperate to gain her mother's vindication.

"....And who will believe that? He's supposed to be the more conservative one. You will need to come up with a convincing scenario."

"N-no, I don't plan to..."

"Regardless, you will still have to take care of the child. It won't be of any use" she paused while intently staring at her daughter. She grasped Evelyn's shoulders, crinkling her beige linen blouse. Her daughter jumped. "You can say it's not your fault...considering your personality, I don't doubt you. But you do know that it could just unintentionally happen in certain circumstances, right?" Evelyn's gaze shot to the floor. "You should know this at your age"

Sighing again, she freed Evelyn from her grasp & went over to the sink to fill two glasses of water. "The main problem now is how to approach Royce & his parents about this" she plopped herself down on the dining table & pushed the other glass towards Evelyn. Who was too deep in thought to even notice "Augh!! I have never liked them from day one!! If we tell them, we will surely have to go through a lot of humiliation."......"Listen Eve, we've been planning to break this engagement for a while, I'm sure you would agree. I've already spoken to you a lot about how he, as well as his family brought nothing but despair to you." she said, matter-of-factly. Smiling, somewhat maliciously she continued. "I know exactly what to do. Just listen"

***

Evelyn's dark eyes widened, the glossy whites of her eyes contrasting with her dark skin. "W-what? but-"

"This is what has to be done if you want to live your life as if this didn't happen & avoid consequences from his family." she instinctively placed a hand on her chest. "I can't allow something like this to ruin my daughter's life"

As Evelyn awkwardly listened to her mother, she couldn't imagine it. Her heart felt heavy with guilt, as if chunks of metal have been dumped inside it. She wasn't even sure of what she wanted to do. Of course, she wanted to continue her Business & Language course and study abroad, amongst many other plans she had. Regardless, she still wasn't sure she wanted to go with her mother's plan. She wanted to blurt out the obvious solution, abortion....but she couldn't imagine bearing the weight of such a choice. Momentarily, a disjoined, lifeless foetus flashed in her mind's eye. Helplessly inchoate/incipient eyes staring back at her. Nausea crept up her throat.

She wasn't sure it would truly be a solution, not to mention her mother was completely against it. She had pondered upon it a lot recently, reviewed arguments from both sides, but could never be sure whether she dared to go through with it. She also thought, while aware of her impudence, how there was a chance she may personally apologise to Royce.

********

Three days later.

While Royce sat in the lecture hall, he was thinking back to how his stress had momentarily melted away, with a promise to entirely wear off when he was planning his date with Evelyn. They haven't been able to spend time with each other considering how busy he was, being in fourth year university. This was the start of his last year before he received his degree in Nutrition & Dietetics. To his dismay however, she cancelled it last minute because apparently she wasn't feeling well. He remembered his phone call with her & how her mother had aggressively cut their conversation short. That was three days ago.

Ever since then, Evelyn hasn't contacted him. He had to endure irksome & humiliating interactions with Evelyn's mother, although he desperately tried to improve things. This was mainly due to her mother's past with his father. As soon as the lecture ended, he quickly stuffed his belongings in his black shoulder bag & rushed out of the hall, desperate to escape the stuffy atmosphere. As he stepped onto the grass he could feel the cool spring wind on his face. Loose locks of brown hair which had escaped from his man bun, blew in the wind, hitting his face. Being very mindful of his health, as well as his finances, he always walked or cycled to & from university. Today he used his bike. While pedaling home, he wholeheartedly hoped Evelyn was feeling better

****

"Welcome back" Royce found his mother preparing dinner as he trudged into the kitchen.

"I said I was going to make dinner today, didn't I mum?" He asked rhetorically, while lethargically shrugging off his lightweight leather coat.

With a smile Olivia replied "Don't worry, I was quite free today so please just sit & wait. You have work at your father's clinic today don't you?" She produced income through art commissions & her literature pieces and so, generally worked most of the day.

"Yeah" he answered nonchalantly. He was exhausted but it was inevitable. His father owned a clinic as well as a company for dietary products which he started only three years ago. Though unfortunately, it was failing. The reasons currently incomprehensible. Although he did enjoy dealing with patients, his father made the experience less enjoyable. Their relationship wasn't particularly atrocious, partially because he tried his best to avoid arguments. However, it certainly can't be referred to as good.

After washing his hands with lemon-scented soap, he plopped himself down at the dining table & watched his mother from a distance. One could see the adoration in his eyes. Sunlight poured through the room's windows & spilled onto the table. Some of it hit Royce's face, making one of his hazel eyes appear luminous. He wished his relationship with his father would be just as good as it is with his mother. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard his father's greetings as he came in.

"So Royce, how did you do in your assignment this week?" He demanded to know. His gaze an authoritarian one. He constantly interrogated his son about his performance, always had something to say about how Royce was spending his time & even went as far as to speak with his university lecturers occasionally. He was overly critical & strict. Royce assumed he was now asking him a question he already knew the answer to. He fancied doing this sometimes, simply for the petty logic that he wanted to judge the way he answered. There was a silence which lasted for approximately thirty seconds. Royce wasn't facing his father, he suppressed a sigh & said "Why would you ask me something you already know the answer to?" a slight pang of regret pierced his heart almost immediately after he finished his sentence, but sometimes he simply couldn't hold back. His father stared at his side profile.

"When speaking with others you should face them" his father retorted. Royce ignored this. "I'm asking you a question so I expect a rep-" Olivia interrupted him.

"Come on, let's eat. I'm starving! aren't you?" She enthusiastically placed a combination of clear glass & ceramic dishes on the table. "I was thinking of painting each one of you some time, including your Eve Royce, what do you think?!" she gushed, trying to lighten up the mood. Only for it to be ruined by her husband again.

"Speaking of Evelyn, I came across their place this morning on my way to work to. Strangely enough, there seemed to be a new family moving in. This is quite a shocker isn't it, were could they have possibly gone without saying anything?" He glanced at Royce. His son's face bore a deeply confused expression.

"....She hasn't mentioned anything's like this..." he whipped out his black-silicone cased phone to quickly check his messages. He found nothing. "Haha, maybe you confused their place with someone else's, considering how much you overwork your-self. Yeah, it must've just been stress!"

"Are implying I was hallucinating?" He said with an offended tone, raising an eyebrow "Please, what do you take me for?"

But Eve hasn't mentioned a thing!, thought Royce. He wolfed down his meal & shrugged his coat back on. "I will go check for myself & then I will head straight to the clinic" the thump of the front door as it slammed shut echoed in his parents' ears.

****

When he arrived at his fiancée's place, the landlady immediately approached him. It was as if she was waiting for him to arrive. From where he was standing, he glimpsed a child in one of the small bungalow's windows.

"Good afternoon Royce" she greeted him. "I'm glad you came. I was otherwise going to visit your place later today"

"Good afternoon. Visit my place? For what?"

"I'm sorry to tell you that Evelyn & her mother already left this place two days ago. She asked me to give you this." The landlady handed him a small crumpled note. "Luckily she had a somewhat close relationship with me, so she was able to trust me with this note"

"T-they really left?!" He exclaimed in a raised voice. "Where to?!"

"They haven't told me anything about that. I tried to ask but they avoided my questions. Of course I couldn't pry much more since it's non of my business" she shrugged. Royce stared at her with a highly concerned & perplexed expression.

"Well, excuse me I must go now. Bye"

"....Bye then..." his heart hammered against his ribs as he stared confusingly at the note which flapped in the wind. What could it possibly contain which Eve couldn't just message or call me about? Before opening it, he strode to a nearby field & plopped on the cold grass. He untied his hair & ran his fingers through it. He opened the note:

{{ I know this is extremely inappropriate of me, I but I hope you will at least think about what I have to say.

Me & mum left for reasons I can't talk about, nor can I say where we left to. I'm so sorry, I really can't say!! One thing I will say is that I'm writing this note instead of just messaging you, because I changed my phone number.

I may have left abruptly, but I promise you will hear from me again in a few months!! Although this may not be very effective I will say it anyway: I promise you we are safe & you don't need to worry yourself too much or look for us. Again, I'm sorry.

-Evelyn }}

He unconsciously squeezed the note in this palm & gave himself a few minutes to process what he had just repeatedly scanned. With a deep frown, he absentmindedly stared into the viridescent field that stretched before him. Sorrow & confusion in his hazel eyes. He desperately searched his mind for a reason why Eve or her mother would be upset with him to this extent. What have I done wrong?! Of course, Royce wasn't any less confused than he was before reading it. In fact, he was now also furious. He clenched his right fist, feeling the pain as his fingernails dug deep into his palm's skin. And with his left, he gripped the grass on the cool ground, yanking it from it's roots. How could she not tell me why?!!! But he was at least glad that she was supposedly safe. He was without a doubt going to look for her & attempt to find out more. He simply couldn't sit & do nothing.   


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Wed May 05, 2021 6:33 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Blak,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

You have created a very great first paragraph that reads well and is sprinkled with the necessary emotions and adjectives to make the reader empathise right away. With the next paragraphs you develop a good writing style to portray the inner world as well as possible and thus build up a necessary sympathy. It gives you that wild and unselfconscious feeling of knowing something and yet not knowing it. You see this clear insecurity out of Evelyn.

She was biting her lip so hard that she could experience the metallic, sharp taste of her blood.


I don't know if "experience" is such a good word to describe this. It sounds more like she is "experiencing" it in the sense of a lesson or something. "Taste" or "feel" would fit better here.

The first part turned out great. You try to drive the emotions and the plot with the few words and also only say after some dialogue that it is about an (unwanted) pregnancy. Before that, the reader could already imagine it, which is a great tension builder for the story.

Her heart felt heavy with guilt, as if chunks of metal have been dumped inside it


I can imagine very well how it must feel and how you also develop nausea from the noise. This constant fall of metal describes very well the hammering with a feeling of guilt in the stomach. Great description!

Business & Language


I noticed while reading that you partly replace the and with a &. I couldn't think of anything to do with the text or the plot, and I think you could write out the word, because I think the & belongs more in a title or a headline, and here, when reading, it could sometimes be read as a company name or something like this. It doesn't look so good in the text. Like here in the example, I would leave it as it looks like a name. (So too later with Royce's subject).
Also there were sometimes words that were bolded where I just think it might be a formatting error.

Your transition from Evelyn's point of view to Royce's was excellent, using the change in a lecture. Kudos to you for that!

"Are implying I was hallucinating?"


The "you" is missing here. :D

I really enjoyed your story as it deals with an interesting topic and you also portrayed it well by presenting it from the two points of view. I would say that I liked the first part with Evelyn better, as I felt Royce lacked a bit more background, from himself and not just about his father's company. That's why I think the second part felt a bit flat. I think you could add some more information, especially after Royce has read the letter. Maybe a short paragraph about how exactly they met or something? You did a good job of describing how he feels at the end, but I would have liked that more during his part too.

I'd argue that the story itself doesn't suffer from lacking a bit of place description, as you've managed to portray Evelyn's inner world well in particular, and give a few short sentences about how she looks.

I see the story as either a short story ending here or the beginning of a longer novella alternating between Royce and Evelyn's point of view. I'm still a bit split on this, as on the one hand it's a good ending and a well done story, but as a reader you also want to read a bit more.

Evelyn doesn't seem to be the usual title character in a story and Royce also seems a little different from how you imagined him at the beginning. I'm sure there's a lot more that could be done. You build up the few characters in the text very well, with their motifs and ways of speaking, but at the moment they are just a filled, one-page sheet where I still miss a little more background info.
It was a nice story, because it felt so real. :D


Have fun with the writing!

Mailice.




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Tue May 04, 2021 7:19 pm
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Darkheart4life says...



this is really interesting but instead of using experience i would suggest using taste, experience is more like a feeling for example i could experience the numb feeling.





You are beautiful because you let yourself feel, and that is a brave thing indeed.
— Shinji Moon