Young Writers Society


12+ Mature Content

Under The Apple Tree - 3.2

by Elinor


At O’Connor’s that afternoon, I’d ordered my second mulled wine. We were hungry and decided to split one of the giant soft pretzels they were famous for.

After our waitress left, Laura and Madison started talking in Spanish. I’d spaced out and wasn’t sure how the conversation had begun. Shortly after I looked in their direction, Madison noticed me staring blankly at them.

“I don’t speak Spanish,” I said.

“I’m sorry, I hope we’re not excluding you,” she replied.

“It’s fine,” I said quietly. I turned to Laura, not wanting to speak for her. “I mean, you’re always telling me that you want more people to practice your Spanish with.”

“We definitely can,” Madison said to Laura. “But for now, let’s not exclude Charlotte.”

“It’s fine,” I said again. While I probably would have gotten annoyed if they’d carried on an extended conversation, they’d probably been talking for less than a minute, and the way Madison was responding to it was making me more uncomfortable than the act itself.

“Do you speak any languages, Charlotte?” Madison asked.

“French,” I said.

“Oh my god,” she replied. “Have you ever been?”

I nodded. “Junior of high school. I did a foreign exchange in my spring semester.”

“I’m so jealous,” Madison said. “Were you in Paris?”

“Actually, I stayed in the south in a town called Avignon,” I explained. “But I went up to Paris a few times on the weekends and such.” My foreign exchange had been one of the best experiences of my life. It had been so long ago now though, and getting to recall it made me feel a mix of things. Talking about it, I could recapture a time where I was truly happy. And yet, there was a sadness in knowing that it was only a memory.

“Did you meet any cute French guys?”

I shook my head. “No, I’d just broken up with my boyfriend, so that was the last thing on my mind.” I felt an uncomfortable knot in my stomach at being reminded of Caleb. He’d really loved me, and I’d broken up with him because I didn’t feel like I could give him what he needed. That was nine years ago, and while I’d done my best to forgive myself, it was something I’d always had a hard time with.

“Oh,” Madison said. “Bummer.” When neither Laura or I said anything, Madison asked If Laura or I were seeing anyone.

“No,” I said. “I’m about as single as they come.” In recent months, half-witted attempts at humor had been a coping mechanism for the very real pain I felt at being alone..

“I find that hard to believe,” Madison said flatly. “You’re so beautiful. And you’re talented. And fashionable. And a good person too.”

I didn’t know what to say to her. “Just haven’t met the right person. He’s out there, somewhere…” I said. I felt Darren’s face coming into my imagination and I did my best to block it out. Before I’d met him, whenever I thought about my soulmate, or my one true love, or whatever you want to call it, his face had always been in shadow. A male shaped blur. Sometimes he looked vaguely like George Harrison. Other times, the singer Donovan. When I met Darren and we started spending time together outside of rehearsal, his face was in all my daydreams about true love. Now, I was doing my best to think about a male figure whose face I couldn’t yet discern. That was scary. Whatever effect alcohol had on that afternoon, I’m positive I wouldn’t say what came out of my mouth next if I had been sober. “I haven’t been with anyone since my high school boyfriend. Nine years.”

Darren and I had never gone all the way. But Madison didn’t need to know about that.

“I’ve never even had a boyfriend,” Laura said matter of factly.

“Okay, now I really don’t believe that,” Madison said.

“It’s true,” Laura said.

“Why not?”“I don’t know what to tell you,” Laura said with a shrug. “I’ve been on dates here and there. Nothing that’s ever led anywhere. Just haven’t met the right person, I guess.”

“I know how it is,” Madison said quietly. “I’m dating someone now, but I don’t know how it’s going to end up.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“Story for another day,” Madison said.

Our pretzel came and went, and we decided to get dinner, because we wanted to keep talking and because I needed time to sober up before I drove home.

It was dark by the time we left O’Connor’s and started walking back to our cars. Before we went our separate ways and said we would have to hang out again, before the next book club. Somehow, we realized we all loved old and black and white movies. Because Laura had the most space in her house, she said she could have us over to watch classic movies.

When we’d been sitting at O’Connor’s, Laura had gotten a text from her mom that the lake house actually wasn’t going to be available. There had been a miscommunication and her parents had already planned to go down for the weekend, and they had priority because the house belonged to them. When they’d initially told Laura she could go, they thought she was talking about a different weekend. It was awkward trying to discuss it in front of Madison, but while her parents had nonetheless said we could still come, getting some solitude had kind of been the idea, so we decided to reschedule.

Anyway, Laura thought it would be nice to have us both over to see Casablanca, which Madison had never seen but Laura and I both had. We got to my car first.

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” I said just as I was about to get in.

Laura smiled and Madison stared at me blankly. “What do you mean?” She asked.

I looked back at her, unsure of what to say. I’d meant the comment in that moment and I thought everyone knew that quote regardless of whether or not they’d seen it.

“If you don’t know, then nevermind,” I said.

“It’s a quote from the movie,” I heard Laura tell her as I got in.

I waved to them as I started to drive back home. I felt myself smile. I was happy to have new friends and a new social commitment. So, I let myself be happy.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
118 Reviews


Points: 7737
Reviews: 118

Donate
Fri Mar 11, 2022 5:27 am
Coffeeboyjay wrote a review...



Hi Elinor,

First off Elinor my impressions to your chapter is that while I'm reading this chapter Elinor I also have a line in the chapter“Actually, I stayed in the south in a town called Avignon,” I explained. “But I went up to Paris a few times on the weekends and such.” My foreign exchange had been one of the best experiences of my life. It had been so long ago now though, and getting to recall it made me feel a mix of things. Talking about it, I could recapture a time where I was truly happy. And yet, there was a sadness in knowing that it was only a memory.

“Did you meet any cute French guys?” Elinor this was the part I actually enjoyed of reading.

My Compliment is Elinor you could of did Charlotte and Laura as the actress and made a whole chapter about them on the next chapter of Under The Apple Tree Elinor but till then this was a good piece of as a chapter Elinor

have fun writing Elinor! :D




User avatar
1232 Reviews


Points: 119938
Reviews: 1232

Donate
Mon Dec 20, 2021 1:43 pm
View Likes
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Elinor,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Story

Being the last chapter published here, this part had a bitter aftertaste of a long ending. The part - probably as a conclusion to the third chapter - also ends the first encounter with Madison quite well, in my opinion. At the beginning I was a bit puzzled why you inserted this short part separately, but I realise that we are moving at a faster pace here to encourage the reader to find out what else was said at O'Connors.

I like that we "hurried" a bit here to finish the first act of friendship bonding. Laura has fallen a little more into the background, although she was at the centre at the beginning when she and Madison were speaking Spanish. That seemed a bit strange in the second half of the part. Since it's a generally good ending to the chapter, I would just try to add some dialogue for Laura to make the conversation seem a little longer.

Characters

The characters seem more open, probably also in Charlotte's case because of the alcohol. We also go a little further into the love life. The dialogue was more active and stimulating (where I did think Laura fell behind at times), and provided a good build-up to new moments from Charlotte's past.

What I particularly liked (and I don't know if this belongs more in the story part) was how you told the cancellation of the lake house towards the end, because it seemed well directed through that distant voice to see the characters in a more disappointed form, where the joy in the last and this part was shown more through the dialogue.

And yet, there was a sadness in knowing that it was only a memory.

I think this sentence sums up Charlotte very well. Instead of being happy to have these memories, she is sad that they are over. She doesn't look directly into the future, probably because each new memory is only a fragment of the joy she felt back then.

Miscellaneous

When neither Laura or I said anything, Madison asked If Laura or I were seeing anyone.

In recent months, half-witted attempts at humor had been a coping mechanism for the very real pain I felt at being alone..


Two tiny typos here; one with the capitalised “if” and a double full stop in the second.

Final thoughts

In general, I like the story. I'm also quite easily inspired when it comes to realistic characters and their private lives. You've made a good start and given the reader enough time to get to know Charlotte, Madison and, in some respects, Laura. The main characters and best developed at the moment are Charlotte and Madison.

You build up a classic and well-tried method with the first chapter, which leads to the fact that one wants to know how a tragedy happens and then experiences the story through it. It gives the whole story a certain tragedy, and I think that comes again when you read the story a second time to see what ambiguous hints have been made.

What could be expanded a bit is that the descriptions seem a bit more vivid and flexible, otherwise I think it's very solid. Are there any plans to post the following chapters here as well?

About the title, and I'm going out on a limb here, but I have some of my great-grandfather's old records in the attic and there's one with a similar title by Glenn Miller. I think there might be a connection. :D

Have fun writing!

Mailice




Elinor says...


I'm so glad you're enjoying it so far! I'll probably post little by little eventually. The novel is 18 chapters in all, plus an epilogue, so we'll see where we're at.

The Glenn Miller song is one inspiration for the title, but it's actually mostly based on the song She's My Girl by The Turtles and the lyric "I just came back to tell you/there's a little bit of heaven underneath the apple tree" and in general, the parallel to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.

I thought "Under The Apple Tree" was a stronger title than "Underneath The Apple Tree", but there we go.

Also, the more you read in this, the more that song will make sense. I will definitely keep you posted and be sure to tag you when more parts come out! :D Thanks for your feedback thusfar!





That song is pretty nice! :D




Deadlines just aren't real to me until I'm staring one in the face.
— Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief