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The Fire (1)

by Liberty

Pouring the tea into two cups, I handed one cup to Brad and saved the other for myself. “Thanks, hon.” my husband said, planting a kiss on my cheek. His beard grazed over my skin, and I smiled.

Suddenly, I heard crying. “Oh, Jules!” I exclaimed, rushing over to the living room. My two month old daughter was on the couch, in her cute unicorn onesie, wailing. She wanted a diaper change. I could tell already. If she filled her diaper, it would cause a stink bomb to explode, and right now, I could definitely smell it from where I was hovering over Julia.

While I was changing her, up in the bathroom, I started thinking. How was I going to take care of Julia alone? Brad is going for his business trip later today and it’s for a week. I have no idea what I’ll do for that amount of time. Julia let out a soft snore, and I smiled, kissing her pale stomach. She opened her green eyes, and they closed again, the light hurting her delicate eyes.

“My angel,” I whispered, picking her up again and taking her back into the living room.

“I’ll be leaving, now, hon.” Brad called out. I frowned slightly to myself and dashed back into the kitchen. I jumped onto him, hugging him tightly.

“I’ll miss you, Brad.” I mumbled into his chest.

“I’ll miss you too, Anthea.” He said, kissing me on my head.

Looking up, I gazed into his bright green eyes. “Julia’s got your eyes.” I said randomly.

My husband chuckled, kissed me, and strode out of the kitchen, me running after him. I couldn’t drive, but honestly, if I could, I would definitely have dropped him off to the airport. Standing in the doorway, I watched as he hopped into the car, drove out of the driveway, and left.

Heart feeling heavy, I went to go look at Julia. She was squirming, and so I picked her up.

Ring ring ring! My phone was ringing. Sitting on the couch, I glanced at my phone on the coffee table and picked it up. It was Brittney. We have a long history. And not the best one either. Answering the phone, I laid my daughter on the couch. "Hey Brit."

"Ann!" she squealed.

"How are you?" I asked casually, grinning.

"Way too hyped!" she giggled.

Cocking my eyebrow and tilting my head to the side, and I asked her what had happened, and she squealed even louder. I might as well have gone deaf. "I'm going to have another baby!"

My eyes widened. “I’m coming over right now!”

Hanging up, I whisked Julia out of the living room and put her down in her stroller that always sat beside the door. I got my wallet, my purse, and a couple extra clothes for Julia – because you never know. Your child could do anything.

Humming a random tune, I called out for Maryssa, the nanny, and told her we’d be going out for a bit. I ordered the driver to get ready as soon as possible. In no time at all, we were driving to the other side of town, to my husband’s ex-wife, also my friend, and also my ex-enemy.

You see, me and Brad were in love when we first saw each other. His parents were not pleased with me, but instead, they were pleased with my best friend, Brittney. They forced Brad to marry Brit. They had twins, two lovely little girls named Raven and Grace. Angels, they are. Then, Brad divorced her because according to him, Brit always pressured him with money. I don’t see how that’s possible because we live in a mansion in London, and I don’t think there’s anything to pressure that lovely man with.

“We’re here, madam.” Nate said, smiling through the rearview mirror.

I nodded, told him when to come back, and got out of the car, with Julia in her stroller once again (with the help of Nate).

As soon as I rapped on the beautifully carved door of the two story house, I could hear whining at the opposite end. I grinned, and the door opened to a tired looking Brit.

“C’mon in.” she sighed.

“How’re you doing?” I said, carefully stepping in, and dodging a soccer ball that was being thrown by Carter.

“Oh, the usual.” she started, shutting the door behind me. “The twins are playing games upstairs. Blaize is at work. And Carter…” she gestured vaguely at him, kicking the ball at the wall in the hallway. He had a nice powerful kick. I could see him becoming a great soccer player sometime in the future.

I parked the stroller in the entrance hallway and followed Brit into the kitchen that was attached to the dining room. I took a seat at the plush green dining chair, with Brit just opposite of me. We had some small talk, we read the newspaper a bit, and laughed over politics – just like old times – and we had some pizza with the little kids.

“You look terrible, Brit.” I said randomly, when I looked up from my pizza. “What happened?”

“Oh, for God’s sake, you know what.” she said hurriedly, ushering the Raven, Grace and Carter out of the dining room so they won’t eavesdrop.

“Stop feeling guilty about it! It’s the past, and we’re still best friends, so it’s okay.” I leaned over the table to squeeze her hands, and flashed a reassuring smile at her. Brit forced a smiled, and offered some lemonade.

“No no, you rest.” I said sternly. “Eat some food. You look so weak! And remember, no wine or anything of that sort.” I glowered playfully. Brit laughed, pulling away her hands. “I should go now. And you can call me whenever, right? Anything happens, ring me a bell.”

“Thank you.” my friend smiled.

“Of course.” I said, getting up and walking into the entrance hall to check with how Julia was doing. Carter was tickling her, and she didn’t do anything. Didn’t even open her eyes. Brit and I laughed, and Carter pouted at us, running into the living room. “Take care of yourself.” I said before backing out of the house with Julia in her stroller.

Nate was on time as usual. I smiled at him gratefully when he opened the door for me. I picked up Julia and at in the car. He folded the stroller and packed it away in the trunk.

“How was everything?” Nate asked, as he got inside and started the engine.

“It was good. Carter was wild as usual, and the twins were quiet like always.” I explained, cradling Julia, who was starting to squirm. I fiddled with her clothes and in a little while, the car stopped abruptly.

“Nate?” I squeaked suddenly.

“Madam…” he trailed off.

I looked up at my house.

And all I saw was fire.

Word count: 1152

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100 Reviews

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Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:22 am
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WinnyWriter wrote a review...

Good work. :) The opening is kind of abrupt, so perhaps you could think about how to make it more smooth. Set the stage before throwing in the action. I'm bad at introductions in academic papers, so I know the struggle it can be to start off well. I'm not sure if it is best to start with a sentence with the verb phrase at the beginning. (There's a term for that, but I can't think of it. LOL)

I personally was a little confused by the relationship between Brit and Anthea, but perhaps you intend to show us more clarity in future chapters.It's like they're friends but they're not, and I couldn't tell whether they are supposed to be okay with each other or if your goal was to portray them as having a strained relationship. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it's what I saw. It could be used to your advantage if you work it right. You did well in explaining from the outset why their relationship was unusual, though.

Your cliffhanger is great! It keeps the reader interested in what will happen next, which (duh) is the obvious point of a cliffhanger, so I guess I didn't need to say that. :) Sounds like it will be a good story. Keep up the good work!:)

Liberty says...

Thanks for the review, Winny! <3

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Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:38 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...

HELLO! I saw your wallpost and had to come read this for some Unlucky 13 goodies!!

And let me tell you, that cliffhanger is SO MEAN.

I actually really liked the cliffhanger. For most of this segment, I wondered if there was a point to all of it, and I think you ended with just the right kind of shock. I didn't expect it at all! And now I have to decide if I have time to read the next part so I can get some resolution sooner. //cry

So going back to the beginning, I want to say that I like seeing Brad and Anthea's relationship, if only for a brief moment. There's a lot of love here that we could see despite the short time we see them together, and Anthea also shows a lot of concern for being alone for the next several days. This must be the first time Brad has gone on a business trip since Julia was born, which can be scary for new mothers! But I would think she'd have some comfort knowing she'd at least have some house staff. Clearly, they have a chauffeur at least! Perhaps there's also a lead maid here, or have they fired all their housing staff except the driver) already?

Brittney calling Anthea about being pregnant shows SO much trust between them, or at least it seems that way. I would have loved to get in on that conversation, whether it was a lie or not, because Anthea clearly came over to support Brittney during her third pregnancy. The whole point of coming over was to talk about the new baby, and I think it would be really fun insight to see how much detail Brittney can spin into this lie of hers! (Assuming it's a lie. I don't know what baby this would be if it were true.) It could also potentially give away her lie or provide more reason to trust the pregnancy story. :D

Little Carter and baby Julia is adorable. Sounds like Carter has SOME connection to Julia before they ever meet in Unlucky 13, which is really fun to think about. I did find it funny they were left in the entrance hall the whole time, though. XD Not even deposited in a living room or a kid's room!

Okay, I don't have much more to add. I'm just anxious about the next segmeeent. CLEARLY Brittney is behind this! We now get to see the hate side of this love-hate relationship! Which, I might add, I like what you're doing with this. This segment is all about how they're keeping up good relations despite their history to the point where the reader (myself) actually believes that yes, they are miraculously okay after everything. And NOW THERE'S A FIRE and I have SO MUCH DOUBT THAT EVERYTHING IS FINE.


Liberty says...

I think you may know what's going to happen next, but ohhhh wellll. We'll see. Thanks for the review!! <3 (:

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Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:04 pm
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EternalRain wrote a review...

Hey Liberty! I came here to read this instead of doing my Spanish homework. Reading this has been a lovely form of procrastination. ;p

So! I really enjoyed this ending. The dramatic cliffhanger ending on the "And all I saw was fire" really brought the chapter together, because we see how this day has just been so ordinary - maybe not completely ordinary with her husband leaving, but ordinary enough - and boom, she comes back to her house on fire.

So far, I'm wondering what this (and future parts?) is going to bring to the Julia-verse. We got almost all this information in Unlucky 13, just from the perspective of Julia listening to her mother. I hope with Anthea's POV we can learn a bit more behind-the-scenes drama that happens, besides what we already know from Unlucky 13!

I noticed lots of sentences starting with verbs, like

Humming a random tune, I called out for Maryssa

which I do enjoy, because it breaks from the normal form of "I did this" "I did this" "I did this", however I enjoy it more in moderation. Too many of these types of sentences give me the same problem I have with "I did this" "I did this" "I did this" - it makes it repetitive + stands out. For me, when something stands out too much, I get distracted from the story. So, I think a bit more varied sentences could help! Also, to break away from the whole retelling action of what "I" did, you can always describe something ("The trees were swirling in the wind") that adds something to the story.

Here's an example of a sentence I like a lot:

While I was changing her, up in the bathroom, I started thinking.

Lastly, I do like how you've set up this confusing relationship between Anthea and Brittany. They don't like each other, they like each other - it's good! It feels really realistic - we don't just have every single character getting along 100%, or every single character not getting along 100%. There's a breakage of the black and white!

Those are all my thoughts for this week. Keep LMSing!:D

~ EternalRain

Liberty says...

Thanks for the review! There's gonna be a lot of behind the scene stuff, don't you worry. ;)

Everything’s edible if you’re immortal.
— Feltrix