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Unlucky 13 - Chapter 3

by Liberty


“Guess what?” Ella said.

School was over and the three of us were walking out the school doors.

“What?” Me and Maryam said at the same time. I guessed it was something related to her horse competitions, because every time she says, ‘guess what?’ it’s always something about horses. No matter what.

“I won the horse show last night!” she exclaimed and jumped up and down. I squealed and gave her a hug. Maryam joined. We pulled away and congratulated her.

“Hooray!” Maryam grinned. “Why didn’t you tell us earlier today?” she asked. I was about to ask the same thing. I hopped over a pebble that was in my path.

“I wanted us to be stress free when you guys get the news.” she said and hugged us.

“Oh, guys, speaking of stress free, I’m kind of stressed at the moment.” I said.

My friends studied me, “What…”

Before they could continue, “THE ENVELOPE CAME IN TODAY AND I HAVEN’T OPENED IT YET!!” I shrieked. I got looks from other people and a loser sign from Maddie. Raven was nowhere in sight. She was probably messing with someone else.

“Oh my gosh!” Maryam squealed, “Congrats!” she and Ella said together.

“Hold it, girls,” I laughed, “I don’t know if I’m even qualified yet or not.” These two girls have been supporting me through every step of this competition.

“I gotta go. Mum’s here.” Maryam said, smiling. She jogged ahead of us. “Bye! Congratulations again, Ella-Bella and Julia Jewel!” she called back and waved.

A few moments later, her mom’s Honda drove off with her. We continued walking down the pathway. “I have to go soon, too. Grams is expecting me early today.” I said.

“My dad’s here anyway.” Ella said, running towards her Mazda, “See you tomorrow!” She called back. I smiled and waved at her.

“Tomorrow it is.”

+++

Tomorrow!?” I shouted.

I had come back home and was greeted with the fresh smell of chicken roast. Me and Grams had eaten it and now, we were sitting in the living room, soaking up some sunshine through the open windows.

Grams nodded and took another bite of her ham sandwich. “What time?” I asked.

“Noon time. I booked the flight last night.” Grams said, munching. “I forgot to tell you in the morning.”

I sat back down on the blue living room couch. “I can’t believe it. I’m finally going to see my cousins, after…” I trailed off. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen my cousins. Not even one. “Never. I guess.” I shrugged. “Did you pack your bag?” I asked her. Grams nodded. “I’ll go pack mine. But wait, school just started!” I said.

“Well, this is the earliest flight I could find, hon.” Grams said, looking up at me.

I shrugged and excused myself from the living to go pack up. I ran up the stairs and opened the door to my room.

I sat on my twin bed, the window right above it. I had two bookshelves – on either end of my room. I love reading. There was a bright blue rug in the middle of my room and a dark blue study table set to the left. Also, I had a walk-in-closet and my personal bathroom. I grabbed my phone and went to iMessages and texted my friends in the group chat.

Me: Guess wut gurls!?

A few minutes later, after I had taken out a bag and zipped it open, I got a reply.

Ella: Waz up?

Me: I’m goin’ 2 ma cuzins!!!

Maryam: Woohoo!

Ella: Eyy, gurl, u’ve never seen them right?

Maryam: How many do you have?

Me: Nope n 3 :P

Maryam: Deets.

I grinned.

Me: Lemme just pack my bag n I’ll answer questions. Get ready 4 facetime!

Ella: kk :)

Maryam: See you soon!

I tossed my phone on my twin bed and went to the bathroom. I looked into the mirror. A girl with a few freckles, green eyes, short raven black hair with side bangs and thin lips stared back at me. She had a grin on her face, and she looked as if she was about to burst with joy!

I exited the bathroom. I was going to see my cousins.

As I sat on my bed, I wondered, I had never seen them before.

Worry washed over me.I bit my lip and fiddled with my fingers for the second time that day. What if they were different? What if they didn’t like me? I know quite a lot about them, so I guess I’m good. Maybe. Maybe not.

I sighed, then flopped on my bed and stared at the ceiling. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Suddenly, I remembered something. The envelope. I’ll open it once I’m done packing. And after that, I’ll tell Maryam and Ella everything through FaceTime! I jumped up from my bed and raced to the bathroom. I grabbed my toothpaste and toothbrush. Then, I reconsidered it and only took my toothbrush. They probably had toothpaste. I grabbed my mascara – the only cosmetic I use – and my lotion. I stuffed these things in a little pouch and threw it in the bag that was laid open on my bed.

“Sweetheart?” Grams called out from the opposite side of the door.

“Yes?” I called back.

“Can you help me with the dishes really quick?” Grams asked.

“You go rest. I’ll do them later! Promise.” I said. I could tell Grams was smiling. She said okay and shuffled into her room, which was right next to mine. Grams was lucky with that room; she had a TV. Well, I guess we’re fair because I have a laptop and a computer, and she has neither.

I had packed a few clothes; black, white and denim jeans, two tights, black and gray, two sweatshirts, three different hats, five different tees and five crop-tops that I matched cardigans and shawls with. Grams promised me that before we left, we would go and buy a few gifts for the kids.

I galloped down the stairs – literally – and went into the kitchen. The envelope stayed where it was. I tip-toed towards it as if it were a monster that would eat me if I even made a peep.

“Boo!”

I screamed my lungs out and dove under the table. “Who is it? Don’t eat me!” I screeched. I heard laughter. It sounded familiar. Oh. How could I have been so dumb? I crawled out from under the table.

“Very funny,” I said flatly, “Grams.”

Grams chuckled and got up from behind the counter. “Dishes?” she said. More like asked. I nodded, but then looked at the envelope helplessly. “Go ahead.” Grams said.

I teared it apart and ran through the names. First place was…

Maddison Harry!

Maddison Harry?

Maddie? I shook my head. She probably cheated or something. She didn’t even like Science! Oh whatever. Second place was… I almost fainted.

Julia Portman!

I screamed and ran to Grams and embraced her in a huge hug. I started crying. “Oh, Grams, I made it! I made it!” I whispered.

“I know, honey! I knew you would make it.” she said back into my hair. “All that work really paid off, huh?” I nodded. She let go of me and I quickly turned and did the dishes. It was currently six-fifty-two.

I ran up the stairs when I was done and slammed open my door. I shoved out my laptop from the study table drawer and took a seat on my chair. Opening FaceTime, I called the other two. They answered right away. Maryam first, then Ella.

“I MADE IT!” I screamed. The girls were confused but then realization dawned upon them – it was clear.

“YOU MADE IT!” Maryam and Ella shrieked. I could hear a male voice asking if Maryam was okay. That was probably her brother, Ahmad. His room is right next to hers, so he can hear basically everything she says. Me and Ella giggled. Maryam just rolled her eyes.

“What place?” Maryam asked.

“Obviously first place.” Ella said in a ‘duh’ tone.

I frowned and shook my head, “You can’t always expect me to be first, El.”

“Sorry…” she winced.

“It’s fine.” I said, “I was second!” I exclaimed, cheering them up. Maryam grinned widely.

“Who was first?” she asked.

“Um, you guys know her.” I said. When neither of them responded, I told them who it was. They gasped and said to show them proof. I brought the paper and held it out so they could see.

“She doesn’t even like Science, though.” Maryam said flatly. I just shrugged. Ella could sense the tension, so she changed the subject.

“What are your cousins like?” Ella asked me. “You said you had three, right?” I nodded.

“To be honest, I don’t know too much about them, because I’ve only talked to them on the phone like a couple of times.” I confessed.

“Girls or boys?” Maryam asked.

“Two boys and a girl. The oldest one is Timothy, he’s eighteen. The middle one is Avery, he’s fifteen, and the youngest one is Isabella. And, she’s ten.” I said. “To be honest, I know them quite well. We’ve chatted a lot through the phone.”

Ella smiled, “That’s cool!”

“Ooh. I have a cousin, and she’s always wanted to be friends with someone named Isabella. Very annoying child.” Maryam shook her head. Ella chuckled.

“I don’t have any cousins,” Ella sighed. “I have two aunts and an uncle, but they aren’t married yet.” She said. She got up from where she was sitting and disappeared for less than a second and came back with a glass of water.

“Hey, I have an uncle and he isn’t married yet!” I exclaimed. Ella has a single aunt and I have a single uncle… Ella told me to stop sitting in fantasy world and told me to not even think such a thing and we all laughed. My uncle was forty and divorced and both Ella’s aunts were only twenty; twins.

Later, we ended our call because it was already time to go to bed. It was nine-forty. I tucked my bag under my bed and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and change. I combed my hair real quick even though it would be a tangled mess when I wake up the next morning. It had just become a habit.


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Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:58 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...



Great chapter! It all flowed nicely, and it completely took me by surprise. Which is a good thing! It's keeping me on the edge of my seat, and excited for what's to come! However... I would like to bring back up two points that I brought up in the first chapter.

Firstly, if this is the main plot, we probably won't see the characters in her homeroom again, which, like I said in the first chapter, renders the majority of the roll call unimportant. (But who really knows, you could completely do an one eighty)

And second, a lot of they're casual chat between the girls, well it does show their friendship, it doesn't relate much to the plot. A good rule I like to remember when writing is to make sure that ninety nine percent of the dialogue has a purpose to the plot. For example, instead of saying, "'hello' she said. 'hi' he said 'how are you doing?' 'good'" Ignore the part where this isn't very good in general, notice that if you just say, "They engaged in small talk, speaking of things such as the weather, and such" You don't have to say it word for word, and you can make it more or less casual, but my point is, you're keeping your readers on your seats, and not slowing them down with everyday chatter that doesn't relate to the plot.

Other than all that, this was a really great chapter! And I look forward to reading the next one! Have a great day, and keep on writing!




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! I can see what you mean. :)



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Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:53 pm
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Honora wrote a review...



Hey there Lib! I’m going to try get one chapter done a day until I’m all caught up…hopefully this goes as planned. Well, you know how this goes so let’s jump on in!

She exclaimed and jumped up and down.
One thing I’ve learned over the years in writing (not that I’m that old XD) is to try only use one and in one sentence. Especially a really short one. If it was longer than sometimes there is exceptions but lots of the times it just makes it seem short and choppy.
Example: She exclaimed, jumping up and down in excitement.

I got looks from other people and a loser sign from Maddie. Raven was no where in sight. She was probably messing with someone else.
Now this is a good sentence but I just have one question…why did you say Raven was nowhere (you spelt this wrong but that’s minor lol) in sight? I mean, I understand why you would zone in on Maddie because you’ve already introduced her as a character but I don’t think you should focus on Raven much until you’ve introduced her into the story a bit more.
That was a really long sentence lol…sorry! ;)

Something that I’ve noticed is that you tell your reader about stuff rather than show them. I’ll show you what I mean.
Maryam saw her ride coming this way and said she had to leave.
Here you tell us that Maryam saw her ride whereas you could have showed us.
Example: A red Honda came into sight and Maryam sighed, “That’s Mom, I have to go.”
Make us connect with your characters. I added a sigh, making it seem like she didn’t want to go home and wanted to stay with her friends.

Grams nodded and took another bite of her ham sandwich.
This is a small thing but in the previous paragraph, you just finished saying that they already ate a chicken dinner and now she’s eating a ham sandwich? Like I said, a very small thing…I’m probably just getting too picky! :-P

That’s all I found! I swear I’m not trying to co-write your book! I just want to help but you can take what you want and leave the rest of what I say behind! You’re doing really well. I guess you know that since basically EVERY chapter has made it to the spotlight! :D Congrats on that btw. I’m pretty interested in it. I hope to see more of Raven. I literally can’t wait to see what you have planned for her. And I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or not but…JULIA AND RAVEN BOTH HAVE RAVEN BLACK HAIR! Like I said, I don’t know if its coincidence or not but for now, it’s kept me thinking about it.

Anyway, I need to go work on my book. *drags myself forcefully to my WordPad* I DON’T WANT TO! *cries miserably*

Keep up the good work!

Your friend,
Honora




Liberty says...


Thanks so much for the review! God, finally you're working on your book!
The Grams-eating-ham-sandwich thing is because she eats a lot.
The Raven thing - don't even talk yet. Read the next chapters. I've introduced her enough with her encounter at the library. ;) You'll see what I mean.
Also, I know I need to work a lot on showing, not telling. It's hard, but I'll work on it. :)
Thanks again for the review!



Honora says...


No problem! I look forward to reading more!



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Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:41 am
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xJade wrote a review...



Heyo! It is I, Jade. Now, just my overall thoughts are:

I see one or two looking for the right word grammar mistakes. I also didn't grasp the real point of this. I mean, I love Julia and this book, but dropping some key phrases could help give it a more sculpted plot. I also think you should work on developing the side plots more and give the characters more varying traits. Like word use, making them sound different because they're raised in different atmospheres. I did enjoy this and I'm sorry this is so short... Does still being burnt out from the first count as an excuse?? XD jk I love this and I hope it was of some use and let me know if you want more context on what I'm saying (i.e. what spelling mistakes or character development or whatever else I said.)
I'm going now.




Liberty says...


What were the spelling mistakes? Thanks for the review, by the way. (:



xJade says...


%u201CMy dad%u2019s here anyway.%u201D Ella said, running towards her Mazda, %u201CSee you tomorrow!%u201D She called back. I smiled and waved at her.
She should be lowercased

I teared it apart and ran through the names. First place was%u2026
Tore

%u201CI don%u2019t have any cousin,%u201D Ella sighed.
Cousins would be correct and would sound better. That's all I caught



Liberty says...


Okay, thanks! Just saying, for the first thing, I always tend to capitalize after a dialogue, so... Um, that wouldn't really count...? Because I always go like this:

"Yay!" Hee cheered.

Not:

"Yay!" he cheered.

Anyways, thanks again!



Liberty says...


*He



xJade says...


I think that's not correct but it's your book and your writing style :)

https://thewritepractice.com/dialogue-tags/ (that's a link to a writing website that helped with my tags, if you want to check it out.)

Tell me when part 4 comes out!



Liberty says...


Okay, thanks!



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:41 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...



I AM HERE!

Bahahaha I am so proud of Ella, though I am STILL left wondering why she was so sad earlier. This was not the news I expected to hear after that sadness last chapter! I am nonetheless happy to hear that her riding is actually going well. YAY ELLA! Kinda hilarious, though, how Julia just immediately switched the topic to herself and the letter. Granted, I was thinking the same thing BUT JULIA, THAT WAS KINDA SUDDEN. All you did was gasp at her news. NO WONDER YOU THINK THINGS FEEL OFF BETWEEN YOU TWO. <3

Also gosh, why does Maddie just conveniently appear to flash a loser sign (WHICH I LAUGHED AT OMG XD). Weird that Raven jumps to Julia's mind, though. They just met in the library, and it was hardly a meeting. Is Julia worried about Raven? Why is Raven on her mind?

"At twelve, so at noon." <-- THANKS GRAMS, I DIDN'T KNOW. XD

Okay, so I understand that this was the earliest flight Grams could find, but this also indicates Grams knew about this trip for a while, so why didn't Julia know it was coming up? You'd think Grams would have told her about it, especially if it conflicted with school. Julia would have to let her teachers know she'll be gone, unless this school doesn't care about excused/unexcused absences? I dunno, it seems rather sudden for something that's apparently been planned!

I had a twin bed at the very middle, and a window above it. I had two bookshelves – on either end of my room. I love reading. There was a bright blue rug in the middle of my room and a dark blue study table set to the left. Also, I had a walk-in-closet and my personal bathroom. I flopped onto my bed and went to iMessages on my phone and texted my friends in the group chat.


I'd probably have started this whole paragraph with the "I flopped onto the twin bed at the center of my room, the window right behind me" then dove further into description if I felt it worked right. The transition into this paragraph just felt jarring since she was just running up the stairs! (Also A PERSONAL BATHROOM OMG every teenager's dream ;.; )

LOL. I find it hilarious she thinks Grams is lucky 'cause she had a TV, and I'm sitting here thinking Julia is lucky for having a walk-in closet. IT'S ALL PERSPECTIVE. XD

Omg Julia and Grams are just too cute.

In case you don’t know, that’s Maddie. The Maddie. I shook my head. She didn’t even like Science! Oh whatever. Second place was… I almost fainted.


I'm a LIIIITTLE iffy about addressing the reader like this, but I don't know what to say or do so I'm kinda just gonna say something and let it go. I didn't really think this was a diary of any sort, but Julia has been narrating this. Maybe she's been telling her own story this whole time. I can also be overthinking this because Julia's brain probably just works like this too. (My brain talks to "guys" all the time, and it's just... well me. so maybe her brain does the same kind of thing.)

GOSH GRAMS, YOU COULD BE A LITTLE MORE EXCITED. Saying "I know, I know" just totally took the excitement right out of the moment. XD I know she had good intentions, but couldn't she at least congratulate her or say how she just knew Julia would make it, the smart little girl she was. You know?

LOL the moment with Ahmad asking if Maryam was okay. omg <3

I frowned and shook my head, “You can’t always expect me to be first, El.”
“Sorry…” She winced.


GOSH do I feel this in my soul. I have a close friend who, when he's in that mood, feels like he has to put my optimism in its place with a slap of realism, and I'll immediately feel bad and apologize. XD GOD DO I FEEL THIS.

So I am mightily impressed Julia knows her cousins' ages considering she's never met them. But she does have a thing for names and faces, so this might not be entirely out of character. I've met my own cousins a few times growing up, but now it's been at least ten years and I'll be darned if I remember a single age. XD

Oooh, that's quite an age gap between Ella's aunts and her parent!

Aww the chapter end felt kind of abrupt.

But I like this development, and I look forward to meeting the cousins! I wonder what's going to happen. And how in the world did Maddie get first place if she doesn't care for science?! I wonder if she... cheated. ;.;




Liberty says...


Thanks for the review! I'll get to editing soon!



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:32 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hi Liberty!

So I'm very excited to meet Julia's cousins, because I love meeting new characters (and new character interactions --> more of Julia's personality shown!), but it feels very all of a sudden. Why are they going? If they've never gone before, why are they going now? Plus, wouldn't "tomorrow" be a school day? Just a little confused about that. Otherwise, this plot point feels a bit impulsive (but I mean, who doesn't love some impulsiveness).

Okay, if I were Julia I would have opened the letter the second I got home haha! She's been excited about it all day and seems to forget about it when she first gets home? That seems a bit weird to me. She has some great self restraint lol xP I love her interactions with Grams, though - they are incredibly sweet. And that little "Boo!" made me smile. I especially liked this bit right before it:

I tip-toed towards it as if it were a monster that would eat me if I even made a peep.


It made the moment even more fun :p

Lastly, I want to be seeing a little more emotion! Even subtle expressions Julia notes, or showing us [the reader] how she feels can enhance the moment a lot. We have the very real scene where Julia is worried about how her cousins may perceive her, but I think it could be even stronger if descriptive emotion is added; does her mind buzz and does she chew on her lip, biting off skin? Does she pace around her room? That kind of thing! That way, without stating "I'm worried", we get a bit more of that whole ~vibe~ the character is feeling.

Okay... now we need to talk about how Maddie got first place!! Brooo! I actually like that a lot, though, because it's creating an even thicker conflict with the mean girl. And I really want to know if she's actually a science genius or if she cheated or something.

Annnd those are my thoughts for this chapter! Hope this helped out a little :)

~ EternalRain




Liberty says...


This helped out a lot. A few of the words that you used, I had to look up. :P But it's fine. I get what you mean. For the envelope thing and how she kinida-forgot-about-it, I want it to show that Julia is forgetful at times. Even about things that are as important as heck. But anyways, I shall get to editing soon! Thanks! :D



EternalRain says...


Makes sense! I did get that forgetful vibe, though!!



Liberty says...


(:




Nothing is impossible, for the word itself says, 'I'm possible!'
— Audrey Hepburn