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18+ Language Mature Content

Too Much Blank Space, Not Enough Vomit - Ch. 2.2

by LordStar


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and mature content.

Rhys was sitting on the couch in 404, watching the kaleidoscope colors of the TV and high off his tits, when the door opened to reveal Ethan. The elder Hartman had dark purple bags under his eyes, his blonde hair tousled and greasy from sweat, his apron stained and his cheeks pink from the cold. He sighed loudly as he dragged himself over the apartment threshold, tossing his keys onto the kitchen table. There was no doubt about it, Ethan was exhausted.

Rhys turned around to look at his older brother. "How was work?"

"Fine," Ethan sighed, shouldering off his jacket. Rhys saw that there was a new burn mark on the inside of Ethan's forearm - another one that would scar and be added to the collection. "Had a couple of rowdy tables, but it's fine."

Ethan worked as a server and cook at the Two Wolves diner, a local mom-and-pop business not far from where they lived. It wasn't unusual for him to work late and pull double or sometimes even triple shifts, knowing that it was hard for Rhys to work because of the younger brother's bipolar disorder and incessant drug problem.

Rhys turned his head to stare unseeingly at the TV. "Mom texted me today."

He heard Ethan come to a standstill in the kitchen. The refrigerator kicked on, filling the silence.

"What did she say?" Ethan's voice sounded forcefully calm.

"She wants to come into town for my birthday," Rhys told his lap. He waited a few seconds. "Is that okay?"

"If that's what you want," came Ethan's reply from the kitchen. Rhys could tell by the way Ethan slammed the cabinet door closed that he wasn't happy with the suggestion. "Are you hungry?"

"Had dinner downstairs," Rhys answered. "I saved you a burrito, it's in the fridge."

"You're a saint," Ethan opened the fridge and pulled the foil-wrapped burrito off the top shelf, unwrapping it and setting it on a paper plate before putting it in the microwave. Rhys joined him in the kitchen, opening the fridge to get a can of Dr. Pepper.

"I'm having someone over for dinner tomorrow."

Rhys paused, turning his head to stare at his brother's back. "What?"

"A friend."

"A 'friend'." Rhys repeated. "Explain."

"Her name's Leah."

"Oh, so a girl," Rhys grinned. "Should I get you a box of condoms?"

"Shut up," Ethan muttered, his cheeks and the back of his neck going red. "Just be on your best behavior tomorrow, okay?"

"So you do like her," Rhys popped the tab on the can and took a drink. "And not just like, or else you'd take her out somewhere. You like her enough to bring her home."

"Do you have to be such a little shit about it?" Ethan sighed with exasperation, taking his burrito out of the microwave.

“As your little brother, yes.”

“I swear, if you make any sex jokes when she’s here tomorrow - “

“I’ll be up in my room, making no noise and pretending I don’t exist,” Rhys said in a bad British accent. His high was starting to wear off again.

“Well I want her to meet you, so no.” Ethan took a bite out of his burrito, then swore loudly. “You little fucker, you put jalapenos in this.”


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Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:09 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...



There was no doubt about it, Ethan was exhausted.


Totally minor point, but this line is 100% unnecessary given the paragraph of description of Ethan preceding it. Ditto here:

Rhys could tell by the way Ethan slammed the cabinet door closed that he wasn't happy with the suggestion.


Given Ethan's reaction when Rhys says mom texted, letting us hear the cabinet door slam would be enough of an indication that Ethan's unhappy with the suggestion, without actually telling us Ethan's unhappy with the suggestion. I don't know if this is something you do regularly or if I'm just noticing in this installment because I've been line-editing this sort of thing out of my own draft, but I'll try to remember to keep an eye out as I read on.

I like that this installment gets us into something that promises a larger plot payoff later - getting a text from Mom is obviously a big deal. There was already conflict from Rhys' drug use, plus further conflict from the fact that he and Lip have slept together but he thinks Lip doesn't remember, but this promises more. I also adore the interaction between Rhys and Ethan: it's a very realistic portrayal of siblings but also shows how hard Ethan works to take care of Rhys and how, despite his problems, Rhys thinks to take care of Ethan to some extent as well.

(Even if he did put jalapenos in the burrito.)

Also, 10 points to Gryffindor (or wherever) for the Harry Potter reference.




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Sun May 26, 2019 4:33 pm
LordWolf wrote a review...



And I am back once again to review this story on the wonderful review day that we are having.

The introduction of Ethan here is rather seamless and I can see the good interactions between him and Rhys. They have the pattern that they fall into when Ethan comes home from work, and the banter that they have her is friendlier than in other situations. It's nice to see the characters connecting and how they do care for each other as brothers.

Of course it grows very awkward very quickly, but that's part of the charm (I think) when it comes to Rhys. Because he's a teenager and he's struggling and there's a lot about him that the audience can relate to. It's either something that the readers are going through currently or it's something that they are familiar with from their past. It's very easy to connect with Rhys and all of his troubles as we move farther along into the plot.

"Shut up," Ethan muttered, his cheeks and the back of his neck going red. "Just be on your best behavior tomorrow, okay?"

"So you do like her," Rhys popped the tab on the can and took a drink. "And not just like, or else you'd take her out somewhere. You like her enough to bring her home."

"Do you have to be such a little shit about it?" Ethan sighed with exasperation, taking his burrito out of the microwave.


This version of Ethan, as compared to the wildly different Ethan in the wildly different drafts, is someone that also has many points of connection to the audience. The physical descriptions of Ethan show off a lot about his personality. From how hard he works to support his family to how he feels about this special someone, and I appreciate how you incorporated those details into the plot.

I don't think I have any actual critique for this, beyond my ongoing commentary on the character interactions and those brief mentions of plot development.

Happy review day.
- Jack <3




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Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:38 pm
DougalOfBiscuits wrote a review...



Hey, not quite ready to get into writing headspace after studying, so easing myself in with a review here.

Nit-picks and nice moments:

He sighed loudly as he drug himself over the apartment threshold

Unless that's a pun, I think the word is "dragged" :P

There was no doubt about it, Ethan was exhausted.

For some reason the phrasing here makes me think that there should be doubt for some reason. Like "it really was true, ethan was exhausted". I'm guessing he's come in from work, so why wouldn't he be exhausted?

"She wants to come into town for my birthday," Rhys told his lap. He waited a few seconds. "Is that okay?"

Ah, good! A plot hook! I remember asking you this about one of the previous versions: "why does the story start on this particular day?". That time I think it was because it was the day on which Rhys met Lea. I was going to remind myself to ask you about that for this draft, but here we go!

“I’ll be up in my room, making no noise and pretending I don’t exist,” Rhys said in a bad British accent. His high was starting to wear off again.

Is that a reference?

“You little fucker, you put jalapenos in this.”

Heh. I just made like a "fnya" noise out loud at this xD

Overall:

My reaction to this chapter is mostly just that thing about plot hook. I am very pleased to have got past the stage of setting the scene, which I think you did well. Maybe something slightly more detailed about being bipolar would have been useful? The way you described him getting high was great, and is enough to refer back to when you talk about it subsequently, eg here. But the bipolar thing seems a bit thrown in. I actually don't remember it coming up a whole lot in the original draft if Rhys was bipolar there too, but I suppose it may not have been obvious when Rhys was manic or depressed, unless you thought about it. Would it be worth me keeping an eye out for that.

Can't wait to meet Leah again!
Biscuits :)





We always talk about the "doers" and "dreamers" but I'd like to give a big shoutout to the "tryers".
— Hannah Hart