Friday, 23 March 2012

Busy Busy Busy!

Hey guys! So sorry I haven't posted for a while - I've been so busy with Engineering coursework and packing, I haven't had a chance to write about anything!

"Packing?" you ask? I'm off to South Africa tomorrow, for a month! I can't tell you how excited I am; the last time I went on holiday was 15 years ago when I was 3, so this is a dream come true. I have family over there you see. And I'll be turning 18 over there so my birthday will be extra special since I will be with all my family.

I'm hoping to grab some inspiration from the African air, so don't fret if you're thinking, "What about The Long Way Home?" I'm going to finish chapter 7 before I go, so you'll be able to read that and criticise it for me.

I'll speak to you guys soon! Keep smiling!

Claire

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Long Way Home - Chapter Six


"Poof!"

"Faggot!"

"Gay!"

He ignored the bunch of guys as they shouted and laughed after him, their sniggering reaching his ears and scratching at the auditory part of his brain. He heard remarks of, "Backs against the wall, dudes. The poofter's on the prowl," and girls coming up to him asking, "Are you a cock sucker?" as their friends squealed and dissolved into a mass of high pitched giggles. He ignored them all, but he couldn't ignore the feelings of hurt and fear that twisted and knotted in his gut. It hurt him to think that his life would be reduced to taking the constant jabs and jeers and homophobic behaviour he would endure if he were to come out, and he also feared Daniel finding out and realising the secret affection he held for his friend. Daniel was hardly thick when it came to people after all; he would work it out when that single detail took a place in his whirring brain.

"Hey, Kris!"

Bam. Just like that, the subject of his thoughts becomes as real as the stone he stumbles on as he turns to the voice. He manages to catch his balance, but to no avail does he evade the chance for the names and the laughter to swarm back towards him, causing a deep shade of scarlet to grace his cheeks. He walked quickly past Daniel, a simple indication which his friend had learnt to understand as "Let's get away from here."

"Okay," Daniel spoke softly as they walked down by the park round the back of the high school. "What was all that about?"

"They're talking," Kris murmured. He was clearly on edge, his eyes darting about as if he were checking whether they were really alone.

“Who’s talking?” Daniel asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.

“Everyone.” Daniel watched his friend closely. Kris licked his lips nervously, the excess moisture drying quickly before it was replaced with another flick of the tongue. He’d never seen him like this before. “Haven’t you heard them, Daniel?” Kris asked all of a sudden, breaking the train of thought which had started to form in Daniel’s mind. “Haven’t you heard what they’re saying?”

Daniel shook his head uncertainly, and watched the frustration take over his friend. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” Kris exclaimed, walking back and forth as he clenched his fists in his hair. “I just need more time.” He seemed to be speaking more to himself than anyone else. “I haven’t even told my parents.”

“Told your parents what?” Daniel asked.

Kris looked to him, as if surprised to see him there. His lower jaw quivered as he tried to form words, his brain ticking over what he could give in reply. He licked his lips again; Daniel could see the saliva dry upon his lips again, like his words. He was confused – why was Kris acting so weird? He looked into the dark blue eyes, saw the emotion which swam in their depths, but couldn’t put a finger on what it was that he saw beneath the lenses. Fear was evident, but why? And there was something else, but what?

“Hey, gay boy!”

Kris tore his eyes away from Daniel’s, snapped out of the daze which had started to fog his previously anxious mind. Everything came flooding back, hitting him in the gut, as he watched the gang of boys approach them cockily.

“Hey Kris,” one of the boys sneered, “are you a bit strapped for cash for new clothes? Or do you just prefer the gay look?” The gang laughed and jeered as Kris bowed his head to hide the fresh redness of his cheeks.

“He’ll be wearing fishnet t-shirts next!” another joked. They left, shoving Kris to the floor as they passed him. He stayed on the ground, propped up on his elbows, as he watched them leave, before diverting his eyes to look at Daniel.

“Thanks a lot,” he scoffed as he picked himself up off the ground.

“Thanks for what?” Daniel asked, confused.

“Exactly,” Kris replied simply. With that he tried to leave, only for Daniel to grab his forearm. He exhaled in exasperation, and took a deep breath to calm him before he turned to face his friend. “You didn’t even think to stand up for me, did you,” he stated softly. He tugged his arm free from Daniel’s grip and sat on a nearby bench, biting his fingernails. It didn’t escape Daniel’s attention that Kris always did this when he was nervous. He remembered when they were kids; he used to imagine Kris nibbling away, through nail, skin and bone, until all that was left was a bloody stump where his middle finger used to be. For months he tried to stop this habit, but even now he did it. It simply gave him something to do, rather than fidget and look awkward.

“I thought that’s what friends do,” Kris continued, his voice slightly muffled by the fingers in front of his lips. “I thought they stood up for one another.”

Daniel sighed. “I couldn’t think straight,” he tried to explain as he walked over to sit next to Kris. “I didn’t know what to do-”

“So you just left me to it?”

“It wasn’t like that.”

“It sure felt like it.” He waited for Daniel’s next reply, but it never came. Instead, the next thing he knew was being held in Daniel’s arms. A heart was beating beneath his cheek, strong and steady rhythm – babboom, babboom.

“I’m sorry,” Daniel was saying, not realising that Kris wasn’t particularly listening. “You’re right: you are my friend. I shouldn’t let them get you down like that.”

“It’s okay,” Kris whispered. His eyes were closed as he breathed in the natural scent of the other body. The warmth dissipating from Daniel, the feel of him holding him, the comforting aroma of earth and musky sweat; he never felt so calm. His instincts told him to snuggle closer, and so he did, and he smiled as he felt the firm arms around him, a hand rubbing circles into his back. He’d never felt more at peace than he did now, and he found himself pleading inside for this moment to last forever.

But of course, there was no answer to this wish, and Kris felt as Daniel finally pulled away. A part of him screamed to hold on and never let go, tell him how he felt, but he ignored the impetuous voice. He let go, if not a little reluctantly, and risked a look at Daniel. A slight frown creased the other boy’s forehead, but otherwise he seemed unfazed. They left together, in an awkward yet somewhat comfortable silence, Daniel every so often patting Kris on the back when he felt he needed the encouragement to continue through the rest of the day.

I’m going to have to say something. He knew this already, but it didn’t make it any easier to tell Daniel. But he would. Soon.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Long Way Home - Chapter Five

“Hey! Hey, Kris!”

The very heart of his problems ran up to him and put his hand on his shoulder. Millions of nerves started to tingle up and down his arm at the touch, and Kris had to restrain himself from flinching away or turning and kissing him. Daniel was so beautiful in the dimming light. His green eyes swam with shadows, and Kris could feel a force pulling him into them, like a magnet, or a fish on a line. The similes gave him the jolt he needed to bring him back to reality, and he realised Daniel’s look of bewilderment and concern.

“Kris? Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” he replied, forcing a smile upon his face as he tried to settle the thoughts and emotions strewing in his gut. It took all his willpower to stop himself from telling Daniel then and there how he felt. “I’m fine,” he repeated, as if to make the statement all the more authentic.

“Okay, well...can I walk with you?”

Kris chuckled. “Daniel,” he groaned mockingly, “we’re friends. You don’t need my permission to walk with me.”

Daniel’s laugh rang in Kris’ ears, and his arm wrapped around Kris’ shoulders. Hesitantly, Kris put his arm around Daniel’s waist. It felt so comfortable, like it was meant to rest there, and Kris found himself having to remind himself that they were not together. Golly this was a mess.

“So what are you doing so near to school at this hour?” Daniel asked.

“I could ask you the same question!” Kris laughed. Daniel chortled.

“Yeah, I was having one on one tutoring with Mr Henries since there’s no ways I’m gonna be able to do this Literature assignment on my own!”

“I said I’d help you with it!”

“Yeah, that was two days ago. It’s due by the end of the week remember?”

“Hmm, yeah, I’ve been pretty busy,” Kris sighed.

“Well with a family like yours, I’m surprised you’re able to remember to do your own work sometimes.”

“Ah, it’s not that bad.”

“I wouldn’t survive. Well, here’s my stop.” Daniel sighed, or at least to Kris he appeared to sigh. He tried to move, but Kris found he was unable to let go. Daniel gently tried to pull away, shaking Kris slightly into realisation of what he was doing. He looked to his feet, blushing slightly, and patted Daniel on the back awkwardly before letting go and then walking home as quickly as he could, not daring to look back.

***

“Mom? Can I have a word?”

“Not now sweetie, I’m busy.”

“Okay, well erm, when could we talk?”

“I don’t know, baby, I’ve got so much to do right now.”

Kris let out a sigh. With a family like his, he was going to find it difficult to get his family together to tell them his true identity. His mother was juggling feeding baby Ivan with the mountain of paperwork that came with being a lawyer, and his father was nowhere-

"Son, can you give me a hand tidying the shed?" his dad walked out through the back door, patting Kris on the back as he came past.

"Sure," Kris replied, following the tall muscular figure towards the DIY shed. This was the place where all crafts and mechanics equipment was stored, and Kris remembered the hours of fun he used to have in here as a kid, on his own or with his father. He caught sight of the Spitfire LF Mk IX model they made together when he was about eight, sitting on a shelf in the far corner of the shed, and remembered how close they used to be, how he would confide in his father about pretty much anything and everything. It made him sad to think how that strong bond they once had had withered away after Kris told his dad he wanted to be a writer. The disappointment in his eyes had been evident, and Kris no longer came to him with his troubles.

Kris realised now that he must try to seek that bond between father and son again. The thought of telling his dad frightened him, but it also frightened him to tell the rest of his family too. With Bea, he didn't have to tell her; she just got him like nobody else. As his older sister, she took the responsibility very seriously, and the pair were sometimes so connected it was a wonder they weren't twins. Kris knew if it wasn't for his sister, he wouldn't even be considering telling his father that he was gay.

The word released some of the tension in his body with a sigh. This was the first time he'd used the 'g' word for himself, and he suddenly felt that he could do this. He wasn't sure how his father would react to the revelation, and he couldn't help but think that he would be letting him down again. But he had to tell him. He couldn't pretend to be somebody else just to make other people happy, even if it is his dad.

"Dad?"

"Yes, son?"

"I need to talk to you about something."

"Could you pass me those pliers? Thanks."

"It's important."

"Not now, son."

"But Dad-"

"I said not now."

The silence was awkward between them as Kris cleaned one end of the shed while his dad cleaned the other. Memories surrounded Kris; he held them, dusted them, even polished a few. But when he came to the Spitfire model, he noticed it wasn't as perfectly built as his eight-year-old self had thought. The propellers had come loose and there were cracks in the paintwork where the glue was failing to keep the plane together. It was like his relationship with his father: straining to keep a bond.

"Dad, I need to talk to you."

"I said not now, son."

"Now, Dad. It's really important."

His dad sighed. Putting down the tins of paint he'd been moving, he turned to face his son.

"Kristos, son..." he took a deep breath.”Son, sometimes we don't know ourselves as well as we'd like, and we jump to conclusions to kid ourselves that we do."
Kris remained quiet, but a small frown had started to furrow his brow. His dad continued.

"Sometimes we get confused, and think we're something we're not. Something that maybe isn't the best thing to be."

"What are you trying to say, Dad?" Kris asked, a knowing feeling twisting in his gut.

"I'm just saying that you should remember this, just in case you come across one of those moments in your life. What you may be thinking is true may not necessarily be the case."

"Do you think I've had, or am having, one of those 'moments'?" Kris challenged. His father hesitated, shifting, agitated.

"Do you?" he asked back.

"I think I'm fine as I am," Kris replied coolly. "What do you think?"

His father opened and closed his mouth. He licked his lips and cleared his throat before opening his mouth to speak again then repeating the actions again. Kris waited patiently, trying his best to not jump to conclusions.

"Dinner's ready!" Kris heard his mom call, and he watched as his dad bolted out of the shed door, muttering something about talking about this later, which Kris knew was not the case. He took a deep breath before following, readying himself for the awkwardness that was to follow at the dinner table.

His father knew.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"What's wrong with me?" Nothing!


It feels odd, and somewhat sickening, to think that I was inspired to write this after learning that a boy I know was attacked in public due to his sexual orientation, and was reduced to thinking the only way out was to commit suicide. Luckily he was found in time, but at fifteen years old death should be the last thing to enter his mind. I was horrified when I found out about the attack on him, and it troubles me to think that there must be many others, of all ages, who feel the answer to their problems is suicide. And how many have actually succeeded?

The majority of people, if not all, understand and have experienced the feeling of fear. Whether that fear has been as a result of a nightmare, an instinct, a phobia, or maybe even a near death experience, most have come across it. Some experiences of fear are due to other people, usually because that person doesn’t like the victim who possesses the source of their anger, hatred, or whatever else that prompts them to treat that person wrongly, for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s a group of people who are persecuted. This can be a group of friends at school or work who others don’t like because they’re arrogant, or they’re lazy, or simply because they’re different.

Different. There is so much prejudice and discrimination for being different. Be the only Goth at your school and you’re a potential target for bullies. Be the only female, or male, at your work and you could be the butt of every joke. Be the only black or white person, gay or straight person – if you are different, then you are at risk of becoming a victim due to other people’s views, therefore causing you to be subjected to that feeling of fear. It’s not fair, but unfortunately that’s the way it is.

Of course, fear isn’t always due to just intimidation. According to Home Office Statistics, a total of 48,127 hate crimes were recorded from 1st January to the 31st December 2010 by all police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 39,311 of these attacks were racist, 4,883 were homophobic attacks, and 1,569 were attacks on people because of their disabilities. What troubles me the most is not the numbers, but the lack of a rational answer to the simple question of why. Why would someone want to hurt another person because they’re not like them?

I’m sorry, scratch that. Why would someone want to harm, maybe even kill, another person just for being themselves?

What are they trying to do? Beat the ‘wrongness’ out of them? Beat the black out of a black person; the white out of a white person; the gay out of a gay person? It’s hardly possible to remove all the ‘different’ people from the world. Homophobes, racists, sexists and all other forms of discriminating people seem to think that everyone in the world should be exactly the same – that’s my opinion anyway. If a company – Apple for example – were given a project to complete, would it be accomplished to the high standards we are used to if the staff all had the same qualification and abilities? They need the people who specialise in design. They need the people who specialise who specialise in finance.

It sounds ridiculous to think of members of a company being treated differently just because they specialise in a different part of a project, doesn’t it. Yet it seems to be perfectly okay to victimise people who have a different gender, race, religion or sexuality. Being different is what makes you you. The human race would be such a boring species if not for the variety and unorthodoxy of individuals.

I’m not saying that people should be direct and in-your-face about their differences, far from it. After all, that’s practically as bad as being prejudiced. I’m merely saying that people should be free to embrace their originality, find their place in the world, and be who they truly are. To be unique is a good thing, not a thing to be ashamed of, and I wish more of the population would realise that.

So if you are thinking, “What is wrong with me?” the answer is simple: nothing. There is nothing wrong with you. Be your own person, and in return allow others to do the same.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I thought I'd share this with you...

It's an idea for a play I've decided to pen down. It's going to be a horror, and I want to hear your opinions. So let me know!

Mr and Mrs Lennon live happily in their beautiful mansion, a result for Mr Lennon's success as a lawyer and Mrs Lennon's small business as a florist. Little does Mrs Lennon know that her husband has been having an affair with their housemaid, Eleanor.

Eleanor has fallen madly in love with Mr Lennon, filled with hope that he will leave his wife and they will one day be together "and live happily ever after", like he promised. But her increasingly possessive behaviour soon leads to him finishing with her. The problem is she can't let go and pretend that nothing happened.

Mr Lennon realises something isn't right. Eleanor is very cold towards him and things start happening around the house to which she denies having anything to do with her. Before he knows it, Mr Lennon is in a dangerous game of Cat and Mouse, and his wife is in the centre of the bloodshed.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Long Way Home - Chapter Four

Bea sat at the table, nursing her hot chocolate between her hands as she waited for Kris to come back from dropping Ivan off back home. He had insisted that she wait in the cafe for him, probably so he could bombard her with concerned questions of whether she was okay or not, and demand for her to talk to him about it. She smiled to herself. Her brother was such a caring person; she couldn’t have asked for a better brother.


As if sensing his name upon her thoughts, Kris entered. He ordered a caramel hot chocolate, with whipped cream and sprinkled chocolate pieces and caramel on top and went over to sit opposite Bea at their table.

“Caramel hot chocolate? What happened to your boring writer’s coffee?”

Kris laughed. “I guess I feel like a sweet person right now,” he replied, making Bea chuckle in amusement.

“Kris, you’re always a sweet person.”

The pair smiled at one another, silently sipping their drinks as the mild chill ceased its bite from their bodies. It was Kris who finally set down his mug and leaned forward in his seat to rest his forearms on the table in expectation. Bea looked at him innocently.

“What?” she asked. Kris simply raised an eyebrow in answer, to which Bea lowered her gaze to the drink she held in her lap. “I saw Darren,” she said plainly. Kris sighed, sitting back in his chair.

“I should have known this had something to do with him,” he said, running a hand through his hair. “So what did he want?” he asked.
It was Bea’s turn to sigh now. “He wanted us to get back together,” she said. Kris’ eyebrows shot towards his hairline before he had chance to hide his surprise.

“What did you say?” he attempted to ask indifferently. Bea hid a smile behind her mug. Her brother had always been useless at hiding his feelings.

“I said no,” she said simply, setting her mug down on the table. She looked up to see watch her brother’s eyebrows rise again and his jaw go slack, and couldn’t the soft laughter that came from her mouth.

“Wow,” he said. “Sorry, I guess I just thought you’d run right back in his arms as soon as he snapped his fingers.” He blushed when he realised how harsh that must’ve sounded. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so-”

“It’s okay, Kris, really,” Bea laughed.

The pair fell into a comfortable silence, grinning at one another as they sipped their hot chocolates. Kris couldn’t help but feel so proud of his sister. She had finally stepped out of the stressful cycle that was namely her on-off relationship. Kris had never seen her looking as content with her life as she was now, and it brought a big smile to his face which Bea couldn’t help but notice.

“What?”

“What what?”

“What’s with the goofy grin?”

“Ah, nothing.”

Bea narrowed her eyes and smiled. “Hmm,” she chuckled. “So come on, what about you?” she asked.

Kris frowned. “What about me?”

Bea rolled her eyes and leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table before asking in a hushed tone, “When are you going to come out of the closet?”

The mood dropped with a small bang of Kris’ mug on the table. “Why do we have to bring this up?” he sighed.

“I know you’re scared, Kris, but do you really want to live as somebody you’re not?”

“I’m not ready to tell everyone. I’m scared of how everyone will react: Mom, Dad...Daniel.”

“Well I’m almost certain that Daniel will be fine with it. He’s your best friend after all. He’ll accept you.”

“And our parents?”

Bea sighed. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “But there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?” She was right. He knew she was.
It was that moment that Daniel entered and walked over to them.

“Hey Kris! Hey Bea!” he greeted them both cheerfully before turning his attention to Kris. “Kris, you won’t believe this! You know Dale from my Chemistry class? Well his cousin has taken Film Studies and his assignment this year is to direct an original film, only he’s no good at writing scripts. So I told Dale that you can write just about anything, and guess what? Dale told his cousin and he wants to meet with you as soon as! You’ll be mentioned in the credits and everything! Okay, I know it’s only a student film, but can’t you see how amazing...”

Daniel was rambling at top speed and Kris couldn’t help but silently chuckle at his friend’s enthusiasm and faith in him. His eyes sparkled as he talked; leaving Kris slightly breathless at how beautiful he was when he was so passionate about something. He caught Bea watching him, a knowing smile gracing her features and he felt his cheeks redden in embarrassment.

“...and I know you haven’t done anything like this before, so this is a great opportunity to get a real taste of the job. So will you do it?”

Kris laughed. “Have you finished?”

“Yeah,” Daniel answered, embarrassed.

“Only you were gabbling more than the twins put together – and that’s saying something!”

Daniel chuckled. “Well,” he said, “I guess I just got a bit excited at the thoughts of you working on your first film project. It’ll prepare you for when you get your assignment for Film and Media.” He paused, waiting expectantly.

“What?” Kris asked. Daniel rolled his eyes.

“Are you going to do it or what?” he said.

Kris smiled. “Yeah, let’s do it! When and where does Dale’s cousin want to meet up?”

“Tomorrow lunch in here.”

“I’ll be there!”

Daniel grinned. “I knew you’d go for it! I just knew!” And with that he excused himself and left. Kris chuckled again, and then turned to Bea.

“Okay,” he said. “I promise I’ll tell them.”

Bea nodded and smiled at him encouragingly.

FINALLY finished that book!

I've been reading this book, on-off, for about three months. If I hadn't had so much work to do at college it would probably have only taken me a week tops. Anyway I've finished it now, so I can celebrate being rid of the deprave and sadistic words of a somewhat bipolar story.

The book started off straight to the point: a text message sent to Mallory saying, "I HAVE YOUR SISTER. DO EXACTLY AS I SAY OR I'LL KILL HER". Straight away, I was in the book. I find when I read good books I become a part of the book. I'm no longer Claire Miller, a person, but I'm not a character either. I'm almost the atmosphere, which may sound strange, but it's how it is. And the first line was the trigger - BAM! I'm in the shopping mall, I can see the text on the phone, and I can see the shock and terror in Mallory's eyes. In fact, the first half of the book was brilliant. It was intense, dramatic, and empathetic. You could really feel Mallory's fear and humiliation, and sickeningly I found myself empathising with the perpetrator as well. The story gave small yet blatant hints of what Mr Campbell went through in the past to which you can therefore comprehend how he justifies what he does. Of course, nothing can ever justify what he did.

But then something changed, and soon I found only curiosity was spurring me to continue reading. The spelling and grammar went from the occasional blip to substandard, and the storyline became obvious and typical. It's so typical for the killer to be killed by a 13-year-old girl with a mutilated hand as opposed to a young ex-soldier-gone-security-guard. It rapidly became ridiculous, and therefore disappointing.

So I wouldn't really recommend it, especially if you're shocked easily or find graphical scenes unpalatable. Or if you're easily irritated by poor English for that matter.

Anyway, I'm now onto another book: Misery by Stephen King. I've watched the film, but books are nearly always better.

Ciao folks!

Claire

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I am LOVED! I am LOVED!

I'm not really. Giggidy giggidy...depressed.

No, I've managed to find myself a spot of delicious work experience to sink my teeth into in Southport! Yaaayyyyy!

Yes, I know people who know other people and this one person I know knows a guy who directs plays and he has said that in the summer I can accompany him, like an acquaintance. So I am vair vair vaaaiiiiiiirrrrrrr happy.

Why do I change language?

So yappies guysies! This is goin' daowwn!

I might also talk to him about my musical, 'How NOT To Be A Dumbass' (HNTBAD for short). I've been writing it on and off for just less than a year, and apart from a real pain-in-the-arse song I need to write, I am very nearly done. It's kinda lame and daft, but hopefully it's good enough as a first play to be done. It would be a dream come true to actually direct it and perform it in front of people. Sigh...

So that's that! I will keep you all up to date with anything else that happens. After all, what else am I doing with my life? Oh, yeah... A Levels. Gah!

That's all for now, folks! I'll tap again some other time! Keep smiling!

Claire

The Long Way Home - Chapter Three


Bea walked in and collapsed on the sofa in the living room with a sigh. The interview went great; although she could’ve spoken a bit more about the changes she wanted to bring about and explain them in a bit more depth... She mentally scolded herself. What was she talking about? She did the best she could. There was no need for dwelling so much – she most probably had it in the bag. Bea frowned as a sudden discomfort pressed into the small of her back. Standing up, she lifted one of the sofa cushions and picked up the little wooden train that had been hiding behind it. She chuckled to herself: boys and their toys.
“So? How did it go?”
Bea turned to see her Grandma standing in the kitchen doorway, cradling Ivan. She again mentally scolded herself, this time for being so rude as to not check to see if anyone else was home; after all, there was hardly ever a time that the house was empty. She smiled and walked over to give her Grandma a hug and a light peck on the cheek.
“Grandma, it went great,” she smiled, gently gripping her Grandma’s shoulders. “I was straight to the point, and I answered every question.” Her brow furrowed. “But...”
“But?”
Bea sighed. “I dunno. I wish I’d explained more about antics in advertising and publicity, and maybe if I had mentioned at the end of my speech anything about the main priority in the business being the satisfaction of the client-”
“Darling, darling,” her Grandma interrupted. “You mustn’t think like that – you’ll drive yourself crazy and then you’ll definitely have no chance of taking over that business.” She put a hand on Bea’s shoulder as reassurance. “How about you and I make some home baked scones and cheese straws; take your mind off the interview.”
Bea smiled. “That sounds good to me,” she said. “As long as you tell me the secret ingredient for your cheese straws.”
Her Grandma laughed. “Nice try, girlie,” she chuckled. “Now, go get some flour from the market, that’s a good girl, then we can start baking, okay?”
Bea smiled. “Okay, Grandma.” She kissed her Grandma goodbye and started to exit through the door.
“Oh Bea!” her Grandma called her back.
“Yes, Grandma?”
“Could you please take Ivan with you? It’s about time he was taken for his morning walk anyway.”
Bea rolled her eyes. She hated kids.
***
“Come on, Baby, stop crying, please? For your big sister?”
Ivan continued to cry. She didn’t know what to do – she wasn’t good with kids. What’s wrong with him? The thought frantically raced through her head, over and over again. Why won’t he stop crying? She could feel eyes upon her, and she could feel the panic rising in her throat. Why won’t he stop crying?
“Ivan, please.” She smiled shakily at the woman watching disapprovingly from the till. “What’s wrong with you? Are you hungry? Are you cold? What?”
“Unless he’s the next Einstein, I doubt he’s gonna tell you,” a familiar voice answered. Bea turned to see Darren smiling at her. “Hey, Bea,” he said softly.
She tried to prevent the smile that sprung upon her features, but to no prevail. She had known that they would see one another around – it was inevitable since it was such a small town – but she wasn’t prepared for it at all.
“Hey,” she returned, smiling shakily now. They just stared for what may have only been a brief moment, but felt more like a lifetime. Darren was the one to break eye contact first, tending to the still crying baby.
“Aww, you poor little man,” he cooed, picking Ivan up and rubbing his back in small circles. “Do you just want a cuddle?” Ivan’s cries reduced to slight whimpers before stopping altogether. Bea blushed; she hadn’t thought to pick him up. She watched Darren hold the baby close to his chest, cooing in his ear, only coming out of her trance when she noticed that Darren was smiling at her. Again she blushed, down casting her eyes as she took Ivan from him.
“Darren-”
“Bea-”
Bea decided at that moment that things couldn’t be more awkward. Neither spoke in fear that the other might start talking at the exact same moment again, so she placed her baby brother back in his pram and fussed with his blanket while Darren shifted from foot to foot. It was like they were in a bubble of discomfort and laboriousness, yet neither one dared to be the first to leave, either too stubborn or too scared to upset the other.
“Um, Bea-”
“I can’t, Darren.”
She saw the hurt that flashed in his eyes before he even had a chance to compose the emotionless mask he was now hiding behind. She inwardly flinched as she thought of how harsh her words must have sounded to his ears, but despite that hurt look that made it to his features briefly; she knew she had to do this.
“I see,” he said simply.
“We’re just not right for one another. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay.” The mask was crumbling. “That’s okay. I’ll err... I’ll see you around, Bea.”
He risked one last look at her and their eyes met. That quick look held everything they needed the other to know: understanding, love, and a bid goodbye. He smiled at her briefly as he broke the eye contact once more, and then turned and left. Bea let out a breath she didn’t even realise she had been holding. Sighing, she sat on a bench, pushing Ivan’s pram to and fro gently.
“You okay, Bea?”
She turned around to see the concern in Kris’ eyes and smiled.
“I am now,” she said.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Long Way Home - Chapter Two


“Hey, Mom! Do you know where I put my trainers? I was thinking of going for a jog before school.”

“You always kick them under the dining room table. Have you tried there?”

Kris grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl, dodged around Bea and ruffled little Alec’s hair as he crouched under the table and retrieved his trainers. His mother walked into the kitchen, hitching her handbag up onto her shoulder.

“I’m going to be late again!” she muttered to herself shakily. “Where are my car keys? I’m sure I left them-” Kris handed her the car keys and her lunch. “What would I do without you?” she laughed.

“Be late for work,” he replied. “And you still will be if you carry on standing there marvelling over how you have the best son in the world! Go on, get out of here!”

His mom laughed. “You sure are. Bye honey. Bye kids! I love you!” She blew kisses to them all as she ran out to her car. Kris chuckled and turned back to face the kitchen. Alec and his twin sister Eliza were sat with their own bowls of cereal but instead choosing to pinch from the other’s bowl, spilling milk and Cheerio’s everywhere. Their German Shepherd, Czar, was having a great time, eating bits of toast, jam and cereal off the tiled floor, and baby Ivan hadn’t yet been fed.

“I don’t think you’re gonna have much chance of meeting your boyfriend for a morning’s jog today.” Bea murmured in his ear. Kris sighed.

“He’s not my boyfriend!” he snapped.

“Whatever.”

They were quiet for just over a minute, watching the state of the kitchen worsen by the second. The two sighed in despair at the scene playing out before them. Bea glanced at her watch, and realising the time started gathering papers and other things into a briefcase, and searching for her bag.

“Bea-”

“No,” she interrupted quickly. “You know I don’t do kids. You’re good with them – they love their big brother. Meanwhile, their big sister has some really important things to be doing now.” She started to walk out the front door but Kris called her back.

“Whoa, whoa, wait. What important things?”

Turning to face her brother, she smoothed her hands down the front of her suit, smirking. “You’re looking at the potential candidate to take over ‘Estates Corporation’,” she replied, straightening up proudly.

“Wow! That’s just... Wow! Bea!” Kris hugged her tight and they both laughed excitedly. “Let me know how it goes!”

“Well it won’t go at all if you don’t let me leave you with the kids until Dad comes back,” she laughed.

Kris groaned. “But I’ll be late for school!”

“Oh come on, you’ll work something out. You’re gonna be an author one day after all. You make stuff up, yes? Come on, please, please, please?”

Kris sighed. “Alright,” he said. “Only because it’s you though.”

Bea squealed and kissed him on the nose. “You’re the best! You know that?”

“Oh I so know it! Now go on, good luck!” But she was already out the door and halfway down the drive. Kris chuckled wryly and again turned to face the chaos in the kitchen. He sighed and then reached for the phone; quickly dialling a number of the very person whom he was sure would know what to do in this situation.

"Grandma, hey. Erm, I was wondering if you could help me out a bit...”

***

“Hey, Kris! What happened to our jog?” Daniel asked, nudging Kris playfully as Kris caught up to him.

“Sorry, chaos at my house.” Kris replied. “Ever since my mom got that accountancy job, mornings have been hectic! And what with Dad being on night shifts...”

“Man, sounds pretty rough.”

“Yeah, luckily my Grandma was able to help out today; otherwise I would’ve been late for school.”

“Dude, haven’t you seen the time? It’s ten o’clock, you’ve missed first lesson!”

“What? I could swear it was a quarter to nine when I set off!” Kris spluttered, looking at his watch. Then something clicked in his head and at the same time Daniel slapped him hard on the back, laughing.

“Gotcha! I’m just messing with you.” Daniel chuckled.

“You swine!” Kris laughed back, hitting his friend around the head.

“Well you shouldn’t be so gullible then!” Daniel chuckled, rubbing the side of his head in feigned pain.

Kris shrugged. “Yeah yeah. Hey, what lesson have you got?”

“Ugh, Chemistry. You?”

“Film and media. Probably comparing books to their films again.”

“Fun. Well, I’ll catch you at break, yeah?”

“Sure. Then I can talk you though that Literature assignment.”

Daniel sighed. “Can’t wait,” he replied sarcastically, hitting Kris when he laughed at his friend’s lack of enthusiasm.

The two of them split, walking to their separate lessons. Before Daniel disappeared from view, Kris found himself staring longingly after him. He'd never noticed how positively Daniel held himself. His posture was perfect, something he couldn't say for the other boys in their year. He wasn't as well built as the rest of the rugby team, but he wasn't exactly scrawny either, and he definitely wasn't the weak one on the team. Kris couldn't help but imagine those strong arms holding him, emerald eyes smiling at him, shining with-

He shook himself out of his thoughts and continued walking to class. He needed to get a grip.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Long Way Home - Chapter One


Sitting at his favourite spot by the river against the old apple tree, Kris sighed and opened his laptop. He opened up his Documents, selected the option to show hidden files and double clicked the translucent file that had suddenly appeared to join all the other files and folders. He typed in the required password and started to write:

Eyes. They are the open windows to a person’s soul.
Liquid green, molten emerald; he makes possible
The impossibilities which I no longer claim to be
Except for one. A single hated obstacle
Which may be small but yet I find big.
A padlock shields it’s opening, along with a chain,
And a riddle of riddles that I only speak of with eyes.
And the walls upon which my tears shall rain
Are crumbling with the difficulty of feelings. And within
My brain lies an unfinished mapping of his every detail
Mapping out every trace of the lips that
Utter lonely words beside my ear; not in – they fail.
I wonder if he ever catches my staring eyes
Laid on his, on him, and I shudder to think
That he would ever know. For lips would no longer
Form words across my ear. I shudder to think.
For now the lock has not been picked
But picked it shall one day be. And then-

 “Hey.”

Kris looked up to see said boy smiling down at him. His eyes shone in the sunlight like glimmering emeralds, and his lips curved into a perfect smile. Kris mentally cursed himself for getting into the habit of always becoming poetic with his thoughts whenever he saw his best friend.

“Hey, Daniel.” He decided the safest thing to do was to concentrate on the screen of his laptop.

“I was just on my way to the cafe to get something to eat. You want anything?”

“Just a coffee will do thanks.” Kris risked a quick glance at Daniel, grinning appreciatively before focusing back on the screen.

“What are you writing?” Daniel was now kneeling behind Kris, trying to read the text. However Kris closed his laptop and just smiled mysteriously at him.

“Just the assignment for Literature.”

Daniel groaned. “I forgot about that. Could you help me with it?”

“Hmm... Well...” Kris teased.

“Oh come on, Kris! I’m useless at Literature, and the assignment is due for the end of the week. I can’t even start the thing let alone think about finishing it! Please?”

“Okay! Okay, sure. But first: coffee.” Kris grinned cheekily, making Daniel laugh.

The corners of Daniel’s mouth turned up into a grin. “Yes ‘boss’. Anything you say.”

Kris watched his friend go before opening his laptop and quickly writing a single sentence before closing the file and restoring his Documents to its original settings:

A secret unshared will be one to be shared
And life will never be the same again.


 “Kris?”

He turned his head quickly and then relaxed when he realised it was his older sister, Bea. He gestured for her to sit down next to him, and they both leaned back so their heads rested against the tree. Kris closed his eyes and smiled, knowing Bea was doing the exact same thing, breathing in the scent of newfound autumn. Although there was an age difference of eight years between them, they were extremely close. They had a relationship of sorts where they may not speak to one another for months and then when they did, it was like it was only yesterday that they had last spoken.

“So how are you?” she asked eventually, running a hand through her dark hair.

“Good,” he replied. “You?”

“Good.”

“Good.”

Kris knew that they were both lying. He started to count down in his head for her cue. Three...two...one...

“I left him.”

So that wasn’t exactly what he’d been expecting her to say. What he was expecting was for her to grumble that she and Darren had had another bust up, and that he was being an arse as usual. But after two years of constant bickering and quarrelling, it was only a matter of time this was going to happen. Still, it didn’t stop Kris from being surprised at this sudden news. He searched for the right words to say, but couldn’t think of any.

“You okay?” he chose to go with.

“We just weren’t meant to be,” she sighed.

“Doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.” She nodded in agreement.

“You’re right, you’re right. It hurts. But it’s for the best.” She turned her head to look at Kris. “So what about you? How are things?”

“They’re... They’re good.”

“Liar.”

Kris chuckled. “You know me all too well.”

“Daniel?”

“Bingo.”

Bea got up to stand in front of her brother, her hands on her hips. “Why do you do this?”

Kris frowned. “Do what?”

“This. You just sit here, hiding in the closet, whinging and whining and wondering the big ‘what if’ and all that crap, yet you’re not willing to do anything about it. Come on, Kris! You’re no coward. Do something about it!”

“I can’t.”

“You can.” She sat back next to him and put her arm around him. “Come on, you can’t just live your life pretending you’re something you’re not. Say it now, and say it out loud. You’ll feel better, I promise. Now come on. What are you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what. Say it. We both know it. Neither of us is denying it. All you need to do now is say it out loud, accept it, and live with it.”

Kris nodded and took a deep breath.

“Hey Bea! Long time no see! Here you go, Kris. Coffee, two sugars.”

Daniel handed Kris the coffee before sitting down in front of them so he could tuck into his cheeseburger. There was an awkward silence that shadowed them for a few minutes, where Kris and Bea exchanged a look of understanding.

Daniel was the one to eventually break the silence. “Sorry, did I interrupt something?” he asked.

“No, of course not, Daniel.” Kris laughed. “Just thinking.”

He could feel Bea’s eyes on him, but he continued to focus on his laptop screen.

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