Sunday, March 8, 2015
First 5 Pages March Workshop - Saint-Laurent
Name: Sarah Saint-Laurent
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Title: The Mender
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom:
“Oh come the Hell on,” were the only words that Vivienne could really come up with. And even these she was unable to articulate aloud as her mind raced and then began to clog up like a drain full of wet cement as she considered the sheer absurdity of the situation.
It was ludicrous. A crystal necklace made from a magical star particles? Ancient mythical ancestors? Time-travel? It had to be nonsense. No matter how quirky and batty her family was, 'This just couldn't really be happening,' Vivienne silently told herself resolutely.
But it was. And this she reminded herself quickly as she hoisted her body up the last few rungs of the cold and slippery wrought iron fire escape and thought back to the night that had set this entire fiasco into motion.
‘Why couldn't I just have been satisfied with normal? Why couldn't I have just accepted boring?’ she thought to herself in a viciously perturbed way. Her fingers stung as she gripped the freezing, wet iron rungs. She bit her lip in rage as her mind bolted back just two two short weeks ago. 'For effing-sakes what the Hell was I even thinking. How could I have been so bloody clueless?'
Dim Sum was the only part of the meal Vivienne enjoyed. Actually she also liked the fortune cookies that always appeared with the check but only because she secretly loved getting the obtuse, but strangely fun message contained within the hard, stale, tasteless treat. She never received an important or meaningful message. Nevertheless, she certainly kept hoping one day she would. Along with the cascading, multi-colored leaves and brisk temperatures, dinner with her family at Shanghai Gardens was an autumn family tradition and a routine part of Vivienne’s well-ordered life.
Having unintentionally become an annual event, the Catesby family commenced each new school year with a mad shopping extravaganza followed by a relaxing dinner at their favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant accompanied by Vivienne’s maternal grandmother Lavender and her mother, Great-Gran Livonia. Vivienne had, over the years, managed to make strong associations between the smell of sweet and sour chicken, sharpened pencils, newly opened sheaths of college-rule paper and Gramsy Livonia’s Channel No. 5.
“Daddy, what does your fortune say?” Guinevere, who was called Gwen, inquired of her father as he handed his credit card to the waiter.
“My fortune reads, ‘You have a large capacity for love and a warm heart. Good tidings are yours,’ " Aidan Catesby replied as he gently patted the shoulder of his youngest daughter. He looked over at his eldest and noticed she was reading her own fortune. “What does yours say Vivienne?”
Vivienne appeared a bit crestfallen as she placed the small slip of paper on the table next to the bowl of yum-yum sauce. “Nothing but the usual nonsense,” she replied. “Mine reads: ‘All stages of the butterfly unfold according to plan.’ I never get anything juicy.” With this Vivienne rolled her eyes and slurped the remainder of her soda up through the straw noisily.
Morgan Catesby smiled at her husband and chuckled as she looked at her two daughters thinking to herself how much they had grown since last year’s annual shopping trip. This school year fourteen year old Vivienne would arrive as a 4th year and nine year old Gwen would continue in primary.
“What does your fortune say Gwen,” she asked the youngest daughter as she popped her nude lipstick from her purse and applied a quick touch up.
“Mummy, what do you think it means?” Gwen replied, as she handed her fortune to her mother.
“Hmmm, let’s see, Morgan said as she held the small paper closer to her eyes ‘You will meet a very unusual man who will befriend you for life.’ Well, I dare say, you are a bit young to be meeting men and befriending them. Let’s agree to just hold on to this one for a while and let you grow up a bit and then we can revisit the issue. Right, it’s getting late. Let’s be on our way home. I am completely knackered.”
“Right you are, it is getting on and we should be off ourselves,” replied Lavender as she grabbed her vintage black Chanel bag and gently poked Livonia in the shoulder. “Mother darling, it’s time to leave.”
Gramsy Livonia blinked her sparkling eyes open realizing that she had momentarily drifted into a soft little snooze in the comfy, red plush velveteen upholstery of the massive booth. She simply smiled silently as she looked about the table at her family, her most treasured possession.
“Yes, of course you’re right sweet Lavender. Let us be on our way,” she said, stifling a yawn.
“Now Morgan,” Lavender said to her daughter as she draped a cashmere cape around Livonia’s shoulders,” I’ll just take Gramsy out to my car and let you all gather your belongings. I’ll be in touch in the next day or two.” Lavender leaned in a bit closer to Morgan's ear. "Mind what I've said about 'you-know-what'. I'll call you to discuss further." She gave each grand-daughter a quick peck on the top of the head and blew Aidan a kiss in the air and with that she whisked Livonia out of the restaurant.
The waiter came over and cleared the table while Aiden pocketed his wallet. “Let's get a move on girls. Gwen, put that drink down at once. Any more soda and you'll both be buzzing about the house in that annoying jacked-up zombie eyed way. Don’t you agree Morgan?”
But Morgan Catesby was preoccupied with gathering all the packages from under the table and simply nodded her head in agreement hardly listening. “Yes, whatever you think darling is fine by me.”
On their way out of the restaurant, stepping into the chilly Fall air that was now wet with drizzle, Vivienne loudly gasped in two lungful’s of air, then shot quickly sideways and bolted back into the restaurant pretending to look at the takeaway menus. As she watched 'Him' walk in through the door she acted as if she had not a clue in the world that her parents or sister even existed. Vivienne held her breath as she felt Angus Stewart occupy the same physical space.
“Oh hi there Vivienne, eat here much?” she heard him say.
Vivienne had a hard time swallowing. Her throat felt as if it were closing, as if she had strep throat or some other awful condition. She even felt feverish. ‘Oh My God, I think I’m gonna’ faint,’ she thought trying to stop herself from accidentally hyper-ventilating. Then nonchalantly, summoning all her will-power, she turned around to face Angus as if she had not a care in the world.
“Oh… hi Angus.” And that was all she could manage. Her face turned crimson and a slight veil of sweat broke out across her nose and under her eyes. The rest of the failed attempt to make conversation was composed mainly of ‘Umms’ and ‘Hmms.’ Finally Vivienne stammered out a rushed “Oh I eat here loads, all the time. I highly recommend it,” as she stared at her shoes and fidgeted with her jacket zipper.
“Great then. Thanks. Have a grand night,” he said as he walked away with his family into the inner sanctum of the restaurant.
Vivienne’s knees felt just the slightest bit …