Monday, December 17, 2012

A New Adventure

Hello friends! I started writing a new series based on a jolt of inspiration. I wish I had more time to write but fortunately enough my winter break is coming really soon! So I'll have a lot of concrete time to write then. This new series is meant to be a shorter one that I plan to cap at about 50 pages. The Coffee Shop series is facing some serious closure. I don't have motivation to write for Coffee Shop and it's not where my inspiration is at. I've moved on from the characters and new projects have simply blossomed from everywhere. I wrote a couple more pages of Lillian's solo adventure but for this Monday Memoir I want to share a new story. I would love any feedback.
This story focuses around 3 girls who all have intertwined lives, whether they like it or not. Valentina  is a heiress and a talented one at that. She's a bitter person but it takes an iron fist to run a fashion company, especially one as high profile as Artemis. She's the vice president and in line for the company when she turns of legal age. Her father married again and her stepmother is doing everything she can to get her daughter Rosie as head of company. Lulu is a brilliant girl who just wants to go to a top college. Her sister is terminally ill and Lulu is forced into working at Artemis. Her understanding boyfriend Tyler is always there for her. Olive is a budding designer with a lot of talent and potential. She's also a shy pushover in almost every situation. She works as a junior designer for Artemis and obsesses over being perfect. Watch as their lives become tangled. 

Prologue 
Valentina Nichols groaned with frustration when she saw that the laces to her new Oxfords were untied, again. It had to be at least the tenth time just this hour. She wondered why Miu Miu didn’t have the integrity to make better shoelaces for shoes that cost more than five hundred dollars. Her mother had said spending that much for shoes was excessive but Valentina hadn’t believed her then. It was her money and the choice was hers. It was too late to do anything about that past Valentina, the one who decided to buy those shoes. Valentina knew they were worthless shoes but she couldn’t bear to throw them away. 

Her teeth shivered as she walked along Park Avenue. It was winter and a lovely winter at that. The stores had adorned lights to their front windows and doors. Wreaths hung from almost all the doors in the Park Avenue duplex where she lived. Christmas carolers were everywhere as was Christmas music. It was infectious, that holiday cheer. Her arms tried to balance the huge white Balenciaga bag and her daily Starbuck’s coffee. A Burberry scarf was loosely wrapped around her neck. She stopped and gaped at the wide and long cross walk looming ahead of her. She hated this part. People were rushing amidst her trying to get to the other side. She stared momentarily at her watch, two minutes late. Valentina rushed ahead without thinking twice. Miraculously, she made it to the other side intact, with coffee still in hand. 

She composed herself outside the building and took a deep breath. She checked her hair and applied a new coat of lipgloss. Her makeup still looked immaculate and she admired her doe shaped eyes in her little mirror. She put it away, five minutes late. Valentina threw away her gossip magazines and zipped up her bag. It was new and she already received some envious looks from the New York crowd. Valentina stepped in with poise and grimaced at the choice of holiday music. No one stopped to appreciate anything around here. A second’s delay meant that you could be fired. She smirked at one of the employees and made her way swiftly to the Office. The Office was a legendary room of pinkish furniture and white rugs. It was often called the “Show Room” by some of the employees who ever made it that far. Magazines were stacked everywhere, on bookshelves, on the coffee tables, even on the floor. Various awards were hung around the room and Elena, her stepmother was already sitting in her chair facing the blank computer screen. Valentina rolled her eyes at the pair of Jimmy Choos strapped to her feet. Just because you wore Jimmy Choo didn’t mean you had class. The chair spun around when Valentina’s shoe snubbed on a loose thread on the rug. Valentina almost cursed. 

“You’re late,” Elena said eyeing the shoes. Valentina casually smiled and drank a sip of her coffee. She paused just a second longer before putting the cup on one of the polished white coffee tables. It gave off just the right signal: I couldn’t care less about coming on time that I grabbed coffee too.

“Yes, I am,” Valentina said. “The line at Starbuck’s was long.” Her father had married Elena two months after her mother’s funeral. Valentina was devastated and disgusted. She had loved her mother but it seemed that no one else had. Her father’s marriage had another dreadful consequence. Valentina now had a sister she never wanted in Rosie Atkins.

Lulu Stephens took a deep breath before dialing her boyfriend Tyler. It was eight on the Tuesday before winter break. She was standing outside despite the frigid cold. Her lackluster jacket was zipped all the way up but she was still shivering. She hated her job but she didn’t have a choice. Her ten year old sister Eva was horribly sick and always had been an ailing child. Lulu’s mother worked two jobs but there still wasn’t enough money after her father’s failed investment. Her father had run away from the bank when they came to foreclose his business pushing all responsibility to his brother, his business partner. Lulu didn’t know why her uncle and aunt were still on friendly terms with them. Her aunt had pulled some strings and now Lulu had a job at Artemis. It was almost ironic that a girl with no fashion sense was hired to work here. She didn’t have much contact with designers or customers but rather she was always in the back room folding and reorganizing clothes. When someone wanted twenty pairs of the same white socks, she would be the one frantically running around the back room searching. Of course when all twenty pairs were found, the person decided that the color was a little unpleasant and that they didn’t want any after all. It was all in a day’s work. 

“Hello?” She almost swooned at his voice. He made even standing outside alone in the cold sort of romantic. 

“Hi Tyler, it’s Lulu! Are you almost here yet?” It was cold enough to see her breath. They agreed to meet at a pizza place for a casual date. She knew he was busy with all his AP classes and it really touched her that he was willing to go out of his way to assure his love for her. 

“Yep, I’m just around the corner. See you in two minutes.” They hung up and Lulu always felt so fortunate to have someone like Tyler. She went back inside and saw that there were hardly any people shopping inside. The store was closing in thirty minutes anyway. Lulu whipped her ID card off her neck and hung it back on the rack. She signed out and left hoping no one had stopped her. She walked at a brisk pace to the pizza place. It had one of the coziest atmospheres with the red chairs she dreamed of owning one day. He was already sitting at one the tables in the back and she cheerily waved to him before sitting down across from him. 

“Lu, you look great,” he said as the waitress gave them both menus. She smiled and felt herself blush. 

“Thanks,” she said. She wondered how to break the bad news. He seemed so happy and the moment was too perfect to ruin. 

“I heard Christina is almost done with the Christmas plans,” he said excitedly. His face became animated as her smile faded away. “It’s our first trip. I can’t believe that it’s actually happening.” It was all Tyler had talked about for the past month. She felt guilty and her lip had started quivering, to her horror. He looked at her tentatively and wiped a tear away.

“What’s wrong?” His tone suddenly was one of a worried parent. It was how all relationships worked. There was always one stronger person that supported the other and a relationship was all about making that balance work. She was never strong enough to hold any of his worries. Lulu wondered how she had been so lucky to call Tyler her boyfriend. 

“I can’t go,” she whispered. It was too painful to say louder or again. 

“Why not?” She stared down at the menu briefly before staring back into his eyes. Her tears were trailing along her cheeks and she wished she didn’t always cry. Her mother said that she had to be strong and fight her will to cry. No one ever realized that she didn’t want to cry but that her tear ducts never listened to her. 

“I have to work on Christmas,” she said. Her lips were taut with sadness and she tried not to look at his crestfallen expression. 

“Why?” It was her turn to be the explanatory parent who answered all the “why” and “if” questions. 

“Apparently some person really high up in the company is visiting,” Lulu said in a hushed tone. “I don’t know who he is but no one is getting a holiday this Christmas. All I know is that his name is Valentino Nichols. Who names their child Valentino?” 

“I won’t go either then. We can spend Christmas here.” 

“No. You have to go, Tyler. You’ve been looking forward to this trip since freshman year.” 

“It won’t be the same without you.” They met in math class of freshman year. Math was her favorite subject and she had always been brilliant at it. Tyler had moved schools that summer and he had somehow been accidentally placed in her class. She sat next to him for the first half of the year and instead of glowering at her test grades, he asked her for help. She, of course, said yes because she was a nice person and he was sort of cute. Lulu ended the year with a boyfriend. 

He squeezed her hand and brought her back to the present. She tried to smile but couldn’t. She had also been looking forward to the trip and had finally persuaded her mother to say yes. 

“I bet we can go on a trip next year,” she said trying to display confidence, confidence that she didn’t have. 

“Have you ever thought about a job as a waitress or a yogurt shop?” 

“I have,” she sighed. Why wouldn’t she have? “Artemis pays well, you know that.” He did and he slouched back. 

“C’mon, let’s go home,” he said with a smile. He paid for their meal and she heard the little sound the door made as they stepped out. 

Olive Hass signed out reluctantly and pulled her scarf over her head. She buttoned up her jacket and turned off the lights and locked the door. The once dimly lit building was now consumed by darkness. She was already thirty minutes late but her face broke into a nervous grin when she started walking to the subway station. 

“Ollie, I thought that was you.” There was only one person who called her Ollie. She knew she shouldn’t be smiling, but she was. Her cheeks were flushed and she was glad that it was too dark to see. She held his hand impulsively but he didn’t let go. 

“What brings you here?” Jonah was the typical nice guy. He was too dense to see that she had a blatant crush on him. 

“Oh, I had a favor to ask. You’re probably the only person I know who has any connection with the fashion world.” They had been friends since fifth grade but she started to like him in middle school. When she had finally gathered the courage to ask him to the seventh grade dance, he had already asked Simone Davis. 

“What? Do you want me to knit you a scarf?” 

“Ha, no, nothing like that. Do you have any discounts to Artemis?” 

“Yes,” she grudgingly admitted. She had been looking forward to saving those. 

“Could you possibly fork it over?” She rolled her eyes but unzipped her bag and pulled out the stack of coupons she had received. 

“Thanks,” he said beaming with appreciation. “Nancy will love this.” Nancy? Her heart palpably dropped. “She wanted a nice Christmas present and I was wondering what to get her but now I know.”

“Are you guys dating? Artemis bags are pricey, Jonah.” 

“Indeed we are,” he said with a little smirk. He sounded so proud. Her heart sank and she tried to smile for him. Nancy was one of the prettiest girls at their school. She was highly motivated and knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. Jonah would probably be discarded like a half eaten doughnut after she received a couple Artemis bags. 

“Oh,” she said unable to say anything more. He seemed to note her silence but said nothing more. It was a long silent subway ride home. She went home after waving goodbye to Jonah. They lived on opposite sides of the same street. Her family was having dinner but she walked straight to her bedroom. 

Olive immediately worked on new designs. She was hunched over her tablet computer and let out a brief sigh. Her stylus pen was gripped in her hand but she had almost no motivation. The letter that Artemis sent her was still hanging above her desk. She had been accepted to be a junior designer, a paid junior designer. She had the position that millions of people applied for all over the word. Olive had worked so hard to feel that her work was treasured and appreciated but now she was experiencing an artist’s block. 

“Olivia, sweetie, are you in there? When did you get home?” She was occupied, or had been occupied. 


“Olivia, that’s not healthy.” Her mother had opened the door and Olive felt her spirits sink lower. She hadn’t thought that was possible. 

“Maybe ten minutes ago. I know, Mom, but this opportunity is just the chance of a lifetime. I need to turn in good material if I want to keep this position. They want to see me at their New York location in a week! They told me to bring all my current ideas and I have nothing.”

“Honey, that’s Christmas.” Her mother stopped talking and looked at Olive with the saddest expression. “Did you know that?”

“Mom, it’s just one Christmas. Arthur isn’t even coming home this year.”

“Your brother has nothing to do with this. Arty would want you to stay home with the family. You don’t see Bernie working away on some project on Christmas.” 

“Why can’t you call me Olive? You call Arthur Arty and Bernard Bernie.” This was the topic of many conversations. 

“Olivia, I’m not letting you go.”

“Do you know who might be visiting that location on Thursday?” Olive didn’t wait for a response. 


“Valentina Nichols! If she says these designs are any good then I have a real chance in the design world. Don’t you want to see my name on clothes and in magazines? You read Esquire and Cosmo.”

“I would just like to be present at Christmas dinner. I don’t care for all your design whims. You’re grounded, Olivia Hass, and you are not allowed to leave on Christmas Day.” Olive gaped at her mother. 

“You . . . you can’t do that, Mom.” 

“I just did.” Her mother closed the door and walked off. Olive wanted to scream in frustration. Why didn’t her mother ever understand what she wanted? Olive opened her email and saw that it was mandatory for her to show up on that day. Nothing in her life was going as she wanted, nothing. 

2 comments:

  1. Valentino is an unusual name, I guess.. I do know one person called Valentina, and she really sticks out amongst the seas of Maries, Johns and Seans in our town!

    I've just read your message about wanting to guest post at Teenage Blogger Central. This is great news! You are welcome to send me a post on any teenage-writersy topic you like (i.e, being a bookworm, writing techniques, comedic take on something teenage). Not too long (i.e, <800 words) is preferable.

    If you are still interested, you can e-mail the post to me at quirksandirks@gmail.com or wait until the "submit work" page appears on teenage blogger central.

    Thanks a million for volunteering!
    :)

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    Replies
    1. Valentina is one of my favorite names. The hardest part about writing is always coming up with names.
      I'll start on it! No problem. I'm happy to guest blog!

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