Hi guys. Today I did an almost final edit of the first chapter of my YA romance and I’ve decided to share it here. I say almost because this could possibly be the ninth time I’ve gone through it and made multiple changes and I sincerely do not believe it will be the last. And yes, I took the advice in the last post about author Dean Koontz to heart. Hard work pays.
Right now I’m in Lancaster University for my post graduate studies and its a giant phase in a lot of ways but mostly because for the first time ever, I’m completely on my own. My parents still call to check up on me almost every night and although I’m not surprised, it’s immensely appreciated. Those two will never completely let go. So now the entire responsibility on charting my course lies in my hands but lately I’ve been very limp with my grip on the shovel. That all changes today by a supernatural grace so once again I’ve put a deadline for the end of this edit and it will be at the end of this month. I’ll send out queries in between, and if by the end of this month I’ve still not heard anything I’ll start looking towards self publishing.
Anyway, enough rants and here is the first chapter of the novel I’ve entitle DAZED. It is the first book in a two book series about two bitter teenagers who meet in an English boarding school and discover love. Note: they don’t fall in it until the second book. Right now, it’s complete at 81,000 words but I suspect it’s going to be longer after this hopefully final edit. YIKES! Please forgive errors and alert me to them. I’ll still go over it again. Cheers!
I dreamt of nothing, and it was familiar.
Today was the second Monday of the spring term and it was freezing cold. We of course had a heater in the room but once again there was a widow open: cold wafts of air floated enthusiastically into the room and turned the thick blue duvet against me. One would think my body heat would have been enough to warm it but that was not the case; I shivered silently underneath the chilly covers and it showed exactly how cold the room was becoming. The heartbreaking part was that I was not surprised.
There were two windows in our room. They were placed at the extreme ends of the wall the headboard of my bed was positioned against and one of them was supposed to serve me. But as I pulled the duvet a little bit down from over my head I saw that the one on my immediate right was open and the curtains were taking delight in the incoming breeze. I chose not to be upset but couldn’t help the anger that made me feel even colder that I already did.
Just then the shrill of loud and offensive laughter broke out in the room and I forced myself to take a deep and painful breath. I forced my eyes open and soon moisture from the cold filled it and that was all it was. Moisture and not tears. Because if it was moisture it would help me believe that now, three years after the accident I was untouchable. But if I thought it as tears it would mean that both memory and cruelty could still bother me. How I felt was never taken into consideration because that part I could never get a hold of.
So no, I was not upset that my roommate Olivia Doyle had intentionally opened the windows to torment me on this already bleak morning or that her friends were around to enjoy the taunt but I was angry. I was angry that as usual the morning was bleak and I had to wake up to it.
I also suspected that my anger had something to do with my dreamless sleep. The nightmares had followed immediately after the accident and then thereafter, dreaming had altogether ceased. So that now, all I was left with was memories.
Memories of a time when I was happy and didn’t know that I shouldn’t have been and memories of the day it all came to an end. The memories made me darker as each day went by and I wished I could completely erase them because although I didn’t mind being dark I did absolutely hate being aware it. Indifference was a state I ached for but so far, it had expertly eluded me. I wanted to be completely dead and no not in the literal sense but just inside which was the only place I could make peace reign.
Today was one of those days I especially had to make an effort to get through and if I could without breaking down even once, I’d come back to bed and for the first time in a while, smile. Today signified the drastic end to a phase in my life and that was what I’d always see it as but unknown to me on this cold day in January, it would also mark the beginning of another one. It was a phase that sometimes got me wishing for the then darkness I had so previously despised but one I didn’t realize would make such a profound impact in my life. What happened? I met a boy.
Like all teenagers this is a crucial point in our lives but this one changed mine because even though more often than not the act of falling in love is enough to add a little bit of turmoil to the existence of anyone, the person we fall in love with could determine if we stayed the same when it was all over or if we were forever changed.
I calmly pushed the duvet away and stood to my feet. I didn’t have to look at the short black clock that stood on my desk a few feet away from my bed to know that I was beyond late but that didn’t deter me-I had no choice. I didn’t bother to look at my roommate as I walked past but I did however notice that her and her cohorts were fully dressed. I pushed them all out of my mind and got ready as fast as I possibly could. It took me a few minutes, and soon I was running down the already deserted hallway and opening the door to my first floor classroom.
Mr. Walker had already arrived. Standing behind the wooden desk, he kept his head down as he retrieved papers from his shabby briefcase. I didn’t for a moment even kid myself enough to think that he didn’t hear me as I crept into the classroom but I did hope that he would ignore me. I should have known better.
“Nice of you to join us miss baker.” He said and I froze mid-creep.
‘Uh…” I started and slightly inclined my head to meet his gaze and as usual, he looked bored. A water bottle was raised to his lips and his eyes looked half closed as he stared down at me through wide-rimmed glasses.
“Why are you late again?” He asked and screwed the cap back on. Relaxing my stance, I sighed and wondered why he never deemed it fit to just leave me alone. Other teachers got that I wasn’t completely normal and they let me be, even flat out ignored me most times but this one never let up with the hassle. I didn’t even bother to lie.
“I woke up late.”
“Why did you wake up late?”
I lifted my yes to the ceiling and appeared to be in deep thought. “Because… shit happens?”
Low tone giggles erupted throughout the classroom and I returned my gaze to his. Although I hadn’t purposely dropped the gibe with the intent to amuse, the water bottle was now on the table and clouds had gathered on his face.
“Go sit you butt down!” he ordered and I immediately turned around to hurry to my seat. “Let it happen again and we’ll take a trip to the principal’s office.” He said and I widened my eyes for lack of a better response. It almost always happened and he’d still not come through on that promise. I suspected it was because he realized it as exactly what it was- a fruit of my apparent dislike for school- and was hoping that something would happen to produce a spark but I could almost guarantee that that would never happen. I consumed almost every novel I could get my hands on because it was a good means for escape but school was and would always be a no-no for me.
I settled in with a notebook open on my desk and he soon completely ignored me. Minutes later, I was almost falling asleep when a flash of white caught the corner of my eyes. I looked through the glass window to see egrets strewn across the courtyard: some were pecking away at the ground while the others just hung atop the wooden picnic tables. A particular one caught my eye and as I watched it, I felt the stir of unwelcome heat inside my chest.
It was something about the way it perched, balanced and with its neck outstretched, stance deathly still. Its milky white fumes were alluring and its statuesque pose almost intimidating, but it’s long, thin and naked legs dented its grandeur. To the world it appeared beautiful- weak but beautiful and as I watched I felt a complete connection to its imperfection. I’d been told over the years that I’d become too hard to be human but inside I knew how weak I really was. And with flash of real fear I wondered if I’d always remain that vulnerable. Right then I chose to relax and decided that my attitude today would determine all that, so more than ever, I looked forward to braving the day. It meant no thinking about today, three years ago and no reactions to anything whatsoever.
“Grace!” Mr. Walker barked out just then, dousing my reverie like water to a flame. I turned an icy look in his direction that would have made any other teacher shiver but not him. He kept his stance and even seemed to stand even taller.
“I suppose you’d very much like to join the egrets outside, wouldn’t you Miss Baker?” he suggested and I was almost amused. He somehow always made me remember that I was just an angry fifteen year old instead of the monster other teachers had marked me out to be. My answering smile told him all he needed to know, and as he chuckled in response, I was sure he comprehended, that with no apology whatsoever, I would have loved to.”