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by Nne 

Posted: 21 July 2007
Word Count: 2087
Summary: Melissa Jones and Rea Smithers are both in love --- with the same guy.

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Chapter 1
Love is blind.

She always stands at the rusty gate of Edison high, it doesn’t matter to her if it rains, snows or is blazing hot, she waits there, always waiting for him--- her “Prince” as she calls him.
He passes her by everyday. Her cheeks burn, her eyes follow his every movement, his eyes never even look at her; still my friend Rea Smithers waits for him, just to watch him pass by. Wishing. Hoping, something will happen, but all that happens is that he disappears into Edison high, he closes the door behind him, and with it he shuts away all hope...

Rea was leaning against the gate again, her arms folded, and whenever she sighed, I could see her breath in the cold air. My hands felt frozen even if they were covered by my wool gloves; Rea’s hands were unsheltered, she was facing the cold air without a hat like I was wearing or a thick jacket like mine, all she had was a little battered looking shawl, and a thin old jacket, faded green.

A sharp wind ran wildly past me, it stung my cheeks, made my ears hurt and my lips freeze, “Rea?” I said, “Why don’t you come inside” I said those words but I knew they were useless, Rea might have been freezing, but in her dark eyes I saw determination, nothing could move her from that spot-- not even a herd of stampeding animals.
Her feet were firmly planted on the floor, like the 100 year old tree that stood behind Edison high's gate, the hard gusts of wind might have blown its leaves away, but it didn’t even hurt one of the tree's branches.

Rea said, “I.. I’ll come in later…”

I waited with her. All I could do was just silently be there for her.
But truth is, I didn’t really understand Rea, I didn’t get why she would go through all this trouble for someone that never lifted a finger for her.
I wondered, what was so special about him… I wanted to look at him again--- study him.

I waited as anxiously as Rea; all those other days I saw him pass by with little interest, he was just the-guy-Rea-likes, I didn’t really care for him, or his existence. But now, I was waiting, my eyes followed the gray stone road as far as my eye could see, I almost felt Rea’s anticipation, her anxiety and even her nervousness, it felt like it was a 'do or die' situation where I just had to see him: the feeling was suffocating, I didn’t know how Rea could live with it day by day, I felt like I was drowning, fighting for air.

I shook my head; shook the feeling out of my system, I didn’t want to feel the same way as Rea does, there was something scary about it, as if that intense feeling would possess me.

I was afraid.

I forced myself to think of something else, I quickly asked Rea if she saw Doreen.
Doreen Harrows is my best friend; Doreen never would have felt so miserably confused as I felt at that moment, she’s always so cheerful, fluttering here and there. So confident.

Too bad Rea said that she hadn’t seen her; it always strikes me as strange how different Doreen and Rea are, they’re like summer and winter;
Doreen is noisy--- Rea is quiet. Doreen plunges right into the world fearlessly, as if it were a swimming pool; Rea on the other hand, just sinks away from it all --- Rea would rather hide in the corner and dream of her knight in shining armor.
Why wouldn’t he just look her way?

He came.

It was so sudden. I felt a pang in my chest, I wondered, "Was this what Rea felt every morning?" It felt like dying.

I watched him.
He was walking with his friends, his dark eyes had something deep and mysterious about them, my pulse quickened, he was looking at me…

Chapter 2
The Stolen Prince.

Our eyes met.
My heart started pounding out of control. The feeling was so sudden, it was frightening, I felt like I was Rea, in her dark boots--- living her life. Her dream.

I didn’t even feel like I was myself anymore, my chest tightened, it was hard to breathe, he walked by, it felt like it was all played out in slow motion. His brown hair danced in the wind, yet whenever the wind quieted down, his hair fell right back on his forehead perfectly, like every strand knew exactly where it belonged.
His jacket was open and his woolen shawl hanging loosely around his neck, I was like a person hypnotized. Staring.

I remember Rea told me she pictured exactly how she dreamed things to be: She would be standing at the gate. He comes by. Their eyes meet... he walks over.
He would tell her he feels exactly the same way for her.

He stopped.

His eyes were looking at the wrong person, me.

He walked over.

I wanted to scream, panic seized my whole body.
Rea was next to me, this wasn’t supposed to happen, things weren’t supposed to be like this, why was he walking over to me? Why didn’t he go to Rea? I turned my eyes to the floor, what was I supposed to do? What was I supposed to do?? I kept asking myself.
In my mind there were no answer. My heart beat wildly.
My temperature went up. I felt like I was burning.
Every step he made towards me, made me feel nauseous, and when he said “Hi” I thought I’d die.
Rea was frozen, heart broken. All this I saw, but he--- her crush, didn’t.
It crushed her.
I could imagine exactly how Rea felt, I could see her hand in a fist, trembling in pain and tears in her eyes.

She ran away.

He never noticed her run, to him, she seemed to be like a shadow that slipped away.
A shadow he never saw.
“Rea!” I called out.
She didn’t stop. She didn’t look back. She ran right into Edison high.
I felt awful.
I looked from my school’s red double door, to his face. My stomach felt like it was tied in a knot. I was supposed to run after Rea. I was supposed to make her feel better, I was supposed to be a good friend, but someway I was still standing, saying hi back.
I felt weird, my stomach felt more like a washing machine, emotions mixing round and round, my head dizzy, I wanted to run away, hide. Yet, I felt like staying.
I wasn’t being me!
I don’t know how long I have been standing there, we were just looking at each other; maybe only seconds passed, maybe minutes, I could hardly tell, but Doreen came running, “HEY MEL!” she screeched. It was like a bubble burst, I woke up.
She took one look from me to him, and said, “Oh! Haha. I see you’re busy! I’ll talk to you later!” It was so humiliating, why was I standing here anyway?!

“No... uhh, he’s just… I mean, I got to go! Bye!”

I was ready to die.

Chapter 3.
Double Trouble.

I ran into Edison high as if I was possessed--- Rea waited all this time, wishing with all her heart that he would come to her, why didn’t he come? Why did he come to me?
Her tears, her pain, her dreams, were overlooked by the person her heart called out for.
It was worse than rejection. At least with rejection a person gets acknowledged.
Here she was in love alone. Unseen. Unheard.
Just thinking about what Rea must have been feeling at that very moment made my chest ache.
Doreen helped me look for her.
We couldn’t find Rea anywhere. Not in the toilet, not in the study hall
Or in the canteen. Nowhere.

The bell rang.

I was getting worried.

“Anyway” Doreen said, “you’ll see her in class, though to be honest…” Doreen dropped her voice, “Rea is really weird; all she does is mope around all day and stand at that gate staring at some guy! Who’d do that for a guy that doesn’t even look your way?! It’s freakishly scary! Rea the stalker girl! Ahahaha!” Doreen laughed like crazy.
It wasn’t right to me to laugh at Rea behind her back!
But not to laugh with my best friend Doreen would have been weirder... Right?
I felt caught in the middle.
I didn’t know if I was supposed to be loyal to Rea or Doreen.
Doreen laughed, even her eyes seemed to smile with her: her green eyes invited me to laugh with her.
I forced a laugh. I didn't know what else to do, I felt so uncomfortable… unsure.
It didn’t feel right.
“Ha!” Doreen continued, “Did you see Rea’s face earlier? She looked like she’d bawl! Buahaha! Such a cry baby”
To Doreen, Rea was a big joke, a desperado.
I didn’t see the same Rea as Doreen did; to me Rea was a completely different girl.
A normal girl. My friend.
The hallway started filling up with students, each living in their own world, a million voices scattered around coming from random people that passed us by.
Someone bumped into to me.
“Hey! Watch it!” I screeched glancing at the guy once; it looked like him.
The guy Rea liked.
My heart felt like it stopped. My eyes darted back to his face.
I looked into angry eyes; the guy that bumped into me--- wasn’t him.
I wanted to kick myself, I felt so ashamed that I was being such an idiot! Ever since I met him. He’s been invading my thoughts, I even saw him everywhere! Of course it was because I had this terribly confusing situation with Rea, it was really making my senses go mad!

“Oh Crisps!!” Doreen said, “it’s getting late! Well see you!” She ran off. Doreen wasn’t in the same class as me. Doreen was in class 1A. I was in 1C.

I met Doreen a long time ago when our teachers decided to do a football match Class 1A against Class 1C. They won. But this time, Doreen’s way of thinking wasn’t a winner, Rea wasn’t a freak. She just liked a guy a lot --- what’s wrong with that?


First hour. Biology.

Rea was really down.

She said, “Of course it couldn’t be helped...” sighing sadly.
“I guess someone like him wouldn’t care for someone like me...”

“No, that’s not true! Well umm--- Why don’t you just talk to him?”

Rea let out a bitter laugh, “As if he’ll even bother talking to me”
She picked up her Biology book, she flipped though its pages aimlessly.
A second later she tossed her book back on her desk and stared at it miserably.

“You’ll never know if you don’t try!” I said, but I hardly think Rea heard me.
She seemed deep in thought.
“Thanks Melissa, you’re a great friend, but… I don’t think I’d dare.”

Someway it made me feel really sad that she would just give up without even trying.
What if things worked out?
I thought more and more about it, I doodled in my notebook.
My thoughts were so deep, I couldn’t hear my teacher’s monologue;
So deep, I couldn’t hear the voices in the air circling all around me.

If Rea tried, she might have her “happily ever after” but instead she chooses to hide in the shadows of life and let its darkness take her over--- make her sad.
Maybe if she believed in herself he might see Rea?
I thought it through; it seemed to make sense to me. It was only when Rea said,
“Melissa” that I woke up. Rea’s dark eyes were wide and glued to my notebook.
“That drawing… That drawing… it.. it looks just like… him..!”
I stared down at what I drew.
A whole shock wave went through my body. It did look like him, the same eyes, the same hair…
My hand stopped mid air, my pencil dropped noisily on my wooden desk.
“I…I…” I didn’t know what to say, I laughed, my laugh sounded very mechanical to my ears--- fake.
Rea looked from me to the drawing; her eyes asking for an explanation...
I was frozen.
What was I going to say?
I didn't know what to say!

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Comments by other Members

Steerpike`s sister at 22:53 on 21 July 2007  Report this post
Hi there,
Just a quick one, to say that I think you get the atmosphere of love and longing and confusion down very well. One can really feel for the main character. There was something about this that reminded me of manga or anime, is that your kind of thing?
I thought Doreen came across as very unsympathetic and the least believable of the three girls. I was also a bit confused about how much Rea knew about how the main character felt about the guy she had a crush on. On the whole , it feels like you could develop this story - you seem to be rushing through it at the moment without really taking time to establish the characters, their histories and relationships.
This is a good start. I'm not sure what your intentions are with your writing - do you hope to get published? Either way, good luck with it! Hope to see some more soon.
all the best, Leila

Nne at 08:31 on 22 July 2007  Report this post

Thanks, and yes, I did want to write more in manga/anime style for this story. That's how the story seemed to come out lol
I don't know if I portrayed this well but,

Doreen isn't really a sympathetic person, Mel really cares for how people feel, Doreen doesn't bother with that, Doreen has no patience what so ever with Rea. In fact she doesn't really like her. But than again, Rea is Mel's friend rather than Doreen's.

I think at this point Rea is afraid that Mel would like her crush, rather than that she knows Mel likes him.

(She gets that fear because Mel got the attention she wanted. She's afraid Mel will choose to be with him.)

Doreen's nicer side let's say, will come out more in around chapter 5, when Doreen and Mel are away from Rea, because, anything that connects to Rea annoys Doreen, she feels Rea is over exaggerating, and whiny.

Doreen doesn't even understand why Mel bothers with her.
But, because Rea is Mel's friend Doreen tries to put up with her. And this is something that is revealed at around chapter 5.

I'll look over the chapters and see what I can improve :)

Terry Edge at 10:54 on 22 July 2007  Report this post
First, apologies. These comments were originally longer than this, but I accidentally pressed the wrong button and lost them! What follows, therefore, is a little truncated.

Good that you draw us in straight away with a love triangle that generates dramatic tension: we want to see how Mel copes with being in the middle of two conflicting emotions.

Good that you put us right inside the emotions of teen girls (not somewhere I'd choose to be but then I'm not your target audience!).

However, I agree with Leila that this reads a little rushed. It comes across more like a diary - Mel giving us her immediate reactions in each moment, and not bothering to provide any background or setting details. But a novel has to step back a bit from the immediate action, and provide enough context, both in terms of the bigger plot and the characters' motivations, so we don't get swept up in a lot of emotional maelstroms that don't really concern us. Also agree with Leila, about the confusion over Rea and Mel and the boy. Rea rushes off, devastated, that he has looked at Mel, not her, yet quite soon after is chatting to Mel as if nothing has happened. Also, Doreen talks to Mel about Rea as if she believes Mel doesn't know her; yet Mel tells us she's a friend to Rea: surely Doreen would know that?

I also feel you need to provide more hints about where and when this story is set and what kind of story it is. At the moment it reads like teen-chick-lit but the way you're writing the boy - as some kind of strangely attractive, dark-eyed, god who can make girls fall in love with him just by being himself, hints at something more in the fantasy area (unless I'm just jealous!). Okay, if this was published, the blurb and cover would tip us off about the content, but remember that any agent or editor reading this will not have that to go on; they can only deduce from your actual words.

Overall, this has plenty of emotional punch - even if your descriptions of Mel's emotions about the boy are maybe a bit over the top - and with a bit more context and hint at the main plot will, I feel, be a rattling good read.


Nne at 13:39 on 22 July 2007  Report this post
Thanks, I'm going over it now :)

Skippoo at 21:24 on 24 July 2007  Report this post
Hi Nadine,

I agree with all the comments the others made, so I won't repeat them, but here's a few other points.

I liked the way the narrator started off as the observer of someone else's obsession. It was refreshing compared to a lot of the 1st person unrequited love you get in teen fiction.

Your writing is also very accessible, which is a big plus. You have a good sense of rhythm too.

I think your writing style is quite unique. Sometimes the language seems quite melancholy, but at other times it's much more chatty, more like teen chick lit. The following quote is an example of the former:
A sharp wind ran wildly past me, it stung my cheeks, made my ears hurt and my lips freeze, “Rea?” I said, “Why don’t you come inside” I said those words but I knew they were useless, Rea might have been freezing, but in her dark eyes I saw determination, nothing could move her from that spot-- not even a herd of stampeding animals.
Her feet were firmly planted on the floor, like the 100 year old tree that stood behind Edison high's gate, the hard gusts of wind might have blown its leaves away, but it didn’t even hurt one of the tree's branches.

Whereas the chapter titles are an example of the latter.

Part of me found this kind of inconsistent, but another part of me wouldn't want you to change it too much as it's quite distinctive. I think it's also that contrast that partly gives it the manga feel that Leila mentioned.

So I'd try to keep some of that distinctiveness, but also take others' advice and slow down, pad it out more.

Some of the descriptions of the prince character sound a bit cliched, e.g:
his dark eyes had something deep and mysterious about them
. Perhaps try to think of some features that could make him unique.

Ever since I met him. He’s been invading my thoughts

This needs to be in past tense, same as the rest of the writing.

But this time, Doreen’s way of thinking wasn’t a winner

The winning analogy seemed a little forced to me here!

My thoughts were so deep, I couldn’t hear my teacher’s monologue;
So deep, I couldn’t hear the voices in the air circling all around me.

I had difficulty with this. Saying something's really deep without explaining how or showing real evidence can seem pretentious. On the other hand, I know a lot of young people use the word 'deep' in colloquial speech, so I guess it depends on how its meant here!

Hope some of that is useful. Looking forward to reading more.


Nne at 22:18 on 25 July 2007  Report this post

Thanks Cath, that did help a lot!
As well as Terry and Leila's comments :)

Oh and, I was trying to say that Mel was Deep in thought.
But um, maybe that wasn't coming over too clearly,
I'll try to fix that and add more details to the first chapters :)


lorrie porter at 21:32 on 26 July 2007  Report this post
Hi Nadine,

Sorry, I'm a bit late with this. You've had some good feedback already. I agree that the empathy Mel for feels for Rea gives the story an strong opening.

Reading through, I wanted the boy to be more involved, especially at the initial meeting, perhaps a little more dialogue.

Also, I wasn't sure about the following:

All this I saw, but he--- her crush, didn’t.
It crushed her.

The repeat of 'crush' felt wrong.

It will be interesting to see how the story develops.

All the best.


Nne at 20:09 on 28 July 2007  Report this post

Thanks Lorrie,

I re-wrote so many parts,
I'll try to post it up soon :)

SarahT at 20:17 on 06 August 2007  Report this post
Hi Nadine,

I'm late too - been distracted from critiquing recently! You've had quite a few good comments on this already. For my money, I thought it was a good reflection of the general confusion and angst of teenagers and teenagers in love but I agree that it needs more of an idea of where it is going. As it stands, it could almost be a pen portrait of a moment in time of these girl's lives, rather than a first chapter.

Apart from that, there was one bit which I felt was too knowing for a teenage: 'It was worse than rejection. At least with rejection a person gets acknowledged.' I felt that this was almost too wise for a young, confused girl.


Nne at 16:05 on 13 August 2007  Report this post

Thanks Sarah!
I do agree it needed a stronger direction.
And I managed to find some new ideas for it~!

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