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Bianca Snow Chap 3

by cacooper 

Posted: 04 August 2011
Word Count: 2726
Summary: I guess with school holidays everyone's too busy to comment but thought I'd post just in case....

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The rest of my first week is fairly uneventful. I go to lessons, do my “prep” as homework is called here, have dinner and go to bed. Every day is pretty much the same.
I’m looking forward to the weekend. Even though Dad and Mindy are away, I’ve managed to swing it so that I’m a weekly boarder, which is how most the kids here board. So this weekend I’m going to Emma’s, we’re going to a party, and I’m going to be able to see Emilio.
Because I want to make friends, I ask Melissa and Lily if they’d like to come to the party. It’s the launch of some new musical, I think, and the after-party is at Sketch. Their eyes widen.
“Really?” squeaks Lily. “You’d let us come?”
I smile, as if it’s no big deal. Which really, it isn’t. “Yeah. Why not? The more the merrier.”
“Will there be a free bar?” Melissa asks, trying and failing to seem nonchalant. “And can I bring Felix?”
I wave my hand. “Of course. Bring Felix. Bring Zed. And yes, there’ll be a free bar.”
I’m a little bit ashamed to admit it, but I make a big show of pulling out my mobile and calling the PR to get my “friends” put on the list. Melissa pretends not to be, but I can see they are impressed.

When I open my dorm door to Emma and her mum, a lump comes into my throat. This is going to sound sappy, but I feel like Emma is the only real friend I’ve ever had. What with moving around so much with Dad’s job, I don’t often have time to form real friendships before we move on. And after a few years of always moving, moving and moving, I found I kind of deliberately held myself back from getting too close to anyone.
But with Emma it was different. We just clicked. She’s so warm and funny and unpretentious and….so very different to the people I meet at work. And different to Melissa and Lily too, I feel with a guilty pang for judging them so quickly. I try to push the thought from my mind. I’ve got to live with these people, not just have my lessons with them, so I need to make friends. I need to make the effort. And that’s exactly what I’m doing, inviting Melissa and Lily to the party.
I hug Emma and tears spring to my eyes. As I pull away from her I notice that she wipes her eyes too. “I missed you!” we both say in unison, and then laugh. Emma’s mum picks up my bag. “All set?” she asks. “Shall we go?”
Being with Emma and her mum feels homely and comforting. To be fair they do try at school, there are various people who are appointed to look after our well being and “pastoral care” as it’s called but let’s face it, it’s not the same as having your own parents around, is it? Or in my case, my Dad.
I’ve already told Emma about the party tomorrow, and her mum has said it’s fine for us to go and she will pick us up at midnight, as usual for parties at the weekend. But tonight we get a giant pizza and watch a DVD in our pyjamas, lying on the floor of Emma’s bedroom. I love it. I’d kind of rather do that again tomorrow instead of going to the party.

It’s Saturday, Emilio is working so I’m not going to see him till this evening. So Emma and I spend the day shopping, having lunch, doing normal things without being fixed to a timetable the way I am the whole time at school.
We look for new outfits for the party. I buy a top from All Saints I’ve had my eye on for ages and Emma gets a little dress from American Apparel. We go into Selfridges and get our make-up done, pretending we are thinking about buying some new bronzer or maybe a mascara. We ask for free samples of perfume. I don’t know why I still do this when I have loads of much nicer, more expensive make up at home which companies send me for free these days – I guess I just like to feel normal. It’s hard though when we pass a giant poster of me as we go into the shop. Away from the studio, cameras and make up I look totally different – at least five years younger for a start, so practically no-one ever recognises me, luckily.

I’ve arranged to meet Emilio at six in a tapas bar near Sketch. Waiting there with Emma, I feel strangely nervous. I’m not really sure why.
I haven’t really told you much about Emilio yet, have I? We met at a party a bit like the one we’re going to tonight. It was shortly after I’d become the face of Attitude and it was some kind of party to celebrate its success or launch of a diffusion range or something, I’m not really sure. I remember I didn’t really want to go as I was tired that day but Suzi, my agent, said it was in my contract that I had to so I duly went along with her.
So I was sitting at a table looking pretty (because that’s my job, right?) and Emilio came and sat next to me and said: “You look like you don’t want to be here.”
I was a little taken aback because I thought I was doing quite a good job of looking like I was having a good time so I think I pulled a face and said something like: “That obvious?”
He smiled. He said. “No, not really. I mean, probably not to anyone else. But you’ve got the same face on that I have when I’m made to go to parties that I don’t really want to go to.”
I laughed. Suddenly, he looks a little familiar. “You’re…..”
“Emilio Prince,” he interrupted. “Lightning Jeans.”
“Of course. Great campaign,” I said, because that’s the kind of thing we models say to each other.
“Thanks. Love yours too.”
I nodded.
“Anyway, I thought maybe if we both don’t want to be here, we can at least keep each other company?”
I smiled. “I’d like that.”
And it went from there. At the end of that night we didn’t kiss of exchange numbers or anything but there was no need because we knew we’d end up at the same parties again soon enough. And we did. And a few parties later, as soon as he found me he said: “Let’s not do this today. Let’s go and see a film.” So we did. And then we had dinner. And then we kissed, and he took me home.
I really like him. And he really likes me, I think. So far, it isn’t that serious. We haven’t said “I love you” or anything like that, and we haven’t done anything more than kiss. But when I not with him, I miss him.
And as soon as he comes in, my nerves dissolve. His face spreads into a huge grin as he sees me. “Bianca!” he calls. I leap up and hug him. It feels so good.
He kisses Emma on the cheek and sits down at the table with us. “So, tell me about your new school?”
“It’s fine,” I say. “It’s weird being with people the whole time but it’s OK really.”
“Made any friends?”
“Kind of. I’ve invited my room mates and their boyfriends to the party this evening.” I give him a playful punch. “They’re very excited about meeting you.”
He laughs. “I see.” I know what that laugh means. He and I meet lots of people who are excited about meeting us because of who we are. Not because they know or like us. But we know that, and we laugh about it. I’m really glad I met Emilio. He keeps me grounded. “Really, they’re OK,” I add, for some reason feeling like I should defend them a bit. “And they’re pretty much the only people I know at school so….”
Emilio squeezes my arm. “It’s OK. I’ll be nice. I promise.”
Just then, Melissa and Lily arrive. At least, I think it’s them, they look totally different to how they do at school.
Before, I’ve only seen them in school uniform or pyjamas, pretty much. This evening, they are both in tiny black dresses, lots of chunky silver jewellery, massive false eyelashes and a lot of sparkly make up. Despite my new top, I suddenly feel a little childish. They look at least five years older than me. They look like they should be out clubbing with my more glamourous poster-self.
“Bianca!” Melissa enthuses, kissing me on both cheeks. She turns to Emilio. “And this must be Emilio. We’ve heard SO much about you,” she says, which isn’t true at all. “This is Lily,” she says gesturing vaguely behind her.
“Pleasure to meet you both,” Emilio says, standing up. His manners, as always, are faultless.
“This is Emma,” I say at no one in particular, as so far Melissa and Lily have totally ignored her. They look briefly towards her and give false smiles.
“Hi Emily,” says Melissa.
“It’s Emma,” Emma says, but Melissa has turned her attention back to Emilio, and is telling him how much she loves Lightning Jeans.
“Where’re the boys?” I ask. “I thought Felix and Zed were coming?”
“They are,” Melissa says, giving me a dirty look for interrupting her. Emilio rolls his eyes at me as she turns away from him. I smirk to myself. “We’re going to meet them at the show. They’ve got a match and couldn’t make it here.”
She turns back to Emilio, doing her best to blank out the rest of us and continues to do so as we order and eat our tapas. Emilio keeps trying to include the rest of us but Melissa resolutely hogs the conversation, batting her eyelids, thrusting her wonder-bra-ed breasts at Emilio, laughing daintily at all his jokes and touching his arm far more than I would like.
I’m not the jealous type, but she is really beginning to get on my nerves. I pointedly look at my watch.
“I think we’d better go,” I say, and wave at the waiter to ask for the bill. “The show’s starting soon.”
“Do we have to?” purrs Melissa. “I’m having such a nice time here.”
“We do, really,” says Emilio. “Bee and I have said we’re going to be there and people get pissed off if we don’t go to the things we’ve said we’re going to. Sponsors and clients and all that, yadda yadda yadda.”
He pulls a face. Melissa touches his arm (again). “Of course,” she simpers. “Let’s go then.”

I make sure I sat next to Emilio in the theatre and, to be honest, am a lot more snugly-in and hand-holdy with him than I usually am. I thought Melissa might calm down a bit once Felix arrived but no, she is almost as flirtatious as she had been in the restaurant. Felix doesn’t say anything. I guess he’s used to it.
But I resolve that I’m going to enjoy my night with Emilio and Emma and try and ignore Melissa, so I concentrate on the show. Which is quite difficult, as it turns out to be appalling. It’s called Scarlet Ribbons and is, according to the programme, loosely based on some old folk song. The music is awful, the dancing is OK, the story was, well, I’m not sure there really was a story. It’s terrible. The only good thing that can be said about it is that it isn’t too long.
“Bloody hell. I need a drink after that,” Emilio says, getting up immediately the (fairly unenthusiastic) applause dies down. “Let’s go.”
We walk down the road to Sketch. I love Sketch – it’s so quirky. Today the restaurant is given over to the party and has been decked out with – you guessed it – scarlet ribbons. The waitresses are similarly wrapped up in strategically-placed ribbons and even the cocktails being handed round are scarlet and each have a dainty little ribbon tied round the stem.
“Wow!” says Lily. I am really warming to Lily. Melissa has done nothing but flirt with my boyfriend since we met her today and pretended to be unimpressed by everything she’s seen (although no one needed to pretend to be unimpressed with the show. Lily, on the other hand, keeps thanking me for inviting her, is being nice to Emma who doesn’t know anybody apart from me and has the air of child on Christmas Day about her, she seems to be finding everything so exciting.
We all take a red cocktail from the table and try a sip. “Not bad!” says Felix, approvingly. Melissa wrinkles her nose. “Bit sweet for me. Emilio, will you ask them if they can do me a vodka and tonic?”
She flashes a huge smile. I seethe inwardly and will Emilio to say no. But I know he won’t – he won’t want to be rude.
“No problem. Anyone else want anything different?” We all give our orders – except Felix who is enjoying his cocktail, and he goes off. I give Melissa a dirty look, but she seems oblivious.

Some hours later, Melissa is absolutely wasted. I kind of predicted that she’d be the type to get really drunk, and it seems I was right. She is dancing with Emilio, has been for ages, and is rubbing herself up against him like a cat on heat at every opportunity. Emilio doesn’t seem to mind, but then it’s so hard to tell with him.
“Doesn’t that wind you up?” I say to Felix, who is sitting next to me. Maybe I’ve had a cocktail too many too.
“Doesn’t what wind me up?”
“That,” I say, gesturing at Melissa. “Melissa. Dancing like that. With another boy. My boyfriend.”
He shrugs. “A bit,” he slurs. He’s obviously quite drunk too. “But what can I do? It’s just the way she is. She doesn’t really mean anything by it. Don’t worry – she won’t actually DO anything with Emilio. She just likes to feel like she could if she wanted to.”
“Well, she couldn’t,” I say hotly. “Emilio’s MINE” I add, like a five year old whose had a football stolen by another child.
Felix takes my hand and squeezes it. I feel an unexpected bolt of lust shoot through me. “You trust him don’t you?”
“Of course,” I say.
“And he trusts you?”
“I think so.”
“Well then, let’s teach Melissa a lesson. She’s not the only one who can pretend to play around.”
And suddenly before I know it he’s pretending to kiss me. You know that thing you probably used to do when you were about eight? When you put your arm right around someone’s neck and your hand over their mouth and then lean in so it looks like you’re kissing? Well, he did that.
At first I am so shocked I don’t know what to do. But then I start giggling. I know Emilio would see the funny side. It’s the kind of thing he’d do.
I’m about to pull away and say enough’s enough, I think Melissa will have got the message when suddenly my arm is yanked backwards, I fall off my chair and my head hits the floor. There’s a flash of red above me and then something across my neck. I try to cough – I can’t breathe. Melissa’s face is above me, bright red and angry. She’s shouting something but I can’t really hear what. Then everything goes a bit swimmy and I feel very tired and suddenly Melissa falls backwards. I sit up and see that Felix has pulled her off me.
“Jesus Melissa!” he’s shouting. “You could have killed her!”
Emilio is now here, he touches my face and then my neck. “Bee?“ he says gently. “You OK?”
My neck is sore and I touch it. In my lap is a thick red ribbon, like the ones the waitresses are wearing. I look at it, disbelieving.
I think Melissa just tried to strangle me.

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Comments by other Members

CatherineZ at 16:47 on 04 August 2011  Report this post
I think that you should raise the range of your vocabulary a little because it's quite easy for teenagers. At some point you have done so e.g.

my nerves dissolve.

But somehow you go back to rather easy sentences. Another thing that publishers won't agree to is that the heroine is a star and this reminds one of the whole Hanna Montana thing.

I was talking to an editor and she told me that anything Potterish or Montanaish is in the reject folder.

I'm not insulting your work nor want to kill any of your confidence but I just thought I'd let you know.

Otherwise, you've done a great job with the drinks scene, the kissing and the strangling is a great twist.

Freebird at 18:17 on 04 August 2011  Report this post
I'll definitely try and look at this tomorrow - must keep up!

Account Closed at 19:33 on 04 August 2011  Report this post
Still enjoying this! FWIW I disagree with Catherine about the vocab. I think it's fine - it's in the voice of a teenager so you can't get too flowery or it sounds fake. And they're reading for themselves at that stage so the issue of it being "easy" or "hard" is kind of irrelevant.

I do think there are some points where you could vary the rhythm a bit more, for eg the paragraph where she goes shopping, there are a lot of "We did this. We did that. We did this" sentences. But I don't think this is a question of vocab - more of just ringing the changes with the structure a bit.

A few sentences didn't quite ring right for me:

that’s the kind of thing we models say to each other.

I realise this is probably meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek but actually it made her seem like a bit of an arsehole to me, it sounded a bit too much like "ooh, look at me, I'm so great". She's an easy heroine to hate - because she's outstandingly pretty, and a model, and has a hot boyfriend, and is feuding with another girl - so you have try twice as hard to make sure we're completely on her side.

Then everything goes a bit swimmy and I feel very tired and suddenly Melissa falls backwards.

This didn't ring true to me - I remember being strangled by my sister as a kid (nothing serious - just play-fighting before you call social services! ;) and it was incredibly distressing and I fought like a demon and it felt intensely painful. Your heart is pounding and your blood-pressure is through the roof - the one thing you don't feel is tired! I've also passed out and it's nothing like "just goes swimmy" - it's a horrible disorienting intensely physical experience. Your throat is also pretty tough - if she'd been strangled to the point of blacking out it would be an extremely serious incident with major bruising and trauma and probably require a hospital check.

And a small typo - "a five year old whose had a football stolen" should be "who's had".

Overall I thought this was a great section - I'd like to see a bit more of Emilio!

ShellyH at 20:51 on 04 August 2011  Report this post
Hi, I was only going to read a bit of this, and then couldn't stop, must be a good sign.

I think the vocab is fine. I actually think you've captured the teenage voice spot on. I agree with Flora that you have to be careful not to allow your reader to turn against Bianca, she does seem to have it all. But I did like the section with Emma, we saw a vulnerability to her, which is good.

I'm not a big fan of present tense, but I think you handle it well. But there are sections where I think there is too much telling of events. Also, I think the rhythm could be improved in certain places, but that may just be me.

I thought the second half was really good, and I could really visualise the scarlet ribbon party.

One typo I noticed,

I make sure I sat next to Emilio in the theatre


Look forward to reading more.


Freebird at 10:12 on 05 August 2011  Report this post
I didn't notice the vocab - it was just a smooth, easy read, and you're developing the characters well. I would have liked to have seen more of Emma, especially in contrast with Melissa.

I felt that the section where Emma and Bianca go shopping was skated over a bit too quickly and casually. I'd like to see them confiding in each other a bit more about this whole boarding school experience.

I too found it easy to visualise the party, and I like Bianca. She's relatively down to earth, as far as it's possible to be in her line of work, and Emilio is too. But I found myself wondering whether this is realistic? It would be difficult for a teenage girl in her situation not to have her head turned.

It's a super read for teen girls, and I think the clever twist you have in mind that underpins the whole thing outweighs any Hannah Montana fears. You just have to make sure that she's not a superficial airhead, which you've made a good start on already.

cacooper at 10:54 on 05 August 2011  Report this post
Ooh thanks all. Especially Flora for the heads-up on how it feels to be strangled - fortunately I've never been through it! You didn't find the scene over the top then? Lots of food for thought there, thanks all.

Issy at 15:43 on 09 September 2011  Report this post
Very much liked it and am fine with the vocablary. I am actually warming to Bianca and I do agree that a more indepth and immediate scene with Emma, showing her true warm and caring nature would be helpful.

I am also warming very much to Emilio - I keep thinking he can't be as nice as he seems, but he is, and if he is indeed the prince, then that makes total sense.

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