Chapter 1

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Rory Wilson drummed his fingers against the table. After Lucy had left, his stomach had hardened, his heart cracked from side to side and suddenly breakfast didn’t appear as appealing.

Where had he gone wrong with that girl, his little shining light? The girl with the brightest eyes and a laugh so contagious, it never failed endearing people to her. 

Feet tapped against the tiled floor close by.

Rory looked up. Leaning against the doorjamb, with her arms tightly crossed, stood his wife, Elsie. He groaned silently.

“You still haven’t learnt,” she whispered. 

He turned away from her; he didn’t need to witness her curled, sneering mouth, those ‘I told you so,’ eyes. Her rich, scathing tone was enough.

“You allow her too much, you always have,” Elsie went on. “You have two other children, sons you barely spend time with.”

And whose fault was that, he wanted to say. But he remained silent. He had learnt years ago, arguing with Elsie was a fruitless battle. From the moment their twin sons were born and lovingly suckled on her, Elsie had changed; they became her everything.

Lucy’s arrival a few years later was a surprise to Rory but a pleasant one. When he held that tiny bundle with her infectious coos and titters, his heart simply melted. 

However, whenever Elsie held her, Lucy transformed into a relentless, rebellious screamer who wouldn’t feed or settle until her father came home. 

Elsie switched on the kettle and began making her morning coffee. “Before she gets into trouble; I mean real trouble.” 

He wondered why Elsie cared.

Rory nodded; that cowardly gesture always placated her. 

Friday afternoon in the city’s main mall was magic. Two stories of excited hums and buzzes, irresistible smells of fresh meals, and microphoned voices compelling you to check-out their discounted wares.

Thirsty, wide-eyed and armed with her father’s credit card, Lucy went hunting. 

First shop: She tried the emerald-coloured mini-dress. It didn’t highlight her small waist enough.

Second shop: She tried the jeans; they made her backside look big.

Third shop: She found both a mini-dress and jeans. Perfect fit.

She held back her delight when approaching the register. Any promotions or discounts on offer she wanted. Better not appear too keen.

The barely-seventeen-year-old girl, with tight, blonde curls and a face full of acne, fumbled at the register. Lucy let out a loud breath. Why was such a simple transaction taking so long?

“Um… it’s not working,” the girl mumbled, avoiding Lucy’s eyes.

“What’s not working. My card?” Lucy asked. 

The girl’s acne reddened further, and her hands trembled. A small crowd began milling around them.

“Try it again,” Lucy said between gritted teeth.

The girl did. Once more, it failed. 

What the…? Lucy felt light-headed; surely this wasn’t happening.

“Use my card,” a deep, male voice said, near her. 

Lucy noted his strong-looking hand as he offered his card to the girl. When Lucy looked up at her rescuer, she drew in a razor-sharp breath.

 

Comments

What a fantastic chapter Rosemary. The characterisation was perfect. I could see Lucy trying on the clothes. It was exactly what I imagined a young girl's performance to be. The dialogue was short and crisp. Lovely work and the end left the next writer the chance to go anywhere with the story and the reader would be dead keen to see who the person with the credit card was.
I agree with Suraya. Brilliant dialogue that shows you don't have to write a paragraph of dialogue for a character to explain themselves - just choose/compose the right words that depict the depth of feeling, tension, or humour. I also loved this little gem where we see another character through another character - "He turned away from her; he didn’t need to witness her curled, sneering mouth, those ‘I told you so,’ eyes. Her rich, scathing tone was enough." I loved this, Rosemary.
I think the standard of creative writing here on the serials has risen in leaps and bounds over the last year. At least five/six writers have now published their own work and that speaks volumes about the Story Mint. Many writers are branching out into new fields and that can't be a bad thing, particularly when they continue to write for the serials as well. A terrific performance by all concerned, not forgetting a big thank you to 'ED', Suraya Dewing.
Thanks Suraya and Ray for your kind words. Much appreciated.
Thank you Ray. I really appreciate your comment. I have seen a sharpness in people's writing, including my own, emerge in the last year or so. It's been wonderful to observe.