As most of you know, I am taking a Young Adult novel class where we read YA and write our own story as well. For the class we are required to submit four chapters that are about 7-10 pages (typed and double spaced). My first chapter was submitted for midterm grades and I got an A- 🙂 Remember that I’m not a writer and I’m taking this class purely as an elective. Also, if you happen to read this I am open to comments and suggestions. So uh…yeah
Charlotte and I met for the first time when we were in seventh grade. On the first day of classes, I arrived at school early so I could use the extra time to get some reading done. Since it was so early, I thought that I would be able to enjoy my book without any distractions. I had spent the entire summer reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and I had finally made it to “The End.” Just as the Baudelaire children were about to learn more about their deceased parents, a voice interrupted me.
“Hi I’m Charlotte,” the voice said while sliding into the seat across from me.
“Good morning” I responded without looking up. I was in the middle of a paragraph and didn’t want to lose I place.
“Must be a good book,” the voice said as I tried my best to finish quickly so that I didn’t come off as rude
“It is” I said just as I was finishing the paragraph. I looked up and introduced herself to the girl I had never seen before. Her blonde hair was cut in layers that framed her face and her pale blue eyes seemed to match perfectly with the T-shirt that she was wearing. I smiled at her before returning my attention to the book. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to the new girl, I just preferred to read.
Reading had always been my thing, because Mom and I used to do it all the time. She would read to me, I would read to her, or we would read different books silently to ourselves. Either way, we always did it together. As I kept reading, I suddenly felt Charlotte getting close to me and realized that she was leaning over the table to see what I was reading.
“Oh I’m reading those too, but so far I’ve only made it to The Hostile Hospital…I’m a slow reader, so I haven’t bought the last set of books yet.” I had never met a girl my age who cared about anything other than hosting the best sleepover. The fact that this new girl was actually interested in what I was reading was a huge surprise, but a good one.
“You don’t have to buy them” I told her excitedly, “You can borrow mine instead. I have them all.”
Charlotte smiled and said, “Great! You can bring them over to my house this weekend.”
Charlotte and I continued to talk about the series as the other students began to fill in the seats around us. For the first time it felt like I had finally found someone who seemed to understand me, and appreciated a good read as much as I did
After that day, Charlotte and I were inseparable.
Alexa retreats into the warmth of the coffee shop. It takes a second for her eyes to adjust from the brightness of the sun to the florescent lighting of the small shop. After a quick scan she heads to her favorite seat in the far corner. She stumbled upon this place two weeks into the school year when she couldn’t handle all of the noise in the library. It’s only about a ten minute walk from campus, so she was shocked that not that many students seemed to know about it. Now, she comes here almost every day after class to breathe in the smell of the freshly ground coffee beans and regain her sanity. She finds comfort in strangers amongst strangers. No obligations. No expectation. No identification. That’s how she likes it. The low hums of multiple conversations and smooth jazz soothed her. This was her favorite time of day. And she knew she’d stay there forever if she could, lost somewhere underneath it all.
Her mother would have liked this place. Alexa often reminisces about when her mother read to her when she was little. She was always sipping on something hot; coffee if it was morning, and tea right before bed. Alexa picked up the same habit shorty after starting college. Coffee in the morning while reading the paper, and tea while she read her books at night. As a child Alexa had only ever spent quality time with her mother. Her father worked long hours as a surgeon, so she only saw him a couple days throughout the week. When she was seven, her mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and she passed a year later. As an only child, Alexa didn’t have anyone to lean on after she lost her mother, but she managed to find comfort in reading. It was the only thing that helped her keep her sanity before she met Charlotte. Her mother taught her how to read when she was two, so keeping her love for books alive was almost a way of honoring her memory. Escaping into a fictional world for hours made it seem like life wasn’t so bad after all. Books were the only thing that seemed constant in her life, but even those came to an end.
It was mid-afternoon so she was ready for her second cup of coffee. As she stepped up to the counter, Marge said, “French Vanilla Latte with soy milk coming up.” Marge was the owner of the shop and the best barista they had. She knew Alexa’s order’s by heart and often gave her drinks on the house.
Alexa thanked Marge and walked back to her corner after sticking her money in the tip jar. She settled into one of the two overstuffed chairs with a coffee table in between them. After considering getting a head start on the homework that had just been assigned, she instead pulls out the book that Charlotte gave to her that morning. It was some lame bullshit about finding the perfect guy and how true love lasts forever. Charlotte only bought it with hopes of convincing her to see the film when it hit theaters next month. Alexa refuses to watch movie adaptations without reading the novels first. The books are always better so you have to be prepared for the disappointment. Speaking of Charlotte, she checks the rose gold watch on her left wrist, and sees that she has about ten minutes before Charlotte arrives to meet her. Apparently she has some big news to tell. She probably won another academic award or maybe another one of her paintings will be in an art show. That’s Charlotte for you, the epitome of perfection.
She takes a sip of her latte and flips the book over to read the back cover. She thinks to herself, it can’t be that bad right? WRONG! She can already tell from the description, this book has the one thing that she hates in novels…insta-love. You know, when two people who have never met and know nothing about each other “fall in love” after breathing the same air for two seconds. Only Charlotte would ever find something like this enjoyable. As much as she usually hates romance novels, Alexa does enjoy Pride and Prejudice. It’s her favorite book that her mother used to read to her. At least that love story is more believable: two people fall in love after hating each other and eventually getting to know each other. Well Lizzie Bennet hated Darcy, but maybe he didn’t actually hate her. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. The book was good and the 2005 film with Keira Knightley almost better…almost.
Before she can open the book she sees Charlotte walking into the coffee house, blonde hair flowing behind her and cheeks flushed from the cold. Alexa stands up to hug her best friend as if they don’t already see each other every day. They both sit and Charlotte smiles and says,
“So…how was your day?”
Alexa notices that her smile is a little wider than usual. She rolls her eyes, she’s up to something.
“Let me guess, you won something and you’re dragging me to a fancy dinner party in your honor…again.”
The last time that happened, Alexa sat in the corner of the room, alone and impatient waiting for the night to end. Of course the only reason that she went at all was to support Charlotte, but she was miserable. Just as the night was winding diwn and they were getting ready to leave, one of the caterer’s spilled coffee down the front of her dress. It was not an enjoyable night.
Charlotte laughs and smiles again, “Nope” She looks away and then back again, this time a twinkle in her eye.
“Did you win another award?”
“Okay I give up, just tell –“
“I met a guy”
“How is that possible when you spend most of your time with me?”
“Well that’s the thing. Don’t freak out, but… technically we haven’t really ‘met’ yet.” she says putting air quotes around the word and lowering her gaze to the floor.
Alexa laughs. “You’re joking. This is a joke right?” Charlotte continues to stare at the floor. “Are you crazy?!”
“Lex it’s not a big deal”
“Of course it’s a big deal, you can’t ‘date’ someone that you’ve never met before. Especially not someone that you found online. That’s how you meet serial killers! You should know, you made me watch all those crappy Lifetime movies.” Alexa was mostly joking but also a little serious. Charlotte obviously isn’t thinking clearly.
“I knew you would do this, you’re overreacting”
“Am I? I bet your mother won’t think so”
“Six years later and you still don’t think so?” Alexa never understood how other people lied to or betrayed their parents. It just didn’t seem right to her. The one time that Charlotte planned to sneak out, Alexa called her parents to prevent it from happening.
“Damnit Lex, you’re supposed to be happy for me”
“I would be if you met people face to face like a normal human” Although this was Charlotte’s first time at online dating, Alexa was worried that she was being a little impulsive like she had been in the past. In high school, there were a few guys that Charlotte had entered into relationships with way too soon. Neither of them ended well. Alexa didn’t mind Charlotte’s dating as long as she was happy. The problem was that she was sometimes a little too trusting and never wanted to see the bad in anyone, even if it was right in front of her face.
Charlotte sighs and leans back in the chair. “Listen, Lex I know this sounds crazy but could you at least pretend that you agree with this just for a second, I really want to tell you about him.”
Alexa stares at Charlotte’s pleading eyes. “Fine” she said blandly, “but he better be the greatest person on the planet.”
Charlotte smiled widely, “He is, I promise! Okay, so this is how it happened. Are you ready to hear it?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Then by all means, please continue.” Alexa said sarcastically waving her hand in the air.
“I know you’re gonna hate the beginning of this but first we matched on InstaLove.” Charlotte paused and Alexa knew that she was expecting her to roll her eyes, so she tried hard not to. Alexa didn’t know much about dating apps but she had heard people talk about the InstaLove thing around campus. Supposedly it was a dating app designed specifically for college students. It could match you up with people that went to your school, were involved in the same sports or clubs, and apparently you could even set a minimum GPA requirement.
Charlotte went on explaining that she and the mystery man started following each other on Instagram and Snapchat, and then eventually started texting and calling here and there. Charlotte tried her best to assure her that there was nothing to worry about because he is probably the nicest guy on the face of the earth and that maybe he could be the one.
The reason that Alexa didn’t roll her eyes earlier was because she was trying very hard to keep from doing so. It was getting harder for to stop herself.
“So anyway his name is Chad.” Charlotte said breaking through Alexa’s train of thought. “He lives in California, he’s a lifeguard…” As Charlotte began to relay all of the information that she knew about this Chad person, Alexa couldn’t help but wonder what made her want to date a guy that lived so far away when there were over 600,000 people in Boston alone.
“So what do you think?”
Again, Alexa’s concentration was broken. “About what?” she asked.
Charlotte sighed, “About Chad!”
“Oh right, yeah sounds great.”
“So then you’ll meet him?”
“Were you listening to anything that I just said?”
“No,” Alexa admitted, “Not really.”
Charlotte shook her head. After a long and slightly awkward pause she said, “Well, get used to the idea of him because he flies in tomorrow and I really want you to meet him.”