As promised, here are the first two chapters of the romance novel that I am revising. The original title was Fallen Petals. I am not sure if I will keep this title. Please keep in mind that these are raw, unedited chapters! Also, keep in mind that these works are copy written. Enjoy!!
By, D.W. Marshall
Ryanne and Michael
I think we have always been Ryanne and Michael, even before we ever met. One of those dynamic duos that are cosmically written in the stars. Or so I thought at seven years old. What did I know I was just a kid? I remember the day that Michael and his family moved into the neighborhood. I was out riding my bike with my older sister Riley. She was nine and a half, and as far as she was concerned she was practically an adult. We didn’t have girly bikes with pastel tassels shooting from the handlebars. Not us. We were the only girls in a neighborhood full of boys, so my sister and I rode BMX bikes. We weren’t exactly tomboy’s, but we had no problem keeping up with them.
My bike, candy apple red.
My sister’s bike, dark blue.
I had high hopes when the moving van pulled up at the end of Vanderburg Street. All I kept wishing was please have daughters, please have daughters, fingers crossed and everything.
I got half my wish.
The Reese’s had a daughter alright. My sister and half the kids in the neighborhood watched as Mrs. Reid pulled her out of a car seat and into a pink stroller.
She was definitely a girl, just one that couldn’t walk, talk, run, or play. A baby!
I guess I should have been more specific in my wish. The next kid to pop into view was a freaking nother’ boy. Like we don’t have enough boys in our small neighborhood.
There are only three streets in our entire gated community, with ten houses on each street, complete with a park. Most of the houses have one or two boys our age. Some have grown kids, and some have no kids at all. So when Michael Reese jumped down from the moving truck, all the boys cheered for a new playmate. My sister and I did not share their excitement.
Michael’s father motioned for him to go meet the neighborhood kids. I could tell by the way that he trotted over to us that he was good at sports. He just looked like he could do anything. He was strong, lean, and confident.
“Hi, I’m Michael.” He waved to the group.
My sister being one of the oldest stepped forward when the rest of us didn’t speak up right away. “I’m Riley. This is my sister Ryanne.”
“A girl named Ryanne?” He asked. His face grimaced in the usual confusion kids had to hearing my name.
“Yes,” I said. My hand shoots to my hip, and I put attitude behind my words, because I had already gone through the wonders of me having a boy’s name with the rest of these stupid boys.
“Just asking.” Michael says, hands up in the air, like he was waving the truce flag. “I think that’s kinda cool.”
The rest of the guys introduced themselves to him, and just like that he was part of the group. His parent’s hired movers, so they told Michael he could ride bikes with us. He had a BMX bike too, a neon green one. We all tore down the street and headed to the park.
After playing freeze tag and our tried and true made up games. I needed water bad. The water coming out of the faucet wasn’t cold at all. I couldn’t even feel it going down until it hit my stomach. But it quenched my thirst.
“So, what grade are you in?” A voice asks from behind me.
I turn to find Michael standing there. He skin is brown, but much darker than mine. More like my dad’s. My sister and I were a mix of our Irish mother and our African-American father. “I’m in second grade. What about you?”
“Yeah me too.” He says. He takes a turn at the water fountain. “I like your freckles.” He says in between sips.
“Thanks.” My hand flies up to the bridge of my nose. I hate those stupid polka dots that have invaded my face. In the summer Mom puts a lot of sunscreen on my sister and I, because she says the sun will make more of them. I never let her forget.
That conversation was one of a million we would have during our childhood friendship.
Later at dinner, our parent’s tell us how proud they are that we welcomed the new boy to the neighborhood. They tell us that they moved here from Chicago, and that the dad is a doctor and the mom stays home with the kids, like our mom does with us.
“I just wish they had a daughter our age. I’m tired of playing with stupid boys all the time.” I say.
“What am I chopped liver?” My sister asks.
“Nooooooo.” I promise.
I love hanging out with Riley, but sometimes she is a bossy know it all, just because she’s almost three years older than me. Ugh.
“Just think when Lexi gets old enough you and your sister can babysit.” My mom says.
“Who is Lexi?” Riley asks, snatching the words right out of my mouth.
“The Reese’s baby girl.”
“Oh.” I say.
I never imagined myself old enough to be in charge of someone else. I love being a kid. The idea of growing up doesn’t excite me at all.
I knock on my brother Connor’s door, and let myself in. I knew he wouldn’t hear it, because like me, when they fight he covers his ears with his pillow. I tiptoe in so I don’t scare him and tap him on the shoulder. He isn’t afraid, we do this a lot, whenever they fight. It helps not being alone. Sometimes we can see the flashing red and blue lights when one of the neighbors calls the cops. Sometimes we hear glass shatter, That usually means our mom is sending a vase, empty beer, wine, or liquor bottle flying across the room. The intended target is almost always our dad’s head. But he is a good ducker.
Connor pulls back the covers.
He doesn’t say anything.
Neither do I.
I climb into his bed, and grab his extra pillow to cover my ears, and that is how we fall asleep. It seems lately we spend more time in each other’s rooms, than our own.
My brother and I are twins, both eight. We don’t look identical. I am blonde with bright blue eyes. My brother’s hair is a darker blonde, almost light brown, and his eyes are green. In other words we are fraternal twins. Whatever we are, we are thankful to have each other most nights, but especially nights like this.
By morning the mess is cleaned up, and you would never know there was a domestic event. My mother puts on a brave face. Our father, long gone to work by the time we get up for school in the morning.
Our breakfast, cold cereal, always cold cereal. I’m only eight and I already hate cereal. I know the kids on the commercials look so happy to be eating it, but I bet they don’t have it everyday.
“Mom, can I have toast instead?” I ask.
“Instead of what, Sheridan?” She asks. Her tone is unfriendly, like I am bothering her.
My brother looks at me with warning. It’s better not to push Mom’s buttons after a fight with dad. He always says we should fly under the radar, that way she doesn’t take her anger out on us. For me, it’s so hard to say nothing. It doesn’t fit who I am, who I have learned to be.
“Never mind.” I say. I leave my puffs of whatever floating in the milk. I refuse to eat another bite of cereal, ever. I jump up from the table, grab my lunch from the counter, and head for the door. “You coming?” I ask looking back at Connor.
He scoops four or five bites of cereal into his mouth before jumping up from his seat. Milk runs down his face as he grabs his lunch and follows me out the door. We don’t say anything to our mother.
We know better.
Whenever they fight it’s like she can’t wait for us to leave the house. Sometimes I get the feeling she would have been happier without us. I know she would have never gotten pregnant twice, and the only reason she has two kids is because we came out on the same day, minutes apart—me first.
Our school isn’t close, but yay for us it is just close enough that we don’t qualify to ride the bus. So Connor and I have to set out early to make the nearly two-mile walk to our elementary school, on our little legs.
Sometimes when our mother is in a really good mood, which usually follows a night of different noises coming from their bedroom, still freaking us out enough that we wind up sharing a room. On those mornings, which are rarer than rain in our sunny California town, she makes us a real breakfast. I’m talking eggs, bacon, AND toast. After that she would drive us to school. On those days, she greeted us in the morning, and wished us a good day at school. Over time, we were just happy to have a warm meal in our bellies and a ride to school. We stopped depending on our dear mother to show us love and affection. We knew she should. We saw it everyday.
The kids whose parents dropped them off at school.
Moms or dads walking their children to school.
The biggest thing we noticed in these scenarios was that these parents always made sure to give their children a big hug and kiss.
Connor and I gave up on that kind of relationship with our parents. Way I see it, we are lucky to have a place to lay our heads at night. If we need love or comfort of any kind, we depend on each other.
Copyright © 2015 by D.W. Marshall