Today just so happens to be my 21st birthday, and rather than drown myself in legal alcohol purchases, I have decided to give a gift to YOU… er, well, FIVE of you, that is.
My book The Mind, the Body, a horror short story collection, came out last year in October. I purchased five author copies, signed them, and have started a Goodreads giveaway. Anyone living in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia can enter for FREE to receive one of the five copies. All you have to do is make a Goodreads account and enter here: CLICK ME!
And while you’re there, add me as a friend (if you want to become a fan, that’s cool, but I’d much rather make ya my friend, ya know?).
Help me celebrate my birthday by making this the best birthday book giveaway in all my 21 years on this Earth (this is my first birthday giveaway, but who’s counting?). Enter, share, and let’s have fun!
Don’t have time to enter today? That’s okay! The giveaway ends March 27th, so you have plenty of time! Just make sure you enter by then, or you will miss your chance at FREE BOOKS!
Finally, thank you all so much for the emails and the posts, wishing me a happy birthday. I can’t thank you all enough for all the kind words and well wishes. You make my heart full.
Very rarely do I find things embarrassing. The most embarrassing things are the funniest. So, for the sake of laughter, I share with you two reasons (experiences) that show you why life as a writer (or my life in general) IS NOT glamorous. At all. Not even a little bit.
So, as a full-time student, part-time retail associate, and whenever-time writer, I often find myself creating time where I probably shouldn’t. For example, after a particularly long day of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in class and 5:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. at work, I found myself filled to the brim with weary inspiration. The moment I stepped through the door, I was already forming what had to be the novel of this generation (it actually ended up being a jumbled up pile of word vomit, but who was judging).It was at this time, approximately 11:10 p.m., I began crafting my masterpiece. I didn’t get done until approximately 2:00 a.m., which gave me about 3 hours of sleep before I had to wake up for my turnaround shift. I quite literally crawled from my desk to my bed and passed out without fuss. Didn’t change clothes. Didn’t shower. Nothing. As you can imagine, I was a sight (and a smell) to behold the next morning.Bleary and monstrous looking, I grumbled and tumbled out of bed into a fresh pile of clothing I had neglected to hang up the day before. Still half-asleep, I happened to find a fresh pair of khakis and my work polo. Without much thought, I slid both on and went on about my way. I’ll spare you the details on the rest of my “morning beauty routine.”
I arrived at work, we opened the store, and I went on about my business, putting out freight and assisting cashiers. One of my cashiers, however, asked why I wasn’t picking up the store phone. It was then I realized I had forgotten to even pick it up that morning. So, I rushed back to my station to pick it up.
However, when I went to slide it into my pocket, I realized I had no pockets. Huh. Well, that’s weird. I had just bought those pants not even two days before, and I swore they had, had pockets in them. I stopped, and I assessed myself. I placed my hands at the front of my pants where my pockets should have been, then dragged them around to my back side where my pockets actually were. With a little more feeling around, I also discovered my zipper was back there, too.
Just then, my manager walked in. The same one that helped me open the store this morning and probably had seen my pants for the last 2 hours that I had been at work, yet hadn’t said anything. So, I straight up asked him,
“*InsertManagerNameHere* Why didn’t you tell me I had my pants on backwards?”
He gave me a shrug, then said, “I figured you were trying to make a fashion statement.”
A fashion statement, indeed.
This story happened long before the first one, but it involves the same manager. However, he didn’t just assume I was making a fashion statement. Perhaps this incident actually led to his action in the first story, or rather the lack thereof. Even worse, maybe now he just assumes I make these kinds of mistakes.As per usual, I had just gotten out of class at 3:00 p.m. and was heading to work for my closing shift. On days where I went to school, then worked, I tended to just wear my uniform to class. I wasn’t there to impress anybody (and I’m still not). So, I didn’t care if people saw me in uniform, and I was just too lazy to change clothes in the middle of the day. Especially since I’d only be wearing them for a few hours anyway.Well, when I got to work, my manager was standing at the door, just surveying the front end. Then, I walked by. There was a noticeable side glance, then a second take, and finally a flat out stare. Sure, I thought it was a bit strange, but it was just another day of work. Plus, I figured if it were that big of a deal, he would’ve said something. However, he didn’t say anything until I had already gotten on the register and checked out two or three people. Then he came up and asked,
“Alyssa? Do you have a defective shirt?”
I gave him a look, and rather than just look at my darn shirt, I asked,
“Your tag is on the outside.”
Then I looked, and behold. Rather than wearing my pants backwards for a few hours, I wore my shirt inside out to school and to work for an entire day. Yet, they still promoted me a few months later. I think they keep me for the lulz.
Thanks for reading.
Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know! Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! Don’t be shy!
An aspiring author just emailed me with a question,
“Hello, I’m an aspiring writer and I was wondering if you have a piece of writing advice for getting through rough patches. ”
I’m still not sure if I gave her the answer she wanted, but I wanted to share my response here… in case anyone else needs the reminder. I know I do.
“My best advice would be to remember why you started writing in the first place. Remember that it wasn’t always a job, but just something you loved to do because you could. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what you were looking for, but maybe that can inspire you to keep going. If not, please feel free to email me again. I’d love to help in anyway I can!”
It wasn’t always a job or something strenuous and tiring. It was, at one time, something you just loved to do. You can’t forget that, even when it does feel very much like a job. Writing was and will always be an extension of yourself. Enjoy it for what it is, not for what will come out of it (that’s just a bonus).
And same goes for you. You can always email me through my About page. I’m always up to talk shop or just to cheer y’all on. Don’t be shy.
While she was pleased to find him avidly searching the racks upon racks of clothing, she found his choices a bit drab. Especially with her vibrant assortment of clothes. So far he had picked up a black turtleneck, black slacks, and even a pair of dreadful black leather gloves. He said he was going for a sophisticated style.
It looked more like something a serial killer would wear.
Plus, she was pretty sure she had seen that exact get up, minus the gloves, before. In fact, she was pretty sure he was wearing it now, though she would never point it out to him. No, she was far too happy watching him, concentrated, as he shuffled through rack after rack of black on black clothes.
But there were only so many racks of black, and every once in a while she caught him wiping at his forehead – nervous sweating. It was time to move on to something a little more out of his comfort zone.
Not wanting to spook him anymore than he already was, she cleared her throat as she approached. Even so, he spun around to face her, dropping all of his treasures to the floor in a heap. Shiori winced, watching as his face crumpled and reddened in embarrassment. She quickly knelt down and began collecting his lost wardrobe, trying her best to move on.
“You’ve gotten a good bit here, but,” and she held up the gloves for emphasis, wagging them in Suga’s direction, “how about I show you a few tricks?”
Suga was still blushing, but a smile did eventually find its way to his lips.
Shiori felt a slight tug at the corner of her lips, an involuntary reaction. It felt good, whatever this was. It felt good to smile with Suga again.
Once his sad pile had been collected and left on a display table, Shiori was coaxing him toward a much more colorful section of the men’s department. But there he remained, staring forlorn at his smudge of a wardrobe.
She held out her hand toward him, grumbling to get his attention. It wasn’t until he met her eyes that she spoke.
“Come on. You need some color.”
He swallowed and shifted his gaze to the world of color behind Shiori. He dabbed at his forehead again, then met her gaze once more.
“Alright… but none of that.” He motioned toward a particularly bright rack with different hues and shades of coral.
Shiori couldn’t hold back a snort as she tugged a shirt off the rack. She held it up as if it might be something she was considering.
“I don’t know. Salmon would probably be a good fit, too.”
Just as quickly as the words left her mouth, all the color drained from Suga’s face.
Another snort tore from her throat before she had a chance to cover her mouth. She hung the shirt back up and shook her head.
“You’re too gullible Suga. It’s just a joke.”
Suga deflated with a sigh, wiping at his forehead one more time before following Shiori into a world of color and “fashion.”
She started with blues, offering him option after option, though all being met with a wrinkled grimace or blank indifference. Positive. Just had to stay positive.
She plucked a turtleneck off the rack, a deep royal blue, the closest to black she could find, and held it up to him. He looked at it, tilted his head to the left, then tilted his head to the right – physically and mentally mulling it over, before smiling.
“I think I can handle color.”
Success. It took everything she had not to dance. Sure, what he chose wasn’t necessarily the most dynamic, but it was different. It showed change, and she would take any little bit she could get.
So, she thrust the article into his hands, demanding, “Change. Now.”
Before he maybe-possibly changed his mind. In the meantime she got him a pair of jeans. No more slacks. Yes, they were more professional, but she really needed him to focus on personable first. If he could prove to be personable, then that would prove he could host the museum. She had a plan, and this was all part of it.
Suga found the nearest fitting room, and when came out, Shiori couldn’t help the purr of approval which left her throat.
The blue sweater, while not an extremely diverse choice, gave him a little more color in his cheeks – something that was always washed out. The jeans, though, made the biggest difference. They were a black wash, putting him in his comfort zone, but the fit was so much better than the standard slacks he always wore that he actually had a figure. A lean, relaxed one, one which anybody would want.
He looked so much more casual. Even his mannerisms, once stiff and awkward, were much more natural and calm. He ran a hand through his hair, eyes trained on Shiori, watching her reaction.
“Well… what do you think?”
What did she think? There were many things she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him he was handsome, that she couldn’t wait to show him off, but all she could manage was light blush with a thumbs up.
The way Suga brightened, someone else might have thought that little motion meant the world to him. Maybe it did, but Shiori would never know, as Suga was already heading toward the counter to purchase his outfit before she had the chance to ask.
Shiori followed close behind, already putting together the next part of her plan.
Once the outfit had been paid for, Shiori and Suga were heading out the door and back toward the smaller shops and restaurants. They were almost back at the mansion by the time Shiori stopped, Suga stumbling to stop beside her.
She peered at the entrance of the Mountain Bar and Tavern. During the day it was a quiet restaurant for all the passerby, but once evening arrived, it lit up with the locals getting off work and the young people ready to drink and party. It was the closest thing to a club this little village had.
Suga’s face scrunched up in obvious distaste.
“What are we doing here?”
Shiori looked up to study his face, a smug grin already finding its way across hers, just as the neon lights of the bar came to life.
It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. I went through a short phase where I just kept telling myself, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again,” and that was enough for me. Then it got to the point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests… Those things do take priority, but even during down time, when none of those things had any hold on me, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again.”
I had become the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I became the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.
Sure, yes, I do have a lot going on right now. Senior year is right in front of me, and a new job with more responsibilities on top of that eats up a lot of time… Not to mention squeezing in cuddle time with the boyfriend, which I must say I do desperately need during the week. But I have never considered writing a burden or a chore. It never felt that way to me, and even though I have made it out to seem that way, it still doesn’t.
I just miss the time when it was just all for fun, and back when I could sit there and write for hours upon hours, much like how I used to read – another hobby which has met the same terrible fate as writing. Now, life takes so much precedence, I find everything to be tiring. Everything is work, now, even when what I’m doing is supposed to relax me after work.
Writing used to be my life, then reality seeped in and tainted my brain with all of this adult gobbildy-goop.
But, as always, one thing has helped to remedy my terrible predicament: a list. I’ve discovered a few tactics to fight against the adult gobbildy-goop, and while I still haven’t mastered it, I’m getting better. Onward to the list!
You have to become double-brained.
Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to accomplish, and it certainly sounds that way. You have to separate the work brain from the writing brain. Or, in my case, I have to separate the Work Brain, the School Brain, the Writer Brain, and the Intern Brain. In most cases, I’m sure it’ll be more like triple-brained, or quadruple-brained, but double-brained just sounds cooler. The best way I have found to achieve this is to utilize every second of downtime to decompress. Leave a pause between each brain so you can start fresh. This is easier said than done, especially with all of the wonderful social media to sink hours and hours in. You need time to just turn off for a little while. Have a few moments to yourself with no distraction in any shape or form. This way, you won’t lose your precious down time doing something unproductive both mentally and physically.
If you can’t find down time, don’t stop moving. As I disclaimed earlier, I still have yet to master this list, especially with the first point. I have a terrible social media addiction. 99% of the time I’m glued to YouTube or FaceBook, just scrolling or passively watching something, not being actively engaged with anything that is happening on my little iPhone screen. So, until I get my media addiction under control, the only real way I’ve found to stay motivated is to ride the high, so to speak. If I just got done with a paper, I immediately move on to one of my personal projects. I “ride the high.” Granted, I do occasionally burn out because I forget I need to stop, but keeping the productive fire alive is one of the best ways to find a renewed spark with your own work. Do what you have to at work or school in the best way you can, then carry that motivation home with you. Do your homework, then move right into your own project.
You have to accept that being good at something requires hard work.
It’s just the way the world works. If I ever want to be a serious author (make money doing what I love), I have to work for it. I need to treat it like a job, like it’s something that just has to be done because it has to be done. Sometimes we have to think of things like they are work if we ever want to get better. Otherwise, my writing will always be “just a hobby.” And even if you don’t necessarily want your hobby to become your means of financial stability, you want to be good, right? Then you have to work for it. Some people have that natural, raw ability, but those are the exceptions. Not the rule.
It’s okay to slack off sometimes, but when you’re making excuses just to avoid doing what you love because it feels too hard… then you’re avoiding progress. There’s a reason it feels like too much work. If it’s not worth fighting for, then is it really worth doing at all?
Let me know, and comment below! Thanks for reading.
Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know! Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! Don’t be shy!
I finally made a YouTube video. It’s been years. Years and years since I was on the YouTubez, but I’m back with read-out-loud versions of my fanfiction work. I may put some original work on there, but for the time being, it’s solely fanfiction. Please watch, and enjoy!
She had to get him out of the museum, which, after taking her vow of silence, was much harder than she had anticipated. She tried leading by example, going to her bedroom, putting her hair up, dabbing on a thin layer of makeup, and even switching into public worthy attire, but when she came back to the living room, there Suga sat. He was reclined on the couch, nose buried deep in a book. Shiori couldn’t make out the title, but by the way Suga’s long, slender hands grasped the full length of the spine, it seemed like something short – nothing too time consuming.
It was just like Suga to be reading when the roof over his head was questionably unsound. She shook her head in disapproval, and did her best not to grumble along with the motion, but couldn’t help finding the sight a bit comforting. He was just so comfortable there. She couldn’t imagine anyone else sitting there, with that book, with that smooth face and focused eyes.
Yet, there was a strong possibility there would be someone else. She had to make sure that wouldn’t happen.
So, she marched over to the perfect, little scene and stopped right in front of him, arms crossed. He peered up at her from behind his book. He nodded towards her, then motioned toward her outfit. She shook her head, refusing to respond. It would take much more than an inquiry about her clothes to get her to speak, even if he looked adorable behind a book.
He sighed, then closed his eyes, as if in meditation. Then, finally, opened his mouth.
Shiori couldn’t hold back the smile. She nodded in approval before motioning for the door. Suga followed her motions, but the moment his eyes lighted on the door, he was already shaking his head in refusal.
“… No… where…? Why?”
She shook her head. There wouldn’t be answers, not until they were out the door anyway. This was proving to be a successful tactic, and she couldn’t help feeling a bit smug about it. He opened his mouth again, brows cinched together, preparing for another refusal, but Shiori wouldn’t give him the chance. She plucked the book from his grip, leaving his hand to flail in shock between them. She gripped it in both of her’s to then tug him up from the couch. Suga’s mouth hurriedly tried to form words, but all he could manage were uncomfortable, shocked sounds.
It didn’t take much to drag him to the door, but once there, he managed to regain some form of consciousness. He gripped the door frame and all her efforts came to a halt. Shiori peered back at him, her outside in the lingering mist of rain, him standing firm on the inside. His teeth were clenched, holding back words she was sure he had been forming since she had yanked him up from the couch.
“Why… why are you doing this?”
Shiori thought hard about it, not sure how to answer. The moist air clung to her skin, hot and sticky. It wouldn’t be long before it would start raining again. If they left quick enough, they could be the rain. She was sure of it. Finally, she muttered.
“I want to help you.”
Suga pursed his lips. Shiori could barely make out the way his teeth chewed and worked on his lips as he mulled over her statement. Finally, he dropped his hand from the door frame and stepped out into the mist with her. She couldn’t hold back a small smile as she turned to keep walking, him close behind, hand-in-hand through the mist.
She gave him the choice. Did he want the small shops, with specialty items rather than full racks of every part of an ensemble, or the little department store. The full-sized store was a bit farther away, but it would have more people, and more opportunities to interact, to work on social skills. Plus, if he chose the small shops, that would require them walking through the impending rain to get from shop to shop, just to make sure they had everything to prepare for his interview. Still, the village shops were familiar, and she was sure he would choose them, but, much to her surprise, he walked past all of them.
She was proud, if not a little worried, too. She couldn’t help gazing up at him, wondering how long it had been since he went outside of the village – or even outside of the museum. Her heart ached.
They had just made it to the department store by the time the rain started pouring again, breaking through the hot mist and cooling everything back down to an almost frosty fall day. She shivered from the unfamiliar temperature. For a moment, Suga’s hand seemed to grip her’s tighter, but she couldn’t be sure if it was just her imagination. Shiori didn’t think on it much more as they walked through the doors to enter the lobby of the store. People milled about aimlessly, not really looking at anything, as they waited for the rain to let up. Children were squealing at their parent’s feet, and parents were grimacing in response. It was all so familiar to Shiori, much like her old home in the city. Suga, on the other hand, tensed, awkwardly stiff as he moved about the people.
Shiori, once the one dragging, was now being dragged through the throng. She watched Suga’s muscles tense in his back, rigid and straight, as he tried to find some clear space for them to stand – maybe even just to breathe. He led her all the way to the kitchen ware before the people began to clear and were replaced by shelf after shelf of pots and pans. It was then Suga stopped, took in a deep breathe, and relaxed. It was strange how comfortable he was around so many inanimate objects.
“This… was not such a good idea.” He breathed, dabbing the sweat from his forehead.
Shiori shook her head, not in disagreement, but rather because she had known it herself, and she was already regretting it. While she wanted him to break out of his shell, she didn’t want to give him anxiety attacks. She wanted to help, not hurt.
“You’re right.” She wilted. “Maybe we should head back to the museum.”
Suga’s eyes met her’s, and they held that gaze for a long time, both mulling over what the other might possibly be mulling over. Finally, Suga tugged at her hand.
“There are shirts… over here.”
Shiori smile, a small, proud smile. Maybe there was a chance after all.
It’s… contemplative. Introspective. Thoughtful. It is what most would call…
Most people wouldn’t dare define their own writing as boring, but I’m doing just that. Why? Because it says a lot about who I am. While we’re told not to take bad reviews personally, and I tend not to, I do find it interesting that when I see a negative review, I automatically begin picking apart my personality before I pick apart the writing in question.
Yes, it’s a bad habit.
Yes, you still shouldn’t take bad reviews personally.
And yes, I’m a complete loon for using a review on my writing to review myself, but I look at it this way:
Writing is a part of me. If there is something wrong with my writing, I need to address why I write this way before I can even begin to address how to fix it. I’m not trying to fix myself. I’m trying to find the source of why I write the way I write.
As I’ve said before, I am an introvert through and through, which makes me a black sheep in my family. My mom was class clown in high school, she’s still a socialite today and is one of the most outgoing people I know. My dad was a football player, won dance competitions, and is so charismatic still today that he could sway the Devil away from sin if he wanted to. Then, there’s me.
I am an awkward potato. I’d rather sit behind a screen and talk to people who I can’t see and who can’t see me than I would actually going out and meeting people. I’m my most comfortable alone. Me, myself, and I, are my confidants and where I find peace. I’m hardly ever lonely, though that doesn’t mean I don’t long for company occasionally. I just like my thoughts, my quiet, and myself. I’m proud of myself, and I love myself. I like spending time with myself.
That’s how my writing is, too. My main characters spend a whole lot of time in their own heads. It’s boring to a lot of people… but the way people think is so interesting to me. I think the most dynamic prose can take place all in a character’s head. Besides, all of our favorite stories came from someone’s thoughts, ya know?
That’s not to say action is boring. On the contrary, action is much more popular and fun. After my last bad review, I’m going to try and deviate as much as I can from thought and add more action. Is it going to be better? Maybe. I won’t know until I try.
I’ve just finally accepted that not everyone is like me. It’s embarrassing to admit it took me so long to accept, but what can you do? Not everyone likes to just sit and mull around in their own heads. Even less like to read about other people doing it, but that’s the reason I write that way.
My style is my personality.
What about yours? I’m curious to see how everyone’s writing style aligns with their personality, or how their taste in books relates to their personality. What do you think? Is it okay that personality and style are intertwined? Or is it a writerly sin? Please, let me know, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know! Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! Don’t be shy!
He pulled apart another one today. She would have to remember to pick another one up before she left for work, otherwise he would destroy her pillows again.
She picked up piece after piece of rag doll: the button mouth, a piece of raggedy hair, and fragment of dress. She loyally picked up every piece, the same way she had done since the diagnosis. Then she heard him.
“Where is she? Where is she?”
She followed the voice to their bedroom, and there he was, on the floor, running his hands up and down the floorboard as if something might magically materialize if he just rubbed hard enough. It pained her to see him now when she could still see him so clearly before.
The fading purple mane, now a sickly gray color, and even his eyes were stained gray with cataracts he refused to admit were there. Doctors said it didn’t matter. He didn’t have much time left anyway. It wasn’t “worth the trouble.”
Oh, but if only they knew how much he was worth to her.
She walked over to her side of the bed and sat down, just watching. Not too long ago, he would’ve heard her come in. Now, he didn’t even glance up. She’d have to take him to get his hearing checked next.
She patted the bedspread, the one he picked out when they were supposed to be shopping for a mattress. It was red and blue roses, his favorite, though he never could explain why, and she just couldn’t say no.
“Garry? Why don’t you lie down?”
Garry shook his head, his mop of gray covering his eyes.
“I don’t have time. No time. I’ve lost her again. She always runs off. She’s gone… she’s gone…”
He trailed off into more mumbling.
She sighed. She knew this script. She really did need to stock up on more dolls.
“Who are you looking for?”
Finally, he angled his face to look at her and used a shaking hand to move the hair from his eyes. Two blank mirrors reflected back nothing but her. Gray hair, chopped off to her chin, sagging cheeks, and what used to be smooth features were wrinkled and marred with time, nothing like what he remembered. Not anymore.
“Ib. She’s a little girl. Brown, long hair, and red eyes… kind of like yours…” his face lit up at this realization, “Could you be related?”
She shook her head and frowned.
“No, but I know her very well.”
Then he frowned, and for an instant, his eyes seemed to clear, as if he were about to remember something very vital, but just as quick as it appeared, it was gone again. His face went back to the floor, and he once again began his search.
“Where is she? Where is she?”
Her body shook, and her eyes brimmed with tears.
I’m here, she longed to say. I’m here. I’m no longer just a little girl. I’m your wife, and I love you… and at one point, you loved this me, too.
But she couldn’t. She couldn’t bring herself to argue with him again, to watch him break over and over. Instead, she would break. Somehow, that seemed better. It was easier this way. She would just have to remember to buy another doll.
A doll with long, brown hair and red eyes, with a pretty little dress, a doll he loved until he would wake up and realize it really wasn’t her. It was the closest she would ever get to him remembering her, but another doll and he would forget Ib all over again.
Suga was still in the living room when Shiori finally retired to her bedroom. She was sure he was still reading that pink note, over and over and over again, as if something might change if he just kept willing it to. Even he wasn’t confident in his own abilities, and Shiori was already planning on what she would do when they came to take the museum.
Yet, even as she accepted defeat, the note from earlier was still propped up on her nightstand. So, when she turned her head, she was forced to read it over and over again.
‘Please don’t be angry with me.
I have so much I want to say.’
What did he want to say? Why wouldn’t he just say it? Shiori groaned as she covered her face with her hands, trying her best to hide.
“Why won’t you just say it?”
She could just picture him scribbling away in response. Perhaps his next note would have been a sweet, innocent ‘I don’t know how’ or ‘I’m scared of what you’ll think.’ But the more she thought about it, the sillier it all seemed. It would be something cold, probably something short, like ‘Let me think’ or ‘Don’t worry about it.’
Shiori groaned again and scrubbed her face.
And what if he had actually spoken? Her stomach felt just about as knotted as her mind was, and she didn’t think it was all because of the burnt fish. She wished she could go back, relive it, and try again. She wouldn’t have left the table. She would’ve read his notes and responded. There had to be a better way. Something just had to give, and it would have to give fast. Both Shiori and Suga would leave the museum, or… well, she wasn’t quite sure, but if nothing else, Suga would be staying in the museum.
The key was with Suga. He would have to prove that he could be a great host and proprietor, and he would have to interview. Had he ever been in an interview? How did he even get the museum in the first place?
Shiori couldn’t help imagining a silent Suga, alone and having to face life without the basic ability to speak along with the silent, decaying mansion. It was as if they needed each other, really. There probably wasn’t a better match in the world than Suga and the mansion.
Again, a twist in her stomach.
“Of course they’d put him here when no one gave a crap about this place… Why would they need ‘good customer service’ when they had no customers?”
Shiori’s head ached, and she found herself going back and forth between just leaving all together or at least staying to see Suga through. Her heart tugged her closer to the latter, but her mind said run. The problem wasn’t so much his manners, though those could be worked on a bit more, too, but the fact he still wasn’t willing to speak.
No matter how polite his notes were, it was still intimidating to speak to someone who could only write back, especially when you knew he could speak. He just didn’t want to, and that was the most frustrating part.
How could Shiori get him to speak to a bunch of strangers when she couldn’t even get him to speak to her?
Then, she heard it. It was more or less a grunt, but it was a noise, something that usually wasn’t present in the mansion unless she was making it.
Her hands fell from her face, and her eyes immediately went to the door of her room. Was there someone else there, or was it…
Shiori sat up without further thought and rushed out the door, down the hall, and back in the living room where she found Suga, still sitting on the couch. He was hunched over, right shoulder furiously jerking. He had to be writing something. Then he would grunt, his body would freeze, and he’d go right back at it.
Shiori, as silent as she could manage, crept up behind him. Even sitting down, her head barely reached above his. She could scarcely remember as children when she had been just a few inches taller, back when he needed her around to protect him. She physically winced as her heart ached and thrummed in her chest. She pressed a hand, hard against it, hoping Suga hadn’t heard.
Thankfully, he didn’t turn around. So, she took another step forward, then on tip toes, rose up enough to just barely catch the top of a very thorough, haphazardly scratched up letter, addressed to the ‘Mayor and His Committee.’
Shiori didn’t hold back the ‘hmph’ that came up in response.
Suga froze in his writing, then slowly angled his body to face her, hand still poised over the paper.
She crossed her arms, and pursed her lips before asking,
“What are you doing?”
It wasn’t until she asked that question that he took his hand away from the letter and began to dig in his pockets for what she knew was a memo pad. She huffed, then launched herself over the couch, much to the surprise of Suga who even let out a loud grunt.
Her mission was simple: Grab the letter, grab his pen, and make him speak.
Though simple in theory, Suga wouldn’t let that slide without a fight. With surprise on her side, she did manage to grab the letter, simultaneously landing in Suga’s lap, all legs and arms as she struggled to belly slide away. He gripped her by her waist and reached up to grip the other side of the letter. Curse his lanky arms.
She would yank, he would yank. She would yank, he would yank, both crying out in fits of rage and desperation. Ultimately, the paper was the one to give in, ripping until both assailants had an equal piece in their grasps. It was then Suga released Shiori, allowing her to squirm away until she was on the other end of the couch.
Even as she panted and dabbed sweat from her forehead, she was still able to read Suga’s pleas for compassion and understanding. As much as she loved Suga’s kind, gentle nature, it burned her deeply to see him catering to such people.
She shot him a sidelong glance, just quick enough to catch his lip puckered up, and his eyes locked on the ripped, crumbled page in his lap. He might have cried at any moment had he not caught Shiori’s gaze. He pursed his lips, and once again dug out his memo pad. He was going to give her a strong talking-to… or writing-to… or something, but she wasn’t going to have that.
She shook her head.
“Oh no. If you want to talk to me. You’re going to actually do it… you know. Talk.”
Suga’s gaze shot back up to her. He looked surprised and a little betrayed. He took the crumpled note in his hand and shook it at her, as if to ask,
‘Then what the hell was this?’
She sighed and crossed her arms again, that motion growing a bit too comfortable in the past couple of days.
“Do you think they’re going to take your letter seriously?”
He gave her a stern head bob.
“Really? Even though their main problem is that you don’t speak? If you want to beg, at least use your words… prove to them that you can.”
His head shook in response this time, eyes narrowed and lips tucked into a thin line. He was just being stubborn.
Shiori flashed him a smile.
“Fine. If you don’t talk. I don’t talk, and until you do… I won’t be reading, either.”
Suga mimicked her pose, crossing his arms and smiling. If it had been any other time, Shiori might have laughed. If nothing else, she would be making him speak before she left.