So I do have some non-NaNo writing posts planned for this month as well, but I felt like today would be a good day to share the new first chapter of Vini’s Story! This is just the first rough draft. A lot of similarities to the original, but some changes have been made. For example, this chapter is longer sitting at 2,945 words. So you might want to grab a cup of tea (or your beverage of choice) and perhaps some snacks before you start reading this one! Please keep in mind this is a first draft, thus, no editing has been done of any kind to it yet. I just felt inspired to share this with all of you today. Any feedback is always appreciated! For those of you who don’t know, Vini’s Story is a fictional autobiography of how a young rocker survived adolescence. Complete with absent parents, personal struggles, controversies, and her imaginary dead sister. – With that, I am bringing you the first chapter of my current NaNoWriMo project!
I had first heard of Dead Nicole when I was just six years old. I was really sick and I still remember the scent of my mom’s floral perfume as she cradled me in her arms. She rocked me ever so gently as she told me how I was her miracle child. I remember mom’s voice wavered slightly as she began to tell me how I had a big sister in heaven. How she had been expecting a baby girl before me. Her name was to be Nicole after mom’s only sister. Coincidentally Nicole became my middle name, after both my aunt and dead sister.
Mom had further shared with me that she couldn’t have Dead Nicole, as Heavenly Father had special plans for her. Naturally at the age of six this confused me, but I think I was too sick to ask questions. I remember being genuinely fascinated to the idea of having a sibling though. All I had were my cousins, who were all wonderful – but I didn’t get to see them much. So Nicole often crossed my mind. I loved that my middle name was Nicole, because it made me feel like I had a piece of her within myself. That was as far as my thoughts went though. Imagining life with a sibling and enjoying that I carried her name with me.
Shortly after I had turned eight years old though, fate would bring me to facing Dead Nicole for the first time. It was a day when mom had brought me to the recording studio with her. I was placed in the hallway to play there. Normally mom would just let me go inside with her when I got to tag along, since I knew how to play quietly. Well that and I would often just sit in amazement as I watched and listened to my mom record her music.
That day was different though. I wasn’t allowed to go inside. Mom handed me my Hello Kitty backpack full of things to occupy my time with. She had been stiff in her movements that whole morning as if she were tip-toeing around me. When we had gotten to the studio she gave me clear instructions to stay close to the door, not to talk to any strangers, and to just play quietly so not to be disruptive.
From there mom had stepped into the studio and as soon as the door was closed, I heard the latch of the lock. That was strange to me given Mom never locked me out of a studio before. Something wasn’t sitting right with me from the start of our day, but having only been eight years old at the time – I had no idea what was happening on the other side of that door or why. She had always praised me for being so good during studio days, but this time I wasn’t allowed in. I felt like I was being punished, but I couldn’t put a finger on anything I had done wrong. Not that I was a perfect child, but I was generally well behaved initially in life.
Curiosity to what was happening got to me quickly while I was alone facing a long empty hallway with just my backpack to keep me entertained. So I carefully leaned my body towards the door and slowly pressed my ear to the door. I was careful not to thud or make any sort of noise against the door in fear of getting caught. Not hearing anything at first I raised my small hand as if I was getting ready to knock. I hesitated though since I wasn’t sure what my excuse for knocking would be. Then I heard whispered words by my mother, “Shhh…she’ll hear us.”
“No she won’t. We will be quiet. It’ll be okay.” A man’s voice had spoken. It was Phil. A man I had always seemed to have known. He was a record producer that my mom had worked with in Los Angeles for years. At that moment I’m not sure why I didn’t just step away from the door, but while my raised hand to knock faltered quickly I couldn’t manage to take myself away from the door. I’m not sure why. I mean, I had a plethora of things in that backpack to do. My naturally curious nature however seemed to take control in my actions as I remained pressed against the door.
Among sounds of shuffled movements I heard my mom speak again, “I can’t do this anymore Phil.” She sounded so strong in that statement. Oddly I felt proud of her. I had no idea at the time what she was meaning, but I knew whatever she was talking about she was serious. Some unknown soft sounds mixed with muffled movements filtered through, followed with my mom further speaking – only this time her voice wavered slightly. “Really, Phil, stop…” I suddenly felt as though my insides were twisted into a knot. I should have stepped back right then and there. I should have moved onto my backpack, but instead I remained still at the door.
“Don’t talk like that please.” I heard Phil’s voice come through the door loud and clear. He had such a deep tone when he spoke.
I heard a soft gasping sound that sounded like it came from my mom. I stood there at eight years old having no clue what I was overhearing. I just knew whatever was taking place on the other side of that door with my mom and Phil was not good.
“Let’s just be together.” Phil spoke and I could almost feel bile rising up from my stomach. “I mean it Adriannah, just be with me. The three of us can build something together.”
“Oh, Phil…” my mom’s spoke words fell sort into silence until I heard her voice come through softly. “She asked of him again last night.”
“He doesn’t deserve her or you.” Phil interjected.
Noises seemed to pick up suddenly where they had died off. I couldn’t tell what they were doing, but there seemed to be a lot of movements. That should have been my cue to back off, but alas my eight year old self was still too curious despite the sickening feeling growing stronger inside of me.
“Phil…” my mom breathed out. “I… I can’t… I shouldn’t…”
“Shh… just enjoy this. Let me help you…” It was the last words spoken by either of them that I heard as I finally was able to peel myself away from the door when the unknown noises began to increase between them. I was careful not to pull away too quickly. I didn’t want to risk making a noise; I just knew I couldn’t handle listening to anymore.
As I stepped away from the door my breathing seemed to cease momentarily as I just stared at it. I remember questioning the woman I called mom. Silently questioning what and how she could do whatever was happening inside that studio. At that moment I had no idea about the affair she was having with Phil or about the rockiness of my parent’s marriage. I just knew whatever was happening in there was not okay and it was not with my father’s knowledge. It couldn’t be.
My eyes had traveled from the door to my backpack on the floor. I moved quickly to snatch it up and despite instruction to stay close to the door I ran with it all the way to the end of the long hallway as far away from that studio door as I could get. Dropping to my knees I opened it up to remove things. I needed a distraction. I needed something to get my mind off things.
Pulling things out I had discovered food consisting of a juice box, peanut butter sandwich and lightly salted chips – my favorite thing to eat at the time. I tossed them aside though. The pain in my stomach remained strong and I knew I was in no condition to eat anything. I dug further into the bag to pull out random toys my mom had packed, along with a sticker book, a coloring book, crayons, and looking at them spread across the floor beside me.
I tried standing as I continued to gaze at everything laid out before me; maybe a different perspective would inspire some impromptu game or project I could do to find escape from everything happening. It was no use though. Nothing that I had with me would take my mind off my mom and Phil. I sighed deeply as I took a step back against the wall and slumped down.
As my bottom hit the floor I brought my knees close to my chest, while wrapping my arms around my legs. I wanted to cry, but instead I heard her voice for the first time.
“Maybe I can help.” Her voice was heavenly to my ears and it had come from nowhere. It was that moment that my life with Dead Nicole would take a serious turn in connected. She would no longer just be a fun thought. She would be the way to fall away from the bad thing that was happening on the other side of a locked door. For a moment I just sat there focusing on putting life into her. Focusing my young mind on what she looked like.
I pictured her having light brown hair like our father’s, while I was a natural blonde like our mother. Her hair was hanging down past her shoulders. Her body was slightly larger framed than mine. She had bright blue eyes and a narrow yet feminine soft chin like our mother. Her lips were slightly thinner than mine, but we both had the beauty mark just above the right side of our lip. Dead Nicole’s skin was also fairer than mine. I held a tan most of the year pretty naturally with all of my time in the California sunshine. She stayed pretty pale.
“What do you think they are doing?” I finally asked as quietly as I could without officially going into a whisper. I saw her shoulders move up into an unsure shrug. “Do you think we should tell dad?” Our parents were after all married and lived together, even if dad was often on business trips.
“I think we should distract ourselves.” Dead Nicole’s voice was soft, but not weak. Her blue eyes gazed at me with an understanding unlike any other. In the moment I felt like she really was a piece of my very soul. She had come to life right before me when I needed someone the most. I wasn’t sure what mom was doing in that studio, but I was thankful to have my big sister to help take my mind off from it at least for a while.
Using every ounce of my imagination, I focused further on breathing into her as we began to talk to one another more. We started to talk about things we liked. For example, we both liked Hello Kitty and mom’s cheesy casserole. We didn’t care for green beans or Tyler from Sunday school.
I’m pretty confident that even at that young age in the moment I was in, I knew if I was going to use my imagination to create and bring my dead sister to life for my escapism I had to keep it interesting. So we talked about all sorts of things. We talked about pretty much anything that could come to mind, that didn’t involve locked studios or parents. I had gotten so focused on imagining my dead sister beside me that I didn’t realize how much time was passing us by while we sat and talked at the end of the hallway. I had also easily forgotten how long this hallway really was and how much space I created between me and my mother.
“Goodness sakes, what on earth are you doing all the way down there?” Mom’s voice startled me and I snapped my head down towards the studio door she had just exited. My eyes couldn’t help taking in the fact she looked different. Her hair was a bit out of place, which was unusual for mom. Her clothes weren’t quite as neatly together as she normally was. As I was taking in her appearance, I felt my mouth begin to open as I could feel the words ‘duh mom, I’m talking to Dead Nicole’ want to come out. I managed to prevent that though as I immediately felt it would be better not to basically tell my mom I’ve imagined her unborn child. Maybe that’s weird for an eight year old, but I knew Dead Nicole had to be my secret.
“Just playing.” I remember I tried to make it sound all sweet and innocent. I tried to not let it on that I’m scared to know about what happened inside that studio. I so desperately wanted to act and sound like I didn’t suspect a thing. Mom looked confused and perhaps slightly concerned for a moment however, but then her eyes dropped to the floor in front of me and her mouth nearly fell open with surprise. Here I sat far away from where I was told to play with my stuff all over the place. I normally didn’t do that. I was normally a very neat child, but that day everything changed.
“Levinia Nicole!” she blurted with disapproval. “Gather up your things now, it’s time to go.” Mom rarely raised her voice at me. I usually flinched when she did it as it happened so rarely. It wasn’t that I was scared of her; I was just always so taken aback when it had actually happened. As she started to make her way down towards me I scrambled to throw everything back into my backpack. I easily felt like crying, but for the first time in my life I fought my tears. I didn’t want to cry in front of her this time. I could see Dead Nicole even looked nervous as mom approached and took over the pickup. She crammed my belongings into the Hello Kitty backpack as she shook her head. I remember looking closely at her as she did and seeing the light pink lipstick she always wore was no longer on her lips. When her eyes caught mine I instantly looked down and did my best to help by handing her things.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered in a whispered voice. I hated that it wasn’t stronger, but I was still fighting my emotions. When I glanced up at her she was zipping up my backpack without a word or glance my way. There was a distant gaze in her eyes though. I’m still not sure if she just didn’t hear me in that moment or just didn’t care.
Once my bag was done she handed it over for me to carry out, before she looked at me like I was a stranger. “Come on.” It was all she said before she turned to head down the hallway towards the exit. For a moment I stood in a daze as she just kept on walking away from me. I was so confused and oddly hurt. I couldn’t understand all the emotions bubbling inside of me when suddenly she was looking back at me rather irritated. “Levinia Nicole get your legs moving now. We are going home.” Her words were firm and cold. I felt further confused, but I got my legs moving and as I did she didn’t even wait for me. She turned back around and led the way out. It was as we approached the studio mom was in; I couldn’t help the slight hesitation in my steps. I wanted to look, but I didn’t at the same time. I fought with myself.
“You have to keep moving.” Dead Nicole whispered to me.
“I know.” I mouthed with a slight nod of my head. I looked up to see mom hadn’t turned back, but I did have some catching up to do. So as I went to scurry past the room I paused briefly just enough to peek inside and see Phil sitting there. I couldn’t read his expression, but when his eyes caught mine he gave me a smile. Without a word or anything I whipped my head forward and threw myself into a run to catch up with my mom. As I caught up to her I slowed myself into a fast pace walk to keep up with her as we exited the building.
Getting out to the car mom opened the backseat for me. I climbed inside and shoved my backpack onto the floorboard. As I was getting situated in my seat and buckling myself, mom had slammed my door and got into the front seat. I wanted to say something, but I had no clue what to say. I was hurt and confused. Shifting my gaze I looked over to Dead Nicole who sat in the backseat beside me.
For the entire car ride home that day I kept my focus on Dead Nicole and our silent understanding with one another. It was nice, we didn’t have to say anything and if mom took the opportunity to glance back at me she probably assumed I was just looking out the window as the car drove. I wasn’t sure what happened. My mom and I were so close before that moment in time, but as she drove the car home that day I knew life was never going to be the same again.
That’s it for the first chapter! I already saw some things putting this post together that made me cringe, but I wanted to leave it as the first rough draft. Why? Because I feel like it’s important to remind ourselves that the first draft it meant to be riddled with errors. The point of NaNoWriMo is to help writers get the words down. The rest can be fixed later, but as the saying goes “you can’t fix a blank page”. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time you put the words on the page.
I do hope you enjoyed the chapter (despite errors), and I thank you so much for reading this!
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