September 20, 2013

writing - chapter 1

Continuing from last week, here is the second part of my little experiment. I am having some problems coming up with a name for the lead female character; it seems all the nice names are taken ... either that or I am extremely picky. Hmm ...

I know the main storyline isn't the most original - it is loosely inspired and based off books like Sex In The City, The Devil Wears Prada, Confessions Of A Shopaholic and of course, the Fifty Shades series plus a few others in between - sort of like a mash up. I am hoping to compensate the lack of originality by approaching it with my style of writing which is where you guys comes in!

As always, I would love to hear your feedback and comments ... pretty much what you think, in general or in detail or whatever pops into your mind. Thanks for your time!

Hello. My name is Amelia Hayden. My friends call me Mia. I’m now in my 22nd year of life and about to embark on my 32nd in a few weeks. No need to reread the previous sentence; your eyesight is fine – one plus one still equals two and the world is still round just as Pythagoras said it was way back in the 6th century B.C. It does write 32nd and no, it is not a printing error either.

You see, when you’re 22 years old from Philadelphia, recently graduated from Ohio and by fluke get offered a job together with your best friend in one of world’s influential fashion magazine, you’d be reeling and jumping like an idiot on the peak of Mount Everest. I was also cartwheeling all over because I also get to stay in a gorgeous Upper West Side apartment with my best friend simply because I was her best friend. Absolute perfection, isn’t it?

It actually gets better and I call it my cherry on the top – Todd, my extremely loving and supportive boyfriend with whom I was head over heels in love with.

We’d been dating for four years and he was a gem of a find – he was a man who wasn’t afraid of long term commitment and totally supported me when I told about my job offer and that I had to move to The Big Apple to take a bite of what's left of it. The guy actually encouraged me to follow my dreams and even promised he’d work around a transfer to New York within a year! "Wow!", right?

Here’s where I suggest you do not proceed further and reread the entire paragraph again - well spotted. That entire last paragraph was past tensed.

Here’s what happened. All was well and I was still on top of Mount Everest until 7am on Christmas Eve morning when Todd’s current, and I mean extremely current girlfriend called me on my cellphone and had the audacity to demand that I stay away from him.

Oh, how chivalry died that morning!

She also called me a bitch before abruptly hanging up, leaving me confused and dumbfounded, blinking away sitting on my bed with my mouth gaping, clutching my cellphone and unable to move for a very, very long while.

You see, tumbling down from the peak of Mount Everest and hitting every single rock and pebble on the way with a shattered heart on Christmas Eve morning no less, after realizing the last four years of your life was an utter sham ...  now that ages you a bit. In my case, it aged me a full decade. I wanted to run with a century but I think that would have been overly dramatic, like my inner prima donna.

No, I’m not mad and yes, I have an inner prima donna. You can roll your eyes at me – I am one of those people. My inner prima donna is to me an inner voice to others; she is my alter ego whom I live off vicariously in theory, like when I’m too chicken to try anything in reality. Her mission in life is to disagree with me on almost everything which in some ways keeps me in check and in others annoys the crap out of me because in some low down level, I know she is right.

Now, let’s get back to the subject at hand – Todd.

Eventually, I got over him but I had to claw through hell emotionally and physically. No, this time I’m not being overly dramatic. Let me explain.

My best friend, Danielle tolerated my mourning for about a week before Ben & Jerry’s and all its brethren including her favorite Danish from the Bronx – Häagen-Dazs, was banned from our apartment. I was drowning my sorrows in a pint of aptly named New York Fudge Chunky, paying homage to the city where I was dumped by my ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend on his behalf resulting in me turning into fudge with an expanding chunky waistline, when she grabbed it off my hands without any warning, glared at me and through gritted teeth said, “Enough.”  That was traumatizing emotionally. A girl with a broken heart needs her ice cream!

At the end of week one, she tried to get me to attend some glitzy New Year’s Eve party courtesy of her “connection” in the magazine but I preferred the company of an extra cheesy Italian – pizza. Needless to say, another round of grab-and-glare ensued hence another emotionally scarring episode where I was left with a broken heart with no American, Danish or Italian to console me. The Chinese was also banned in an attempt to get me to eat healthy.

By the end of week two, she brought out the big gun – Paolo. He’s our fitness instructor at the gym we go to, or rather the gym I went to as I stopped going since Christmas. Paolo scares me and my dearest best friend knows it. She brought him home one evening after her gym session as I was about to take a bite of my new helping-me-to-cope-with-a-broken-heart comfort food – potato chips, when he too did the grab-and-glare on me. Well, a little less grab because I handed him my bag of chips willingly but a lot more glare which was Paolo’s way of telling me it’s time to get over my sorrows. He also managed to scare me back into the gym within the following week and very quickly, got me back in shape. His secret is simple – liquefy my fat cells with the fear of Paolo.

I’d like to think he’s a nice charming buffed-up six foot of a bald guy outside of the gym when he’s with his  family and friends but when you’re in his territory, be forewarned - be afraid. Be very, very afraid. He’s like the male Italian version of Jillian Michaels – only about a thousand times tougher, looks like Vin Diesel who keeps waking up on the wrong side of bed, every single morning.

Okay, so you are rolling your eyes at me and probably wondering why I stick with Paolo when he supposedly terrifying. Well, simple really – he’s the best at what he does and because Danielle likes him and whatever Danielle wants, Danielle gets.

It’s been six months since that fateful Christmas Eve morning and although I feel much better about myself physically, I still go to bed every night going over every detail and wondering what I did wrong to make Todd stop loving me. The tears flow less freely nowadays and the dull ache that radiates from the center of my heart outwards numbing my entire body has decrease in intensity.

I was in utter denial throughout January and half of February. I did not want to believe that he could be that cruel and leave me hanging on a ledge 40 floors up; ten floors for each year we were together, without a life line  - but he did. The bastard!

He did not return my calls or reply any of my emails. For a brief moment I thought something dreadful had happened to him – perhaps he found out he was terminally ill and he didn’t want to burden me – but my mum assured me he was as healthy as a horse and isn’t going to keel over and die anytime soon. My dad however was very obliging with the latter and made his feelings crystal clear to Todd's parents when they called to apologize over their son’s behavior. What a lily-livered pullet, getting his parents to do his dirty work!

March and most of April, maybe even early May was filled with guilt. I convinced myself that it was my fault Todd fell out of love with me because I neglected him. I accepted a job in New York City when I should have stayed with him in Ohio. I blamed myself every day for over two months, much to Danielle’s exasperation. She doesn’t understand how I could think it was my fault when all I did was follow my dreams. But then, Danielle is a little like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City – she’s very independent and will not allow herself to depend on a man if she can handle things herself. She doesn’t stay in a relationship for long either, six months at the most and that is if her libido is propelled into overdrive by the guy. I’m more of a Carrie Bradshaw sort of gal and also very much a sentimental fool.

Music and the world of cable was not kind to me during these few months. In fact, they were in utter contempt for the broken hearted and jam-packed with soppy tunes and romantic movies. Word to the broken hearted – if Whitney Houston’s “Why Does It Hurt So Bad?” comes on, rIun. Run really, really fast for the hills ... or the mountains. Live well and prosper as a hermit would. Just the first stanza alone will turn you into a weeping block of jell-o and it will kill you slowly by drowning you in your own tears.

Then June came by and I my guilt morphed into absolute fury. Todd had told me he loved me every single day that we were together and I believed him ... for four years, damn it! How can someone love another for so long then wake up one morning and not love them anymore? I could not understand how he could be so hard-hearted. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know what I did wrong but most of all I wanted to move on with my life and his silence over the last six months infuriated me.

But then in all fairness, my irate state was not solely directed at my ex-bastard of a boyfriend alone. Part of me was also annoyed to the point of insanity with the one man that my best friend claims almost all women in the city of New York want to be with. Well, with me being the one exception then – the elusive bachelor (and I assume playboy) billionaire, Nathan Sinclair.

Alright, I will admit that he is very good looking with bright bluish grey eyes that pierces right through me; well defined and sculpted jawline I want to nuzzle up to; deliciously shaped lips I want to kiss and chew on; messy yet très chic dark brown hair that I want to run my finger through every time I see him and a body that I want to ... well, you get the idea. He’s not thirty yet, most likely richer than Croesus even by today’s ridiculous inflation rate and somehow all this combined also makes him the most exasperating man I know.

It all started early one crisp cool autumn morning with a loud snort behind a cup of hot coffee and a MacBook Air.