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My Youtube Channel


So I've decided to invest in (get as a present) a good webcam finally and am making my very own youtube chanel
http://www.youtube.com/user/ryskamanticora?feature=mhum
:D thats right
watch my videos...or dont....or do

Different isn't always bad, just as normal is never extraordinary
          

Randomness -- music, friends and youtube


So I have three things on my mind at the moment, music friends and youtube, all of which kind of interlink.
See my friends have a band, there are 5 of them, 4 go to my school and the other one is my ex :P Anyways sure I'm biased because of that but I really DO like their music so listen to Neon Grey everyone! Even the name sounds cool!

My fav songs by NEON GREY are: Train Tracks, Filter, Say Hello, and Ovis Aries 
(also some new ones that aren't released but shhhh)

Link on youtube? Yes I think so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h37oAf5kmaw (that's the one for Train Tracks, you can find the other ones there or even look em up on Facebook!)

Anyways next thoughts inspired by talk of youtube. I just stumbled across this video and this girl is CRACKED, she seems like an interesting person and all but she's crazy! You might've seen the vid but just saying look up Tabs24x7 on youtube and be blown away O.O

Here's a link just cuz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6tcKTis-dY 

And finally a conversation I had with my friend a few minutes ago.
Right now, we're teenagers, and sure, when the morning comes around we have to man up and go to school, go to dance practice or work and think about Uni or college. But honestly? We have our whole lives to be mature and do the 'smart' thing.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't care about consequences cuz they'll catch up with you no matter what whether its stealing booze from your parents or hooking up with the wrong guy but high school is the time when you have to make the most of things, its the only time of your life when you can really do some pretty stupid shit and actually get away with it without wrecking your life, so my friend's wise words:

"If you see a hot guy. Screw him! If you see a big bottle of rum. Drink it! And if you see some feds...Run!" 

Music thoughts

Ok so let me start with the first and worst thought, I have work at 11am on New Years Day as in...right after New Years eve the night when no one sleeps and spends the whole night partying...I hate work >.> and another thought, I had a 9 hour shift today, my legs are killing me. Working at the movies isn't all its made out to be.

But now that that's done, I'm in love with the group the Pretty Reckless. The singer is Taylor Momsens as in Jenny from Gossip Girl. Yes i watch GG and I love Taylor Momsen and her music? Well its not what I usually listen to, it's a lot of rock but it's SO GOOD. Like her voice alone is amazing, and the style suits her :D just felt like commenting! Listen to it! Especially My Medicine, Make Me Wanna Die and Miss Nothing :D

Feelin random


So imna take a break from the book for the moment, not that I've even gotten to the good part so far it's just boring intro ;P
Just felt like ranting about the boringness of my break. I mean REALLY? I was sick the first week and now I have work every day since christmas till the 29th, thats 5 days in a row! Sure, I'm making lots of money but I don't even have a New Years party to look forward to since my plans haven't even been finalized yes :(

Anyways some fun pics of ....fun stuff :P Just cuz I'm bored


This (points down) is EXACTLY the face my friend makes all the time when he's just listening to you! IM NOT KIDDING! JUST LIKE THAT!




More fun stuff, there's also this. This is a frame from the video of Oh Bo - Bo Burnham. NOW! If you don't know who Bo Burnham is look him up he is a comical genious! He isn't just halarious, he also SINGS (well might i add) AND he rhymes his jokes in song....like....how many people can do that? HE'S AWESOME! Look him up, really, it'll make your day!




That's really all for now :P I'm bored, and cold freezing in mah room in Canada. Canada is a cold country >.> it should never be this cold. Also people shouldn't be awake before 10am but you know, those are just my thoughts and concerns

Part 3 of the first chapter :P


***

 

Lyse yawned as she passed by store after store of designer brand names. Fendi. Gucci. Chanel. Charles had woken Lyse up at 3:20 and then was off to the office. Lyse took her time walking down the street. It was the last month of summer and she wanted to cherish it.

She vaguely remembered her dream. All she knew was that it wasn’t just a dream, but a memory. She had met that boy before on her 16th birthday at the school dance for real. She hadn’t thought of that day for a long time.

Whatever the reason for her sudden remembrance was she tried not to dwell on it. All Lyse knew for sure was that every day on her birthday she would look extra carefully, every year, for the same face in the crowd. A face that was eerily like Lyse’s own.

Students walked up and down the streets, some looking enviously at the windows of the stores others looking superior as they emerge from said stores with bags in hand. The typical circle of life—the poor versus the rich. Lyse herself remembered the struggle of high school. But now she worked for Spark. She was envied by thousands of girls and women over the country. And while she was not exactly rich she was very well off; middle Upper East Side as she liked to call it.

A girl whizzed past her on roller blades, accidentally knocking into Lyse. Her bag went flying to the ground and she cursed as she bent to pick it up.

The girl slowed to a halt and immediately rolled back. “I am so sorry!” she gasped as she awkwardly, in her rollerblades, bent down to help Lyse gather her things. She looked at Lyse with huge worried brown eyes, her pig tails billowing in the wind.

“No big,” Sighed Lyse as she got up and dusted off her knees. “Don’t go so fast, look how many people there are.” The swarm of pedestrians really was intense and Lyse was amazed that the girl had even managed to gain such speed.

She nodded seriously and started off. “Will do,” She managed a smile as she disappeared into the crowd.

Lyse looked at her watch—4:02. She thought for a second then ducked into the nearest nail salon, three bulging bags in hand.

“Oh hello!” chirped a chubby lady as she rushed over to guide Lyse to a chair. “What can we do for you today?”

“I’d just like a manicure, thanks,” Lyse put her bags down and checked her phone. No messages. “Can I get it in the brightest red you have?”

The lady smiled knowingly as she snatched up a nail polish can and showed it to Lyse. It was fire-engine red, “A hot date?” she inquired.

“It’s my birthday actually.”

“Oh!” the woman—Ronda, as her nametag read—clapped her hands together. “Well you should have started off with that! For the birthday girl, 30% off!”

Lyse smiled as she got comfortable in the chair and Ronda set to work.

Three quarters of an hour later and her nails were blood red and dry and her credit had grown another 20 dollars.

Lyse pushed the door open, glared around in the sunlight, and pulled her glasses on again. Then she headed for the subway. She flashed her card through the machine and was just in time to catch the train.

As always, it was incredibly crowded and Lyse found herself wedged in between a fat sweaty man in a business suit who kept on giving her a frightening smile and a mother with a sleeping baby in her arms. Lyse examined the people who got off and on as she always did while on the subway. It was fascinating to see so many clashing colors, so many different shapes and sizes all crammed like sardines with the same goal of getting someplace fast.

Lyse noticed an old woman sitting at the far end reading a book. What caught her eye was that the pages of the book were black while the letters were white. Curious—and also a little thankful to get away from the creepy fat man who was drooling on her shoulder a little—Lyse slowly pushed her way through the crowd until she stood right beside the strange person. The cover of the book was as black as the pages with two words written in gold: Albus Umbrae.

In NYU Lyse had been friends with a girl who was crazy about Latin and had even dragged Lyse to a couple classes with her. From what Lyse could remember Albus Umbrae meant White Shadow in Latin. In any case the name made sense, what with the black pages and white letters.

The woman looked up from her book and right at Lyse, making her start and blush furiously even though she technically doing anything wrong. “Can I help you?”

Lyse shook her head. “Oh, no. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pry.”

The woman raised her eyebrow. “I can tell you want to know something. Ask away.”

Lyse hesitated and looked out through the windows, she still had three stops to go from the sight of this platform. “Well, I was wondering what that means. If I am not mistaken Albus Umbrae means White Shadow?”

The woman looked from her book to Lyse and back again. “You are not mistaken. You like Latin?” she inquired.

Lyse shrugged, “No, just a coincidence.”

“No such thing as coincidences,” the woman sighed to herself then turned back to look at Lyse. “Well if you don’t mind I’d like to get back to reading.”

“Oh, of course,” Lyse managed a smile and moved away. Three stops later and she pushed out of the crowded train into the crowded subway. It took Lyse a whole seven minutes to get up to the street. She pulled out her phone, “Jess? Is it okay if I come home now?”

Jess was trying to hush people, and by the sounds of it, a lot of people. “Yeah, I guess. Where are you?”

“I just got out of the subway, can I come up?” she looked up at the hotel as she advanced towards it.

“Sure, come on. And remember, act surprised!” Jess hissed and snapped her phone shut.

Lyse couldn’t help but smile as she passed by Jackson and Henry with a wave. “Any letters for me?” she inquired.

“No, but you got a lovely arrangement of flowers from your boyfriend,” Henry smiled coyly and passed over a gorgeous bouquet of pink lilies, roses and those pretty red and white flowers the name of which Lyse could never remember, they looked like ruffles of a skirt.

“From Charles?” she asked, astounded.

Henry frowned. “What, do you have more than one boyfriend?” he teased.

Lyse frowned and looked for the card. “No, but I already got flowers from him,” She said, fishing it out from the sea of flowers.

“Well he decided to make your day even better. What’s wrong with that? If you have a rich boyfriend, make use of it!” Henry laughed, “Happy birthday again, princess.”

“Thanks.” Lyse muttered distractedly as she read over Charles’s card. It was on a plain white sheet of paper with no silver border like the other one.

 

Happy Birthday Lyse, I love you

Best of wishes, your real present is waiting :)

                                             -Charles

“Strange,” Lyse sighed in the elevator. She rummaged through her purse and pulled out the card from the lilies. It looked almost the same, except this one had a silver border. Lyse quickly went over all the people who she knew whose names started with C. She only came up with Charles, her aunt Catherine and Cassandra and considering that she hadn’t spoken to her aunt in ages and that Cassandra was a bit of a bitch when it came to birthdays, she doubted it was them.

She stashed the cards back in her purse and took a moment to smell these new flowers as the elevator doors opened and she started off down the hall.

Lyse pulled out her keys from her purse, jingled them loudly hoping that the people inside would get the hint and hide. Then with deliberate slowness she put the keys in the hole and turned.

“SURPRISE!” blasted at Lyse as soon as she stepped inside and turned on the lights, accompanied by sounds of those confetti poppers—which she hated because she would be the one cleaning them up in the morning and made a mental note to track down whoever bought them and beat them to a pulp—and those party blower things that made the squeaky noise and unrolled.

“Oh!” she gasped, hoping it sounded convincing, even thought pretty much everyone knew that she knew about the party. “Wow, you guys! Thanks!” she smiled as she rushed over and swept Jess and Jasmina in a huge hug. “I take it you two put this together?”

Charles stepped forward and planted one on Lyse’s lips. “I helped, I didn’t actually go to the office, I came straight here,” He smiled, satisfied with himself.

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you,” people started singing and for a moment everything blurred and Lyse was transported back seven years to her 16th birthday with Denise singing to her. The flashback was gone as fast as it had started but it left Lyse with a strange feeling of déjà vu and shivers.

“Oh, that’s sweet. Now, let’s get drinking!” Lyse laughed as people swarmed around her, congratulating her and offering her various appetizers. Lyse grabbed Jess’s mojito and downed it.

“Hey!” her roommate protested. “It took me ages to make that, I even Googled it!”

Lyse rolled her eyes. “Then go make another one. Or better yet make two,” she smiled at Jess pleasantly as the blonde growled and stomped off to the kitchen.

“Cute dress Lyse!” Jas nodded approvingly as she looked Lyse up and down. Lyse had stopped by Bendels and bought herself an adorable blue sweater dress, black belt and high heeled slouchy boots with a silver chain twirling from calf to ankle. “And those shoes look a lot more comfortable.”

“If you want the death traps they’re over there in that bag,” Lyse pointed to where she had dumped her stuff at. “But I’m warning you, it’ll be hard getting my blood off the leather.”

Jas playfully hit her. “Enough about the shoes—introduce me to people!” Charles had disappeared into the crowd, probably gone to find his best friend Mick. Jas waited expectantly. She looked cute too in a black miniskirt and a red blouse sipping her pina colada.

“Did you guys get a bar tender or something?” Lyse frowned as she and Jas walked in the general direction of the kitchen.

“Naw, we just felt like making a shit-load of drinks. Seriously, we have everything, Screaming Orgasm, Sex on the Beach, Mojitos, Martinis. You name it. My personal favourite: Faerie Fizz.”

“You guys actually made a drink called Faerie Fizz?”

Jas lost her smile and looked at Lyse in all seriousness. “Oh yes my friend,” She continued in a grave tone. “We made...the Faerie Fizz.”

Both girls burst out laughing as they stumbled into the kitchen where Jess was busy making Mojitos.

“So is anyone worth our time here?” Inquired Lyse.

Jess rolled her eyes. “Pretty much all of Manhattan. And mind you these are all your friends.”

“And friends of friends,” Lyse laughed. “Apparently Claire’s assistant is coming tonight. Cassie’s bringing her.”

Jess laughed. “Well I’ll be.”

“Happy birthday again!” cooed newcomers as they rushed up from behind Lyse.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” Lyse asked as she turned to greet Sandy and Simon from work.

“Great party! Oh you’ve got drinks!” Sandy clapped her hands and snatched up one of the Mojitos that Jessica had just finished making while the blonde girl glared daggers. With that she disappeared with Simon in tow.

“The best part about birthdays are the presents,” Lyse sighed wistfully looking over at the huge pile of presents. “Can I open them now?”

“No,” chided Jas. “You’ll open them tomorrow when everyone leaves. Now go mingle!” and with that she pushed Lyse out back into the living room.

Immediately Lyse flew into a familiar, yet highly unwanted, figure. “Hello,” The smile in the man’s voice was evident as he brought Lyse to her feet. “Your drink is ruined.” He stated flatly as if Lyse hadn’t known.

Lyse found herself glaring up at the man who had stolen her phone in the morning. “What are you doing here?” she hissed.

The man bent to pick up the glass in which Lyse’s Mojito no longer resided. Rather, now it was all over the floor. His slightly mussed hair fell into his eyes as he went down and he flicked it away in annoyance. “I am celebrating some girl’s birthday. From the looks of it, I’d say that girl is you?” He grinned, like a cat at a mouse, and handed her the glass.

Reluctantly Lyse took it and felt a jolt as his fingers grazed hers. Automatically she stepped back. “You stole my phone,” She accused.

The stranger cocked an eyebrow and crossed his hands over his chest. “Did I? Really? Or did you happen to drop it; I picked it up for you, chased you through a Manhattan crowd and then lost you in the subway?”

Lyse blushed under his hard stare. She had been certain he had stolen her phone, but his story could have been true. “Well...I...”

Charles saved her from any more embarrassment as he appeared, faithful as ever, at her side. “Hey babe,” He kissed her on the forehead. Then his gaze fell on the man. “Oh, hello, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Charles, Lyse’s boyfriend.” Charles stretched his hand out. Unlike most guys he didn’t add the last bit as a territorial show, or a challenge. Charles just wasn’t like that; he had stated he was Lyse’s boyfriend merely for introductions. And, even though Lyse rarely felt so, she wished that he was more the jealous type. It would be nice to be fought over sometimes.

Not that anyone was fighting. The man in front of her wasn’t fighting, that was for sure, and Lyse blushed at her mental assumption.

The man hesitated for a moment then shook Charles’s hand. “Velox, Lyse’s...acquaintance,” he fished in his pocket for something and pulled out Lyse’s Blackberry. “I believe this is yours.”

Lyse snatched it up and looked at the screen. It was blank. “You turned it off?” she asked, surprised. If she had found someone’s phone she would have definitely gone through the texts at least.

Velox shoved his hands in his pockets, in body language that meant that he either felt awkward or he was trying to make Lyse feel more comfortable, possibly both. “Yeah, I figured it was rude to keep it on. You know, to get your texts and calls and stuff,” He definitely looked uncomfortable.

“Thank you,” Lyse looked up at the man, into his eyes which were so dark it looked like he had no iris, just pupil.

“Velox is a very unusual name,” Charles mused. “Does it mean something in another language?”

Velox looked at Lyse as he answered. “It means fast in Latin.”

If she hadn’t known better she would have thought he’d just made an innuendo, like one of those idiotic “That’s what she said” comments. But she did know better. Something in his voice made it sound different, something...more.

“What is it with Latin today?” Lyse laughed, feeling more and at the same time less comfortable now. “I saw this woman on the subway reading a book with a Latin title. White Shadow, it was called. A pretty name, right?”

Velox went rigid. “What an unusual book.”

“It was actually,” Lyse nodded. “Very unusual, all black with—”

“—White letters?” Velox gave her a sharp unsettling smile. “I know that book.”

Lyse looked at him for a long time. “What’s it about?”

Velox stretched lazily, like a cat—a big black cat—as he answered. “Oh, this and that. It’s basically a book of legends and myths. You know—ancient civilization things and all that.”

“Cool.”

Charles looked from Lyse to Velox and shifted uncomfortably, evidently feeling whatever tension was starting to build up between them. It’s not sexual! No! Just regular tension! Lyse wanted to yell to Charles but, obviously, couldn’t for fear of looking more than a little insane. “So have you two known each other for long?” he inquired, the question was mainly directed at Lyse but she let Velox answer, curious about what he would have to say.

“Oh, yes, we’ve known each other for years,” He gave Lyse an amused smile. She smiled back, playing along with the joke. But somewhere deep inside for God knows what reason it didn’t feel like a joke. Not at all.

“Yup, Velox and I go way back,” She looked at Charles who gave her a hesitant smile, apparently not able to determine if he was being laughed at and Lyse instantly felt guilty. Charles was the nicest guy she’d ever met; she really should realize how lucky she was.

“Well I was just on my way to get a drink. Want something Lyse?” Charles looked at Lyse and when she shook her head he nodded towards Velox and was off.

“He seems...nice,” Velox walked over to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lyse and watch Charles walk away.

“He is,” Lyse said almost defensively.

“Charles Townsend,” Velox tapped his fingers to his chin. “He’s Eric Townsend’s son?”

Lyse narrowed her eyes. “How did you know his last name?”

Velox picked of invisible lint off his shirt. “Well, I didn’t turn your phone off right away,” his voice wasn’t sheepish however, rather disinterested actually.

She decided to ignore the comment. “So how did you even hear about this party?” Lyse turned towards Velox.

The man chuckled, his eyes sparkling mischievously as he took a step towards her, causing her to back up a step. “A friend. Would you believe that?”

“Who’s your friend?” Lyse asked, a little roughly.

“Oh, I’m sure you know him very well. But, he’s not around, can’t seem to find him anywhere.” Velox looked at Lyse daringly. Why do I feel like he’s lying? Lyse wondered. The fact that he didn’t answer who his friend was wasn’t missed by Lyse, but she let the matter drop. For now.

“Well, I was going out to the balcony, I’ll see you around,” Lyse hesitated for a moment then brushed past Velox and headed for the balcony. On her way there she grabbed two champagne glasses, one in each hand, and down them both. She wasn’t in a bad mood or anything, but every birthday she liked to be a little overly ‘medicated’.

Before swooping onto the empty balcony Lyse looked around the party for a moment. Her eyes trying to search out the person she’d been seeking for the last seven years. From the corner of her eye she saw a shadow of a person, and for a moment her heart stopped. But when she really stared into the gloom of her apartment she didn’t see him. With a heavy heart Lyse walked outside into the warm august air.

 

***

 

Red white and blue lights lit up the house as Lyse, shuddering and crying, ran up.

 It couldn’t be. Denise had been her best friend, she had known all of Lyse’s secrets, they had had jokes between just the two of them, they had been inseparable.

But now they were worlds apart.

“Excuse me, Miss.” The female police officer with a walkie-talkie in her hands stopped Lyse just as she ran up to the yellow tape guarding off Denise’s house, her hand on Lyse’s shoulder was firm. “You can’t go in there.”

Lyse looked at the woman with huge eyes full of tears. “That’s my best friend’s house! What happened?” she gasped, even though she already knew what had happened.

The police officer gave Lyse a sympathetic look. “I can’t release any details right now. Please, Miss, go stand over there,” She indicated the crowd of on watchers.

Lyse ran towards the people, most of them were Denise’s neighbours. Just to the left of them stood Molly with a police officer.

“Molly! What happened?” Lyse asked, tears streaking her face.

“It’s D-Denise,” Molly stuttered. “She’s dead. I don’t know exactly what happened,” She ran to Lyse and hugged her. “It’s h-horrible! I found her, she was in her room. There was b-blood everywhere,” She sobbed into Lyse’s shoulder.

“How did it happen?” Lyse asked to no one in particular. The policeman gave Lyse a look then sighed, apparently pitying the girl.

“Are you close with the girl in that house?” he asked.

Lyse didn’t pause in her answer. “She’s my best friend.”

The policeman sighed again and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The girl was murdered. I’m not supposed to tell you this but we don’t know how or why. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”

Lyse tried to breathe but couldn’t. A figure appeared behind Lyse and she spun around at the noise.

It was the boy, the one that looked like Lyse. His face mirrored Lyse’s disbelief.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, turning towards him.

“I live around here, I heard the commotion and came to check it out,” He looked at Lyse and then over her shoulder at the house. In the driveway a body was being rolled towards the ambulance. A hand was lolling off the trolley. A hand with a delicate silver chain around the writs. That chain had been Lyse’s gift to Denise for her 16th birthday. Lyse had one that was almost identical on right now, one that Denise had given her ages ago.

“A lovely neighbourhood, right?” Lyse tried to joke and then felt horrible about it. Denise was dead. It just didn’t feel real. Lyse was half aware of what was going on and half in some distant world. Her head was reeling, a scream threatening to burst its way from Lyse’s trembling lips.

“We’re moving away,” Eris shook his head when Lyse opened her mouth to say something. “Not because of this—other reasons. We’re leaving.” Eris shifted from foot to foot. “Good-by Lyse.”


Tags:

Second part of my book, slowly moving along

Continuing right from where the last post left off, I've gotten the spacing all worked out now too :P

 


Happy Birthday Annelise

                      – C


That was Charles for you.

He loved the simplicity and hated cheesy elaborate birthday cards. A simple white card with tiny font in the center was all she could expect from him.

“Thank you.” Lyse smiled feeling elated and bubbly as she left the elevator.

Andrea glared at her as Lyse flounced by, flowers in hand. “Those are so common,” she commented snidely. “My boyfriend always sends me long-stemmed red roses.”

“Right and you would rather get uselessly long extremely common flowers that men only ever buy when they forget to buy you a present and feel guilty instead of your favourite flower any day,” Lyse chuckled. “Also...what boyfriend?”

“Your favourite flowers are lilies? That is so cute,” Andrea smirked. “My 12 year old cousin likes them too. You’re just like her.”

“And you’re just like a thirty year old virgin, get laid and loosen up already,” Lyse didn’t like being crude but Andrea was making her mad. “Really, don’t you have a job to do?” Lyse tilted her head to the side and savoured the look on Andrea’s face as she turned back to her desk.

“Annelise please come into my office.” Evangeline’s voice sounded on the intercom on Lyse’s desk. Lyse jumped and put the flowers on her desk and hurriedly entered Evangeline’s office.

“You called?” she asked as she stopped by Evangeline’s desk.

Evangeline looked up from her work. “Yes. I was just making sure that you had changed. Into more appropriate shoes. Also, I wanted to tell you that Dickens will be picking us up. In several minutes. To get to the meeting with Claire. I have decided to move it up to now. That way you can have the rest of the day off. It is your birthday, is it not?”

Lyse was stunned silent so she only nodded. She had no idea Evangeline would do something like that for her, ever.

“Well. Happy birthday, darling. Now get me a Voss. And fast. And we will get going.” Evangeline presented Lyse with a rare once-every-few-months smile. Lyse, completely overjoyed, left the office and went to Evangeline’s personal fridge to get her boss a Voss—chuckling ever so slightly at her unintentional rhyme.

After gathering up her papers she pulled on her jacket and looked at her watch, it read 11:37 am. She quickly checked her e-mail. She had 2 new messages.

The first one was from her mother. Her mother was a peculiar person and ever since Lyse had moved to New York she would never call but rather e-mail her daughter and tell her to go on Skype at a specific time, then later they would talk—as if face to face—for hours on end.

She clicked the link and her mother’s e-mail overtook everything else on the screen.

 

Annalise, dear, how I miss you. It’s been too long.

Your father and I have been meaning to come and visit you sometime soon, if that is alright with you, we would prefer to do it before the end of the summer. More specifically in 3 days. We have already booked a room at your hotel so it had better be alright with you. :)

 

Lyse laughed to herself. That was her mother alright. She had even been a little surprised when she read ‘if that is alright with you’ because her mother never coordinated anything with Lyse. If she decided on visiting in 3 days she would be at Lyse’s doorstep in precisely 72 hours with her bags and would not take no for an answer. Lyse scrolled down and continued to read.

 

We are so proud to see you turn 23. We have waited for this day for 23 years. Ha ha. I am amusing, I know. But Lyse we need to talk about something once we get there. And, no, it is not about your boyfriend. He seems like a lovely respectable young man. Even if he is a politician’s son and I stick with what I have always said, you can’t trust them.

We love you darling. And when I say we I mean me because your father is busy snoring in the other room, he’s apparently too tired to write to his daughter whom he has not seen in several years. But he loves you very much, you know that.

Anyway, I shall see you in 3 days. Prepare a dinner reservation someplace with your boyfriend and that friend of yours, Jessica, at a respectable restaurant. We expect to meet them once we arrive.

Love, your mother.

 

Lyse chuckled silently as she read over her mother’s strange but very familiar letter. Her mother wrote the same way she spoke, unlike most people.

She closed the window and looked at the last remaining e-mail. It was from Charles asking if Jessica really wanted to get Lyse a piñata or if she was kidding, because with Jess, you never know. Lyse smiled as she replied that Jess was most likely serious and turned off her computer.

“Evangeline? Dickens just called to say he is already downstairs. Are you ready?” Lyse poked her head in Evangeline’s office.

The woman looked up from her laptop and nodded. “Of course. Bring me my coat, darling.”

Lyse quickly obliged and followed her boss out of her office and down to the ground floor.

Dickens was Evangeline’s personal chauffer. Evangeline preferred to travel in a black Mercedes with tinted windows. As cheesy as it was Lyse enjoyed the glamour. “Where to, madam?” Dickens asked as he opened the door for Evangeline.

“That restaurant I adore. The one on Fifth.” She waved him away and turned to Lyse. “You are ready for the presentation?”

Lyse nodded nervously. “If this goes well you will be promoted.” Evangeline smiled. “Don’t screw it up, darling.” Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lyse thought to herself but smiled at Mrs. Taylor all the same.

When they arrived at the restaurant Lyse was shaking. She had drunk three espresso shots on the way there. She popped a piece of gum in her mouth and clambered out of the car. Inside they were greeted by a waiter who gushed about Evangeline’s hair and coat and shoes until Lyse threatened to get him fired.

“My apologies miss.” He gasped quickly. “I’ll bring in Mrs. Bellarissa as soon as she arrives.” He stopped mid bow—evidently realizing that who the hell bowed?—and rushed off to the kitchen.

No sooner had Evangeline taken a sip of her far-too-expensive-for-Lyse-to-ever-consider-buying-even-on-New-Years wine, Claire arrived; a flash of beige and white skirts and gold buttons.

She sat down on the chair adjacent to Evangeline with her assistant, Joelle, next to her. She winked at Lyse as she toyed with her glass of lemon water. Lyse had met Joelle once or twice and found they both shared a mutual dislike of Claire. Jo only worked for her because that was the only chance she had of getting her own business started.

“Ah, Evangeline, dahling,” Claire had a very peculiar way of pronouncing the word ‘darling’. “How lovely it is to see you.” She flashed an overly white set of teeth. “Let’s get down to business shall we?”

Evangeline raised an eyebrow. “Yes. However. I would like to order something first. Is that okay with you?” her tone wasn’t threatening per say, just sharp, as if begging Claire to disagree.

Sadly, because Lyse would have loved to have seen an editor’s spat, Claire shook her head and picked up the menu. “What’s good here? I’m not a big fan of beef, or chicken, mind you.”

“Great.” Evangeline commented dryly. “Because I was going to recommend the salmon.” Lyse smiled at the joke, but Claire evidently didn’t get it because she smiled and nodded in delight.

While the waiter took everyone’s order Lyse took out her old phone, which she had grabbed from her desk just before leaving, although she would need to replace the Blackberry, and texted Joelle.

I put 50$ on Evangeline if Claire as much as brings up this month’s issue. Eva will destroy her. She’s not in a good mood.

Joelle jumped as her phone vibrated in her pocket and she quickly pulled it out and read Lyse’s text. She grinned at her when neither Evangeline nor Claire was looking and texted back hurriedly.

I’ll second that. Claire isn’t one to fight, unless you call fighting over a 70 000$ purse a fight. It’s amazing that she spends more on a purse than what I earn in a year.

Lyse smiled down at her plate as the waiter placed her garden salad in front of her. “Thank you.” she smiled up at the boy. He looked no older than twenty and beamed down at her.

“So dahling, mind if we set to work now?” Claire clasped her hands together.

Evangeline put down her wine before turning to Claire, obviously irked. “As you may know it is actually Annelise who had prepared her share. Would you care carrying on the conversation with her? While I enjoy my herring.”

Claire looked form Evangeline to Lyse, wondering if she was kidding. Finally she figured that Evangeline didn’t kid and turned to Lyse, clearly displeased. “You are Annelise, I presume?”

“Yes, we talked today on the phone. We talk most days on the phone,” Lyse hinted, but Claire’s face remained impassive. “Let’s get down right to it shall we?”

Claire waved her on and she clumsily placed her papers in front of her, “Well, now, see, Mrs. Bellarissa. I have come up with an approximate estimate of how much your profits would rise if you had a contract with Spark,” She hurriedly placed the paper in front of Claire and the woman looked down at it as Lyse continued, “It would rise by a whole 32% now, and that is not counting the publicity. Everyone would want your products, if that is taken into account your profits would practically double. You know Evangeline is always looking for new customers. Your outfits would be placed in every issue; we can give you a two page spread for sure and then perhaps more if you are willing to negotiate an appropriate price,” she took a breath and examined Claire’s face. She seemed indifferent, but Lyse had her attention, “Now if this continued for over a year then we can come up with a different contract and it would be more amendable. You would be able to...” and on it went. It didn’t take long to lay down the general idea for the contract and then Lyse took several minutes to blather on about ‘opportunity’ and ‘calling’.

“So if you agree to this than we may come up with the terms for the final contract as soon as next week. Here are some papers that you can look over, this is a chart of your media output now compared to how it would be and look at those numbers right there.” Lyse paused for a few moments while Claire flipped through the papers. Lyse wondered if she was reading any of it or just making a show and figured she was most likely just looking at stats and headlines, “What do you think?”

Claire didn’t move for a moment, still intently scanning the papers placed in front of her. Then she clapped. Not very long, but she clapped nonetheless. “I came here already knowing that I would sign whatever contract you threw at me. But this makes me so much more willing to do it,” She turned to Evangeline. “This girl is a diamond. Keep her around, she seems to be learning a lot from you. Polish her up a little and she just may be the next proud owner of her own column, or maybe even get an editorial position,” She smiled at Lyse. “We will work on the contract next week, and when we are done we will celebrate. A party on me. How about that?”

Lyse beamed at her and sat down, her heart beating wildly. Evangeline gave her a reassuring smile. “Well now that that’s settled. Why not start lunch? Shall we?”

Lyse quickly dug into her salad. After scarffing it down she looked down at her left hand which had finally stopped shaking. Evangeline and Claire were talking, or rather Claire was talking and Evangeline was nodding and looking bored. Joelle took a sip of her coffee and looked up at Lyse.

“I was wondering if you wanted to hit up a party tonight. It’s my friends’ friend’s birthday and it’s in this hotel on the Upper East Side, it will be awesome,” Joelle gushed.

Lyse raised an eyebrow. “Who’s your friend?”

“Cassandra Welkins,” Joelle frowned. “Why?”

“Figures,” Lyse chuckled. “It’s my birthday tonight. I’m guessing you’re coming to my place seeing as how Cassie is one of my better friends.”

Joelle’s mouth fell open. “No way! What a small world! Well then I’ll see you tonight!” she smiled brightly, “I thought it was a surprise party...”

“It’s never a surprise in New York, they do it every year.” Lyse looked down at her watch. “I’d love to stay but I wanted to go to a few stores and get my nails done before heading home. After all, I can’t go home to change because Jess won’t let me in until the party starts,” Lyse grabbed her bag and stood up. “Thank you for a lovely...salad.”

Lyse looked down at her plate. “I would love to try the salmon, but I have to get going. Is that alright with you?” Evangeline simply nodded. “Alright then, I look forward to working with you,” she shook Claire’s hand and turned to Joelle. “And I will see you tonight.” And with that she strode out of the restaurant into the sunlight on the street.

It was so bright out that her eyes actually hurt and Lyse fumbled in her purse for her Fendi shades. Then she tried to wave down a taxi. Now, waving down a taxi is not an easy task, especially in Manhattan at lunch time. The best thing you could do was to split a taxi, but with who?

Lyse looked around and noticed a blonde woman also doing the familiar flagging motion with her hand at the passing by taxis. “Son of a bitch,” The woman hissed under her breath as yet another taxi passed her by. Apparently giving up the woman looked down at her feet as if looking for something. Just as the woman’s face spread into a smile Lyse strode over to her.

 “Trying to get one? Impossible this time of day,” She smiled brightly.

The woman eyed Lyse for a second then hurriedly bent down and picked something off the ground thought Lyse saw nothing in her hand and broke into a genuine smile. “Tell me about it,” She was wearing black dress pants and a white sleeveless blouse, her matching black jacket was slung over her free arm.

What amazed Lyse was the woman’s face. Her eyes were so light blue, like a husky’s, and her hair was a shade of blonde that was practically silver. “Want to split one?” she inquired as if reading Lyse’s mind and took a sip of coffee from the cup in her hand.

Lyse nodded eagerly. “I’m Lyse by the way.”

 “That’s a pretty name. I’m Angel,” She tilted her head to the side as if she had just said something funny.

“Where are you headed?” Lyse asked as she glared at yet another passing taxi.

“Brooklyn actually, you?”

Lyse looked at her watch 12:58, Jess would be expecting her home at around 7 so she had 6 hours to kill. She might as well drop by Charles’s place for a bit and then go shopping. “Well I was going to go shopping, and Manhattan is the best place to do that.” She bit her lip, “But I guess I’ll go to the Met.” What she really meant was that she would go to Charles’s which was right across from the Met.

“A big fan of art?” Angel inquired. She eyed her cup in distaste; shaking it a few times to make sure there was no coffee left and tossed it into the garbage can just to her left.

“Not exactly, my boyfriend lives close to there,” Lyse explained sheepishly.

Angel laughed, her laugh was high and twinkling, like a wing chime, “Fair enough,” She blinked. “Is your boyfriend rich?”

Lyse would have been offended but it seemed impossible to get mad at this woman who looked so pure. “I guess. He’s a politician’s son.”

Angel nodded curiously. “Is it serious?” before Lyse could tell her to shove off, or in this case that she appreciated the sincerity but it was none of her business—pure had its limits—Angel added. “I don’t mean to pry, it’s just that I recently broke up with a man of high status myself, now I get a little excited whenever I meet someone like that.”

Lyse nodded, as if that made it all better. “Well I guess we’re serious. He’s great but,” she was surprised herself to have said ‘but’, although now that she thought of it she meant it. “But I don’t know if he’s the one, you know? I mean, how do you know something like that? The only way to know is for you to meet the one you’re meant to be with and just know and even then you can’t know. That’s not knowledge that you get out of thin air. You know?”

Angel laughed, throwing her head back, “I know.” She said a little mockingly but in earnest. “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.” She let out a breath as one taxi finally pulled over. “Thank goodness and I was thinking I’d have to camp out here,” She grumbled as she slid into the backseat. “I’m heading to Brooklyn.” Angel announced.

“And I’m going to the Met.” Lyse slid in next to the blonde girl and slammed the door shut.

A Manhattan lunchtime traffic worth of time later and Lyse climbed out of the car, throwing a few bills over the driver’s shoulder. “Thank you, nice meeting you Angel,” She smiled at the woman who waved in return.

As the taxi “sped” off at a moderate crawl Lyse ran up the steps of Charles’s building and let herself in with her key. In the lobby she smiled at the doorman and waited for the elevator. Only then did she take out her cell and dial his number.

 “Hey babe. What are you doing right now?” she inquired as the light for the 5th floor came on.

“Not much, laying around, thinking about you. Why?” she could hear the smile in his voice. “You don’t normally call during work, is something wrong?”

Th 6th floor button lit up. “Nope, I was let out early on account of my birthday and the fact that I had the meeting with Claire and it went perfectly!” she squealed as the 7th floor light came on and the elevator came to a halt. “Want to come open the door for me? I’m coming in.” She announced as she strode down the hallway.

“Oh, sure!” Charles sounded surprised but she heard him get up. “I wasn’t thinking I’d see you before the party.”

“Well you were wrong. And shame on you, it’s supposed to be a surprise,” Lyse chided as she stopped in front of his door.

“Well then how is it you’ve known about it for several months now?” Charles unlocked the door and swung it open.

Lyse, still on the phone, smiled at him. He was gorgeous, and kind and fun—in a word he was perfect, and all her previous doubts evaporated from her mind.

 “Because you do it every year,” She spoke into her cell, then closed her crappy TELUS phone and leaned forward to kiss Charles. He pulled her into his arms and brought her inside, closing the door with his foot.

“And hello to you too,” He smiled. “Want to eat? I was planning on going out in a few minutes.”

Lyse shrugged off her jacket and shook her head. “No, I just ate. I was actually hoping to take a nap,” She smiled as she placed her purse and glasses on the door-side table.

Chares reflexively pulled up the sleeves of his navy blue Ralph Lauren sweater so that his forearms—which for some reason Lyse always found sexy—were bare. “Figures, when do you not want a nap? You’re like a cat.” He sat down on the couch and Lyse joined him after kicking off the gorgeous patent evil that gripped her feet.

“Yes I am,” She cuddled into his shoulder as he switched on the TV; an episode of Friends was playing and Monica’s voice was pumping through the surround sound speaker system “It’s the humidity!” Lyse rubbed her left foot with her hand automatically. “Meow.”

Charles smiled as he looked down at her. “When do you want me to wake you?” he asked as he gently stroked Lyse’s shoulder. This was a typical day for them, her napping and him watching TV. They had done this countless occasions and the couch was even worn into their positions so that when they got up it was as if they had sat there for years.

“In a couple of hours. I still want to go shopping and then get my nails done before the party, wake me in two okay?” she suggested, her words already slurring as she drifted off to sleep.

 

***

 

Lights flashed in the dimly lit room as Lyse stepped through the gym double doors. Her red, white and black dress swished around her as she walked, slowly but with a purpose, towards her friends.

Molly clapped her hands as music surged through the room and high school students danced in pretty dresses and dark suits. A banner reading Annual Summer Be-4 School Dance! In red letters. Lyse always through it was cheesy to have a dance even before school started in September, but it was good to see all her high school friends in once place so soon after the last day of school.

“Happy 16th birthday Annie! I love your dress, it’s adorable!” Molly ran over and hugged Lyse.

Lyse blushed but it wasn’t noticed because of the lack of light. “Thanks, yours is cute too. Want to dance?” Lyse asked looking around.

“Oh Lyse!” laughed Denise who joined her two best friends, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Ly-yse, happy birthday to you!” Denise cheered, a little drunkenly, and pushed a cup of spiked fruit punch in Molly and Lyse’s hands. “Have fun on your birthday sweetie!”

Lyse shrugged and downed her punch in one go.

 “I’m gonna go find Tim, you guys chill here kay?” Lyse disappeared into the crowd in search of her (in true high school spirit) ‘sort-of’ boyfriend.

Lyse pushed though writhing bodies until she finally spotted Tim with his football friends in the opposite corner. Cursing she started to move back.

Someone stepped on Lyse’s foot and she cursed audibly. A few people turned around to give her looks.

“Shit.” Lyse breathed as she bent down to examine her injured foot.

“I’m so sorry! Are you alright?” asked a male voice just above her.

Lyse looked up into the most beautiful emerald eyes she had ever seen, although they seemed eerily familiar.

With a jolt she realized that she was looking at her own eyes. “Oh, it’s okay.” She muttered.

 No obviously these weren’t her eyes. But she could have sworn she was looking into a mirror. The boy in front of her was wearing a black suit with a black shirt and black tie.

He also looked almost the same at Lyse.

Instead of blurting out what she really wanted to say, which was ‘are you my twin?’ Lyse asked the next most appropriate thing. “Wanna dance?”

The boy considered for a moment and then nodded—his face a mirror of hers in its confusion, and not just that. “What’s your name?” he asked.

Lyse was amazed, and a little petrified. His lips were the same as hers, his nose, his hair. And yet there was something about him that drew her forward until they were pressed together.

“I’m Lyse.” She whispered, unsure if he would hear.

Apparently he did. “I’m Eris.” He smiled a smile that she had seen in so many pictures of herself.

“Do I...know you?” Lyse finally managed.

“Actually I think so. Are you the bucket girl? Bucket Girl Lyse?” Eris looked perplexed and also as if something had just dawned on him.

“Oh my God!” Lyse gasped as memories came flooding back. “You were the boy from the playground! I was like, what, five?” Lyse threw her head back and laughed. “No wonder you look so familiar!” as soon as he said it the smile was gone from both their faces and they looked away awkwardly. It was clear that they looked scarily alike; the only question was how?

And Lyse, for one, didn’t want to know the answer to that just yet.

“Lyse!?” Molly’s voice sounded from behind her. Lyse turned around for a millisecond but that was enough. The world around her went bleak and then disappeared altogether.

“Lyse!?” a voice kept calling.

Lyse couldn’t breathe. She was caught in this emptiness. In this nothingness. She was drowning, but out of water. Suffocating, but there was no air for her to get to anywhere in this blind black place.

“Lyse!” firm hands were gripping her shoulders and when she opened her eyes she was looking up at Charles. “Nightmare?” he asked looking concerned.

“Something like that.”


Tags:

Very first post of my book!! :D


Just a sidenote, the very beginning isn't that interesting, I really put it in the book at all to create a setting :P Enjoy...i hope :D Also sorry that the spacing is messed up because of copy and paste, also this isn't the whole chapter since it was evidently too long to post

Luminescence

Prologue

This is the story of how I, Annelise Dorian—of questionably sound body and mind— died.

Perhaps I should explain before you get any wrong ideas.

I’m not dead. As far as Death goes we are acquaintances, perhaps old friends. We’ve had our encounters; some run-ins and some near misses when it has taken someone I love into its clutches and I was too late. But I am not yet a slave of Death. Then again, aren’t we all Death’s slaves? But I am getting ahead of myself.

This is the story of how the 23 year old average woman— the Annelise that I used to be—ceased to exist.

All my life I have been human. I had always considered myself to be completely ordinary: boring, though comfortable, childhood, angst filled overly dramatic teenage years full of unsuccessful rediscovery and finding my true self. Then, as considered normal by all the people I know, an application to the university of my choice, the horrid awaiting that came next and then finally that envelope that was the key to my whole future—or so I thought.

And true to my idea of ordinary I went to that university and moved to another city, finally heaving myself into adulthood and leaving my tearful parents behind. Then as luck would have it I even got the job of my dreams. Of course your dreams are never what they’re made out to be but at the time? Yes it was everything I had ever worked for.

Now comes the part where things slowly start to slide out of place and everything I had ever known about my life? Yeah, that was all crushed and spat on and replaced with doubt, confusion and impenetrable darkness.

See most people have their whole lives planned out. Sometimes not all of it but the main idea, and almost always things get in the way where you end up so different from what you had aimed for that you think you’ve lost who you really are. For the average person what is it? University or college after high school, then a job, then a relationship, then maybe a promotion, marriage, kids and then retirement and finally you die all wrinkled and happy.

We never think we’ll be that family where the father gets cancer or where the daughter is hit by a car before she’s even thought about her prom dress. But those things happen. They happen to ordinary genuinely good people every day.

Some call it fate; others call it all part of the bigger picture. Everything happens for a reason. Because if it doesn’t then life is bleak, life is cruel, and then is there really a purpose?

Of course for me it was nothing like that. Sure. My best friend died when I was 16, and then my roommate was killed 7 years later. And yes, both of those tragedies messed me up. A lot. But they didn’t make me believe in fate. I didn’t abandon reason and think that there was any planned meaning for this happening. I know that life is bleak, that it is cruel. I knew this before things started to slide out of place. So I suppose in a way I never really was normal.

But of course with the coming of my 23rd birthday it wouldn’t matter. Because everything would turn upside down so fast I wouldn’t even have time to say ‘fate’. And let me tell you, fate? I don’t believe in it, because I am one of the few people strong enough to beat it.

Before that fateful August 1st I was one of those ‘ordinary’ people. I also dreamed about a promotion, I had thoughts about my boyfriend proposing to me. I considered kids and retirement and the rest of my boring normal life. But things have a way of getting out of hand for us, and though it may not be fate, we can rarely control it.

You may be perplexed about how this has anything to do with my death. Well no, I did not die per say. But Annelise Dorian—though I still go by that name—is gone forever.

Normal? No one I know now is normal. Average? That is an impossibility for me, unfortunately for my safety I’m everything but. Human? Well. I’ll leave that one up to you.

And the end? I have no clue when it will come or what it holds. Hell, I don’t know what the next day holds for me. But this story is not about the end. It is just the beginning.

 

Chapter 1

       And so I lay there.

The cold was starting to overtake me. The darkness? It was everywhere.

This was what death felt like. 
Now she realized that death didn’t just come. Not every time. Death was an occurrence; it would slowly take hold of you, and then tighten its grip. 

Slowly, almost sluggishly, it would pull you from this world into whatever awaited on the other side until you were sort of aware of what was going on and at the same time not.
Until you were kind of understanding that you were about to die, and there was still a part of your mind that thought it was a dream.
Half alive and half dead—that was the middle stage. From here it could go both ways—of course, it rarely did.
So for all intents and purposes, and in Lyse’s mind, it only went downhill.
But this really isn’t where it all started is it? 
Something cannot begin with death, and though it would be appropriately ironic for the birth of this tale to be death this really doesn’t explain much. 
And so, really, it all began several days ago—on the morning Lyse’s birthday. That is the true birth of this story about how Annelise Dorian died...

 

Lyse jammed her feet into her brown Uggs, mentally cursing herself for not getting up earlier. “Bye Jess, I’ll be home in time for dinner.”

“Annie don’t forget what day it is, okay?” shouted Lyse’s roommate, purposely using the nickname that Lyse hated. “August first!” she chirped as she floated over to Lyse to send her out the door.

Jessica was of slight build with corn blonde hair and narrow blue eyes. Her pointed features made Lyse always compare her to a bird, something fragile like a sparrow perhaps.

“Who is this Annie you speak of?” Lyse mocked while uselessly trying to push her heels into the boots, giving up, and using her hands.

“Lyse is such a weird name. Like ‘lease your house’ or,” she pondered it for a moment, “like Lisa without the A.” Jessica sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. The gesture wrinkled her baby blue cashmere sweater. “Anyways, don’t forget, okay?” Jessica had a tendency of reminding Lyse several times about everything from washing the dishes to handing in projects at work. “Okay?

“Because turning twenty three is so great?” Lyse messily applied a coat of lip balm while simultaneously checking her reflection in the mirror that hung right beside the door. “Don’t worry. Text me when you guys are done setting up for my surprise party.” She chuckled.

Jessica glared. “It’s no fun if you know it’s going to happen.”

“I’ll pretend to be extremely shocked. How’s this face?”

Jess raised an eyebrow. “Please, never make that face again.”

Lyse laughed. “Just don’t go overboard like last year. It’s nice that you do this for me every birthday but you’re already practically paying for this place yourself. I hardly have enough money to get groceries.” Lyse shifted from foot to foot looking around to see if he nagging feeling she had that she was forgetting something was justified.

 The two of them had become best friends when Lyse moved to New York. Jessica’s family was extremely wealthy and Jess practically paid for the rent, the electricity, cable, and the phone alone while Lyse was left feeling incredibly guilty, promising that she would pay everything back as soon as she got a raise. Of course the free designer items she got from work never did end up in her closet, but that was the least of what she owed her best friend.

 Jess just rolled her eyes. “I have money, why not use it? And aren’t you going to be late?”

“Oh!” Lyse squeaked, “It’s all your fault!” she accused and rushed out the door.

“Annelise Dorian don’t you use that tone with—”

Jessica’s words were cut off by the closing doors of the elevator.  Lyse slumped against the wall.

She worked for one of the most influential women in Manhattan; Evangeline Taylor—the chief editor of Spark magazine. For the time being Lyse was just her personal assistant, having clawed her way to the position a year ago. But what she wanted to do was be a journalist and working for Evangeline gave her the perfect way out. Because Evangeline already loved her and in a year or two she may promote Lyse to an editorial job. Lyse snorted, Okay fine, maybe just a job as a journalist for the magazine. Lyse could dream, right? It wouldn’t always be like living in The Devil Wears Prada for her.

 Lyse looked down at her NYU keychain, lost in thought. So far her life was going as she had intended. She had gone to a private school in a freezing town in British Columbia and then moved to New York when she was eighteen to attend NYU—the school of her dreams. It wasn’t that NYU was an amazing school or anything, it wasn’t one of the Ivy League schools and it was extremely overpriced for her. But she had fallen in love with the city ever since she was little. The tall buildings, the shabby apartments, the cluttered sidewalks. She loved it all. New York was everything she had imagined it to be—except the smells. She never had gotten used to the smells.

By pure luck Lyse had met Evangeline two years ago when she was still in NYU while an intern at Spark. Evangeline was trying to find contact a well-known Romanian designer. As fate had it the designer was no other than Ksenia Dorian, Lyse’s aunt. She had happily introduced Evangeline to her—slightly deranged but nonetheless brilliant—aunt and ever since then she was her personal assistant, working full time after she graduated.

The doors crawled open in front of her and Lyse rushed out, smiling at the man behind her front desk. She had known Henry ever since she moved into this hotel with Jessica. Living in a hotel was just like in the movies—glamorous and a little useless. She didn’t live in the penthouse or anything and this wasn’t a 5 star hotel. But it was a decent and she lived on the 25th floor with a gorgeous view of Central Park. And as guilty as she felt for mooching off Jessica’s riches she couldn’t deny that she loved the place with its gold and black color preference.

“Morning Henry!” she exclaimed while flying past him and obnoxiously ringing the bell on the desk as she went by.

Henry—in his 40s with more hair on his upper lip than on his head—smiled. “Happy birthday princess!” He exclaimed, clapping his hands.

He had taken it upon himself to call her ‘princess’. Whether it was to annoy her or because he just liked it was beyond Lyse. In any case she had stopped commenting after the first month. “How is it that everyone remembers before I do?”

“Maybe it is because you are so forgetful. For example do you have the paperwork for the meeting with Claire Bellarissa?” the doorman asked as he opened the door for Lyse just in time or she would have gone crashing into the glass. She had known him as long as she had known Henry, his name was Jackson and he was around fifty five years old with kind eyes and a mischievous smile.

“Oh!” she gasped. “You are so right, what would I ever do if you didn’t listen in on my conversations? I guess I’ll need to go back,” she sighed. That went another few minutes out of her already tight schedule. As it was she had no time to get breakfast. Her BlackBerry buzzed in her pocket and she fumbled to get it out. “Hello?”

“Lyse you idiot you forgot your papers!” Jess screamed at her thought the phone. “Get outside I’ll throw them down to you.”

“Are you stupid? How are you going to throw papers? They’ll fly away and then I’ll be totally screwed! I’m coming up.” Lyse groaned.

“No I put them in one of those clear plastic folders and I attached your paperweight to it, it’ll fall right to you.” Jess exclaimed, sounding pleased with herself as if she had invented a flying machine and not a rock attached to a piece of paper.

Lyse marvelled at the stupidity of it for only a moment. “Oh alright, send it down,” Lyse closed her eyes and shook her head. “See you later Jack!” she smiled at the doorman and tumbled down the front stairs, trying to put her jacket on and at the same time hike her bag higher up on her shoulder.

“Lyse!” Jessica’s voice sounded like Mickey Mouse’s from all the way on the 25th floor and Lyse was amazed she even heard it over the sound of the traffic.

“Throw it!” she commanded. A rectangular object came flying down. She plucked it out of the air just before it hit Mrs. Clemenko on the head. The old lady sat on the bench in front of the hotel and fed pigeons every morning. “Sorry Mrs. C!” She gasped.

The woman chuckled. “Better get to work darling. And happy birthday,” she smiled warmly at Lyse.

Not that Lyse saw the gesture; she was already half way to the street.

She was almost to the subway when someone bumped into her shoulder and muttered a hushed “Sorry.”

Lyse looked up, startled. In Manhattan there were few people who ever apologized for anything. This was either a tourist or a Canadian.

Black eyes stared back at her. A sardonic smile spread on the stranger’s face. The boy—scratch that, the man—looking down at Lyse was a good head taller than her. He seemed to be about her age, maybe a few years older. Dark hair curled around his head like a black crown. It almost had a blue tinge in this light. The man was obviously not American, his skin had an olive tint to it that only came from being descended from Lyse’s favourite country in the world; Italy. This man wasn’t the chubby, unibrow type of Italian either. He looked like a God in human flesh. His bone structure was enticing, he looked like Alex Pettyfer would if he were 5 years older and had black hair.

And again she was drawn back to his eyes. They bore into her, simply enchanting, and she was close enough that she could make out several golden flecks in that dark abyss.

All in all—he was one of the best looking guys Lyse had ever seen.

Those cluttered thoughts flashed through Lyse’s head as she turned to see who had actually apologized in New York. Because that just didn’t happen. If someone bumped into you they ether didn’t give a shit, pretended to ignore it and kept walking, or jacked your wallet.

Needless to say Lyse’s hands automatically grabbed her purse and felt for the outline of her wallet. It was there, so this wasn’t a mugging. Yet.

The man continued to smile. Not in a nice way or a mean way. Just in an I-know-something-you-don’t-know way.

“Hi.” Lyse muttered, forgetting for a moment about her troubles and that fact that she was late.

“Hello.” The man raised an eyebrow. The smile slipped off his face as if it hadn’t even been there at all and he gave Lyse a strange look.

Blushing, Lyse spun on her heels and stalked off. Should I look back? Yes...no... Lyse settled on hanging tight and not checking him out over her shoulder; that seemed wrong under the circumstances.

She waited for the train silently, tuning out the world, and finally got on after her hair settled down from the usual subway wind.                                                                                                                                    

Only then did she realize that her BlackBerry was no longer in her pocket.

“That bastard!” she hissed under her breath with a bitter smile. Oh, the cruel irony. That’s what you get for checking out a total stranger when you already have a boyfriend.

Oh, yes Lyse had a boyfriend. Charles Townsend was one of the few decent men living in Manhattan. He was also incredibly rich and the son a politician—not that that was the reason Lyse liked him of course. If Lyse had to describe Charles in three words they would be; punctual, nice and neat. He was one of those men who seemed gay but wasn’t. One of those men who used face wash and could differentiate between designer brands. He was also the perfect politician, just like his father, and able to mollify Lyse when she was in the foulest of moods. His condo was very tidy, nothing out of place, with a complete modern look. Unlike Lyse’s place which was cosier and pretty much a mess seeing as she was never home and Jess didn’t know how to wash the dishes let alone clean.

Lyse had been going out with Charles for the last year and a half. She had met him at none other than her aunt’s yearly party. Her aunt seemed to be the force that brought Lyse’s life together, first securing her a job then a boyfriend. Come to think of it she was also the one who introduced her to Jessica.

Lyse rummaged through her bag to make sure the BlackBerry wasn’t there. Nope, no such luck. It was gone. She swore under her breath as she neatly jumped off at her stop and flew up the stairs. The subway entered right into the Spark building.

“Morning Lyse!” exclaimed Sandy, the receptionist at the front desk. “Happy birthday, see you tonight?” she inquired. Sandy had bright red 3-inch-long hair that stuck out in all directions and currently she was chewing on the back of her pen.

Lyse nodded and kissed Sandy on the cheek. “Yup, but shhh, I’m not supposed to know,” she winked at Sandy and rushed on to catch the elevator. She slipped through just as the doors closed. The people already in the elevator gave Lyse mixed looks of agitation and knowing smiles.

A handsome man in a beige suit chuckled as he handed Lyse a birthday card. “Good morning. How is our beautiful twenty three year old today?” asked Simon, her gay friend in Finances.

“Absolutely the same as always.” Lyse looked at the card and snorted at the kitten on the cover. “A cat? How did you know?” she asked in mock surprise.

“Oh, it was just a lucky guess. I mean, only everyone in the entire building knows that you adore cats.” He waved her out of the way as the doors opened. “I’ll see you later tonight. But shhh, you didn’t hear that from me,” He stage whispered.

“Your secret’s safe with me. Surprise party? What? I have no clue what you’re talking about.” She grinned.

Four other people got off before her floor finally came up. The doors slithered open and Lyse bounded out and rushed through the glass doors, past Evangeline’s secretary Andrea —who really was a complete snob—with a glare, and into her ‘office’ which consisted of a desk and a waste bin just outside Evangeline’s room.

“Do you have her coffee?” Lyse hissed as she shrugged off her jacket and ran a brush through her hair.

Andrea gave her a dirty look but produced the coffee in a plain white cup on a plain white plate just as Evangeline preferred it. “Happy birthday,” she sighed bitterly. “How old are you again? Thirty five?” she gave Lyse her most withering glare.

“That’s right, I’m thirty five and my body is still nicer than yours. Well, would you look at that,” Lyse smiled pleasantly and put her head on her hands. “Want to go get me a caramel macchiato?”

“No.”

“See, the thing is, I don’t really care. So go get me one.” Lyse tilted her head to the side, half hoping Andrea would question her authority. Andrea hesitated then left for the coffee station.

It wasn’t that Lyse was mean. She really wasn’t. It was that Andrea had done everything in her power to make Lyse’s life hell ever since she got here. Lyse had always written it off as jealousy because...well, it was. Andrea had worked here far longer and yet Lyse was Evangeline’s right hand, Andrea spent every minute she had on her looks and Lyse could roll out of bed, throw on some lip gloss and be ready to go.

 And it wasn’t that Lyse was immodest. Quite the opposite, she was quite unaware of her looks while others hated her for it. She was just aware that there was no way that flat un-curvy Andrea with her mousy hair and oily completion could measure up to Lyse’s effortless beauty. Lyse had never set foot in the gym and running? Who ever went running? But her body was toned and she could sprint for hours on end without shedding a sweat. Her skin never even showed signs of pimples and her hair was glossy and had a natural color that usually only came with getting foul smelling dies lathered on your head.

But her eyes were her most attractive feature. They were large and as bright as emeralds, framed with thick black lashes. It was not fair but Lyse was just one of those girls who could wear sweats and a baggy t-shirt having just woken up and win in a beauty pageant—assuming she learned how to juggle or something.

Still it wasn’t the plastic type of beauty that you saw in most young women recently. Not the foundation slathered skin and eyes that were made large by the visible layers upon layers of mascara and eyeliner. And she didn’t have the typical side bangs and straightened hair. Lyse wasn’t painfully perfect. Her mahogany hair fell down her back in waves and she wasn’t even really symmetrical. She had a birthmark right on her left cheekbone in the shape kind of like a star and one eyebrow that always seemed to be arched giving her a cynical look.

She was not typical—she was, in every sense, unique.

And she didn’t even know how unique yet.

The point being that while Andrea had tried to get her fired Lyse just wasn’t willing to strike back in quite the same manner. She wouldn’t get Andrea fired; she would just try to make her life hell for a year because that’s how long it had taken Andrea to stop when she finally saw that none of this was fazing Lyse. Not the wrong appointment times so that she was always late, not the bitterness in her coffee, not those times when the heels of Lyse’s shoes ‘somehow’ broke, not even the fact that her things constantly went missing, amongst other harassment. Lyse wanted this job and she was going to stay right where she was.

Lyse jumped as the glass doors flew open and a gorgeous woman in her mid 40s—thought she didn’t look a day over 35—stalked into the well lit office.

“Ah, yes, Samantha, darling,” Evangeline Taylor had arrived, as always talking in her clipped phrases. “I will meet you for lunch at the Royal if you wish?” She was talking to Samantha Wilksworth, one of her closest friends, on her own newest edition of the BlackBerry—the one that Lyse had ordered for her two days ago.  She smiled at Lyse as she passed and shrugged off her coat of the day, a six digit price tag must have been taken off it just this morning. The coat itself was a stunning Remarque in a dark rust color. Remarque was an up and coming designer whose various eccentric coats and dresses were featured in this month’s issue of Spark. Other editors had steered clear of Remarque’s unique fashion sense and Evangeline had taken it upon herself to see that he made it as one of the big ones. In rank with Dolce & Gabbana and Versace one day, perhaps.

Lyse got up and opened Evangeline’s door for her, coffee in hand. “Good morning, would you like this week’s issue of anything?” Lyse asked as Evangeline hung up.

The woman considered the offer as she glided into her office on her bright crimson 5-inch Prada heels. She often read the papers and magazines to make sure nothing went by her even though she already knew all the information that would be printed days in advance. She waved her hand, indicating that, “No she would not”.

Evangeline had hair that was milk chocolate brown, a color several shades lighter than Lyse’s, with dark brown tips. Her makeup always looked the same and professional; bright red lipstick, no blush or bronzer, two coats of mascara and brown eye-shadow with just one spray of Chanel No 5. Her style was so different from other editors but Lyse admired her even more for her simplicity. Her black suit was well fitted on her tall frame that hadn’t changed in the last 20 years. If anyone knew how to take care of her body it was Evangeline, save three cups of coffee each day and several cigarettes.

“Make sure the meeting with Claire Bellarissa is happening at three. In that lovely small restaurant. I simply adore that place. The food is exquisite.” Evangeline sat down at her desk and started cruising through the files and photos pilled there. “And patch through Remarque. I want to make sure he gets his new designs. For the show on Wednesday. So I can look them over.” Lyse used to have a hard time getting used to Evangeline’s manner of speaking in three word sentences, but over time she had come to accept it as just one of the things that made up Evangeline. Whenever the editor of one of the biggest magazines in New York got stressed she would speak in curt sentences as such, and she was stressed often. However there were times when she relaxed and it was possible to have an actual conversation with her.

Her boss kneaded a handkerchief in her hands. “And I would like to see your papers for the meeting. Off you go.” She awarded Lyse with a smile and a curious cruise over her wardrobe. “Uggs? Darling. I understand how comfortable they are. I wear them myself at home. But don’t you think you should wear something more appropriate for work?” she never stated straight out that she wanted Lyse to do something. She never ordered her unless it was work related. But she always pointed these things out, for example “Wouldn’t you say that necklace doesn’t quite go well with that shirt?” or “We are meeting the representative for Dior today. Do you agree that wearing that belt will send the wrong message?” and other such comments. Lyse quickly changed whatever was wrong. It was her own fault for not changing out of the Uggs as soon as she got here anyway. She always did just before Evangeline got there, except she had been running late and was disarrayed this morning. If only Andrea had pointed it out, but why would she? She lived for these sorts of things.

“I do think that. You are right as always,” Lyse smiled. “I’ll go straight down to Roberto and ask him to find something more fitting?” she half asked half told Evangeline.

The woman just nodded as she took a sip of her coffee. “Just do everything else I asked for first.”

As soon as Lyse was out of the office she ran to her desk and dialled in Remarque’s number. “Hallo?” his assistant, Wane, answered. Wane was British and Lyse loved the way he answered the phone.

“Wane!” Lyse exhaled, glad to have reached him instead of Sophia who despised Lyse and would never do what she needed. “Hi, it’s Lyse. Mind patching Remarque through? Evangeline wants to talk.”

“Sure thing, luv,” Wane’s voice was cheerful. She had first met him a few months ago at a show when Evangeline first spoke with Remarque. While their bosses sat as a table in the corner and intently chatted about fashion, Lyse and Wane had gone across the street and gotten a couple hot dogs and ended up sitting in a cafe talking about life under a fashion idol. He had quickly become one of her close friends and she was acutely aware of his slight crush on her even though he and Charles had become friends too. “And happy birthday! How does it feel to finally be twenty three?”

“I should really get a dollar for every time someone comments on my birthday today. I’ll be a millionaire by nightfall,” She laughed.

“Well isn’t that the idea of a birthday?”

“Yes I suppose you’re right,” she sighed. “You’re coming tonight right?”

“I thought it was a surprise party.” She could practically see him pouting over the phone. “Not that anything can be a surprise with Jess around. Yep, I’ll see you tonight. I’m patching Remarque through now.” He said. Lyse quickly transferred the call to Evangeline’s office.

On the second line she rang up Claire. “Hello Mrs. Bellarissa?” she asked.

“Yes? This is her. Is this Evangeline’s girl about the meeting? It better be.” Claire didn’t sound happy. But then again she never sounded happy.

“This is her.” Lyse said, hoping that Claire wouldn’t pick up on the fact that she was mocking her. “Evangeline wants to know if you are still able to come to the meeting at three at Antonio’s.”

Claire sighed and Lyse heard her take a drag of her cigarette. “Of course. Having a deal with Evangeline would be the best possible thing for my carrier right now. You better be aware of how lucky you are girl!” she exclaimed.

“I assure you I am,” Lyse answered calmly, rolling her eyes inwardly. “And I will pass on that you are confirming the meeting. I look forward to seeing you at three.” Just before she hung up she thought she heard Claire hiss ‘I’m sure you do’ under her breath. Claire was one of the prissy designers, but, alas, there was nothing Lyse could do but endure it since her clothes really were stunning.

She quickly photocopied her meeting notes and then scribbled ‘Claire confirmed. Antonio’s @ 3’ on a sticky note and with the papers in hand she ran to Evangeline’s office. Her boss was still on the phone with Remarque and didn’t react when Lyse placed the products of her work on her desk and slipped back out into the hall.

Andrea was busy filling her nails. “Don’t you have something to be doing?” asked Lyse.

Andrea jumped and glared back. “Not at the moment, no. Don’t you have somewhere to go? Shoes to change into?”

“I really should tell Evangeline you listen into her conversations, one of these days. If any of the information that goes on in that office ever slips to the media or other editors I will crush you, you know.” Andrea swallowed hard, sensing that the threat was real.

Without waiting for whatever witty replies Andrea wouldn’t be able to come up with Lyse stalked out of the room and into the open elevator. As soon as the doors closed behind her she slumped against the wall and rubbed her temple. She had just noticed that she had a mild headache.

The doors slid open with a ding. And Lyse skipped out onto her favourite floor of the whole building. The fashion clothes floor. Whenever she was here she really did feel like she was in The Devil Wears Prada. It smelled of various new perfumes and was a flash of clashing colors. Anywhere from Burnt Sienna to Cyan to Vermillion (which may as well have been called Unattractive Orange, Electric Blue and Puke Pink).

“Lyse?” a tiny squeak sounded just to her left. Lyse smiled at one of her oldest friends. Jasmina Wilder was a tiny willowy girl who weighed no more than 90 pounds, was no taller than 5’0 and had bright red curly hair and a splatter of freckles. She would have made a great Annie. Right now her hair was swept back with a green scrunchy. “What are you doing here?” her loud voice was so high pitched Lyse was amazed dogs didn’t come running. Jasmina always sounded distressed even if she was happy as a whistle. And when she really did get distressed, that was when the Southern accent came out.

“I came to borrow some shoes. Apparently Uggs are inappropriate,” Lyse stuck out her tongue.

Jasmina laughed a twinkling laugh. “Sure thing, come on.” Lyse had known Jasmina since kindergarten. Their parents had been friends. She had lost contact after grade school until she found out that Jasmina worked at Spark during her internship. Ever since then the two had been inseparable.

“What do you want? Cute or comfy?” asked Jas as she led Lyse through the maze that was the Clothing Floor. All the new and old and secret and famous designs ever to be features in Spark were on this floor. Some were stacked, some were being put away and others were being taken out. It was always a mess and there wasn’t a single hour when at least one person wasn’t on this floor, even after closing hours.

“Cute I guess. She doesn’t like Uggs so I guess she doesn’t like comfy,” Lyse sighed, mentally preparing herself for the hell that awaited her poor unsuspecting feet.

Jas wrinkled her nose as she scavenged through piles and piles of boxes on her desk. Finally she screamed, “Aha!” in a manner that made it sound like “Eureka!” from under the table, only her feet sticking out. The underside of her table was even worse than the top, littered with clothes and objects old and new and totally random. Jas emerged holding a cute pair or black pumps which would totally go with the outfit Lyse was wearing.

“Jas you have a peacock feather in your hair,” Lyse commented as she kicked off her Uggs and pulled on the gorgeous but painful-looking shoes.

“Huh?” Jas’s hands flew to her head. “Oh, this is from the dress from this issue, you know the one made of feathers? I got a sample of the material sent over last week and I guess I put in under there.” She indicated under her table which Lyse had countless times called the true entrance to Narnia, because not even God knew what would be found in there.

“Right. What don’t you have under there? Seriously, Jas, I bet I can find Atlantis down there,” Lyse scowled at the black patent pumps now residing on her feet and longingly fondled her worn in brown Uggs. “I hate this job, okay not really, but I hate these shoes.”

“And the shoes hate you. It’s mutual.” Jas looked like a smirking fairy the way she eyed Lyse, clearly amused.

Lyse sighed and pushed herself off the chair and looked down at Jas who was now a good foot shorter than Lyse. “How tall are these things? Eight inches?”

“Five actually. But close. You look like a giant. I feel your pain,” Jas examined the shoes.

“No you don’t. And there’s no way you will unless you’re wearing these death traps.”

“Well, in that case I’m just happy to not have a meeting today. Speaking of which—aren’t you supposed to be getting back to Evangeline?”

Lyse blew a rogue strand of hair from her face and straightened her shirt. “Yup. I’ll see you later,” She waved and shuffled her way over to the elevator. “Hold it!” she screamed just as the doors started to close.

The delivery man held the doors open while she tumbled in. “Thank you.” Lyse turned to press her floor but it was already lit up. “Delivery for Evangeline?” Lyse asked, not surprised to see the man holding an extravagant bouquet of gorgeous white lilies. Evangeline was always getting gifts—the strangest of which, so far, had been a baby camel from a European client. How someone got a camel into New York, much less an elevator, Lyse would never know.

The delivery man regarded her for a second. “No this is actually for a woman named Anna-Lis Dorian?” He frowned down at his order form.

He was cute, but then again she considered many men cute. She couldn’t see his eyes though because he was wearing sunglasses. Not that she should be looking anyway. It wasn’t healthy how many guys she checked out per day.

Lyse raised an eyebrow. “It’s Annelise actually. That’s me.”

“Oh,” the man brightened, he scratched his multicoloured hair—it was pitch black with blue and silver streaks. “Well then here you go.” He handed her the flowers, a turquoise bow rubbed against Lyse’s arm—her favourite color. “Sign right here please.”

Lyse scribbled off her signature as she scanned the flowers for a card. Clearly they were from Charles and she smiled to herself as she burrowed her face in them. Finally she found the card. All it said was:

 

Happy Birthday Annelise

                      – C


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