As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month. This is the month that friends and coworkers look particularly underslept as they toil into the wee hours, mining their experience for perfect words, fifty thousand perfect words!
Chuck Wendig, author/blogger/swearer, requested today that his loyal followers post 1000 words from their works in progress. When Chuck asks, Chuck receives.
Hence, I’ve come out of blog hibernation to deliver 1000 words from my YA novel-in-progress.
On Thursday morning, two days after my fifteenth birthday, I got boobs. I woke up with a wicked neckache, wondering how the pillow got wedged under my chest. It wasn’t a pillow. What the? I rolled over and peeked down the neck of my Andy Warhol Marilyn tee. Two towers had arisen in a previously vacant lot, like the fairy frickin’ Godmother of Mammaries had flown over our house and dumped her whole toxic load of sparkly magic dust. Lucky me.
I’ve read all the books – at the onset of puberty, girls develop breast buds, blah blah blah. Who comes up with these names? It’s not like we’re growing chrysanthemums or something. Supposedly development follows a logical, slow progression, with height topping out around a year after the first period. All I have to show for my puberty is a shiny T-zone and fuzzy apricot hair. And now boobs.
I sat at the edge of the bed, shoulders sagging under the new baggage. Seriously, I must’ve gained twenty percent of my body weight overnight. At five foot two and (previously) ninety pounds, no one ever mistakes me for an actual student at my high school.
One look in the bathroom mirror and I about fainted. There is no way that I can carry these things around for the next seven decades! Do personal trainers have programs for breast management? Showering required two minutes and four ounces of body wash more than usual. I pulled the idiotic “training bra” out of my dresser. My mom bought it for me in a fit of wishful thinking when I turned twelve. The two tiny triangles of virginal white fabric seemed to shrink in horror from the abominations on my chest.
“Aurélie!” I yelled down the hall. “Mother person!” Nothing. I yanked on a pair of undies, purple leggings, and my sleepshirt and went in search of maternal guidance. Not that Aurélie ever has anything useful to offer in the way of parental wisdom. With a name like that, people assume she’s really only qualified to give candid opinions about Bordeaux wines, the latest wife of French ex-president Sarkozy, and Nicolas Ghesquiere’s summer line. Big mistake. She’s wicked smart, just not that practical when it comes to parenting.
I plodded into her bedroom. Aurélie’s massive four poster king-sized monstrosity of gold satin with a filmy aquamarine silk flourish stood empty in the middle of the room, the fluffy comforter exactly in place. One click and you’d have the cover of a decorating magazine. I opened the french doors to her house-sized closet. My mom and I are not cut from the same cloth. She spends the average annual income of a farmer in Sierra Lione on a pair of shoes that she might wear twice.
I rifled through her lingerie chest – seriously, a piece of furniture dedicated solely to undergarments! The bras lay in precise piles, smooth puddles of scarlet satin, fuchsia lace, cerulean charmeuse. I grabbed the least lacy of the bunch and threaded the elastic around my rib cage. Way too big. The cups were too big, too. Please tell me I won’t get this huge. Please.
Aurélie doesn’t look ridiculously large chested. She’s proportional. Perfectly proportional according to every man who’s ever laid eyes on her, gay, straight, priest, married, partnered, whatever. Don’t ask me how a 5’10” voluptuous goddess with dove grey eyes, a thick mane of luminous cobalt waves, and flawless alabaster skin spawned me. I mean I know red hair is like dominant genetically and everything, but mine is DOMINANT, ridiculously curly, eye-scorchingly orange, and completely impossible. I flipped my braid like an irritated filly and sprawled across Aurélie’s bed. What to do. Eat.
Her text came through after I inhaled two burritos with a side of baked beans:
“Charlotte-” Is it so hard to call me Charlie? “I’m in NY for the weekend. Brit will be over. Let the moms know if you need anything. Please feed the fish.”
You might think a mother would discuss upcoming travel plans with her only offspring. And she might leave a mushy handwritten note, all xoxo and curlicues. That’s not the way she rolls. She steamrolls. I guess I’m used to it.
I sighed heavily. If I’d known I had to feed the fish this morning I would’ve gotten up fifteen minutes earlier. Now with the boob thing, I’d really be pushing it to be ready by the time Lev pulled up out front. So unfair that Lev, a boy, gets two awesome moms and I’m stuck with a model-perfect workaholic replicant with a distinct lack of maternal instinct. Maybe Lev wished he had a dad when his voice changed four years ago.
The moms would know what to do. Normally, I’d just pop next door and ask. Due to the sensitive nature of my questions I called.
“Hello?” Rachel answered.
“Hey, it’s Charlie.”
“What’s up, girl?”
Houston, we have a problem. Two big problems. “Could you come over for a sec?”
“Are you okay, honey?”
“Uh. Yeah. I have kind of an embarrassing situation.”
“Did you get your period finally?!” When did Becca get on the line? Sheesh!
“No,” I grunted. Of course not. I’m only FIFTEEN!!!!
“Then what is it?”
“Bec, relax. I’ll go over.” Rachel hung up.
“See you in a minute, Charlie.” Becca hung up.
Great. I hit the mother lode.
Becca and Rachel let themselves in the side door. They’ve never felt comfortable coming to the front. Our house is a little over the top, like twenty perfect rooms in a pristinely preserved 1930s Spanish Colonial mansion on the lovely Lake of the Isles with immaculately tended gardens and an aquarium for a living room.
The moms stared at my chest, immediately identifying the reason for my distress.
“Jesus,” Becca said. “Did they spring up since yesterday?”
“Bec, sweetie. A little sensitivity.”
“Yeah,” I frowned. “Like two virulent tumors.”
“Your mom’s at work?” Becca asked. I nodded.
Rachel put her arm around my shoulders. “Breasts are miraculous organs –“
“- beautifully designed to provide complete nutrition,” Becca cut in. “We know, Rach. The girl needs some pragmatic assistance, first-day-with-real-boobs assistance.”
“I looked in Aurélie’s drawer. She doesn’t have anything that’ll work.”
“Gee,” Becca said. “What a shock.”
“Bec,” Rachel warned with subtle shake of her head.
“What’s your goal, Charlie,” Becca continued. “Are you looking to minimize, maximize, tether, dangle, or what?”
“Minimize and support,” I said. “My shoulders are hurting and I only got up twenty minutes ago.”
“Give her one of your exercise bras, Rach. Mine are too big. I’m outta here, have to get to the shop. Have a great day babe.” She kissed Rachel deep and fast on the mouth. “Later Charlie.”