Freya lazily flipped through the post, ripping open the letters, signing off on the bills and putting them back in the postbox ready for collection the next day. Same old, same old.
A better chore than dusting the top of the kitchen cabinets though.
As she came to the last envelope however, her heart stalled a little. It was addressed to her.
The return address was Simlish Publications Limited. They’d… They’d actually got back to her…
Heart suddenly beating wildly, Freya tore open the letter and read it intently. Reaching the end, she stood there utterly stunned.
Dear Freya Rivers,
Thank you very much for submitting your manuscript ‘The Girl Who Cried Werewolf’ for our consideration. As you know, we receive a great number of such documents on a daily basis and, as a result, we have a very stringent selection process. Very few aspiring authors make the cut.
We are happy to announce that you have done. We here at Simlish Publications Limited thoroughly loved your modern twist on a classic tale, and we feel it is perfect for our autumn publication schedule.
While we would like to meet with you in order to edit your draft a little, we assure you that this is a process we go through with all of our publications. We will be in touch shortly with a date for your meeting.
‘Freya! Ah, good girl, you’ve sorted the post out… Freya? What’s the matter?’ Louise, back from walking Cooper, took her eldest twin by surprise.
‘Freya! What’s happened?!’
Still speechless with shock, Freya handed her mother the letter. Louise scanned it quickly, still confused. ‘I don’t understand, Freya? You… You wrote a book?’
‘But… But that’s fantastic, Freya! I’m so proud of you! Do you have a copy saved somewhere? Can I read it? Why didn’t you tell me?!’ Louise clapped excitedly, elated for her daughter’s success. Freya read her expression and her heart hardened.
‘I didn’t tell you because you were busy.’
‘Busy? What do you mean, Freya?’
‘You were busy with Lily. You’re always busy with Lily. Shopping for the prom, visits to the spa, horse riding at your Uncle’s riding school. So I didn’t get a chance to tell you, I’m afraid,’ Freya replied coolly, seething to herself.
It was Louise’s turn to be speechless. ‘Freya, I… I don’t understand… You don’t like shopping or the spa, or -‘
‘But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like spending time with you, Mum! You never give me the time of day! It’s always “Turn your music down Freya, Lily can’t concentrate!” “Come and look at Lily’s prom dress Freya, why won’t you go as well?” “Lily got an A in Simlish, aren’t you proud of her?” Well Mum, this is my achievement, and it’s mine. There’s no point in you getting all proud of me because it’s nothing to do with you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have homework to be getting on with.’ Spitting her last words out, Freya brushed past her stunned mother and up the stairs into the house.
Louise’s heart broke a little.
* * *
Dylan returned from the gym a little later than he had intended to, and had expected to find his wife in bed. He was surprised and a little concerned to find her stood in her dressing gown staring blankly at the two china hearts on the wall. Each had a handprint and a footprint stamped in the middle; the twins had made them for their mother’s birthday when they were just three years old.
‘Lou? What’s the matter?’
Louise turned to face her husband. ‘Do you think I’m a bad mother, Dylan?’
‘What? I… What!?’
‘You heard me. Am I a bad mother? I want the truth, please.’
‘What? Louise, honey, of course you’re not! What’s brought this on?’
‘Freya hates me.’
‘She doesn’t ha-‘
‘Freya. Hates. Me. And from what she’s said, I don’t blame her either,’ Louise said bitterly.
‘But… What do you mean? No she doesn’t, you know what she’s like -‘
‘But that’s just it, Dylan! We don’t! Our daughter’s just been left to get on with everything while we’ve basically just focused on Lily because she was easier!’ Shaking, Louise tried to contain herself before she became hysterical.
‘That’s not true at all, Lou!’
‘She’s right! I’ve done so much with Lily and nothing with Freya!’
‘But she hasn’t wanted to do anything with us for ages! We were just giving her what she wanted! Space!’
‘I’m a bad mother, Dylan! It’s all my fault!’
* * *
‘You baby! I thought you’d be good at it!’ Lily laughed as her prom date nearly fell over the railing after crashing wildly into it. ‘Oh come on, let’s get off here before you do yourself a serious injury!’
Finlay and Lily had been spending more time together since agreeing to go to the prom together. The pair were rarely seen without one another, and Lily would text him every Friday night arranging how they would spend their weekends.
It was the happiest she’d ever been. And yet… There was something strange about their relationship. Finlay had asked her to the prom, and yet… Well, he’d never ‘made a move’, to coin a phrase. He’d occasionally link through her arm as they walked to class, but nothing more than that. Lily had already decided that he was simply a gentleman, but Bianca and Chantrelle weren’t so sure.
‘Well it’s not my fault I’m not blessed with your natural balance!’ Finlay laughed at himself, his good nature shining through. He could take a joke, could laugh at himself. A rare quality in a teenage boy. ‘Did you see me nearly fall over the railing? I’d have flattened that old woman watching her grandkids!’
The two creased up with laughter, both seeing Finlay’s comedic skating in their minds. Each time one of them started to calm down, the sight of the other still giggling away would set them off again, and before long the pair were breathless.
Lily wasn’t sure if it was lack of oxygen from laughing too much, the heat, something she ate earlier that day, but as she looked at Finlay, into his deep eyes she found herself lost in so often, something took over her senses…
‘Lily?! What the hell… What are you doing?!’
‘Oh my god… I’m so sorry Finlay… I just, I thought -‘
‘Well we’ve been spending so much time together, and you asked me to the prom! I thought… I thought we were…’
‘Lily, I asked you as a friend! I thought we’d have more fun together rather than on some awkward date!’
‘But why, Finlay! Why don’t you like me like that?!’
‘…You… You don’t know?’
‘I… I’m gay, Lily.’