Red, White, or In Between

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

Eryn, a normal (popular) high school girl, is all about fashion, boys, and planning people's parties with her best friend Celeste. Her perfect life takes a turn when her Grandma dies and she and her Mom go to her house to collect some things. Eryn finds a letter and a slightly unfashionable bracelet. But later, this bracelet will bring her a LOT of trouble.

Chapter 1 (v.2) - In Which It All Began

Submitted: April 27, 2017

Reads: 503

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 27, 2017



“Eryn Maryanna Kingsly!”

Eryn, sighing with a slight roll of her eyes, turned around to see Celeste standing behind her at the school gates, books tucked neatly under her arm and a look of disapproval plastered like a mask on her face. Eryn loved Celeste to death and would do anything for that girl but one thing, just one thing she ever hated about Celeste was how she had this thing of calling people by their full names.

And Eryn hated her middle name. It was her Great Aunt’s name. And it just sounded old.

“I know,” she answered, quickly shooing away Harrison who bobbed his head and hurried to get her homework done.

She could almost hear Celeste rolling her eyes, her high-heel shoes making clip, clop sounds as she strutted down the steps. “Not, I know, Eryn. What did we decide?”

“That I would stop asking Harrison and start asking Drake.”

Celeste put a hand on her shoulder, her nails beautifully painted. “Exactimaleena. Drake gets better grades than Harrison,” she shrugged, playing with the waves in her long black hair, “We found that out today.”

“Too late everything else,” Eryn sighed, Harrison had been her puppy dog, go-to-guy from Day 1 at Fieldmoor High. And now Drake suddenly shows his hidden talents…getting better grades than his buddy Harrison.

Celeste was still playing with her hair, pulling apart the split hairs trying to find the longest one. Eryn took her friend’s arm and pulled her to the school bulletin board, right near that bench called the Lover’s Bench.

“What?” Celeste whined, hating to be pulled away from finding another split hair. It was another of her things.

Eryn had seen it this afternoon, the one about the beauty contest. Not just that, but the money involved. She and Celeste both could use with a spa treatment and the money could get them the same for a slightly popular celebrity. The last few weeks of exams was making her skin flake in places she didn’t want it to and she knew they both needed a good break.

“Oh, that, I saw that. But the judges won’t be from Higgy’s.”

“But Celeste! This is our chance to show them all we have it,” and by “it” she meant that special sparkle that the top-of-the-world girls were supposed to have. Like those who became models.

Celeste, focused again on her split hairs absentmindedly said, “Yeah but what’s good about doing it here? We should just sign up for Higgy’s when we get to twenty. It’s the youngest age to audition for the beauty contest. Then we can both start being models at the same time.”

But Eryn had waited her whole life for something like this! Both their moms were too strict to let neither Eryn nor Celeste do beauty pageants and who knew, maybe, just maybe someone from Higgy’s “Beauty and the Judge” would be there. But Celeste was right. Eryn watched her friend’s eyes light up when she split a long hair.

“So, anyway, dreams crushed…” Eryn sighed and Celeste looked up from her work. “Life news?”

“Let’s walk,” Celeste held out her hand.

“Gotcha,” Eryn took it.

“Higgy’s is a dream. But dreams can happen if you work hard towards them,” she nodded confidently. Eryn nodded. Sometimes Celeste was such a philosopher, a trait from her dad, the Literature professor.

“Number 4, Ms. Celeste Gilmore, what is your concept of dress this evening?” Eryn grinned, doing her (horribly fake) British accent.

My concept,” Celeste paused and rolled her eyes, “is summer time but at the beach, you see.”

“But you are wearing pants, surely you mean—”

I mean summer time AT THE BEACH. Do you want to get sun burned when you have forgotten your sunscreen? I think not! That’s why you don’t post any pics of yourselves on Instagram showing skin. You’ve burnt badly.”

“And the looks on their faces!” Eryn giggled. Yesterday’s “Beauty and the Judge” a contestant basically tore the judges’ egos apart and got the whole audience to back her up.

Celeste giggled. “Yeah they were totally shocked.”

“So hilarious how they try to keep themselves together when you know they’re boiling with anger.”

“Completely sabotaged pros. Some girls think it’s only for show.”

Eryn widened her eyes. “But it’s not!”

Celeste shrugged and shook her head, “I tried to tell them.”

“And to even think New Sollei think it’s got the best Beauty Queens!”

“Right with you with that one. The quality has gone way down since that one girl last year.”

“That’s why I said we should show them we have it.”

“Stripes and spots? Like, that’s childish fashion mistakes, come, on!”

“Totally,” Eryn rolled her eyes. It was the latest fashion trend among the Beauty Queens from New Sollei of “Beauty and the Judge”. No one from New Sollei dressed that way and those Beauty Queens thought they were representing the state.

“We’ll teach them a lesson someday, won’t we?” Eryn squeezed Celeste’s hand and Celeste squeezed back.

“Definitely. Make way for us, world. Here we come!”

As they left the school grounds, a group of freshmen stopped what they were doing and boggled at them. Eryn could hear the words “Shorthair Beauty” and “Longhair Beauty”. Eryn always had short hair and never grew it past her chin. Celeste never cut her hair shorter than her shoulders. The longest ever was way down to her hips. But that was only once. She cut it to her shoulders saying it was too much a bother to wash all that hair.

Eryn glanced at Celeste and knew what she was thinking. They stopped, turned around, and gave those freshmen a big smile and a little wave.

It was enough to send them talking and rumoring for about a week. Eryn knew she and Celeste were on the “popular” side. It wasn’t a secret. And no one dared question why they always held hands when they walked together. It was just one of their things they never grew out of.

“And that, is the it,” Celeste grinned.

Eryn laughed. “Oh so you’re proving a point, oh so okay, I see, Ms. Celeste Gilmore. By the way, next Sunday—”

“The purple-haired freshman’s party planning,” Celeste finished Eryn’s sentence.

“She likes dogs.”

“And her friends?”

“We’ll have to ask.”

“Right then. We’re meeting on Sunday so we could use this weekend getting the likes and dislikes out on the table.”

“How much are we gonna—”


“20 for ideas. 30 for complete planning. 40 for execution.”

“Celeste sweetie, who are you executing? Louis fourteen?” Eryn teased. They turned the corner onto their street, thankfully close to school to allow a few more minutes in bed.

“Yeah let’s kill this party.”

“Kill it and get the tickets,” Eryn nodded, giving her best friends’ hand another squeeze.

The two parted without making plans to meet but promising to text about it later. Ever since they were allowed to plan their own parties, Eryn and Celeste took it upon themselves to plan other people’s parties and eventually started charging them for it. Celeste’s mom was a web designer and helped them make a web page to advertise their work. They only got clients from any school they went to but it was enough to make a little money and use it to do things they wanted. The last big purchase was a sterling silver bracelet with each other’s initials engraved in little silver hearts. Next on the list; two tickets to be in the audience of Higgy’s “Beauty and the Judge”.

That night after dinner, and after only an hour of English study, Eryn played in her mind what she and Celeste would wear to Higgy’s. As though summoned, Eryn’s phone whistled to her signaling a text from Celeste.  She flicked the Internet screen off and tapped on the mail icon; the inbox of 35 were mostly untouched texts from other apps she didn’t want to deal with.

Followed by a picture of a surprised cat that Celeste sent her the day before was a surprised smiley with text underneath

Eryn!  Guess what!

Eryn thought for a moment.  The only surprising enough “guess what” for Celeste could only be one thing especially considering that little exchange she had with him in the hallway yesterday. The little touch of the shoulder, the “here’s my number” smile along with a slip of paper sprayed with a hint of perfume. There were two options to this.  Answer “What?” to give Celeste the pleasure of telling her or give the answer and take away the pleasure of…  Eryn decided on the former. Celeste could be a baby about things like this and would make Eryn start over just so she could play out the scenario in mind.

“What?” Eryn sent.

Robert Bain!!!! 

Her heart did a little summersault. Quickly she replied,

OMG he actually asked u out  o.O


tell me more!

ok 2moro @ my place


gr8t :)

c u there!

Eryn flopped down on her bed.

“Robert Bain and Celeste Gilmore,” she mumbled.  Her best friend was going to go out with one of the hottest guys in Fieldmoor High.  She hadn’t seen that one coming, well, not so soon.  But really, sometimes Celeste was hard to predict.  Once she announced that she was going to do skydiving and the next day she did.  Just out of the blue.  And they were so close but that girl…  Straight As, perfect in everything, and now a hot bf…

And you have nothing, a little voice whispered to her.  Eryn sat up and took out her phone.  She opened “contacts” and flipped through the possibilities.

“Albert,” said the first.  He was in her group science project in 10th grade and they had exchanged phone numbers to contact each other.  He always wore his shirt inside out.  It was what she called, “defashionizing”.

Next was “Drake.”  He was also in her science group so it was definitely a “no” although she’d have to kiss up to him to get him to her homework for her. Math. Eryn was defeated in Math.  Fredrick was balding so he was “no”.  Eryn could remember when she almost cried out in shock to discover a small bald spot on the back of his head.  Next was Harrison…  He was okay but not with all the hairs up his arm and she needed to tell him he’s not needed. She couldn’t delete him just yet.  And definitely not geeky Ingrid, not arrogant Thomas, not Willson with his rabbit teeth, not, not, not...

Nope, she confirmed, she had nothing. Though she knew she should be happy for her friend, she couldn’t help the pain of jealousy pricking at her chest like little needles. She knew she had the looks though. Eryn opened up her phone and tapped the mirror app. Short jet black hair, green eyes with a hint of yellow, smooth skin, no zits, healthy pink cheeks, chin that’s not too pointy like her Mom’s, and feminine body. Yet why did none of the hotties look at her? Celeste was pretty and so was she. They both had black hair, too. What was the difference? Eryn was sure she was friendly.  Maybe she was too friendly with the geeks that asked for her number all the time. Maybe she should only talk to hotties from now on.

“Starting Monday,” she told herself. Though she did feel a bit bad for Harrison because he was sweet enough to do her homework for her. But then again, he wasn’t exactly in the “hottie” category. Popular girls only went out with hot guys. It was like an unwritten rule..

Leaning over to her desk she pulled out a bottle of skin cream and patted a little on her face.  Keeping pretty was hard work but if Robert Bain could find interest in Celeste, maybe Johnny Taylor would ditch his girlfriend and come running after her. Well, that’s what she always thought about. Sometimes her thoughts got so far to the extent that she dreamt he ditched his current gf and went bonkers trying to get her attention. When she woke up to reality, stupid tears stung her eyes. Ever since she’d tried to at least catch his attention. But still, when she talked to him about class or something and his gf, Natalie showed up, all his attention disappeared from her vicinity. Sure it was normal for that to happen but Eryn tried so hard… She even tried to copy Natalie’s make up once.

“Okay, Eryn,” she told herself for the hundredth time since that day, “don’t be obsessive ‘cause that’s the creep factor that guys hate about girls.”

“But if only that girl just disappeared for a couple days. Just hurry up and go on a vacation with your yacht-owning rich folk!” Natalie was a rich girl. Johnny Taylor was a rich guy. But so was Robert Bain. But was Celeste rich? Maybe…

Eryn didn’t hate her mom’s antique business or her dad’s job working as an office manager at a printing company but she did wish maybe Johnny Taylor rich guy could date someone like her and not someone like Natalie. If there was some way to make her go away for a few days and even send a rumor to him that she’s cheating…then maybe if she comforted him he could turn to her? Natalie would be heartbroken for like a second because she had guys running after her all the time. Always replacements available for that girl.

“Dreaming me,” Eryn rolled her eyes. Dreams should always come true. And right away. Then she could stop dreaming like a creepy obsessed girl head-over-heals in love.

* * *

A week later Eryn was still dreaming. She woke with tired eyes and her earphones still intact. Her ears hurt and she realized she’d slept in her day clothes. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was playing on repeat for what had to be the thousandeth time.

“13:30” the lock screen told her. Had she slept that much? When did she finally drift off last night? After the funeral of her Grandma’s they had come straight home and had a little take-out dinner. Even though her Grandma was family, Eryn didn’t feel the pain her Mom felt from her death. They’d never been close. Each visit was always uneasy. Grandma never seemed to make too much effort with keeping house. The walls were covered with pictures of flowers and literally hundreds of potted plants surrounded the house like soldiers. There were even plants in the house and miniature cactuses lined up in the window in the kitchen and several made their home in the bathroom. Her Grandma also had this strange obsession on folklore and fairytales. She had clips of grass or roots in jars claiming there were little creatures in them that you could see if you opened your heart. She was what Eryn categorized as “eccentric”. There was boy in elementary school that used to collect the wings of butterflies and only drink rain water. He was the first in her “eccentric” category once she learned what “eccentric” meant and how more “eccentric” it sounded than plain old “weird”.

But behind that eccentric-ness, her Grandma was good at giving her candy and trying to win her over. Eryn knew that so she always kept her distance.

“George would’ve loved you,” Grandma would always say.  Her husband died a few years after the second World War when Eryn’s Mom was still an unborn baby. It was hard to think of her Mom as a baby. But it was harder yet to think of ninety-year-old Mrs. Saunders as a baby.

Eryn stared up at the ceiling, at the little designs on the ceiling that looked like old-lady wrinkles and tried to find Mrs. Saunders in there. She lived across the street with two parakeets that hung in a birdcage by the window. Whenever she was out and about, Mrs. Saunders bundled up so much she looked like a stack of scarves and rags with feet, pushing an old-lady cart. It always reminded Eryn of cousin It from the Addams Family. Celeste said she might be a descendent and she wasn’t that far off. Eryn and Celeste once heard her humming the “Addams Family” theme song as she walked along the street.

At two, Eryn finally heaved herself out of bed and pulled the curtains open to be welcomed by… heavy rain.  Perfect for the gloomy mood that hovered around the house.  She could still go to Celeste’s because she lived only next door but her Mom had said they needed to go to the “old house”—as she put it—to get a few things and pick up some stuff that was for keeps.

“Eryn!  Come down and eat something, we’re going in twenty minutes!”

“Okay, Mom!”

Eryn sighed and dressed in a simple t-shirt and a pair of old jeans. Fashion wasn’t necessary when going to your late grandma’s house, she nodded to her simple-looking self in the mirror. Before she went down, she snuck into her parents’ room and put a little of her Mom’s blush on her cheeks. Keeping pretty was hard work when her skin was always so pale.

Downstairs smelled of old coffee and something buttery. When she reached the living room with its signature beige curtains with large yellow flowers, her mother sat at the dining table. In front of her was a cold piece of toast and a cold cup of coffee. She was looking out the window at the rain, unmoving and emotionless. Eryn crept into the room, awkwardness patting her on the back, and reached the cupboards to get out the bran cereal. Though she’d rather have Lucky Charms, keeping pretty meant no sweets. They had decided that; she and Celeste, when they’d found out about Fieldmoor High’s hotties.

“We’re going in fifteen,” her mother mumbled and sipped at her coffee. Eryn could hear a distance in her voice as though her Mom were calling from elsewhere. To get away from it, she texted Celeste.

hey, hows yr date?

awsm! :) eating ice cream.

at least smone’s happy :/

hows yr mom?


dnt worry, she’ll come to

i hope so…

yr moms tough. she’ll be back.

just give her some time, eryn

the planning?

dnt WORRY girl, told u I’ll took care of it.


no problem J got her number yesterday and gonna text her l8tr. Poodle-themed.

sounds awsm.

let’s get ice cream tomorrow. on me. you need to get away from gloom.

yeah, k, thx

anytime :)

Celeste sent a picture of a cat hugging a panda. The cat was smiling and the panda was too but it had a little tear trailing down it’s cheek.

Im the cat, yr the panda. sending hugs.

ur sweet :)

“Eat up, we’re going soon,” came another distant voice void of emotion as though her mother were reading from a script.


l8trs :)

The air felt thick with emotion and yet there was no one to break it or dissolve it.  It was like standing in the principal’s office waiting for him to read your sentence. Usually her dad would say something to lighten the mood but he had to work today even though it was Saturday. He had to work twice as much when Mom closed the shop for mourning. But both of them had been in and out of work dealing with the funeral and paperwork and relatives Eryn didn’t even know existed.  Some of them were second cousins of her second cousins and they were bold enough to ask about the money. That’s what most people were after; the money.

The house looked a lot different from the last time she visited. The lawn was unkempt, there were weeds everywhere, and there seemed to be almost a herd of potted plants surrounding the house now. Her mom dared not admit it but Grandma was a hoarder. She kept too many things. And even though most of her money always went to charity, she was able to afford all the fairy and folklore related objects that invaded her living space. There were literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of items. Eryn was always afraid that one day the door wouldn’t be able to open and they’d have to dig under the house to get inside.

Eryn’s nose was instantly filled with the smell of soil. Not necessarily fresh soil and there was the faint smell of some incense lingering in the air. The floor was clean but the chairs and tables were piled with paintings, pots, balls of yarn, dead cut flowers, plastic bottles, and books that had torn covers. It was gloomy and the curtains were drawn so tightly they had torn spots in strange places.

Eryn started at a creaking sound behind her and saw her mother making her way to the pile. “Eryn,” she said. “Respect the space. This was your Grandmother’s house.”

Though she nodded and head up the stairs to escape her mother’s watchful gaze, she didn’t think respect to a dead person had much point.

“I mean they’re dead,” she scowled and head for her Grandma’s room which had a wooden sign that said “Private”. Unlike downstairs, upstairs seemed more like a house rather than a storage room. The bed was made, the floor was swept, and there were a few cloths folded neatly on the rocking chair in the corner of the room. The curtains were wide open and…rain hit the glass. Eryn sighed and wished it was at least sunny so the room could look better.

As she made her way to the bed, she found an envelope on the floor. Perhaps her Grandmother read her mail in bed or something. Casually she picked it up. It was plain and white and it simple said,

“Dear Jones, from Alice Nickleson,” Eryn read out loud. Neither rang a bell. Maybe it was a friend of her Grandma’s. Another eccentric old lady just like her. Hoping to find more answers, she flipped over the envelope. The top was torn a little indicating her Grandma probably opened it. Inside was a bracelet, old rusty looking and certainly not fashionable. There was also an old black and white picture of a little girl and a tall man. Eryn tried to see if their faces were similar but the photo had been worn away by age. Last in the envelope was a small folded piece of paper. She shrugged and opened it up.

“Dearest,” it began and a shiver ran up her spine. People didn’t call people “dearest” any more. It was so out of date.

If you have seen this letter, I am no longer. I am writing to you to tell you a few things hopefully you can pass on. I left without saying goodbye and I know how they might’ve felt.

Let me start by saying ever since leaving, I have always cherished those days in Wonderland. It was both mystifying and wonderful.

I forgot to give you the key (I am so forgetful even in old age). But I have enclosed my old bracelet, hopefully you can still use it as such. Life here has been both kind and cruel as you can well imagine. I hope things have settled down over there. I’ve often wished I could do much more but as Cheshire Cat has said, it was never going to go my way. My way is not their way and I understand that now.

And, Jones, if it isn’t too much of a bother, would you please tell that the dear Mister Rabbit that I have not forgotten him. He has been a good friend to me.

My time has come.

Sending lots of love from the middle world,


“Wonderland? Cheshire Cat? Mister Rabbit?” Eryn wrinkled her nose, puzzled. It sounded like a new episode of Alice in Wonderland. Her grandma was seriously eccentric to the point that all this was true for her. Basically, she was crazy.

“Eryn!  Can you help me with this?  I need to get the chest to the car and it’s too heavy by myself.”

“Be right there, Mom!”

Eryn stuffed the letter, contents and all, in her belt pouch and skidded down stairs to help her Mom with an old chest. Apparently, her grandmother had promised her Mom could have it if anything were to happen to her. It was far too ancient looking for Eryn and she was glad Grandma left nothing for her. She wouldn’t have been able to make up an excuse not to take it.

When they finished hauling and their hair soaked from the rain, they hopped in the car and drove home, leaving the plants in charge once again.

Back home, they hauled the chest into the house and sat it smack in the middle of the living room. Her Mom started to wipe it down and Eryn crept out to take a quick shower. The rain water had wet her hair only a bit but still, it was annoying. Keeping pretty meant lots of showers, too.

* * *

Her thirty-minute shower turned an extra thirty-minute-long one because she decided to do a full shampoo-conditioner-shampoo-conditioner beauty treatment. When she was done, she felt refreshed and checked her phone. No messages from Celeste about her date and the time was already four o’clock. Back in her room she dressed into a simple but dry t-shirt and jeans and put some of her plainest socks on. As she dried her hair, she hummed “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, stuck in her head like a curse. It wasn’t the only song she listened to. Just it was a song that made her feel happy when she was down.

Back in her room she remembered the letter she basically stole.

“Eryn, where’d you put the stupid belt pouch!” she jumped up and down the middle of her room when she spotted it under her clothes in the laundry basket. Her hands found crumpled paper and she pulled out the letter. The bracelet tumbled onto the floor and she picked it up.

It was an old rusty plain Jane gold bracelet with nothing much fun about it. But with fashion you had to be clever. You could invent new styles if you could defend yourself.

“Maybe it’s not too bad,” she walked to her closet to take out her only pair of beige sneakers, which would look good with the gold, rusty as it was. Then she put on her yellow belt pouch and her beige jacket. Then she took her phone out and posed in front of the mirror, lighted by the dim late afternoon daylight that crept into her room. She often did pretend modeling. She and Celeste even made a stage out of cardboard when they were thirteen and made their parents watch them parade down the runway while playing ABBA’s “Mamma Mia”.

“Eryn Kingsly,” she announced herself in her (very bad) fake British accent. Then with exaggerated movements, she put the bracelet on and posed. Just as she was thinking the look would be perfect with her sunglasses on her head, her vision blurred.

Swirls of purple and white appeared before her eyes. A piercing headache hit her. She clutched her head and gritted her teeth. Her feet felt like they were floating upwards and she couldn’t feel the floor. She could smell a musty dusty smell. Flashing visions of red and white roses pulsed all around her. Her body hit something soft like a bed. Finally, the headache left her and she lost herself in the blackness that engulfed her softly, taking her under unconsciousness.


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