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 The Start on an Interesting Year

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phoenixgirl
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Title : Hoping to be Yusei's greatest love
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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:14 am

I'm happy I got a new chapter out and quite quickly after the last one. And the best thing is that Shuppin's in this one. Enjoy. ^^

Chapter 9

The next evening, Merle, Dys, Alexia, and I met at La Dauphine to buy our Halloween costumes. As I was deciding on which costume to buy, I observed Merle and Dys and quietly wondered to myself how they ended up being friends when their interests and tastes were different. However, then I thought to myself that perhaps they have a friendship that’s similar to Alexia’s and mine and that would make sense. The four of us finished choosing our costumes although we decided not to tell each other what we had chosen until the Halloween party.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. I continued to hang out with Shuppin at the bakery, chatting with him during his break and getting to know him better. Meanwhile, I had found out that Alexia was spending her weekends practicing for the Juliet role. Without a doubt, she was determined to get that role. Even if it wasn’t for Rhett pushing her buttons, Alexia wanted to be taken as a serious actress so I knew and understood her dedication and passion for theater.

At the beginning of next week, things looked to be uneventful. Alexia hadn’t sought me out like she’d usually do which made me wonder if there was anything unusual going on. However, I didn’t have much time to think about it when I began to notice that my relationship with Shuppin began to change. In the beginning, I’d have to seek him out to start a friendly conversation unless he needed to talk to me about something. But now, he was seeking me out, wanting to chat about trivial things. Also, he began to compliment me and he clearly began to take notice of me. At the very least, I could say that we were becoming better friends.

On Wednesday afternoon, I decided to begin my search for new members for the music club. First, I found Merle and tried to persuade her to join but she only made this remark about how she was already in netball and how I should join. I tuned her out mostly until the part where she mentioned about Petime being “dangerous.” That worried me a little but then I remembered that this was Merle and she tended to exaggerate things so I decided not to give her words another thought.

Then I decided to go outside on the track field, thinking that perhaps Marius might want to join the music club. It would be better than having to exercise outside in the cold weather, I thought. So I sought him out and once I found him, we began to talk and I said,

“And so, if you could take a day or two off every now and again to come down to the Music Club, that’d really help us out!”

Marius looked surprised and after making a couple of remarks, he asked, “You actually play an instrument?”

I pouted and replied, “Don’t act so surprised! I’ll have you know I can tap a mean cymbal when I need to!”

Marius then replied about how the athletics captain wouldn’t be too pleased if he missed practice but then said how I could bring my cymbals out on the field and cheer him on, which made me roll my eyes. He then continued,

“Heh. Why are you asking me anyway? Hate to admit it, but I’ve got the musical ability of a spoon. I’d have thought you’d be after Shuppin first, what with his dad owning a music shop and all.”

In truth, I did consider asking Shuppin first, remembering our conversations about him wanting to go to music school and all. However, I wanted to see if I could get at least one or two guys first to join before asking Shuppin. However, I was surprised to hear that Shuppin’s dad was the owner of a music shop and replied like so. Marius nodded and replied,

“Mmhmm-at the Arndale, in town. If he’s not here or at the bakery, Shuppin’s probably helping out there. Or asleep. But hey, you might get lucky.”

I grinned and replied, “Wow, thanks! I’d guess that’d make him my prime candidate then, heh! I’ll, ahh, let you get back to your workout.”

However, Marius didn’t look too pleased that I was letting him get back to his practice. After I waved goodbye and headed back inside the school building, I contemplated about asking Shuppin and without a doubt, I’d definitely make it a point to ask him. Although Shuppin might very well be beyond Petime’s and my musical levels, it certainly couldn’t hurt to talk to him about the idea.

On Friday evening, Alexia and I took the train, heading to Lamb’s house for the Halloween party. The two of us were chatting excitedly along the way and of course, we were already wearing our costumes. Alexia had chosen a sexy black kitty leopard costume while I had chosen a beautiful innocent fairy costume. I loved the costume and thought that perhaps Shuppin would love it, too. As Alexia knew the way to Lamb’s place, I simply followed her lead.

Looking all excited, Alexia said, “This is going to be great. I can’t wait to see Beck again.”

I raised an eyebrow skeptically and replied, “You really think Lamb’s brother is going to be there? I mean, this is a party for people younger than him so we’d be like kids to him.”

Alexia frowned a bit and replied, “Beck doesn’t see me as a kid although…”

As I noticed that Alexia had trailed off, I replied, “Hey, is there anything the matter?”

Alexia shrugged and replied, “I don’t know. I was hoping that Beck would have called me by now and asked me out or something but I guess it’s too soon for that.”

I nodded and replied, “That’s true and you haven’t known him for long, right?”

Alexia sighed and replied, “I guess…”

I replied, “Is there something else? I don’t know but I get this feeling that you’re feeling a little down and it’s not just because of Beck.”

Alexia gave me a small smile and replied, “Guess I can’t fool you so I might as well tell you before Merle or Dys start wondering what’s up.” She took a deep breath and then continued,

“It’s probably nothing but lately, Rhett’s been giving me these intense looks during drama.”

I replied, “Wait, so you’re saying that Rhett’s being a creep?”

Alexia immediately shook her head and replied, “No, that’s not it. He’s not being a stalker or anything like that. But it’s like ever since I met Beck, Rhett doesn’t upset me as much as he used to and it’s like he’s noticed or something. I don’t know what to make of his looks towards me.”

I looked thoughtful and replied, “Hmm, I wouldn’t know, either. I could find out if you’d like. I could just ask him or something-.”

Alexia replied, “No, Caitlin, don’t do that. He’ll just go back to being a jerk towards me and I’ll get angry all over again.”

I nodded and replied, “Ok but now that you’ve brought this up, I’m going to do a bit of investigating on my own. Don’t worry-I won’t confront him about what you told me. I’ll talk to some of our classmates and friends and find out if they know what certain looks of his mean. That way, I could figure out why he’s giving you a certain look. Will that do?”

Alexia replied, “Sure, that’ll be all right. Thanks, Caitlin. You’re the best when it comes to talking about these things.”

I smiled and replied, “No problem. You’d do the same for me if there was anything I needed to tell you.”

The two of us continued to chat, changing the subject back to the Halloween party and Lamb’s house. After we got off at the stop, we headed towards the street where Lamb’s house was. Once we arrived, I immediately noticed how packed the house and it didn’t escape my notice that many of the girls were wearing outfits that were similar to Alexia’s. However, it didn’t make me feel self-conscious or anything. I didn’t regret my choice of outfit and told myself that I’d certainly stand out, if nothing else.

Alexia and I looked around for Merle and Dys, figuring that they were already at the party. Soon, we found them and I exclaimed,

“Oh hey, Merle, Dys! You guys look amazing!”

I observed that Merle had worn a sexy tabby kitty outfit that was very similar to Alexia’s while Dys was wearing what appeared to be a simple peasant’s outfit that looked to be from around the Renaissance period or so. The four of us chatted for a bit, complimenting each other’s costumes and making idle chitchat. Then Merle noticed something unpleasant and said,

“Ooh, heads up-Bitchaku, nine o’clock. I think that might be our cue to disappear into the kitchen…I hear that’s where all the action is, anyway!”

I thought to myself,

Yup, Merle definitely can’t stand Lamb.

Dys sighed and agreed with Merle to disappear for a while. She then turned to Alexia and me and said,

“She doesn’t hate you two, though, so you should be fine-come and find us later on, okay?”

I nodded and replied, “Sure, we’ll do that.”

After Merle and Dys disappeared into the kitchen to avoid Lamb, Alexia turned to me and said, “I’ll go say hi to Lamb and find out if Beck’s here. Let’s meet up later, ok?”

Before I had a chance to reply, Alexia headed towards Lamb to chat with her, leaving me all alone. I decided that I might as well have a chance to enjoy the party, even if I was all by myself. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone for long, as a familiar voice said,

“Hey, Caitlin. I wondered whether you might be here.”

As I turned around towards the sound of the voice, I smiled as I saw someone I had hoped to see and replied,

“Oh hey, Shuppin! Marius said you might come. You enjoying the festivities…?”

Shuppin nodded and replied that he was although he had spent most of the time touring Lamb’s house, noting that there were six bathrooms. He then commented,

“But anyway…your costume’s really awesome, Caitlin-uh, I’m really liking the wings.”

I was happy to hear Shuppin compliment my costume and replied, “Really? Everyone else seems to think I look like an eight-year old…”

Shuppin shook his head and replied, “What? No way-you look really classy and ethereal-like, y’know? It’s really well made, too-those wings must have taken forever!”

I felt myself blushing and replied, “Well, uh, thanks, I guess!”

Then I thought to myself about how Shuppin didn’t need to know that I didn’t make the wings but rather bought them as well as the entire costume itself. Then I turned to Shuppin and replied,

“Well, anyway, your costume’s really awesome, Shuppin!”

Shuppin replied that it was all right if I told him the truth about his costume-that it looked like a “train wreck.” However, I shook my head and replied,

“I am telling the truth! I think you make a really good…”

For a moment, I thought about what Shuppin came dressed as and then continued,

“Roman!”

Shuppin looked relieved that I had guessed correctly and commented about how, in the movies, actors portraying Romans wore costumes similar to his. I grinned and replied happily in turn and the two of us continued to chat away like so. After a while of chatting, Shuppin said,

“Anyway, I guess I’d better get going…I’ve been trying to keep moving…there’s this group of girls who keep trying to look down my toga, I don’t want them pinpointing my location. It was nice seeing you anyway, Caitlin.”

I replied, “Ah, same! Hope you have a good night!”

As Shuppin left, I smiled to myself and felt like giggling happily although I restrained myself. I was happy to see Shuppin and to talk to him, even though we couldn’t chat for long. As the party began to wind down, I looked around for Alexia and soon found her. Immediately, I wanted to ask her if she had found Beck but before she could reply, Dys approached us and said,

“You two ready? The trains will have stopped by now, so we’re going to split a taxi.”

I nodded and replied, “Ah, yeah, sure, we’ll be right there!”

I briefly glanced at Alexia and knew that I wouldn’t be able to press her for information then. I decided to wait until we were alone to find out if anything had happened and judging by Alexia’s demeanor, I had a feeling that something had happened although I had no idea what. However, I’d have to wait for my curiosity to be satisfied. So after we met with Merle, the four of us went outside to hail a taxi and then we climbed in, feeling exhausted but happy. As Merle and Dys chatted on about how fun the party was, who was there, etc., with Alexia occasionally joining in, I smiled to myself, as I thought about Shuppin and how happy I was that I saw him at the party. It definitely was an eventful night and I had a feeling that it was only the beginning of more to come.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:45 am

Yays for the new chapter. ^_^ I loved seeing Shuppin in this chapter but I must admit I am more curious about Alexia and Beck. XD This couple sounds quite interesting as well and I am wondering if their possible romance, along with Rhett's role in this, will be connected somehow to Shuppin's and Caitlin's relationship. ^^

Loving this story more and more as it goes on. Write more soon, phoenix. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:36 am

Just finished writing a new chapter so I thought I'd post it here and all that.  This is the first chapter where there's no direct dialogue from the game so I'm curious to hear feedback and all.  And if there's anything confusing, please let me know.  Thanks and enjoy.  ^^

Chapter 10

The next day, I woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning.  Briefly, I stretched out my arms and then quickly did my morning routine, washing up, getting dressed, and having breakfast.  Once I was finished, I quickly checked my emails like usual but instead of dropping by the bakery, I wanted to go to the Arndale.  Since I had some money saved up now from working at the bakery, I thought it was time to buy some new clothes.  

As I was on the train heading towards the stop where I’d head to the mall, I thought about Alexia and couldn’t help but worry about her.  I’d considered calling her before I left to see if everything was ok but knowing how serious she was about wanting the Juliet role, I thought that she might not want to take any calls.  However, I wouldn’t forget to talk to her about what happened to her at the Halloween party, as I felt like something had happened to her while we were separated.

After entering the Arndale, I immediately headed towards Boutique Tide, as there were some punk shirts and pants that I really wanted to buy.  As I was busy with my shopping, I briefly looked up and noticed that Alexia was in the shop as well.  Although Alexia loved to shop more than me, I was surprised to see her, as I thought she’d be busy rehearsing for the play.  Not wanting the opportunity to pass by me, though, I approached her and said,

“Hey, Alexia.  I’m surprised to see you here.”

Alexia then noticed me and giving me a small smile, she replied, “Yeah, I could say the same about you.  I didn’t take you for a shopaholic.”

I pouted slightly and replied, “Hey, it’s not like I never shop for new clothes.  I have some money saved up now so I thought I needed to expand my wardrobe.”

Alexia looked at me teasingly and replied, “Oh?  Is there a guy you’re trying to impress or something?”

I felt my cheeks warm, as I couldn’t help but wonder if Alexia somehow had found out that I was hanging around Shuppin.  However, I remembered why I wanted to talk to Alexia and using that reason, I replied,

“Are you trying to deflect attention onto me or what?  You’re not getting out of this, you know.  I want to find out what happened to you last night.”

Not realizing that I had used a somewhat sneaky attack on her, Alexia sighed and replied, “You mean the party, huh?  But umm, let’s talk somewhere else.  Get a table or something.”

I nodded, agreeing to Alexia’s idea.  So after we finished shopping for clothes and paid for our purchases, we left the shop and headed towards the smoothie stand to buy a couple of smoothies for ourselves.  Then we snagged a table nearby and after we were both seated, I looked at Alexia and gently said,

“Ok, now what happened last night?  We were separated for a while.”

Alexia took a breath and replied, “Well, you remember that I wanted to talk to Lamb and try to find Beck if I could?”

I nodded and Alexia continued,

“So yeah, I chatted with Lamb for a while and then while she was taking care of something-well, she found out about Merle and Dys crashing the party and was determined to find them-this mysterious stranger approached me and took my picture.  He’d been taking pictures of a lot of the girls last night.”

I raised my right eyebrow, as that didn’t happen to me.  However, I was busy chatting with Shuppin so this stranger might have realized that and avoided me.

Alexia then said, “I figured out right away that it was Beck.  This stranger was about the same height as him and even though he tried to disguise his voice, I could tell that it was Beck.  I called him out on his identity and he admitted that it was him but pleaded that I not say anything.  I figured there was no harm in keeping this secret so why not?  Anyhow, we continued to chat but then I noticed Rhett.  He was standing a little away from us but he was looking at Beck and giving him these dirty looks although Beck didn’t notice.  Well, if he did notice, he didn’t care.”

Alexia sighed and said, “I don’t know what to make of Rhett.  I’m so confused.”

I thought about Alexia’s situation and after a couple of minutes of silence, I replied, “Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that Rhett was jealous.  I mean, this kind of thing happens on TV so it might make sense?”

Alexia looked at me in disbelief and replied, “No way.  Rhett’s not the jealous type and he doesn’t even like me.  At least I don’t think he does.”

I replied, “Maybe he does like you.  You told me yesterday that Rhett’s been giving you these intense looks.  He may actually like you or at least admire you but perhaps hasn’t had the courage to say anything to you about it yet.  Of course, I could be completely wrong here.  As I said yesterday, I’ll do some investigation but I won’t confront Rhett about it.”

I paused for a few moments and then quietly said, “If Rhett does like you, would that be a problem?  Since you like Beck and all.”

Alexia sighed and replied, “If I knew for sure that Beck liked me back, then yeah, it would be.  But as it is, I don’t know if he likes me like I like him.  We do have fun flirting together but is that all we’ll end up doing?  If Rhett does like me, he wouldn’t be like Beck.  He’d probably want to date seriously and I’d like that.”

I gave Alexia a quick hug and replied, “Hey, I’m sorry things are so complicated for you right now.  I’ll do what I can to help.”

Alexia smiled at me and replied, “Thanks, Caitlin.  You truly are the most wonderful best friend ever.  And hey, I’m sorry about teasing you earlier.  It’d be nice if there was a guy that you liked as much as I like Beck.  You deserve to be happy.”

I smiled a little shyly and replied, “Thanks, Alexia.  If there is such a guy, you’d be the first one I’d tell, ok?”

Although there definitely was a special guy for me, I didn’t want to tell Alexia yet, as I knew she had her own problems to deal with and I didn’t know exactly how things were between Shuppin and me, except that we were becoming closer friends.




On Monday morning, I entered the school building, ready to start another week of classes.  I had a few things on my mind which included figuring out the deal with Rhett, persuading Shuppin to join the music club, and so forth.  I was so absorbed in my thoughts that when I heard my name being called out in the hallway, I didn’t know who it was at first.  As the voice continued to call out to me, I snapped out of my thoughts and looking up, I turned to the direction of the voice and smiled.  Seeing Shuppin, I approached him as well and gave him a small wave.  Shuppin smiled at me and said,

“Hey, Caitlin.  I missed seeing you on Saturday.  Were you busy?”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah, kind of.  I decided to go shopping and then ran into Alexia and well, you can figure out how preoccupied I was after.”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “Yeah, I understand.  It’s not the same, though.  But umm, if you do get too busy to come by the bakery, you can call me so we can meet somewhere after work.  I’ll make time for you.”

I blushed slightly and replied, “Thanks.  I might just take you up on that offer.”

Remembering that I wanted to recruit Shuppin to the music club, I was about to bring up the topic when the bell rang to warn us to head on to our classes.  I sighed inwardly, figuring that I’d have to find another chance to recruit Shuppin.  Shuppin smiled and said,

“We don’t want to be late so we should head on to homeroom.”

I nodded and the two of us headed to homeroom and then afterwards to our classes for the day.  Although I’d missed my chance to recruit Shuppin, I reminded myself to talk to him again at the next opportunity and figure out a way to persuade him to join the music club.

The next couple of days passed by uneventfully and the rest of the week would have been the same had it not been for an encounter with a certain redhead on Thursday afternoon.  As it was raining quite hard and cold and I wasn’t feeling quite up to taking the train to head on home after classes, I decided to go to the library to get some homework and studying done.  Feeling relieved to be sheltered from the weather for a bit, I looked around the library, hoping to find an empty table.  However, all the tables were full.  As I walked around, though, I noticed one table was fairly empty, save for one Rhett Sugden.  Although I promised Alexia that I wouldn’t confront Rhett about his behavior towards Alexia, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try to get to know the guy and figure him out.  Approaching his table, I took an empty seat and said,

“I hope you don’t mind if I sit here.  There’s nowhere else to sit and there’s no way I’m going back out in that rain again.”

Without waiting for Rhett’s reply, I then sat down and took out my books and such to study.  I noticed the book that Rhett was reading and commented, “That’s for English class, right?  Mr. Mackham didn’t give us any reading assignments, did he?”

Rhett looked at me and replied, “No, but it doesn’t hurt to get ahead, beret.”

I replied, “Umm, beret?”

Rhett rolled his eyes at me and replied, “You’re wearing a beret.  Why else would I be calling you that?”

I scowled under my breath and ignored him.  Although it hadn’t even been two minutes, I was already getting annoyed by Rhett and decided to just focus on my homework instead.  Inside, I wondered how Alexia could tolerate him but remembering our conversations about Rhett, I knew that Alexia barely tolerated him and that was only because she was driven to succeed in theater and she wouldn’t let anyone or anything stop her.  Then I remembered our conversation on Saturday and wondered if Alexia was starting to like Rhett better.  I hadn’t thought about that possibility until I asked Alexia whether she’d be ok if Rhett liked her and she replied with how she’d like to be dating seriously and Rhett did seem like that kind of guy who would.  I must have been preoccupied with these thoughts for a while since I suddenly heard Rhett cough a bit and he said,

“You’re Alexia’s friend, aren’t you?”

I raised my right eyebrow and replied, “Yeah and we have English and art classes together.  So what?”

Rhett was quiet and he looked as though he were thinking his next words carefully.  He then replied, “Does Alexia like theater a lot?”

Surprised by his question, I nodded and replied, “Yeah, Alexia has this incredible passion for theater.  I’ve known her for years, and she loves being on the stage.  She wants to be a serious actress although really, she could do anything.  She’s quite smart, too.  She can keep up with her studies but umm, why are you asking me?  Shouldn’t you ask her these things?”

Rhett gave me a slight scowl and replied, “It’s not like I haven’t tried but it looks like she’s doing her best to avoid me.  She leaves drama club as soon as it’s over.”

I smirked and replied, “It’s obvious why she’s avoiding you, isn’t it?”  Realizing that I had let the comment unintentionally slip out, I quickly replied, “Uhh just ignore that.”

Rhett looked like he definitely wasn’t going to ignore what I said and replied, “I can’t ignore that.”  He then got suddenly quiet and almost in a whisper, he asked, “Does she hate me?”

I replied, “Umm, no, I don’t think so…”

I promised that I wouldn’t confront Rhett about his behavior towards Alexia although it was getting harder not to.  Rhett then looked at me and replied,

“So what is it then?”

I wondered what to do.  I had to figure out a way to reply to Rhett’s question without betraying Alexia’s confidence.  Figuring out the answer, I replied,

“Rhett, tell me something.  How do you feel about Alexia?”

Rhett looked surprised by my question and after a few thoughtful moments, he replied, “I admire her.  At first, I thought she was like all those other girls who joined the drama club for the wrong reasons but then I quickly realized she wasn’t like that.  I like how hard she works and I’m certain that she’d get the role of Juliet if she wanted it.  But don’t tell her that.  I’m not…supposed to pick favorites although I’m not saying Alexia’s my favorite.”

I smiled a little and replied, “I understand.  So I’m guessing that you like her enough to perhaps be friends with her?  And if that is the case, I’d suggest that you try to be more open and friendly to her.  If you keep your feelings secretive, she might get the wrong idea.  She likes to know where she stands with people, if you catch my drift.”

Rhett nodded slowly and replied, “Yes, that makes sense.”  Rhett packed up his things, preparing to leave the library.  Just as he was about to go, he briefly turned to me and said,

“Thanks for the advice.  You’re not half-bad, beret.”

I scowled but before I could reply, Rhett left the library, leaving me alone.  Although I did feel annoyed at the way Rhett addressed me, it was interesting to find out that Rhett seemed interested in Alexia.  I wondered if I should tell Alexia what happened but seeing that it was getting late, I decided to pack up as well and head towards the train station to head on home.  I decided to ponder over the decision later and would probably figure it out the next time I saw her.

_________________


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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:25 pm

Yays! First chapter in the new year. Very Happy And a wonderful one I might say. ^_^

I really liked this new chapter mainly because it was full of interesting new events. ^^ I loved how Alexia told Caitlin about her new updates and then how Caitlin and Rhett talked. I think Rhett's talk with Caitlin is my favorite part of the whole fanfic so far. Very Happy

Keep up the great work. I am looking forward to more. ^_^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:48 am

I have the next chapter ready so I'll post it now.  It's somewhat boring compared to the previous two chapters but I'll make more commentary at the end.  Enjoy.  XD

Chapter 11

Despite Shuppin’s offer to hang out on Saturdays after he was done with work, I decided to spend the weekend studying at home.  As there was only a month left before mock exams, I wanted to prepare as much as I could.  I had heard that anyone who did terribly on their mock exams would be forced to take remedial classes and I certainly didn’t want that to be my fate.  So I sent a text to Shuppin apologizing ahead of time that I’d be unable to see him because of mock exams and he replied that he understood and that he’d see me at work the next week.

After classes were over on Tuesday, I headed immediately to the bakery to begin my shift.  Of course, Shuppin was there and we got caught up over what happened to us over the weekend.  It was a pretty boring weekend for the both of us, as I had spend the weekend studying and Shuppin had spent it working at the bakery and helping out his dad at the music shop.

As work was winding down for the day, Shuppin turned to me and asked,

“You done for the day?”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah, just got to get this cleaned up, and I’m done.  There’s a lot less mess than usual, to be honest!  And I haven’t managed to stab anything in ages…”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Yeah, you’ve improved a lot, Caitlin.  Not that you weren’t decent before.  But…yeah, you’re loads better.”

I smiled bashfully and replied, “Umm…thanks, I think!”

Suddenly, Demi approached us and replied that he agreed with Shuppin except for one point.  I looked at Demi in confusion and he continued,

“Those clothes…zey are such a waste!”

I looked down at my clothes and replied, “My clothes?  Um, I’m sorry; I don’t really understand…this is just the uniform I was given, right?”

Demi looked at my trousers and commented about how they were such a waste on me, what with me being a “petite mademoiselle” and all.

I then was surprised when he continued, “Far better to wear, I don’t know…une petite skirt, with pleats, maybe…cut a little above the knee…maybe fix, six inches…”

Shuppin gave a look at Demi and replied, “You know, she could probably sue you for even suggesting that.”

Inside, I thought the same and was relieved when Shuppin had the same thought.

Demi winked at Shuppin and playfully replied on how Shuppin would enjoy such a scene which gave me an idea.

I looked at Shuppin and teasingly replied, “Would you really enjoy it, Shuppin?”

Shuppin looked surprised by my question and I continued, “Oh, you know, me in a little pleated number…thigh-socks…young, pink flanks on full display.”

Shuppin was so speechless by that point that I could help laughing a bit and added,

“Calm down.  I’m just kidding!  It’s not like I have the money to buy little pleated skirts anytime I wish.  There’s always my school skirt, though…”

Demi had watched the conversation between Shuppin and me, and he commented about being in heaven.  Shuppin then gave him this dirty look and replied, “I’ll gladly punch you.”

Quickly, I covered my mouth to muffle the laugh that was coming out.  Demi then turned to Shuppin and commented on how he shouldn’t pass up an opportunity when a girl flirts with him and then he turned to me and said,

“And shame on you, Caitlin, playing with ‘im like that!  Milani is but a fragile thing!”

I nodded and playfully replied, “Heh, I’ll have to be gentler in the future.”

Shuppin then commented that he had to leave and then he quickly left before the conversation could turn any more awkward.  However, I couldn’t really blame him.  I did make a mental note to myself regarding how Shuppin could be when it comes to flirting, thinking that this information might be useful in the future.




The next day, after classes were over, I decided to head on over to the Arndale to find the music shop that Shuppin’s dad owned.  I learned that Shuppin worked there on Wednesdays occasionally so I hoped that I’d be able to run into him there.  Once I arrived at the mall, I walked about until I found a small indie music shop, as I discovered that’s where Shuppin might be.  I entered the shop and looking around, I thought,

Wow…it’s no wonder I’d never seen this place before.  It’s pretty…underwhelming, to tell you the truth!  Though, hey, I’m hardly an expert-maybe all indie shops look like this…?

As I continued with my thoughts, I realized how empty the shop was and thought that perhaps Shuppin might not be working here today.  Sighing inwardly in disappointment, I was about to leave when I heard a male voice say,

“Hmm…let’s see…light, rosewood fretboard, narrow…humbucker pickups…perfect!”

Confused, I turned in the direction of the voice and found the owner of the voice.  From the way Shuppin had described his dad to me on our previous dates, I figured out that the voice belonged to him.  Shuppin’s dad then continued on about matching the perfect guitar for me.  He continued to go on and on and I figured that I needed to stop him soon, as I wasn’t looking to buy a guitar.  So finally, I said,

“U-uh, well, actually, I didn’t come here for-.”

Shuppin’s dad then continued to talk about guitars and thought I was one of those customers who had knowledge about them and knew exactly what I wanted.  As much as I didn’t want to, I had to interrupt him by saying,

“I-I don’t want a guitar!”

I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least I finally got the words out.  Shuppin’s dad looked at me all confused but before he could reply, as I had a feeling he would continue to talk about guitars and try to persuade me into buying one, I continued,

“Um, actually, I’m really not here to buy anything.  I was just wondering, uh…is Shuppin Marchelaure working here today?”

Shuppin’s dad sighed and replied, “Should’ve guessed, to be honest.  And here I thought he might actually be at school for once.”

Quickly realizing that Shuppin might get into trouble later because his dad thought that he’d be at school studying instead of elsewhere, I replied,

“Oops…I mean, uh, really?  Because to be fair, we get Wednesdays off…”

However, Shuppin didn’t look convinced and replied, “Mmhmm.  I’ve heard that one before.”

He then looked pleadingly at me and said, “You sure you don’t want to buy anything?  We’ve got chart singles on special offer.  Posters, buy one get one free?  Do us a favor and take one of those mandolins, would you…?”

I looked apologetically at Shuppin’s dad and replied that I was a lost cause, as I certainly wasn’t ready to tackle an instrument with strings and bows.

Shuppin’s dad sighed and replied, “Eh, well…can’t blame a guy for trying.  Try not to nick anything on your way out, ok?”

He then quickly left to take care of something and although I could have taken the opportunity to leave the shop, I thought that it might be a good idea to try to get on Shuppin’s dad’s good side and asked,

“W-wait!  Is that a violin I see over there?”

Shuppin’s dad immediately came back and apologized for misjudging me.  Then he started rambling on about the violin and I sighed inwardly.  Although I would have to deal with listening to him ramble on about instruments for a while, I figured that it would be worth it later.

So unfortunately, Alexia didn't appear in this chapter. Since I had two events already happen, this chapter would have gone way over if I had continued. But Alexia will definitely be in the next one. I'm thinking of an upcoming weekend where Caitlin and Alexia study for mock exams and so they can chat then. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:29 pm

Another nice chapter. ^^ I agree there wasn't much updates in this chapter but it was nice to read it and I am looking forward to the next ones to see how things unfold. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:25 am

I have the next chapter all ready so I'll post it here.  There are a couple of events that happen based on the game but there's something new as well.  And I'll make a little note at the end.  Enjoy.  ^^

Chapter 12

The next couple of days passed uneventfully and although I tried to find opportunities to talk to Shuppin about joining the music club, I was never able to chat with him for long before we had classes or something else to attend.  I would have talked to him about it on Saturday but Alexia had caught me on Friday afternoon to ask if I wanted to study at her house on the weekend for mock exams.  As I thought it was a good idea and a good opportunity to catch up with Alexia, I agreed.

So on Saturday, after I woke up, had breakfast and finished my morning routine, I took my backpack and headed over to Alexia’s.  Fortunately, her house wasn’t far so I arrived there after 10 minutes.  Alexia greeted me at the front door and then we went upstairs to her room to study.  We studied for a couple of hours, testing each other on various subjects and getting some massive studying done.  Then we had lunch down in the kitchen and as the two of us had the house all to ourselves, I took it as a prime opportunity to catch up on the latest news.

As Alexia and I were eating, I looked at her and casually asked, “So how have things with you been going this week?  I’ve hardly had time to talk to you since last weekend other than schoolwork, of course.”

Alexia smiled and replied, “Things are getting much better.”

I gave Alexia a look, prompting her to continue.  She then said,

“It’s weird but Rhett’s been opening up to me more.  He’s been helping me for the Juliet role and he’s been nicer to me.  I wonder what happened.  But he isn’t so bad now.”

I replied, “So you’re changing your mind about him?”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah, a bit.  I’m being cautious, though.  Maybe Rhett was just having a good week and felt like being nice or something.  I guess I’ll see how long that lasts.”

I laughed a bit and replied, “Yeah, you could be right about that.  And how are things on the Beck front?”

Alexia looked slightly saddened and replied, “The same.  We haven’t talked since the Halloween party.  I asked Lamb a bit about him and she said that he’s like that.  He’s not the kind of guy to go after a girl since a lot of girls go after him.  Some of them are downright aggressive.  I don’t know if I can be like that.”

I thought about Alexia’s situation for a few moments and then replied, “So if you want a relationship with Beck, you might have to ask him out on a date?”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah, I think that might be it but I don’t know if I can do that.  Maybe I should just forget about him.  He may not be worth pursuing and Rhett has been nicer to me and I could see him and me dating…maybe.”

Alexia looked at me as though she wanted my advice and taking the hint, I replied,

“I’m not sure how to help you on this one.  If you really like Beck, I think you might try to ask him out once or twice and see how it goes?  But maybe you should wait a little longer before doing so.  I mean, we do have mock exams coming soon after all.”

Alexia laughed and replied, “Yeah, that’s true.  Rhett mentioned about them, too, and he told me how the role of Juliet should go to someone who’s not only theatrically talented for it but someone who can keep up with her studies.  I guess he was giving me a big hint there but yeah, you’re right.  I shouldn’t even think about dating or guys until after mocks.”

I nodded and replied, “Yup and speaking of mocks, we should get back to studying.”

Alexia replied, “Yeah.  Let’s clean up here and then we can quiz each other some more.”

The two of us then finished up our lunch, washed the plates, utensils, and glasses, and then headed back upstairs to Alexia’s room to study for the rest of the afternoon.


On Wednesday the next week, I decided to head to the Arndale again after school.  I hoped to see Shuppin at his dad’s music shop this time and once I arrived, I was fortunate enough to find him right away.  Smiling at me, Shuppin said,

“So…you’re more into music than you let on, right?”

Shyly, I replied, “I, uh, guess you could say that…”

Shuppin gave me a slight smirk and replied, “It’s just that I heard ‘some girl in a beret’ was giving my dad a hard time the other week-he was really put out he couldn’t convince you to buy anything, you know.  Those mandolins really have been there forever.”

I thought to myself,

Why doesn’t Shuppin’s dad simply sell those mandolins back to the retailer?  He’d probably make more money that way.

Instead, I smiled and replied, “Heh, sorry about that.  Your dad was a little…enthusiastic.  He was pretty hard to refuse!  Not that I don’t like music or anything.  Because, y’know.  Can’t keep me away from an instrument too long.”

Looking surprised, Shuppin asked, “Oh?  You play an instrument?”

I nodded and replied at how it was really more a “work-in-progress” although I was doing my best to learn the piano as much as I could.  

Shuppin replied, “Well, that’s nice to know.  Business isn’t really so great here-the tracks are dirt cheap, but there’s hardly anyone ever buying ‘em.  That and Dad’s sales technique might need a bit of work.”

Again, I thought to myself,

His sales technique needs a major overhaul.  It doesn’t help when he’s talking the customers’ ears off.

Shuppin then asked, “What kind of stuff are you into, anyway?  We’ve got an entire library just gathering dust in the back, if there’s anything you’re after.”

Seeing my opportunity finally, I replied, “Well, I had an ulterior motive for coming down here.  You know I’m in the school’s music club, right?”

Surprised, Shuppin replied, “We have a music club?  When did that happen?”

I replied, “Well, that’s the thing y’see-we’re relatively new, and at the moment it’s just the two of us diligently working away…we were kinda wondering if an expert such as yourself wouldn’t be interested in joining us every once in a while?”

Shuppin hesitantly replied, “Eh...I wouldn’t really call myself an expert, but…”

I gave a cute look and replied, “Oh, come on-everyone knows you’re amazing!  Petime’s always going on about you; I think you’re like her muse or something!”

Confused, Shuppin asked, “Ah…who?”

Thinking it unusual that Shuppin didn’t know Petime as I thought it was pretty clear that Petime knew him, I replied, “Petime?  Petime Rastegar?  I don’t know if you two have spoken or anything but she thinks you’re the best.  And, uh, obviously I don’t think you’re half bad either…”

Shuppin gave a hesitant look and replied, “I don’t know…I’ll have to think about it.  It’s just that I’m pretty busy most of the time, what with work, and looking after this place…But I’m glad you think I’m ‘not half bad,’ anyway.”

I replied, “Well, you just think about that.  I’m gonna take a look at that library you mentioned.”

As I went ahead to take a look at the collection of music that Shuppin mentioned earlier, I thought that it would take more effort on my part to persuade Shuppin to join the music club.  I pondered over what I could do but then the answer hit me.  I told myself that I just needed to get closer to Shuppin and get to know him even better and perhaps then he’ll want to join.  It would take more work but the reward would be worth it, for sure.


The rest of the week went by smoothly and on Saturday, Alexia and I spent the day studying for mocks again.  We quizzed each other and Alexia took a break to show me her planned audition for the Juliet role.  I was impressed by her performance and was certain that she would land the role and remembering what Rhett had told me about Alexia’s chances, I felt pretty certain that Alexia would get it.

At the beginning of next week, the whole student body was reminded about mocks as Mr. Betchaku announced about the importance of mock exams and how if we didn’t do well, we would have to take remedial classes.  As Alexia and I had been studying hard for them, I was pretty sure we would do well, as neither of us wanted to take remedial classes, meaning that our Saturdays would be wasted.  Also, I felt that failing mocks would hurt my chances of entering a good university and I didn’t want that to happen.

The rest of the week went by and on Thursday, it was Sports Day at Northmain.  I remember that Merle mentioned about this day and I thought it would be a good idea to participate even though I wasn’t an athletic person.  I thought it would be a good idea to show my school spirit and all that.

After arriving on the school track, I realized how cold it was.  I wondered whose sadistic idea it was to have Sports Day on today of all days.  

Marius looked at me and commented, “There’s nothing quite like running laps in the sleet and hail.  Really wakes you up, y’know?  It’s invigorating, like.”

I gave Marius a doubtful look and chuckling, he added, “Don’t worry.  After a few events, you won’t even be able to feel the-”

I interrupted him by replying, “Hypothermia eating its way through my skin?  That’s comforting, thanks!”

Marius grinned and replied, “There’s that cheery optimism again-just what I like to see!”

Seeing that he had to get ready, Marius then said, “I’d better be off, anyway-best keep moving, wouldn’t want anything falling off.  I’ll be cheering for you, Caitlin!”

I smiled and replied, “Ah, thanks, same to you!”

Seeing that the event I planned to participate was about to begin, I approached the track to get ready and positioning myself, I hoped that I would do decently.

After the race was over, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in first place.  I guess all that time working out in the gym paid off.  However, I felt my poor lungs burning and had to take deep breaths to recover from all that running.  Suddenly, Shuppin approached me and asked,

“Caitlin!  Did, uh, you just come in first place?”

Nodding in surprise, I replied, “I guess so.  When did you get here, anyway?  I didn’t think you were even in school today…”

Shuppin blushed and replied, “Ah, well…I made it in for the important parts.”

I replied, “That’s what counts, I guess…”

Shuppin nodded and then replied, “Anyway, I’d best get going-I’ve only been here five minutes and I’ve already been roped into the relay.  But, ah, you were really amazing just now, Caitlin.”

I smiled and replied, “Uh, thanks!”

As Shuppin left to get ready for the relay, I grinned to myself, thinking how lucky I was to have bumped into Shuppin.  Also, hearing a compliment from him made me feel happy and made it well worth it to come to Sports Day.  As I had no other events to attend to after, I decided to stick around for a while and watch the other races and sports that the other students were participating.  Especially, I looked for the events that Shuppin participated in and cheered him on although I noticed that many of the girls as well were doing the same.  Even though I didn’t know how Shuppin felt about me exactly, at least I knew that we were getting to be even closer than before and perhaps we could eventually be something even more.

In case anyone's curious, Alexia won't be completely in the dark about what's happening between Caitlin and Shuppin. There will be a surprise in the next chapter about that. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:52 pm

Another great chapter. ^^ I loved the part where Alexia and Caitlin chatted the most since it's usually the part where the two friends confess to each other about their latest news and emotions and it's nice to see. ^^

Great job as usual. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:00 pm

I finished writing the next chapter so here it is. ^^

Chapter 13

On Saturday, Alexia and I studied again for mock exams but this time, we were at my house. Alexia arrived a little after my parents had left for the day. They wanted to get some shopping done and knowing that Alexia and I had exams, they decided to give us the house for the day.

After the two of us went into my room and took out our books and such, I wanted to study right away. However, before I could even open my English book, Alexia said,

“Ok, out with it.”

Confused, I looked at her and replied, “What are you talking about?”

Alexia replied, “Oh come on. Half the school’s whispering about it and I’m your best friend. I thought you would have told me right away.”

Still not understanding what Alexia was alluding to her, I replied, “I have no idea what’s going on and I didn’t know some of our classmates were even talking about whatever it is you’re talking about.”

Alexia sighed and replied, “Oh fine. If you won’t say anything, then I’ll come right out and say it. You and Shuppin. I can’t believe it!”

Not knowing how much Alexia knew, I carefully replied, “Umm, what do you mean exactly?”

Alexia grinned and replied, “The two of you are dating, aren’t you? Half the school’s been talking about it but Merle hasn’t found out yet, thank goodness. She’d definitely blab it to everyone and you’d have a lot of enemies.”

I blushed, feeling the heat rise to my cheeks. Knowing that there was no point in denying it any longer, I nodded and replied,

“Well, we have hung out together although I don’t know if you’d call them dates. We’ve just gotten to know each other better and I like hanging out with Shuppin. That’s all.”

Alexia gave me this pointed look and replied, “Those are dates, silly. But I can’t believe you didn’t tell me. I had to hear about it from a friend of a friend of a friend who was saying things like how they’d caught the two of you hanging out at the movies and the mall a couple of times. And then there was Sports Day, of course. Only someone completely blind wouldn’t have been able to tell that you two are an item.”

I replied, “Because Shuppin talked to me after I won that race? That’s kind of a huge leap, isn’t it? I mean-I like Shuppin and all but I don’t know if you’d call us a couple.”

Alexia replied, “If you two aren’t official yet, it’s only a matter of time. But I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”

She pouted at me and smiling, I replied, “I’m sorry. I would have told you but even now I’m not sure how things are between him and me and you had your own issues to deal with so I didn’t want to add my own to them.”

Alexia replied, “Yeah, I guess I can understand that but at least your love life isn’t nearly as complicated.”

I laughed quietly and nodding, I replied, “Yeah, I can’t argue with that. But umm, if Merle hasn’t found out yet, I hope she won’t find out soon since you know how she can’t keep a secret and I don’t want to embarrass Shuppin or anything.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Oh sure, no problem. I know who knows and they definitely don’t associate with Merle. They’re mostly Lamb’s friends and all so they can certainly keep quiet.”

I smiled a bit and replied, “That’s good.” I paused for a minute and then said, “So if there isn’t anything else, we really should get started on studying. We only have one more weekend before mocks and I want to do my best.”

Alexia replied, “Same here.”

The two of us then proceeded to study and although I was surprised to hear that Alexia had found out about Shuppin and me, I was relieved that I didn’t have to keep that piece of news a secret anymore. Also, as long as no one who tended to gossip found out, then things would be all right on that front.


On Tuesday afternoon, I arrived at the bakery, happy to be inside and away from the cold. I looked around and liked the festive atmosphere, as I remembered that Christmas was coming soon so it made sense that the bakery would be decorated to give off that cheer. Suddenly, I heard Shuppin call out to me,

“Caitlin! Hey, Caitlin!”

Curiously, I looked at Shuppin and replied, “Hey, Shuppin-you okay?”

He nodded and replied, “Yeah, I’m fine-uh, take over for me for a few minutes, would you?”

Surprised, I stuttered, “What? Me on the cash register?”

Shuppin gave me this pleading look and replied, “It’ll only be for a wee while, honestly-you’d be doing me a huge favor. Please, Caitlin?”

Unable to resist Shuppin’s pleading look, I replied, “Sure, I’m not really sure what to do, but I’ll give it a shot.”

Shuppin looked relieved and replied, “I really owe you one-thanks. I’ll be back in a few minutes, I swear.”

After Shuppin left, I went to take over the cash register and although it was my first time working behind it, I didn’t do too badly. However, it was definitely more than several minutes later and Shuppin hadn’t returned yet. I wondered what was keeping him. Demi approached me with a smile and commented,

“Holding down ze fort, are we, Caitlin? That is what I like to see! Such pride, such determination!”

I smiled and replied, “Thanks. Umm, have you seen Shuppin? He said he’d be back in a few minutes but…”

Demi replied that Shuppin was out back as he was taking out the trash earlier but then asked if the two of us were having a “lovers’ quarrel.”

Taken off guard, I replied, “No, that’s not it! I’d only gotten here when he skipped out on me…he did seem pretty flustered, though. I wonder if something’s happened…”

Demi replied that it was probably just the stress of working eight hours in the bakery and having to listen to “Jingle Bells” all the while.

Surprised, I replied, “Wait, Shuppin’s been here all day?”

Demi replied, “We ‘ave been severely understaffed as of late, what with ze girls I employed so callously returning ‘ome for ze holidays! Lucky zat there were no classes today, non?”

Although I knew that certainly wasn’t the case, I nodded and replied, “Yeah, that sure is a lucky coincidence.”

Demi then replied that I could go see Shuppin as there weren’t as many customers as before so he could handle the cash register for a while. I nodded and then went outside to the back of the bakery to find Shuppin.

Outside, I found Shuppin right away and called out, “Finally, there you are!”

Shuppin looked like he’d just woken up and sleepily replied, “Hey, Caitlin. I’m really sorry. I know I said I’d be back and all…”

I shook my head and replied, “Nah, it’s all right. I did well, considering. But are you okay?”

I looked at him with worry and he replied, “Huh? I’m fine, just had some family stuff to sort out.”

I replied, “Oh…is everything okay?”

He looked off to the side and replied, “Yeah, it’s nothing major. Everyone’s just looking out for me as always.”

I saw how Shuppin looked and replied, “You don’t seem too happy about it.”

He tried to change the subject by replying, “Aren’t you cold, sitting out here in just that?”

Teasingly, I replied, “You trying to get rid of me?”

Shuppin laughed a little and then we talked about how it might snow in Northmain and we were both looking forward to that possibility. Then I asked him what his plans were for Christmas, as I thought that perhaps the two of us could find some time to hang out on Christmas Day. Shuppin looked off to the side and replied,

“That was what I was trying to sort out. Dad’s pushing me to go and stay with Dys’ family over the holidays, but…”

Confused, I replied, “Dys’ family? But aren’t you twins?”

He then looked away and replied, “That is weird, isn’t it? Before I came to Northmain, I didn’t even know I had a sister, let alone a twin…it’s the kind of thing that only happens to other people, you know?”

I nodded and replied, “I can’t even imagine. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find out?”

Shuppin replied that he didn’t know exactly himself but that Dys’ family had contacted Shuppin’s dad a few years back.

I replied, “I see. And your dad…?”

He replied, “No, we’re not related. By blood, anyway.”

Realizing that I might have pried too much into Shuppin’s personal life, I replied, “Hey, I’m sorry. You probably don’t want to talk about this sort of thing after the day you’ve had.”

He looked at me and smiling a bit, he replied, “Ah, no…to be honest, the more I talk about it, the more ridiculous it seems that I’m sitting out here moping about it. It’s only a week or so, I guess…and it’d get Dys off my case, so I might as well…”

Thinking that it would be a good idea to give him encouragement, I nodded and replied, “Yeah, and who knows? You might even enjoy it?”

Shuppin replied, “I guess. Thanks, Caitlin.” He gave me this warm smile that made my heart skip a few beats.

Realizing that the two of us had been out here for a while, I replied, “Anytime. I don’t know about you, but I think my fingers are going to drop off if I stay out here any longer-I don’t think it’s safe to let Demi loose in the shop for much longer either, to be honest. You coming?”

Shuppin replied, “I probably should-once I can feel my legs again, anyway.”

As I helped Shuppin to his feet and the two of us headed back inside, I thought about how Christmas can end up being a big deal for some people. Knowing Shuppin’s personal situation made me wish that I could do more to help him but at any rate, I hoped that Christmas would be all right for him and if I could, I’d find a way to see him on Christmas Day to make it a little brighter just for him.

Whew, I'm happy that the story is finally moving on to the winter months. And I'm going to try to see if I get on Dys' path a bit so we find out a little more about the deal between her and Shuppin but if not, oh well. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:25 pm

This was a nice chapter and yup, it's good to see the story moving on to the winter months. ^^ I can't wait to see how Dys' path turns out. Good job and keep it up. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:20 am

Whew, I have the next chapter all ready to go. To give you a heads up, this is more than twice the usual length for a chapter so it's pretty long, to say the least. XD

Chapter 14

The rest of the week flew by quickly and on Saturday, Alexia and I met up again to study for mocks. I arrived at her house that morning and after we had set up our books and study materials, I turned to Alexia and asked,

“Hey, how did your audition go? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to cheer you on but I’m sure you did well.”

Alexia smiled and replied, “I think it went well, actually.”

She then described how her audition went and how she was paired up with a nerdy guy named Felix to do a scene. After she was done, I replied,

“Wow, that was really nice of Rhett to give you support.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “I’m surprised that he stepped in but I could see that he really believed in me and wanted me to do my best and you know I’m not one to disappoint.”

I grinned and replied, “Yup, that’s true. So when do you find out if you got a part?”

Alexia replied, “Rhett sent us all a mass email about that so we won’t find out until we return from vacation. I hope I’ll end up getting Juliet. I watched Lamb’s audition and she was really good, too.”

I replied, “I’m sure you nailed it. And anyway, at least you won’t need to think about it anymore until you get the results. In the meantime, we do need to study for these mocks. This is our final weekend and all.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “That’s true. Ok, let’s get cracking on this.”

Alexia and I then spent the rest of Saturday studying for mocks, wanting to do our best. We both looked forward to getting them done since winter vacation would start afterwards.


The next week flew by quickly with mock exams for all of the students. I was even excused from work so that I could concentrate solely on them and do my best. I was relieved once they were over and I spent that weekend relaxing. Although I wanted to spend the weekend with Alexia and go to the mall or movie theater, Alexia apologized, saying that she had something important to do with Lamb but would tell me about it the next chance she got.

On Monday, it was the start of winter vacation and I was excited to have some free time and not worry about classes or such. I remembered that back in Michigan, winter vacation wouldn’t begin until it was almost Christmas but apparently, winter vacation for students here started earlier. So to celebrate, I decided to go out that day to do some Christmas shopping, as I always made it a tradition every year to shop for presents for family and friends.

As I was walking about outside finally having finished my shopping, I thought to myself,

I don’t remember Christmas shopping ever being so hard-I can’t believe I had to come all the way out here to find anything decent!

Absorbed in my thoughts, I heard the faint voices of a choir singing Christmas songs and curious, I decided to head towards the singing, figuring that it wouldn’t hurt to take a look while I was out. Once I was close enough, I listened to the singing, thinking about how beautiful the choir was. Then as I looked at the choir members, one of them looked somewhat familiar to me. Surprised, I recognized that member and thought,

Oh my god, it’s Shuppin! What’s he doing in a choir way out here?

Then I smiled to myself as I listened to his singing voice, noting how beautiful it was and how at peace he seemed. I had never heard Shuppin sing before and it felt like such a gift to hear him sing. Thinking that I should give the choir a little money for its beautiful singing, I opened my purse and took out some loose change, putting it in a medium-sized red metal pot for donations. Once the choir was done singing, I clapped happily along with the other people who had stopped to watch the performance and shouted,

“Bravo, bravo! Encore!”

Shuppin turned toward me and with a look of surprise in his eyes, he replied, “Caitlin? What are you doing here?”

I smiled and replied, “Enjoying the festivities, of course! You never told me you were in a choir, Shuppin!”

Nervously, Shuppin replied, “Uh, well…I mean, I’m not, really. I’m just, y’know, helping out for today.”

He continued to ramble for a bit and after he was done, I replied,

“Oh yeah, I understand. You guys did sound really amazing, though. Maybe you should think about singing more often? I know I’d watch!”

Shuppin was surprised again and replied, “Really? I guess I kind of liked it. The, uh, carols, I mean. You only really get to do this kind of thing once a year, right? I used to go caroling loads as a kid, but I haven’t done it in years…and I kind of figured no one would be around to see me way out here.”

Taking the hint, I blushed a bit replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to invade your privacy or anything like that.”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Heh, don’t worry about it. I mean, if it’s you, I guess I don’t mind so much…”

I blushed, looking down shyly at my feet. Shuppin then quickly continued,

“You can’t go around telling anyone about this, though, Caitlin! I mean, this is just a one-time thing!”

Nodding, I replied, “Of course. My lips are sealed. Promise!”

Shuppin then looked like he had remembered something and said, “I never did give you your Christmas present. I mean, I don’t know if it’s any good now, but I was thinking maybe I’d see you at the bakery or something and give it to you there…”

I replied, “Ah, sorry! But you really didn’t need to get me anything…”

Shuppin shook his head and replied, “I wouldn’t worry about it, it’s only this wee thing-it should still be edible, hopefully.”

Taking the gift from Shuppin, I unwrapped it and my eyes lit up with delight. I commented,

“Oh, it’s a little Christmas pudding! It’s so cute-thanks so much!”

Shuppin looked happy that I liked the present and replied, “Heh, no problem. I’d eat it quickly before it goes off, though.”

Then I remembered something as well and opening one of my shopping bags, I took out a beautifully knitted green scarf and handing it to Shuppin, I said,

“I got you something, too. I wish I had wrapped it up but figured I’d see you at the bakery as well and give it to you then. But since we’re here now, I might as well give it you.”

Shuppin took the scarf from me and for a few moments, our hands touched. He looked happily into my eyes and said,

“Thanks, Caitlin. I like it and mostly because it’s from you.”

I blushed upon hearing the compliment and Shuppin did, too, as I observed. We both stood there in awkward silence for a minute and then I said,

“Hey, since I’m here, why don’t I sing with you? Will the other choir members mind? It’s been a while since I sang in a choir but my singing voice is still good, I think.”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Sure, they’d be happy to have one more join them.”

Shuppin and I then headed towards the other choir members and after briefly introducing myself, I looked at what songs the choir planned to sing in its program and did my best to sing along with the group, keeping in tune with the others. It was a wonderful way to spend the rest of the day and it felt nice to share in this Christmas activity with Shuppin.


Just before Christmas Eve, I was in my room enjoying the peace and quiet when my phone suddenly rang. Picking it up, I gave out my usual greeting and was surprised when I heard Dys’ voice on the other line, saying,

“Hello? Uh, Caitlin? It’s Dys. Uh, hope you don’t mind me ringing you out of the blue like this…”

I replied, “Ah, no, it’s great to hear from you! Are you okay? You sound kind of down…”

Dys quickly replied, “Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Actually, I wanted to ask you…I mean, I know it’s quite close to Christmas, so if you’re busy with your family, y’know, that’s fine, but I was wondering if you wanted to come to my house for a sleepover tonight? I mean, it’s kind of short notice…Oh but Alexia will be here and Merle, too, of course. So it should be pretty fun, I guess?”

As I didn’t have any plans, I replied, “Thanks for the invite! Uh, where exactly do you live, anyway?”

Dys replied, “Ah, don’t worry-I’ll come and pick you up at the station, if that’s okay? I live pretty far out. But, ah, thanks, Caitlin! See you then, I guess!”

After the two of us hung up, I took out my overnight bag and as I was packing all of the things I would need for a sleepover, I wondered why Dys decided to have a sleepover at the last minute but thought that it would be fun, nevertheless. Once I was done, I left the house but let Mom and Dad know where I’d be first and that they could call me if there was any emergency of the sort.

I got off at the station that Dys had texted me with the info and after she picked me up, she led the way to her house. She was pretty quiet the whole time so we didn’t get a chance to chat much but I figured that there was something up. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it might have something to do with Shuppin although I should have made that conclusion pretty quickly, remembering that Shuppin had sent me an email that he was over at Dys’ house.

Once we arrived at her house, Dys led the way to her room and I looked around in wonder and fascination, noting how huge her house was. I commented,

“Wow…I can’t believe how amazing your house is, Dys! I mean, I thought Lamb’s at Halloween was pretty big, but this place goes on forever!”

Dys replied, “Ah, well…it’s nothing special, really. We’re just lucky it’s been in the family for a long time, I guess…”

Merle then looked over at us and replied about how we were interrupting her soap watching and Alexia shook her head and replied,

“Really, Merle, it’s not such a big deal and you’ve already watched that episode. And besides, Caitlin’s right. Dys’ house is amazing.”

Dys gave Merle a pointed look and replied, “You know, I didn’t actually invite you here so you could hog my TV and clear out the fridge-you could do with being a little more sociable!”

Merle waved her off and replied, “Yeah, yeah-I know you only want us here because Shuppin’s around. I’m a little hurt, to tell you the truth. So, y’know, I figured I’d watch some soaps to drown out my sorrows a bit, sue me!”

Listening to Merle, my suspicions were confirmed that Dys did invite us because of Shuppin. I added,

“Oh, yeah-Shuppin did mention something about coming here for Christmas, come to think of it…”

Merle looked at me and replied, “Bet he didn’t seem too thrilled about it, right? Not that he isn’t a right moany git at the best of times. Dys’ family has been trying to get him to come and visit for months, but I guess his dad finally put his foot down, I dunno. Oh, uh, you know about the whole adoption deal, right?”

Alexia looked confused and shook her head but I nodded, remembering what Shuppin had told me that day at the bakery. I replied, “Yeah, Shuppin explained the whole thing…”

Alexia then said, “I have no idea about that. Can someone explain it to me?”

Dys sighed and replied, “I’ll do it. Best it comes from me so there’s no confusion.” She then went on to explain to Alexia how she and Shuppin were twins but were separated and adopted by different families. It was the same explanation that Shuppin had given me, for the most part. Dys then looked at me and asked,

“Did he really seem upset about having to come here…?”

Unsure of exactly how to reply to that question, I replied, “Maybe a little? We didn’t really talk much…”

Dys nodded and replied, “Ah, it’s okay-I mean, I can see where he’s coming from, not wanting to spend Christmas with people he doesn’t know all that well, and me…I guess his dad thought it’d be for the best, but I don’t know.”

Merle looked over at Dys and replied, “Cheer up, you! You’d almost think you hadn’t been trying to spend time with the guy all year-this is the perfect opportunity, really! Why you went and invited us over so you wouldn’t have to talk to him I’ll never know…”

As I listened, I thought it was somewhat unusual that Dys and Shuppin didn’t spend much time together despite that they’d had almost a year to do so while I had only spent a few months with Shuppin and probably knew him better. I glanced at Alexia and I could tell by the look on her face that she thought the relationship was unusual, too, but like me, she didn’t comment on it.

Dys sighed and replied, “It wasn’t quite like that…I do actually enjoy having you guys here, you know!”

Merle’s eyes then lit up and said, “It’s time we moved on to happier things! I’ve brought, like, my entire DVD collection, and I’ve seen enough snacks packed away in Dys’ cupboards to last at least a couple of marathons, so I’m pretty sure we’re good to go! Trust me, with us around, you won’t even notice Moany McEmoHair prowling the corridors.”

Dys looked like she was trying to suppress a laugh and replied, “’McEmoHair’? Really?”

Merle replied, “It’s better if you imagine it in his voice. Oh aye, Moany McEmoHair of the McEmoHair clan, och aye the noo!

Alexia giggled at Merle’s impression of Shuppin while I gave Merle a weird look. Dys slowly replied, “Right…”

The four of us then settled down to watch a movie from Merle’s DVD collection and to munch on some of the snacks from Dys’ cupboards.

During one of the movies, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and looked around the hallways, thinking that I’d be able to find a bathroom nearby. However, it proved to be harder than I thought to find a bathroom although there were plenty of bedrooms. As I looked in one of the rooms and quickly realized it wasn’t a bathroom, I thought about leaving right away when suddenly, I heard voices. Curiously, I leaned in to hear them, trying to figure out what they were saying. I heard an unfamiliar female voice saying,

“And I’m so sorry this room is so plain, Shuppin-I really wanted it to be Christmassy for you, I had a little tree and everything! But then, I thought, oh, maybe it’s a little too small, it might be a little insulting, you know? But just say the word, and I’ll bring it up!”

Shuppin replied, “It’s a really nice room, thanks. It’s a lot bigger than my bedroom at home, too.”

The female voice replied, “Really? You know, I prefer smaller rooms, myself! Less room for clutter, right? And I’m always losing things…I bet your house is lovely! It’s a shame your dad couldn’t make it this year-perhaps we could all have one big gathering next year, you think? If you’re not sick of us by Boxing Day, anyway!”

Shuppin replied, “Ah yeah, I guess. I mean, if I’m here.”

The female replied, “Oh, yes, you’ll be going to university this time, won’t you? Oh, how exciting! And to study music, too?”

Shuppin replied, “Uh, yeah, if they’ll let me.”

The female replied, “Oh, I’m sure they will! You’ll have to play us all something, if you wouldn’t mind, of course, it’s just that my brother is a guitarist, too, you see, and I think he keeps them in quite good condition, you know…? Anyway, I wish my Dys knew what she wanted to do like you do-deadlines are coming up soon, aren’t they? It’s all very worrying, isn’t it? Well, I suppose not for you, I’m very excited for you, if you don’t mind me saying!”

Shuppin hesitantly replied, “Uh, sure?”

The female replied, “Oh, you look so like her sometimes, you know? Very much so. Ah, sorry! Here I am, rambling on again-I suppose I should let you unpack! Though you didn’t bring very much, if you need anything at all, I’ll be just down the corridor, and-Oh! Who is this…?”

Realizing that my presence was known, I coughed a bit and replied, “Sorry! I didn’t mean to eavesdrop…”

The female smiled at me and replied, “Oh, you must be…Caitlin, is it? I know Merle already and I met Alexia earlier-it’s very nice to meet you!”

I smiled and replied, “Likewise!”

The female then replied, “I’m Dys’-well, I guess I’m her aunt, really! And you know Shuppin, too, I suppose? I’ll let you two talk, god knows you teenagers don’t want a busybody aunt-well, older person, I guess? Well, you won’t want me milling around, anyway! Just give me a shout if you need anything!”

I nodded and replied, “Uh, okay!”

After Dys’ aunt left, I wasn’t sure of what to say. Fortunately, Shuppin spoke up and said,

“Heh, she leaves you kind of speechless, huh.”

I smiled and replied, “Heh, yeah. I’m really sorry for barging in like this, Shuppin. I didn’t know you were staying in here…”

Shuppin replied, “Ah, it’s no problem-what are you doing here, anyway?”

I replied, “Dys invited me, Alexia, and Merle for a sleepover-she didn’t tell you? It was kind of short notice, though, I guess-she only called me this morning. And then I was looking for the bathroom, but this house has like fifty rooms and I don’t even think I remember the way back to where Dys is…”

Shuppin nodded and smiling a little, he replied, “To be honest, I’m…kind of relieved, I guess? I don’t really know any of Dys’ family, and I think Merle hates me or something, so, uh…I guess I’m glad you’re here. Uh, not that you have to talk to me, or anything-I mean, Dys is the one who invited you, and all.”

I blushed and shaking my head, I replied, “Nah, I’m glad you’re here, too, Shuppin! Uh, it’s a nice surprise, anyway.”

Shuppin and I then chatted on for a bit and he explained that he was here at his dad’s insistence but that he felt a little out of place and weirded out surrounded by people who were related to him by blood when he didn’t really know them. I nodded and replied,

“I can only imagine what that must feel like. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about your feelings, you know. No one can control how they feel.”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “Yeah. Well, I should get back to Oceane and help with the Christmas tree decorating or else I’m sure I’ll get bothered about it. But thanks for listening to me, Caitlin…Maybe I’ll see you later, hopefully?”

I smiled and replied, “Sure, I’ll be around.” Then I waved goodbye to Shuppin and resumed my search for a bathroom and fortunately, I found one nearby. Once I was done, I returned to Dys and the others to resume the movie marathon.

A few hours later, I had woken up after my fruitless attempts at falling asleep. I had eaten a few too many potato chips and my stomach wasn’t getting settled so I figured that I might as well get up. As I looked around the room, I noticed that Dys was awake as well so I assumed that she had trouble sleeping, too. I approached her and keeping my voice low so as to not wake up Merle or Alexia, I said,

“Hey, Dys, you still awake?”

Dys looked a little sheepish and replied, “Yeah, Merle keeps kicking me in her sleep. It was kind of endearing for the first few minutes, but I’m this close to making her sleep on the floor…You couldn’t sleep, either?”

I replied, “Yeah, I’m kind of stuffed. Don’t they say you’ll have nightmares if you eat before bed?”

Dys replied, “Aww, don’t worry, I’ll be here if you need me. Do you want me to leave the light on?”

I laughed a little and replied, “I guess I deserved that.”

Dys smiled and replied, “I’m kind of glad you’re awake, Caitlin, though I guess it’s a little selfish…it feels like a real sleepover when you’re up all night talking.”

Dys then sighed sadly and it made me wonder what was going through Dys’ head. She then looked at me with a slightly more serious look and asked,

“You, ah, you and Shuppin…you’d say you’re pretty close, right?”

I was taken off guard by Dys’ question but quickly recovering, I nodded and replied, “I guess so?”

Dys replied, “Well, I mean, you seem to have good chemistry together. He doesn’t really open up to people, and he’s always avoided most of the girls at school, but…I don’t know, he seems a little different around you? Or don’t you think so?”

I blushed and looking down at my hands, I replied, “I haven’ really thought about it much. We get on well, I think. He’s a really nice guy, anyway…”

Dys looked thoughtful for a few moments and then asked, “This is probably going to sound really weird, but…do you think you could see him as your boyfriend?”

I blushed deeper, not knowing how to reply. I was taken off guard that Dys had caught on to the relationship between Shuppin and me, knowing that Alexia would have never said anything about it. Then there was the question of whether I could see Shuppin as my boyfriend and I hadn’t even considered that possibility yet.

Dys noticed how quiet I was and she continued, “I know he’s a nice guy…and I know it isn’t really my place to say, I’m not even his real sister, but I think you’d be really good together. I mean, uh, I really think you should go for it. Uh, and, well, I don’t know if this is true, but I heard from Merle who heard from Marius that Shuppin said he really likes you. I think maybe he’s just too shy to do anything about it, but maybe if you were the one to ask him…”

A lot of thoughts raced through my head as Dys talked to me and the first thought that came out was,

“He really said that?”

Dys replied, “Well, uh, it’s all really hearsay. But whether he did or he didn’t, I think you two just…go really well together, you know? Promise me you’ll think about it, anyway.”

I replied, “Uh, sure…I guess?”

Dys then closed her eyes and replied, “I should probably be getting some sleep, anyway. Uh, speak to you in the morning, Caitlin.”

As Dys went off to get some sleep, I stayed up a little more, thinking over all that Dys said. It seemed as though Dys was certain that Shuppin and I would be great as a couple but I noticed the sadness in her eyes. I knew that her relationship with Shuppin was complicated but this relationship rivaled even those in soap operas. As I went off to try to get some sleep myself, I thought about seeing how I could figure out those two and to try to help them have a better relationship if I could. After all, I cared very much for Shuppin and I considered Dys to be a good friend in the short time we’ve gotten to know each other so I hoped that they would somehow be able to reconcile whatever problems they had between them.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:20 am

Yays for the new chapter. ^^ I agree this one was a lot longer than usual but I loved it more because of it his. =D

I loved the romantic moment between Caitlin and Shuppin when she caught him in the choir and all. ^^ And after her talk with Dys, I am interested to see how things will go from here. =D

Keep up the good work. ;D

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:34 am

Thanks for all the support as I've posted a new chapter.  I haven't said that before but wanted to so I don't forget.  ^^  I have the next chapter ready and since I have holidays this week, I'm going to try to write more chapters this week although it might be a little difficult during the latter half of the week since that's when the holidays actually occur and we have relatives coming over and all.  XD

Anyway, enjoy and I'll comment at the end.  ^^

Chapter 15

Although I had only gotten a few hours of sleep, I was able to wake up early the next morning.  I still felt traces of sleepiness in my eyes but figured that I could take a nap once I got home.  Soon after, everyone else had woken up, too, and was getting ready for the day.  I took a quick shower and got dressed.  Once Alexia was ready as well, I pulled her aside as Dys and Merle were in the bathrooms getting ready.  I quietly asked,

“Hey, Alexia, did you know that Merle found out about me and Shuppin?”

Alexia looked confused and shaking her head, she replied, “No way but I swear I didn’t say anything.”

Immediately, I nodded and replied, “Don’t worry-I’m not blaming you or anything.  It’s just that Dys and I were chatting a little last night and she found out from Merle.  But Dys did say that Merle found out from Marius and he’d found out from Shuppin.  I’m worried that Merle’s going to start spreading news about me and Shuppin and I want to avoid that.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah, I understand.  Listen, I’ll talk to Merle about it soon, okay?  I doubt she can tell many people about the two of you right now, what with it being winter vacation and many of our classmates out of town to enjoy the holidays.  But I’ll make sure to talk to her before school resumes.  I know you don’t like people gossiping about you.”

I smiled a little and replied, “Thanks.  How about we go get some breakfast?”

Alexia nodded and the two of us went down to the dining room to get some food.  As breakfast was a serve yourself type of buffet, Alexia and I each grabbed a plate and utensils and got around to choosing what foods we wanted.  Dys and Merle joined us soon after although I didn’t seen Shuppin anywhere.  Dys noticed my looks and commented,

“Oh you’re probably wondering where Shuppin is.  I heard that he’s sleeping in this morning so you probably won’t see him before you leave.”

I nodded, a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to talk to him before I planned to get home.  However, I figured that I could call him later if we wanted to get together over the holidays and such.  

After breakfast, Alexia, Merle, and I quickly packed up our things and then Merle left first, as she told us that she had some last minute Christmas shopping to finish.  I got a ride from Alexia’s dad, as he had planned to pick up Alexia and wouldn’t mind taking me as well.  So I thanked Dys and her family for their hospitality and then Alexia and I left a little after.


On Christmas Day, I spent it with my family, opening our presents and enjoying each other’s company.  As it was snowing quite a bit outside, I thought it better to stay inside and enjoy watching the snow outside while sipping on hot chocolate and surfing the Internet.  I called Shuppin and we talked for a little although we couldn’t chat for long, as Shuppin explained that he was trying to avoid spending too much time with Dys’ relatives.  It did sound like perhaps they were making him feel a little nuts.

As the day came to a close, I thought about how the year was almost gone and how so many things had happened.  Although I was clearly too old to ask Santa Claus for a present, I thought about what I’d want if I did.  Immediately, I knew that I wanted an even better relationship with Shuppin and as that thought was in my head, I heard what sounded like jingling bells and saw a brief flash of white light, wondering what had happened.  But then I thought that it was probably my imagination playing tricks on me and it was a sign that I should head on off to bed.


Although it was winter break, I still had to drop by the bakery the next week to do my shift and I figured that I might as well, seeing that my parents had decided to stay in Northmain for the holidays.  So on Tuesday, I arrived to begin my shift and saw that Shuppin was already hard at work as usual.  We didn’t get to chat much, though, as there were many customers.

Even though there was still one hour left on my shift, I felt practically dead on my feet.  Shuppin approached me and seeing my demeanor, he smiled and said,

“Heh, you take a break, Caitlin-you look like you could use a coffee or something…”

I gave an embarrassed smile and replied, “Ah, was it that obvious?  I think I can manage another hour, honest!”

Suddenly, Demi approached us and asked us to lock up the bakery when we were done for the day, as he had some business to attend.  Shuppin and I nodded and after Demi left, Shuppin commented,

“I like how he makes it sound work-related-he’s probably off chasing some skirt or other.  Must be great being your own boss, huh…”

I laughed a bit and so Shuppin and I finally had a chance to chat for a bit before we finished serving the last customers and locked up for the day.  It was interesting to learn more about Shuppin and although I knew about him and Dys being adopted and such, many others didn’t know the details and so assumed that the two of them lived together and had the same last name.  


The following week, classes resumed so I arrived at Northmain early along with lots of other students.  They chatted happily away about their vacations and how they had spent them and such.  I found Alexia as well although we didn’t get to chat much.  However, she promised that we could meet up on the weekend, as she wanted to catch up with me as well.

On Wednesday afternoon, I headed to the music room for music club as usual but once I was almost to the door, I heard Petime’s voice saying,

“What does it look like, exactly?”

Then I heard Shuppin’s voice as he replied, “I don’t know.  They come in different designs-I guess it’s usually like a wee black box, with buttons?  I mean, it’s okay if you don’t have one, don’t put yourself out…”

I decided to go ahead and enter the room then when Petime replied, “Is this what you’re looking for?”

Shuppin looked happy and replied, “Hey, yeah!  You’re a lifesaver-you don’t know if you’ve got any capos or anything as well, do you?”

I turned to Shuppin and asked, “Hey, Shuppin, you joining the club after all?”

Shuppin looked surprised by my question and replied, “Hey, Caitlin.  Actually, I’m kind of here just to pick up some things-you don’t mind, do you?  It was only really this guitar tuner I was after, but you’ve got loads of stuff in here…”

I replied, “I don’t mind at all but I’d have thought you’d already have most of this stuff since you work in a music shop and all.”

Shuppin replied, “I’ve got a few bits and pieces at home, but it’s a hassle having to bring it all into school every day…I just figured I’d start trying to get some practice in where I can, y’know?  But, ah, I should probably let you girls get on with it…”

Seeing that this was my opportunity to persuade Shuppin to join the club, I replied, “Well, y’know, if you were a member of this club, you could just practice here.  We’ve got this big, warm, soundproof room, music stands, microphones…”

Shuppin looked a little hesitant and replied, “I don’t know…I mean, I’d have to be in here quite a lot, I think you’d probably get sick of me.”

I looked a little cutely at Shuppin and replied, “I’m sure we could handle it.”

Petime blushed a bit and added, “A-and we have a duty, to, ah, assist anyone interested in music…”

I nodded and replied, “You’d be doing us a favor, really!”

Petime replied, “Even if you were only to stay a little while…”

I finished Petime’s sentence by saying, “Our doors are always open!”

Shuppin replied, “O-okay?”

I looked surprised and replied, “Really?”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “If it’ll make you stop shouting at me.”

I clapped and replied, “Thanks, Shuppin!  You won’t regret it and with three members we can officially call ourselves a club.”

Shuppin replied, “I have to admit, I assumed you two were just squatting in here because you didn’t want to join a sports club.”

I pouted and replied, “Not likely!  Petime and I are really dedicated although I don’t know if I’ve made all that much progress since the beginning of the year…but still, we’ve got loads of time left.  I’m sure we can all help each other out, right?”

Shuppin replied, “Not sure how much help I’ll be, but sure, if you say so…”

Petime blushed, clearly happy that Shuppin agreed to join the club.  I was happy as well although I felt my stomach drop a little as I noticed the way that Petime looked at Shuppin.  I knew that Shuppin liked me but did I feel jealous because it looked as though Petime liked him, too?  Also, I had to admit to myself that Petime was prettier than me and any guy would end up choosing her over me, or at least that’s what my mind told me.

I think this is the usual chapter length I have but I decided to cut the chapter here since the next scene I have will be Caitlin and Alexia chatting and Alexia will have some news for Caitlin.  XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:15 am

Love the new chapter and it's great to see Shuppin finally join the music club. I can't wait to see how this helps strengthen his bond with Caitlin. Keep up the great work. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:06 am

Yup, I'm releasing these chapters pretty quickly but since I have the time this week, I figured why not? XD Anyway, no Shuppin this time but the story is more focused on Alexia because a certain someone enters the picture. ^^

Chapter 16

Once the weekend arrived, I was happy, as it meant that I would be able to catch up with Alexia on everything that had been going on. So on Saturday, I woke up and did my usual routine and so forth. Then I received a text message from Alexia asking to meet at the mall so I grabbed my purse and headed to the train station to take the next train headed to the Arndale.

Once I arrived at the entrance of the Arndale, Alexia was there to greet me and we decided to walk in the mall and do some window shopping. Alexia turned to me and said,

“How did you enjoy winter break, Caitlin?”

I replied, “It was fine. Shuppin and I went on a couple of dates and this time, he called me out. Usually, I’d have to end up calling him but I guess he’s coming out of his shell a bit.”

Alexia smiled and replied, “That’s great. You know, you two will make a wonderful couple so don’t let any jealous girls stand in your way.”

I laughed quietly and replied, “Ok, I’ll do my best. Now on to you…How did you enjoy your break?”

Alexia replied, “Dad and I went traveling through the English countryside. It’s quite pretty and it’s so different from Northmain, but we couldn’t stay long since I had my part time job to get back to.”

I looked confused, as I hadn’t remembered about Alexia mentioning a part-time job. She noticed my expression and added, “Oh I forgot to tell you but I got a part time job at Boutique Tide.”

I was surprised and replied, “Wow, that’s amazing but how? I heard that it’s so hard to get a job at any of the high end clothing shops here.”

Alexia replied, “Well, Lamb knew that I wanted a part time job and at first, she tried to find me one at La Dauphine since she works there but there were no available openings so when she heard that there was an opening at Boutique Tide, she told Beck that I’d be great for the job so Beck called me and I had an interview with the assistant manager there and well, the rest is history.”

I grinned and replied, “Oh that’s wonderful. Does Beck work there, too, or something?”

Alexia replied, “Sort of. He’s a part-time model there.”

I nodded and replied, “I see. How is it working with him?”

Alexia blushed a little and replied, “It’s interesting, to say the least. He has girls falling at his feet but I decided not to be one of those girls. I mean-don’t get me wrong. I like him and all but I’m not going to be one of those giggling silly girls and so I won’t make it easy for him to like me.”

I laughed a bit and replied, “I’m not surprised to hear that.”

Alexia then said, “Oh and there’s one more thing. You’ve probably heard already but I got the Juliet part.”

I nodded and replied, “Yup, I did. Congrats! It looks like Rhett saw that you would be great at the role.”

Alexia replied, “That could be. Lamb was happy for me and offered to help me rehearse whenever I wanted although the other girls gave me dirty looks. No surprise there.”

I replied, “Yeah, that’s to be expected from the girls but Lamb seems to be really nice. It looks like you two are good friends.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah, she’s really sweet. I don’t get why Merle and Dys can’t stand her but I suppose we’ll never know the whole story.”

I nodded, agreeing with Alexia on that point. The two of us continued our window shopping, had lunch, and then parted ways late in the afternoon, as Alexia had to meet Lamb regarding the play and I had a date with Shuppin, as he had talked to me yesterday, wondering if I wanted to meet him at the movie theater and catch a new movie that just came out.


The next week, I found out that Mr. Betchaku was going on sabbatical and wondered to myself who would take over the art classes, as Mr. Betchaku was the one in charge of them. However, I didn’t have long to wait when on Tuesday, I entered art class and looked to see a man who was clearly not Mr. Betchaku, or at least not the one I was familiar with. I took my usual seat but noticed that Alexia hadn’t arrived and Merle was nowhere to be seen. I sighed to myself and guessed that the two of them were chatting away and had completely lost track of time.

After the bell rang to signal the start of class, the man stood up and said,

“I’m Beck Betchaku but you can call me Beck.”

Beck looked around the room and then said, “Ok, there’s too much junk lying around so let’s move all of these things to the supply closet there.”

As Beck gave out orders, I stared at him and could tell why Alexia was immediately attracted to him. He wasn’t my type but he was quite handsome and had this somewhat confident air about him. In a way, I thought he wasn’t too different from Rhett although Beck clearly came off as being friendlier. As I hadn’t gotten up from my chair to move things around, Beck approached me and with a slight smirk, he said,

“Find me attractive, cutie?”

I raised an eyebrow and getting up, I cautiously said, “No, that’s not what I was thinking. I thought I recognized your name from somewhere. You know Alexia, right?”

Beck looked slightly surprised when I mentioned Alexia but quickly recovering, he replied, “Yeah and you must be Caitlin. Alexia’s mentioned you. You’re cute, too, but I can’t have too many girls wanting me.”

I rolled my eyes and replied, “Whatever. I’m not interested in you like that, just for the record. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and now that it has been, I’ll help move some stuff around.”

Then I went on to help move some art supplies to the supply closet and as I was close to Rhett, I could hear him mutter things like about how pointless this activity was and so forth. A few minutes later, Alexia and Merle showed up and glancing to the side, I could see that they and Beck were having some sort of conversation although I couldn’t make out the words. However, I made a mental note to talk to Alexia the next chance I got.


I was finally able to catch up to Alexia on Saturday. We decided to meet at the arcade and although it was usually pretty crowded, it was also noisy so hopefully, Alexia and I could chat without others nearby overhearing our conversation.

We arrived at the arcade about the same time and after briefly saying hi to Marius, Alexia and I walked around and found a racing game for two people. Once we sat in the seats, I turned to Alexia and said,

“Ok, now out with it. Did you have any idea that Beck was going to be subbing for Mr. Betchaku? Although I understand now your attraction to him.”

Alexia shook her head and replied, “I had no clue. I didn’t know that Beck was qualified to teach a class but I guess his dad pulled some strings or something. I heard that Beck is quite good at art and I’ve been to the tattoo parlor where he works and he’s shown me some of his designs.”

I replied, “Wait, Beck works at a tattoo place?”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Ah yeah, you obviously can see that he’s very different from Lamb. And well, I decided to take your advice and called Beck out on a date. He’s pretty busy on Saturdays but he has no problem with me dropping by his work place. It doesn’t get too crowded so we get time to chat.”

I replied, “I see. And how is your relationship with Beck going?”

Alexia replied, “It’s hard to tell. I think he’s interested in me but whenever there’s a pretty girl that walks into the tattoo parlor and flirts with him, he flirts right back at him. You know I’m not possessive or anything but I can’t help feeling a little jealous, you know?”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I get that.”

Alexia sighed and I then asked, “Hey, is this bothering you that much?”

Alexia shook her head and replied, “No, it’s not that although it is troublesome. I haven’t told anyone this yet and I know you won’t tell but Rhett asked me out on a date for next weekend.”

I was surprised and replied, “Wow, I hadn’t expected that.”

Alexia replied, “Yeah, me, neither. I should have said no but Rhett isn’t so bad and I’m not really thinking of it as a romantic date but rather two friends getting to know each other?”

I raised an eyebrow and skeptically replied, “I suppose you could think of the situation like that but you should be careful. It almost seems like you’re interested in both Beck and Rhett and the situation could get very messy.”

Alexia sighed and replied, “Yeah, I know. It’d be easy if I knew that Beck was clearly interested in me but I have no idea and I don’t want to be just another one of his girls. And Rhett is more stable and that would make for a better relationship, right?”

I replied, “Yeah, I think so but despite how much thinking you can do, the heart is like the strongest muscle so perhaps romance should win? I’m sorry-I know I’m not much help here.”

Alexia shook her head and replied, “Nah, it’s all right. I’ll figure it out somehow. As long as I can confide in you, then that’ll be enough for me.”

I smiled at Alexia and then seeing as how we weren't actually playing a game, I suggested it would be a good idea to play a few of the games here so it would look like we were paying customers rather than loiterers. So we spent a good part of the day playing the different arcade games, occasionally chatting with Marius when he was on his break as well.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:07 am

Yays for the new chapter. =D

It's nice to finally see Beck enter the picture. =D I wonder if he'll make more entrances later in the story and I can't see how his relationship with Alexia unfolds in the same time as Rhett's does. ^^

Can't wait for more. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:40 pm

Woot, I have the next chapter all done so might as well post it here. Hopefully, I'll be able to go faster with the game now that there are fewer events at this time. Enjoy. XD

Chapter 17

The next week, it looked as though it would be a very uneventful work. Classes resumed as usual and students were busy milling about in the school hallways and so forth. Alexia was quite busy nowadays with rehearsing for the play and I guess she had her love life issues to deal with, too. It made me grateful that my relationship with Shuppin seemed tame by comparison.

However, later that week, as I was studying in the common room, I thought it would be a good idea to practice playing the piano, seeing that I had two free periods. Since most of the other students were in classes, I assumed that no one would be in the music room at that time. So after quickly packing my things in my bag, I left the common room and walked down the hallway towards the music room. As I approached the door, it was quiet so I believed that my assumption was correct, forgetting, though, that the walls of the music room were soundproof.

Slowly, I opened the door to the music room and when I heard voices, I panicked and hoped that I wouldn’t get caught. Quickly, I closed the door and hid behind some boxes and hoped that whoever was in the room wouldn’t notice my presence and would eventually leave. As I crouched on the floor, I recognized the voices. The music teacher, Miss Chahan, was talking to Shuppin and she said,

“Let’s try that once more from the top, Shuppin? And watch your posture this time, hmm…?”

Shuppin sighed and replied, “Ah, yeah, Miss.”

Shuppin then picked up a violin and a bow and began to play a short piece. I never knew he played the violin and it sounded beautiful from where I was. However, it didn’t appear that Shuppin was happy and I wondered if he wasn’t satisfied with his performance although I thought it was lovely.

Once the piece was finished, Miss Chahan said, “Watch your fingering, Shuppin! And crane your arm a little towards me-that’s better!”

After Miss Chahan told Shuppin that he put in enough practice, he looked sad and said, “Sorry…I think I’m just tired.”

Miss Chahan shook her head and appearing cheerful, she replied, “I’d say that was actually rather impressive, Shuppin-a little rough around the edges, but I don’t think your musical ability is something you should be overly worried about at this point.”

Shuppin looked surprised and Miss Chahan then explained how Shuppin would need more practice before May, which made me wonder what she meant by that. Was Shuppin on some sort of deadline?

Shuppin nodded and replied, “Well, I do really want to-it’s just that, y’know, with schoolwork, and the work I do at the shop and everything…it’s kind of hard to fit it all in, y’know…?”

Miss Chahan looked thoughtful and then asked, “And how’s the maths coming along?”

Shuppin looked hesitant but then replied, “It’s…kind of a work in progress?”

Miss Chahan sighed and replied, “I know it can be easy to get disheartened after failing so many times, but it really is important that you get that, Shuppin. They may be a music school, but you’re not going to get into Glasgow-without GCSE Maths, at least. They are a university, after all. I hear Mr. Trafford is running drop-in sessions after school-why don’t you give them a shot? You’ve got nothing to lose, really.”

Shuppin sighed and replied, “Yeah, I guess I’ll try…”

Miss Chahan then looked as though she suddenly had a wonderful idea and said, “Oh I know. Why not have one of the students tutor you? Miss MacKenzie is quite a smart young lady and she’s very good at maths.”

Shuppin replied, “You mean Caitlin?”

Miss Chahan nodded and replied, “Yes, I see that you know her. She’s an excellent student and really good at maths. That’s why she’s taking the advanced maths class.”

Shuppin seemed to like the idea and replied, “Well, if she wouldn’t mind but I don’t want to bother her…”

Miss Chahan shook her head and replied, “Nonsense. I’ll talk to Miss MacKenzie right away. I’m sure she’d agree to help.”

As Miss Chahan and Shuppin finished talking and then they left the room, I was finally alone with my thoughts. I was flattered that Miss Chahan recognized me and I liked the idea of tutoring Shuppin, especially if it would help him get into his choice of music school and make him happy in the process. Then realizing that my free time would pass by quickly if I spent too much time thinking about all that I heard, I got up from my place and approached the piano, getting some practice in before my next class.


Work at the bakery the next week proceeded like any other. Shuppin and I were busy with the customers and things seemed to be running smoothly. We’d gotten together after I overheard him and Miss Chahan talking, as Miss Chahan did approach me about tutoring Shuppin and I agreed to help. So at least part of my Saturdays were now spent tutoring Shuppin although I’d have to wait until he was done with work.

Speaking of work, it was as busy as ever at the bakery. Seeing that there were so many customers today, I turned to Shuppin and asked, “Working hard, Shuppin? I wonder why it’s so busy today…?”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “Heh, I guess Operation Waitress worked out pretty well after all-there are far more men in here now, creepy as that is.”

He then sighed and I looked at him curiously and asked, “What is it?”

Shuppin replied, “Well, these guys eat a whole lot more than the old customers used to-guys can’t ogle on an empty stomach like schoolgirls can, I guess. We’re actually kinda running out of some things…”

I nodded and replied, “Oh is there anything I can do? I mean, I could go and get some…though I don’t really know where…”

Shuppin looked relieved and replied, “Really? That’d be a great help, Caitlin. Actually, when our stock gets low, we pretty much just buy the cheapest stuff we can from the supermarket down the road…so it’s best not to go in uniform.”

He then told me what we needed and although the list was longer than I thought, I made a mental note of it and told Shuppin that I’d do my best. So I went into the changing room to get out of my uniform and back into my usual clothes and then hurried down to the supermarket to get the ingredients that Shuppin wanted. Once I got the items and paid for them, I hurried back to the bakery where Shuppin was waiting.

Feeling a little out of breath, I gave a smile and said,

“It’s all there, right?”

Shuppin looked pleasantly surprised and replied, “Yeah, that’s everything-thanks a lot, Caitlin, you really saved us! I’m sorry I had to ask you to do that…”

I shook my head and replied, “Nah, anytime! That’s what I’m here for, after all!”

Feeling relieved that I had done my part, I resumed my duties and a little later, the last few customers left for the day so Shuppin and I took care of cleaning up and then we left for the day. On our way back to our respective homes, the two of us chatted a bit and it felt like it was getting easier for us now to talk. Then we had to say goodbye as Shuppin got off at his stop but I had to wait a few more stops to get to mine.


It was beginning of February and I thought to myself how quickly the previous month had flown by. It would only be a couple more months, really, before the school year would be over and then we would all be attending universities scattered throughout Great Britain although I was still considering going back to the US for university.

Anyway, I was in art class and was doing my best to focus on this one artist, Cezanne, as we had to study an artist to do a critical study. It was a little boring studying and glancing at Beck, I could see that he looked bored, too. I went back to my book and didn’t bother to look back up until I could hear Beck’s voice but then I heard Rhett’s and Alexia’s as well. Curiously, I put down the book and looked to see what was going on. It seemed that Beck and Rhett were having some disagreement and they wanted Alexia to be the deciding factor. I sighed, thinking to myself how ridiculous guys could be. Deciding to help Alexia, I got up from my seat and with my book in my hands, I approached the party and said,

“Ok, what’s going on?”

Beck smiled at me and said, “Great, you can decide for us, Caitlin. So you think that tattoos can be a piece of art, right?”

Rhett scoffed and retorted, “Beret knows better than that.” He looked to me and said, “I’m sure Alexia agrees with me; she just doesn’t want to offend our teacher here.” Rhett then went on to make the argument on how tattoos weren’t a traditional piece of artwork and so forth.

I sighed to myself and could see how annoying this could be for Alexia. At the same time, I could see in her eyes that she really didn’t want to have to decide between them. Fortunately, I had the perfect reply. First, I turned to Rhett and replied,

“You do make a good point. Tattoos aren’t considered a traditional piece of artwork and we are supposed to study an artist in history as part of our coursework.”

Then I turned to Beck and added, “But there’s no reason to ever discount tattoos as art. They may not be accepted mainstream now but they very well could be someday. Trends always change and it’s best to go with the flow, right?”

I then waited to see how the two guys would react and Beck replied, “Caitlin’s a smart girl all right.”

Fortunately, it looked like Beck accepted my argument and Rhett added, “Make sense.” Then, noticing the book in my hands, Rhett said, “If you’re done with that book, beret, I’ll have it now.”

Nodding, I handed the book over and as I went back to my seat, I glanced at Alexia and she looked grateful. I smiled back at her and we knew each other well enough that Alexia would repay the favor when I needed it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:51 am

I love how fast the chapters are coming out. Razz

Although most of the events in this chapter were mostly from the game, I still loved it and especially the last part where Caitlin helped Alexia out. ^^ I am curious to see how Alexia would repay this favor. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:59 am

lol Thanks. I don't have any proofreading work to do and I finished up all of my prep work way in advance so I've got loads of free time. I'm aiming to get one chapter released a day although I might not be able to on Friday since that's the actual holiday and we have relatives coming over then. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:28 am

Yup, I have another chapter all ready to go. lol I'm pretty happy with the way this one turned out. ^^

As I said, I'm not sure if I'll have another chapter out tomorrow since that's when relatives are coming over and it'll be pretty busy here but I should have another chapter next week, if not sooner. Anyway, enjoy. XD

Chapter 18

At the beginning of next week, I was in art class as usual and all of us were working hard on our critical studies. I noticed that Beck was nowhere to be seen, though, after the bell rang to signal the start of classes. Briefly, I wondered where he was but then quickly shrugged it off, figuring that he’d show up eventually or at least we’d have a free period, if nothing else. As I studied, I heard the door open and Beck entered the room, followed by an unfamiliar tanned blond beauty. Quickly, I glanced at Alexia and could see that her hands were clenched in fists although her facial expression remained neutral. I knew she was upset at seeing Beck with another woman-that much was clear.

As the blond looked around, she said, “Wow, Beck…when you said you wanted me to meet your kids, I figured they’d be much younger! Some of these guys look older than me!”

I raised an eyebrow as she muttered that we were Beck’s “kids” and I looked over at Alexia, who was getting angrier at being referred as such. Then I heard Beck reply,

“Heh, you really thought I’d have a bunch of little kids designing your tattoo? I mean, we could always pop down to Lower School if you want, but I figured you were after something a little…classier.”

Then I heard the blond reply that she had no problem and that she’d ruin that “redhead,” clearing referring to Rhett. I couldn’t help but laugh quietly over the remark and I could see that Rhett kept his scowl on. Beck looked a bit put off by the remark as well and replied,

“Hey, hey! I don’t want you doing anything that’ll get me fired, remember? Why don’t you go over there and sharpen some pencils for me or something, huh?”

After the blond left to bother Rhett, I watched as Beck approached Alexia and although I could tell that she was trying to keep calm and neutral, she was annoyed by what Beck told her. As class was almost over, Beck told the blond, whom I found out was Mercedes, to wait in the car and then the bell rang shortly after to signal the end of class. As I was curious afterwards to find out what had happened, I approached Alexia as she was packing up her things to leave the classroom. I leaned in and asked,

“What happened?”

Alexia shook her head and replied, “Not here. Bathroom, ok?”

I nodded and followed Alexia as we left the art room and headed towards the girls’ bathroom. We quickly looked around to make sure that there wasn’t anyone else and seeing that the coast was clear, I gave Alexia a look and Alexia said,

“Beck brought one of his ‘friends’ so that he could have me design a tattoo for her. Can you believe it? I mean, he just brings one of those floozies into class like that, not giving one regard for my feelings.”

I gave Alexia a sympathetic pat on her right shoulder and replied, “Yeah, I’m sorry. Beck’s a flirt so I guess he would be oblivious to feelings and such.”

Alexia nodded and replied, “Yeah. But I didn’t want to argue so I made that tattoo and Beck was pretty impressed but then that Mercedes was being so condescending. I swear, if I see Beck surrounded by a beautiful lady one more time and he doesn’t care how I feel, that’s it. There are better guys out there who would treat me better.”

I replied, “By ‘better guys,’ you clearly mean Rhett, right?”

Alexia nodded and smiling a little, she replied, “Yeah. Remember that date I went on with him? He was an absolute gentleman and although we bickered at times, it was more in fun, like as in two snarky people engaging in conversation. And we have quite a few things in common. He likes the same kind of movies I do, we read the same kinds of books…You get the picture.”

I nodded and replied, “So you’re going to dump Beck?”

Alexia replied, “I’m giving him one more chance but if he screws it up, that’s it. I’ll move on with Rhett and that’ll be the end of the matter. And I don’t want this whole matter to be messing with my head. I have other things to worry about.”

I replied, “I understand. I hope things will turn out ok in the end.” I gave Alexia a quick hug and after a few minutes, we left the bathroom and headed to the common room since we both had a free period and figured that we might as well spend it on catching up with our studies.


At the end of the week, I remembered that it was Shuppin’s birthday so I decided to drop by the Arndale to buy him a little something. Once I arrived at the mall, I knew I didn’t have much time before classes would start so I looked around quickly to see what Shuppin would like. I knew that he liked music a lot so I wanted to buy him a gift that would be related to his interests. I finally decided on some retro band patches, hoping that Shuppin would like it. Once my shopping was done, I hurried to the train station and took the train to get to school.

After I entered the school building, I looked in the hallways for Shuppin and fortunately, I found him pretty quickly. I called out to him,

“Hey, Shuppin, do you have a minute?”

Shuppin had this look of sadness in his eyes and he replied, “Hey, Caitlin…did you want something?”

I wondered why he was sad today of all days but thinking that I could cheer him up, I replied,

“I just wanted to give you this. Happy Birthday!”

I handed Shuppin the small shopping bag that had the band patches and as Shuppin took out the gift, his face lit up and he said,

“Heh, these really take me back! I used to iron them on practically everything I owned as a kid-nobody told you about my mosher phase, did they?”

I shook my head and replied, “Nope, not as far as I know. I just thought they were due to come back in style. They say trends are cyclical, after all.”

Shuppin replied, “Well, I don’t think I’m enough of a trendsetter to actually wear them out in public again, but thanks a lot, Caitlin-these are really ace.”

I smiled and replied, “No problem.”

I was then going to leave, seeing that classes would start soon, but Shuppin quickly grabbed my right arm and said,

“Hey, Caitlin, I was going to ask you later but…”

He looked a little shy and I wondered what he wanted to ask me but I waited for him to continue. He took a breath and asked,

“Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day so would you like to go on a date with me to the park? You can meet me at the bakery and after I’m done with work, we can head on there.”

I blushed and nodding, I replied, “Sure, I’d love that, Shuppin. Thanks.”

Shuppin smiled and replied, “See you tomorrow then, Caitlin.” He then hurried off down the hallway towards his class and I did the same, as I kept my excitement contained as best I could.


The next day, I got myself ready for my date with Shuppin. As it was Valentine’s Day, I especially wanted to look my best for him. I spent most of the day at home, checking out which outfit would be the most appropriate for the weather. It had snowed the day before and the snow still stuck to the ground. Also, it was pretty cold so I took out a coat as well. I washed up, put on just a little makeup, got dressed and brushed my hair. Once I looked presentable, I left the house and hurried to the train station, taking the train to downtown.

Once I arrived at downtown, I approached the bakery and saw that Shuppin was closing up for the day so it looked like I arrived just in time. Shuppin smiled as he noticed my presence and said,

“Wow, you look beautiful, Caitlin. Ready to head to the park?”

I nodded and followed Shuppin as the two of us headed to the park for our date. Once we arrived at the park, I noticed that there were a lot of people despite how late it was. I said,

“We’d best decide what to do before everywhere fills up!”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “You can decide.”

I looked teasingly at Shuppin and replied, “You sure? No complaining if it’s something you don’t like!”

Shuppin nodded and replied that it wasn’t a problem so I thought over what we could do and then said,

“I know! Let’s go ice skating on the lake. It’s probably frozen over by now, and I’m pretty sure they’re renting ice skates down there…”

Shuppin looked surprised and replied, “What, now? It’s kind of cold, isn’t it?”

I replied, “Umm, that’s the point, isn’t it? Besides, the lake’s really pretty at this time of year-I think they string up lights around it at night, too!”

Shuppin looked hesitant and replied, “Yeah, I guess so. The truth is…I’m just a terrible skater.”

I shrugged and replied, “I’m hardly anything special myself-I’m sure it’ll be fun either way, right?”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “Heh, I guess so. Why not?”

So we rented a couple of ice skates and then took a few turns on the ice. I could only do a few basic moves as well as some spins and jumps as I went on the ice. Shuppin looked impressed as I finished and said,

“You were ridiculously good out there, Caitlin! Who taught you to pirouette like that?”

I blushed a bit and replied, “Well…I picked it up a bit. Did you really think it was okay?”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “I swear, I’ve never seen anything like that. Uh, are you sure you want to stop now? I think I could learn a thing or two from you.”

I smiled and replied, “Well, I guess a few more goes couldn’t hurt…”

So Shuppin and I continued to skate on the ice for a while even as others got off the ice to leave the park. As it was getting dark, Shuppin and I realized how late it was and how we both should get back home before our parents got too worried. So we returned the skates and Shuppin insisted on taking me home despite that I could easily find the way back on my own. As we got close to my house, I said,

“You really didn’t have to walk me all the way home, you know. Do you even live around here?”

Shuppin replied, “Eh, not really…but it was a nice walk, I guess.” He paused for a moment and then taking out a small beautiful wrapped gift, he handed it to me and said,

“Anyway, uh…this is for you. Sorry it’s not much, but…”

Realizing what this was, I replied, “Is this for Valentine’s Day? You really didn’t have to get me anything!”

Shuppin replied, “Heh, it’s no problem. I made it last night, and I was kind of half-asleep, so yeah…sorry if it’s kind of rough. And, I mean, I hope you can play it, I know a lot of people don’t have that sort of thing anymore, y’know? But I’m sure we can sort something out….Heh, sorry, I’ll let you open it inside. I had a lot of fun today, Caitlin.”

I smiled and replied, “Me, too, and thanks for the gift.”

After Shuppin left, I entered my house and observed that my parents were still out so I immediately went upstairs, curious to see what Shuppin had given me. I eagerly unwrapped the gift and opening the box, I saw that it was a homemade card and a mixtape. I noticed that the mixtape was a CD and fortunately, I had a CD player in my room so I immediately put the CD in and listened to the music, enjoying the rest of the evening like so.

In case you're wondering about how Alexia spent Valentine's Day, it should come up in the next chapter along with Alexia repaying Caitlin for her help earlier. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:30 am

I love this chapter as well and I liked seeing Alexia jealous. XD And the date between Caitlin and Shuppin was great to see as well. =D

Can't wait for more. ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:53 am

Yup, I have another chapter ready. lol I should regularly post new chapters until about the middle of this month since I should be busier with work-related stuff then. XD

And to give a heads up, this chapter is based on an event that happens in the game but I changed some things around and added a couple of scenes because I wanted to portray Caitlin as having a strong, rather than meek, personality. Please let me know if you like it. Thanks. ^^

Chapter 19

At the beginning of next week, I was quite happy as I recalled my date with Shuppin on Valentine’s Day. Classes went smoothly and there didn’t seem to be any problems weighing on my mind. However, on Tuesday, classes were over and I was about to head towards the bakery when Merle-with Dys next to her-called out to me,

“Hey, Caitlin, you have a minute?”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah but make it quick, ok?”

Merle replied, “Ok. You know about the Leavers’ Ball?”

I replied, “Yeah. What about it?”

Merle replied, “Next Tuesday, it’s Open Day and all the Upper Sixth students are putting on fundraisers for it. The cheapness of this bloody school never fails to astound me!”

Dys replied, “I don’t know, I think it makes it even more special somehow-knowing it’s all been done through money we’ve raised. Plus, the events are usually pretty fun…do you know what your class is doing?”

Merle replied, “It’s Pancake Day, so some bright spark decided we should make pancakes here at school-I can tell it’s not going to end well. Also, I can’t cook to save my life, so I nominated Caitlin to be on pancake duty.”

Shocked that Merle had the audacity to volunteer me without asking me first, I looked at her a little angrily and replied, “Hey! I don’t know anything about cooking, either!”

Merle didn’t seem fazed by my outburst and replied, “There’s nothing to it, you’ll be fine! I’ll be too busy waitressing to help you out, but I’m sure you can handle it, right?”

Dys looked apologetically at me and added, “I’m sorry, Caitlin-I’d help you, but I’m sure they’ll have me showing parents around like I had to last year…I’m sure you’ll do fine, though, hardly anyone ever turns up for these things anyway. Uh, I think…”

I looked straight at Merle and keeping as calm as possible, I replied, “No, I’m not doing it.”

As though Merle didn’t hear my reply, she immediately replied, “Now that it’s settled-wait, what?”

I looked at her and replied, “I said no. You had no right to volunteer me without asking me first.”

Merle looked at me and replied, “But, Caitlin, it’s not a big deal. It’s just cooking-.”

I replied angrily, “And I told you that I can’t cook! Maybe you should have found that out first before volunteering me for something I don’t want to do. And before you give me the guilt trip speech about how I’ll be letting our class down by not helping, it’s not my fault that you tried to force me to do something against my will.”

I glanced around and although some students had left for the day, there were others who had witnessed this conversation and were surprised that I had replied to Merle as I did. Taking a deep breath, I then continued,

“Don’t even talk me out of my decision. Now I really have to get going.”

Before another word could be spoken, I ran out of the school and hurried towards the bakery, feeling a little guilty over the way I addressed Merle although I mostly felt anger towards her. Anyone who knew me well would have known better than to volunteer me for something against my will.

I continued my way towards the bakery and once I arrived for work, I felt out of breath as I stood in the doorway. As Shuppin was already there although Demi was nowhere to be seen, Shuppin stared at me and asked,

“What happened, Caitlin? You look like you just came from a marathon or something.”

I looked at Shuppin, wondering whether I should tell him what happened between Merle and me. I knew that Shuppin didn’t like Merle and so I thought that he might understand how I felt. I replied,

“I’ll tell you but let me get changed first.”

I went into the back to change quickly into my uniform and after I was done, I met Shuppin back at the front once more. I asked,

“Hey, where’s Demi? Shouldn’t he be here? I feel bad for getting here late.”

Shuppin replied, “Heh, Demi said he had some ‘business’ to attend to, so you can leave it to your imagination.”

I smiled a bit and replied, “Yeah, I get the picture.” Shuppin looked at me expectantly and then I told him about how Merle had stopped me earlier and tried to force me into cooking next week and I ended with how angry I was and such. After I was done, Shuppin looked at me with amazement in his eyes and said,

“Good for you, Caitlin. You stood up to her. I wish I could have seen that.”

I looked confused and replied, “But Merle will be mad at me now, won’t she? Although my anger is completely justified and everything.”

Shuppin shrugged and replied, “Yeah, but she won’t be mad long. She’ll get over it and you’re right-she shouldn’t have forced you into anything. I wouldn’t have.”

I smiled gratefully at Shuppin, glad that he understood. He then said, “I bet you’ll have some fans now.”

I replied, “What?”

Shuppin explained, “It’s rare when someone stands up to Merle like you did. More of our classmates want to but she has this way of getting them to do what she wants. It’s a reason I don’t like her.”

I nodded and replied, “Yeah, I can see that. I do feel a little bad that our class won’t have someone to cook now but it would have been worse with me. Cooking pancakes is much harder than the work we do here.”

Shuppin replied, “Yeah, I agree. I wouldn’t worry about it anymore, ok? Things have a way of working out, right?”

I replied, “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll just hope for the best for now.”

Feeling a little better than before, I was able to get to work, serving the customers and keeping myself occupied with work for the rest of the afternoon.


Later in the evening, I was in my room studying when my cell phone rang. I picked it up and seeing that it was Alexia, I said,

“Hello, Alexia? It’s unusual of you to call me during the week like this.”

Alexia replied, “Yeah, I know, but I heard about what happened between you and Merle today. Are you ok?”

I replied, “Yeah, I’m fine. Is Merle mad at me?”

Alexia replied, “More like annoyed. I’d avoid her for the next couple of days, just to be on the safe side. But I wanted to tell you that after you left, I found Merle and Dys and talked to them to see what happened. Then I explained to them how you really hate it when people volunteer you to do things against your will and all that and I think I finally got through to Merle. She shouldn’t do that to you ever again. And to help things, I went ahead and volunteered to take your place.”

Feeling surprised, I replied, “Really? But are you even allowed to do that? You’re not in the same form class as me and Merle.”

Alexia replied, “I know but I think the teachers can make an exception this one time. And in the worst case, I can explain what happened although I’m sure your homeroom teacher will get on Merle’s case, seeing how she’s to blame for the mess. I’m not doing anything else since the drama club doesn’t need any more volunteers so I figured why not? And this way, I can pay you back for helping me out that time in art class.”

I replied, “Oh you mean intervening in that argument between Beck and Rhett?”

I heard Alexia give a slight huff before replying, “Yeah, that.”

Thinking that a change of topic might be in order, I replied, “I see. Thanks…Hey, Alexia, you can stop me if I’m being too nosy but I wonder how your Valentine’s Day went. I haven’t asked you.”

Alexia replied, “Well, it started off badly but in the end, it turned out better. Since I can’t stay on long, I’ll give you the short version of it. I called Beck on Saturday to see if he wanted to hang out and he agreed so I met him at the tattoo place as usual. I even dressed up especially for him but then I saw that place crowded with girls and Beck was giving them all his attention. He didn’t even notice that I was there. Feeling fed up, I stormed out of there and as I thought about heading straight home, Rhett called me. He wanted to meet at the movie theater and he even bought tickets in advance and everything. Since I needed some cheering up, I thought I might as well and so met him there and we watched this indie movie and held hands-it was great. Then he walked me home and even gave me a gift. He looked a little embarrassed to give it to me but he thanked me for going out with him and told me that he had fun.

So yeah, you can see how my Saturday was and it goes without saying that I dumped Beck. I’m not going to wait around for him to notice me and only me.”

I replied, “Yeah, I get the picture. Have you told Beck that the two of you are through?”

Alexia scoffed and replied, “There’s no need. He’ll get the picture sooner or later and now that he’s out of my life, I can focus on making my relationship with Rhett work. He’s a much better choice anyway.”

Inside, I wondered whether Alexia decided to be with Rhett because she loved him or if he was only a substitute for Beck since it looked like Alexia wouldn’t be able to have him. I didn’t think it was a good idea for Alexia to move on to another relationship immediately after breaking up a previous one and although I would have usually spoken my mind, I didn’t think it was a good idea to do so after Alexia had helped me out regarding Open Day. Instead, I replied,

“Well, I hope everything works out and you know that you can talk to me whenever.”

Alexia replied, “Thanks, Caitlin. Sorry for the rant but I guess I needed to tell someone and I certainly couldn’t tell Merle or Dys for obvious reasons.”

I replied, “Yeah, I get that. Hmm, I think we should get off now. I still have some studying to finish up for classes tomorrow.”

Alexia replied, “Same here. Ok, see you later, Caitlin. Bye!”

The two of us then hung up and I resumed studying although my thoughts would stray occasionally to Alexia’s situation. I was relieved that she had helped me out so I wasn’t too concerned about it anymore but I was worried about how this whole love triangle with Alexia, Beck, and Rhett would turn out. There wasn’t anyone I could confide in about it, either, so that left me to sort my thoughts alone.

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:41 pm

Ahh I can definitely see the change in events but hey, I like this a lot better. And I truly loved seeing Caitlin stand up to Merle at last. XD I was never too fond of Merle. XD

And it was also sweet to see Alex repay the favor by taking her place. ^^

Can't wait to see how this turn of events affects the story. Keep up the good work. =D

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:01 pm

I agree with your opinion on Merle.  She was my least favorite character out of everyone.  She reminds me of those mean girls back in high school-the ones who think they can always have their way-so I wanted to portray Caitlin as someone who wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior.  XD  Also, with that particular scene, I found it a little annoying how the PC doesn't have the option to refuse even though I can see why the developer didn't make that option available.  It's annoying when some VNs do that.  lol

In the next chapter, although there is usually the pancake scene, I'll end up replacing it with something else.  ^^

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PostSubject: Re: The Start on an Interesting Year   Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:59 pm

I have the next chapter all ready so I'll post it now. This one focuses on Caitlin and Shuppin so no Alexia here, unfortunately. Anyway, enjoy. ^^

Chapter 20

For the rest of the week, I was able to avoid Merle although it wasn’t like Merle sought me out or anything. Since I was avoiding Merle, I didn’t get to see much of Dys since the two of them usually hung out. As for Alexia, I didn’t see her outside of classes although I wondered how things were going for her. I thought I’d be lonely but Shuppin and I got to see more of each other that week. He kept me company whenever we didn’t have classes and, of course, I got to see Petime in music club. I got to know her better and she was impressed with how far my piano playing was coming along.

The weekend came and went and then it was the start of the next week. On Tuesday, it was Open Day which meant that there would be no classes so the students could spend the morning setting up their booths and such. Since I wasn’t helping out with the pancake activity, I decided to go ahead and help Petime with the music club booth. I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing and I wanted to help Petime with getting more interest in the music club although she seemed not as anxious about that as she was before. That made me wonder if Shuppin’s occasional presence had anything to do with it. Whenever Shuppin was in the music room, Petime would blush but would only talk to him if he addressed her. I still didn’t know what she thought about him, whether she simply admired him as a musician or if she had a crush or something. But I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about, as I knew that Shuppin enjoyed my company just as much as I enjoyed his.

Anyway, as Petime and I were setting up our club booth, Petime turned to me and said,

“Thank you again for helping out, Caitlin.”

I smiled and replied, “No problem and this looks like it’s going to be fun. Our booth is set up nicely and I’m sure we’ll have lots of visitors.”

Petime gave me a polite smile and replied, “I hope so.”

A little later, the visitors started to arrive and most of them were parents although there were some students as well. Some of them would stop by our booth and although I did my best to be enthusiastic and encourage more students to join the club, they wouldn’t stay long. Petime looked at me in sympathy and said,

“Thank you, Caitlin. I expected this.”

I replied, “Hey, it’s still early. Oh I bet the majority of visitors won’t come until later so how about you take the time to check out the other booths? You probably haven’t had a chance to do so in the past.”

Petime looked like she wanted to take up my offer and replied, “But, Caitlin, I cannot leave you here by yourself.”

I shook my head and replied, “Nah, it’s all right and you should have some fun. I bet by the time you get back, there’ll be more visitors than either of us know what to do with.”

Petime smiled and replied, “In that case, I shall go but I will return shortly.”

After Petime left, I did my best to garner interest and enthusiasm for the music club but it seemed as though the visitors were interested in the other booths more. I was starting to feel discouraged when, suddenly, Shuppin approached the booth and said,

“Hey, Caitlin, I thought you might be here.”

I replied, “Hey, Shuppin. I’m happy to see you but what are you doing here at this booth? I thought you were helping out with the pancakes booth for our class.”

Shuppin gave a dismissive wave and said, “Our class looks like they can handle things and I didn’t want to be there if you weren’t there.”

I blushed and looked down at my feet. Before I was able to reply, though, Shuppin then asked,

“Do you need any help here?”

I nodded and replied, “Now that you mention it, yeah. I’ve been doing my best to get people interested in the club but I haven’t been very successful. I’d play the piano but my musical ability still isn’t high enough yet.”

Shuppin looked thoughtful for a couple of minutes and replied, “I have an idea. I can play something.”

Before I could ask him what he planned to play, Shuppin went into the music room and after a few minutes, he returned, carrying a violin and a bow. He then stood up and began to play a short but beautiful violin piece. I watched in admiration and awe as he did so and I found out that I wasn’t the only one who did. I glanced around and saw that there were more visitors who were watching Shuppin play. Once the piece was over, Shuppin put down the bow and violin and was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the visitors who had stopped to listen. I clapped as well and Shuppin took a polite bow. Then I found myself busier with parents and students asking me about the music club and I was doing my best to answer their questions. Whenever I had a break, I would glance at Shuppin and give him a grateful smile for all of his help.

As Open Day was coming to a close, the booths were shutting down and so I figured it was a good time to shut down the music club booth as well, as all of the visitors had left. Shuppin was helping me when I finally saw Petime return. Petime approached us and giving me an apologetic smile, she said,

“I am so sorry, Caitlin. I did not mean to leave for so long. I found out that there is a boxing club here and talked to the president for longer than I should have.”

I shook my head and replied, “Nah, it’s all right. I managed and Shuppin here helped.”

Petime smiled and replied, “I heard. As I came back, many of our classmates were talking about how successful this booth was.”

I grinned and replied, “And it’s all thanks to Shuppin!”

Shuppin smiled shyly and replied, “I just did what I could to help.”

Petime looked to Shuppin and replied, “I am very grateful for your assistance.” She then turned to me and said,

“I will help clean up as well. It is the least I can do for being absent before.”

So Petime, Shuppin, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon cleaning up the booth, putting away decorations and instruments alike. Once we were done, we said our goodbyes and went about our separate ways.


Spring was finally starting to arrive, as the weather got warmer and flowers blossomed and such. The leaves of the trees got greener and it felt wonderful to go outside for long periods of time. It was the first week of March and Shuppin and I were hanging out in the music room for music club although Petime was nowhere to be seen. I noticed that Shuppin was busy doing something so I turned in his direction and asked,

“What are you up to over there, Shuppin?”

Shuppin stopped what appeared to be guitar practice and replied, “Huh? Sorry, I’m not distracting you, am I?”

I shook my head and replied, “Oh, no, not at all-I think I’ve done all I can for today, to be honest. Are you going to play something?”

Shuppin nodded and replied, “Yeah, I guess…none of these guitars have been tuned for a while, though, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. Some of the strings are looking a little worse for wear, too-maybe I could restring this one, at least…”

Impressed that Shuppin could tune guitar strings, I replied, “Wow, that’s really cool. Isn’t that like…perfect pitch or something?”

Shuppin shook his head and replied, “I don’t think so. I mean, it would have been better if that tuner Petime found had actually worked-but this’ll do for the time being-I think most guitarists can tune by ear, really.”

Still amazed, I replied, “Still…I don’t know, isn’t it kind of romantic? I’m just imagining you on some hill somewhere, tuning your dog-eared old guitar, traveling wherever the wind takes you…”

Shuppin chuckled and replied, “So I’m a hippie then, basically?”

I pouted a bit and replied, “Hey, you’re the one who chose the acoustic guitar! I think the hippie image pretty much comes with the territory, to be honest.”

Shuppin replied, “Heh, fair enough. I don’t really mind electric guitars, either, though-they took a little getting used to after only playing acoustic for so long, but I’m sure if you got something decent, like a Les Paul or Fender or something, they’re not half bad. Still…I prefer the acoustic sound, y’know? It just seems crisper-even with old ones like these.”

I nodded and replied, “Makes sense, I guess. Plus, I’m assuming those are cheaper!”

Shuppin gave a smile and replied, “Heh, yeah, that might have been a contributing factor.”

I then looked a little thoughtful and replied, “It’s kind of a shame I never learned to play the guitar, though…looks pretty complicated.”

Shuppin looked surprised and replied, “Really? It’s not all that bad-you’ve never played one before?”

I shook my head and replied, “Nope-I mean, I’ve picked up the ones in here and strummed up and down a little, but that really is about it. I mean, I know some people just teach themselves, but I don’t know if I really have the drive…”

Shuppin looked at me for a minute and replied, “You’re not doing anything now, are you?”

I shook my head and Shuppin then said,

“I could show you a few of the basics, if you want. Not that I’m saying you have to learn the guitar or anything…”

I replied with a little surprise in my voice, “Really? I wouldn’t want to get in the way-you look kind of busy over there…”

Shuppin replied, “I guess it’s part of my duty, what with me working in a music shop and all, to get people interested in different instruments-that, and I think my dad’d die happy if you came back and bought a guitar, y’know?”

I laughed a little and replied, “Fair enough. So what do I do? Should I use this guitar over here?”

Shuppin replied, “I think it’d be easier if I showed you.” He then got up and suddenly approached me, and I could feel my face get hot at how close we were. Then he said,

“You’re okay with sharing a guitar, right? It’s just easier to show you the chords this way.”

I nodded and replied, “Ah, sure! No problem!”

Shuppin replied, “I’ve never actually taught anyone before, so I don’t really know where to start…but I guess the basic chords are as good as any.”

Shuppin then placed his right hand over mine and helped me with positioning my fingers over the guitar strings and producing the various chords and such. I did my best to keep from blushing too much although it did look like Shuppin was more focused on teaching me rather than on my demeanor.

After Shuppin finished teaching me a few chords, I asked, “Do you have to do this sort of thing at the shop, too?”

Shuppin shook his head, explaining how there were hardly any customers and how his dad wouldn’t want him to distract the customers from buying items by teaching chords. I replied,

“Hmm, that’s a shame-you might end up with more people wanting to buy instruments that way if they could learn to play at the same time.”

Shuppin looked at me as though pondering over the idea and I continued, “You should really think about running something like that at the shop!”

Shuppin looked off to the side and replied, “I could run the idea by Dad, I guess. I mean, we could really do with the money…Anyway, I should probably get going. I’ve got extra shifts at the bakery today and I think Dad wants me to lock up, too…”

I replied, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to keep you.”

Shuppin smiled at me and replied, “No, this was really fun, Caitlin. It’s kind of nice, just playing the guitar for a change. Just make sure you practice those chords and your fingers’ll be used to it in no time.”

I nodded and replied, “Sure! Thanks for the lesson.”

As Shuppin waved goodbye and afterwards left, I wondered about his family’s financial situation. Shuppin was awfully busy working at the bakery and his dad’s shop and so it was no wonder he could barely get any music practice as it is. Fortunately, having me tutor him in math did ease his academic studying a little, as I noticed that he was getting better and picking up on the lessons more easily now. I was left with my thoughts until I realized how late it was and knew that I needed to get home soon as well before it got too dark.

_________________


Thank you for making my new set, Love.  ^^
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