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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:59 am 
Raspberry Ripple
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Okay I am working on my Christmas one. Nice TheDoctor I love it a lot!

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:08 pm 
Caramel Crunch
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Katie10 wrote:
Okay I am working on my Christmas one. Nice TheDoctor I love it a lot!


Thanks Katie! :D

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"Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there."-Adam Young

"If life is pain then I buried mine." -NF

"Please don't ask me how I've been
Don't make me play pretend
Oh what's the use
Please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too" -Paramore


"Every day, I worry all day
About what's waiting in the bushes of love." -Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Oh Mrs. Potato Head tell me,
Is it true that pain is beauty?" -Melanie Martinez


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:49 am 
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All right I finished my submission!!! Listen, I am going to paste it under the spoilers box because it's kinda long, but I am NOT fixing the format or italics because it takes forever to format it for OdysseyScoop. So here is the link to it on Fanfiction where it looks right, so for the best user experience read it here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12747534/1/The-Choice
The impatient, bustling city noise was muffled by the large, misshapen chunks of snow falling to the white ground. Shuffling out of Target, Jimmy Barclay wasn’t the only shopper to notice the drastic change in setting as he exited the noisy store. The mid-afternoon weather was putting a crushing wall between him and his car, made all the more acute by the giant Hotwheels box he was trying to carry.
He lingered under the awning of the store a little longer, gazing past the red landmark balls with a stare that could melt butter. Alas, he couldn’t see his car.
Lifting the rectangular cardboard box a little higher, he strode into the snow, at least knowing that he had parked on the left side of the lot. The snow easily compacted under his feet, being fresh and not yet crunchy from days of ice. It made an odd squeaking sound, irritating him.
The sound of a plane flying across the sky made him think of his parents, George and Mary, who were on their way to pick up Donna at the airport. Ten-year-old Stuart probably went with them, Jimmy reflected as he crossed the driveway in front of the store. Aw, man. He trudged on, searching for his car. He could feel his breath melting the delicate flakes that landed on his goatee, which was already a damp mess. I really don’t want to see Donna.
This confession to himself had been a prevalent “deep, dark secret” of his ever since he had come back to live with his parents a few months ago. He pitied himself- forced to drive a beater car because he couldn’t find a job, he had gotten kicked out of school, and now he was living with his parents. He contrasted sharply with Donna, who had A- for- Amazing grades, and a godly boyfriend whom she wouldn’t shut up about.
“I see ya,” he said aloud to his green-and-brown SUV. The paint-chipped, flaking car was parked just a little further down the aisle, to the right. Jimmy sniffed, trying to resist wiping his runny nose on his soggy rainjacket. Snow was a nightmare when shopping for last minute gifts, he knew that now.
He pulled the freezing silver key out of his loose pocket, and jammed it into the driver’s side lock, jiggling it to make it fit. He turned it the wrong way, then the right way, muscled it back out of the lock, and opened the door. Pulling the Hotwheels box on top of himself, he slid into the seat, and quickly slammed the door shut before any more snow could find its way in.
“Whew,” he sighed in the cold, deceptively fresh air. A hint of mold was prevalent among the ancient upholstery smell, he called it Atmosphere A La Pokenberry. The little town had done wonders to his car. At least up here in Thurston people had shopping, mold-free culture, and the nearest airport. Donna was due to arrive any minute now, if they weren’t headed back to Pokenberry already.
Jimmy had been staring at the hypnotically swaying cross necklace that he had hung on the mirror. It was a cheap, brushed metal. He kicked himself out of his thoughts and fished for his keys from between his legs after shoving the brightly colored Hotwheels box over his head into the backseat.
He tried to start the car. The engine made a whining noise, doing its best to come to life. Jimmy let off the key, and tried again.
“Are you serious?” He asked aloud, “This is the last thing I need, come on!”
He tried a third time. Clearly, scolding the bucket of bolts did nothing to boost its morale. He switched to coaxing as he tried a fourth time. “Come on, come on...”
It wouldn’t budge. Jimmy took a deep breath, sitting back in his seat. He could figure this out. No way was he riding back into Pokenberry with Donna. He could salvage both his pride and his car by calling a tow truck.
He blew on his fingers, growling to himself about the car. After a moment, he summoned his courage and popped the door back open, teeth instantly beginning to chatter from the icy temperatures.
After a few minutes, he was back at the store in a single piece. Stiffly walking through the automatic doors, he scraped his feet on the rough black mats that were laid three long on the other side of the door. Despite the precautions, snow and mud were still trailed on the white tile floor beyond.
“Can I help you, sir?” The red-clad woman that had been his cashier now assaulted him as soon as he planted his feet on the white tile. She must have recognized him, worried that the vagrant was coming back for a second load.
Attempting to fake a smile, he gave a wide grimace that showed teeth and gums. Way to go. “I need a tow truck, my car won’t start.” Could he even afford a tow truck? Well, he would deal with that later, the important thing would be that his parents and Donna left town without checking up on him first.
“I’ll call one from the help desk.” She hurriedly disappeared. Well, customer service at its best.
“Jimmy?”
He froze. Surely that wasn’t… he slowly turned around, the melting snow on his shoe squeaking loudly on the floor. “Donna!?”
Donna instantly brightened into a smile as she scraped her feet on the black entry mat. She was bundled in a winter fashion-statement outfit, and the tip of her nose matched her red coat. Jimmy couldn’t make sense of her fashion, though the fuzzy boots did look comfortable.
“What are you doing here?” She seemed happy to see him. He gave her a weak smile.
“I could ask the same thing...” He unzipped his jacket, suddenly feeling warm. “Left the airport so soon?”
“Mom and Dad kinda got worried about you.”
“Are you serious?” What, were they the mafia, watching his every move? “I’m not a baby!” He cleared his throat, then, stepping aside for an elderly couple that entered the store. Donna caught the hint and swiftly moved aside as well.
“No, you’re not a baby, Jimmy.” She tapped her foot on the floor. “Mom and Dad told me what happened.”
“Oh, did they put it in the newspaper while they were at it?” He grit his teeth. “What do they think I am, proud of my life?”
Donna’s eyes flashed, the way they used to when she caught Jimmy playing war with her toy dolls. “So you get mad at us for caring about you? Why won’t you let us help you?”
“Because it’s hard!”
An uncomfortable silence ensued, Donna staring down at her fashionista boots. “I thought you didn’t… I mean...”
“Try?” Jimmy finished for her, “yeah, I tried.” He bit out the words. “I’ve tried and failed at life so far. You wouldn’t get how hard it is to let your family help you after a humiliation like that.”
“You’ve gotta understand our side of the picture, though, Jimmy.” She looked at him again, without the flame of temper in her eyes. “We get worried about you. We do want to see you succeed. We’re not pointing fingers and laughing,” A new understanding came into her expression, “Like you thought I would be doing, right?”
“Yeah,” he admitted. Though he wasn’t wrong in thinking that was something she would do, as so many times in the past, he was wrong this time around.
The blonde clerk tapped Jimmy on the shoulder from behind, probably having waited for his spat with his sister to calm down. “Sir? I have the tow truck on the line at the help desk.”
Donna immediately gave a killer eyebrow-raise. “Tow truck?”
Jimmy gave her a pained smile, as if she really needed to shut up. “Uh, yes,” He turned to the clerk, as Donna interrupted him.
“Jimmy.”
Jimmy held up his forefinger to the clerk. “Gimme just a minute to finish here.” The clerk backed off a few feet, and Jimmy turned back to Donna.
“Jimmy.” Donna began again, folding her arms, “What did I just get done telling you?”
“Donna, I didn’t call a tow truck while you were talking to me.” He grinned, as if this was his winner argument.
“Fine, fine. Tell her that you don’t need one.”
Oh. Jimmy supposed that this was the moment of truth, he would have to ride back into Pokenberry with his family if he called off the truck. “Uh-”
“Jimmy, does your family love you?” Donna began to drive the point home.
“Yeah.” He knew what she was doing.
“Do they want to take care of you?”
“Yeah.”
“Tell her you don’t need a truck.” She set her jaw as if Jimmy wasn’t going to win even if he decided to be stupid.
Slowly, Jimmy turned to the clerk. “Hey, uh-” He took a deep breath, suddenly confident that this was the right decision. “I guess I’m not going to need a tow truck after all. Sorry for your trouble. My family is going to drive me home.”

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:47 pm 
Raspberry Ripple
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OMG!!! This is soo good!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:58 pm 
Caramel Crunch
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Jo March wrote:
OMG!!! This is soo good!!!!!




Language!

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"Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there."-Adam Young

"If life is pain then I buried mine." -NF

"Please don't ask me how I've been
Don't make me play pretend
Oh what's the use
Please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too" -Paramore


"Every day, I worry all day
About what's waiting in the bushes of love." -Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Oh Mrs. Potato Head tell me,
Is it true that pain is beauty?" -Melanie Martinez


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:07 pm 
Caramel Crunch
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TheDoctor wrote:
Jo March wrote:
OMG!!! This is soo good!!!!!

Language!

Of course we both know that she means "OHMYGOODNESS!!!"


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:55 am 
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Scientific Guy wrote:
TheDoctor wrote:
Jo March wrote:
OMG!!! This is soo good!!!!!

Language!

Of course we both know that she means "OHMYGOODNESS!!!"


I'll take it as a complement anyway. :D
In the original draft at the top of the page I have "OK so the sappy Jimmy Barclay story!"

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:37 am 
Raspberry Ripple
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Thank you, Scientific Guy. That is precisely what I meant. :) LOL please take it as a compliment!!!!

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"There is no such thing as impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."-Audrey Hepburn
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:29 pm 
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Finished yours up yet, Luke?

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:03 pm 
Caramel Crunch
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Kungfunaomi wrote:
Finished yours up yet, Luke?



Not yet! :anxious:

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"Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there."-Adam Young

"If life is pain then I buried mine." -NF

"Please don't ask me how I've been
Don't make me play pretend
Oh what's the use
Please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too" -Paramore


"Every day, I worry all day
About what's waiting in the bushes of love." -Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Oh Mrs. Potato Head tell me,
Is it true that pain is beauty?" -Melanie Martinez


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:22 am 
Raspberry Ripple
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Oh my I completely forgot about this better get to work. Nice job that was a sweet story!

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:47 pm 
Caramel Crunch
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Scientific Guy wrote:
TheDoctor wrote:
Jo March wrote:
OMG!!! This is soo good!!!!!

Language!

Of course we both know that she means "OHMYGOODNESS!!!"



I know I was Just Kidding. Lolz :)

_________________
"Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there."-Adam Young

"If life is pain then I buried mine." -NF

"Please don't ask me how I've been
Don't make me play pretend
Oh what's the use
Please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too" -Paramore


"Every day, I worry all day
About what's waiting in the bushes of love." -Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Oh Mrs. Potato Head tell me,
Is it true that pain is beauty?" -Melanie Martinez


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Okay here's mine! (Sorry it's kinda sad...though, what would you expect from me? :roll: )

Snow fell to Odyssey grass, and stuck to icy Odyssey windows. It hadn’t been snowing long, but green was already almost extinct from my window landscape. I brought my knees up to my chest, suddenly feeling a dull ache in my heart. I blinked dazedly as I recalled school that day. It had been my last day before holiday break. The day where each class played Christmas music, and despite our age, every student in art class had been forced to create some sort of Christmas, or holiday related end of semester piece. I had painted a girl with ice-like hair and eyes. She wore a sad expression as she looked at something in the distance. A tear was frozen to her cheek. Then Mrs. Meek had come over to my desk and called me “Scrooge.” I guess because most people did pretty pictures of warm fires or cosy mittens, while my picture looked much less cheery. What had they expected? Or do my teachers even know? Do they I spent the summer in JD? Do they know my father is still in prison, and will be for another nine years? Huh. Nine years. Just in time for me to graduate college. Did they know about my mom? Did they know about all the times she’s tried to have another baby? Just to end up more broken than the time prior? Four babies. Four siblings I never got to meet. One was born alive. Gloria was her name. She was never healthy though. The doctors hadn’t given her much time. She had died three months after she was born. That was December of 2012.
“She would have been five by now,” I muttered, knowing Mom would hear me.
“Yes.”
“Did you get the mail today?”
“Mhm.”
“Anything from dad?”
“On the counter.”
I walked over to the kitchen counter and unfolded the letter we got monthly. He talked about how sorry he was. He was always sorry. He always made promises. The words blurred together on the page. I was so sick of it. Sick of all of it. Sick of the rejection. Sick of being suddenly poor. Sick of the happiness that I had to watch every day. Sick of Christmas. I pushed a tear away with the back of my hand. Was I really crying? How dumb. As my vision went a little clearer, I noticed another envelope on the counter.
“Mom? What’s this?” I asked, holding up the unexpected delivery.
“Oh. I read that. It’s from that church. Odyssey… Community Church?”
“What’s it for?”
“Well… it’s a little- help- “
“Wh- a charity?! Did you give our information to someone?!”
“Just some people at the church. They’re nice people. They want to help us.”
“No, they don’t! How many times do I have to tell you? They don’t want to help us, they want to feel good about themselves. Helping the poor family who’s daddy’s in jail. That’s it.”
“But they can help us enjoy Christmas.”
“How?”
“By helping us with food, and presents. They’re even preparing a Christmas dinner. It sounds wonderful.”
I didn’t say anything. If anyone found out…
“Vance?” I looked her in the eyes. Tears hung in them. “Please. For me.” My heart’s aching intensified. I sat down and took her hand, and whispered a soft, “Okay.” As her head rested on my shoulder.
“Thank you.”

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"Let me get this straight. I bet all those non-friends of yours try to embarrass you about your love for that stuff, right? So, you almost feel like you have to hide your treasures away and can only take them out in secret on rainy days when your mom goes to the store to get more liver and nobody is around to berate your sensitive spirit. Is that what you’re saying?" -Jay Smouse


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:43 pm 
Raspberry Ripple
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Wow! Good job, Penny! This definitely has a different style, I like it!

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"There is no such thing as impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."-Audrey Hepburn
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” P.T. Barnum


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:41 am 
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Here is my entry, I spent far too much time stressing over it, but it's done. :D AlSo, I'm super glad that we did this, guys.

The first Christmas after Jenny's death had been the hardest. It was that Whit certainly knew it would be, and yet, when November passed into December, and the families nearby began decorating he only wanted to stay inside away from it all. He resisted the urge to keep his blinds shut, and while Emma Douglas, among others, offered to work more hours at the shop, he continued coming in. It was, after all, what she would have wanted. Jana called him every other day, and Jason made a point to call him too when he could.

They arrived in Odyssey about the week before the Holiday, Jana shepherding her two travel weary kids and a load of luggage from the car onto the front lawn. For the last hour they had grumbled impatiently yet without saying much, but when they caught sight of the snow, Monty and Jenny sprung forward, quick to begin pelting each other and making snow angels.

Whit hugged his daughter, warmly on the curb, the lines around his eyes receding a bit.

"It's good to see you." He breathed. "Do you want to come inside when it's warm? I have some tea, and there's a pot of coffee brewing."

Father and daughter sat on the striped yellow couch in the living room, Jana hadn't taken her jacket off, despite the fact Whit had started a fire. She sipped at her tea, splitting her attention between their current conversation and watching six-year old Monty balance precariously on a short stool in front of the tree.

"I'm sorry it's fake." Whit said, suddenly. "It's on the smaller side, and I didn't know -"

"It's fine."

She patted his knee. "We have a real one back home...and you wouldn't believe the amount of time I spent cleaning up needles just from when we lugged it in." That earned a small smile from Whit.

"Remember the first time we got a real one?"

"How could I forget?" She laughed. "Gosh, the amount of effort you put in to making that day perfect. I think mom really appreciated it." She said, and bit her lip when pain flashed through his eyes.

"I think she tolerated it, honestly. That four mile walk in the sludge, on the road less travelled…"

"Three kids, one with a cold, one with mismatched shoes…" Jana continued for him. It had been fifteen years since then, and that, she thought, felt longer ago than it probably was, Whit had been absentmindedly looking towards the front window, remembering how the Whittaker clan trooped in close to midnight. Whit and Jerry carried the tree in through the door, managing to scrape it against the wall and the older man's arm.

Jenny was calm and orderly, while he had been nearly as miserable as the kids.

"I'm really sorry, Jenny," He followed her up the stairs. "I should've listened."

"Why are you still apologizing? I said I forgave you." Fiery red curls were matted, and she had her arms wrapped around herself, fingers pressing into her sides.

"I was such an idiot." Whit spoke. She halted, bit at her lip and looked away for a moment.

"John Avery. You were, but you need to stop being one now, because your family needs you. Alright?" He nodded, meekly.

"What can I do?"

"For starters, you could make some of the chamomile tea I bought, Jana could certainly use it." They could hear her coughing from the couch. Jenny looked sincerely worried in that moment. "Please." And Whit reacted quickly.

They missed church the following morning, struggled with the bereavement but it was a good day, then. The Whittakers spent it recovering by watching old movies and drinking hot cocoa, Jenny baked another pie and it was gone before the sun set.
_________________________________

The following evening, a hooded figure knocked twice on the oak colored door as he stepped in, careful to close it behind him.

"Dad?" He pulled the hood off and wrung a hand through his dark brown hair, turned black by the freezing rainwater.

"Uncle Jason!"

"Hey, guys!" Without bothering to step out of his sodden coat, Jason grabbed Monty and Jenny, hugging them tightly.

"Ewwww." Jenny said. "You're dirty." She scurried out under his arms and frowned.

"And wet."

"You're warm. And...what is this, flour? Are you making cookies?" Jason sniffed the air, dusting off his nephew with a free hand.

"Sugar cookies!" Said Jenny, grinning toothily.

"What took you so long to get here?" Monty asked.

"The roads were all wet."

"But mom said you'd be here yesterday." There was a hint of an accusation in his tone, and Jason understood.

"Monty, I'm sorry. I was planning on it, but some things happen that you can't see coming." He said gently, hoping it was explanation enough. The young boy just shrugged, murmured that it was fine.

"Jason…" Jana came into the hall, then let out an exaggerated sigh for both her own benefit when she saw him dripping. "You stay right there. I'll get a towel." She wagged a finger, and thunder boomed outside. "Da-d! The judge is here!"

"What? No hug?"

Within the hour, they were all settled at the dining table. Whit at the head, Jana and Monty to his left, Jason and Jenny opposite them. They hadn't forgotten about the two empty chairs, and it would have felt disrespectful to imagine sitting in the one on the far end. For years and years, the former Jenny Whittaker had taken her place there during dinner, not often needing to even raise her voice to be heard. She was great at getting people's attention and didn't even realize it. Sometimes Jenny would just catch his gaze and tilt her hand towards the table, smiling beautifully, as if to remind him what they had, what they were blessed with. During even the crankiest of moods, or the most stressful days, he'd be able to soften.

"Dad?" Jason had been tapping on his arm, his messy hair shoved to one side. Jana mouthing something to him he couldn't quite get. Then, after a moment, Whit realized they were waiting for him to pray.

"Dear Heavenly father," He started, breathed, "we thank you that you have brought us here together. Thank you that you for the love you have for us, that you sent your son as the gift we don't deserve, to save us. Thank you that you...care about us, and the people you've placed in our lives. Would you please bless this night, Lord, and use us to honor you. In Jesus' name, Amen." Amen was echoed, and they began eating, noisily. Jana, giving Jason a mock scowl when he took two rolls at once, then out of habit, glanced towards the empty chair. The brief, insane thought they might lose another of theirs brought a lump to her throat.

"How's Tom doing?" She forced herself to ask.

"Good, good." Whit nodded for a few seconds longer than he meant.

"Did you cook all this yourself?"

"I know how to cook, Jana." He set his fork down.

"I know, but you've been cooking regularly, right?"

"Honey, I promise you, I've been eating." Whit spoke sincerely.

"Have you been sleeping?" Asked Jason, suddenly, noting the dark corners beneath his weary eyes earlier.

"Grandpa, are you okay?" Monty himself had stopped eating.

"I - "

"You're not sleeping?"

"Yes-no. I am, Jason. Not as much as maybe I used to." Whit sighed. His son squinted suspiciously.

"Maybe I should call Jack." Whit buried his face into his hands and straightened, rising slightly.

"Kids. Listen, please." He pleaded. "Jack was down here last week, and I'm grateful for that. But I don't need people putting their own lives on hold to help me. I'm not planning on going anywhere. Not with you settling down, and you still in school."

"But you're…" Whatever Jana had been meaning to say, she choked on something dangerously close to a sob, and Monty threw his arms around her.

Whit reached over to take her hand.

"What do we do now?" Jason said quietly, lost.

"I'm here. So...we keep living."

_________________
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us - Romans 8:18

It’s not enough to be against something. You have to be for something better. – Tony Stark


Last edited by GJFH on Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:10 pm 
Raspberry Ripple
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*Mouth opens and closes* This is amazing

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"There is no such thing as impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."-Audrey Hepburn
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” P.T. Barnum


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:05 pm 
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And guys, I'm working on it, I promise. It's going well, I'm almost done.

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"There is no such thing as impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."-Audrey Hepburn
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” P.T. Barnum


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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:25 pm 
Peanut Butter Cup
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Jo March wrote:
And guys, I'm working on it, I promise. It's going well, I'm almost done.

Nah girl, you good. I'm excited, though!

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 10:20 pm
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Location: Stuck inside a pickle jar
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All you guys are awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Fanfiction Club
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:02 am 
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PennyBassett wrote:
Okay here's mine! (Sorry it's kinda sad...though, what would you expect from me? :roll: )

Snow fell to Odyssey grass, and stuck to icy Odyssey windows. It hadn’t been snowing long, but green was already almost extinct from my window landscape. I brought my knees up to my chest, suddenly feeling a dull ache in my heart. I blinked dazedly as I recalled school that day. It had been my last day before holiday break. The day where each class played Christmas music, and despite our age, every student in art class had been forced to create some sort of Christmas, or holiday related end of semester piece. I had painted a girl with ice-like hair and eyes. She wore a sad expression as she looked at something in the distance. A tear was frozen to her cheek. Then Mrs. Meek had come over to my desk and called me “Scrooge.” I guess because most people did pretty pictures of warm fires or cosy mittens, while my picture looked much less cheery. What had they expected? Or do my teachers even know? Do they I spent the summer in JD? Do they know my father is still in prison, and will be for another nine years? Huh. Nine years. Just in time for me to graduate college. Did they know about my mom? Did they know about all the times she’s tried to have another baby? Just to end up more broken than the time prior? Four babies. Four siblings I never got to meet. One was born alive. Gloria was her name. She was never healthy though. The doctors hadn’t given her much time. She had died three months after she was born. That was December of 2012.
“She would have been five by now,” I muttered, knowing Mom would hear me.
“Yes.”
“Did you get the mail today?”
“Mhm.”
“Anything from dad?”
“On the counter.”
I walked over to the kitchen counter and unfolded the letter we got monthly. He talked about how sorry he was. He was always sorry. He always made promises. The words blurred together on the page. I was so sick of it. Sick of all of it. Sick of the rejection. Sick of being suddenly poor. Sick of the happiness that I had to watch every day. Sick of Christmas. I pushed a tear away with the back of my hand. Was I really crying? How dumb. As my vision went a little clearer, I noticed another envelope on the counter.
“Mom? What’s this?” I asked, holding up the unexpected delivery.
“Oh. I read that. It’s from that church. Odyssey… Community Church?”
“What’s it for?”
“Well… it’s a little- help- “
“Wh- a charity?! Did you give our information to someone?!”
“Just some people at the church. They’re nice people. They want to help us.”
“No, they don’t! How many times do I have to tell you? They don’t want to help us, they want to feel good about themselves. Helping the poor family who’s daddy’s in jail. That’s it.”
“But they can help us enjoy Christmas.”
“How?”
“By helping us with food, and presents. They’re even preparing a Christmas dinner. It sounds wonderful.”
I didn’t say anything. If anyone found out…
“Vance?” I looked her in the eyes. Tears hung in them. “Please. For me.” My heart’s aching intensified. I sat down and took her hand, and whispered a soft, “Okay.” As her head rested on my shoulder.
“Thank you.”

I like your sad storys. This one has a nice touch!
GJFH wrote:
Here is my entry, I spent far too much time stressing over it, but it's done. :D AlSo, I'm super glad that we did this, guys.

The first Christmas after Jenny's death had been the hardest. It was that Whit certainly knew it would be, and yet, when November passed into December, and the families nearby began decorating he only wanted to stay inside away from it all. He resisted the urge to keep his blinds shut, and while Emma Douglas, among others, offered to work more hours at the shop, he continued coming in. It was, after all, what she would have wanted. Jana called him every other day, and Jason made a point to call him too when he could.

They arrived in Odyssey about the week before the Holiday, Jana shepherding her two travel weary kids and a load of luggage from the car onto the front lawn. For the last hour they had grumbled impatiently yet without saying much, but when they caught sight of the snow, Monty and Jenny sprung forward, quick to begin pelting each other and making snow angels.

Whit hugged his daughter, warmly on the curb, the lines around his eyes receding a bit.

"It's good to see you." He breathed. "Do you want to come inside when it's warm? I have some tea, and there's a pot of coffee brewing."

Father and daughter sat on the striped yellow couch in the living room, Jana hadn't taken her jacket off, despite the fact Whit had started a fire. She sipped at her tea, splitting her attention between their current conversation and watching six-year old Monty balance precariously on a short stool in front of the tree.

"I'm sorry it's fake." Whit said, suddenly. "It's on the smaller side, and I didn't know -"

"It's fine."

She patted his knee. "We have a real one back home...and you wouldn't believe the amount of time I spent cleaning up needles just from when we lugged it in." That earned a small smile from Whit.

"Remember the first time we got a real one?"

"How could I forget?" She laughed. "Gosh, the amount of effort you put in to making that day perfect. I think mom really appreciated it." She said, and bit her lip when pain flashed through his eyes.

"I think she tolerated it, honestly. That four mile walk in the sludge, on the road less travelled…"

"Three kids, one with a cold, one with mismatched shoes…" Jana continued for him. It had been fifteen years since then, and that, she thought, felt longer ago than it probably was, Whit had been absentmindedly looking towards the front window, remembering how the Whittaker clan trooped in close to midnight. Whit and Jerry carried the tree in through the door, managing to scrape it against the wall and the older man's arm.

Jenny was calm and orderly, while he had been nearly as miserable as the kids.

"I'm really sorry, Jenny," He followed her up the stairs. "I should've listened."

"Why are you still apologizing? I said I forgave you." Fiery red curls were matted, and she had her arms wrapped around herself, fingers pressing into her sides.

"I was such an idiot." Whit spoke. She halted, bit at her lip and looked away for a moment.

"John Avery. You were, but you need to stop being one now, because your family needs you. Alright?" He nodded, meekly.

"What can I do?"

"For starters, you could make some of the chamomile tea I bought, Jana could certainly use it." They could hear her coughing from the couch. Jenny looked sincerely worried in that moment. "Please." And Whit reacted quickly.

They missed church the following morning, struggled with the bereavement but it was a good day, then. The Whittakers spent it recovering by watching old movies and drinking hot cocoa, Jenny baked another pie and it was gone before the sun set.
_________________________________

The following evening, a hooded figure knocked twice on the oak colored door as he stepped in, careful to close it behind him.

"Dad?" He pulled the hood off and wrung a hand through his dark brown hair, turned black by the freezing rainwater.

"Uncle Jason!"

"Hey, guys!" Without bothering to step out of his sodden coat, Jason grabbed Monty and Jenny, hugging them tightly.

"Ewwww." Jenny said. "You're dirty." She scurried out under his arms and frowned.

"And wet."

"You're warm. And...what is this, flour? Are you making cookies?" Jason sniffed the air, dusting off his nephew with a free hand.

"Sugar cookies!" Said Jenny, grinning toothily.

"What took you so long to get here?" Monty asked.

"The roads were all wet."

"But mom said you'd be here yesterday." There was a hint of an accusation in his tone, and Jason understood.

"Monty, I'm sorry. I was planning on it, but some things happen that you can't see coming." He said gently, hoping it was explanation enough. The young boy just shrugged, murmured that it was fine.

"Jason…" Jana came into the hall, then let out an exaggerated sigh for both her own benefit when she saw him dripping. "You stay right there. I'll get a towel." She wagged a finger, and thunder boomed outside. "Da-d! The judge is here!"

"What? No hug?"

Within the hour, they were all settled at the dining table. Whit at the head, Jana and Monty to his left, Jason and Jenny opposite them. They hadn't forgotten about the two empty chairs, and it would have felt disrespectful to imagine sitting in the one on the far end. For years and years, the former Jenny Whittaker had taken her place there during dinner, not often needing to even raise her voice to be heard. She was great at getting people's attention and didn't even realize it. Sometimes Jenny would just catch his gaze and tilt her hand towards the table, smiling beautifully, as if to remind him what they had, what they were blessed with. During even the crankiest of moods, or the most stressful days, he'd be able to soften.

"Dad?" Jason had been tapping on his arm, his messy hair shoved to one side. Jana mouthing something to him he couldn't quite get. Then, after a moment, Whit realized they were waiting for him to pray.

"Dear Heavenly father," He started, breathed, "we thank you that you have brought us here together. Thank you that you for the love you have for us, that you sent your son as the gift we don't deserve, to save us. Thank you that you...care about us, and the people you've placed in our lives. Would you please bless this night, Lord, and use us to honor you. In Jesus' name, Amen." Amen was echoed, and they began eating, noisily. Jana, giving Jason a mock scowl when he took two rolls at once, then out of habit, glanced towards the empty chair. The brief, insane thought they might lose another of theirs brought a lump to her throat.

"How's Tom doing?" She forced herself to ask.

"Good, good." Whit nodded for a few seconds longer than he meant.

"Did you cook all this yourself?"

"I know how to cook, Jana." He set his fork down.

"I know, but you've been cooking regularly, right?"

"Honey, I promise you, I've been eating." Whit spoke sincerely.

"Have you been sleeping?" Asked Jason, suddenly, noting the dark corners beneath his weary eyes earlier.

"Grandpa, are you okay?" Monty himself had stopped eating.

"I - "

"You're not sleeping?"

"Yes-no. I am, Jason. Not as much as maybe I used to." Whit sighed. His son squinted suspiciously.

"Maybe I should call Jack." Whit buried his face into his hands and straightened, rising slightly.

"Kids. Listen, please." He pleaded. "Jack was down here last week, and I'm grateful for that. But I don't need people putting their own lives on hold to help me. I'm not planning on going anywhere. Not with you settling down, and you still in school."

"But you're…" Whatever Jana had been meaning to say, she choked on something dangerously close to a sob, and Monty threw his arms around her.

Whit reached over to take her hand.

"What do we do now?" Jason said quietly, lost.

"I'm here. So...we keep living."
this is awesome I have read it over and over. All of this are awesome! My story umm let's say its in a very long umm well I don't even have a idea or the time right now sorry guys. But you guys rock!

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