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Drama Contemporary Fiction



When I pushed open the peeling door and stepped onto the dirty tiles of our family store, I was immediately encompassed by the smell of mildew and rotting wood. My high heels clicked on the floor as I walked past the empty clothes racks to the small counter in the back. I was glad I left my purse in the car. I wouldn’t have wanted it to touch any surface in this building. 


This wouldn’t sell. It had become so neglected that nobody in their right mind would want to buy it. I turned around slowly, surveying the cracked, moldy paint on the walls and mud on the floor. I heard little mouse footsteps underneath the uneven floorboards, pattering softly. I drove home later, rain splattering on the window in fat, heavy drops, feeling hopeless. 


__________


When I approached Mom and Dad about my decaying plan to sell the thrift shop, they weren’t surprised. 


“I doubt anyone will even want it, though, so I’m not completely sure that this will even work,” I said. I bit my lip, a leftover habit from my tween years, and looked questioningly at my parents. They exchanged uncomfortable glances. They had a way of communicating without speaking, which had frustrated me ever since I was a little girl. My dad stuffed his hands sheepishly in his faded jean pockets and looked to the side. 


“Well, uh, Rianne...” My mom shifted positions on our old, worn-out leather couch so that she was hugging her knees to her chest. “Felix has always been the one that wanted to start a business. We were thinking of giving him ownership of the building ever since you moved out.”


“What?”


My mom shifted slightly again. I noticed, for the first time, the few streaks of grey laced throughout my mom’s coarse hair. My dad looked fixedly at the cream-colored carpet, twirling his thick mustache with his fingers.


“We thought you knew.” Her voice was pained, tight. “We thought you knew that we gave ownership of the building to Felix as soon as he turned eighteen.”


“I thought you guys still had it.” 


“We just assumed...you always acted like receiving it would be a burden.”


Even I didn’t understand why I was mad. I hadn’t wanted the building. But Felix, my little brother, was irresponsible, messy, forgetful. I didn’t understand why they had thought it was better to give it to him than to me. 


I didn’t understand how I hadn’t known about it. 


“The store is still shut down! He hasn’t even done anything with it!” My voice echoed around the room, sounding involuntarily shrill. “I could make money off of it!”


My dad spoke up for the first time since we sat down to talk. “Rianne, he’s working really hard. It’s only been six months, and he’s a freshman in college!” 


I could only purse my lips and leave. 


__________




It was three am. The rain drummed against my bedroom window, drowned out by the sound of my heater turned on full blast. I clutched my comforter tighter around me. I had stayed up late working again, another harmful tendency of mine. I could still taste some icy, metallic traces of the blood in my mouth from biting my lip so hard at my parents' house.


A few minutes later, I was sitting up in bed, goosebumps up and down my bare arms. The phone was smooth, cold in my hands. He answered quickly. 


“Rianne? What’s going on? Is there an emergency?” 


 “No, Felix, I just...have something to ask you.” 


“Rianne, it’s three o’clock.”


“I know, I know. I’m sorry, it’s important.” 


Felix sighed dramatically. “You know I have classes tomorrow? And don’t you have work?” 


I ignored him. “What are you going to do with that building?”


“Building?” 


“Grandpa’s thrift shop. The one that was closed down.”


“Oh, uh, well, I was thinking of opening my own bakery.”


“A bakery?” I snort. “You suck at baking! Remember my birthday?” The last time Felix had baked was for my seventeenth birthday, when he had tried to make a pineapple upside-down cake. My mom was forced to run out to the grocery store to buy one of the premade ones they always have. 


“Can’t you leave me alone about that cake?” Felix snapped and blew heavily through his mouth. “My friend, Chirag, he’s doing the baking. I’m on the business side.”


“Oh.” 


A few moments of silence passed between us. I could feel the ends of my short hair tickling my neck. I said what I had wanted to say this entire time. The real thing that had been bothering me. 


“Why didn’t you tell me you wanted to do this? Why didn’t you tell me you got the building?” 


“I-” Felix sighed. “I don’t know. It didn’t really cross my mind. I guess I was used to you knowing everything about my life as soon as it happened.”


It had been six years since I moved out. 


“I want to help you.” This was his dream. When we were little, we would play a game where he would pretend to be a shopowner and I would be the customer. He had wanted this his whole life. Who was I to stop him? 


“Really?” Felix yawned loudly.


“Yeah. I’m a lawyer, after all. You might need my help. Call me if you need me to do anything, okay?” 


Felix yawned again. “Aren’t you really busy?”


“Don’t worry about it.”


__________




Felix couldn’t hire anyone to do the cleaning. Nobody wanted to. That’s why I was there, kneeling on the floor of the building, dressed in one of my Dad’s t-shirts and my least favorite pair of jeans. The buttons scratched my waist uncomfortably. It was quiet, save for the occasional thud coming from the walls. I scrubbed ferociously at the place where the wall and the hardwood floors met with a sickly-yellow sponge.


 Felix was next to me. We talked as we cleaned. It distracted me from the feeling of the wet floor soaking through my jeans and gloves. It was nice, talking to him. 


We decided we would come back the next weekend. We hired carpenters to fix the walls. We bought tables and chairs. We registered for a permit. We painted the walls, installed new floors. We bought display cases and bakery equipment. We put up a new wall. I paid for everything. I had the money, and I knew Felix would pay me back. I saw the way he organized, made plans, got to things on time. He was responsible enough. 



__________


Finally, we were choosing the name for the bakery. 


“So for the name, Chirag’s might be good,” I offered. “He’s the main baker after all.” Felix, Chirag, and I were sitting in Felix’s dorm room. I was sitting on the bed, Chirag on top of the small desk, and Felix in a swivel chair. Chirag’s become almost like a second little brother, we’ve worked together so often. 


“Chirag and I already decided on the name, actually,” Felix said. Chirag swung his legs and jumped off of the desk, landing on the floor with a thud. 


“Oh.” I scrunched my face and tried not to appear hurt. “What is it, then?” 


Felix smiled mischievously, the smile he would always use after stealing my gummy bears or winning a pillow fight. “Rianne’s.” 






November 22, 2020 18:39

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226 comments

Amaya .
18:41 Nov 22, 2020

1. this story is 1000% completely dedicated to the one and only Adrienne Flemming (Ria.) I wanted my main character's name to have Ria in it, so that's where Rianne came from. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RIA, I'm so so glad you were my first reedsy friend. <3. I can't even describe how much I appreciate you. 2. I hope you liked the Felix/Rianne relationship 3. I tried pretty hard on this one, please let me know if there is anything I can fix. I like critiques more than compliments! 4. This story doesn't follow the prompt super well, but these prompt...

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20:45 Nov 22, 2020

OMG! This is an amazing story!! The detail is so awesome, especially at the beginning when you described the old building and how disgusting and not cared for it was. I also liked the names, Felix Rianne and Chirag, they are all so unique and fun. You asked for critiques? Okay, umm I don’t have a ton, cause you don’t really need to change a lot (because the story is so good) but maybe you should shorten the dialogue where her parents tell her that the building is going to be given to Felix, I feel like it’s kinda long and could be a bit ...

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Amaya .
21:24 Nov 22, 2020

Thanks Blair! Thanks for the feedback too

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21:50 Nov 22, 2020

Of course! :)

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21:04 Nov 27, 2020

Hi! I just posted a new story and would love it if you could check it out (If you want to and have the time of course). If not it is totally fine!

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20:16 Nov 22, 2020

I love is story! There wasn’t a lot of big action in this story (well other then her finding out Felix gets the building) but you used a lot of good description to really make it interesting. One thing, when you write numbers in story’s you want to write them out (for the most part) like three a.m. instead of 3am. I am trying to think of other critiques but there isn’t any, this story is really good. Anyways, great job! I really love the ending, it is so sweet that they dedicated/named the restaurant after her.

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Amaya .
21:23 Nov 22, 2020

thank you! I'll fix the numbers thing asap

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22:10 Nov 22, 2020

No problem. Please let me know when you have your next story out!!

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00:45 Nov 23, 2020

Amazing! I loved the feel of the story so much! You had just the right amount of tension woven into each scene, it kept me wanting to read more and more. My favorite part was the part when Rianne first finds out that the building is going to Felix. The descriptions there were perfect! I have no idea how you write so well Amaya, but this was truly amazing. One of your best works I might say! Keep writing! :)

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Amaya .
22:47 Nov 24, 2020

thanks Esme :)

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03:16 Nov 25, 2020

Ofc! What inspired this by the way? Just curious since it's so unique!

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So glad you wrote a new story!! I loved it! =)

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Amaya .
22:48 Nov 22, 2020

:) thanks!

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Deidra Lovegren
19:17 Nov 22, 2020

Amaya, you know how to write. Someone taught you grammar and punctuation very well! (Catholic school nuns?) You do a great job of SHOWING and not TELLING, which makes it more fun for the reader to make their own discoveries. I love the brother/sister dynamic. The small descriptions (i.e., biting/pursing her lip) convey a great deal. You go, girl.

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Amaya .
19:19 Nov 22, 2020

ah thank you so much! ur so sweet! the grammar is just from practice, reading a LOT, and Grammarly for the stuff I missed haha. aw thanks! yess that's exactly what i was hoping to do with the small descriptions. i feel so accomplished now :) thank you so muchh

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Avani G
20:03 Nov 22, 2020

Nice story, Amaya! I can see you getting better at writing; the dialogue's great, and the descriptions are even better. Nice job!

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Amaya .
21:23 Nov 22, 2020

thank you!

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Kathleen March
19:30 Nov 22, 2020

The story gets the reader to wondering, and that is very good. What seems to be a challenge is how the parts of the story flow together. Somehow, I missed stronger transitions or development of the narrative flow. It does seem that reworking would bring out the plot potential. Good luck and keep writing. There are also a couple of spots where word choice could be improved. One example is the use of ‘negligence’. Also, ‘icy and metallic’ seems to refer to parents’ house (not parent’s).

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Amaya .
19:54 Nov 22, 2020

thank you, I got a comment from Zilla that also recommended adding in transitions and reworking, so I'll get to that immediately. what word to you suggest in place of negligence? I tried to find a better word for quite a while but failed. Oh, I will fix that. thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate it

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Kathleen March
22:38 Nov 22, 2020

"It had fallen so deep into negligence" Negligence is a quality of people. It is not a condition. You can say the building had been severely neglected or there were signs of severe neglect everywhere. Negligence should not be confused with neglect, which is definitely different.

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Amaya .
22:47 Nov 22, 2020

Oh I had no idea that negligence was only for people...that explains it. Thanks so muchh

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Zilla Babbitt
04:31 Jan 11, 2021

Hiya, Amaya! I've missed you, you seem distant. You okay? Posting soon, maybe?

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Amaya .
01:01 Jan 12, 2021

Hi Zilla! Aw thats so sweet of you, I've missed you too. Yeah I'm okay, been better but not so bad. Just not feeling like going on here as much but it's nothing to worry about :). Ooof I'm not but I really should get around to it.

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Zilla Babbitt
02:01 Jan 12, 2021

I'm glad; I was wondering if you might have been mad at me for some reason. "Been better but not bad" is how I feel too. Yes, I've been on here less too, it gives me headspace to step back sometimes. These prompts are fun! I'm working on the only-dialogue one right now. Which are your favorites?

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Amaya .
02:09 Jan 12, 2021

oh ofc not! yess stepping back is great sometimes. okay, i might actually write one this week! i might be doing the first one from the top or the third.

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Scout Tahoe
00:18 Jan 02, 2021

I filled out the form. ;) Glad you put it in your bio so others can see it.

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Amaya .
00:22 Jan 02, 2021

thank you!!! ahhh i'm glad i'm able to spread this

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Orenda .
18:59 Dec 20, 2020

congratss on 17th rank, my Maya ;))

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Amaya .
23:53 Dec 20, 2020

WHAT

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Amaya .
23:53 Dec 20, 2020

wait was it you?!?!?!

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Amaya .
23:53 Dec 20, 2020

18th

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Orenda .
03:06 Dec 21, 2020

Oh Lord, NOO.

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Amaya .
20:00 Dec 21, 2020

was it you though

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Orenda .
03:10 Dec 22, 2020

Uh-huh :D

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Orenda .
16:02 Dec 15, 2020

Hii!

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:43 Dec 09, 2020

IT'S SNOWING OUTSIDEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEE

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23:15 Nov 22, 2020

Omigosh, DRAMA!! I loved this! And I always enjoy it when the last phrase of the story is the title. Great job!

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Amaya .
22:47 Nov 24, 2020

thanks!

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06:40 Nov 25, 2020

yeah, np!

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Zilla Babbitt
19:26 Nov 22, 2020

Nice one! You've definitely gotten better. Dialogue is good, descriptions are vivid, and the title works :) You've nailed the brother-sister relationship, part annoyance, part reluctant love, part pride. Two things. First, I'd suggest cutting out the "telling" section where you talk about what they've done to the place. It's a little boring, to be honest, and you can just skip straight over to the last scene without losing anything. Second, Ria does quite the 180 about that building. She wants it to be hers, wants to sell it and make mon...

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Amaya .
19:49 Nov 22, 2020

thank you Zilla! I appreciate those critiques smm I'll change them when I have time, I think I'll be able to

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Zilla Babbitt
13:47 Nov 23, 2020

No problem!

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B. W.
19:14 Nov 22, 2020

I honestly dont have a lot to say for the story besides like your other ones its really great, I also just think its really cute and nice that the story is for Ria ^^ 10/10 :)

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Amaya .
19:14 Nov 22, 2020

thanks, B :)

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B. W.
20:38 Nov 22, 2020

No problem ^^ Has Ria seen this yet?

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Orenda .
19:17 Jan 19, 2021

I've another story out XD. Be sure to check it out <3

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Amaya .
20:32 Jan 19, 2021

ANOTHER?!?! okay i will :)

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for your bio do whatever you feel comfortable but a bio more like Aerin's would be more fun to read i feel bad because your comments are at 400 and im bout to ruin it by commenting this

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Maya
20:53 Dec 30, 2020

Just so you know, I signed the protect the arctic thing and I'll put the link in my bio. Thank you for giving people the opportunity to help! :)

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Amaya .
21:43 Dec 30, 2020

oh my god thank you! i'm so glad this reached someone who came across my acct!!! I'm so happy rn :))))

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Maya
21:43 Dec 30, 2020

Yay! No problem! I'm happy to help!

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:46 Dec 27, 2020

Hi! What's up? I'm kinda bored, lol

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