Julian Files chapter 8

Julian Files master list + what is it?

Continuing the sad train to dysfunctionville, I present to you:


Julian Files chapter 8

Thursday July 21, 2005
Carlisle Windsor School, All Saints neighborhood
Lexington, PA

When they pushed him, Boyd stumbled and fell. He had been paying so much attention to the book he hadn’t expected anything else, so he wasn’t prepared to catch himself. His foot missed the edge of the steps and he tumbled all the way down the stairs, bumping and rolling until he crashed to an abrupt halt at the bottom.

His knees skinned on the concrete, and his arms jolted. His head snapped forward.

It hurt.

The suddenness scared him. His heart thundered in his chest.

He curled his fingers against the concrete and focused on that instead of the startled pain that tried to overcome his natural ability to stay unaffected. His chin wobbled so he clenched his teeth.

He wouldn’t cry. Boys didn’t cry, and he couldn’t be a girl. They already called him that and more.

Carefully, he pushed himself up. It hurt even more doing that, and for a horrifying second he thought he was going to cry anyway. Everything got all blurry the way it did when he had tears. But he managed to hold it in, and he thought his mother and dad would have both been proud.

He could stay quiet no matter what. He was a good boy.

As long as he stayed a good boy, his mother and dad would always remember him. They would still want him.

As long as he stayed a good boy, Mr. Cole wouldn’t take them away.

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Julian Files chapter 7

Julian Files master list + what is it?

There’s a lot I was going to say about the 2 month gap between posting the last update in this book, and why, and how this book is super draft mode. It takes too long to explain, though, so I may post it separately. For now I will just say:

I MAY NEED JULIAN FILES BETA READERS!

If you are interested, let me know–especially if you are a Boyd and/or Vivienne fan because you may have paid attention to details I might have forgotten in our many reworkings of ICoS.

As for this chapter, it’s one that some of you may have been waiting for, and others maybe never wanted to read.


Sunday July 17, 2005
Cedar Hills neighborhood
Lexington, PA

Vivienne knelt in the dusty attic, the only place she felt safe from prying eyes. Her gaze, as always, strayed to the box that held her deepest treasure. And, as always, she made her gaze move away.

She had chosen her path and she did not regret it. She did not make choices lightly, and refused to question actions she had made to the best of her ability at any given time. Doubt was the path toward self destruction, as far as she was concerned; the path that only the weak and insecure took.

Still, there were days that drew her up here again, away from her husband, away the child that haunted this house. Up, up to where she could breathe freely with the trapdoor shut and the darkness surrounding her in comfort.

Cedrick was asleep, as was their son. Although Cedrick had difficulty falling asleep, once he achieved it he could sleep through anything. Their son never strayed from bed once he had settled in–whether it was because he slept through noises or was intelligent enough to not bother anyone, she did not know. It was a small thing she could be grateful for on nights like this. A small thing she wished could be part of a greater whole, but no matter how hard she tried it didn’t seem to happen.

When he had first come screaming into her arms, she had felt a detachment she had never expected. Exhaustion and a need to get away. From when he had been growing inside her to even now, years later, there were days on end where she barely wished to eat. Days where she found solace at her work because it was easier to concentrate on her expectations as a professional than it was to confront her inability to be the perfect mother, or even a proper mother at all. She was used to excelling at what she put her mind toward, yet her inability to meet even the most basic of expectations of motherhood felt like a betrayal; whether of her own mind and body, or of society, or of her son, or anything else, she could not always decide.

Perhaps it had been that or something else that had made his red, crying face bring to mind the image of the Nain Rouge. Vivienne had once met a woman from Detroit who, upon learning Vivienne was French, had talked at length about the Nain Rouge and how she viewed it.

Harbinger of doom, she called it. And Vivienne’s first sight of her only child had brought that swiftly to mind.

Vivienne had tried to ignore the thought, but perhaps her addled mind had known best. Only days later, the war had taken Vivienne’s family, and everything had twisted in Vivienne’s life from then on.

It was in memory of that family that she was here now.

As had been the case since she had birthed that child, she had been unable to sleep; caught forever in the shroud between dreams and the waking world. That restlessness had drawn her from the warmth of Cedrick’s side, down the quiet hallway, up the stairs, up the ladder, to sit with her knees pulled to her chest, where her gaze was drawn again, again to that box. 

It was Amy’s birthday.

Did Cedrick remember this and pointedly not speak of it each year? Or had he forgotten, now that the date no longer held significance?

It would always be meaningful to Vivienne.

Today, Amy would have turned fifty. Today, Vivienne would have insisted on bringing her somewhere special; buying her something beautiful. She would have made Amy breakfast if Braeden or Cedrick had not. She would have sat by her side and felt the comfort of her presence.

In a world that had not seemed ready to accept Vivienne since the sudden death of her parents when she was eight years old, Vivienne had grown accustomed to keeping everyone at a distance. She had come to expect negativity sent her way. It no longer bothered her, because her grandmother’s lessons had worked. Mireille had taught Vivienne how to live in a world like this and how to rise above it. To not care what others thought, so she could be free to do what she believed was best.

Life is war, her grandmother had told her since she was brought, orphaned, to Mireille’s Parisian home. Do not lose yourself in the battles. Think always of the long strategy. If you plan ahead, you will always win.

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Some advice on sharing, if it helps

“For years my friend has told me to share my writing but I’ve been self-conscious about how it will be received or perceived. Lately, I’m wanting to post, but I don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice?”

I got the above question in an email (don’t worry, email friend! I will not name you for any privacy concerns) and since I thought it was a good question that others may wonder about too, and since I wrote a long answer, I figured I’d post it here too in case it’s useful for anyone.

Basically, I totally understand self-consciousness; I feel the same way a lot too. It’s a tl;dr story but writing and sharing fanfic is what helped me start to feel more confident in my writing abilities because strangers said such nice things. I had a hard time believing all the nice things my family/friends had said my whole life about my writing was anything other than them being nice or taking pity on me. So I think sharing can be incredibly important if that feels like the right step for anyone at their current point in writing.

Below is from my emailed reply — I’m putting it behind a cut for length but I go into these topics:

**Sharing for free, **sharing for money, **compiling the story, and **how to look at feedback from readers if you are unused to sharing.

For posting, I should first of all say I’m not an expert so I may not be super helpful. But in case any of this is helpful, here are some thoughts I have:

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2017: voice, self-silencing, and circumstances

I just posted this also on tumblr – 2017: Voice – thoughts about self-silencing and circumstances

So, my friend Ashley (aka @smokesinatra) did some vlogs this month and she mentioned in one that she has a really interesting way of doing New Year’s resolutions. Instead of the usual “I’ll do or not do this thing!”, she chooses a word that is something that represents that year or what she needs to work on for that year and then every day she tries, in big or small ways, to do something related to that word. The word she’s chosen for 2017 is brave/bravery.

I freaking love this idea and have been telling other people about it, and so far everyone has really liked it too. I thought about what I wanted to do for 2017 and my word, and I’ve decided on what it is:

My word for 2017 will be: Voice

Something you may or may not know about me is that I silence myself a lot. It’s the byproduct of simultaneously being so used to not being mainstream on just about anything that I know I almost never will agree with the majority of people on something, and literally having a personality which is called The Mediator. I don’t like confrontations, I don’t like hurting people or alienating people. I would rather silence myself to let other voices grow in my presence if that’s what it takes to make a harmonious interaction. I would rather let other people feel heard in my presence than have to always be heard, myself. (I mean, sometimes I’m sassy and don’t let them feel heard, especially if I’m worked up on something, but generally speaking I try to make sure people know their voices didn’t just fall into the chasms of silence)

I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing all the time, honestly. I get along with a lot of people who don’t really know each other because I try not to alienate people, and if I realize I did I try to make up for it if possible. I’ve been able to have really great conversations with people who believe the exact opposite than me, even convinced people to change their minds on controversial topics, because I respected their differences instead of alienating them from the start.

But at the same time, I’ve always been someone extremely unwilling to change myself to fit mainstream society because fuck that shit, I’d literally have to euthanize my entire personality and become a 100% different person for that to happen. Because there is so little about me that’s “normal” or fits together “normally.” Which means I struggle daily with not hurting others while still being true to myself. I’m outspoken on a lot of things but so many other things I silence myself on because I think it’s safer to hurt myself than others.

That’s not a good mindset to have and it feeds into a lot of the issues I have that I don’t know that I talk about often?

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Julian Files chapter 6, scene 2

Julian Files chapter 6, scene 2 — read scene 1 first


Saturday July 16, 2005
Westwind Hospital, Financial South neighborhood
Lexington, PA

“Why did we have to come back?”

Cedrick mused how his five year old son passed the gift shop without a second glance but Cedrick, the twenty-five year old dad, slowed and eyed the wares longingly. The notebooks! They had his favorite sizes, although a bit more melodramatic in style than he preferred. He didn’t really need something gold and flowery proclaiming “be well” on it, but—but then again, it looked like it would fit into his back pocket well, and there was something to be said about hiding important notes in plain sight, and…

No.

Shaking his head to himself, he tugged Boyd along as he sped his walk. He had entirely too many notebooks already. Soon, they would run out of room in the library and Vivienne would not be pleased.

She actually liked the library.

On the rare days she wasn’t working or doing errands or otherwise engaged, sometimes he found her curled in the library’s corner chair with her hair tumbling over her shoulder as she slowly flipped the pages. Her free hand would be curled around a warm mug of jasmine tea with milk. Once upon a time she had scoffed at the addition of milk but after his mom had introduced it to her, she had continued to add it even on her own, even after his mother had passed.

Sometimes on those days, when he walked into the room and if she was really taken with a story, she wouldn’t notice his presence until he was behind her and kissed her on the neck. On those days she would turn, startled, and her sky blue eyes would be unguarded. He would get the luxury of her flushing cheeks, and a flash of the smile that had broken his heart and mended it back together the first time he’d seen it. A genuine, brilliant pull of her lips that brightened her entire face and made her, for once, look her actual age, if not even younger.

It would remind him of when they had been teenagers, back in France when they’d first met. The time it had taken him to win her over, to convince her he wasn’t just trying to use her or hurt her; that he wasn’t mocking her or demanding she become an entirely different person to become someone worthwhile.

The time it had taken her to believe in the idea that someone could like her for who she was, not who they wanted her to be.

On those library days they were years younger again, and it was the first time he saw her smile, the first time he heard the clear bell of her laugh, the first time she gripped his hands and danced on light feet backward, facing him and smiling while the wind swept her hair into a pirouette circling to the sky.

It was all the many firsts in one moment; all the times he got a glimpse of the fierce and lighthearted woman she might have been if her grandmother had let her be human.

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Julian Files chapter 6, scene 1

Well, I forgot about having to post this about 20,000 times so I’m posting it without trying to perfect it further. It’s a little cheesy, sorry. Also it may feel a little bit repetitive from last chapter because I had hoped to write a new chapter in between them.

Oh well. You get another Cedrick and Boyd hang out chapter. Except this time, something a bit more important happens….


Julian Files chapter 6, scene 1

Saturday July 16, 2005
Vickland neighborhood
Lexington, PA

“–and we’ll have enough time to stop by the art store if you want.”

Cedrick had been talking for eight minutes straight and didn’t think his son had heard a word of it. Boyd trotted along at Cedrick’s side, small hand engulfed in Cedrick’s palm, but his wide eyes had been roaming the streets around them ever since they had left the used clothing store. Cedrick didn’t know what it was that had the five year old so intrigued, but it had left him in an even quieter mood than normal. Used to his son’s quirks, and accustomed to comfortable silence with his wife, Cedrick didn’t think much of it. He filled the gaps with stories and plans for the day the same way he always did.

As they passed down a main thoroughfare, Cedrick felt a tug at his hand and looked back. Boyd had slowed nearly to a stop, his head craning at an awkward angle as he looked intently to the side. When his feet stilled, Cedrick was forced to stop as well. He looked in the direction Boyd was staring, but it was too crowded for him to make out anything other than a bunch of people and some stores.

“What is it?”

Boyd didn’t answer. His fingers tightened on Cedrick’s hand.

Cedrick crouched down. “Boyd?”

He brushed fine blond hair off Boyd’s forehead and tucked it behind his ear, but Boyd only frowned at first. His amber eyes flicked over to Cedrick, back to the shadows, and then with a tick in his eyebrows he looked hesitantly at his father once again.

For a second, Cedrick thought his son might be afraid of whatever he saw, and was about to tug him along in case there was unseen danger he couldn’t detect, but when Boyd spoke all Cedrick felt was perplexed.

“Are we… so very much in a hurry?”

The way that kid worded things, sometimes… Good thing Julian wasn’t here, or he’d probably upgrade Boyd to a British alien now.

“Well…” Cedrick rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know, really. We need to be somewhere at four but we have time. Why? What’s wrong? Do you have to go to the bathroom?”

Boyd scrunched up his face, as if the very thought of him needing to do something so plebeian as to pee at a time like this was insulting. Cedrick had to hold back a laugh; all he could see was Vivienne in that unnecessarily haughty stare.

“So, I’m… not in trouble if I see something?”

“No, Boyd, of course you aren’t. You’re never in trouble if you see something and you’re never in trouble if you tell me something. Where do you get these ideas?”
Boyd hesitated, his lips moving between pursing to thinning out, before settling into a contemplative frown. He didn’t look away from the direction he’d been staring. After a long moment, he finally spoke.

“I think the skeleton needs help.”

“What?” All Cedrick could see was a bunch of people walking around, going about their busy days without paying much heed to their surroundings. “What skeleton? I don’t—”

But in a gap of people, he saw it.

Her.

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I value you whether or not you value me, and other thoughts post-US election

I’ve tried to write this post so many times before and after the US presidential election, and every time it becomes way too long, or I get way too exhausted writing it, or I’m interrupted and don’t get back to it. But it’s really important to me to say this, so I’ve tried writing one or two versions of this post at least once a day since the election.

In the process, I’ve realized there’s no succinct way for me to properly explain all of my thoughts on this. Not with proper context. So I’m going to just try to say what I feel, knowing that it will be long, knowing it may be a bit confusing, knowing that people may misinterpret it in their emotional state. Please let me know if you want me to expand on anything. And if you don’t read further than this, then please be safe and happy in your own life. If you continue, know this:

For every single one of you, I welcome you, and you matter to me. And I mean every single one of you. I welcome and care about everyone regardless of their religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disabilities, and more. It should be obvious from my blog and personality that I absolutely am including in that statement anyone who is a minority or whose voice isn’t usually heard–every demographic I have listed in the past and all of those I haven’t listed but still think about often. I love and support you all.

But I think it’s important to clarify that when I say everyone, I mean everyone.  If you are super conservative, if you voted for Trump or support him, if you are white, if you are male, if you are cis, if you are Christian, if you are anything that you sometimes see people on the far left ignore or dismiss, if you’re anything that’s more moderate, or anything else I’m not mentioning–I welcome you too. I love you too, because you are a fellow human being, and you may also be a fellow American.  I value you, whether or not you value me, because I don’t believe I can truly say I stand for tolerance and equality and kindness if I don’t do my best to always try to understand all viewpoints, even if I severely disagree with them. 

There is much, much more I have to say about this but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone’s dash so I’ve put it behind a cut. Please do click to read more, though, regardless of your political beliefs or lack thereof. I know this is long. I know. But I hope you find it in your heart to continue reading.

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