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   Chapter 3 Juliet Matthias

Mr. Fiction | Open Novella Contest By Agatha Rose Characters: 15449

Updated: 2018-03-02 19:45

The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality. Reality is above all else a variable. With a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before. -- Margaret Halsey, No Laughing Matter

"That's Juliet Matthias."

I look at her in disbelief. I pinched myself to make sure I'm was not dreaming.

Manners are important in our family so I know I should be more polite, but I can't help but spout the thoughts in my head, loud and clear. "That's not possible! This is me, " I point at the girl on the left, "and that's my sister." I can imagine what I sound like, a crazy loudspeaker spouting nonsense. But I don't care.

"Is this a joke? Is some reality tv host going to jump out?" I knew that I was telling the truth, so Sister Cecilia had to be lying. I look at her more closely. The lack of guilt in her eyes makes me doubt myself. But it can't be, right? I know Stella is my sister. We have lived together with our parents for years before I went to pursue my career and Stella headed to boarding school.

"If you say so, " replies Sister Cecilia with a trace of a hidden smile. I was surprised at her patience but maybe that's a prerequisite to being a nun.

Mine, sadly, is the one virtue I lack. "I have this exact photo. I'll bring it to show you." I quickly collect my things and dump them inside my bag. "Thank you for the meeting today, Sister, but I'm afraid I have to go."

"Yes, of course, my dear. Have a good day."

Once I got home, the first thing I do was to look for the picture. I remember placing it in a new IKEA frame on my office desk. I dump my bag and jacket on the sofa and head to my office.

Seeing the blue frame from afar, calmed my nerves. I feel relief. I flip the frame over, staring at the picture of me with Stella standing wrapped in each others' arms smiles back at me. I exhale, for the first time realizing that I was holding my own breath. I move around the table and sit on my chair, holding the frame close to my heart.

Stella is my anchor. She's my little sister. We always confide in each other and protect one another. As teenagers, we covered for each other's mischief. There are so many memories of my sister floating in my mind, it makes me miss her more.

The sound of the phone ringing brings me to the present wisping my memories away. I blink a few times before reaching into my back pocket and pulling out my cell phone. "Hello?"

"Hey, Julie." It's Rachel, my editor these last few years. "How are things going? You know, with the interview and everything."

From the way she speaks, I know it's not her talking; it's Bob Rogers, her boss. I am usually quick at writing my narrative once I have all my research in place but somehow I feel that the materials that I've collected to write Toby's story aren't enough.

It has been two years since my last published book. I know everyone is worried, they can't wait to sell another book. But for them it's only about the money, for me it's about the story. I am a perfectionist, there is no way I would let a book be published unless I feel that it's truly finished, that I don't need to add anything further.

Writing isn't something that you can set a deadline on. Sometimes you can't tell when the story will be finished, you simply know when it is. I sit every day at my desk, staring at my computer with my research all spread everywhere. Sometimes I can just write, while other times my mind is closed off, and I can't find any inspiration. Sure, I can write about five thousand words but I'm not feeling it. And words are nothing unless they have meanings and brings emotions.

"Julie? Julie, are you still there? Are you okay?" The panic in Rachel's voice brings me back to reality.

I place my free hand on my forehead, rubbing my temples as my head starts to throb, "Yes, I'm here. Sorry, just lost my train of thought. It went well, Sister Cecilia was very helpful with the info. I got more details about Toby's past and his life at the orphanage-- it's getting there"

I was starting to feel the side effects of sleep deprivation and long distance driving. A four-hour drive back to back starts to surface now. I can feel how sore my back is right now.

"That's good. I'm glad, " relief reflected in her voice. Rachel is one of those people who can't hide her feelings from the tone of her voice.

I stifle a yawn then lightly rub my eyes. "Hey, Rach, as much as I want to talk right now, I'm deadbeat tired. Can we talk tomorrow?"

"Oh yeah. Sure. I'll tell Bob that you're doing good and

always. Her joyful voice helps calm down my nerves, even manages to bring a smile to my lips.

The water is boiled so I reach and turn off the heater. "I miss you too, hun, " I pour myself a cup of tea then add a package of creamer from the drawer. I have a weird habit of drinking tea with creamer instead of a splash of milk. "Hey, Stella, do you remember a photo of us in front of our parents home?"

"Which photo? We have lots of them from when we were kids, " answers Stella.

She's right. We used to have lots, sadly I left them all in our parents home because photos only make me miss them more and I can't bear that. "The one in Ardmore, we stood in the front door."

"Sorry, sis, I can't remember it specifically. By the way, I have to go. I have a study group in fifteen minutes and I haven't taken a shower yet."

I hold the phone in between my cheek and shoulder while opening the package and dump the content inside my cup. "One more thing, Stella, " I stir the tea, trying to calm my nerves. I can't believe what I'm going to ask but my mind won't leave me alone if I don't. "Am I adopted?"

There's a dead silence for a few heartbeats. I feel that my heart stops, the motion in my hand stops. Then I hear Stella's laughter. "Have you been drinking? Of course, you're not adopted. Your mother is Katherine, your father is Jeremy St. Matthews. Now get yourself some coffee before you forget about me too."

A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I can feel the relief washed over me. "Very funny, Stella, I'm not drunk." I take a sip of my tea. "Have fun studying. I love you."

"I love you too, sis."

I put my phone back to my pocket and gather my tea back to the living room.

No matter how I try to shake it off, the letter still bugs me. I tell myself I'm not a very curious person, yet I can't help but feel like a hypocrite. Who am I kidding? Of course, I'm a very curious person, that's how I become a good writer. I gather facts more than a reporter, search more than a detective.

I take out my phone and open the browser. The internet is full of information, I'm sure I can find one about this mysterious Mr. Fiction, I tell myself as I type on the google search bar. I feel the hesitation lingered with doubt starts to cloud my mind. What if I'm not ready to find out about him? What if it's not something I'm prepared for?

I brush those fear away and press enter. I sag on my couch. "Of course, it's just a silly romance movie, " I read the article about the 2014 movie about a man who bets the owner of a bookstore that she will lose interest in her new beau after one month. It's cliche. I don't need to watch the movie to know that the man will end up with the bookstore owner.

I press the home button and put my phone down. It doesn't stay for a long time as in seconds, it rings. I look at the screen. A number I don't recognize. Usually, I always send them to voicemail, but I don't know what's driven me today to answer the call. "Hello?"

A deep rough voice caresses my ear.

"Juliet. Miss me?"

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