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Old 05-17-2015, 03:08 AM View Post #1 (Link) The Pink Portrait, Chapter One
DeepCrystal (Offline)
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It's been a while since I've posted anything on this site. And I'm not sure I'm ready to continue posting this story or not. I hope everyone enjoys!

One

I wake with a start. I check my watch. Barely four-thirty in the morning when school was still a few days away, and I am not going to be able to go back to sleep. Rolling my eyes, I reluctantly sit up and rub the sleep from my face. I shudder as I grab a handful of my coverlet and fling it aside, letting the chill air envelop me like a cocoon. Knowing that just sitting in my queen-sized bed is not going to accomplish anything I swing my legs over and meet the somewhat rough carpet.

Stretching the sleep out of myself as I do so, I grab my half-rim glasses and quietly leave my large room. I stop at a door closest to my bedroom. It has large sign on it saying “No Admittance”. On top of that there are four deadbolts on it plus the key lock on the doorknob. I slide aside a picture next to the door and pull a loose chunk of drywall off, wherein a ring of keys sit. I grab them and begin unlocking each of the locks on the door, which always gives me a sense of anticipatory pleasure.

As soon as I open the door, my nose is hit by the lingering, but slight scent of oil. I close the door behind me and lock the three chain door locks that I have on this side of the door. The room is a somewhat spacious place. Where there should be a wall on the side of the room opposite to the door is a sliding glass door that leads out to a balcony that also serves as another way of getting to my bedroom in the next room over. Next to the doorway are two cabinets: one is a tool chest and the other a tall wooden cabinet. In the middle of the room are two tables. One has several jars of odorless mineral spirits and other cleaning solutions for oil paintbrushes. The other has a few paintings in varying stages of the drying process that would eventually either be sold at an art gallery—hopefully—or find a place on the walls of the room with the rest of the paintings that all but veil the unexciting monotony of the drywall that takes up most of my house. In the far corner of the room sits a beat-up easel.

To give myself a little ambience I walk over to the large glass sliding doors and slide the bar above it, opening the blinds. I’d turn on some music if it wasn’t so early, but the view of the stormy lake and the trees beyond, even the slight mist that sits above the water, is enough to create a certain atmosphere for what I am about to do.

After throwing on a paint-stained pair of coveralls that I had hanging next to the door, I step over to the tall cabinet and open it. “What shall I use?” I ask myself aloud as I scratch my chin thoughtfully, gazing at each and every bottle of paint. Closing my blue eyes and grabbing something at random would be pointless considering that I know where everything is. Black and white? Full color? Perhaps a color scheme? Early mornings are the worst when it comes to settling upon some kind of scheme to go for. I sigh heavily and slowly spin around three times. After the third time, I reach out and grab two bottles at random. Cobalt blue and lemon yellow. I grimace. Not my favorite combination, but I can make it work. Besides, there are so many things that can be done with primary colors. To complete the set, I grab bottles of white and black paint to help add a little depth to my painting.

I walk over to my easel I have strategically positioned on a swivel a couple of feet away from the sliding glass doors. After setting the paints down on the small table that I have next to the easel, I go over to another cabinet that is beside the one I have already visited and I reach in and select a landscape canvas.

In a period of five, maybe ten minutes, I go through my routine of filling empty Mason jars with mineral spirits and turpenoid for after I finished painting. I put some small puddles of paint on one of my dirty pallets I picked out from the tool chest and cover the canvas in a thin coat of liquid white paint. After that is taken care of, I halt.

What am I going to paint? I shake my head and allow my hands to do the work. My mind goes elsewhere as my paintbrush dances along the canvas. Mixing the few colors and turning the monotony of the canvas into something beautiful.

As I paint, I think about the dream I had. I wasn’t even sure if I would call it a nightmare. I did not know what it was.

I was walking through a forest that reminded me remarkably of one of the hiking trails that surrounded my house. There was water rushing at the bottom of a small cliff, but no sound escaped from the whiteness of the restless creek. Every tree I passed was like a dark veil, doing their best to hide secrets from my eyes with their interweaving branches that did little to muffle the whispers of the night.

Wait, night. Was it night? The sky possessed no features seen in the southeastern wilderness of Ohio. The light was too soft even for the silent beauty of the moon, yet there was no source. And none of the constellations that normally blanketed the black void were present. There was nothing.

As I walked, the darkness had begun to engulf me and the whispers grew stronger, but remained incoherent. It was more of an unremitting, breathy drone that only filled my soul with terror.

The dream was thankfully cut short by my waking up.

Coming out of my reverie, I inspect what the painting is becoming. Not a trace of yellow or even a deep shade of blue. The most dominant color is a hazy dark green that fades into blue towards the top of the canvas. Everywhere there are crisscrossing tangles of black that blend so well with the green that I worry that someone who is not accustomed to this kind of art would think this an incoherent splotch of color. The only “brightness” in this painting are slight fragments of light green that I did my best to blend with the green haze to the point that one faded into the other. I almost feel like comparing the blends between the varying shades of green to the different values of charcoal sketches.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I set the painting out to dry and clean up my painting supplies. It is a grueling effort cleaning oil paint from paintbrushes, but there is a downside to just about every type of art. When I finally finish that task, I decide to call it quits.

After hanging up my coveralls, I step out of my studio and lock each of the locks again. Hoping to sneak in a few more hours of sleep, I go back to my bedroom. Out of habit, I check my watch as I sat down on my bed. It is almost six. At least it stopped raining. I groan and collapse onto my pillow.

Just before I drift back to sleep again, I am startled by another sound. My cellphone. I know who it is just by the Bach ringtone, though I don't know which one of his pieces it is. I gave up trying to keep up with the different pieces from all those classical artists a long time ago. Knowing that the phone would just start ringing again ten seconds after I ignore it, I reach over and swipe it from my nightstand. I answer.

Mattina, sole,” says that cheery, beautiful voice I know all too well.

“Morning to you, too, Ales,” I say, a little grumpily. “This couldn’t have waited until at least eight?”

Kieran, la scuola inizia in dieci giorni,” she said matter-of-factly.

“I know that school starts in ten days, my Italian friend!” I snap.

Ti ho mai detto quanto attraente la tua voce suona attraverso il telefono cellulare?” asks Ales teasingly.

I wipe my hand over my face. I hate it when she tells me that my voice, or that any part of me for that matter, is attractive. “Fottiti,” I mutter.

“Screw you, too, Kieran,” ripostes Ales. “Now, get your culo out of bed or I am going to break down your door and drag you out breakfast to myself.”

Che cosa?” I jump out of bed and opened my drapes again. There, standing behind the sliding glass doors, is my redheaded best friend Ales. She grins playfully, showing off her dimples while waving her fingers.

I grumble and unlock the door. “Please take off your shoes before you step off the rug.”

“You’re a little cranky this morning,” says Ales, her hazel-brown eyes lighting up with mock-disapproval.

I groan as I sink onto my bed. “You would be too if you got up at four-thirty in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep,” I complain as I bury my face in my lap. I didn’t have to look to tell that she had taken a seat next to me. She places a comforting arm around my shoulders.

Mi dispiace, amico,” she says rocking my shoulders affectionately. “Hai dipingere qualcosa?”

“I did paint actually,” I reply.

Ales jumps up from my bed and prances out of my room over to my studio. About two minutes later, she lets out a squeal. Thankfully, my mother is a heavy sleeper. “Mio Dio, Kieran, your painting is beautiful!”

“You say that about all of my paintings, sorella,” I say wryly.

“Is it really a crime to enjoy all of your paintings, Kiery?”

“No.”

“The shut up and just say ‘thank you.’”

Grazie, Ales,” I say lifting my head from my lap and stretching.

“You’re welcome. Now I am going to go downstairs and watch Netflix, while you shower and change into something that doesn’t resemble nightwear.”

I watch as she parades out of my room while humming an Eluveitie song. I roll my eyes and go over to my closet to pick out something to wear. I end up pulling out a white V-neck T-shirt with black skull and crossbones on the back—or at least the skull and paintbrushes where there should have been bones—and a somewhat discolored pair of black jeans. I then grab my basket of toiletries and a towel from the top of my dresser and I head to the bathroom.

My mind is elsewhere as I clean my body. How am I going to spend my last week of summer? Am I going to go swimming? Perhaps get approached by someone, such as a young couple, who would like a portrait commemorating their engagement? I am probably trying too hard to map out my week.

After I get out of the shower, I rub Vaseline into my arms, face, and feet, being the places where my skin dried easily. Before leaving the bathroom, I inspect my reflection. I end up combing my short brown hair and washing my face with acne soap to fight back the few pimples that sometimes pop up along the edges of my hairline.

I go downstairs to find Ales curled up on the black leather sectional couch watching One Tree Hill and cuddling with my black and orange cat, Beatrice. As I approach, she perks her head up and lets out a squeaky meow.

Ho già il suo nutrito,” says Ales, not taking her eyes off the television screen.

“Good to know,” I reply. “Looks like you won’t need any more food, Bea.” Those silly green eyes of hers always put a smile on my face. “So where do you want to go for breakfast, Ales?”

“Hmm, I was thinking about going to my mother’s diner.”

“Oh, your mother ought to sue us for going to her diner so many times.”

Perseguire noi? Mia madre avrebbe preferito divorziare mio padre per non essere un avvocato che per perseguire noi per essere clienti abituali!”

“And your father is a very good lawyer,” I comment. “I would be thoroughly surprised if your parents divorced.”

Ales shrug. “Mamma might divorce Papà if he quits his job as a lawyer. Especially when he is doing so well.” She smirks. “Papà ci potrebbe gettare in carcere , se smettiamo di andare a cena di mia madre.”

My eyes widen. “I sure hope he doesn’t throw us in prison.” I grab my jacket and keys. “Now let’s get out of here; I’m hungry.”

Anch’io,” she turns off the television and looks down pitifully at my cat. “Scusate, Beatrice, but I have to get up now.” The stubborn feline does not budge, but keeps purring. Ales sighs and gets up, prompting Beatrice to jump from her lap with an angry meow. “I’ll bring you a new bouncy ball.”

I chuckle as I walk over and pull my best friend into a hug from behind. “Don’t worry, miele, I’m sure she still loves you.”

Ales grasps my wrists affectionately. “I’m sure she laughs at you for being five inches below average height in terms of men.”

I narrow my eyes, annoyed. “Well, there’s no law that outlaws a guy being one hundred and sixty-five centimeters tall.”

“It’s good thing that I am the only other person in the room,” says Ales, removing herself from my arms. “Otherwise I would be reminding you to say ‘five-foot-five’.”

“I don’t mind using the metric system when I am around you,” I state with a shrug. I break into a toothy grin. “At least I can say that I am taller than your mother.”

Ales rolls her eyes as she makes her way to the door. “Let’s go get breakfast, you idiota.”

I laugh as I follow her.
__________________
DeepCrystal

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever--Mahatmas Gandhi

Dreaming your life away brings no solace; what you choose to make a reality is where true solace lies.--DeepCrystal
  
						Last edited by DeepCrystal; 05-18-2015 at 11:50 PM.
					
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:21 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Infinity_Man (Offline)
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As requested.

Originally Posted by DeepCrystal View Post
It's been a while since I've posted anything on this site. It really has. More than a year apparently. Well, I hope I don't scare you off of posting more work. And I'm not sure I'm ready to continue posting this story or not. I hope everyone enjoys!

One

I wake with a start. Maybe it's because the last several stories I've critiqued here and at other sites have all started with the character waking up, but I'm tired of this opening. It's already pretty widely acknowledged that starting with the character waking up is cliche, so if you can't do something interesting with it (and maybe you will, I haven't gotten far enough to decide) you might want to rethink your opening. I check my watch. Barely four-thirty in the morning when school has not even begun yet This clause is awkward. I know what you're trying to say, but a combination of a poorly chosen "when" and a "duh" element make this sentence a bit blah., and I am not going to be able to go back to sleep. Rolling my eyes, I reluctantly sit up and rub the sleep from my face. I shudder as I grab a handful of my coverlet and fling it aside, letting the chill air envelop me like a cocoon. Knowing that just sitting in my queen-sized bed is not going to accomplish anything I swing my legs over and meet the somewhat rough carpet. So far I'm getting a sense that you're going to describe the minutiae of this character waking up and, while that's a very minor conflict (waking up super early sucks, everyone can relate to this) it's crossing a line into dull. When every minor detail gets a modifier or description (I don't need to know the bed is a queen-size or the carpet is rough, do I?) then it's a sign you're going to be a bit purple. It's even more important since you're opening with something of a slow beginning that you don't get bogged down in details and get us to something interesting as fast as possible.

Stretching the sleep out of myself as I do so, I grab my half-rim glasses and quietly leave my large room. I stop at a door closest to my bedroom. It has large sign on it saying “No Admittance”. On top of that there are four deadbolts on it plus the key lock on the doorknob. I slide aside a picture next to the door and pull a loose chunk of drywall off, wherein a ring of keys sit Unless more than one person has to use these keys, because they all have access to the secret room but couldn't spring for another set of keys, why does he keep the keys in a fairly obvious hiding spot? Why doesn't he just keep them on his person, where they're more secure? It's not like "behind the painting" is a particularly original hiding spot, and loose drywall is pretty damn visible (in that there will be a clear crack around it as it is no longer part of the rest of the drywall) so all it would take is someone to glance behind the painting, or maybe it falls down accidentally, and boom--someone else in the house has access to his secret room.. I grab them and begin unlocking each of the locks on the door, which always gives me a sense of anticipatory pleasure. The latter half of this paragraph is more interesting, but the first sentence is a bit more descriptive than I find interesting/

As soon as I open the door, my nose is hit by the lingering, but slight scent of oil. I close the door behind me and lock the three chain door locks that I have on this side of the door I mean, I assume he's not magically able to lock locks on the other side of the door?. The room is a somewhat spacious place. Where there should be a wall on the side of the room opposite to the door is a sliding glass door that leads out to a balcony that also serves as another way of getting to my bedroom in the next room over Okay, so if the opposite wall is a sliding glass door (is the whole wall a door?) then why "should" there be a wall there? That sentence only makes sense if what's in place of the wall is actually unusual, a subversion of commons, but a door to a balcony is perfectly reasonable. Also, there's a balcony that connects his bedroom and his secret room? Doesn't that undermine the security of the deadbolts? You didn't describe him locking his bedroom door, and considering how you've been describing just about all else that makes me think there are no locks on his door. So can't someone bypass the quadruple locked door by going through his open bedroom and through the balcony if they really wanted to? Now, I'll assume that the balcony door is also locked, but it's still a big window, essentially, and it seems like privacy is pretty important to this room, so shouldn't that still be an issue?. Next to the doorway are two cabinets: one is a tool chest and the other a tall wooden cabinet "There are two cabinets; one is a tool chest and the other is a cabinet" is what you just said, in essence. Do you see how ridiculous "there are two cabinets, one is a cabinet" is?. In the middle of the room are two tables. One has several jars of odorless mineral spirits and other cleaning solutions for oil paintbrushes. The other has a few paintings in varying stages of the drying process that would eventually either be sold at an art gallery—hopefully—or find a place on the walls of the room with the rest of the paintings that all but veil the unexciting monotony of the drywall that takes up most of my house. In the far corner of the room sits a beat-up easel.

To give myself a little ambience I walk over to the large glass sliding doors and slide the bar above it, opening the blinds. I’d turn on some music if it wasn’t so early, but the view of the quiet lake and the trees beyond, even the slight mist that sits above the water, is enough to create a certain atmosphere for what I am about to do.

After throwing on a paint-stained pair of coveralls that I had hanging next to the door, I step over to the tall cabinet and open it. “What shall I use?” I ask myself aloud as I scratch my chin thoughtfully, gazing at each and every bottle of paint. Closing my blue eyes Ugh. and grabbing something at random would be pointless considering that I know where everything is. Black and white? Full color? Perhaps a color scheme? Early mornings are the worst when it comes to settling upon some kind of scheme to go for. I sigh heavily and slowly spin around three times Wait, didn't he just say that closing his eyes and picking at random would be pointless? I mean, yeah he's spinning now, but the two statements are so close together I can't help but read it is a contradiction.. After the third time, I reach out and grab two bottles at random. Cobalt blue and lemon yellow. I grimace. Not my favorite combination, but I can make it work. Besides, there are so many things that can be done with primary colors. To complete the set, I grab bottles of white and black paint to help add a little depth to my painting.

This paragraph marks where the modifiers--the adjectives and adverbs--became a bit too strong for me. I've underlined the ones that feel especially extraneous, and you can see they're more prevalent in the first half of the paragraph. I think this is because the second half is a bit more interesting, something's actually happening rather than the character just thinking about things, and you let your actions speak instead of the words themselves. I'm also more interested now that he's actually doing something clear, and there's still a note of mystery to it (I'm curious as to why he feels the need to quadruple lock this space if it's just his work space).

I walk over to my easel I have strategically positioned on a swivel a couple of feet away from the sliding glass doors so that, when I feel like it, I have it face the sunlight This sentence feels a little stretched... also, how unwieldy is his easel that, when he feels like it, he can't just physically move it to the sunlight? Most easels are meant to be mobile, right? So why is it so noteworthy that he can move this one?. After setting the paints down on the small table that I have next to the easel, I go over to another cabinet that is beside the one I have already visited and I reach in and select a landscape canvas.

In a period of five, maybe ten minutes, I go through my routine of filling empty Mason jars with mineral spirits and turpenoid for after I finished painting. I put some small puddles of paint on one of my dirty pallets I picked out from the tool chest and cover the canvas in a thin coat of liquid white paint. After that is taken care of, I halt.

I'm still a bit bothered by the minutiae, only now I'm conflicted because there's some that I rather like. The details about fill mason jars and painting the canvas white? That's interesting. The details that he can turn his easel to face the sun if he wants, or that the table he places his paints on is next to the easel...those are a bit extraneous, and I think you give them too much time in this story.

Oh, crap, What am I going to paint? I suggest cutting "Oh, crap," because it sounds a bit childish, more like the author coming through, and I'm not sure you've established the character's voice enough in that direction to get away with it. Considering we've had several paragraphs of fairly formal, distant first-person narration, this feels a bit out of place. So either cut this, or edit the beginning to feel a little less formal to make this fit. I shake my head and allow my hands to do the work. My mind goes elsewhere as my paintbrush dances along the canvas. Mixing the few colors and turning it into something beautiful This is an incomplete sentence. It doesn't not contain a subject..

As I paint, I think about the dream I had. I wasn’t even sure if I would call it a nightmare. I did not know what it was. I should point out that reflecting on dreams/nightmares is also a cliche.

I was walking through a forest that reminded me remarkably of one of the hiking trails that surrounded my house. There was water rushing at the bottom of a small cliff, but no sound escaped from the whiteness of the restless creek. Every tree I passed was like a dark veil, doing their best to hide secrets from my eyes with their interweaving branches that did little to muffle the whispers of the night.

Wait, night. Was it night? The sky possessed no features seen in the southeastern wilderness of Ohio. The light was too soft even for the silent beauty of the moon, yet there was no source. And none of the constellations that normally blanketed the black void were present. There was nothing.

As I walked, the darkness had begun to engulf me and the whispers grew stronger, but remained incoherent. It was more of an unremitting, breathy drone that only filled my soul with terror.

The dream was thankfully cut short by my waking up.

I... can forgive a lot of the purple prose in this piece, since this is the first-person perspective of a painter. It makes sense to me that he'd be melodramatic and over-describe something like stars as "constellations that normally blanketed the black void." I mean, I don't like it personally, but I can understand how it works in the story. It can still be annoying if overdone, even if it makes sense, so be a bit careful.

Coming out of my reverie, I inspect what the painting is becoming. Not a trace of yellow or even a deep shade of blue. The most dominant color is a hazy dark green that fades into blue towards the top of the canvas. Everywhere there are crisscrossing tangles of black that blend so well with the green that I worry that someone who is not accustomed to this kind of art would think this an incoherent splotch of color. The only “brightness” in this painting are slight fragments of light green that I did my best to blend with the green haze to the point that one faded into the other similar to the different values of charcoal sketches. You're literally trying to paint me a picture with words here, and I think you're almost there, you just need to tidy up your language a bit. That last sentence especially is a bit awkward.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I set the painting out to dry and clean up my painting supplies. It was a grueling effort cleaning oil paint from paintbrushes, but there was a downside to just about every type of art This sentence is in past tense, counter to the rest of the story.. When I finally finish that task, I decide to call it a day. Which is a really word phrase to use, considering it's probably not even six in the morning.

After hanging up my coveralls, I step out of my studio and lock each of the locks again. Hoping to sneak in a few more hours of sleep, I go back to my bedroom. Out of habit, I check my watch as I sat down on my bed. It is almost six Oh yeah, good call on my part.. At least it stopped raining. Wait, it was raining? This is literally the first time you mention that, even though you included a moment where he crosses to the window and looks outside. In fact, when he does that he describes being able to see a quiet lake and mist. I have a hard time believing either of those things are prevalent if it's raining, or that he can even see past the water-stained glass if it's raining particularly hard. I groan and collapse onto my pillow.

Just before I drift back to sleep again, I am startled by another sound. My cellphone. I know who it is just by the ringtone. It is Bach, but I know not which one of his pieces it is Pronoun ambiguity. It sounds like he's saying "I know who's calling. It's Bach.". I gave up trying to keep up with the different pieces from all those classical artists a long time ago. Knowing that the phone would just start ringing again ten seconds after I ignore it, I reach over and swipe it from my nightstand. I answered. Another tense error

Mattina, sole,” says that cheery, beautiful voice I know all too well.

“Morning to you, too, Ales,” I say, a little grumpily. “This couldn’t have waited until at least eight?”

Kieran, la scuola inizia in dieci giorni,” she said matter-of-factly.
Oh body, somebody speaking in another language? I bet I know a couple of things that are coming next...

“I know that school starts in ten days, my Italian friend!” I snap. Yep, here's the first one: the awkward "translating for the reader" that a character does by repeating in English what the other character says. It's also amplified by the awkwardness of him saying she's Italian, which is clearly for the benefit of the reader. Basically, this is clearly all just to keep the reader up to speed, and it comes off as breaking a fourth wall, or being really unimmersive.
Also, where is Ales right now? Is she in Italy, or did she somehow end up in Ohio and just decides to keep speaking Italian? Since the latter doesn't make a lot of sense, I'll assume it's the former, in which case shouldn't the narrator's "Couldn't this have waited until eight" been more along the lines of "You forgot I'm in a different time zone" since for Ales it's probably well past eight right now?
Also, going back to that first paragraph in the story, when he says "430 when school hasn't even begun yet"... at the time it sounded like he was saying school wouldn't start for a couple of hours, but now I think you meant to say the school year hadn't started and so he had no reason to wake up that early. You might want to clarify that in an edit.


Ti ho mai detto quanto attraente la tua voce suona attraverso il telefono cellulare?” asks Ales teasingly.

I wipe my hand over my face. I hate it when she tells me that my voice, or that any part of me for that matter, is attractive. “Fottiti,” I mutter. And here's another of what I had been dreading: the main character switching into speaking Italian as well. I mean, yeah, you're trying to get away with him swearing, but all it does is make me think, why doesn't he just speak Italian for her since that'd probably be easier for her?

“Screw you, too, Kieran,” ripostes Ales. [b]Oh, so now she actually does speak English. So why are these two jumping back and forth between languages like this? “Now, get your culo I really hope this isn't all just set-up for you using Italian whenever you want a character to swear. out of bed or I am going to break down your door and drag you out Missing a word here breakfast to myself.”

Che cosa?” Why does he say this in Italian? I jump out of bed and opened Tense error my drapes again Again? I don't recall him doing this before.. There, standing behind the sliding glass doors, is my redheaded best friend Ales Man, so even people outside can just climb up onto his balcony and peak into his secret art dungeon?. She grins playfully, showing off her dimples while waving her fingers.

I grumble and unlock the door. “Please take off your shoes before you step off the rug Off?.”

“You’re a little cranky this morning,” says Ales, her hazel-brown eyes lighting up with mock-disapproval. I know you think you're being clever by hiding Ales's description in exposition, but it's not hidden if every sentence includes what's clearly meant to describe her. It's a little excessive, and reeks of author intrusion. If I can see the machine working behind the scenes, then I'm distracted.

I groan as I sink onto my bed with my face in my lap All of that in one action? Like, he sinks into his bed but he's still folded up with his face in his lap? That's impressive.. “You would be too if you got up at four-thirty in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep.” I didn’t have to look to tell that she had taken a seat next to me I should think not. Unless his bed has absolutely no give whatsoever, and is more describable as a slab of granite, it's going to make a noise when she sits, and it's going to change how the mattress feels underneath him. This is so elementary I don't think you need to describe it, and I think you just described it this was because you didn't want to just say "she sat down next to me.. She places a comforting arm around my shoulders.

Mi dispiace, amico,” she says rocking my shoulders affectionately. “Hai dipingere qualcosa?”

“I did paint actually,” I reply.

Ales jumps up from my bed and prances out of my room over to my studio. About two minutes later, she lets out a squeal. Thankfully, my mother is a heavy sleeper. If this is true, why did he worry about playing music earlier?Mio Dio, Kieran, your painting is beautiful!”

“You say that about all of my paintings, sorella,” I say wryly.

“Is it really a crime to enjoy all of your paintings, Kiery?”

“No.”

“Then shut up and just say ‘thank you.’”

Grazie, Ales,” I say lifting my head from my lap and stretching.

“You’re welcome. Now I am going to go downstairs and watch Netflix, while you shower and change into something that doesn’t resemble nightwear.”

I watch as she parades out of my room while humming an Eluveitie song. Starting here...I roll my eyes and go over to my closet to pick out something to wear. I end up pulling out a white V-neck T-shirt with black skull and crossbones on the back—or at least the skull and paintbrushes where there should have been bones—and a somewhat discolored pair of black jeans. I then grab my basket of toiletries and a towel from the top of my dresser and I head to the bathroom.

My mind is elsewhere as I clean my body. How am I going to spend my last week of summer? Am I going to go swimming? Perhaps get approached by someone, such as a young couple, who would like a portrait commemorating their engagement? I am probably trying too hard to map out my week.

After I get out of the shower, I rub Vaseline into my arms, face, and feet, being the places where my skin dried easily. Before leaving the bathroom, I inspect my reflection. I end up combing my short brown hair and washing my face with acne soap to fight back the few pimples that sometimes pop up along the edges of my hairline....to here is all daily life minutiae that I really couldn't give two shits about. Him reflecting on how he's going to spend the last week of summer isn't bad, but it's dismissed so quickly as him trying too hard that it doesn't really add anything. I don't need to know how he dresses (yes, the paintbrush and bones is a nice touch, but at the same time I get it, he's a painter), I don't need to know how he showers, and I definitely don't need to hear about him rubbing Vaseline and acne soap over his body.

I go downstairs to find Ales curled up on the black leather sectional couch watching One Tree Hill and cuddling with my black and orange cat, Beatrice. As I approach, she perks her head up and lets out a squeaky meow. Ambiguity error. Since Ales is the subject of the previous sentence, and Beatrice is only a part of the predicate, the next sentence's "she" refers to Ales. So Ales is perking her head up and meowing.

Ho già il suo nutrito,” says Ales, not taking her eyes off the television screen.

“Good to know,” I reply. “Looks like you won’t need any more food, Bea.” This line doesn't work the way you think it does, i.e it doesn't help us translate what Ales said. So, me not knowing Italian, I don't know that Ales just said she fed Beatrice, so all I thought when Kieran said he doesn't need to feed Beatrice is "Uh... why?" Also, what a stupid bit of dialogue. "I already fed her" "Oh, okay, looks like you don't need any more food" Yes, you think? Those silly green eyes of hers always put a smile on my face. “So where do you want to go for breakfast, Ales?”

“Hmm, I was thinking about going to my mother’s diner.”

“Oh, your mother ought to sue us for going to her diner so many times.”

Perseguire noi? Mia madre avrebbe preferito divorziare mio padre per non essere un avvocato che per perseguire noi per essere clienti abituali!” Ah, alas, the powers of google translate are not enough for this sentence so I will forever not know what it says.

“And your father is a very good lawyer,” I comment. “I would be thoroughly surprised if your parents divorced.”

Ales shrug. “Mamma might divorce Papà if he quits his job as a lawyer. Especially when he is doing so well.” She smirks. “Papà ci potrebbe gettare in carcere , se smettiamo di andare a cena di mia madre.”

My eyes widen. “I sure hope he doesn’t throw us in prison for not coming to the diner.” This is getting ridiculously tedious. Is their entire relationship just Kieran repeating what she says in English? I grab my jacket and keys. “Now let’s get out of here; I’m hungry.”

Anch’io,” she turns off the television and looks down pitifully at my cat. “Scusate, Beatrice, but I have to get up now.” The stubborn feline does not budge, but keeps purring. Ales sighs and gets up, prompting Beatrice to jump from her lap with an angry meow. “I’ll bring you a new bouncy ball.”

I chuckle as I walk over and pull my best friend into a hug from behind. “Don’t worry, miele, I’m sure she still loves you.”

Ales grasps my wrists affectionately. “I’m sure she laughs at you for being five inches below average height in terms of men.”

I narrow my eyes, annoyed. “Well, there’s no law that illegalizes Not a word. a guy being one hundred and sixty-five centimeters tall.” Ohio adheres to the metric system? I'm impressed.

“It’s good thing that I am the only other person in the room,” says Ales, removing herself from my arms. “Otherwise I would be reminding you to say ‘five-foot-five’.” A-ha, I see.

“I don’t mind using the metric system when I am around you,” I state with a shrug. I break into a toothy grin. “At least I can say that I am taller Word's missing here. your mother.”

Ales rolls her eyes as she makes her way to the door. “Let’s go get breakfast, you idiota.”

I laugh as I follow her.
So... there are some things that aren't bad and some that need quite a bit of work. I like Kieran and Ales's relationship, or at least I believe that they're friends/want to be more than friends and are in denial (I liked the repeated "best friend" right when he hugs her from behind). Their banter is believable and light, although Kieran comes off a bit mechanical in it (though that could be the point). And there's a comfort between them that I see, that gives Ales the will to go about his house and feed his cat and whatnot, that I think adds to their relationship without you having to come out and draw our attention to it.

I also quite liked the bits about the painting. That felt a bit more unique to a story that, without it, could be just another cliche-ridden teen story.

That said, there's quite a bit I didn't like, beyond just language. For one thing, I think you need to either axe the Italian, or severely cut back on it. It's just so baffling why you'd include it, as all it does is take up space and force you to have Kieran awkwardly repeat everything Ales says. I assume you're trying to show that Kieran is really smart, and learned Italian just to befriend (and only befriend, I'm sure) this girl that had moved to southeast-fucking-Ohio from Italy. It's a nice way to show his character, but it overstepped its boundaries quite a bit. The way they switched from Italian to English and back on a whim was also fairly obnoxious. Really, for anyone who reads this story, there are only three choices:
1) They can know Italian
2) They can skip over the Italian
3) They can work on translating the Italian.

Let's assume most readers won't be fluent in Italian (and if they are, you'd better make sure you've gotten it all right too). So that leaves either skipping or translating. The problem with translating is that it takes us out of the story. I had the benefit of google translate in another window, and it still took me a few seconds to copy and paste your text and read what you actually had to say. Now, granted, Kieran does a lot of the translating for us, but like I said that's really awkward and is clearly just there to inform the reader, so it breaks immersion. Or we can skip, but if you're purposely writing things we're better off just skipping over, what's the point in writing them? Either you're going to have readers constantly breaking immersion with your story, or you're going to have readers thinking your story is okay to skim (thus breaking immersion).

Additionally, nothing really happens in this chapter that could be called conflict. Other than him waking up fairly early (which doesn't have much of an impact) this whole chapter just feels like a usual day in the life of high-school savant Kieran, master of painting and language (did I mention Kieran feels like a Gary Stu?). This isn't the start of a story; this is the continuation of a different, boring tale we all live. Nothing actually happens that could be called plot, and for that it's wholly uninteresting.

It also leaves me with one big question: Why the fuck does Kieran feel the need to lock up his art dungeon? It sounds like he just lives with his mother, since that's the only person he mentions when he comments on Ales being really loud, so why does he have to quadruple lock his door? Does he not trust his mother or something? Is there something more sinister going on? And how did he convince her to install deadlocks on this separate, spacious room that he decided to just completely take over? Won't she be livid when she discovers he's cut a chunk of drywall out of the wall?

Some stilted yet over-descriptive language side, the biggest problem is just that nothing happens here. Nothing that feels like it deserves to be the start of a story, at least. There's no conflict, not even anything minor, really, and so there's no reason for me to keep reading. I have absolutely zero interest in reading further because, as far as I know, the plot could still be anything. And because it didn't spark my interest to keep reading, this is fundamentally flawed as a beginning.
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