I think the most common advice writers hear from one another is: write every day. The last time I heard this bit of advice, the writer in question went on to say that she began by writing every day for 30 minutes, and moved steadily up to writing for 6 hours a day. Now, for many of us, 6 hours just isn’t feasible–not with paycheck jobs, school, families, etc. But I liked the idea behind what she said, that you have to start small and build tolerance, that just like working out at the gym, you have to work the writing muscle, build the writing muscle, grow it, and become stronger as you go.
But that’s easier said than done.
When it comes to my own writing, I don’t worry about timing, and I don’t write every day (as much as I would like to) but I do I worry about results, about content, and I strive to set and complete clear goals. (This is not always good content, not always perfect results, but we’ll get back to that later.) Everything in my life is scheduled–from the calendar filled with dates and appointments–to the day to day to-do list. And you can bet that writing is on that to-do list.
For me, the schedule is broken down a bit like this:
For the month: Write 2 Chapters
And a hypothetical week might look like this:
Monday: 1,000 words
Tuesday: 1,000 words
Thursday: 1,000 words
Friday: 1,000 words
Saturday: 500 words
Sunday: 500 Words
I don’t write well on Wednesday (too many real life distractions) and over the weekend, I don’t have as much time to sit down and write (too many family obligations), so I lower the expectation. But the goal is always the same: 5,000 words a week, and 5,000 words equal one chapter.
This is not an exact science. Some of my chapters end up closer to 3,000, some closer to 6,000, and of course it’s never on the dot. The story will go where it wants to go, and one chapter in the hundreds I’ve ever written has ever finished at an exact 5,000 (and I took a screencap; I was overjoyed).
The point is not to be exact but to have a goal, and I have found that 5,000 words makes for a well rounded, well develop chapter (around 20 pages, just enough to really dive into a scene or moment, extract some character development or plot movement, then exit, leaving the reader wanting more).
5,000 is my comfy spot, but it won’t be for everyone. Some stories are made to have short chapters: quick and sweet, a handful of pages only (see any James Patterson book). Some chapters are long and packed full. That’s not what matters. What matters is consistency. While there are always exceptions, it’s a good rule of thumb to try and keep your chapters all at the same length if possible. This gives the story a sense that it was well-planned, and it gives a natural pace for the readers.
Averaging two chapters a month with 16 chapters in a book, this schedule brings the grand total of first draft writing time to about 8 months. When you add in real life distractions, complete plot derailment, unforeseen chapters, that character you added in at chapter 12 and had to go back and add to all the previous chapters, it usually takes closer to a year. And then comes the fun part: editing. But more on that next week.
To all the writers out there: how do you work writing into your day in a way that keeps it manageable and keeps you from losing your mind? Do you plan it out, force yourself into a schedule, or do you write whenever the mood strikes?
Feel free to add to this post or submit your own advice to share with your fellow writers at ancwritingresources.tumblr.com
It was my first day at my new school, I tried to style my hair this morning but I ended up wearing my regular hair since I thought that it looked dumb. After countless minutes of trying to find the perfect make up look and then wiping it all off, I decided to go with some concealer and that was it. I looked at the mirror before heading down frowning at the mirror, I thought I looked like a troll. My father was answering another phone call and my little brother was heading to the bus already, it was my first time going to school alone with no siblings and in a new city so it was a bit nerve wreaking. My stomach didn’t sit quite right and I could barely swallow my breakfast, I was so scared about how the people in my new class would think of me. After my dad finished his call he looked over at me and smiled taking a sip of his coffee.
“Are you ready for your first day?” He asked setting down the cup and looking at his watch.
“Yeah I guess” I answered lying I wasn’t ready for anything I just wanted to hide.
“Well lets get going I have a meeting to attend” he said taking his brief case and coat. I nodded and got my school bag and headed with him to the car, I looked out at the window my stomach became even more worse than before. The closer we got to school the worst my self esteem became, and I started to panic my dad noticed and his smile became a worried expression. “Honey I want you to know that your new school is not going to be like your old one and you’re going to be fine.” I instantly felt a lot better. When we finally got to the school my dad gave me a kiss on the forehead before he drove away leaving me alone.
I walked to the administration office getting my classes and locker, I headed to my locker observing the people in my school everyone seemed to have their own group and that’s when I felt like I wasn’t going to make any friends. I opened my locker and put my coat into the locker, locking the locker I went to class and I waited patiently for the teacher to introduce me I just looked at the class while standing beside the teacher, waiting for kids to fill the room.
“Kids please sit down we have a new student named (Y/n) (L/N), please be nice to her” The teacher started “you can sit next to Taehyung” The teacher pointed to the boy next to the window. I nodded and sat next to him pulling out my note books and tried to catch up with the class studies which wasn’t hard since it was the first day of school for everyone, just everyone had friends last year that also went here.
“Hey” Taehyung whispered looking at me, smiling.
“Hi” I smiled back, maybe this would be my new friend.
“You wanna eat lunch with my friends and I?” Taehyung smiled.
“Yeah I would love to!” I smiled widely.
Class ended and Taehyung grabbed my hand and pulled me to the lunchroom where we got our food and sat at a table, we were chatting and laughing together and soon more people came to sit with us. They were all in my class and they were really nice I felt as if I felt belong.
“So Y/n tell us why did you come to our school? Not complaining or anything just wondering how our school got a beautiful girl to come to our school” Namjoon asked while he borderline flirted with me, or at least I thought that was flirting.
“Well I got bullied at my last school and so I left the city and started a new life, I know it sounds cowardly but it was better than doing self harm on myself.” I answered it felt nice to get that off my chest.
“I’m so sorry that happened to you, but I think that you were strong enough to leave a city and start fresh.” Jin smiled “also I’m glad you left because now you have all of us!” I smiled, I was glad that everyone was nice to me and I was glad Taehyung had asked me to come eat lunch with him.
Lunch was over and some girls had approached me they were nice and I ended up exchanging my numbers with all of my class I was so glad that I made so many friends. After school I waited for my dad to come and pick me up, his car pulled up and I picked up my bag and went into his car.
“How was school today?” My dad asked started to drive further away from the school.
“It was the best day I’ve ever had at school, I made a lot of friends and everyone is so nice!” I told him smiling.
“That’s my girl! See what did I tell you” My dad said with pride.
Months have passed and my friendship with everyone grew especially with Taehyung and his crew, I guess they were also my crew now. I was never this happy I felt like I belonged here and it was great, although I did have some feelings for Taehyung okay a lot of feelings for him. I wanted to tell him how I felt and I decided to talk to one of my other friends to see if she had any ideas on how to tell him.
I went to class and went up to her desk, she was texting someone so I sat down next to her waiting for her to finish texting the person. She looked up and smiled at me “need help with something?” She asked I nodded.
“I want to tell Taehyung about my feelings for him” I said hoping she had something that could possibly help me.
“Okay, how about after school you tell him while you guys are walking home?” Bora suggested. I thought about it and it seemed like the best idea possible I nodded.
“Perfect” I smiled heading back to my seat and waiting for Taehyung to come back. Taehyung came into class with a lollipop in his mouth and he was holding another one.
“Y/n! Do you want a lollipop? It’s strawberry flavor one of your favourites” Taehyung said giving me his signature rectangle smile. I smiled and took one and popped it into my mouth, we talked for a while before the teacher came to class. That’s when class started and we had to finish writing notes for our upcoming test, which I was pretty ready for.
Class was almost over and I was waiting for the clock to strike three so I could tell Taehyung about my feelings for him, as the clock turned closer to three I could feel my heart pound faster. Finally class had ended and I grabbed all my stuff before Taehyung grabbed my hand and pulled me outside of the school and we started to walk home, this was the moment, the moment where I would tell Taehyung how I felt about him.
“Hey Y/n, are you okay? You haven’t been talking too much” Taehyung asked me. I took a big breath before telling him my face became even redder and I could hear the sound of my heart pounding loudly.
“Taehyung I have something to tell you” I started my face was turning even more red than before.
“Go on” Taehyung said looking scared.
“I really like you” I blurted out as fast as I could not even looking at Taehyung my face was super red now.
“Oh Y/n I didn’t know you felt that way about me” Taehyung started “I would accept your feelings but I’m already dating someone.” My heart stopped how could I forget such a big detail Taehyung had a girlfriend, it was my fault that I forgot and now Taehyung said that to be nice. He probably never looked at me as something more than a sister or a really close friend he would never date. “I’m really sorry” Taehyung said I looked up at him my face was still red but it wasn’t because I was blushing it was because I was about to cry.
“It’s alright, it’s my fault for forgetting about your girlfriend” I said trying to act as calm as possible I even faked a smile hoping he would buy it, I would have remembered her if he brought her up more than once.
“Great! Maybe sometime this week you guys can meet!” Taehyung smiled trying to cheer me up, only made me feel worse.
After Friday was the long weekend giving me plenty of time to eat ice cream and forget about what happened, I was just wearing the casual sweatpants and a t-shirt with a blanket that clings on to me while I watch movies on my laptop. I was feeling better until Taehyung texted me.
“Come outside now” He texts me.
“Why?” I text back.
“I want you to meet someone” He texts me.
I roll my eyes I didn’t want to go outside and I didn’t want to see Taehyung until I got over the whole embarrassing situation.
“I’m not home” I texted him obviously lying.
“Liar I know you’re home, your brother doesn’t watch disney movies” He texts me.
“Ugh you caught me I’ll be out in a sec” I text him.
I decided to leave my comfy spot for a bit so Taehyung would leave me alone, slipping my shoes on I get outside seeing his car parked outside of my driveway I see him and a girl in the same car. Although I can’t see who she is because of how far away I am from Taehyungs car, Taehyung opens his car door and so does the girl. He puts his arm around her shoulder as they walk closer to me, the closer they walk towards me the more familiar she looks to me.
Then it hits me, it’s her the one person I never wanted to ever see.
“I've been thinking.” Tadashi said, pulling your attention from the intent book that was sitting in your lap. When you looked up at him though, his eyes were looking far off into the city. Tilting your head, you sat up a bit more, the cold grass under you digging into the bare parts of your legs like prickly spikes. Your movement must have caught his attention once again, for he smiled apologetically at you and continued saying, “Sorry, got lost there for a second… I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“I got out of my comfy spot for nothing?” You said softly, before resuming your place in between his warm legs. He looked down at you, his fingers brushing back the pieces of hair that had fallen over your face. You hummed in appreciation before falling back to your book. The small box sitting in his left pocket was burning a hole and he was surprised you hadn’t noticed. Then again, he thought to himself and leaned back against the tree slightly, you didn’t notice a lot of things with your nose in a book, and with that, he took the opportunity to dig into his pocket for the item.
“(Name).” He said softly, his deep voice pulling you back. Biting your bottom lip, you looked at Tadashi with big eyes before you focused on the subject in his right hand.
“What’s in the box?” You whispered, a sudden wash of nervousness hitting your chest.
With a small jolt, Tadashi was readjusting you in his lap, and with a deep sigh, he began speaking slowly and surely as though he practiced for this many times. “There’s something that… I’ve always wanted to give you, and I was sure it was for you the moment I laid eyes on you,” Swallowing nervously, he cracked open the box. “My mom wasn’t one to wear jewelry a lot but this… I never saw her with it off and when Aunt Cass gave it to me when my parents died, I swore to myself I’d give it to the woman who held my heart…”
The wind rushed by you for a split moment as you glanced down at the small platinum wedding band sitting snugly inside of the box before you looked back at the Asian man. You opened your mouth to speak, but nothing revolted out. Tears began streaming down your face when reality hit you in the face hard as he breathed out softly, “Marry me?”
I sighed into the phone, leaning my forearms against the railing and staring up at the stage, watching the technicians finish setting up for the support act. “I’m doing the right thing… right?”
“You have to follow your gut, hun. If you think that putting an end to your physical relationship is the best thing for your professional relationship, then you have to do what you have to do.”
“That doesn’t help, Leigh.” I mumbled, squinting and turning my head away as the light technician started testing the spot lights above the stage, blinding me for a moment.
“That’s because I can’t tell you what to do – this has to be your decision. Do you think that continuing to sleep with your new boss, while you are on the road with them, is a good idea?”
“Do you think that keeping this strictly professional will help you focus on your work, and deliver a better product? Will it prevent you from getting heartbroken?”
“Then why are you asking me if I think it’s a good idea?”
I glanced down at the Blackberry in my other hand, watching another text message flash up on my screen from Jared. “Because I’m not sure I can give him up.”
“Excuse me ma’am… we’re about to start letting in now, you can’t be in the pit…”
I looked up at the security guard with a tired smile, nodding as I started to move away from my comfy spot on the railing and head back towards the side of the stage. “Leigh? I’m gonna have to go, the show is about to start and I have to go and find out where I need to be.”
“When are you home?” she asked.
“My flight is tomorrow morning, should be home early hours of Sunday morning.”
“Okay. Text me when you’re up on Sunday okay – I’ll come over.”
I said goodbye to my best friend, my voice of reason who had done nothing to put my mind at rest. I knew that she didn’t like Jared – she thought he was bad for me, and that I was going to get hurt. I had thought that out of everyone, she would be the one to tell me this was the best thing all round and that I absolutely had to stick to my guns – not tell me that I had to make the decision for myself. I smiled at the security guy on the side door next to the stage, flashing him my pass and thanking him as he opened the door to let me through. I glanced down at the Blackberry in my hands as I walked through the corridor, already knowing where I was headed.
‘Where the hell are you? Come back to the dressing room’
I sighed, shoving the phone in my pocket and marching determinedly towards the dressing rooms – the last thing I wanted to do was have this same conversation right before they hit the stage, but clearly he wasn’t leaving me much choice. I turned a corner and saw Emma standing a way in front of me, talking quietly to Shayla until she heard my footsteps and stopped, looking up.
“Hi Em… er, everything okay?” I frowned, seeing her serious expression before I had even reached her.
“Yeah… if you’re looking for Jared he’s in that one.” She smiled, pointing at one of the doors as Shayla shifted nervously on the spot, wringing her hands together in front of her. I smiled gratefully, walking past them both and heading towards Jared’s room, trying not to listen in as Emma turned back to Shayla but realising I was too close to avoid over hearing.
“What are you telling me Shayla, he was doing coke?” she hissed, taking Shayla’s arm and steering her back down the corridor, away from me.
“I don’t know – I can’t be sure…”
“Well I need you to be sure right now because I need to…”
They carried on walking down the corridor, out of my hearing range, and I stopped at Jared’s door and knocked loudly, watching the girls retreating with a frown. Someone was doing cocaine? I had never been a fan of drugs, it wasn’t something that I had ever felt the need to get involved with – but I was no stranger to the music scene. I had spent enough years around musicians and their groupies to know how it all worked – surely someone indulging in a cheeky line before a show wasn’t unheard of in Mars camp? It certainly wasn’t in any other band I had ever worked with.
The door opened with a jolt, and I turned back round to see Jared stood in front of me wearing a simple grey t-shirt over black jeans, his hair spiked up, nostrils flaring as he stared me down for a moment. “You know, if you keep using this Blackberry as a tool to order me around, I’m just gonna give the damn thing back.” I said firmly, holding my phone up in between us to prove my point.
He reached out and grabbed a hold of my extended wrist, pulling me into the room towards him and slamming the door closed behind me, pushing me back up against it. “And if you don’t start doing as you’re told I am going to have to fire you.” He growled, his hands already gripping my hips tightly.
“Jared…” I warned, trying to push his hands away from me only for him to tighten his grasp.
“What, you think I won’t?” he said quietly, trying to kiss me.
“Are you really threatening to fire me?” I said, moving my face away from him and raising my eyebrows. “Because I’m pretty sure that’s sexual harassment.”
“It’s only harassment if you don’t want me…” he said, running his lips over my neck.
“Right, stop…” I said, hoping I sounded as stern as I felt as I shoved against his chest and pushed him away from me. I needed him out of my personal space if I was going to have any chance of controlling this conversation. “Before you go getting all… grabby, and I forget why I even started saying no to you in the first place…”
He smirked at that, stepping towards me again as though my words were an invitation, and I quickly moved away from the door and into the room, my hands up in front of me to signal that I wasn’t finished. “…you want to tell me what that little stunt was in the meet and greet?”
He stopped walking then, his head cocked to one side in question. “What stunt?”
“You, with your ‘just date someone on the tour’ comment.”
“That was just a joke,” he said, huffing a laugh out of his nose, starting his slow pace towards me again even as I backed away.
“You made a point of staring at me,” I said, pointing my finger at him accusingly. “You know that everyone in that room was talking about it? About me?”
“No they weren’t.”
“Yes, Jared, they were – you know full well that people see every single thing that you do, you might as well have hung a flashing neon sign around my neck saying ‘I’m fucking Jared Leto’!” I cried, still taking a step back for every step forwards that he made.
“But you’re not, are you?” he said, hands stretched out in front of him, palms up, an innocent look plastered across his face. “Fucking me, that is. Isn’t that what you said?”
I stopped moving and folded my arms across my chest, glaring at him and that cocky little grin on his face. “What I said was that I wanted to try and keep this professional so that both of our lives are simpler, so that I can focus on the job – what I didn’t want was for you to basically announce to a room full of fans that we’re hooking up… what are you doing?” I cried as he reached out to grab the front pockets of my jeans, pulling me towards him with a firm tug.
“You think too much. I didn’t announce anything, and the only people in that room who know about us are me, you, Tomo and Shannon… now stop pouting, shut up, and kiss me.”
He didn’t wait for my answer, just lent forwards and pressed his lips to mine, his hands inside my pockets keeping me pulled against him. I tensed, refusing to kiss him back but not quite able to move away from him either, and he smiled against my mouth, kissing me harder.
“Jared… oh, sorry…”
He broke away from me at the sound of Emma’s voice, glaring at her as she stood in the doorway. “What Em… can it wait?” he snapped, tugging me back towards him as I tried to move away and then ignoring me as I glared at the side of his head.
“Not really…we have a problem.” She said pointedly, not moving from where she stood, hand on the door as she nodded her head towards the hallway, waiting for him to realise that she needed him to go with her.
He sighed, letting go of my jeans as he turned to look at me. “Stay here.”
“Actually I was going to…”
“Imogen, just stay here.” He said firmly, following Emma out of the room and closing the door behind him.
I blinked at the now empty room – did he just order me to stay put? I ran a frustrated hand over my face, looking around me at the chaos that was his dressing room. Clothes everywhere, cables plugged into various sockets charging his laptop and his iPad and his phone, half eaten containers of some sort of salad and nuts scattered across the table. It looked like a bomb had gone off. I picked up some of the clothes thrown across the couch, folding them neatly and putting them on top of his holdall so that I had cleared a space to sit down and wait – and then realised what I was doing. I was actually going to sit here and wait for him?
Shaking my head at myself, I checked my watch and realised the support act were due to start any minute and, deciding that watching some live music was infinitely better than sitting in an empty dressing room waiting for Jared to get back from whatever crisis he had been called to, I crossed the room and opened the door to leave.
The angry sound of raised voices immediately floated through the doorway, and I peered out in the corridor to see Shayla standing outside of the next room down, leaning against the wall and chewing her thumb nail as she stared at the door opposite her. Frowning, I stepped out of Jared’s room and walked towards her, glancing at the closed door and the sound of raised voices coming from inside.
“Hi love… you okay?” I asked, catching her attention. She looked up from her spot and pushed away from the wall, immediately forcing a smile on her face.
“Sure, sure – are you headed down to the arena now? It’s just down that way…” she said, pointing down the corridor and almost waving me forwards with the other hand, looking as though she wanted me to keep walking.
“Yeah I thought I’d take a look… everything alright in there?” I asked, slowing down as I neared the door and heard a deep voice rising in anger, a female voice that sounded just like Emma trying to talk over the top of him.
“Everything’s fine…” Shayla started, only to be interrupted by a loud crash coming from inside the room, the sound of something heavy being thrown against a wall accompanied by more shouting.
“What the…” I exclaimed, stepping towards the door only for Shayla to catch my arm.
“No, don’t – it’s okay, Emma is handling it…”
“Unless that was Emma getting thrown through a wall!” I said, shrugging her off and flinging open the door.
In front of me the table that had been in the middle of the floor, identical to the one in Jared’s room, was upside down with its legs in the air, stuff strewn across the floor around it that had clearly been sent flying. Jared and Shannon stood on either side of the uprooted table, facing each other with fists clenched and jaws set, anger blazing across each brothers face. Emma was stood in between them, opposite me, standing with one palm out towards each of them and a panic stricken look on her face. It looked like I had walked in to the beginning of a good old fashioned fist fight, and I felt my mouth drop open in shock.
“What the hell is going on in here?!” I exclaimed loudly, staring at the scene in front of me.
Jared stayed where he was, completely motionless, staring at his brother like he wanted to pole vault over the debris and punch him in the face. Emma also stayed still, moving her head to look between the two of them like she wasn’t sure which one of them was going to move first, but determined to jump on whichever one it was. The only person who actually turned to look at me, was Shannon. The sound of my voice in the doorway had snapped his glare away from Jared and towards me, his face mirroring the shock that I was sure was all across my face too. He blinked a few times, mouth opening and closing as he clearly struggled to find some words of explanation.
I raised my eyebrows at him. “Seriously… it sounds like world war three in here, what the fuck is going on?”
Shannon had the good grace to look embarrassed, shaking his head as he looked away and down at the mess on the floor at their feet.
“Go ahead Shannon, tell her.” Jared bit out between clenched teeth, still staring at his brother.
“Fuck off Jared.” Shannon snapped back, his body language instantly changing back to aggressive as he looked back up at him.
“Stop it, both of you!” Emma snapped. “This is not helping anyone so if you’re both done yelling and throwing things I suggest we wait until after the show to deal with this?”
“Hey, what’s all the… woah, what happened in here?” Tomo said, appearing behind me in the doorway and frowning at the destruction in the middle of the room, looking up between Jared and Shannon who so far had made no attempt to move. “Someone wanna deal me in here?”
Jared snorted out a contemptuous laugh, shaking his head as he looked away from his brother and towards me and Tomo. “I’ll let my big bro give you all the juicy details.” He said quietly, walking towards me and pushing between me and Tomo to get out into the corridor, storming away from the room with Shayla trailing behind him at a distance. I looked back as Shannon kicked the table with his foot, sending it a few feet across the room, and Tomo squeezed past me into the room as Emma took her cue and walked away, ushering me back out of the dressing room and leaving the boys alone.
“Emma… what the hell is going on…” I exclaimed, watching her close the door behind her and shut her eyes with a sigh.
“It’s a really long story…”
“Well we have less than an hour until the show so… abbreviate.” I said, glancing down the corridor to see that Jared had disappeared from sight completely.
“It’s not really something I can talk about,” she said apologetically, pushing a hand through her hair as she glanced back at the closed door, listening to the sound of lowered voices coming from inside. “If the guys want to tell you then that’s up to them but… it’s not my place to say.”
“Emma, they were about to tear chunks out of each other – is that normal?!” I asked, realising that as much time as I had spent with them in the last few months, I wasn’t all that sure what I was getting involved with here.
She shook her head at me, pulling her phone out of her pocket and scrolling through the screen. “No, they hardly ever fight – and neither of them would have actually raised a hand to the other one… things just get… heated, sometimes… like I said, it’s a long story.”
“One that involves cocaine?”
Her head snapped up at my use of the word, the phone in her hands forgotten as she stared at me. “Who told you that?”
“No one told me that, I overheard something… look Emma, I’m not going to get involved where I’m clearly not welcome but… you should know that I would never repeat anything. And I’m here if you need me, okay?”
I reached out and gave her forearm a little squeeze of reassurance, before I stepped around her and walked away, leaving her to deal with whatever it was she needed to. This wasn’t my fight.
I watched the support act from the side of the stage, safely tucked away in the shadows as I watched the hustle and bustle of their own tour crew setting them up, running the show and clearing away after them. They were good. Not great, but the audience seemed to like them and the atmosphere in the venue was charged by the time the band left the stage. I stayed out of the way while kit was carried backwards and forwards in the semi-darkness, people charging around as the massive white triad was wheeled forward on the stage and stripped of its covers, still hidden from the crowd by the big sheet hanging down at the front of the stage.
Apart from the stage crew, I hadn’t seen anyone significant from Mars camp. Tucked away into the far corner of the side of stage area, I checked my Blackberry for the hundredth time to find there was still no reply from Jared. I had text to ask if he was okay, but unlike him, I would stop at one message. It was the first time since I had had the damn phone that I was willing it to ring.
I jumped at the voice in my ear, turning round to see Shannon almost completely hidden in the shadows behind me, hands shoved deep into his pockets. He watched me closely as I laughed at myself for jumping, relaxing again as I squinted to try and make him out properly in the dark. “Are you creeping around back there?” I smiled, realising he was leaning against the wall behind him.
“Just er… staying out of the way until show time.”
“Me too.” I nodded, watching his eyes flicking over the people buzzing around behind me. I stepped towards him and turned round, leaning against the wall beside him so that we were stood side by side.
“I’m sorry you walked in on that, earlier.” He said quietly, keeping his eyes forward.
“That’s okay. I’m sorry I interrupted just as it was about to get interesting,” I smirked, nudging him with my shoulder gently as he stared out in front of him. He smiled, slightly, the movement softening his face a little, but otherwise he stayed tense beside me. “You wanna tell me what it was about?” I asked.
“Will you be offended if I say not really?” he asked, still not looking at me.
“Nope.” I answered. “But… whatever it is cannot be worth falling out like that with your brother right before you start the biggest tour of your career… right?”
He shook his head, and I tried to figure out if he looked sad, guilty or just mad. I settled on the conclusion that it was a mixture of the three. We stayed like that for a while, mostly hidden from view, watching the activity in front of us as the crew turned the stage into a fully fledged Mars production, neither of us saying anything. If it had been anyone else, I would have felt uncomfortable with the silence, but something about Shannon had always put me at ease. I didn’t know what the argument was about, although I had my suspicions, and clearly he had no desire to go into it with me. But standing beside him silently I knew that he could tell I wasn’t judging him - it wasn’t my place to. I was just… here.
A little commotion off to the left hand side of us made us both look up as Jared, Emma and Tomo made their way along the side of the stage, people fussing over Jared with wires and in-ear monitors as they neared show time, Emma talking furiously into a walkie talkie as she glanced around her.
“Think they’re looking for you?” I said to Shannon, watching the little crowd of people in front of us start to get twitchy as they realised there was no sign of their drummer.
“Wanna fill in for me tonight?” he muttered, neither of us making a move to alert the others to our presence.
“Sure. I reckon I know at least 7% of the songs and I have sat behind a drum kit precisely once.” I shrugged.
“You sound over qualified.” He said, finally moving his eyes away from everyone else and looking at me.
I turned my head to look at him, this man who had quickly become my buddy in their little world, and I smiled at him hoping it was an encouraging gesture. “I guess I’d better leave it to the pro then, huh?”
He smiled back, almost a real smile as he took a deep breath and pushed himself away from the wall. He took a step forwards and then stopped, turning back to me and planting a kiss on my forehead.
“Thanks, London.” He mumbled, and then he was gone, striding towards the others, shaking his hands loose by his sides and rolling his head to stretch his neck, warming himself up before the show. I watched the others as he reached them; Emma instantly talking at him as she looked at the clipboard she always had with her at shows, Tomo smiling and reaching out to give his shoulder a squeeze. Jared, who stayed very still and just watched him, no expression on his face at all. I blew out a little breath, realising that whatever this argument was – it clearly wasn’t over.
a/n: chapter 17 holy shit!!! now chapter 18 will not be updated until Thursday March 06 due to school (= I hope you really enjoy this chapter, because I really enjoyed writing it! Remember to always send me feedback–not hate. There’s a difference!! take care and ily xoxox
I ran up the stairs quickly in a panic wondering what had happened. Once I reached the kitchen, the scene revealed in front of me had me on edge.
Sasha was leaning over with one arm on top of the kitchen counter helping her keep her body position up, while her other hand was under he stomach, and her face was scrunched up like she was a pain. Kaylie was standing just a few feet away from her, arms crossed and red faced.
“What’s going on?” I asked my eyes darting from Kaylie to Sasha then back to Kaylie. When I didn’t get an answer from neither one of them, I asked again, “What the hell happened?”
“No—nothing.” Sasha stammered. She sat down slowly on a stool, taking slow breaths. Once I saw she was indeed in little pain I walked closer to her placing one hand on her shoulder, while my other covered her growing stomach.
“Are you okay?” I asked worriedly and Sasha nodded her head yes.
“I’m fine Justin.” She sighed.
“No you’re not fine. You’re leaning over in pain, taking slow breaths, and have your hand on your stomach. What happened?” I asked in a demanding way. If Sasha was seriously hurt I needed to know so I knew if I had to take her to the hospital or not and get checked out.
“It’s nothing—“She began, but I gave her my ‘I don’t believe it face’, which made her crack. “Okay—um, Kaylie kicked me.” She mumbled the last part, but I was still able to hear.
My attention quickly turned to my 4 year old daughter who was just standing there with her head down.
“Kaylie did you kick Sasha?” I asked, but she ignored me. “Kaylie Elizabeth, I asked you a question!” I said raising my voice a little and Kaylie jumped at the tone of my voice and start sniffling, but nodded her head ‘yes’ keeping it down.
I let out a frustrated groan pinching the bridge of my nose pacing around the kitchen. “Kaylie, why would you do something like that?” I said. I finally stopped pacing and turned facing Kaylie trying not to get to angry on her.
“Kicking Sasha was reckless, stupid and unacceptable behavior.” I said. “You could have hurt Sasha—dammit Kaylie you could have put the baby at risk!” I yelled flinging my arms in the air.
“It’s not my fault she deserved it.” Kaylie mumbled.
“Excuse me?” I said narrowing my eyes at Kaylie.
“I SAID IT’S NOT MY FAULT SASHA DESERVED IT!” Kaylie yelled looking up at me, this time tears forming down her face.
“Sasha did not deserve that! Now say you’re sorry!”
“NO!” She screamed at me. I was taken back at her tone.
“I SAID NO DADDY!”
“Then go up to your room and don’t come out until you come up with an apology!”
“But daddy Sasha—“
“No buts Kaylie now go!” I said pointing to the stairs.
“Kaylie go!” I said still pointing.
Kaylie stomped her feet, huffing and stomped off to the bottom of the stairs before turning to face me yelling.
“MOMMY WAS RIGHT YOU ARE A DICK. I HATE YOU DADDY!” Kaylie screamed at the top of her lungs with tears running down her red face. “I HATE YOU I WANT MY OLD DADDY BACK!”
“OH YEAH AND WHO’S YOUR OLD DADDY?” I smirked.
“MACE! I WANT MACE BACK! I HATE YOU JUSTIN!” Kaylie yelled, before running up the stairs slamming her bedroom door.
Justin. She called me Justin. She called Mason daddy and me—Justin. My heart broke—shattered.
I lifelessly walked back over to Sasha slumping down on the stool next to her, her arms immediately comforting me.
“She called me Justin.” I said barely above a whisper choking back tears.
I just got her to call me daddy, and now, it’s all over.
Was she mad because I didn’t let her finish her sentences? Of course she was because if she’s anything like Selena—that pisses her off the most.
I sighed placing my head in my hands and Sasha continued comforting me saying everything will be okay.
I was too caught up with Kaylie I forgot that Sasha—and the baby could be hurt. I snapped my head up looking at her asking if she was okay, and she replied by saying she was fine, and the hospital was not needed.
“Justin babe, you shouldn’t have been so hard on Kaylie.” Sasha said catching me by surprise.
“But Kaylie kicked you?”
“It’s not her fault Justin.” Sasha said and I knotted my eyebrows together confused.
“What do you—“I began but she cut me off.
“I bet Selena is behind all this.” She said quickly.
That raised my suspicion. “What—how?”
“Think about it Justin. Me and you are going to have everything that Selena always wanted; A family. She’s upset that you’re going to be here from the start with your second child since you wasn’t there for Kaylie—“
“But that wasn’t my fault.” I said a little mad.
“And I know it’s not Justin. Selena is just jealous that you and I are gonna be one big happy family why she sobs around wishing she’d never kept Kaylie a secret from you.” Sasha said.
It all made sense now. And Sasha was right before—I mean with Kaylie being my child, so she has to be right about this, right? Selena’s jealous so she’ll do anything and have everyone a part of her plan to get rid of Sasha, so me and her could be together.
30 minutes later Sasha and I were sitting in the family room watching t.v.
Kaylie still hadn’t come down to apologize and I kept wondering about what Sasha said earlier; was Selena really that jealous? And was I too harsh on Kaylie?
My thoughts were interrupted with the loud door bell and I hesitantly got up, not wanting to move from my comfy spot.
“Oh stop being lazy and get the door.” Sasha chuckled.
“Oh since I’m lazy why can’t you get it?” I asked chuckling.
“Because I’m pregnant and I’m not supposed to be on my feet a lot.” She smirked sticking her tongue out at me.
I laughed and got up to the door, first peeping through the window to see who it was, then opened the door in shock wondering what she was doing here.
“Selena, hey, I thought—“
“Shut up—where’s my daughter?”She said panicking cutting me off mid-sentence. She pushed past me walking into the foyer of my house yelling for Kaylie.
Soon a red eye, puffy face Kaylie came running down the stairs and into the foyer.
“MOMMY!” She yelled. Selena scrunched down with her arms wide open and Kaylie ran into them crying into her neck.
Selena hugged her tight her eyes shooting at me like daggers as she raised up and positioned Kaylie on her hip.
“Why the hell is our daughter crying Justin?”She said. “Hey baby it’s okay.” She said calmly rubbing Kaylie’s back.
“She’s crying because I yelled at her for kicking Sasha.” I said. “Why are you here?” I added on.
“Because Kaylie called me crying saying she wanted to come home.”
Soon Sasha walked into the room and stopped dead in her tracks—and I swear Selena was staring right into Sasha’s soul as she walked a little closer to Sasha, not getting too close.
“How dare you accuse my daughter of kicking you?” Selena yelled.
“ACCUSE? You’re daughter even admitted to kicking me!” Sasha yelled back at Selena.
Selena just snorted and rolled her eyes. “I’m leaving.” Selena said before turning away and walking out my house and to her car.
I couldn’t take this. I couldn’t take Selena being jealous and standing here basically accusing my girlfriend of lying.
I walked out after her, Sasha staying in the house. I saw Selena beginning to put Kaylie in the back seat.
“You know what Selena? Maybe if you stop being a jealous raging bi—“
“Whoa, whoa, whoa back that truck up, who said I was jealous?” Selena lightly chuckled without facing me.
“It makes sense—since you and I won’t have the family that we’ve always wanted, you’d do anything to get rid of Sasha so I can’t be happy since you can’t be happy!” I yelled. “And what doesn’t make sense is that you’re actually doing that! It’s not Sasha fault and it’s not my fault! It’s your own damn fault!”
Soon enough Selena whipped around and I felt a stinging pain on my cheek.
“And what doesn’t make sense is that you’re actually doing that! It’s not Sasha fault and it’s not my fault! It’s your own damn fault!”
Once those words left Justin’s mouth I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned around, my hand flying right across Justin’s cheek—I’m pretty sure that’ll leave a mark.
“FUCK YOU!” I yelled.
“And this is one good reason why maybe our daughter is having such bad behavior. Did you know Kaylie called me a dick because she heard you say it?” Justin said fuming, steal holding his cheek.
“Oh now you accusing me of being a bad parent?” I said.
“No I’m not accusing you; I’m saying you are one; big difference.” Justin said.
I shut Kaylie’s door and I got chest to chest with Justin poking him in the chest.
“HOW FUCKING DARE YOU CALL ME A BAD PARENT! I FUCKING CARRIED OUR CHILD FOR NINE MONTHS, PUSHED HER ASS OUT OF MY VAGINA, AND RAISED HER FOR FOUR YEARS NOW! AND GUESS WHAT I DID IT BASICALLY ON MY OWN! YES I MADE HAVE HAD HELP TIME FROM TIME BUT I DID IT FUCKING ON MY OWN SO DON’T YOU EVER FUCKING DARE CALL ME A BAD PARENT!” I yelled my face probably red as a tomato now.
Justin was speechless. He has never—and I mean never seen me this mad; I don’t think anyone has.
“Now why don’t you go run along to your little whore and go take care of her and that baby in her stomach which isn’t even yours!” I snapped. I opened my car door, but it soon was shut by Justin.
“Don’t you ever call Sasha a whore again.” He said as his jaw tightened.
“Or what.” I challenged. He kept quiet. “Yeah that’s what I thought. And from now on, I want you and your whore to stay away from my daughter.” I said emphasizing the words ‘whore’ and ‘my’ and I opened my car door again.
“You can’t do that. She’s my child too.” He said—not yelling, but anger still present in his voice.
“If I have to get a restraining order I will.” I threatened.
“And I’ll get the best lawyers possible if I have too.” He threatened back.
“Then do it. Because Justin, I fucking promise you—I’ll win.” I smirked and got into my car slamming my door driving off fast leaving Justin in the driveway furious.
Never mess with Selena Marie Gomez.
“Mommy.” Kaylie sniffled from the back seat.
“What is it honey?” I asked looking in the review mirror.
“I don’t want to ever see Justin again. I want Mason—my old daddy back.”
Never and I mean never in my life have I’ve seen a woman so angry. Especially Selena—even when she yelled at Colton she wasn’t that angry.
And we’ve never yelled at each other like that either.
Were we seriously going to have a custody battle over Kaylie?
She would win—I know she would. She’s been raising Kaylie since she was born, and I’m just now entering her life.
If I wanted to win, I would have to hire the best lawyers in the country—I would have to start making calls first thing in the morning.
It was almost midnight and I was just lying in bed replaying the wholes scene from earlier in my mind.
After 20 minutes of leaving my house, Selena began calling me from her cell-phone but I ignored her. Was she calling to apologize? Hell to the no. Probably just to rub it in my face that I wasn’t going to win a custody battle or whatever. After calling me 5 times she finally stopped.
Sasha was sound asleep snoring from beside me.
I heard the door bell ring and I got up slowly walking down the stairs like a zombie. Soon the door bell started ringing more frantically causing me to groan.
Really who is at my door at 12:23 am and ringing my door bell like a crazy person?
I opened the door and my mom stood there.
“Mom what’s wrong—you could have woken up Sasha.”
I rubbed my eyes trying to wake up a little more until I noticed—she had been crying.
“Justin you need to put on some sweats and shoes now.” She said frantically—trying to hold herself together.
“Mom what’s wrong?” I asked. She didn’t answer me. “Mom, what is so important that you had to come to my house at midnight ringing my door like a crazy person that escaped from the mental ward?” I slightly joked.
“It’s Selena and Kaylie.”
With the mention of Selena I slightly rolled my eyes.
“Yeah what about them?” I asked nonchalantly.
And right then and there, I felt all the blood drain from my body to the words my mom spoke.