Singing Lessons: A Novella

This is an excerpt (the entire first part) of a novella I wrote for a friend for her birthday. It was the first longer-than-a-short-story project that I finished completely. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.

PART ONE

“Mo-o-om!” Emily Noble insisted. “You know that I don’t like singing in front of people!”

Her mother looked up from her newspaper. “But, Emily, you have such a beautiful voice. You should share it! Why don’t you try out for choir?”

“I don’t like singing, or being in front of a whole bunch of people.” Emily sighed.

“You could take singing lessons,” her mom suggested.

Emily groaned. “Please, Mom, don’t make me,” she begged.

Her mom sighed, too. “All right, it’s your decision.”

Emily nodded and smiled gratefully at her mom. She knew that her mom wished that her daughter was interested in performing, but she hated being in front of people. Her mom realized that, though, so she allowed Emily to be herself, although she still encouraged Emily to perform, especially as a singer.

“Do you have any homework to work on?” her mom asked her meaningfully as Emily reached for the television remote. She looked up at her mom guiltily.

“Yeah,” she admitted.

Her mother gave her a fake stern look. “Homework first,” she ordered.

Emily grinned at her mom and headed upstairs to her room. She plopped down in her desk chair, flipping on her purple desk lamp. She didn’t have much homework left since she’d finished most of it in study hall.

“Write an essay about your siblings, or another close family member if you are an only child…” Emily muttered as she read over the homework assignment for her English class. She sighed. She only had one sibling, her older brother, Adrian, and she hadn’t seen him since his college graduation. How was she supposed to write an essay about the brother that she hadn’t seen in two years? She checked her notes. The essay wasn’t due until Monday, so she had five days. Emily didn’t normally procrastinate, especially with English since it was her favorite subject, but she really wasn’t looking forward to writing an essay about her brother.

~~~

Emily finally finished her homework and leaned back in her chair. She flipped the switch on her boom box, turning on the radio. Upbeat Christian music swelled and filled the room as she adjusted the volume, turning it down so she wouldn’t bother her parents. She stood up, grabbing one of her many novels, and flopped down on the bed on her stomach. She flipped a couple of pages distractedly, and then set the book down. She closed her eyes and rested her chin on the bed, soaking in the music. The DJ came on and started talking. She tuned him out, thinking about her essay that she had to work on. What was she going to do?

“… and here’s one of Manafest’s hits!” the DJ announced. Emily rolled over onto her back. The familiar beat made her close her eyes and bite back tears. Her brother had been one of Manafest’s biggest fans. He’d listened to their music all of the time, so she knew all of their songs by heart. The two of them used to sing along with the songs at the top of their lungs. Emily hadn’t listened to Manafest since Adrian had left. Now the memories of all of their good times came flooding back, and Emily could barely hold back the tears.

She wanted her brother back.

~~~

Emily slid into her chair at the dining room table. The dining room was one of her favorite rooms, other than her own. She loved the wooden furniture and the paintings hanging on the wall that her mother had painted while she was in college. Her dad came in and smiled at her, plopping down into his chair.

“How was your day, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Good,” Emily replied. She traced the edge of the lacy table cloth with her finger.

Her mom swept into the dining room with a dish in her arms. “Dinner’s ready!” she announced brightly as she set the dish down on the table.

“Ooh, chicken spaghetti casserole!” Emily’s dad exclaimed, licking his lips. The family bent their heads to pray over the meal.

Adrian’s favorite, Emily thought, but she didn’t mention it out loud. It was her favorite, too. She wished that he was with them now. She made up her mind then and there: she was going to find Adrian.

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