My Sister's Wedding

  • Round: Books: 5 Page Challenge

  • Genre:
    Fiction: Teen, Young Adult/Juvenile
  • Submitted: February 10, 2011


  • Status: Rating complete
  • Want it elevated: 42%
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  • 8%


  • 47%


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5 Page Challenge

Pages 1-5 | Extended Sample


Fifteen year old Maddie Hickman's life has been hijacked by the many alcoholics in her life, despite the numerous self help books she devours. Determined to stop "enabling" and start "living", Maddie begins a quest for self understanding the takes an unexpected turn when tragedy strikes.

Pages 1 - _

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Chapter 1

            The blue dress clings. It should hang. The ruffles droop. They should poof. The bright blue of the dress clashes with my late summer sunburn. I look like the American flag. Blue dress. Red skin. Blond hair. Not a good look.

            I can’t believe I have to wear this in public.

            Maybe I won’t go.                  

            Maybe I‘ll pretend I have bad cramps, a fever, chicken pox or jungle rot. (My best friend Peter used to get that on his feet back when we took swim lessons at the Jewish Community Center.)

            Unfortunately, I can’t cure my problems by slathering foot goop on them. First, Justin, my boyfriend, has decided to turn alcoholic on me. Second, Peter and one of my closest friends, Susan, are now dating. They have that kind of stuck-togetherness that all high school couples have right before they are about to have sex for the first time or when they just started doing it. It could be either one with them. Obviously I don’t know.  Even though I have been Peter’s best friend since we were four!

            Wait.  Forget all my problems because today, Saturday, September 28th, the other alcoholic in my life, my totally hung-over sister, Barbara, is getting married to the “codependent enabler” himself, Michael Adler. (I learned “codependent enabler” at one of the Al-Anon meetings Michael dragged me to a few months ago). Although I wish I could contract some putrid infection that would prevent me from joining in on these festivities, I know that even if I had tuberculosis (Does anyone even get that anymore?), I’d go to the wedding anyway. After all, who’s going to make sure Barbara’s shoes match, her hair and make up are done, and, for God’s sake, she makes it down the aisle? My sister is twenty-four. I’m fifteen. She’s hung-over on the most important day of her life. I’m not. Who’s really the older sister?

            That’s her now, throwing up in the bathroom next door. She got smashed last night at O’Malley’s Tavern with fifteen of her loser friends from high school. They all still live at home, and none of them can seem to finish college or get a decent job. Okay, two of them work for “daddy,” and my sister sells belly shirts at Twist at the Stanford Mall. That counts. I guess.

            “Barb?” I yell toward the bathroom. “Everything okay?”

            I hear a muffled noise that sounds like, “Yeah...I’m okay.”

            I pile my hair on top of my head. For a moment I am a blonde Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (My grandmother, Bubbie Helen has gotten me into old movies). I try to ignore the blue glare of the dress my interior decorator mother, Bernice, picked out. Barbara and I refer to her as “Martha” (as in Martha Stewart). Of course the dress has a matching shawl and purse made of satin. “Martha” made these herself because the ones the dress shop had looked like “chintzy Wal-Mart garbage.” And, of course, “Martha” wasted an hour arranging a bouquet of hydrangeas and white roses especially for me.

            While my sister is so hung over she is having trouble getting ready for her own wedding, my mother is upstairs ironing the hem of the wedding gown for the fifteenth time and rehemming my color coordinating shawl because, “It’s so crooked it will make me nauseated to look at it all through the ceremony!”

             As I pin my hair, my thoughts jump back to Justin and Peter. What a mess. Justin may or may not show up at the wedding because he may or may not even be up yet. Peter will be there but Susan will too, so I really won’t exist. Who will I hang out with at the reception? I hear the toilet flush and the water running. I push my own problems out of my mind again. I finish pinning my hair and reach for some cover up for the super size zit at the end of my nose. My puffy-eyed sister opens the bathroom door, flipping the fan switch on.

            “I feel like shit,” she proclaims. Our orange cat, Mensch, rubs his chin on Barbara’s leg. She ignores him. I reach down and scratch him behind his ears and then push him away. Let’s not have cat hair all over us on top of everything else.

            And, Barbara, of course, doesn’t look like shit. Except for her puffy, toffee-colored eyes, she looks, as usual, effortlessly beautiful. Perfectly shaped eyebrows she doesn’t have to pluck. High cheek bones and a small straight nose. A totally zit-free face and coloring, even after hours of vomiting, just the right shade of peach and lips just red enough not to need makeup.

            It’s such a waste.

            I take another quick glance at myself in the mirror. I am too tall, too skinny, and too zitty.

            But this isn’t about me.

            “Barb, we’re running out of time. Let’s just get your hair up and make up on so we can get you into your dress,” I say, trying not to respond to her drama. She’s famous for those productions. Take last night. Before she went out with her loser friends, she spilled champagne on the white outfit that she was wearing to the dress-rehearsal dinner. She just had to “have a little taste of that fabulous bubbly” Great Uncle Sid dropped off when he got into town with his third wife, Tess, whose fake boobs are the only things that don’t shake when she speaks. Anyway, she had spilled it all over her and started to cry, screaming, “I screw everything up. I’m not going to the stupid dress-rehearsal dinner. I’ll just screw that up too.” My mother and father were already gone, so I helped her find another dress. Her response to my assistance was, “Thank God for you, Maddie. You’re so together.” I felt like slapping my forehead like some drama queen myself and saying, “Do I have a choice?”

            Anyway, now she is checking her breath by blowing into her cupped left hand. It’s time to get moving and she’s worried about her bad breath? Her dress has about twenty-five tiny buttons and a bustle. She wanted to be “girlie and traditional” Ha! I have to get that girlie and traditional butt into that complicated dress.

            “Do I smell?” She walks over to me and leans forward.

            I’m 5’8” and she’s 5’2”. So all I inhale is her freshly washed hair, which smells like apples.

            “No,” I say, and she really doesn’t, which I find amazing. I grab a brush and steer her into my desk chair in front of my full-length mirror.

            “How am I going to get through this?” she asks, as I brush out the tangles in her damp hair.

            “You just are,” I tell her.

            “I feel pretty crappy right now. I guess if I need to barf, I’ll just puke into one of those huge containers of flowers by the aisle.” She sounds gleeful at the idea of making Mom mortified.


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