Excerpt from the Intertwined Series.
The following is an excerpt from Gabrielle Bryant’s third novel. The current working title of the series is Intertwined. This series is home to one completed novel and one working manuscript as of April 25, 2019. Intertwined revolves around Cindy, a meek girl who lives in a land known as the Gate Realm to many outsiders. But to the citizens of the Gate Realm, it is Earth. Earth in this story is filled with gates that allow people to transport into other worlds. Cindy travels through a gate set in a post-apocalyptic era in hopes that it will bring out the strong side of her. In the world, she meets a series of individuals that inspire her, one of whom she falls for before finding out something that may jeopardize their bond.
This excerpt is apart of a later conflict in book two of the series.
He didn’t want to quit. He didn’t want to leave Celeste. He thought that he would be able to celebrate a joint victory with her after they defeated the last opponent in RAID. It wasn’t until he was announced winner of the tournament that he noticed Celeste’s absence. She must have been killed in the blast of the bomb, he realized.
Lance had already gotten himself into trouble once by being careless. Yet even after recovering from his past mistakes, he and Celeste still seemed to get torn apart by circumstances he wasn’t aware of until afterward.
When Lance returned from RAID’s gate after securing the victory, evening was setting in the sky. The first shock that met him when he opened his front door was the smell of dinner burning on the stove. Such an occurrence had happened twice before, and it only meant one thing.
Once Lance slammed the door shut and threw off his shoes, he bounded past the living room to find two pots boiling over on the stove.
“Not again…” Lance murmured as he removed the pots from their burners and wiped down the stove.
He stepped from the kitchen over to the dining room window and saw the same thing he always saw when dinner was abandoned: Lance’s parents were outside arguing again. He could hear their muffled voices bickering over one another.
A voice came up from behind him. “They’re at it again.”
He knew the voice came from his fourteen year old younger brother, Liam. With a frown, Lance nodded. “Yes.”
“Do you think it’s bad this time?”
“I don’t know.” Lance turned around and plastered on a fake grin. “We can’t butt in, as much as we want to. It didn’t work the last time.”
Lance walked back into the kitchen to resume cooking dinner for his mother. “I have good news though. I just won the Best of All.”
Liam perked his head. “Really?!”
He nodded. “I won real prize money. Isn’t that awesome?”
“Yes, and you also promised to show me how to access the Gates after the tournament, remember?”
Lance froze. His brother was correct. But before he could show his brother around, he had to send Celeste a message.
Before Lance could answer, the back door swung open and Lance’s parents stormed in. Both he and his brother turned around and watched their father march to the upstairs. Their mother stopped on the way in the kitchen. The first thing Lance noticed were her bloodshot eyes, which also had bags hanging under them. She sighed with her hand clutching the back of her neck. “Thank you Lance for taking care of the food.”
“Is it bad?” Liam couldn’t hold his tongue.
Their mother’s eyes met the tile floor. “You two are the only ones keeping me in one piece. But your dad and I can’t live together like this anymore.”
What? Lance stopped stirring the food. There was silence as he and Liam gazed at her. When nothing more was spoken, Lance turned back around and continued stirring.
Lance’s mother sighed again. “We have to talk as a family. Just keep making the food and we’ll talk when it’s done.”
As a family? He knew where this was going. And it wasn’t going to end with everyone uniting. Lance fought the urge to shake his head. To stop cooking the food and let it boil over. But just as the food needed to keep from overheating, Lance needed to keep his emotions from boiling over.
“We love you both very much.”
Lance and his family gathered around the dinner table. The words echoed in Lance’s mind; they had come from his father. Still, he couldn’t help but not respond. He knew where this was going.
Lance’s mom opened her mouth to speak when the silence became unbearable. “We want what’s best for you. And listen to your me and your dad fighting is not it. So…we can’t continue to live together anymore. We’ve made the decision.”
Numb. Like a cracked vase struggling not to shatter. That’s all Lance felt. It seemed that his brother felt the same way. Like they knew it had been coming. It was only a matter of time.
“We’re still working out the custody.”
Custody? Lance thought. Custody? I might as well just run away and live on my own.
The worst was when he looked to his parents and found their fake expressions plastered over their real faces. He knew deep inside their hearts were bleeding, just like his.
“I’m moving out tomorrow afternoon…” Lance’s mother croaked.
Finally, the young man could no longer take hearing it anymore. “Alone?”
She lowered her head.
“You can’t live alone, mom.”
There was no response. “Let me take care of you. You can’t just leave like this!”
The woman covered her face. “Lance, you and Liam will live with your dad for now. It’s what he wants.”
“I can’t let you live alone!”
Lance finally fought hard enough until his father caved. Later that night, he handed his brother a map. “Take it,” he spoke as he packed his bags. “I drew it up and finished it recently. It’s a map of the area’s Gates, discovered and undiscovered.”
A once united family now divided. Now that he’d agreed to live with his mother, Lance wouldn’t see his father and brother often. He knew for months his parents had been fighting. He knew that one day they would get sick of it and divorce. But even though he’d tried so hard to prepare for it, the news was still unexpected. Especially on the day the RAID ended.
Then there was Celeste. That girl he’d been such a jerk to. Someone he truly had feelings for. He didn’t know her in real life, but he wish he did.
Was it even worth seeing her again?
If this was how love ended – dividing a once happy family, then why even bother falling in love at all?
Lance rolled over and buried his face into his pillow. He made his decision.
I need to forget about love. I need to forget about Celeste.