Valerie's Problems

The wind whispered softly through the trees, patches of sunlight dancing through the air. The grass blew in the breeze. Birds twittered and chirruped, without a care in the world. The serenity of the scene was shattered, though, when a 16 year old girl stormed across the glade, scattering the birds. She glared at any living thing she saw, her black hair billowing in the wind. “ARGH! Stupid mother!” she yelled out, to no one in particular. “Annoying woman! She doesn’t understand that I can’t be what she wants me to be!”
The girl, Valerie Tassinari, had a beautiful face and a quick temper. She was as tomboyish as her mother was ladylike, and they often got into fights over small things. The teenager had just argued with her mother for the last time about being a lady, wearing dresses, drinking tea and needlework. After a vicious argument, Valerie had stormed out of the house, picking up her sword on the way, muttering under her breath.
She started hacking and slashing at the grass, cutting out a path of destruction. “I hate her! I’ll never wear a dress, I’ll never pick up a needle and I’ll smash every teacup I come across!” she vowed through gritted teeth, still slashing and cutting wildly. After a while, she collapsed, exhausted. Her mind kept thinking about the arguments she and her mother had, how frequently they’d been fighting recently. Her mother seemed obsessed with reigning her in, and the more she tried to get her daughter in line, the more Valerie wanted to rebel.
“Hey!” a voice said from somewhere behind her. Valerie looked around and spotted her friend Jacques, a name both teens agreed was a stupid and far too posh for him, so he called himself Jack. Only her mother had to be annoying and always called him Jacques.
“Hey, Jack,” she sighed. “What’s up?”
“Nothin’ much, that’s why I’m here. But you don’t look too good. What’s wrong?”
“Ugh, I feel terrible.” And she proceeded to tell him everything that had happened.
“Ouch. She still thinks you’re cut out to be a ‘proper lady’, or whatever?” he asked, trying to hide his smile. He knew she wouldn’t be a proper lady, even if she went to every finishing school in France.
“Supposedly,” Valerie grumbled.
A thought flashed through Jack’s mind. “Have you ever told your mother you aren’t that sort of girl?”
“Of course!”
“Ok, how would it normally go?
Valerie shuffled uncomfortably. “Um, mum tries to get me into a dress, I flat out refuse. Then she launches into her ‘but you’re a gentleman’s daughter! You should be a lady’ speech and I yell at her saying, that isn’t who I am,” she said, looking down.
Jack took a deep breath. “How about I head home with you, talk with your mother calmly, and help you sort this out once and for all?”
He helped her up and slowly, they headed back through the woods.


25 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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