Annebelle cleared her throat and put a hand out. "It was a dark and stormy night..."
From the corner, Adina chuckled. Barely audible, but it still caught Annebelle's ear. She looked up from her story. "What?"
Adina shifted in her cozy chair, flipping a page in her book. "Nothing," she murmured, not looking up.
"No! You laughed! What's wrong with it?"
Adina lowered her book and focused on Annebelle with a sigh. "You shouldn't start a story with that."
"With what?" Annebelle scrutinized her paper. "With 'It was a dark and stormy night'? Lots of books start with that!"
"Older books. They don't start with that anymore. It is considered a major failing now."
Annebelle glared down at her paper. Adina was the leading critic in the house, when she could be talked into voicing her opinion. If she said not to do something, it was advisable to listen to her. Pulling a red pen from her pocket, she crossed the sentence out. "What should I start it with then?"
Adina, having already started reading again, only shrugged. "Something unexpected."
Annebelle tapped her pen on the table, watching as Raven scrawled away in her own unknown language at the opposite side of the table. After a moment of debate, she spoke up. "What do you think, Raven?"
Raven raised her head, death glare plastered on her scarred face.
"Never mind." Annebelle hopped out of her seat and scampered off in search of Punk. She liked to read, so maybe she could help.
Annebelle found her sprawled out on their author's bed. Art sat next to her, attempting to teach her to sew. Annebelle grinned at the sight of a boy teaching a girl to sew, then leaped onto the bed. "Punk!"
Punk started, gasped, and stuffed a finger into her mouth. "Belle!" she complained as well as she could around the finger.
Art coughed and turned away, shoulders shaking.
Punk scowled at the both of them before shoving the fabric and needle away. "If I poke myself one more time I'm gonna throw this out the window."
"I'm sorry!" Annebelle frowned. "Did you poke it bad?"
Punk shrugged and shook her head. "I've had worse." She fixed Annebelle with an irritated stare. "I'm guessin' you had a good reason to jump in here and make me poke myself."
Annebelle nodded, sending her wavy locks tumbling into her face. "How would you start a story? What do you think would be best?"
Punk itched her neck. "I dunno. I don't really care as long as it doesn't drag."
"What about 'It was a dark and stormy night'?"
Punk raised an eyebrow. "Are you serious?"
From the other bed, Thea broke into laughter. "That's so... What do you call it? Cliche?" She giggled and swung her legs off the bed. "What about, 'Once upon a time, there was a beautiful gypsy dancer'," Thea twirled, sending her scarves swirling around her, "'and none could match her gracefulness.'"
Punk snorted. Annebelle grinned and slipped off the bed, heading back to the table.
As she sat down, she smiled to herself and picked up her pen.
That would definitely work!
“Adina! How about this?”
Adina tore her gaze away from her book, letting out an impatient breath through her nose.
Now having full attention, Annebelle took a deep breath. “It was a bright and beautiful morning.” She looked up, beaming.
Adina maintained a blank stare.
Annebelle put her head to the side. “What?”
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