A long while ago.

“You’re a smart kid, Pia, I just don’t understand how you get such low scores.” Pia’s mother was concerned, but it came across as angered. Pia couldn’t help feeling absolute guilt, which only made her less motivated.

“It’s not like I don’t do anything. I’m not out taking drugs or partying. I just… Can’t focus.” She tried to make her mother understand.

“Well, from now on I want you sitting in the kitchen every night and doing your work in front of me. No excuses. No xbox. No telly. And I have to read over everything you do.”

This terrified Pia. She had a hard enough time showing writing to her editor, let alone her mother. She knew it was only her mother’s way of showing support and making sure Pia didn’t fall behind; that didn’t make it any easier.

“Can I go to Jeremy’s house later?” Pia tried to pierce her Mother’s stern expression with some puppy dog eyes.

“Tell you what. You write a thousand words and you can go as soon as I’ve finished reading those words.”

“Make it seven hundred and fifty…”

“Nope. One thousand. And one. For trying to bargain.”

Pia sighed the word fine and let her lips blubber out the last bit of air as she exhaled.

She had to go back and re-read the first line so many times because it didn’t seem real. She prayed, and she didn’t have a religious bone in her body, that Jeremy wasn’t just playing a sick joke.

We are thrilled to inform you that your manuscript sample has been accepted. We kindly request that you send the work in it’s entirety to us at your nearest possible convenience.

“Jem!” she yelled, still not convinced of the legitimacy of the email.

“What?” he responded in a hollow voice – just as he always did when he slipped in to chef extraordinaire mode.

“Did you send me a very, very, very mean email as a prank…?”

“Huh? What are you on about? Ya peanut.” he always called her a peanut when she wasn’t making sense.

“Okay… So it wasn’t you. Come and read this, then.” She wanted to see his reaction first-hand to make extremely sure she was not dreaming. Jeremy waltzed in, wooden spoon in one hand and tea towel in the other. Pia turned the laptop screen and lifted it up for him to read. She waited.

“Wait, does this mean you’re finally getting published? Have you done it?” his whole face shifted into a beaming smile and his eyes widened, awaiting Pia’s confirmation.

“Yes…?” She managed a half-smile, her brows still furrowed with concern and disbelief.

Jeremy threw the spoon and towel on the ground and pushed the laptop aside, yanking Pia up from the couch. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her, squeezing the breath out from her lungs.

“Babe, this is awesome, I’m so proud of you” he yelled, smacking her with excited kisses all over her face. She started to laugh and cry and shake, she couldn’t quite comprehend the way her body was reacting. Jeremy put her down, and wiped the tears away. “Why are you crying? Isn’t this what you wanted?” he was shocked to see her this upset over an email.

“I’m crying because I’m happy” was all Pia could say.

“You’re a weirdo” Jeremy sighed, and brushed his hand adoringly across her cheek.


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