Chapter 4.1: Dear Diary, I’m Marty

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Well, Diary, I suppose I don’t have to introduce myself to you since Momma seemed to write tons about me in her part of you. There are things she didn’t know, of course, but nothing hugely surprising.

For instance, I’m really glad she never found out about the time Theo and I sneaked onto the ferry to the mainland. There, we found a train trestle to explore and we spent a good part of the afternoon imagining places a train on those tracks might visit.

At one point, I asked Theo if he dared me to jump off the trestle into the water below. He immediately pointed out that I would likely die as it was the highest jump either of us had ever considered. His cautionary words didn’t scare me, though. As I stared down at the raging river below, I reassured myself that this was a piece of cake. Theo saved my life that day and it was then I realized I was much too reckless for my own good and it seemed to me I might be missing something, a voice perhaps in the head, that tells you when you’re in too deep.

The trouble on the trestle wasn’t over though, not by a longshot. In fact, the big problem came when we discovered too late (because we’d been bickering on whether I was going to jump or not) that a train was coming upon us fast. So, as a last minute decision, we ended up hanging off the side until it passed. I almost killed Theo that day.

I’ve been trying to cultivate some caution since then. Sometimes, I eat the world, and other times, it eats me. But I’m learning.

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Here I’ve rambled on and you don’t even know where I am right now! I’ll attempt, from now on, to keep the monologues to a minimum. Maybe. Another thing I’ve found about myself is that I’m better off not making promises of any kind.

More on that another time.

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Anyway, to get back on track, I am in Longview which is about as far away from Winchester as one could get. Not that I don’t like Winchester, mind you. I was happy enough there. I just think I outgrew it a little.

I miss my family and Theo already, but I’m determined that whatever I do, I’m going to make it work.

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As for Longview itself, it was just waking up when I arrived. In every direction were buildings with lights just coming on inside, but no one seemed to be about on the street. I had no idea where I was or how to get where I was supposed to go.

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This car pulled up and the driver said he was driving a taxi. It didn’t look like any taxi I’d ever seen but it had begun to rain so I gave him the address and climbed into the backseat. He grinned in the rearview mirror at me and said the house was only a few miles away.

I’m so glad there wasn’t any traffic because this guy drove like a maniac and there were at least three times I thought we were going to crash. Okay, okay, I’ll tell you the truth. If I can’t tell you the truth, then who can I tell? It was so much fun! I had to hold in squeals of glee as he took each precarious curve at top speed.

You may as well know that one of the things I really, really want to do someday is to ride a roller coaster. I figured this ride in the taxi was good practice.

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Within minutes, we arrived on a block of nothing but brownstones. Or are they called rowhouses? Sometimes I wonder if I’m describing the right thing.

And wouldn’t you know, as soon as I paid the driver and he squealed off, I realized he’d dropped me off at the wrong building, so in the rain, I had to walk all the way down the street until I found the right one.

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I imagine Theo or someone else might feel hesitant to knock on the door. But not me. I couldn’t wait to see Aunt Ruby.

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She was older, of course, then what I remembered, but still as beautiful as ever. The last time I’d seen her, she was off to a place called Grey Meadow to begin her teaching career. Over the years, she’d ended up here in Longview and was now the elementary school principal. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

“Marty, it’s great to see you!” she enthused. Then, after she looked me over, she added, “It’s summertime, why are you all bundled up for winter?”

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“I’m freezing!” The truth was, not long after I’d left the island, I realized what hot summers I’d been used to. Everywhere else seemed frigid in comparison.

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Aunt Ruby wasted no time ushering me inside out of the rain. She gushed on about how great it was to see me and how much she missed me and all the family. And she couldn’t wait for me to meet her little girl Gloria.

We heard she had eloped with someone named Barry Banford but had never met him, just seen pictures when she wrote to us.

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Aunt Ruby quickly showed me around the main floor of her unit which was a bit small, but so cozy, I found it very nice.

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“Thank you so much for having me. I’ll pull my weight, don’t worry,” I assured her.

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“I’m sure it will all work out just fine. Why don’t you go upstairs and settle into your room? I have to get to work, but I took part of the afternoon off so we could catch up.”

“That sounds great!” I had to admit I was kind of tired.

As I mounted the stairs, I heard Aunt Ruby collecting some things before she left. The hallway was narrow and I made a right turn… to the wrong room! It was pretty and pink and surely belonged to little Gloria. Pausing for a moment, I marveled at the thought of being an only child and what that would be like. She didn’t have to share anything with anyone which was something I’d always craved.

I found that it was more comfortable to push thoughts like that into the back of my mind where they belonged because as much as I had always dreamed of being on my own, I did miss my older brothers and younger sisters terribly. Who would have thought?

Anyway, I turned back around in the cramped hall and realized Gloria had painted a little sign with my name on it and put it on one of the doors. Squinting at the picture, then looking at it sideways, I couldn’t tell if those were flowers around my name or crazily shaped cats. I had a feeling art was not in Gloria’s future, not that I could do any better.

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Look at this big, comfy bed! And it’s all mine! Mine! Bwaaahaahaaahaaaa!

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I didn’t stay put for long. By the time I’d showered, put all my things away in my new room and had snacked on an orange, Aunt Ruby was home.

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We sat in the TV room and talked about how things were with my siblings, my parents, Uncle Leo and Aunt Wilda and even Theo. I guess she’ll find out soon enough that I rarely leave Theo out of any conversation.

Then, she caught me up on her life and family. Uncle Barry wasn’t around at the moment because he was off doing some military thing. I’m not very clear on the details but it seemed to me that Aunt Ruby wasn’t either. Even so, it didn’t seem to bother her too much that he was away so I could only guess he did this a lot.

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“So,” Aunt Ruby said, “what’s happening with your entrance exam to Longview University?”

Butterflies immediately made their presence known in my belly filling me with both excitement and dread.

“I took the test a few weeks ago and am still waiting to hear.”

“How do you feel about how it went?”

“To be honest, it was really hard. I don’t think I did very well, but I’m hoping I get in. I want to go so badly and Grandpa said he’d pay for it. I don’t want to let him down.”

Ruby’s mouth curved into a soft smile and she patted my hand. “Grandpa could never be disappointed in you. I know that for a fact.”

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While Ruby was making dinner, I decided to take a walk. The rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out behind the clouds so I figured I didn’t need my winter coat. I only went around the block because I didn’t want to miss seeing Gloria get off the bus.

On my return, I pulled the mail out of the box and when I straightened up, there was a strange looking old lady staring at me.

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“Good afternoon, dear,” she said in a squeaky voice that grated my nerves.

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“Good afternoon, ma’am. My name is Marty – Martha, I mean, Larochette and I’m staying with my Aunt Ruby. Uh, Ruby Banford.”

“Ah!” she exclaimed moving her glasses from the end of her nose to look at me and then back again. “Of course. I wondered when you were coming. I’m one of the neighbors, Mrs. Abernathy.”

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“Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Abernathy,” I murmured. She went on to say something else in that annoyingly bombastic tone. Honestly, I was so distracted by her flame-orange hair, I’m afraid I didn’t catch what she was saying.

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“Nothing to say?” she said. “Don’t you worry, there’s always something can be done about one’s appearance. I mean, look at me, I’ve just come from the salon. I know! Let’s go there together!” Her lips pursed, she looked me over once again, then added, “As soon as possible.”

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Mortified, I said, “Oh, I think Aunt Ruby will want me to go wherever she goes.”

Mrs. Abernathy made a tsking sound with her teeth. “Nonsense. Her salon won’t even know what to do with straight, stringy hair, not when they deal mostly with curly hair like your aunt’s.”

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Before I could get in a reply, she swished right past me toward her unit, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll let you know when they can get us in, dear!”

Good grief, this couldn’t be good. And what was wrong with my hair anyway? I didn’t spend any time on it, that was true, but I didn’t think it was stringy either.

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Suddenly, the bus pulled up and a little girl hopped down the steps and over to me. Before anything could be said, she wrapped her little arms around me and hugged me tightly.

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“Hello, Marty! I love you! We’re going to have so much fun! Did you know we’re cousins? You’re not dressed for summer, are you? Cool boots, though! I think I’d like a pair just like them! Do you like sweet? Salty? Sour? I think I need a snickety-snack! My tummy’s been making loud noises all day!”

She was definitely chatty but also about the most adorable thing I’d ever seen in my life.

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As soon as we came inside, she bounced into the dining room with her homework. Ruby and I soon followed her, also sitting at the table.

“Just a minute now, young lady,” Ruby said. “How was your day? What did you do?”

“Well, first I got on the bus and I wanted to sit next to Becca but snooty Viola was sitting there. So, I sat next to George and we talked about frogs and the best places to see them. When we got to school, I said hi to all my friends before the bell rang and then we had a spelling test. Can you believe a spelling test first thing in the morning? We all groaned about it but Mrs. Nichols said the morning is our best thinking time so she made us do it anyway – ”

” – And how did you do on the spelling test?” Ruby patiently asked.

Personally, I was amazed at the play by play of Gloria’s day but I couldn’t imagine getting one every single day.

” – Oh, I did fine! I only missed one, so I have to write that word in a sentence ten times tonight. Ten times!” she exclaimed, her eyes huge.

“And what word is it?”

“Onion. Blech. As if I ever want to know anything about onions!”

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“You can do your onion sentences in a while. Let’s start with your math homework.”

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As they worked on Gloria’s math problems, I realized she was doing work I found to be very hard, and she was just a kid! My stomach knotted up at the thought that I’d probably failed the math portion of my own test.

»»————-¤————-««

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Over the next few weeks, I became more acclimated to the cooler summer weather and began to dress like a normal person. Gloria, it seemed, had gotten pretty attached to me, but I didn’t mind. Not really.

There were times I wished she didn’t talk so much, but most of the time, I found the accounting of events in her life to be quite funny. I pictured her someday as the writer of a humor column…. or a comedian.

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As for Mrs. Abernathy, I was in the routine of avoiding her like the plague. Since Gloria was now out of school for the summer, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Gloria had her own opinions about the Abernathys, of course.

“Mrs. Abernathy doesn’t like being called Constance,” the little girl declared. “Even Mr. Abernathy doesn’t call her that.”

“What’s he call her?”

“Same thing you and I do, ‘Mrs. Abernathy!’ Isn’t that funny? But she calls him Glenn. And he can’t hardly hear so she gets mad because all he ever really says to her is, ‘What?’

I laughed when Gloria said ‘What’ because she tried to imitate a grown man’s voice. She was pretty good, though.

Every day, Gloria had another Abernathy story to tell me and I found I quite looked forward to them.

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At last, I found a place that reminded me of home. One hot summer day, Gloria asked me to take her to the beach and I just reveled in the familiar surroundings.

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And, look. My first two-piece swimming suit! Don’t tell Momma! Bwaahaahaa!

I think yellow is fast becoming my new favorite color. When I get more comfortable in this maybe I’ll get a real bikini! Of course, getting a new anything will require a job but hopefully, I’ll be in uni before I have to think about that.

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The water was colder than what I was used to on our island back home, but it felt so good. I let my mind drift for a while, daydreaming about Theo being there with me and playing in the water. With reddened cheeks, I wondered if he’d like my bathing suit?

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As per usual, that night I checked my Longview University email account where the results of my test would magically appear one day. As I waited for the screen to load, I held my breath and counted the seconds. Did I want to see? Should I have Gloria look for me?

No, I was a big girl. A nervous big girl.

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As the page finally began to appear, I closed my eyes because it looked like I finally had the results.

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“Did you pass?” Gloria urged. “Open your eyes!”

Slowly, I did. As I read the email, my jaw went slack and I couldn’t pry my eyes away.

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“Well?”

Holding back tears, I said, “I failed. I failed the exam.”

 

57 comments

  1. I love, love, love how differently you approach each of your heirs, Kym!
    I’m glad Marty is staying with Ruby, that’s so cool to see her again. For a while I thought she was one of Leo’s sisters, lol. I guess I was used to seeing her with her curly hair.
    It looks like Marty will have very cool neighbors in those Abernathy’s. Haha, it looks like she will have a lot of adventures with this orange-haired lady.
    Sorry that she didn’t pass- I hate Maths, too- but I’m sure you have a lot planned for her even if she doesn’t go to university after all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jowita! 🙂 I thought that Marty staying with a relative would help ease her into the real world and possibly help her gain independence sooner. As for Ruby’s hair, I had a difficult time trying to decide what to do with it. I loooved her curls but decided it would be better if it was braided for work as a school Principal. I am itching to bring the curls back, though!

      The Abernathys kill me! LOLOLOL Mrs. Abernathy is such a dotty old lady. haha Let the adventures begin! lol

      I was sorry she didn’t pass, too, but perhaps she will come up with another great plan. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Aaaah, the start of generation 4!! This is so exciting! ❤
    First of all, let me say that Marty is truly gorgeous! I bet she'll break even more hearts than her mom! 😁
    Mrs Abernathy is funny. I know that Marty must find her utterly irritating, but I'm really looking forward to seeing her in the future! And Gloria is so adorable!! I love the way she talks talks talks (and her mother has ceratinly found a way to deal with that)!
    It's a shame Marty won't go to uni, but I'm sure she's soon find her way. Looking forward to reading what's in store for her! 😀 Great start! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤ I'm so glad you like Marty!

      Mrs. Abernathy kills me in game. She is such a dotty old lady and into everyone's business. LOL Oh and I love Gloria, too. I can hear her run-on sentences in my head whenever I think about her. LOLOL

      Will Marty let this uni thing get her down? You'll find out very soon. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh no!!! I guess Ruby and Gloria are going to be tutoring Marty if she wants to take the exam again. I love that she arrived with her boots on – Marty all the way!! She definitely has a friend in her cousin Gloria, the little jabber-jaw! The story about the train trestle was really interesting, and gave us a deeper insight into Marty’s personality. I’m glad it made her more cautious in her life, without totally dampening her spirit! There is a lot of Blue in her, so throwing caution to the wind is no surprise! I am really looking forward to next Saturday!! Great intro chapter! ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Marj! 🙂 That’s a great idea about the tutoring. You might be more right than you know. lol Yes, she had to arrive with her boots on. I figured that might make her more confident and less homesick.

      She and Gloria are tight, that’s for sure! lol And “jabber-jaw” is the perfect way to describe her!

      The train trestle story, I felt, was important to show a little bit about how Marty thinks. I think it’s good, too, because as you said, it’s made her more cautious without totally dampening her spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love it when you get to revisit old characters. And I love little talkative Gloria although I think she would exhaust me if I was in Marty’s place! Poor her though, failing her uni exam :/ but when one door closes, another one opens. There will be something else for her in the future I’m sure, there’s plenty to choose from!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! You are right about Marty’s future. Somehow, I think she will still find her way. 🙂

      I love seeing the older characters, too. I think it makes the story feel more grounded, especially when you don’t know Marty as well.

      And good grief, Gloria! She does talk quite a lot! hahaha It could definitely get exhausting. 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, that last line was unexpected… Oh no… I’m sure things will look up for you though, Marty. I have to believe it! But let’s go back to the beginning…

    “…it was then I realized I was much too reckless for my own good and it seemed to me I might be missing something, a voice perhaps in the head, that tells you when you’re in too deep.” – THIS LINE! If this line is any indication of what Marty’s journey will be, then I’m sure it will quite an amazing trip! Adventurous sim, I hope, because yes please! I’m excited to see where you take her!

    But let’s just please give a moment’s silence to the rainboots. It’s crazy how happy I was to see her wearing frickin’ rainboots! Yes! Yes! You’re awesome, Marty! I love your rainboots.

    I also love Gloria and her Abernathy stories. It feels strange to see Ruby. It still kind of hurts inside to remember her falling out with Blue, but pfft… they’re okay now. I need to get over it.

    Marty keeps thinking about Theo so much and that line! That line that I highlighted! He’s her voice. Makes me wish he’d get out of Winchester and somehow find his way to her. Wishful thinking on my part? I hope not. Because I ship them. *sigh*

    Oh well… It’s okay, Marty. University isn’t all it’s cut up to be. Listen to Relient K’s song, “College Kids” for reference.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that’s what I like! Keep the faith despite the last line! 😀 The road may not be easy but what will Marty take from that?

      I’m so glad you liked that line. To me, it is the essence of this character, so far. When the world tells her no, what will she do? Where does throwing caution to the wind lead her? I can’t wait to find out!

      And you know she couldn’t leave those rainboots behind. I thought for sure she’d wear them just to boost her confidence. There is something about her and those boots – they belong together. LOL

      I think I understand your feelings about Ruby. She is older and wiser but that falling out was truly brutal. And Gloria is hilarious in game – always running around.

      Oh, gosh, do I love what you said about Theo being her voice. I think she’s realizing even more how much he means to her…. but you know me…. you ship them, and I do, too, actually…. but it’s really, really early in the story and this could go anywhere. :O

      Hey, that’s a great song reference! Marty thanks you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah. I’m sure you’ve set this generation up with its fair share of surprises for us! This is why I’m trying not to get too invested in Theo + Marty. But darn it! It’s hard. I like them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know what you mean! I’ve been going through the ins and outs of this gen and trying to figure out the details. It feels so strange because I had Gen 3 planned to the hilt because I knew I was going to solve the Mango thing. But this generation is an open book which is both freeing and frightening. haha

          Like

  6. Wow! I love Marty so much ! I’ve always really liked her, but hearing her own voice , I adore her! And I’m so happy we get to spend some time with Ruby ‘s family . Sorry that Marty didn’t get into college . .. Keep trying !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Cathy! I’m so glad you love her! I love you telling her to keep trying – you’ll find out in the next chapter why. 😀 Obstacles can break a person or be broken – I think we’ll begin to see what Marty is made of.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Marty glad to finally get to know you through yourself and not as your Mom saw you. Sorry you failed your exam, but I am sure with your Aunt’s help you will pass it in no time with flying colors. Can’t wait to see how your life unfolds.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh my gosh, I love this already. I was just reading the whole thing in a Southern drawl, too. I just couldn’t help but picture her with some kind of accent! I’m super excited for her relationship with Gloria, and it seems the neighbors should be fun. And what a twist at the end! I can already see life will be hard for our Marty, but I feel she’ll get there…if she can stop thinking about Theo for five minutes!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Rosie! I’m so glad you love this! A Southern drawl? That’s cool! For some reason, I think you’re probably right about Marty having some type of accent. I think you’re right that Marty will get where she wants to go despite hardships she may encounter. And ah, Theo. Will he realize he loves her or will he break her heart? Such possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ohhh Marty….I am surprised she didn’t do well. They had schooling in Winchester, I guess it wasn’t as thorough as it is in a more formalized program. Maybe Math is just a weakness for her. A lot of very smart people don’t necessarily do well in math. 🙂

    Theo – how sweet that she keeps thinking about him. I wonder if he will ever come to see her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Audrey! 🙂 Yes, they did have schooling in Winchester, although, I didn’t really show that aspect of their lives. You are right that it wasn’t as formal since their lives there are more focused on agriculture, etc. You are very right about math!

      You just never know about that Theo. And if he comes to visit her, will he want to play catch or date her? Or both? LOL 😀

      Like

  10. Yay! The beginning of Gen 4, this is exciting!
    The story of her and Theo at the train trestle sounds a bit ominous. I do hope she won’t get herself into trouble like that, although I also want to see her being adventurous, so… lol. For now, Marty seems to be doing okay. But I feel so bad for her, failing the exam. Is it really her fault though? Is the education at Winchester as intense as the mainland? Either way, hopefully with Ruby’s help, she can get in! Or find another path that she will enjoy 🙂
    Gloria is so adorable, I liked her straight away, rambling along like that. I’m happy Marty’s found a friend in her. Mrs. Abernathy is a bit strange though. I hope she turns out to be nice. And Marty keeps on thinking about Theo… *wiggles eyebrows* I wonder if he will come visit her!
    Awesome chapter ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lila! I’m so glad you like how this is starting out. I have a feeling Marty might find herself in trouble and in awkward situations, but I’m not planning any train trestle moments right now. hahaha

      I do think you are right about the level of education not being as good in Winchester as it is elsewhere. Also, I’m thinking Marty might have been dreaming about conquering new lands instead of reading textbooks or doing assignments. lol

      You are on to so much in this comment! 😀 😀 Mrs. Abernathy is a dotty old lady, for sure…. or is she? hahaha I’m still nailing down details.

      And Theo! Dear Theo! We shall see more about him in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love Marty!! She’s going to have an adventure on the mainland, I can sense it. Maybe Gloria will join in? 😉 She’s such a cute little girl. I have to wonder about Mrs. Abernathy… Is she really all that she seems? And oh, poor Marty 😦 Then again, exams aren’t everything. I’m sure if she really wants to get in to university, she will work hard for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Raymond! 🙂 I think you are definitely right about an adventure on the mainland. In fact, this character is going to visit many lands, I am thinking. 😀

      I’m glad you like Gloria. Who knows where she will end up? It’s kind of exciting to think of her having a future in one of Marty’s adventures.

      And Mrs. Abernathy… I think you know me pretty well is the reason you ask that. haha 😛

      As for the exam, I think we’re about to learn what lengths Marty will go to in order to get what she wants.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bless her heart! That would be devastating though she half way expected it after seeing the kind of homework Gloria was doing. I’m sure the schooling she received at Winchester was enough only for domesticating the women for mothering and housekeeping, nothing more. What a good lesson to learn and possibly to pass on to her other siblings that are contemplating leaving the nest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jolie. 🙂 You’re right about Marty’s level of education and that she was half expecting to fail after seeing Gloria’s schoolwork. I think you have a great idea about passing this on to her siblings. It turns this into a positive instead of a negative!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 4. gen and a 4th different start. It seams Marty likes danger… and I immeadiarly imagined her in Egypt or China solving dangerous tasks… and can’t stop wondering how she is going there… what adventures are you have for her. It’s a pitty she didn’t succed in her exams but maybe she won’t be needing an academic career and will find her own way. I am also loving her staying with Ruby and Gloria… and imagining what coiuld still happen with Ms Abernathy lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, hafuhga! 🙂 I think you’re right about Marty being attracted to danger. This will indeed come to play in her story.

      At the moment, she is finding it difficult to get going in life as things won’t always come easily to her. But I think that will shape her character.

      I’m so glad you like that she is staying with Ruby and Gloria. They are so much fun and I missed Ruby a lot. And, oh, that Mrs. Abernathy! haha Good times!

      Like

  14. Marty’s a pixy-looking girl, innit she! Blue was all big green eyes and heart-shaped face, but Marty’s a bit more…feisty looking. Tiny and feisty.

    Oh, Marty, school’s not everything. Trust me! Pull you knickers up and find something else! Or try again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, fluffy! 🙂 You’re so good at describing the difference in Marty and Blue’s appearances. And I think you’re right… Marty is little… but big. hahaha

      And, yes, Marty, don’t cry, buck up and do what you have to do to succeed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wait…how did I miss this?!?!
    Anyway, I am so very excited to see Gen 4 start!! And it is not starting well for Marty. But Silver Lining: at least she gets to wear what she wants!!
    I love Gloria. She reminds me of my niece. Always talkative and excited about EVERYTHING.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful start to gen 4. Marty has a unique voice, like she is so excited to be on her own and able to wear what she wants. I’m looking forward to watching her grow up and change into who she’ll become. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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