Friday, 11 March 2011

Hollyworld

I started writing Hollyworld when I was 12. The original idea sprang from a small section from 'The Silk Sisters' series by Fiona Dunbar in which the girls end up in some kind of fashion world. Hollyworld was originally titled 'Fashion World' but I soon renamed it Hollyworld. I never imagined that I would continue with it to novel length because I had the habit of abandoning ideas. Here is the blurb, introduction and first chapter.

How would you feel if you were taken to a whole new world? A whole new universe? That's exactly what happened to Gucci Jones and her family. The new world is Hollyworld. It revolves around fashion, parties and popularity. Sounds great, right? WRONG. Hollyworld has a dark secret..

Introduction to the Jones Family

Gucci Jones lived in an unpretentious, diminutive flat in London with her mother, her sister and Paul, a close family friend. None of what happened would have done so if her mother, Lucie, had not been obsessed with fashion. But she was and it did happen so I have decided to document the forthcoming events. You had probably already guessed that Lucie Jones held a strong interest in the fashion world when I told you the name of her eldest daughter. If you are in touch with the industry of fashion yourself then you will know that she was named after the world renowned designer, Guccio Gucci. You will also know that Gucci’s fourteen year old sister, Prada was named after another popular fashion designer, Mario Prada.

Their father, Marvin, no longer lived with them. In a time when divorce was becoming more and more common Lucie felt that she had no other choice when she discovered that Marvin was cheating on her with one of his co-workers. He moved out when Gucci and Prada were still very young but they could remember it for a long time afterwards. They never saw their father again. He supposedly went to live in America but the exact details of his whereabouts during the events of this novel are blurred.

When Lucie had had a few glasses of wine to drink, Prada and Gucci would ask her to get out the photo albums and talk about their father. Lucie let them see some photographs and talked to them about Marvin.

“He was the most wonderful man. Good looking, kind hearted, clever, fun. I fell for his charm straight away” Lucie would say, staring into space “This is our wedding photo” At this point she would usually have wet tears steadily falling down her cheeks. It was not that Lucie was an emotional person but the alcoholic nostalgia made it hard for her to keep in the tears. In the wedding photo Marvin wore a suit and his dark hair was neatly styled, slightly gelled upwards. He was holding hands with Lucie, who had  long wavy locks of strawberry blonde hair, was wearing a white meringue dress and was holding on to a bouquet of red roses. Lucie had not changed much in the seventeen years that had been. Her hair still loosely tumbled down her shoulders and her blue eyes still glittered when she was happy.

When it got to around ten o’clock at night Paul would enter and say, “Alright, girls, time to go to bed.”

Paul and Lucie had never had any sort of romantic relationship. Lucie had not had any proper partners since the divorce. She felt that she did not need anyone else in her life to break her heart like Marvin had done all those years ago. The thought of long term relationships scared her. Although none of them had ever seen Paul with another man he was homosexual.

Lucie used to have a stable career with a steady income but she quit her job after the divorce, claiming that all the grief and suffering had inspired her to do exactly what she wanted to do in life and she had always wanted to be a fashion designer. Lucie had a part time job as a shop assistant but that barely covered the flat’s mortgage, not to mention the household bills. Paul had to help them out financially. Lucie promised Paul that she would pay him back every penny when she made it big time; if she made it big time. Lucie was determined that she would. She had the delusions of a little girl dreaming of becoming a pop star.


Paul worked as a stylist. He owned his own little business, Paul’s Beauty Parlour. He was earning quite a lot of money; enough to support himself as well as Lucie and her daughters but not enough to move out of the tiny flat. It was not enough for Lucie and her daughters to live the life of luxury that they desired. 

Chapter 1 {Dreams&Distasters}

Prada and Gucci came home from school to unearth that Lucie had got declined again today at a meeting with the creative director at a chain of high fashion shops. The girls walked through to Lucie’s bedroom to console her because they realised what must have happened when their mother did not answer the door to greet them. They walked straight through and, as was expected, Lucie was sobbing at her dressing table whilst Paul was styling her hair into an ornate plait. He would always give Lucie some sort of makeover when she was upset. Paul believed that problems need to be tackled one bit at a time and one’s outside appearance contributes to their overall mood.

“Oh, hi girls” Lucie said, wiping her eyes “Did you have a good day at school?” She grabbed a tissue from the other side of the dressing table and blew her nose loudly.

“Yes” Prada said. Prada had been planning to tell her mother all about her day but realised it probably was not the best time. Prada’s day had been mixed. She had got her drama mark book back from the teacher to discover that she had achieved an A* and that had been good because drama was one of Prada’s favourite subjects. However, she had also fallen out with a girl in her class and she had wanted to tell her mum all about it to let off steam. However, it was not all bad on the friendship front. Prada had been invited to a party on Saturday but she needed to ask her mum if she could go.

Gucci just nodded to her mother’s question. Gucci’s day had been pretty much average. However, Prada had ensured that she heard all the dramatic events of her own day on their way home.

“I didn’t get the job” Lucie sighed.

“Oh, mum” Gucci said as comfortingly as possible, feigning surprise and stepping closer and putting her hand on her mother’s shoulder. The truth is that she was not surprised that her mum did not get the job; none of them were really. She was going in for a very competitive position and although her designs were good there was nothing eye catching about them; nothing stood out or made them memorable.

“I just don’t understand it all” Prada said “You’re a brilliant designer.”

Lucie shrugged half heartedly, she was not convinced by the encouragement. 

“Done” Paul said, admiring Lucie’s changed look in the mirror “Now, honey, you have to promise me that you won’t cry anymore. I need to do your makeup, my beauty.”

“Ok” Lucie laughed, “Thanks Paul. You’ve been great. I still can’t believe I didn’t get that job. It’s so frustrating. I really felt like today was the day. I know I was aiming high with the brand I went to and everything but I really felt confident this time.”

“Lu, girlfriend, you have the potential to be a great designer” said Paul “But, hun, I honestly think that most of it is just luck.”

“Do you really think that I have the potential? I’m starting to doubt myself to be honest” said Lucie.

“Well, darling, sure, you have potential. But remember, I know this might sound cheesy but the key to everything in life is believing that you can do it. So just don’t give up. You will get there in the end. Just be patient” said Paul.

“I know, I know. You say the same thing all the time. But, honestly, you don’t think I’m a bit of a saddo and just need give up my dream?” asked Lucie.

Yes, that was exactly what they all thought but like every other time this had happened they all kept their mouths shut because they all loved Lucie and nobody wanted to be responsible for shattering her dreams.

“No” Paul said, “Not. At. All babe. Your makeup’s done now. Voila. Très chic”

“Cheers” said Lucie briskly, “I’ll go and start a new collection right away. Gucci make some sandwiches for tea for you and Prada.”

“Mum” Gucci groaned, “You know we don’t have any decent sandwich fillings. You were supposed to buy some when you went shopping the other day.”

 “Don’t worry Lucie I’ll make the girls something hot to eat” said Paul.

Paul made them some chicken nuggets and chips with some of his homemade sauce.
They sat and ate together whilst Lucie slaved away over her small, low maintenance desk across the room. “Uh, it makes me sick just thinking of how many calories are in this” Prada said in disgust.

“But isn’t it worth it?” Gucci grinned greedily in between mouthfuls.

 “Honestly Prada why do you worry about your weight so much” Paul said, “You’re all skin and bone.”

“I want to be a model” Prada stated.

“The only thing you want is a glamorous lifestyle. We know what you’re like Prada.  I don’t wanna sound like, patronizing or anything but modelling is hard work” Gucci said.

“What’s wrong with wanting a glamorous lifestyle?” Prada asked.

“Nothing’s wrong with that” Paul said.

“But I’d rather do real work and live a real life” Gucci said.

“What do you mean, Gucci?” Paul asked.

“No one else would understand” Gucci said, “I mean you, mom and Prada either work or want to work in some aspect of the fashion industry. I think it’s all so fake though. Don’t get me wrong I love fashion even more than the average person and I will read a copy of Vogue cover to cover any day of the week but there is more to life than that.”

“What do you want to be then?” Paul asked.

“I’m not sure really, I quite fancy the idea of being a lawyer but I want to be able to settle down and have a family later on too” Gucci said.

Prada yawned loudly. “You mean you want a boring life. The fashion industry is exciting and glamorous; not to mention interesting. You lack taste Gucci Jones.”

“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion” Paul said. Paul was very diverse like that. Prada and Gucci assumed that he was like this because, being gay, he had probably experienced discrimination. He had a very logical way of thinking and had set views on complex topics. All of his views made sense and he could almost always persuade someone else to come round to his way of thinking.

“Anyway, this is a rather serious debate to be having over chicken nuggets and chips, let’s cool it down a bit” Gucci said.

When they had finished Gucci and Prada said goodnight to Lucie and Paul then went to bed. Gucci cleaned her teeth and washed her face before letting Prada into the bathroom to do the same. Gucci put on her navy vest top and pink checked pyjama bottoms and slid under the sheets. She slept in the bottom bunk of the bunk-bed that her and her sister shared. Gucci picked up her diary and started to write in it. She did not write about what had happened that day because, as mentioned previously, not much had happened but it rested her mind to write down her worries before she went to sleep. Tonight she was worried about her mum. Lucie was a complete and utter workaholic and when she set her mind to something she would not stop until it was completed to perfection. It so happened that she was a fashion designer who had to design full collections of clothing so it took up a lot of time. Thirty two hours was the longest time that the girls had ever known her to work without sleep but there was no knowing how long she could go for next. She would not sleep or rest at all during these episodes. This was really bad for her health and Gucci was already aware that her mum’s blood pressure was dangerously high as a result of stress and overworking.

Gucci placed her journal down and picked up that month’s copy of Vogue. She had a flick through the glossy pages filled with glamorous models and imagined her sister as one of them. Gucci was aware of the many issues that the fashion industry posed. Did the magazines even mention how its models got so skinny? No. Was there any warning that life isn’t really anything like the pages of fashion magazine for most people? No. Was there anything stating that if someone bought every item in there they would probably be bankrupt for a decade at the least? No.

Prada came in and snatched the magazine from Gucci. “My turn” she said and climbed up the ladder to her bed. A few moments later she said “Oh my God, have you seen this Alexander McQueen dress?” she dangled the magazine in Gucci’s face.

“That’s stunning” Gucci gasped, “Bloody hell.”

“What?” Prada asked.

“It’s three grand!” Gucci exclaimed.

“What did you expect?” Prada asked, “It’s this season McQueen and it’s in Vogue magazine.” Prada silently read the magazine and gazed at its pictures for another ten minutes then turned off the lights. “Gucci?” Prada whispered “Are you still awake?”

“Yeah” Gucci replied.

“Mum’s gonna stay up all night tonight working on her designs isn’t she?” whispered Prada.
Gucci nodded. “Yes” She whispered back.

They both hated it when their mother stayed up working on her designs. She was a hopeless parent when she was like that. Paul acted as their guardian when Lucie got like that. The same series of events occurred every time Lucie got rejected from a job; which was often. Gucci and Prada would come home from school to find Paul and Lucie at Lucie’s dressing table. They would talk for a bit and Lucie would cry for a bit. Then Paul would tell her to go for it and she did. Maybe she took the phrase “go for it” a bit too seriously. Whatever it was it scared Gucci and Prada and they did not like it one bit.

*

Lucie had stayed up the whole night working on her designs, as expected. Paul gave Gucci and Prada a lift into school. They were all silent for the entire duration of the journey.  When they got out of the car Paul said goodbye and wished them a good day. Once they were inside school, Gucci and Prada went their separate ways.

 “Hi” Gucci said, hugging each of her best friends in turn.

“Oh my God, Gucci, you will never guess what?” her friend, Peaches said.

“What?” Gucci asked.

“She...” Kitty began.

“No, I want to tell her” Peaches interrupted, “Josh Parker asked me out!”

“And...?” Gucci said, “What did you say?”

“Yes, duh, he’s like totally hot” Peaches said.

Josh Parker walked into the room and gave Peaches a cheeky wink as he walked past. Peaches blushed and smiled at her boyfriend. Josh Parker had wavy blonde hair, tanned skin and a great physique. He was good looking but in a painfully conventional way. Nevertheless, Gucci felt a pang of jealousy.

 “You’re blushing, like really red” Queenie giggled.

“Shut up” Peaches said, hitting Queenie with her bag.

Gucci laughed as their teacher came in and they all made their way to their seats. Then her thoughts went back to her mum and her mood dipped momentarily. None of her friends knew anything about her mum’s “weird” obsession with fashion designing. Gucci was embarrassed to talk to anyone about it.

“Ugh, our lessons are soooo bad this morning” moaned Pixie.

“Uh, tell me about it” Kitty said.

“Not so bad for Peaches though, eh?” Gucci said, glancing back at her friend who was walking about twenty metres behind, holding hands with Josh, “Josh is in both of this morning’s lessons.”

“Aww, sweet” Queenie cooed, “They’re really loved up.”

“Call it whatever you want but Josh is fit” Pixie grinned. They all laughed.

The lessons went quickly; they usually did, despite complaints that were spoken beforehand. At lunchtime Gucci bought a plate of some sort of curry and rice and took a seat with her friends.

“You excited for tonight, Gucci?” said Pixie. Gucci looked up from what she was eating and Pixie was looking at her. She was confused.

“What’s happening tonight?” Gucci said.

“Duh, you invited me round yours. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten. Honestly Gucci, you have the memory span of a fish sometimes. I think it’s fish that have short memories, isn’t it? Anyway, I can’t wait to come round. You said that you would show me that new movie that you bought last week. You know, the one you were mega obsessed with for like three days. You were really excited when we talked about it.”

Gucci started to panic. Her mum would still be in work mode and she felt that she could not let Pixie come round when she was like that. It would be so embarrassing.

“Oh, well about that, I was thinking, maybe we could go into town instead” Gucci suggested.

“Oh but I really wanted to see that movie. The actor in it is so hot” Pixie moaned.

“If you go into town you can go to that new restaurant, Ravioli, in King Street” suggested Queenie.

“Oh, yeah. That’s meant to be really good” Gucci said “I read a review of it in Elle the other day.”

“Well, okay, we’ll go there then. I can come round and see the movie some other time. I do love Italian food” said Pixie.

“Okay then, Ravioli it is” Gucci said.

Gucci was so relieved that she had not had to explain anything. The rest of the school day breezed by and by the end Gucci was actually quite excited about her night out. She always kept a spare evening outfit in her locker in case of situations like this. Ravioli was supposed to be quite posh so she didn’t want to go in her casual clothes that she had been wearing all day. She went into the toilets to change from her red hoodie, button denim culottes, leggings and red plimsolls into a white lace edge top with a peach coloured ripple tube skirt and black strappy lace up heels. Pixie made a quick transition from casual to formal by taking off her jeans and slipping on the black tube skirt she kept in her locker as well as putting a string of pearls around her neck and changing from Converses to black heels.

It was a ten minute walk from the school to the high street and they chatted about this and that on the way. “Have you heard that new song by that boy band?” Pixie asked “I can’t remember their name now. You know the really funny ones? But they’re really fit too.”

“I think I know who you are talking about” Gucci said, “Did one of them use to go out with the actress Abigail Fox? But then he cheated on her. Abigail’s stunning and he is such a love rat, but fit anyway.”

“Hmm...” Pixie thought, “I suppose he is a love rat. He has a bit of a bad boy reputation but you know I have a weak spot for bad boys. Their song Money Lovin’ is great though.”

“It’s catchy” Gucci grinned, “No one really thinks that money is the key to love though.”

“Seriously, Gucci, you think into things too much” Pixie said, “You just need to be more easygoing. It’s a good song. It doesn’t mean anything seriously. It’s just a good party tune.”

“I guess” Gucci smiled.

They went into a few shops in town and Pixie bought some floral shorts. Next they popped to Starbucks to refuel. Gucci bought a chocolate milkshake and Pixie bought a skinny latte. “Why do you drink so much coffee?” Gucci asked her friend “I mean, I like it but you drink it at every opportunity.”

“I like lattes” Pixie said “It seems sophisticated too.”

“Maybe” Gucci said “But I don’t think I would ever want to suffer too much at the hands of sophistication.”

“Vanity suffers, babe” Pixie stated.

About an hour later they were in Ravioli. Gucci was just tucking into her margarita pizza and Pixie was tucking into a plate of cheese and tomato ravioli. “Mmm” Pixie grinned “This is so good. I’m really glad we decided to come here.”

“Me too” Gucci said, eating her second slice of pizza.

Gucci walked back from Ravioli. It was only a twenty minute walk but it was in the dark so Gucci felt intimidated by the London streets at night. She arrived home just after nine o’clock. Gucci hoped that her mum would be asleep and back to normal by now. She was not. Gucci came in and there was Lucie, sitting at her desk sketching at some new and hopeless design. Gucci walked up to her and said “Hi, I’m home. Sorry I was out a bit late, I’ll go to bed now.” There was no reply and Gucci found this annoying so she walked right up to her and shouted right in ear “Hello, Earth to mum!”

“Hi” she whispered. She wasn’t alarmed at all by the loudness of Gucci’s voice. Gucci was worried. Lucie wasn’t normally this bad. It had been twenty four hours and Lucie was already pretty much unresponsive.

*

Beep beep, beep beep. Two days later Gucci turned off her alarm and groaned. She was too tired to get up yet. “Wakey, wakey. Rise and shine!” Prada yelled in her ear.

“Piss off. I’m tired” Gucci said from under the duvet.

“Gucci. Get up!” Prada shouted, tugging the duvet, “You’ve got to walk with me into school because mum still doesn’t trust me after I bunked off and Paul had to go to work early. If you don’t get up now we’ll both be late.”

Prada pulled the duvet off the bed.  

Gucci was not normally that lazy but she had stayed up really late the previous night, worrying about her mum. She had spent the entire day working on her designs. The longest Gucci had ever known her to work without a proper break was thirty two hours but it had now been over seventy two hours and Gucci had not once seen her rise from her desk other than a quick toilet break. She was angry at her mother for not seeing herself and Prada as her top responsibility but she was also upset and worried about the whole thing.

 “You’re being really stupid, Gucci” Prada said and then she walked out of the room and closed the door.

*

 “Prada’s right, I am stupid” Gucci thought to herself, two hours later. Right now she felt like the stupidest person in the world. They were an hour and a half late for school. Prada walked ahead of Gucci and neither of them uttered a word.

Gucci had got up in time. She had showered in time and got dressed in time. She had been sitting at the breakfast table on time. Whilst Gucci was drinking a cup of tea, Lucie walked, zombie-like, through into the kitchen area. She looked so ghostlike that she reminded Gucci of the horror film that she had watched with Kitty last week. Lucie tried to pour out some cereal for herself but she dropped the box and the contents spilt everywhere. That was the last straw for Gucci but instead of just leaving for school, she made it worse. Gucci stood up and started yelling at her mum; telling her that she needed to get a grip and sort her life out because she had two children as well as a best friend who she in debt to. Lucie was so tired she could not take the stress or the noise of Gucci’s yelling. She collapsed and as she went down she knocked her head on the sharp corner of the granite kitchen surface. She lay on the kitchen floor, unconscious with blood seeping from the cut down one side of her head. Paul had heard the yelling so he came to the kitchen to find out what exactly was happening. He was too late; he saw Lucie lying on the floor and started to panic. “Call an ambulance” he shouted at Gucci. Gucci was shaking as she tried to dial 999. She passed the phone to Paul because she realised that she was still too stunned to speak.

Prada had come in now; she too had heard the yelling. She looked at Gucci as if to say “What have you done?” The same sentence kept going round and round in Gucci’s own head.

“It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault” Gucci had thought to herself.

“It’s not your fault Gucci” Paul had said to her.

“You and Prada go to school now. I’ll deal with it.” Paul dealt with everything.

 “It isn’t his fault. It’s my fault” Gucci thought.

*

When Gucci and Prada finally got to school, it was already ten thirty. Prada had been crying and her makeup had smudged all over her face. Gucci was not sure what they were going to do now. Prada went straight to her lesson, so Gucci went straight to hers.

As soon as Gucci walked into the classroom her stomach sank as twenty six pairs of eyes look up at her. She quickly, and as inconspicuously as possible, walked across the room and sat down in her usual seat in the middle of the class room, next to Peaches.

“Are you okay?” Peaches asked.

“Yeah” Gucci said.

“You don’t look okay” Peaches said.

“Did I ask for your opinion?” Gucci snapped.

“Jesus, Gucci, keep your hair on” Peaches said.

“Whatever” Gucci said.  She felt bad for snapping at her friend but Peaches had known Gucci long enough to not be too offended by her anti-social behaviour. Gucci just was not in the mood for socialization.

A few minutes later the head teacher knocked on the door and asked to see Gucci. Gucci got up reluctantly. Prada was there too. Gucci’s heart sank; this could not be good.

They walked to his office and sat down opposite him.

“I got a call from your father.....”

Gucci cut him off, “Paul isn’t our dad.”

“Anyway, he said that your mother is in hospital after she knocked her head this morning and he wondered if you wanted to go and see her? I don’t really know anything about it but I was told that you two seemed very upset this morning. Is everything alright?” asked Mr Johnson.

“Yes thanks, we’re fine here. It’s not a big deal” Gucci replied. She wanted to see her mother but at the same time that would mean facing up to what she had done.

“You might be fine, but I’m not” Prada spoke ferociously. That was the first thing she had said since the accident and the force in which she said it scared Gucci, “You are so selfish Gucci. I might want to see her. The only reason she’s in hospital is because of you. It was all your fault. If you hadn’t wound her up and stressed her out like that then none of this would have ever happened in the first place.The only reason you don’t want to see her is because you feel guilty. I hate you.”

“Is there something I should know about...?” Mr Johnson’s voice was just a blur in the background to Gucci now. Gucci had managed to keep her emotions to herself all morning but when Prada said this she just cracked. Gucci had always made it her responsibility to look after Prada when her mum was in one of her working trances. Even though Prada could be an incessantly annoying little sister, like most little sisters are, Gucci loved her really and now Prada was saying that she hated Gucci. Gucci could not take it. She burst into tears and ran out of the head teacher’s office. She kept running. She ran out of the school. “If I keep running it might all go away” Gucci thought although she knew that this was a ridiculous assumption.  
She was going to keep running until she reached the hospital. She needed to find her mother. She needed to make sure that she was okay and she needed to say sorry.

I hope that you enjoyed the first chapter of my book. I hope to publish it soon. At the moment though, you can email me at sophie.wilson09a@hotmail.co.uk to receive a PDF copy or, if you live in the UK, I can post you a printed out manuscript. I would like to trade for something like a zine, a piece of artwork, a song, a poem, a short story, a novel or something else creative that you have made yourself. 

Hollyworld
Polyvore

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