The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty-Four

Our fun weekend with Gia eventually had to come to an end, but rather than it being bittersweet it was simply sweet. We knew we’d be back together before we would know it. Summer break would arrive soon and we would have plenty of time to hang out together. Luckily, Gia seemed a lot more relaxed heading back to her campus. We all needed some quality time and it certainly helped all around.

Next on my agenda was heading back home for the weekend. I talked to Mom almost every day. Whether it was for an hour or sending a quick text—we always communicated. With my workload being a bit lighter than usual, I figured it would be nice to head back home for a bit. I could pick up my favorite snacks, and of course, do my laundry. I was hoping that Dani would also come along, but she already made plans with Otto (of course).

As it turned out, our late night visitor wasn’t some random solicitor, but Otto. He couldn’t wait another moment of Dani thinking he wasn’t interested in her and finally decided to make it official. Dani and Otto were finally dating.

I honestly should’ve put my money on that relationship.

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“Are you sure you’re not coming this weekend?” I asked while stuffing my laundry into my backpack. Dani, of course, was already getting ready to head out. “I’m bound to see your family at some point.”

“I told Mom that I have a project to finish up, so I’ll probably head back home next week.” She turned around and allowed for her hair to fall at her shoulders. “Kinda bummed you can’t make it this weekend. And you,” she said pointing to Sabin who was laying on my bed. “I’m surprised you’re not going with Alma. Her Mom adores you.”

Sabin sighed and hugged one of my pillows close against his chest. “Yeah, I wish I was, too. I’m really behind on my business class due to my absences, so I’m getting a chance to catch up.”

Dani shrugged and walked past me to pick up her bag. “Well, Otto and I will be at the schools film festival. Sabin, you’re always welcome to join.”

“Thanks, Dani.”

She held up her hand to her lips and jokingly talked aside to me. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he’s staying loyal.”

“Oh shut it,” Sabin exclaimed before rolling off the bed to make his way to me. “I am always yours, Alma. Hope you know that. Don’t let Dani fill your head with lies!” He smirked before kissing the top of my head.

“Of course I believe you. Dani loves to mess with me, but that’s also why I love her.”

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As I looked around the room, I did a count of what else had to be done. Aside from gathering my laundry, all that was left was for Sabin and I to make it to the train station so I could catch the Amtrak. I admit that I was sad that Sabin wouldn’t be there with me, but at least texting him would still be an option. I knew he’d help me get through the long train ride back home.

“You got everything?” He asked quietly before leaning over to rest his head on mine.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“It’ll be a great time,” he assured me. “It’s your family. You love them.”

“And I love you,” I smirked. “I hope you get some time to rest, too. I know how you get when you’re playing catch-up. Please eat and get enough sleep.”

Grinning, Sabin leaned down and planted his lips on mine. “You always take great care of me, but have a fun weekend. You deserve that, too. Can you do me a favor?”

“Sure?”

“Can you seriously stop by Dani’s family’s diner? Their pastries are like crack. Been craving them.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at that before getting out of the car. “You got it, buddy.”

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“Literally love you even more for this,” he announced before sending me off with one more kiss.

My train ride was long, as expected. Our tickets were stamped and I had to do was keep my mind occupied for the next few hours. While there was no special event going on at home, I figured it would be a nice time to stop by. I missed being at home without the chaos of party planning. Mom would always be in such a frenzy, so I was hoping to have a nice relaxing weekend with my family.

Finally, I was home.

“Hello?” I called into the house. “Anyone home?”

Silence.

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I walked inside and noticed that the house that I was used to definitely went through plenty of changes. And I thought that only humans went through a mid-life crisis. Needless to say, my childhood home went through more remodelling that I ever expected. I mean, the living room? There was another room right next to the kitchen. Was I really gone that long?

Before I could even think about venturing upstairs, I heard the hushed muttering from the kitchen.

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“I didn’t expect anything else, you know?’

“Oh, stop it.”

In the kitchen, Mom and Aunt Arecia were chatting softly. I was still able to make something out, but it wasn’t enough to join in on the conversation. Rather than commenting on the new decor in the kitchen, I was more excited about the fact that Aunt Arecia was there. Between her being super mom and overall awesome human being, it wasn’t often that I saw her while I was at school.

“Um, hello?” I smirked. “Sorry to be intruding, but just wanted to say hello!”

“Alma?” Mom’s smile was spread thinly.

Aunt Arecia shot out of her seat quickly and rushed to me. “Oh my! What a surprise!”

“I’m so glad I stopped by today! Wow! I missed you!” I exclaimed and threw my arms around her.

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We soon traded compliments that were sweet enough to give a child a cavity. But I couldn’t help it! Aunt Arecia was one of my heroes next to my mom. No surprise there–they were the best sibling duo.

“This is such a wonderful surprise,” she said again. “But I’m sure that you’d like to say hello to your mother. I’ll be in the living room, okay?”

“Sure!”

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When my aunt made her way to the living room, I figured I’d snag a few moments with Mom. After all, I made the trip to have some bonding time with her. She seemed surprised to see me despite me sending her multiple text messages accompanied by a flurry of gifs. I suppose her sisters visit kept her from checking her phone for the majority of the morning. Bright side was that I made it while they were actually at home and not out somewhere.

“So, I see you guys also remodeled the kitchen and every other inch of the house?” I pointed out. “Must admit I was worried I was breaking and entering–without the breaking.”

Mom’s exhale was long, but she confirmed. “I suppose we made some changes. The house needed some freshness. I’m sorry for the surprise..”

“Hmm?”

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“I-uh–I didn’t see your text that you were coming over this weekend. I must have not gotten the notification.”

I had to admit I was a bit amused that Mom was so down about not getting my messages. She was a kind soul. That much was true.

“Hey, it’s okay! It happens. I just wanted to see you and I had some free time this weekend. Sadly, Sabin couldn’t come, but he sends his best wishes.”

Mom nodded and turned away to grab the tea kettle. “It’s okay, love. I’ll just get some drinks ready for us. Why don’t you go catch up with your aunt before she has to head out to pick up your uncle..”

I couldn’t say no to that.

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“School is going well, I take it?” Arecia asked when I plopped down on the couch.

Her eyes looked more sunken than usual, but their spark was still there. Ah, the glow of our ancestors was definitely still there.

“Of course. It’s been tough, but I think it’ll be a good end to the semester. Just a bit nervous about what comes after graduation. This whole adulting shindig is not exactly that easy.”

Arecia bowed her head and nodded. “It absolutely isn’t.”

“But what about you?” I asked excitedly. I had been away for months and it felt like I had missed years. I wanted to know everything, every detail.

Before she answered, she spent a good moment studying my expression. Her sincere smile tightened before it began to fade.

“What’s going on?”

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“Your mom didn’t tell you, did she?” Arecia sighed. “Guess this makes your visit that much more of a surprise to everyone. I thought…”

“Thought what? Tell me what?” I didn’t like waiting for news. My anxiety wasn’t something I often doubted.

I could hear Mom stirring her creamer in her coffee from the kitchen. The silence in the living room was so strained that I was beginning to feel restless. I reached out to touch my aunt’s shoulder. Were things not okay between her and her husband? Were her kids okay? I couldn’t think of anything else–it was driving me crazy.

“Mom? What’s going o–”

“My cancer is back.”

The lump in my throat dropped to the pit in my stomach. As she began to explain, her voice began to fade. Her lips kept moving, but my mind was replaying each moment we experienced as a family when my aunt went through her first rounds of chemo. Support poured from every member of our family and while it was difficult on her, she pulled through. She went into remission. The light in her eyes returned.

I looked at her again and fought the quiver in my lips. The light was indeed still left in her sunlit eyes. She had strength that even my mom didn’t have. Mom even knew that–she admitted it on many occasions.

“Alma?” Aunt Arecia started. “I’m sorry,” she smiled, “it’s not exactly light news that you want to hear when visiting home during a stressful time in your life.”

“That’s nonsense,” I sniffled. “Tell me, when do you start chemo? I’ll be there. Every appointment. You won’t be alone.”

She shook her head. “Honey…”

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Mom was already in the living room, but wasn’t saying anything. Not a word. Why was I just hearing about this? I wasn’t some distant relative who just popped in for the holidays. I was the damn heiress of this stupid family and one of the most special people in my life was hurting–again!

Aunt Arecia was looking at Mom before she got up from the couch. “I will not be going to treatment anymore, love.”

“W-what?” I stuttered.

She was smiling, but how could she?

“It has spread quickly and it is much too advanced for me to even consider treatment. Plus, I felt more dead than alive when I was in chemo. You saw me, Alma. You all saw me. I’m trying more medicinal routes now, but I’ve fought my fight. I’ve–”

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“N-No!” I cried out before flinging myself onto her.

“I’m not fooling anyone, especially myself. I’m enjoying each day that I have with the people that I love. Please don’t cry…” She begged.

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It was hard not to cry. How was it that she was keeping her cool and I was crumbling before her. She was insanely strong and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

Fighting the urge to cling to her, I stepped back and wiped my eyes roughly till I felt my skin grow hot from the pressure. “How are you feeling?” I finally asked. “I mean, are you hurting?”

She shook her head slowly. “I have my good days and my bad days. I take it one day at a time.”

“But,” I whimpered. “I don’t want to miss anything anymore…”

“Of course, love,” Aunt Arecia nodded and kissed the top of my head when she embraced me. “Don’t you worry. I’m not giving up. I have to see you graduate and open up that flower show, right?”

I sniffled. “Y-yes.”

As I stood, still petrified from the news, I watched Aunt Arecia make her way past me to saw goodbye to Mom. They whispered something and before I knew it, Aunt Arecia was out the door.

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After she left to go pick up her husband, I didn’t say a word to Mom. I grabbed my bag from the hall and retreated upstairs to where I hoped my room would still be. Luckily, it was. Sure, there were some changes that were made to it, but the bits that really made it my room were still there. I needed some familiarity to think about what happened earlier that afternoon.

It was a nightmare.

It couldn’t be right.

All my worries that I had about growing up and moving out…

How could I say all that?

My loving aunt wasn’t even thinking of that anymore. She wasn’t getting treatment anymore. I couldn’t comprehend the reason when I knew so many people loved her. Her kids, her husband. Us.

It was insanely painful to think about losing a loved one. Grandpa passed away and it was painful enough being at his funeral. But Arecia? No! I couldn’t even think of that. She was a fighter; she was strong; she wouldn’t give up.

I swiped the thought from my mind and swayed in my seat until I heard my bedroom door creak open.

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I didn’t have to turn around or even ask to know it was Mom standing behind me. The aura was tense and guilt-ridden.

“Can we talk?” she whispered. Her voice was hoarse as if she spent the last hour crying.

Honestly, I didn’t want to, but I wasn’t about to kick her out of a room in her own house. Technically, I was just a visitor now, so I got off the swing and dragged my feet to my bed. At least the soft covers would comfort me.

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“I made sure we kept your room as close to the original as possible,” she said. She never was too good at breaking the ice. This was no excuse and I wasn’t going to let her just brush it aside.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Mom?”

What small talk she wanted to make was not going to happen.

“I tried,” she admitted. “I drafted message after message and tried to bring it up during phone calls, but Alma-” she whimpered. “How could I when I can barely bring myself to admit this is happening? She’s my sister. My only sister. My best friend.” I heard her voice crack before she collapsed at my bed. “I spent all this time trying to convince her to go to treatment.”

I quickly sat up and reached out to touch her hand. “Why won’t she?”

“She was miserable in chemo…”

“But she beat the cancer,” I pleaded.

Mom nodded. “Believe me, I tried. Your dad tried. Your uncle tried. We all did, baby. We all did.”

Hearing that still didn’t make me feel better, but I heard the pain in her voice. I did feel bad for assuming she was keeping the news from me, but it was impulse. It hurt and I knew I needed to take it out on someone. She had a point. Aunt Arecia was truly a strong woman and a weak person could never make the decision to just live out the rest of their remaining days.

“I’m sorry, Mom…”

She nodded and wiped the stray tears from her cheeks. “I am, too. It’s not how I wanted your visit to go, believe me. We’ll figure this out, but we have to respect her decision…”

“What?”

Mom nodded. “As much as it pains me.”

“What about Grandma Atoli and Grandpa Crescendo?”

Mom shook her head. “They’re not taking it well, which is to be expected. What parent wants to outlive their child? Anyway,” she sniffled and got off the bed. “I just wanted you to know I didn’t want to hide this. It’s just something I haven’t come to terms with yet. I love her and she has been my rock since forever. I can’t think of a world without her.” Mom kissed the top of my head and exhaled slowly. “I’m going to speak with your father. Just please try to get some rest…”

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I couldn’t.

When Mom left, I wandered around my room until the emptiness finally began to annoy me. My old books, my plants–everything began to make me cringe and despise the space I was in. I walked out of my room and down the hall where I could hear the faint sounds of laugher.

I knocked on the door and entered.

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“Hey Kaden,” I started. “Can I join you?”

He looked past his shaggy hair and nodded, patting the empty space on the couch.

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The moment I sat down I felt some relief even when it involved watching ridiculous stunt videos with my brother.

“So, you heard.”

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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eighteen: Part Two

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We ended up at a small café not far from home. Sabin would be coming early the next day, so I didn’t have much time left for preparations. By that I meant: getting my family ready to meet him without asking unnecessary questions that could make Sabin’s stay unpleasant.

You know, nothing too crazy.

My younger siblings were becoming old enough to know when to suppress some questions that wouldn’t be appropriate, so they weren’t the ones I had to worry about. My main issues were with trying to figure out how my Dad would react. Mom let me spread my wings, but my Dad was something else. Not that he kept me from doing what I wanted, but he was looking out for me, or so he said. Especially when it came to people I was interested in.

Dad looked at me from across the table. We had gotten through the entire meal without actually having mentioned anything about Sabin. While he waited, I took my time to make sure that the food I consumed would stay down.

“You’re awfully quiet,” he mentioned.

“I know…”

“Know what? That you want to tell me something about your boyfriend?”

I stopped and leaned back in my seat. “Well, yeah, I guess. How’d you know? Did Mom tell you?”

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He shook his head. “It’s his first time coming here, so I figured you’d be giving me some information so I don’t blow a fuse.”

Funny how right he was.

“I already talked to Mom, because I really needed her to listen. You, though,” I paused, “Sabin isn’t like you or grandpa, or anyone else, really.”

Dad chuckled, “I’d say that’s pretty good news to me.”

I managed a weak smile. “Sure, I guess I could say that as well.”

There was no other way of doing it than to really jump into the fact that Sabin had PTSD, and he was much older than me. My favorite anecdotes of my boyfriend came flooding out of my mouth to help underline that fact that he was still someone I loved very much despite what he has gone through. I spoke so quickly and excitedly that it didn’t give Dad much of a chance to even react to the initial news. Sabin was someone I cared deeply about, but I didn’t want anyone in my family to shun him. We’ve all gone through great ordeals in our time, and we all got through it.

I just needed Sabin to be treated the same way. He wasn’t broken.

He simply lived.

Finally, I stopped to catch my breath and waited.

“Dad?”

He was quiet and that was what made me nervous. He was quiet for too long. If I knew my father, then he would have been making a scene about two minutes ago.

Still, nothing.

He finally exhaled sharply. It was painful to hear, but I prepared myself for whatever backlash I would get. Funny—backlash for loving someone.

“I see why you wanted to tell me in public,” he began. His hands were balled up into fists to the point I could see his knuckles turn white. “Wow,” he breathed again, “this is a lot for anyone to stomach. This man is how much older than you?”

“Almost 11 years.”

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“That doesn’t bother you?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

Dad leaned back in his seat and looked at me. His eyes moved slowly, studying each line of my face, as if trying to find a trace of uncertainty somehow hidden in my expression. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t find any of that. All that he would find was his daughter asking to give her relationship a chance.

“You and Mom are a few years apart, and look what that brought you!” My exclamations somehow struck a chord with him.

“Yes, we are, but neither of us have PTSD,” he sighed. “Look, I’m not saying that he’s an awful person, because I can’t say that. I don’t know the guy. I’m simply a father trying to protect his daughter from the world. It’s what parents do.”

I bowed my head because he was right. There was no reason to be upset over that, because he was a good parent looking out for his child. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked over to see if anyone was staring. Even if we weren’t yelling, anyone could hear what we were talking to. Would they also think I was crazy for fighting for my relationship with Sabin? I hoped not, because I needed someone on my side. I needed someone to understand.

“Are you listening?” Dad asked.

“Yes.”

“I don’t mean to sound like I’m scolding you, Alma. I just hope you understand what this is you’re getting yourself into. The man has his own battles to face, and regardless if he’s trying to or not—you will end up mixing into it all. That’s a lot to handle. Getting involved with someone from a broken home is one thing, but doing the same thing with someone who is suffering mentally after a traumatic experience?” He shook his head. “Have you thought this through?”

Even as he warned me I could still feel the warmth of my father. My heart was already heavy from worrying like a nut over all this, so I simply nodded. Yes, I had thought it through. Yes, I made numerous lists. Yes, I considered not seeing him anymore, but in those times that he was gone and not speaking to me, I felt like something was missing from me. It felt silly to say or even think, but I missed him terribly. Whatever he had going on in his life—I wanted to be a part of it. We were partners and I wasn’t going to step away from a chance of being a part of his life.

“Then that’s that,” Dad sighed. “We can only do so much, Alma. You know we’re only looking out for you though, right?”

“Yeah,” I responded. “So, you’ll be okay when he’ll be here for Christmas?”

Dad shrugged.

“Oh, come on!”

“Sweetpea, I will be as normal as possible, considering your mother is making mixed drinks. Her ratio of booze to mixer is killer.”

I rolled my eyes and reached out to grab his hand. “Thank you for this. I’m sure you’ll grow to really like him.”

He chuckled and squeezed my hand. “I’m sure I will.”

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Sixteen

Sabin’s Point of View

I forced my way back home, treading through grass and along sidewalks where I planned on continuing the date. Guilt ate at me like heartburn that I couldn’t settle. Alma was left to return to her dorm without the date even coming to a proper end. There were plans to get ice cream from the Irish parlor they had only ten minutes away, but the incessant ringing in my pant pocket reminded me that I wasn’t yet allowed that flexibility.

“How was it, man?” Otto asked. His body turned in the couch and his head rested on the cushion.

All I could do then was whip my phone out of my pocket and sigh.

He knew what I was doing.

My room was a mess. Clothes were sprawled all over a bed that hadn’t been made in weeks. On the bright side of things not going too, too well on my date: I wouldn’t have brought Alma over to see the pig sty. As the alarm on my phone sounded again, I grabbed my laptop and brought it to my desk.

After logging in, the calendar application didn’t waste time in reminding me that I missed a call from NCRodriguez151. Quickly before the pop-up came up again to tell me it had been ten minutes, I clicked on the username and waited for the dial tone to connect me.

An image of a woman in a blazer showed up on my screen. Mine was a small box in the corner, but to her it was blown up. She could probably read my disappointment in every crease on my face.

“I was starting to get worried, Sabin,” she began. I saw her flip to a new page in her notepad. The notepad that she had marked “Sabin McKenna”.

“Sorry.”

“Well, as long as you’re here. I was just curious since you’ve never been late—not even by a minute—to our appointments.”

She was right. Then again, I couldn’t remember the last time I went on a date. Better yet: the last time I actually felt something for someone.

“How’s your medication, Sabin?” She asked, quickly scribbling down notes. The scratching of her pencil on the notepad startled me.

I glanced at the orange bottles on my nightstand. The sight of them made my stomach turn. Those tiny pills were aids that left him feeling dependent. Some days when the nightmares were too much, I took them. When the nightmares stopped, I looked the other way.

“You should be running out in the next few days. I’m going to write you a new prescription, okay? You can pick it up at the university pharmacy. I know they have Zoloft on them. Have the nightmares been okay? Easing up a bit with the new dosage?”

I sometimes wanted to break down and tell her like I did the first time we met. There were many dreams that tormented me, but it was always the face of Captain Williams that never let me be. He told us to watch each other’s back when crossing the field. The chances of mines being in the field just—

“I sense you want to change the topic.”

“Sorry I was late,” I finally said. I figured it would be appropriate.

“As long as you’re okay,” she smiled. “I get the feeling this appointment pulled you away from something?”

Now I couldn’t hold back a small smile. I remembered her smile and the way that her hair brushed against an exposed shoulder. It was Carmen all over again only this time I didn’t feel like I was only seen as a military brat. This time a woman appeared to feel something for me without knowing what happened. This time, she didn’t know what I did. My weird quirks were somehow forgiven, but I didn’t know how long I could keep it up.

“That girl,” I started, “that I meet at the café after some of our appointments.”

“Alma, am I right?” She asked.

I nodded after shifting my laptops position. “I took her out tonight.”

I caught Dr. Rodriguez scribbling away on her notepad. Knowing her for years, I established this as her thinking it was an important move in my treatment. My stability with Carmen, the last woman to be intimate with me, was questionable. Things weren’t left off right, because when I hoped for a future with her, her dreams were somewhere else. Somewhere that didn’t include me in the picture.

The thought irked me, so I leaned back in my chair and ran my hands along my short hair. There wasn’t much that I could do once I’d be forced to tell Alma everything. I never liked secrets, and if this somehow ended up developing into something more, then how could I keep her in the dark? I’d scare her. I should have done this a long time ago. Honestly, telling her was one of my “healing” assignments, but when I saw her face each night, I couldn’t tear her away from talking about her day to telling her that I watched my squad captain get blown up by a landmine.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Dr. Rodriguez looked at the screen and her lips parted in a small smile. “And you’ve told her about your PTSD, correct? It takes a lot to bring something like that up, and even more to be strong and supportive of someone going through what you’re going through.”

Through clenched teeth, I nodded. “Had to.”

Unfortunately, I had a hard time following these assignments when my mind was more mesmerized by Alma’s smile than the twisted mess inside my head.

But I knew I would have to.

Someday. Somehow.

I’d tell Alma everything there was to know about Sabin McKenna.

~*~

Author’s Note: Thank you for reading ❤ 🙂 That’s one. Also, thank you for sticking by this story even though I haven’t been able to update it frequently! I intend on finishing this legacy, however at this point it may be without pictures.
I’m graduating this semester. Woohoo! Finally getting my degree in English!  I’m pretty excited, but also experiencing a very hectic life.
I also actually took on my first freelance project that involved me writing web content for a new company website, so that’s been pretty exciting. Now that’s coming to an end and I have another project that will require me to write the backstory and dialogue for a video game that a Video Game Design class is working on at school. I’m extremely thrilled about that, because I applied for the writer’s position and got the spot. I’m honestly so excited to be working on this type of stuff! Ahhh! Well that’s just a little update from me.
Thanks for sticking with me! ❤
-Olga