Berry The G Chapter 1

Oh my God, my last post was on March 2016?! Kaloka. I’m sorry for neglecting this blog. Howevuh, I have not been dormant. In 2016, I released a lot of books

under my ~steamy~ persona (which is discussed quite a bit in this BookThingo podcast, yay!), including this anthology (which you can buy here yay again).


That said, I’m gearing up to finish a young adult story that’s been percolating for a while now (and was shunted when I got into a roadblock and started developing  my romantic suspense work). And to get the ball rolling–which I hope spurs me on to finish the first draft of this in January–I’m posting the first chapter here. Let me know what you think? Hee 🙂

Watercolor by Katrina Ramos Atienza

Berry The G

Chapter 1

There’s something to be said for the quirks of genetics.

Let’s say you have a gorgeous, glamorous, whippet-thin mom with these delicate fluttering hands and spindly wrists, all the better for chunky bangles to hang off on. And let’s say you have a dashing, matinee-idol-past-his-prime dad, not quite Clooney but not over-the-hill Kilmer either; just the right amount of age and handsomeness to still make women do double-takes at the supermarket. And then let’s add an ate and a kuya, elder siblings who are exact copies of Mom and Dad: lithe and graceful and beautiful and wholesome. A picture-perfect family.

And then let’s say this Safeguard soap commercial family decides to have one last kid, a bunso to complete the family portrait, and then all those recessive quirks, the plain Jane traits and clumsy physicality, expressed themselves in this one unlucky girl.

Yes. That’s right. I’m referring to me. One Beryl Grace F. Mismanos, age 17. I’m the one with the awkward snub nose and the dun complexion and the overlarge mouth, off to the side of the Great Image studio family portrait, looking out of place with my Coke bottle glasses and frumpy velvet dress.

Call me Berry.

Right now I’m sitting underneath this said family portrait, trying (and failing) to read The Once and Future King over the noise of the Mismanos and Fajardo relatives eating and…talking isn’t the right word for it, oh no. My family holds forth. Any casual observer would say my various aunts and uncles and cousins are having an argument to the death. They just don’t know us Fajardos and Mismanoses (Mismanosii?) also lack the gene for volume control.

“There you are!”

I jump in my seat and see my mom, standing behind the grandfather clock with a hand on her hip. She’s not very happy with me right now, I can see.

“Why on earth are you here reading? Everyone wants to see you!”

No, they don’t. “But I’m tired, mom. And I was out there this afternoon.”

Mom makes a pssht sound. “Yes, and you were very rude to your Tito Jake.”

I was rude?! “What? He asked me if I thought I would finally find myself a boyfriend in college, Mom. He said, ‘The University gets all kinds of people, there’s someone out there who’ll pick you.’ What was I supposed to say?”

He said it so pityingly too. Old Tito Jake. Thank God for awesome bone structure because his alcoholic’s red nose and oily complexion would’ve scared most people away.

“Don’t mind your uncle, you know how men of his age are,” she waves her clinking wrists to chase imaginary beer fumes away. “But you should know better. As a well-bred young lady, you shouldn’t answer back that way.”

“Why should I know better and he gets to say whatever stupid thing enters his head? I’m younger! I’m the one who should have my foot in my mouth.”
Mom’s mouth goes tight at the same time her eyes narrow. “Oh Berry, please. You know you’re smarter than they are,” she rolled her eyes, like she was indulging me. “Happy now? Now go off and show some manners. It’s your going-away party and I’ll not have it said that I’m raising a caveman.”

“Ooga-booga,” I grunt, but I slide off the couch and follow her outside anyway. The Madagascar Penguins had their ‘just smile and wave, boys’; I have my ‘just smile and nod.’ I’ll smile and nod like a pendulum dog at their stupid comments and prying questions and unfunny jokes. I’ll smile and nod for all its worth all night, because tomorrow, I’m out of here. Berry Mismanos is going off to University, baby, and I don’t have to see these fools no more. Well, not at least until the weekend, when Dad is scheduled to fetch me from the dorm, but still. Freedom!


Thoughts? You want to see Chapter 2? 🙂

About Author: Katrina Ramos Atienza

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