I realize it JUST hit midnight here on the East Coast, which means…another Wednesday, another #WritingWednesday. This week features the prologue to a book I wrote…last year, I believe? Anyways, this is a little something called Coordinating Coordinates (The Bucket List, as it’s titled on my Wattpad).
That’s the cover from my Wattpad, and here’s a little description of the story.
Childhood friends Dalton Mer and Odette Rivière have been inseparable since they were 5. Now that they’ve just graduated from college and are about to lead separate lives, Odette’s questioning how their friendship will cope until Dalton digs up a bucket list they wrote together 4 years ago. Deciding to make their last summer together the most memorable one yet, they agree on visiting every place on the list. The only thing Odette didn’t agree on was realizing her love for Dalton in the process
It kinda seems like I’m cheating since the ENTIRE BOOK (well, not the very last chapter) is on my Wattpad, but since I haven’t been on here for a year, you guys didn’t know I was writing this gem. Anyways, the reason why I’m re-naming it Coordinating Coordinates is because the list they dig up, which you’ll see in the prologue, contains solely coordinates to various countries and their POIs (point of interest).
I hope you guys enjoy the prologue, and if you want to read more, feel free to binge right here.
An hour. That’s how long it took for Dalton and me to drive from campus to our neighborhood when it usually takes ten minutes. Afternoon commencement ended just as we finished lunch with our folks, so we knew traffic would be painful. The thing is, we were banking on arriving here within a half hour instead of a full one! Time clearly wasn’t on our side since we were caught in the thick of the graduation rush.
As Dalton turns his black Camero into Seaside Avenue, I’m suddenly hit with the worst realization ever. This is our last summer together before we venture off into the real world. In the autumn, I’m heading over to San Francisco to start on my new job as a geologist while Dalton is about to hit it big time in the NHL and play for the LA Kings. After this summer, who knows how our friendship will hold? Who knows if it’ll even exist after his career takes off? He’ll probably be too busy and famous to remember lil’ old Odette Rivière from his childhood.
Dalton Mer is literally the boy next door. When we were five, his family moved into the house next to mine. Mom dragged me along to give our new neighbors a batch of her famous snicker doodles as a welcoming gift. She made me wear this gorgeous green dress with taffeta even though we were merely going next door to see people I wasn’t too keen on meeting. Little did I know, our new neighbors had a little boy the same age as me. When I first set my eyes on little five-year-old Dalton with his gargantuan jade eyes and floppy charcoal hair, I didn’t realize I was looking at the person who would be my best friend for the next seventeen years. He looked like another boy with cooties to me.
Since that fateful day, Dalton and I have been inseparable. We would do basically everything together and our never parents worried because they trusted us whenever we were in each other’s company. They didn’t even mind when we grew into our teenage years! My parents trusted Dalton that much and joked about us getting married to each other someday. Of course we had other friends outside of each other. It’s hard to imagine me as Dalton’s sole friend since he was so popular in high school and every girl wanted to date him. Can’t say I blame them. I mean, he was the star hockey player despite his tall, lanky physique, but he’s also incredibly attractive despite that. His nimbleness and apparent talent on the ice made him seem lighter on his feet than his tall stature implies. Even though Dalton was wildly popular in school, he still clung onto me—his dorky, rock-loving friend from next door.
College was no different from high school. Dalton played in the university’s highly ranked hockey team and studied international business while I focused on—you guessed it—geology. You try wrapping your head around the hockey-playing business major hanging out with a science major and ditching parties for her. Yeah. Nobody else on campus could figure out what Dalton saw in me, too. And nobody saw how we’d find time to spend together when our schedules constantly clashed, what with practices, games, classes, labs, and work piled on our plates. He had his fair share of girlfriends and I had a boyfriend for about seven months, but we always found our way back to each other through those breakups.
Our relationship was simply an enigma to everyone since we are polar opposites in many ways. I’m a terrible Canadian for saying this, but I absolutely abhor hockey. I just can’t stand it. The only reason why I put up with the stupid sport for so many years is because of Dalton. I watch the NHL playoffs each year because of him. Then again, he isn’t big on rocks or Doctor Who, two of my favorite things in the world, yet he watches the show with me whenever a new season airs and he tries to seem interested in the work I do. Somehow, those differences are what makes our friendship work and why we decided to live together for our upperclassman years of university.
“Odette, are you coming with me or not?”
“Y-yeah. Sorry about that,” I mutter as my mind takes me back to the present.
Dalton shakes his head and chuckles as he opens his door. I run a hand through my auburn locks as I frustratingly sigh before following his lead, unbuckling my seat belt and stepping out of the car. I shrug off my graduation gown and throw it onto the seat, deeming it way too hot to leave on even though it’s only 24°C.
I trail a few steps behind Dalton as he leads me towards his backyard. I frown slightly at the missing tree house on the biggest maple tree on the land. That tree house was our childhood. On warm, clear Friday nights, we’d climb up the rope ladder hanging off of the edge of the entrance gaze at the stars. We’d even go up on cold nights with thermoses of heavily whipped hot chocolate—a guardian would accompany us during our younger years—because it was a weekly tradition we upheld and didn’t want to break. Our parents called us “stubborn,” but we’d like to think of ourselves as persistent.
“What’s with the frown?” Dalton inquires as he gives me a nudge on the shoulder. “We just graduated from university this morning, Odette! Be happy!”
“The tree house is gone,” I rue, keeping my gaze on the demolished wooden structure’s former site. “It’s a bit depressing that part of our childhood’s gone forever.”
Dalton turns my head towards his and gives me a small smile. “Just because the tree house is gone doesn’t mean the memories aren’t there anymore. They’re still with us. We have those with us for as long as we live, Odette.”
“Yeah. I guess you’re right,” I sigh, crossing my arms over my chest. “I still can’t believe it, though.”
“Can’t believe what?”
“You—me—our friendship,” I voice as I point from him to me. “We’re both leaving Toronto after the summer, Dalton. You’re gonna be in the fucking NHL, for Pete’s sake! Once your hockey career takes off, you won’t need me anymore. You’ll have fans, superstar girlfriends, a—”
“They won’t be you,” he whispers as he pulls me in for a tight hug. “I know things are going to majorly change, but the one thing that’ll always be consistent in my life is you, Odette Rivière.”
“How do you know that?”
Dalton’s deep jade eyes blink back at me with moroseness and a pinch of certainty.
“Because, Odette. We’re both going to be in the same state. You’re working in California and the Kings are stationed in LA. We’ll still be on the same wavelength. Besides, what’s a five and a half hour drive? There’s no way I’m ever going to forget my childhood friend after everything we’ve been through together. I’d be complètement fou if I ever dropped you! You’re not getting rid of me that easily, Swan Princess!”
I lightly chuckle at the usage of the nickname he gave me after I forced him to watch The Swan Princess with me when we were ten. The movie came out after I was born, but he still thinks I was named after the princess. I lower my gaze to our feet and anxiously cross my legs. Dalton’s right. We’re going to at least be in the same state whenever he’s not out on away games, even if we’re not in the same city. I sound ridiculous right now, like an over-concerned girlfriend or something. He’s my best friend. We’ve been through thick and thin together. Of course he won’t drop me like a hot potato and let the fame get to his head. He’s not that kind of guy.
“So…why’d you insist we come back here when everyone’s going to be at our house?” I wonder aloud as I uncross my legs.
“I have something to show you. C’mere.”
Dalton takes my hand, ushering me into his mom’s greenhouse. I have no clue what his aim is for taking me here. I’m not gardening in a dress and 6″ heels, and I don’t see why he’d risk getting such a nice suit dirty. I watch from the entrance as he picks up a trowel from a nearby bench and starts shoveling out dirt near a patch of petunias. If his mom were here, she’d be horrified. Her flowers are her pride and joy next to her son.
“Dalton wh-what are you doing?” I ask, horrified. “Your mom’s gonna kill you!”
“Got it! Look what I found, Odette!”
I kick off my heels and skeptically walk towards Dalton. We drove through the hour long hellish traffic just so he could show me a piece of paper in his mom’s greenhouse? I think all of those hours spent at the rink are starting to get to his head. His mind’s slowly freezing up and it needs to be defrosted. This temperature clearly isn’t hot enough since it’s not doing the trick.
“What the hell is that?” I spit as he rises and faces me with a huge grin and twinkle in his eyes.
“Do you remember that bucket list we created during our senior year of high school?” he hints as he waves the paper in front of my face.
“Didn’t we bury it on graduation day?”
“Yup. And here we are, four years later. I think it’s time we go through it, Odette. Think about all the places this sheet of paper will take us over these next couple of months.”
“C-couple of months? Dalton, are you serious? You want to tick everything off of that bucket list this summer?” I question in awe, eyes widened in disbelief.
“Yeah,” he responds, placing the sheet of folded paper in my right hand. “It’s our last full summer together before we head off to our adult jobs, Odette. I want you to do the honors and tell us where we’re off to first.”
I give Dalton an uncertain look, but the one he reciprocates is much more powerful and convincing. I childishly groan before unfolding the sheet of lined paper and hold it up to my face. The handwriting’s definitely mine since I have the best writing out of the two of us, but what’s on the paper is…indecipherable.
1st City: 35°41’N 139°41’E
“They’re just a bunch of coordinates,” I frustratingly grumble as I shove the paper in Dalton’s face. “What the hell are we supposed to do with this?”
“Um…isn’t it obvious? The coordinates are numbered, so there are ten cities. Below each city is the coordinate for a point of interest, which is probably the site either of us wanted to see in that city when we compiled the list. It might look like twenty different coordinates, but only ten are going to lead us to one specific location,” he explains. “We’re gonna have to look them up.”
“Not all at once, though. Why don’t we do it one by one? Ten cities in fifteen weeks. We could do a week and a half in each place. We unravel the city first, then wait a couple of days until we look up the point of interest. Only after we visit that do we look up the next coordinate’s city so we can figure out flight stuff,” I suggest. “What do you think?”
Dalton grabs the bucket list from my hands and scans through the cryptic coordinates. He rubs the back of his neck and exhales deeply as he ponders my suggestion. It only takes him a few seconds to fold the paper into fourths and shove it into his back pants pocket.
“I hope your passport’s ready, Swan Princess. We’ve got a hell of a summer ahead of us and a sight-seeing bucket list to plough through!”