The Lucky 13 - EBook Edition
The Lucky 13 - EBook Edition
Building your wildest dreams can be exhausting.
Throw in motherhood, frenemies, mental illness, a dangerous stalker that’s following you along with a number that is stalking you too, add in a champagne problem on the side, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
That is, if you’re unlucky at least.
But what happens when you just keep getting lucky over and over again?
Well, it goes a lot like this.
The Lucky 13
Written by Jess Sea
In paperback, January 13th
With this purchase, you will receive the second version with the official cover for free
Here's the beginning to get you started.
For a minute, everything goes quiet. Even the sea. My thoughts. The planet. The rushing of the ocean. Everything.
I close my eyes and let the stillness fill me. Time passes by me and everybody else but I don’t seem to notice.
My eyes flutter open.
The ocean is rushing towards me. The waves are now crashing merely inches from my feet. My mind has seemingly floated away from me. Perhaps into the ocean.
Closing my eyes again, I give in to the sensation and let it carry me, not really caring if I get swept out to sea.
What I wouldn’t give to call this place my home. To wake up to this every single morning, every day. That’s the dream.
You’ll never be able to afford a home right by the ocean. Don’t be crazy.
Smiling, I shake my head as if I can shake a lifelong dream away that easily.
Interrupting my thoughts, Jose can be heard calling my name in the distance.
“Jess, you ready?” he calls out to me.
I’m not, but we leave anyway. Besides, I’ll never be ready to leave.
The next series of days and weeks pass by in a blur. The crazy crafter has seemingly faded happily into the distance. At least, lately, she had been quiet. I can’t help but wonder in the back of my mind if she is just lurking and waiting. Maybe even in the bushes.
Don’t be ridiculous. You’re over thinking this. How many violated restraining orders did my friend say again?
The number doesn’t come to me. Maybe it’s a good thing. All I remember is that there are too many of them for me to be cozy. My phone dings. The sound startles me, and I jump slightly. Ding. Ding. Ding. Confused, I check the screen. What in the world are they all ordering?
“Your phone is going crazy,” Jose observes.
“It’s SeaPaint orders,” I say in disbelief. “They are coming in by the dozens.”
“What are they ordering?”
“The Crazy Crafter.”
“The SeaCult lady kit?” he asks, bewildered.
“That’s the one. They love that kit for some reason.” My jaw drops as I check the screen again.
“There’s over 300 hundred orders pending over the last few days.” I explain, turning to Jose.
We exchange worried glances. This is crazy. Every part of me knows that we aren’t prepared for this. We simply aren’t accustomed to these volumes.
As I’m staring anxiously at the screen in front of me, a message coming in captures my attention. “Jess, it’s the crazy crafter. She’s back again.”
Great, I think. Just what I need.
Something tells me this is just the beginning.
THe Lucky 13
The one with the secret
The sun beams optimistically through my window. I glare at it in disgust.
It’s far too early for this.
Picking up my phone, I quickly scan the screen for the time.
Ugh. It’s almost 9.
Any second now Nicole will be walking through my door, highly motivated and ready to start the day.
I suppose that’s what any entrepreneur would want in an employee, but Nicole isn’t just an employee. She’s a lifelong friend.
She’s walked through my front door a thousand times before and she never used to ask me to do the tasky things. It was so much easier when we were kids.
Eat. Sleep. Play. Repeat.
Shaking away the nostalgia, I know I need to get moving. After all, I’m supposedly the boss of all of this.
Alright, alright. I’m up, I’m up. Kind of.
First things first, I tell myself.
Just put your feet on the floor.
Taking a deep breath, I reluctantly place my feet on the floor. The days that I don’t want to get out of bed are nothing short of dramatic. You may as well call in the camera crew for the theatrics.
As I slip in to a pair of leggings, I scan my nightstand for a hair tie. Knocking the dust off the closest one, I pull my hair in to a messy bun.
The I get shit done bun, if you will.
Reluctantly, I slide on a pair of shoes and step in to the living room. One might think the work load is where my reluctance lies, but it isn’t the case.
The reluctance, is that I still have to wear shoes inside my living room. The accident is well behind me, but I can still fell the pain it left me with, with each step that I take.
As I catch a glance of my reflection in the mirror, I can’t help but notice that it looks like I’m going for a run. Anyone that knows me well, knows that, is certainly not the case. I wouldn’t do such a thing.
Taking a look around, I realize the work load isn’t as bad as I thought. I swear I had a dream last night that hundreds of shipments covered the ground.
Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have?
Slowly, the memory of my dream comes back to me.
I can’t help but smile at just the thought of it. It was a nice change of pace from the dreams that I usually have. Although, I wouldn’t exactly call nightmares a dream, but to each their own.
Curiously, I pick up the stack of packing slips that Nicole had left on the desk. Sifting through the orders, I can’t help but notice that they are mostly SeaPaint orders.
When did THAT happen?
Normally our orders our mostly craft supply items, which if I’m being honest, leave very little room for profit. To my dismay, my eyes begin to water and a small sense of pride washes over me.
They like SeaPaint? They like SeaPaint.
The realization simultaneously surprises me and excites me. Delicious relief floods my body.
This could be fun.
Over the rustling of paper, I can hear Jose stirring in the bedroom. For a moment I consider climbing back in bed for snuggles, but instead, I settle on to the sofa and pull my laptop close to me.
I’m a terrible wife.
Opening my browser I go straight to Facebook. When I log in, there are over a hundred friend requests waiting on me, stopping me in my tracks.
Momentarily, I think that perhaps it is a glitch or a fresh flock of scammers trying to weasel their way in to steal my existence and maybe even my whole life. As I lean in to scan the profiles, to my surprise, it’s neither.
Wait, these people are real humans? Why would they want to be friends with me? I’m annoying as fuck. This can’t be right. I mean sure, my parents loved me. But didn’t they have to? Isn’t that the rule?
One by one, I scan their profiles looking for signs of it being a hoax or perhaps even a glitch.
Maybe they are all serial killers and I look like easy prey.
After all, I’ve always thought I’d be murdered someday. Maybe the someday is someday soon.
As I scan their faces individually, no one in particular gives off any murder vibes. I realize that there really is only one way to find out. With a small shrug of my shoulders, one by one, I begin going down the line to accept the friend requests.
Halfway through the process, Jose stumbles sleepily into the living room.
Taking in my confused expression, he’s quick to assume the worst.
“What’s going on?” he asks. His expression is one of alarm.
“No, no,” I say shaking my head, quickly reassuring him.
“I think it’s the opposite.”
“What do you mean?” The confusion can be heard in his voice. The impatience on my end, can be heard aggressively dancing around inside my head.
“I think my secret’s out,” I elaborate.
“What secret?” he asks bewildered.
“THE secret!” I say exasperatedly.
What did he mean what secret?
I can see the genuine confusion washing over his face.
“THE SECRET!” I say with dramatic emphasis. My hands are moving frantically in the air with each syllable as if that could possibly help explain it.
“Ohhh,” he says as it sinks in. “Isn’t that what you wanted to happen?”
The doorbell rings and his question lingers in the air as we both look towards the door. To anybody else, it’s just a doorbell, but to me, it’s something else. The sound is startling and my anxiety instantly skyrockets.
Nicole would just walk right in, like she always has since we were kids. It has to be somebody else.
Catching my expression, Jose calmly says, “She did not hop on a plane to kill you.”
“Ok, first of all, we don’t know that. We don’t know anything,” I say as I make my way to the door.
When I open the door, to my delight Nicole is staring back at me. A sigh of relief escapes me.
“Well, good morning to you too,” she says to me a little cheekily.
“No, it’s not that,” I explain. “It’s just that I thought you were here to kill me.”
When I hear it out loud, in my own voice, I can’t help but hear how ridiculous it sounds.
“WHAT?” She asks perplexed.
“Well, not YOU, but somebody.” Immediately, I find myself wishing that I wasn’t this embarrassing. Over sharing is going to be the bane of my existence. I just know it.
“Too much true crime TV for you young lady,” she says wagging her finger at me.
“That’s not a thing,” I say.
As soon as it leaves my lips, I know it’s not accurate.
“Ok, it probably is a thing, but I just um…had a bad dream,” I explain simply.
No part of me wants to explain to her that I think the crafty criminal is going to uproot her entire life to kill me. So I don’t.
“Well,” she says pointing to the door, “it was still locked,” she explains.
Most mornings, I leave it unlocked just like my parents did when I was a kid, but lately that doesn’t feel as safe to me. Not that it probably ever was.
I nod silently, but don’t bother explaining it any further.
There is something about the crazy crafter that makes me very uneasy. So uneasy, that it’s disturbing my sleep and perhaps even impacting my voice of reason.
Don’t be ridiculous. Her record didn’t exactly say murder, but I’ve seen one too many true crime episodes with crimes of passion to not be concerned.
An unnecessary panic washes over my entire body and floods my existence, Nicole settles calmly on to the sofa. I pause momentarily to watch her like a total creep. Her energy is soft and quiet. I can tell she’s at ease. Silently, I wonder what that must be like. To live in a state of calm. To be the calm.
Shaking the thought from my mind, I subconsciously follow her lead and plop down on the seat next to her.
Pulling my laptop back in to my lap, I return my attention back to Facebook once again. Oddly enough, as I focus my gaze, it’s a post from the crazy crafter staring back at me. The post simply reads, “SeaCult. SeaCunt.” I nod at the words slowly, letting them sink in a bit so I can savor them.
Lovely. Just lovely. I need caffeine.
Closing my laptop, I head to the kitchen. As I make my way to the fridge, I can’t
help but think, both of those would make great paint names. Toying with the idea briefly, I dismiss it nearly as quickly as it comes.
You are not naming a paint Seacunt.
When I return from the kitchen with a diet coke in hand, I can see Nicole’s eyes are scanning the room. I can tell by her expression that she doesn’t like what she sees. Before she even says a word, I begin to quickly apologize. The mess is embarrassing.
“Sorry,”I say sheepishly as I follow her gaze around the room. “It’s a total fucking zoo and I don’t know what to do.”
There are admittedly boxes in every corner of the room.
“You need to move,” she says matter of factly. “The business I mean.”
“Ugh, exactly,” I say agreeing even though I had been fighting her on it previously.
You’re a fickle bitch.
I quickly realize, that that is not exactly it. I just love not paying rent. I love the lack of commitment. The wishy-washiness of it. Looking around the room again, I know we need to move. She knows we need to. We all do. Glancing at my cat, she blinks slowly back at me.
I bet she even knows it.
As much as I know it, I can’t ignore the what ifs dancing around inside my head.
“What if this all blows over in 6 months or so and I’m stuck in contracts that I can’t get out of?” I argue reasonably.
She smiles at me slowly. “That’s not going to happen,” she reassures me. As I study her face, she seems relatively certain, but the fear still creeps in. It feels cold and uncertain to me.
Out loud I simply say, “Sure, sales are growing daily but who knows how long that will last? This could all disappear pretty fast. Fads come and go ya know.”
Everything I’m saying is reasonable, but for some reason, she doesn’t believe it. Financially, I’m not so sure that we can swing it, not consistently at least. The money that we earned previously went to the cruise and in to rebuilding the Florida room.
Glancing at the Florida room now, it seems like we made a bad move. Enclosing the space had only bought us a small amount of time. It’s now filled to the brim, leaving barely an inch of visible floor space. It’s starting to feel like every extra inch of my home, is being used for supply storage.
Jars. Lids. Mailers. Labels. It never ends. All it takes is one quick look around to see that my home based business, has outgrown my home. Blinded by fear, I had previously chosen not to see it, but looking around now, I can’t unsee it. What had once been a home with plenty of space for us, is now overcrowded and stuffed.
“It’s time,” Nicole says interrupting my thoughts.
“I don’t disagree,” I say nodding.
“How many orders do we need to get out?” I ask changing the subject.
“What? Did you say 100?”
“Yeah, but we can’t get to them all this week.”
“We are out of jars,” she says shrugging.
“How? We just ordered them.”
“Um, because the amount of orders we get in a week has doubled since last month.”
“Oh. Wow,” I say slowly, letting it sink in a bit. I had been so busy engaging with customers that I hadn’t noticed our order volumes rising that much.
“Ok, you’re right. It’s time.” Turning to Jose I say, "We’re moving. Start looking for our new work home when you get a minute. We’re going to need to store a lot more than a few boxes of jars.”
He nods at me. “No problem.”
Trusting that he will get the task done, I mark it off of my mental to do list.
A few days later though, we realize that it isn’t quite that simple. With almost zero business credit, we find our options are actually pretty limited.
The only place we can find that will take us in without credit, is nothing short of a glorified storage unit. I don’t let this phase me though. I have this grandiose belief that I can make almost anything pretty with a little SeaPaint.
As we pull up to the storage facility a few days later, it dawns on me that Jose isn’t leaving.
We’re coworkers now.
I find the thought unsettling.
Someone shoot me.
When we climb out of the car and approach the door, it doesn’t look like much but that doesn’t bother me. I started an entire career from dumpster diving, I’m not too good for anything or any place.
Observing the building, I soak in its traits. Small, quaint, and hardly a sight to see. I glance at Jose.
“Let’s sign the lease.”
To my surprise, he doesn’t argue with me.Looking around, I notice the landscape is bare and the building truly lacks charm of any kind, but it’s still mine. Temporarily at least.
A rush of excitement floods through me. Most people hate moving and it’s easy to see why, but there is a part of me that thoroughly enjoys it. New rooms. New possibilities. New creative opportunities. New everything. Delicious novelty.
A week later, with limited funds, we move everything ourselves along with the help of a few friends.
When we finish moving everything in, I stand back and admire our small achievement.
And so it begins.
The one with the curiosity
Another week passes me by and we are fully settled in to our new place and shipping away. With the surprising influx of orders, I realize we can’t do this ourselves much longer. Impulsively, I turn to Nicole. “I think we need help.”
Nicole nods slowly. “You mean like, employees?”
“Yeah,” I admit reluctantly. The idea of more responsibility instantly makes me want to vomit, right there on the street.
Part of my dream, has never been to be boss of anybody but me. The idea of having to manage other humans floods me with anxiety. My crippling sense of perfection consumes me for a second.
Snap out of it.
I shake my head vigorously, bringing me back to the present. Nicole looks at me peculiarly. Catching her stare, I quickly snap out of it. As I look around the room, I realize there’s quite a bit of work to do. Putting my head down, I get to work.
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