Celine (Found Soul #1)

Abandoned shortly after birth, Celine has spent her entire life at St. Mary’s Found Souls, an orphanage out in the countryside. Despite her religious upbringing, she’s never cared much for rules and was always the orphanage’s resident troublemaker. A good child all-in-all, she was beloved by the entire staff, even when she’d make it difficult for them. “Proof that you were sent by God,” the headmistress would tell her, “for no one has ever tested my patience so.”

At thirteen, Celine lost hope that she’d ever get adopted. She realized she’d have to focus on her education to ensure a good life for herself after she’d turn eighteen and be on her own. While never letting go of her rebellious side, Celine worked hard over the next years to become the smartest kid at St. Mary’s, and she largely succeeded. No one had ever accused her of lacking will, only discipline.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Celine got adopted shortly after her sixteenth birthday. A retired couple in their sixties who had never had children were now well off enough and bored enough to make this kind of significant change in their lives. They weren’t looking for a child who’d need their hand held for everything, and Celine fit their needs exactly: young enough to still be a child, but old enough to be independent.

All she’s ever known about family life comes from what she’s seen on TV, and now she’s living it. It’s a whole different world that she’s struggling to adjust to, but she’s grateful for it. Her adoptive parents seem nice, though Celine feels like she could do without their “religious nonsense,” of which she’s had enough her whole life, but it’s not a big deal.

They’ve enrolled her into the local school, and she is now in her first week. Being the new kid’s hard enough but being a newly adopted child who’s also new to the social workings of regular high school is an even bigger challenge. At least she’s made a friend, though. She saw the only other kid who seemed as out of place as her and introduced herself.

Something about Kyle tells her he hasn’t had the privileged upbringing that the rest of her peers have.

Read the rest of the ‘Found Soul’ series here.

This is one of many short stories I’ve been writing for Teodora’s drawings ever since she said she was bad at writing descriptions for them. I thought I’d enjoy helping her and trying to write something different than I was used to. I’d never collaborated creatively with anyone on anything before Teodora and I love the purpose she’s added to my writing and how she challenges me with each drawing.

We’ve been having trouble lately because my stories have grown in length and Instagram has a caption character limit of 2200. As such, here is the abridged version of Celine’s story. *sad face* Fortunately, however, this is the abridged version of Celine’s first story. I told Teodora about what I imagined would happen further down the line and she decided that I should shut up and start writing a new series, so here’s the first story in the ‘Found Soul’ series. She gets another strawberry for pushing me to expand on my stories. 🍓

For more wonderful drawings, follow Teodora on Instagram @teoctobart. You can also buy her a coffee on her Ko-fi page.

For more stories, she’s got her own tag here.

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