Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
I hurried to the front gate, practically dragging my grandma.
“Alice, slow down.” She chuckled, attempting to refold the map of the Tower of London. “Why don’t you run along and see if you can make some of the tours.”
I frowned. Her poofy white hair looked like someone pulled apart a cotton ball and taped it to her head. “I’m not gonna leave you here by yourself.”
“I’ll be fine. Besides, all this walking made me thirsty. I want to sit in the shade and relax. Now go.” She swatted me with her folded umbrella. “I’m sure Elizabeth will be along shortly. Her reenactment group was supposed to be done by one o’clock.”
With a grin, I rushed through the crowd. Tendrils of blonde hair tickled my cheek as the winds picked up. An array of foreign accents swept through the throngs of people. Camera’s flashed as tourists posed in front of the gate. I slowed my pace, not wanting to appear too eager.
My gaze flashed to the White Tower. All summer I’d dreamt of coming here. Grandma had booked the trip to London as a graduation present. She said I needed to have one last “hurrah” before I left for the University of Michigan in the fall. Although, I had my suspicions she was trying to hook me up with some British guy. For an old lady, she seemed pretty obsessed with Prince William. If I had to hear about his “manly physique” one more time…
Oomph. I crashed into a sturdy frame.
“I’m so sorry.” I glanced up to see a tall, dark haired guy staring down at me. His blue eyes were startling. Like a cold shock of ice on a hot summer day.
He seemed surprised and looked over my shoulder, then in a British accent said, “Are you speaking to me?”
My face burned. “Um—yeah. I didn’t mean to run into you. I was in a hurry.”
He smiled. It was then that I noticed the old-fashioned garb. He wore breeches, tucked into high leather boots, and a white flowy tunic, with an embroidered navy colored waistcoat.
“Pardon my manners.” He took my hand and brought it to his lips. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Lord Edmond Fuller.”
My pulse quickened at the touch of his mouth to my skin. “Alice.”
“Perhaps, you’ll allow me to show you around today?” He laced my arm through his.
“I’d like that.” Oh. My. God. Grandma would so freak out if she saw me with this guy. Not only was he hot, but he had an accent. A very smoldering accent.
Okay. Stay focused. Don’t act like an idiot.
We walked toward the Tower Green, where two men were dressed in black and red outfits, complete with large hats.
Edmond steered me past the ancient structures and crowds. He pointed out the different buildings, giving me a brief history. It was like my very own tour guide. We chatted about London and the weather and about soccer. The conversation just seemed to flow, like we’d been friends since childhood.
“Do you mind if I have someone take our picture?” I asked when we stopped in front of Tower Gate.
“Not at all.” His fingers brushed mine as he released my arm. Tingles trailed from my toes to the top of my head, my heart beat out of control. For a moment, I thought I might explode. Down hormones.
I stopped a nearby couple to ask if they’d snap the shot. Edmond and I posed together, his arms wrapped about my waist. This feels right. When they finished, I put the camera back in its case and turned to him.
“Thanks for showing me around today. I had fun.” Please ask me for my number. Or kiss me. Or cop a feel. Something.
“My pleasure.” He bowed, giving me a lopsided grin. “How long are you in London for?”
“Another week. My grandma and I are staying a few blocks from Kensington Palace.”
“Only a week?” he said, half to himself. His smile slipped away and he stared at the dark clouds. “Well, Alice, I shouldn’t keep you any longer. It seems like you’re being paged.”
He pointed at Grandma who hobbled toward us.
I moved to her side and when I turned back around Edmond was gone.
“Who was the nice looking young man? You got a hot date?” She winked.
I fanned my face. “No.”
“Tell me you at least got his number!” Grandma Pearl swatted me with her umbrella when I shook my head no.
“I didn’t have time. And now I’ll likely never see him again.” How could I be so stupid? Here I’d just had the perfect day, with the perfect guy and I had no way to get a hold of him again.
Thunder boomed overhead and large drops of rain spattered against my face. Grandma snapped her umbrella open and tugged me beneath it. “He probably works here. We can come back tomorrow and ask for him.”
“But what if he doesn’t want to see me again? I mean, he might think I’m some weird stalker or something.”
She snickered. “As your generation likes to say, you my girl need to grow some.” She gestured at her private parts.
“You never know when you might meet your Mr. Right. Do you want to chance missing out on it?”
Truth was, I didn’t. But what was the point? I was from the US and although Grandma made frequent trips here to see her friend Elizabeth, I was about to start school. Not to mention being separated by an ocean might put a damper on things like a long distance relationship.
I tossed and turned most of the night. All I could think about was Edmond. His smile. His eyes. The way he held my hand. And obviously, I was turning into Grandma with my obsessions. I slurped up the last bite of oatmeal and shoved my bowl aside.
I have to go find him. Today.
“So, are we making a trip back to the Tower?” Grandma glanced at me over her newspaper.
“Yes. I have to.”
“Then let’s go.”
I wiped my clammy hands on my pants as we approached the gate. With Grandma close behind, I found the closest employee. “Excuse me, I wondered if you could tell me if Edmond Fuller was working today?”
The lady gave me a dirty look. “Is this a joke?”
“Lord Edmond Fuller died in the 1700’s.” Her eyes narrowed as she walked away, muttering something about stupid tourists.
Shit. This was insane. Maybe I’d dreamt the whole day up. I jerked my camera from its case and scrolled through the pictures. When I came to the photo I wanted, I stopped. He was there. No ghostly see through images. No smoky tendrils. He was a solid human being.
“This doesn’t make sense.”
Grandma leaned closer, gasped, then started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” God, you’d think she’d be more sympathetic when it came to my love life.
“Nothing. Why don’t you let me use your phone so I can call Elizabeth to meet us for lunch. I bet, between the three of us, we can come up with a plan to find your young man.”
“Just face it, Grandma, it’s hopeless. Besides, he gave me a fake name. He didn’t want me to find him.”
An hour later we stood in front of the Goat Tavern, waiting for Elizabeth. Traffic buzzed by, while people streamed in and out of shops.
“There she is!” Grandma dragged me toward the curb, where a taxi stopped.
A short, grayed haired woman climbed out. Her black coat unbuttoned.
“Pearl, Alice, so good to see you. I hope you don’t mind, but I brought my grandson Oliver along.” She smiled at Grandma.
I gasped as my “Edmond Fuller” slid from the taxi.
“Alice?” He seemed as stunned as I was. “I didn’t think I’d see you again.”
“I went back to find you today, but you gave me a fake name…”
He blushed. “Sorry about that. I was helping Gram’s reenactment group yesterday. We have to stay in character. And then I had to leave before I could give you my real name or get your last name. I started to call the local hotels to look for you, but realized I only had your first name.”
I stared into his eyes as he took my hand.
“Luckily, I recognized him in the picture,” Grandma said beside us. “Elizabeth has been bugging me for ages to introduce the two of you. But it looks like you’ve done all right on your own.”
“Maybe I ought to give you another tour.” Oliver smiled. “My flat isn’t too far from here.”
“I’m kidding Grandma.” His fingers traced my cheek. “How about lunch?”
“I’d love to.” I didn’t know how things would work out, but I knew fate had intervened.
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