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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!

 

Photo Credit V Barger

 
 
 

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.

“Grandma, really?”

“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?”

“Um—no.”

“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.”

“Oliver Russell!”

“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.

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

Kit Forbes

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YAFF Muse is back!!! 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!

Raygun by wintersixfour

I adjusted my Princess Leia, Battle of Endor costume, and applied a layer of Cherry Kiss lip gloss, before sliding from my rusted pick-up. The summer heat practically fried my skin as I hurried toward Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum.

Yeah, I was the victim of “get a summer job because I’m broke epidemic” otherwise known as, my parents think I need to learn responsibility and they’re not going to keep paying for my gas and insurance problem.

So every morning, I got up before dawn, showered and donned some sci-fi heroine costume, while my friends lay tucked away in bed. They went swimming; I gave talks about the swamp monster. They took bike trips and partied, while I played tour guide.

Totally unfair. Although, there was one perk and he stood six-foot two, with shaggy blonde hair and blue eyes to die for. Muscles, abs, bronze skin. In one word, yummy, that’s what Caleb Zenson was.

I took the museum keys from my purse and unlocked the main entrance. Cool air wrapped around me like a cape. Flipping on the lights, I hurried past the space ship display, complete with working doors and smoke.

Once in the office, I slid my things into a locker then gathered pamphlets to refill the display case. As I turned around, I ran into a solid form. I squealed, dropping the brochures.

“Kayla, hey, I’m sorry,” Caleb said, leaning down to help me pick up the mess. I bent at the same time, whacking my head on his chest. My earring snagged his shirt. I attempted to stand, but realized I was stuck.

My face burned. “Um, I’m caught on your shirt,” I said.

Caleb chuckled. “Here, hold still and let me help you.” His hands brushed my hair from my face and I inhaled the scent of his spicy cologne. My legs wobbled beneath me as I tried to stay balanced. His touch made me imagine lots of rated “R” things.

“Ah, it’s Han and Leia,” Dr. Z said from behind us. “I see you’re both getting into the roles.” He laughed, his cane tapping against the marble tiles.

“We’re kind of attached,” I said.

“I see that. It’s about time Caleb got the courage to ask you out! Cheerio, I say.”

Wait, what?

Caleb went still, and cleared his throat. I wished I could crane my head to see if he was mortified. Or if he was happy. But no, my head was stuck to his Han Solo shirt. Although, there were worse places to be. Like anywhere. Damn, I was the luckiest girl in the universe.

I imagined the school papers I’d write about how I spent my summer vacation. Wrapped in the arms, er…shirt of the king of hotness himself. Inhaling his masculine scent, his heart beating against my face, his…

“There you go, we’re officially unstuck.” Caleb glanced down at me.

“Thanks. Sorry about that.” I backed away then hurried to pick up the brochures.

 “I didn’t mind,” he said. My gaze flashed to his face. Oh my God. His perfect smile was beaming like a spotlight on Broadway. “Actually, I’ve wanted to ask you out all summer.”

And one, two, breathe. Come on girl. Talk. To. Him.

“Seriously?”

He fidgeted with his plastic laser blaster, strapped at his side. “Yeah.”

I opened my mouth to say more, when Dr. Z burst into the room. “Hurry along; we’ve got a big crowd today. And you both have tours.” He wore a space commander suit, complete with fake jet pack. “Make sure you keep an eye on things. I’ve got a strange feeling.”

Caleb and I exchanged looks, because Dr. Z always had a strange feeling. He believed it was only a matter of time before aliens attacked us. So not only did he horde Sci-Fi memorabilia and gadgets, but he insisted everything was real. The guy was a fruit loop, but hey, he paid me well. And his grandson more than made up for the weird comments.

“Don’t worry Grandpa, Kayla and I will handle things.” He ushered the aged man toward the theatre room, while I finished setting up.

By noon, the museum was packed. I shuffled backward, microphone in hand toward the large glass display case of weapons.

“And if you’ll turn your eyes to our display, you’ll see the raygun that was used in the movie Aliens Amongst Us 3,” I said.

A boy raised his hand in the back. “Do these things actually work?”

I smiled, catching Caleb’s eye with another group ahead of us. He winked and nodded his head yes. Chewing my bottom lip, I turned back to the boy.

“It sure does.”

For several more hours, I led different groups through the museum. I showed them costumes from Sci-Fi sets, weapons, fake space ships, information about alien landings and abductions. I answered questions about how things worked, if I was available after my shift (which I said no, pervy old man anyway), and how Dr. Z obtained the items.

Taking a swig of my ice water, I adjusted my Leia costume and got ready to take my last tour through the museum.

“Hello, and welcome to Dr. Z’s Sci-Fi Museum. I’m Kayla. I’ll be your pilot and guide today. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop me and I’ll do my best to answer it.”

A guy who looked close to my age, grinned. I dreaded what might come out of his mouth as we headed toward the space dome, complete with dark night sky and blinking stars. The familiar scent of “space ship” fuel burning and smoke filtered in the air.

“Kayla.” Dr. Z rushed me, his eyes wide with terror. “They’re here. Get these people on a ship, and grab a weapon.” He raised his cane, and struck the case with weapons in it. Glass sprayed everywhere, and the tourists screamed.

“Dr. Z,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder. Caleb came running toward us.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“They’re here old boy. Get your group on the ship and grab a gun,” Dr. Z said again.

I opened my mouth to protest, when I heard the loud rumble of something outside. Taking a deep breath, I accepted the raygun Dr. Z handed me and hurried to the entrance. A huge shadow, splayed over the ground, like someone parked a giant semi in front of the sun.

“Oh. My. God.” Dr. Z wasn’t crazy. Overhead, a large spaceship hovered. In the distance, plumes of smoke painted the horizon. We were being invaded.

Caleb grabbed my shoulders, jerking me back as a beam of light pulsed to the ground. Tall, gray colored beings walked straight at us. They raised small gun-like weapons.

“C’mon, get on the ship.” Caleb dragged me behind him toward our ship display, right as a red laser beam burst through the doors.

I glanced at the raygun in my hand, and tapped a switch on the side. Then, feeling all Leia like, I aimed the gun at the aliens and pulled the trigger. The weapon pulsed in my hand, and I watched in surprise as lasers flew from the end of it. One of the aliens fell to the ground. Holy crap!

If I wasn’t scared out of my mind, it would’ve been B.A. The floor beneath our feet vibrated, people screamed as they hurried onto the ship. I eyed our craft. This better work.

When we got aboard, the door behind us lifted and closed. Everyone was belted into seats around a large interior, holding helmets, suits, more weapons, and pull down beds. It was something straight off a set of Star Wars. Caleb clutched me tight, tugging me toward the cockpit.

“Do you know how to fly this thing?” I asked, taking a seat between Caleb and his grandpa. Or maybe I should’ve asked if it could fly. Dear Lord, where was the real Han Solo when you needed him. Hell, I’d take his Wookie at this point!

Dr. Z shot me a smile. “Of course. I knew this day was coming. Caleb and I are pilots.”

“Full throttle,” Caleb said, putting on a headset. “We’ll have to blast the wall or we’re not going to get out of here.”

Dr. Z pulled a handle down; his thumb hovered over a red button. “Hang on everybody.”

With one click, fiery red beams shot from our ship taking out the wall and roof. Caleb tugged the steering column back and we lifted from the ground, then shot forward like a cannon ball.

As we flew, I glanced down to see entire towns burning and the large craft responsible for it. Aliens were real. Tears blurred my vision. Our families were gone. And who knew how long we’d survive.

Caleb wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Everything will be okay, Kayla. You’ll see.”

We cleared into the upper atmosphere, then darted into space. Stars surrounded us, speeding past like a light show.

“He’s right, you know.” Dr. Z pushed an autopilot button. “We’re going to be fine. Just have to make it to the Alpha Red Six space station for supplies. We can survive out here for years.” He got to his feet. “Now, I need to inform our passengers that all is well. Keep us on course Caleb boy.”

When Dr. Z left, Caleb pushed some buttons then turned to me. “I’m glad you came with us.” His fingers traced my cheek and he moved closer, his lips brushing mine. “I always knew you’d be the one.”

My heart thudded in my ears. “The one?”

“My very own Leia. You kicked some alien butt back there.”

“Well, I didn’t don the costume for no reason.” I laughed in spite of everything. Maybe being stuck on spaceship wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

 

Thanks for coming by. Please be sure to drop by my fellow YAFFers blogs and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Miranda Buchanan

Rachel Marie Pratt

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger

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