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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fiction: A Royal Marriage (1152 words)

“They’ll want us to get married, you know.”  Pippa looked up from her book and saw the boy sitting across the table from her. She recognized his portrait from the pictures of families her adviser made her study, and knew he was of royal blood, but she couldn’t quite remember who he was.  He’d had so many names, it was hard to remember them all.  Rupert James Bartholomew and so on and so on.  “I’ve got the blood lines of the Winsfeld, Kensley, and the Kansey.  You’ve got the Quinsen, the Bartus, the Wesleys and the Rogens. If we got married and had a kid–and if you and your brother named that kid heir, it would be the first time since the unified kingdom that all seven royal blood lines sat on the throne. My parents–your advisers–they are going to want us to get married.”

“Hmm,” Pippa answered, not sure how else to respond at this point. She looked back to her book, wondering if that was all he had to say.

“So–I have two questions for you.”

Apparently not. “You do?” Pippa finally closed her book, directing her attention to him fully.

“I do.  Number one: what is your real name?”

“What?”

“It’s like this. Paper says I am Rupert Bartholomew Alfred Sebastian–but that’s not my real name.  My real name is Freddie. Unless you prefer to go by Philippa Guinevere Erin Margaret?”

“Oh.  No.  Pippa. And my brother is Riley.”

“Ah. Pleased to meet you Pippa. My second question is—do we want to play along or fight?”

“What do you mean by that?” Pippa found herself leaning forward, a little bit closer to him.  She couldn’t help herself, she just found something about him– fascinating? Interesting? Appealing?

“Well—to be honest, you are very pretty, and you seem kind and funny, so if you want to just play along with the meddling of our advisers as they try to pair us off until we decide whether or not we like each other, I’d be okay with that.  But—if you want to fight them for the sake of good and solid rebellion, I’m okay with that too.  I like a good, non-threatening rebellion. Call it the after effects of being a middle child.”

“I see,” Pippa smiled, looking at him, “So, it’s my call?”

He nodded sagely, “Completely your call.  After all—you are actually going to rule a country.  Your marriage might be a little more important than mine.”

“If you say so,” Pippa answered without really thinking, but then, “No, wait.  I might not rule the country. When we reach the legal age, we might decide that Riley is better suited to rule.  In fact, he wants it more than I do.  Why wouldn’t my advisors and your parents be trying to marry him off?”

“Because we only have boys.  I’m the third of seven boys—my older brothers both already married with children of their own, and the younger brothers are too young to match with you logically without trying me first.   While, they could try to match off my brothers to your brother, there is nothing wrong with a relationship between to men who love each other—it really wouldn’t help that uniting all seven blood lines of the kingdoms that people are rooting for. That leaves you, and me. I mean, if you think I’m wrong, we can wait to see what our advisers do, but—I’m pretty sure…”  Freddie trailed off with a shrug.

Pippa considered him for a moment longer.  “Seven bloodlines.  That would be kind of cool, wouldn’t it?”

“Yeah, any child we have would make history.”

“There would be a lot of pressure on them, though.”

“Yeah. Big dreams on their shoulders from the entire unified kingdoms.”

“So, what should we do?”  Pippa turned the question back on him, and realized they were both leaning forwards in their chairs, closer to each other than Pippa thought she’d been to anyone who she wasn’t directly related to.

“I’m up for playing the game if you are, Pippa.  Until you decide you hate me.” Freddie smiled, leaning back into his chair.

“I think,” Pippa concerned him a bit closer before leaning back into her chair and picking up her notebook again, “We should make them work for it.   If they want us to get married, they should sweeten the deal for us.  Make it worth our while.”

Freddie put his hand to his chest in mock indignation.  “I’m not good enough? The prize of marrying me isn’t sweet enough?”

“I don’t know you Freddie, and you don’t know me.  We might be absolute terrors to be married to.” Pippa lifted the notebook even higher, so she couldn’t see Freddie’s eyes anymore, and hopefully so he couldn’t see her blush,  “But, even if we aren’t, even if we are the best married couple in the entire kingdom—I think it would be remiss of us to not try to get everything we can out of the marriage.  At least a couple of years’ worth of adviser favors or something.   While settle for one prize when you can walk away with five?”

After a moment’s silence, She lowered the notebook enough to see his face again, and a shiver ran down her spine.  The way he was looking at her was—intense. She’d never been looked at like that before, and she found she kind of liked it.  “Pippa,” he said finally, “I think you and I are going to get along very well.”

“You think?”

“Yes, I do.  It was a pleasure, Pippa,” Freddie pushed against the table to stand up, and Pippa thought for a second, searching for a way to convince him to stay, “And I look forward to ‘meeting you’ tonight at dinner.  They can’t know we’ve talked if we want to get anything out of them.”

“Excellent point,” Pippa finally pulled her notebook away from her face. She tried to pretend the smile wasn’t from the thought that she’d be seeing him again so soon. “I look forward to meeting you, Rupert Bartholomew Alfred Sebastian .”  She gave a little nod of her head.

“You as well,  Philippa Guinevere Erin Margaret.” He gave her a formal bow, in the well-trained manner of a man close to the throne through several blood lines, before turning and sweeping his way out of the study.  Pippa put her notebook back down onto the table, and tried to make her way back to her work—but she had nothing.  She couldn’t focus on anything beyond the fact that she’d see him again at dinner.  It was silly, of course, she just met the man and for all she knew he was just one of those dangerous men her mother warned her would show up as she grew older, a man who simply wanted to get closer to the throne—but she just couldn’t shake the feeling that something important had been put into motion.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: You, Me, And Karma [Part 1] (926 words)

“Where the hell am I?” I muttered to myself, looking up at a sign hanging from the ceiling.  I’d visited New York City once every two or three years, mostly because I liked the city, but I was still a tourist through and through.  I was hopelessly lost, and not at all sure where to head.  But, I’d grown up in a tourist city myself, and I knew better than to bug some local making their way in a hurry because I couldn’t figure out a map.   I took a small step backwards to try to get a better angle at the sign and winced.  I’d done more than annoy some local.  From the feel of it, I’d just spilt their coffee.

“I am so sorry.” I was apologizing before I’d even turned all the way around.

A taller man was standing there, looking stunned, coffee down his front, a crushed disposable Starbucks cup in his hand.  “Well, that is tragic.”  He said simply, looking at the lack of drink in his hand.

“I am so, so sorry.” I repeated, “Please, let me buy you a new cup of coffee.”  I hadn’t even finished the offer before he was waving his hand at me and shaking his head.

“Oh, no.  That’s quite alright.  I promised my girlfriend I would try to go a week without coffee, so I suppose this is fate’s way of getting me to keep my promise.  How’s your back?”

I swung my jacket off, and wrinkled my nose at the coffee stain that bloomed across the blue fabric.  “How bad is my shirt?”  I asked, turning my back to the man.

“Not as bad as your jacket, but definitely more coffee-colored than the front.” He answered.

“Great.  Not my best day ever.”

“Lost?”

“Horribly.”  My voice sounded a lot more pathetic than I wanted it to.

“Where are you trying to be?”

“West 32nd street.  The New York Manhattan Hotel.”

I was not reassured when the man started laughing.  “Wow.  Yes, you are lost.”

“Thank you for that.”

“No problem.  Here, follow me.”  He turned around and headed towards a platform on the other side of station.  “We’ll take this train.”

“We’ll?”

“Yes. I’m done for the day, and I don’t trust my ability to give proper directions or even be able to correctly describe the stations, so I’ll show you the way. “

I was beyond grateful.  “Thank you.”

“No worries. We’ll call it my payback to karma for lying to my girlfriend.”

“I thought the spilled coffee was karma payback for lying?”

“Yes well, you never can payback karma too much.” He smiled.  I’d never admit it to him, but my heart gave a bit of a lurch when he smiled.  He had one of those smiles that made you want to smile right along with him.

The rest of the ride was mostly in silence, except for a few “This way”-s and “Over here”-s.  I took the time on the train to give this guy a good look.  After all, a nice stranger on the train who, statistically speaking, I would never see again; this was the stuff romantic novels were built on.  He wasn’t bad looking by any stretch of the imagination. I couldn’t quite judge how tall he was—He was a lot taller than me, but I was only 5’1” so that wasn’t a difficult mark to make.  He wore a nice coat over a button down and slacks, but no tie. I couldn’t help but wonder what he did for a living. He was thin, not terribly broad, but somehow still managed to look strong.  He had lighter, curly hair, and dark eyes that seemed kind.  He had an excellent ass.  And did I mention the smile?  The boy had a smile.

After switching trains twice times, we finally left the subway system.  We started down the street, when he slipped out of his jacket, and draped it over my shoulders.  I was practically swimming in it.  “It’s too cold to be without a jacket in a shirt that is half soaked with coffee, and besides it will hide the stain.”

“What about you?  You don’t have a coat now?”

“Paying back karma, remember? Let me be nice.”

I laughed, “Yeah, yeah okay.”

He walked me right up to the front door of the hotel.  “Think you can find your way from here? Won’t get lost again?” he teased.

“I got it. Thanks.”  I shrugged out of his jacket, and handed it back to him. “Thank you again, for everything.  Even after I spilled your coffee”

“Don’t worry about it.  I’ve paid back my karma dues.  Enjoy your stay in the city.”  He swung his jacket back out, and with one last smile, he headed back the way we came.  I watched him walk away for a moment, before dipping into the hotel lobby.  I was instantly greeted by my older sister, Lindsey, who happily threw an arm around my shoulder and took me back to the window to watch him walk further away.

“Who in the world was that?”  She asked, wagging her eyebrows at me.

“Just a helpful stranger.” I answered.

“A handsome, helpful stranger. Who walked you all the way to the front door,” Lindsey provided.

“Oh, don’t get all day-dreamy on me, Linds.  It’s not like I’ll ever see him again.” I shrugged out from under her arm and went to head to the elevators.

“Yeah, I guess…Elliott? What in the world did you do to the back of your shirt?”

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in You Me and Karma

 

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Fiction: Forgetting (276 words)

here was more to her than she knew, more to her than she could understand.  More to her than she could wrap her mind around.  She was something so spectacular wrapped up into a human body against all the laws of nature that were put into place to prevent exactly that.  Micayla Andersen existed because her mother and father broke a hundred different rules of the universe itself, and her very existence was ripping apart the very fabric of nature and of human kind.

As long as she didn’t know who or what she was, everything was fine.  But she started to ask questions about her long missing mother.  She began to research things that she had every right to research, but really shouldn’t be researching.  She slowly began to realize how she existed. She slowly began to understand exactly what she was. And as she did, the world start to dissolve around her. Almost literally.

So, she had to forget.  They could do it. Make her forget. Rather easily, actually.  It was technology that had existed for a long time, but they had put laws in place to prevent the world from abusing it.  But this wasn’t the world, and it wasn’t abuse of power.  This was a twenty-five year old woman, her father, and her two best friends.  They made the decision, and they put it all into action. Micayla Andersen couldn’t die, but she couldn’t continue to exist.

So, she forgot. In that way, she could not exist, and yet not die.  In that way, her family, her father, her friends, they could protect her. And in that way, she could protect the world.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Kayla's Stories

 

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Fiction: Quitting (205 words)

Morgan spat on the floor, trying not to be alarmed by how much blood there was. He wasn’t dying, no, he would feel it if he were dying, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t unsettling to see that amount of blood coming out of his mouth.

In spite of his concerns, he tilted his chin up and smiled at the woman before him, mostly just because he knew it would piss her off.  “How much does she know?”

“Oh, she knows more than you think,” Morgan laughed. “She’s a quick study you know.”

The woman glared, and with barely a flick of get finger she gestured for Morgan to be struck again.  This time it was on the back of his head, and so hard that he actually saw spots dancing before his eyes for a second.  “You have failed, Morgan.”

“Failed you? Yes, I suppose I have.  And you know, I am pretty okay with that. But no, I don’t think I failed.  I certainly haven’t failed her yet, and so help me god, I will not fail her.  And there isn’t a damn thing you can do to change it.”  Morgan laughed, until a final crack across the back head knocked him into unconsciousness.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Dead Husband Problem (400 words)

I clung desperately to him, and he let me.  I wasn’t crying, not even dry sobs, but I was shaking, my whole body, head to toe, like the world was trying to get rid of me.  I balled his shirt in my fists, and tried to root myself to the ground to stop the shuttering.  He just stood there.  He didn’t wrap his arms around me.  He didn’t tell me to go.  In fact, I don’t know if he even realized that I had moved.  When I finally controlled myself and took a small step back, but was still staring past me, his eyes still rooted on the place I had been standing before.

“Dean. Please. Say something.”  Finally he blinked, and refocused his eyes on me.  His eyes were so beautiful, such a bright blue, that normally they just cut straight to my heart and caused me to melt into his arms.  But now, to see them in such pain, such fear, with tears that hadn’t been there a moment before—

“I—he—Leigh Anne—they are…” Dean trailed off, and ran his fingers through his hair.  He sank down onto his couch and invited me to sit next to him, “You’re lying right?  This is something that you’re pulling over on me to test my loyalty to you, isn’t it? Please, Leigh Anne, I won’t be mad. Just tell me this is all a joke.”

“It’s not a joke.  Dean.  Peter—Peter is dead.” I repeated.

Dean and I were in a very awkward position.  Peter Masterson, the man found dead in his office this morning, was my husband of four years.  Dean was Peter’s childhood friend, and at one time, business partner.

And Dean and I—well, we had been sleeping together for just over two years.

Dean scrubbed his hand vigorously over his face.  “You know, any detective worth his beans is going to assume that one of us did it.”  He muttered through his hands.

“Yeah.  That was a concern of mine as well.”  I slipped off the couch and kneeled down in front of Dean. I pulled his hands off his face, and held them in mine. “Dean, I just need to ask.  Did you kill Peter?”

“I swear to you, Leigh Anne, I did not kill Peter.  And if you’ll forgive me, I have to ask.  Did you kill Peter?”

“I didn’t—but Dean. Who is going to believe us?”

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Voices (500 words)

Lily had always expected that she was a little bit insane. Like most children—she’d had imaginary friends.  When she was young she had “The Boy” and “The Girl” who she talked to all the time.  She never knew what they looked like, but she could hear them clear as day in her head, and she’d have full conversations with them.

When she was about six years old, she realized that her parents didn’t like hearing about the boy and the girl.  She was too young at the time to understand why her parents didn’t like what was quickly starting to look like auditory hallucinations in their young daughter, but she was old enough to know that she didn’t like to make her parents unhappy.  So, one night she told the boy and girl that she wasn’t going to able to talk to them anymore—and then proceeded to ignore them for a while.

Eventually, her parents forgot about the boy and the girl that their daughter had been a friend of.  Lily didn’t mention them, and didn’t dwell too long on anything they had to say.  In fact, she spent a majority of her time ignoring them completely.

But every now and then, she’d let her guard down, and she’d listen to them talk to each other.  They were funny. They had an interesting relationship that often amused her. It was an excellent way to kill time on a long bus ride.  Sometimes, they talked about her—but they never spoke to her, not since that faithful day when she was six years old.

That was—until she had that dream.

“It’s her—it has to be her-“He’d said. And she couldn’t shake the feeling that it was something important.

But she had to shake it off.  She was an adult now. She had a job—responsibilities—places to go, people to see.  So she stuck the boy and girl, well–man and woman now she supposed, into the back of her mind and got ready for her day.

Disregarding the voices in her head, Lily considered herself to be someone relatively normal.  She was twenty five years old, and she didn’t have a clue what she wanted to do with her life.  She had a degree in English because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but no actual plans as to what to use the degree for.  She decided to complete the stereotype and went on to work as a barista at a locally owned coffee shop.

But as for what she really wanted to do with her life, what she wanted to “be,” she hadn’t gotten that far yet.  “I’ll figure it out before I die.” She grinned whenever someone asked her, “I’m destined for something big—I can feel it in my bones.”

That was strike two that made her pretty sure she was a bit crazy.  Delusions of grandeur to go with the voice in her head that told her she was special.  What was strike three going to be?

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Road Tripping (218 words)

“I hate you.”

“You love me.” Blue eyes met green eyes across the aisle of the train, a stubborn little show of dominance. Blue eyes blinked first, and Cassie gave a little fist pump of victory. “You love me, I knew it.”

“My savings account hates you,” Frances amended, leaning her head back on the rest and watching the luggage rack bounce above her head. Twenty four hours ago, Frances was getting ready for a normal, if a bit boring, week of work.  Nineteen hours ago, Cassie had shown up on Frances’ doorstep with a smile and an elaborate plan.  Eight hours ago, Frances was calling in her sick days and buying a train ticket.  “Usually, I am more sensible than this, Cassie.”

“I know you are, Fran.”

“You just get under my skin.”  Frances rolled her eyes, turning again to face her best friend.

“Elementary school secrets.  I just know how to push all your buttons,” Cassie grinned, wagging her eyebrows at Frances, “If you have the means, you’ll always agree to my plans,” Frances wanted to disagree, but Cassie had a point.  And Cassie hadn’t led her astray yet.  Why start doubting her now? “Besides,” Cassie’s excited spark was back, “Who in their right mind would say no to New York City?”

“You make an excellent point.”

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Stories

 

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