For nearly three weeks now, I’ve been telling you about the story idea that’s taken my brain hostage. And while it’s nowhere near ready for me to begin writing yet (it’s still at the very early stages of outlining), I have been so captivated by the world and its characters that little vignettes and stories are already popping in my head that take place in this world, but won’t be included in the actual books.
Think of these as teasers :).
Today, I wanted to share the first of what may be many. It’s a taste of what’s to come, so if you bear with me and wait for the story to fully unfold, we’ll take the journey together.
Ready? Ok, here we go…
The first time he saw her, he’d been all of seven years old. Hair ruffled and plastered to his forehead by sweat, knee bleeding through the tear in his pants—a nasty scrape he’d acquired from jumping down from the tree house in an ill-thought move to test the parachute he’d constructed from his mother’s old silk dress. It hadn’t worked. He learned the hard way.
He was surprised he hadn’t scared her off right on the spot. There she was, in her pristine white dress, long golden hair held back by a simple pale blue ribbon that matched her eyes, and that heart-shaped face that was so delicate, it almost seemed to be made of porcelain—and as he limped over to her, biting the inside of his cheek to keep the tears from forming, he watched her eyes widen in a mixture of fright and intrigue as they met his.
And he could almost read the thought that was caught in her steady gaze.
So this is Owen Callister. This is the boy I’ll have to marry one day.
His knee was throbbing and he was struggling to hold still, knowing his father was evaluating his every move. From the way his hand was clutching Owen’s shoulder, Owen knew that there’d be hell to pay later on, after their visitors had left and they were safely out of earshot.
“Say hello, Alanna.”
Benedict Jensen’s voice lacked any kind of warmth when he spoke to his daughter, which Owen found strange, even a little disorienting. He’d seen the president speak plenty of times on television—several times in person, even—and the cool, distant manner in which he addressed his daughter seemed worlds away from the man with the easy charm that worked the crowds.
“Hello,” she said, her small pink mouth curving into a smile. Father had said she was Owen’s age—only a few months younger, but she seemed even younger than that, from her small frame and the way she was clasping her mother’s hand, leaning into her and nearly disappearing behind the swell of Layla Jensen’s pregnant belly.
“Are you ok?” Her eyes flitted down to Owen’s knee, where a scab was now beginning to form. It stretched across the tight patch of skin when he flexed, bleeding anew with the tiniest of movements and staining the linen of his light gray pants. She pointed at the gash. “That looks like it would hurt a lot.”
He shrugged. “I’m all right.”
His father’s hand tightened. “He’ll be fine. He’s a boisterous boy—sometimes a little too boisterous for his own good. You’ll be more careful, won’t you?”
“There, you see?”
The president seemed satisfied. Owen had passed the test. Just barely. And as his father led the rest of the them into the house, he caught sight of Alanna turning her head to look back at him, and thought he saw her mouth something that only he was meant to see.
I’m glad you’re ok.
Then she smiled, her eyes sparkling with the conspiratorial gleam of a private joke shared by only the two of them.
And in that moment, he couldn’t help but think, he had never seen anything so beautiful in his entire life.
Liked what you read? Stay tuned for more teasers over the next few months… I hope to begin writing the first draft at the end of the year, so the journey will begin soon :).