— featuring Vera from #thatghoststory and Alex fromOath Heir.
L. and I wrote you readers a little scene with our kick ass leading ladies. Vera is on the left, and Alex is on the right. We’re both participating in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!” blog hop hosted by Victoria and Jaycee — but instead of doing the typical interview, we wanted to join up our heroines and see where that lead.
First, the disclaimers: this scene does not take place anywhere in either of our books — it was written solely for the purpose of this blog hop and to have a little fun at the expense of our characters. Vera and Alex would never, ever have the opportunity of bumping into each other in the fiction world because their lives, their worlds, and their problems take each one on very different journeys. But both of our ladies have to deal with ghosts and death on a daily basis, and two infuriating & over-protective men, and we thought that would make for a very interesting conversation over coffee.
But you can’t begin here. You must begin at L.’s blog because that’s where the scene is set and the action begins. So click one of those links to head over there right now and read about how our ladies meet up in a junkyard. And don’t worry, she’ll direct you back to me shortly.
So you’ve returned? Good. Now you can read on for the interesting conclusion to Vera and Alex’s unusual afternoon. (Note: Vera is now narrating.)
Vera & Alex, Part II:
I watched Alex glance around the cafe as she walked to get a water from the front counter. Not standing next to her, I wouldn’t guess she’s as short as she is — her head was at my shoulder in the junkyard. She had a presence about her that made her seem larger, and a little more dangerous, than the physical space she took up.
Alex’s dark hair was pulled up in a ponytail and it still hung long down the middle of her back. Beneath it was a gray streak that caught my attention — I hadn’t noticed it before because there was the whole interruption thing, and the running thing, and the desperate need for coffee thing. I wondered if the streak was natural. I’d always wanted a streak in my hair, but I was thinking a color, like magenta.
As Alex walked back to our corner table, she glanced around the cafe again. The process seemed natural to her, and while I knew she must be taking in details I was missing, the scan of her brown eyes seemed almost unintentional. Like she was passing time on her walk back to the table, not monitoring the place for ghostly threats.
“Any more invisible, deadly ghosts?” I asked as she sat back down. I couldn’t see what had spooked Alex in the junkyard, and that spooked me. When you’ve seen ghosts for your entire life, seeing them isn’t scary anymore. Not seeing them, though — that was a different matter. If it was a ghost I couldn’t see, then it was a ghost I’d never dealt with before.
“You look young to be chasing around after ghosts with knives,” I observed, and the statement obviously wasn’t one Alex wanted to hear. As if at the mention of her weapon, her hand reflexively moved towards where the dagger was hidden and her face darkened.
“I’m seventeen. I suppose that could be considered young… but I should be dead by now.”
I smiled sympathetically. “Well, I’ve almost died twice, so obviously ghosts are hazardous to our health.”
Alex laughed. “Dying is no fun. It kinda messes up your day.”
“So we both spend all of our time with ghosts and facing death. Lucky us. I must say, I was kind of enjoying a normal conversation for once.” I sipped down the last of my coffee and set the mug back on the table. I smiled despite myself, always at a loss to control my own expressions. “So, for the sake of normality, let’s keep discussing men: what’s one thing you think says a lot about a guy?”
“Hmm… these normal conversations are rather difficult. One thing that comes to mind is how they hold themselves. You can usually tell how someone feels about themselves and others by the way they carry themselves. I like confidence…but there is a difference between confidence and cockiness. Cockiness is irritating. Confidence is good. And really, I don’t know that this necessarily is what you mean, but how motivated someone is tells me a lot about them. And what about you?”
“That’s definitely a good answer. But mine’s a bit more material — I can tell a lot from if he wears a watch,” I said, and I couldn’t stop myself from glancing down at my own. In doing that, I automatically noted the time. It was three minutes past two in the afternoon. “When a man wears a watch, and how he interacts with the watch, it says a lot about how he thinks about time. And that says a lot about how he thinks about things generally.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever worn a watch. Huh. Hope that doesn’t say something bad about me!” Alex smiled. A second later, her eyes narrowed and her smile took on a mischievous twist “So, does this Connor wear a watch?”
I felt the heat creep into my cheeks and I knew on my pale complexion the blush was like a beacon. “Yes, he does.” I shook my head trying to shake the perfect mental image of Connor’s watch out of my head. That was a watch with a story. “Watches, or the lack thereof, usually don’t have anything bad to say about a person. But it does mean you’re not particularly concerned with time. I, on the other hand, have been called annoyingly punctual. As if such a trait can be annoying.”
“I like people who are punctual. So, when you aren’t doing these Warden things, what do you do?”
“I draw, portraits mostly. Or I go to the art shows of old peers from college. That’s pretty much all I have time for beyond Warden duties, but it’s enough. I like staying busy. What about you? When you aren’t, you know,” I nodded my head towards her hidden dagger.
“Ooh, art shows. Sounds classy.” She sipped down the rest of her water. “I don’t have much free time. Never have, and now I have even less. Training and school and…my current situation…takes it all. But when I do have a chance, I dirt bike. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
“Wow, dirt biking. That’s interesting. I couldn’t ever do anything so… dangerous.” I laughed and shook my head, and Alex and I shared a smile over the sheer absurdity of classifying anything as particularly dangerous.
From where we sat, both Alex and I could see the door to the cafe. During our conversation, whenever a new patron came into the cafe, Alex glanced up to assess them in her silent, subtle way, and I tried to see what she might be seeing. Of course, the only thing I could tell about someone was if they were living or dead. I had no idea what Alex might be able to tell.
The bell over the door chimed to signal the happy arrival of a new patron. Alex glanced up and back down within the space of a few seconds, having come to some quick verdict. This time, however, my gaze lingered on the two women who had just entered the cafe. While they were definitely living, their all black get-up and the white logos over their left breasts marked them as the two women I went to tell Trevor about earlier. Before we were interrupted by Alex.
“You said you’re not human, right?” I looked at Alex, but kept the women in my periphery. Thankfully, there was no line and they were now discussing something with the barista. Probably how to order a plain coffee, and why were there so many choices, and one of them pointed to the case of food.
“I have some human in me. I think it must be where I get these blasted freckles from.”
“Well, that’s good, then. But we should leave now, regardless.”
I stood up and moved myself in between Alex and the women. There was only the one entrance to the cafe, and I was glad the corner table we’d taken was closer to the door than to the counter.
Alex looked between me and the women. I sucked at concealing my reactions, and I had no doubt that Alex knew something wasn’t right; but she definitely wasn’t having the same intense reaction she’d had back in the junkyard with that thing I couldn’t see. “Is everything alright, Vera?” Alex asked, her right black eyebrow arched. Her hand moved to her side.
Instinctively I reached my hand forward to still hers. I flinched on contact, not used to actually touching a living person. “Don’t. Weapons will surely catch their attention. We just need to get you out of here.”
I kept my grip on her wrist, and gently pulled her up out of her seat. I kept myself between her and the women, and as we walked out the door, I saw one of the women glance towards the sound of the chiming bells. I said a silent prayer that I was working beyond my own district today — I assigned the cases in this area, but I didn’t usually work around here. That meant these particular women shouldn’t recognize me. I hated that I was more recognizable these days.
“God I hate those people,” I muttered to myself, and when I felt Alex’s wrist pull from my hand I remembered I was officially talking to myself in front of another living being.
“Who are those people?” she asked.
I kept walking until we rounded the street corner, and Alex followed. “Mages. They, ah, well they can do all sorts of things. Mostly they exorcise ghosts when us Wardens can’t get them to leave this plane peacefully. I have no idea how they can do what they do, though, and if you aren’t entirely human I’m not so sure you’re entirely safe. You should probably get out of here. I’ll go back and keep them tied up for a bit. I’m sure they’ll want to meet me.”
Alex gave me a slightly mischievous smile, and from that I knew she was contemplating her chances of taking the Mages on. I just continued with my well-practiced blank stare that I used in the rare instances where I was the authority figure. In a few seconds, Alex’s smile turned genuine. “I’m not so sure your Mages would want to meet me, but it was nice meeting you, Vera.”
We said pleasant goodbyes, and I turned back around the corner for the coffee shop. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, and Connor would definitely give me an ear full later because we were operating under a strict “avoid the Mages” rule, but I think he’d be more pissed if I let them take on an innocent bystander. Of course, I was pretty sure Alex would be quite the handful for them.
And last, some fun things the blog hop hosts wanted us to include: a song for Vera and a song for Alex.
Vera’s song is “I Am A Heart” by the Canadian band Hey Ocean! The whole album pretty much plays while I’m working on #thatghoststory, but if there is a song I think Vera would connect well with, it’s this one. Not for any notable reason, but it sounds like her.
Alex’s song is “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. L. would like to say that the song deals more with the theme/plot of Oath Heir (but not the romantic twists & turns) and it has less to do with Alex’s personality.
And that’s all she wrote, folks. Please visit the other participants of the blog hop & leave them your comments — you can find the links at either Victoria’s or Jaycee’s blogs because sign up occurred in both places. Both L. and I hope you enjoyed what we wrote for you. This turned out to be a very excellent character exercise; one we may repeat for just ourselves in the future.