A Chance Encounter

Foreword: Though this scene is for the #FreeWriteChallenge, I am using this opportunity to introduce two characters from Freedom’s Promise, the third in the Baldwin series. This was an opportunity to show how they met. Freedom’s Promise is expected to be released in the Spring of 2018.

***

“Where did you find that?” The near elderly woman didn’t sound upset, and looked mildly curious, if anything. “I haven’t seen one in years.”

The younger woman shrugged one shoulder. “I’ve been carrying it around since high school. I must have been waiting for you. Do you mind?” she asked, and held out the item.

It had been pure happenstance that Kirsten Tolliver had looked up when she had. The airport was busy, and when it was crowded like today she tended to bury her head into her iPad and ignore the rest of the world.

airport

From her seat on the floor, something had caught her attention, a sparkle from the corner of her eye. When she had looked up, who should she happen to see but Amelie Bette.

The famous author was shorter than Kirsten had imagined, but everything else was as she expected. It may have been thirty years since she had published her one and only book, but Amelie didn’t look like she had aged more than ten.

Amelie was on the shorter side, lucky to hit 5 feet tall in the high heeled leather boots she wore. They were a creamy leather, and a tan hue that matched the streaks not greying in her long, braided hair. Her leggings and sweater looked comfortable to fly in, and Kirsten had to admire the woman’s style.

It had been a scramble to locate the hard cover book in her backpack, but Kirsten had done so in record time. She’d hurried over to Amelie, already knowing what the woman would see when she looked at her.

An average everything. Average height, average hair and eyes, average grades in school. If there were an award for being a middle of the road human, Kirsten would have owned it for thirteen years running.

But would she?

There was a passion in her heart that burned bright enough to physically hurt some days, one that brought a spark to her eye and a flush to her cheeks. It was a passion embodied by the woman standing before her.

Kirsten loved stories; she lived stories. The ache to write encompassed her soul on a daily basis. Talking of books she had read, books she wanted to write, turned her average looks into pure beauty.

When Kirsten had noticed Amelie, she had felt that spark light once more. She grabbed a pen and the book and hurried over to the author. “Ms Bette? Amelie Bette?”

There had been hesitation, no doubt. Perhaps she was mistaken? But no, Amelie smiled a greeting. “Yes, I am! Hello! How are you?”

Kirsten nearly gushed. “Oh my god, it is you. I had so hoped. My name is Kirsten. It’s an honor to meet you, Ms Bette.”

“Please, call me Amelie. And you are … Kirsten, you said? I enjoy your name.”

Kirsten felt her chest flush before the blush reached her cheeks. “Thank you. I’m sorry to bother you, but do you mind?”

“Where did you find that?” The near elderly woman didn’t sound upset, and looked mildly curious, if anything. “I haven’t seen one in years.”

The younger woman shrugged one shoulder. “I’ve been carrying it around since high school. I must have been waiting for you. Do you mind?” she asked, thrusting out the book and pen.

“Of course. A first edition,” Amelie exclaimed with a raised eyebrow when she had opened the cover. “This must have put you back a pretty penny.”

“Not at all. It was my mother’s and then mine.”

“That’s wonderful!” Amelie smiled. “I shared a passion for reading with my mother also, and my sister Elisa. Where are you from, Kirsten?”

“A small town in Michigan,” Kirsten answered. “Called Shelbyville.”

Amelie cocked her head to the side. “Shelbyville? I’m from Baldwin. They’re a few hours apart, but not too.”

“Oh my god,” Kirsten whispered, “we’re lower Michigan neighbors!”

“Why yes we are. Are you flying home for a visit?”

Kirsten looked around, perhaps realizing that she was, indeed, in an airport. “New York, ma’am, Amelie, I mean. I’m going to New York. Manhattan, actually. I have an interview for an internship with an editor.”

Amelie nodded. “That’s fantastic. An unpaid internship?”

Kirsten sighed. “Unfotunately.”

“Do you write?”

“I do, every day.”

“That’s the right answer,” Amelie reached out and tugged at a hanging tag on Kirsten’s backpack. “Well traveled, I see.”

Kirsten looked at the tag also. She grinned. “Oh yeah. I like to see new places and try new things. I try to always be ready for adventure. You’re looking at the proof here.” She flicked the tags with her finger and listened to the familiar jingle.

“Do you have a job or place to stay lined up?”

“One of my high school classmates said I can use her couch for a couple of weeks. I’ll figure it out from there.”

“You really had a first edition of Tides of the Crimson Moon in your backpack,” Amelie mused. “You love adventure, you write every day.”

Kirsten grinned broadly. “Yeah, that about sums it up.”

“How would you like to have a penthouse to stay in, and a paid internship with me? I need an assistant.”

“What?” Kirsten’s mouth hung open.

“I’m flying to New York, as well, and I’m looking for an assistant. Someone to help me with a new writing project. I pay rather well.”

Kirsten gulped back words, so many words. “I’d pay you for this opportunity, if you’re serious.”

“Oh, I’m serious. Although, would you mind horribly if we didn’t stay in New York past the Spring? I’m looking at a new home in Baldwin. It will be a remodel, so I’ll need your help with that. You can be my editing assistant intern. Or some other catchy title we’ll come up with later.”

“Are you serious? Like really, truly serious? Swear on your life serious?”

Amelie laughed gaily. “Yes, Kirsten! Please, come live and work with me!”

 

 

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