Notes: An alternate universe of the Achlivan Cycle. If you want to know more about these characters, you can read the book here
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Wicken, Timber, Lara, and myself all surrendered peacefully to these…attackers at the mall. All of us congregated by the entrance as instructed, and we waited…and waited…until some guy named Paul separated us. He pointed at us like cattled and commanded us to go when called—or else. Wicken was called away with the first group of people. Mostly young adults around his age. I’m not sure what that meant. Timber and I were the only grown-ups in our group. The rest were all kids.
Timber, Lara, and I were the last to leave. We teleported to a space ship. Yeah, a space ship, teleportation, wild stuff. Then we were put in an apartment, and I think that puts us up to pace.
I’m pretty sure I started hyperventilating, or maybe I fainted. One minute I was standing, looking in our swanky new pad, and the next I’m slumped against Timber’s chest.
“Here,” he said, helping me into a dining room chair. “I’ll get you some water.”
“Thanks,” I managed.
Paul seemed to nod with approval. “Yes, you two will get along well.”
“That’s great and all, but that matters why?” I asked.
Timber brought me the glass of water just as Paul dropped the next bombshell on us – we were expected to act as a couple. Live together. All the other things that come with dating. Not right away, but eventually – or else. Some screwed up form of an alien dating service. Flattered they put me with Timber Hudson, teen heart throb, and actor extraordinaire, but…no. We don’t know each other.
Timber pointed that out.
“Get to know one another and we can reevaluate the situation,” Paul said. “You’re not being forced to do anything. Only highly encouraged.”
“I have a girlfriend,” Timber said.
Paul sighed. “This is temporary. We’ll find you a suitable arrangement that makes everyone happy. For now, don’t cause a fuss or the Achlivans will send you to go live with the trouble makers.”
Yeah, that probably wasn’t a good idea.
“What about Wicken?” I asked. “Is he here?”
“The other young man you were with at the mall?” Paul asked. I nodded. He smiled. “He’s been placed on another ship. You will reunite on Sanctuary.”
“Huh?” I asked.
“I’ll explain later.”
Paul glanced between Timber and I. “For now, just be reassured you are safe and this is a good thing.”
A few more minor details were given. When he was coming back to show us around our new habitat, etc. Once he was out the door, I pinched myself. Yeah, this was all real.
“I need food,” Timber said.
I laughed. “Funny, I was just thinking that.”
“Really?” His dreamy one blue and one green eyes were wide.
“What do you eat?”
I raised an eyebrow. “What don’t I eat?”
“Guess I’ll let the kitchen tell me.” He moved into the next room, and I watched him explore the cupboards and refrigerator for a little while. He seemed quite comfortable in there, and there were a lot of choices for him to pick from.
While he cooked, I took the time to calm down. I had to turn my brain on and stop oogling over him. I needed to think.
The three of us ate some pasta dish that had roasted tomatoes and asparagus and it was amazing. I ate two bowls. Lara eventually went to bed, seemingly unfazed by the whole situation which was weird since she couldn’t be older than six. Her parents didn’t sound like good people though from what little she told us. She was probably better off.
“We have to pretend we’re a couple.” I groaned.
He scoffed. “Gee, thanks.”
“You’re not the problem,” I mumbled. My cheeks flushed with heat. How could Timber be the problem? He was perfection in human form.
“It’s just acting,” he said. “Won’t be hard to do.”
I laughed. “Please…” It’d be easy for me to be attracted to Timber – I already was. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a straight female on the planet who wasn’t attracted to him. Him attracted to me? Whole other story. I was a normal, slightly chubby, eighteen-year-old girl. Not a super model like all of his highly publicized relationships. Comparatively, I was gross.
“I’m not joking.” He moved closer. “From the little I know of you, I can tell you’re a catch. Pretty and smart.”
He thinks I’m pretty? He thinks I’m pretty! Ugh, I’m pathetic. Of course that’s all I can think about. Timber. Hudson. Thinks. I’m. Pretty.
Then he kissed my cheek ever so gently.
“See? Easy.” He winked and left the dining room.