Wednesday, 11 July 2018

BLOG TOUR: MY CHAPTER - FLOORED NOVEL: a collaborative novel

Hi Everyone, today I'm so excited to be part of a blog tour for a collaborative novel by so many inspiring UKYA authors.7 days, 7 bloggers we collide to create our own story. We each took a line from each story, and created our own creative work from it. Some have written stories, so have thought outside the box and done Pinterest boards, photography. It's really is something special.

Today I share of piece of my writing. These characters have nothing to do with the novel itself, it's totally my own fanfiction. I'm nervous because I've haven't written something like this before, I haven't created my story before and it's been such an amazing experience so thank you to all the bloggers who have been part of this journey. It's long so make sure you click 'Read More'. I really hope you enjoy it and I would love your opinion too.

Please make sure you start the story from the beginning with these blogs and continue the story afterwards. Each of them act as their own story like mine. But we have weaved little bits from each of our chapters together.



I wake up with a jolt when one of the packages slides off the pile on my lap and into the footwell.
“Eurgh” I mumble.
I look around, the world whizzing past me in a blur, I hear the engine purring underneath me and it always makes me feel content, relaxed and on this journey, it clearly sent me off to sleep – a deep one. In a dreamy daze, I remember the presents lying on the floor, I've been away with my best friend for over a week, and one of our weakest points is shopping, we say we are going to window shop but we never do. Nor do we listen to our bank accounts either.
I pick them up and as I sit up- whack - my elbow connects with the guy beside me.
“ARGH.”
“Oh my.” My hands instinctively want to comfort him, but I restrain myself when I remember that he is a complete stranger. I’m not sure what to do, so I let my hands just hang there. “I’m so sorry are you okay?”
The guy grunts - winded he replies “Yeah – I think so.”
He takes a deep breath. We both look up, I offer a strained smile.
“I’m really sorry - I’m such a klutz sometimes!”
And then I do the worst thing possible, I snort. I smack a hand over mouth, I’m not sure that I could possibly utter a word that won’t humiliate me even further. The guy looks over, I don’t think he knows how to react, he seems honestly dumbfounded. His gaze hasn’t left mine yet and then the corners of his mouth quiver into the start of a smile. I can’t help it, I let it out. I laugh! Not just a little bit, but a proper belly laugh, it turns the heads of the other passengers, they must think I’m crazy. But wait, I whip my head around and he’s joining in with me.
With tears in my eyes and my tummy in knots, I sheepishly look back over at him and he’s got this twinkle in his eye, his face lit with amusement.
“Hi.” he says.
“Hi.” I say shyly.
“I’m Justin, in case you’re wondering.”
“I’m Marina.”
“Nice to meet you Marina - elbows and all.” He winks at me. Is her flirting with me?
            “I’m really sorry, I don’t usually elbow people I just meet and then laugh in your face. I think we certainly livened up this carriage a bit, don’t you?” – I honestly have this giddy smile on my face. What’s is wrong with me, I’ve just met the guy.
            “Ha. Don’t worry, it’s certainly a first in my book and the most interesting way I’ve met a girl before.”
            This guy is flirting with me and I’m quite clearly flirting with him back. Then Justin gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me. It’s been a long time since a guy has made me blush. I mean what could possibly go wrong on this train journey. Nothing, exactly.

…or maybe something.

 Please continue the story by clicking read more... there is more to come for these two I promise. So I will leave you to Marina and Justin. Hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments at the bottom.

*
We’ve been travelling on the train for over an hour now and we haven’t stopped talking. When he’s talking I can’t help but take the opportunity to look at Justin properly. There’s something about him, the way he dresses, it's like a casual coolness with a touch of geek thrown in. He doesn't hide that fact that clearly he's a Star Wars fan with R2D2 schematics on his t-shirt and I'm not hiding the fact that I know that. Ha. Closer, I can't help but notice the way his smile-lines around his kind, deep blue eyes light up his face when he laughs, the slight redness of his cheeks like he’s permanently blushing, oh and that laugh, just like his smile, it’s contagious. The way the sun shines on his mousey brown hair that casually just flips into his eyes, and his strong yet defined hands just sleek it back into place. He had the kind of face that stops you in your tracks. Justin catches me glancing at him and I quickly look away – blushing. I can’t help but notice a smile on myself in the reflection of the train window. Looks like that goofy smile Justin has is infectious.

This is what I’ve deducted about Justin so far:
«  He’s thirty years old – he doesn’t look that old to my utter astonishment and giddiness.
«  He’s got a rather big but embarrassing family.
«  He has two Labradors, Ridley and Scott, –I’ve seen a picture on his iPhone screen, they are adorable. Basically, they need their own Instagram account. He also clearly has epic taste in film.
«  And he’s on his way to visit his sister in Blackpool.

“Blackpool?!” I inhaled a sharp breath and my body frozen on the spot.
“Yeah, why?" He tilts his head.
“Well um… I’m kind of heading there myself.”
“No way!” I can’t believe it myself either. I let this sink in. Am I going in way over my head? A lot can happen when two people are going to the same place. There hasn't been any mention of anything yet, all there’s been is just some harmless flirting. But what if something did happen? Surprising myself I think I would certainly be open to it.
I guess after my last boyfriend, I needed a time-out, a chance to focus on myself. Dating or even seeing any male specimen wasn’t even on the agenda. I wanted to first get my life back on track first and so far, I was doing pretty damn well… until now.

Two weeks ago…

           You’re probably thinking what’s the story then? Well, there isn’t much of one to tell in all fairness, he was a guy I knew all the way through college and he was my next-door neighbour, I couldn’t escape him. I crushed on him…hard for, I can’t even remember when – a long time lets just say. But there was something about him, I couldn’t put my finger on it but nonetheless he intrigued me. He finally noticed me one day when I was helping him with his coursework in the library, we kissed and I guess things started happening. But the bottom line is he started to change me into someone I clearly wasn’t, I felt uncomfortable, I hated that because he clearly didn’t like the person that I am and like any person you want someone to like you, for you. I’ll be honest I’m not maybe the prettiest: I'm your average 5'5 human girl, with dull brown wavy hair which you will never see as emergency straighteners are always on hand – so let's say unnaturally straight, and slightly blemished skin. I'm comfortable with that, with who I am, I'm nothing special but I'm happy just the way I am. I love books, I mean who doesn't. I love a romance movie that will make me cry, I love seeing the sights and I like to dabble in photography and love just experimenting with it much like life. I couldn’t let someone pull me away from what I know, from my friends and even my family. I had no choice but to dump him! I felt free-er but it gave me a chance to figure out my life and I just needed a bit of me-time first.

So, I went on a train and I saw my best friend that I haven’t seen in forever, we laughed, we cried and we did what best friends do listen to each other, support each other. She is the sister I never had, and here I am on the train back from best week I’ve had in a long time of much needed relaxation and well spent girl-time and I am now faced with another guy problem.

But this one is different, I feel different around him. Justin just makes me forget my terrible history about this said guy. It’s a refreshing change for once and I intend to embrace it.

Present day…

“Marina?”
“Hmm… yeah.” I switch my focus back on Justin. “Sorry I was miles away I guess. What did you say?”
“What are you doing in Blackpool?”
“Oh, I’m going to a tech conference. I thought I’d stop off before heading home to London.”
“Awesome, you're into technology then?”
“Yeah I guess I am. An app called Mental Block kind of saved me in a crucial time of my life no so long ago and when I heard the creator was at this conference and it was on my way home from my break I thought it was certainly an opportunity I couldn’t miss, so yeah. Anyways what about you, why are you in Blackpool?” 
“Wow. Well my sister is getting married and I'm her best man.” His eyes light up on the mention of his sister, they are clearly very close to each other. He’s a family man, I can tell that and I really like that in a person - as am I.
“Congratulations... to your sister I mean and to you I guess. 
"Yeah, I'm excited. She's been through a lot and she deserve every happiness. It's felt like a long time coming for her and I'm so pleased that day has finally arrived. Do you have any siblings?"
"No, I'm an only child – I guess my best friend is always been like a sister to me. My ex had quite a few siblings, so it was kind of overwhelming, so now I'm glad it's just me now."
I clear my throat. “Hey I’m going to get something from the food carriage, do you want anything?”
“Na don’t worry. I’ve got myself covered.” He smiles. “Thanks though.”
“Alright I’ll be back.” He stands allowing me to get out, I scoot across my seat and as I stand my arms brush against his, my legs knock against his, it's like my body is gravitating towards him like the moon around the earth and I'm unable to stop it. I stare at our brushing arms; my mouth is open like a goldfish. I slowly cast my eyes upward until I meet his penetrating gaze and I stare just that minute longer. The moment is broken when a horrendous sound emulates from my stomach. Grr. I feel my face start to heat up and I know that is my queue to leave.
"Hey Marina?"
"Yeah?"
"You never know maybe we might bump into each other in Blackpool."
"Maybe."  My mouth twitched, and I was pretty sure I was fighting a smile. I quickly turn around and head on my way to get some food.

I’m in my own world of my own when I’m dodging people and pets in the aisles of the train. There’s a queue when I arrive which is good as it gives me chance to have some breathing space from Justin. I feel like for the past 4 hours on this train I have been in this dream state, is this even real? I can’t help but be a little jittery and anxious at the same time. But I’m allowed to be right?! It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that someone might even be interested in me. It’s a new feeling for me, and it’s rather liberating.

When I'm walking back down something amazing happens, Justin lifts his head as if sensing me. The way his dimples crinkles and the warm glow his happiness gives sends shivers down me like his smile is a ray of sunshine.

*

“So, do you know what the ultimate snack for trains is?” I turn around to face Justin. I believe we are just under the hour mark left of our journey and I was getting a bit glum I guess. But when I saw Justin’s lips lift upward into a mischievous smile and his eyes gazing into mine. I smile and can’t help but feel a calmness wash over me. I lean forward intrigued.
            “No, I don’t but I’m curious.” My smile turns into and huge grin as he does a dramatic reveal of… Haribo Starmix. I can’t help but laugh - the advert suddenly playing in my head. “And why is that exactly?”
            “Well they are squishy, delicious, you can play out little scenes with them like the advert which I can tell your doing right now. It’s hard not too isn’t it? ‘I like the egg because it looks like a spaceship.’” His voice squeaks as if Justin-male has been replaced with Justin-boy. I can’t resist.
“’I like the heart because it tastes of cream and straw-berry.’”
“… And it’s love-ly!” I add.
My cheeks slightly heat up with what I just said. But hey, it’s a bit of fun and I’m enjoying myself. “So why Haribo? There’s has to be a story behind it.”
“Well, when I was little and we would go on holiday, I would get like really restless, I think my mum went a bit bonkers when I kept saying ‘Are we there yet?’ so as a joke, when it came to like an hour before we were to arrive she would bring out the bag of Haribo, as a sign to say not long now. I would play out scenes with them with my sister and then I would then separate the ones I didn’t like but my sister did. By the time we finished the bag we were nearly there, we would find ourselves leaping in our sits, giddy with excitement that our holiday was about to finally start. It’s lame I know but a Haribo bag is my emergency snack on any journey I take and especially now as I’m heading down to sister for her wedding.”
His cheeks slowly brighten like a beetroot and I all I want to do was just squeeze those cheeks, he really is so very sweet, just like these Haribo, mmm. Without saying a word, I leant that bit closer and snagged the bag of Haribo and started play out little scenes with him like his childhood story. I didn’t care that we were being childish, but it was the most fun I’ve had in ages and then we shared the packet of sugary goodness. Who was I to pass up free sweets from a guy and then we eat the last one. Justin and I searched each other’s eyes and we felt the all the light from this moment suddenly vanished and we knew that our journey on this train was coming to an end.
“We are now approaching our final destination, Blackpool. Please make sure you take all your personal belongings with you…”

*
As we arrive into Blackpool station, Justin and I have been pretty quiet, it’s almost as if we are afraid to say anything to each other when we have so much to say before we have to say goodbye. We exit the station, Justin and I turn to each other… almost smiling each other, but not quite reaching our eyes. Justin clears his throat.
“It’s been an interesting train journeys and one I don’t think I’ll be forgetting any time soon.”
“Me neither. Thanks for the Haribo too, they are certainly going to be my new favourite train snack.” I remember with great fondness. I feel completely lost and now I know we are in that awkward moment, our bodies, locked, neither of us wanting to face reality, that we have to move, that we have to leave.
“Well, I guess I’m going this way.”
“And I’m the opposite way.” I take a deep breath and I make a bold move. “Hey Justin, what if I take you up on your suggestion?”
Justin leans forward, “What suggestion is that?”
“Well maybe we could you know… bump into each other in Blackpool while we are here. It would be a shame not to explore.” My eyes light up with the promise of meeting again, eagerly anticipating his reply, it’s almost too much bear even though it’s only been 10 seconds.
“I would like that very much, Marina.” His glittering eyes locked with mine and my body sagged when I let out the biggest sigh of relief. I let out this nervous giggle and start to bite my lip before a huge grin stretches across my face.
He reaches out with his hand and gently brushes his fingers longingly down my cheek.
Okay…”
“Ok!.”

A day later….

I’m buzzing! My body is vibrating with excitement, I keep shaking my hands uncontrollably; it’s that feeling when you just feel so good that you just about to burst. It’s been a whirlwind, first meeting Justin on the train with our promise to see each other again. Then I’ve attended the technology conference that I couldn’t wait for and feeling pretty inspired by it. I was able to meet Larah, the girl behind the Mental Block app, and I I couldn’t honestly stop taking to her and she seemed genuinely interested. We could have chatted for ages. Larah mentioned she’s hanging around in Blackpool for few days, in the very hotel this conference was hosted in. So, I’m checking in too, I’ve haven’t got anything to lose after all it’s my life and it’s time to grab everything while you can, right?

When I exit the conference room, I rummage around grabbing my phone seeing if Justin texted, I admit I haven’t stopped checking it since the moment at the station, so when there is nothing I can’t help feel my shoulders drop slightly. As I walk gradually to the reception desk, I slowly look up and standing there is his fine form, is Justin. He turns around as if sensing me, my reaction is priceless, this one-hundred watt smile instantly appears on my face.
“Well hello stranger.”  His gaze dipped to hers.
“Hello yourself, what are you doing here?”
“Well believe it or not, the church where my sister is getting married is just around the corner, and I’ve booked my room but just enquiring on staying on a little longer.”
“Well what a coincidence, so am I.” I don’t tear my gaze away from him.
We both turn around to the lady at reception, “Hello and welcome Foxes Hotel, how may I help you?”
It looks like we are both checking in.

-The End-


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