Together in Time by Alex Westmore
- Time Travel Romance
- 95,000 Words
First Jessie found out she had a soul, then she found out that she had a soul mate… then she embarked on the journey of a lifetime.
Jessie’s life leaves a lot to be desired. As a teen lesbian whose parents refuse to love her for who she really is, Jessie spends a lot of time waiting for time to pass her by. So imagine her surprise when she finds out that someone loves her so much that she journeyed more than a thousand years into the future to find her.
This stranger from the past says that her soul mate is in trouble and that she needs Jessie to travel back in time to save her so that the two can meet again in the future and continue their timeless love story. It’s a lot to take in, but the twenty-first century holds nothing worth staying for, so Jessie eagerly agrees.
Soon she discovers that not only is the soul mate she has yet to meet in trouble but also an entire civilization. Can Jessie work together with her past self to help preserve a culture that time has since forgotten? And can she find a life filled with both love and meaning in the process?
Find out in this historical adventure that will have you believing in soul mates and the power of love in its purest form.
Read an Excerpt
Cate and Maeve ran through the underbrush beneath the great oaks, barely keeping ahead of the growling beast of a Roman soldier who had been hunting them. Cate could tell by the sounds of his crashing and cursing that he was slowing down. They always slowed down.
The Roman soldiers knew only how to destroy the Druids’ precious groves, not how to manage their way through them. Killing and destroying had always been the Roman way–the antithesis of how the Druids lived.
Even as the forest parted to help them escape death at the end of the Roman’s sword, Cate knew there was only one way to insure their safety.
“Keep running!” She yelled to Maeve, who ran only a few feet behind her.
Cate slowed and whirled around. “You must!”
“Catie,” Maeve panted. “My legs…no longer…respond to my will. You must…go on… without me.”
Cate shook her head. That was the most ludicrous idea she had ever heard.
Killing was against their belief; dying at the hands of the barbaric soldiers did not sit well on Cate’s young shoulders, either, but then, neither did dying at the hands of these barbarians.
Cate withdrew the small dagger her brother had given to her before he died.
“Do not look, then, Maeve.” When the soldier was almost directly in front of them, a mist arose, and Cate felt Maeve yank at her arm.
“Come,” Maeve ordered, and pulled Cate through the mist. “He can no longer see us.”
Cate hesitated a moment before slipping the dagger back into her belt. “We allow him to live so he can return to kill the others?”
Maeve shook her head. “We allow him to live until he missteps into a bog and allow the Goddess to take care of him.” Even as Maeve spoke, the soldier roared out for someone to help him. “Come. It may not yet be too late.”
* * *
When Jessie woke up from her dream of being chased, the family van was turning right on Morning Glory Drive. The name suited the street, as morning glories dotted the hills in front of the old Victorian houses. Jessie cracked a wary eye open, realizing that she had slept through most of the ten-hour drive from her beloved San Francisco to the sticks of the Oregon Coast.
“Sleepyhead’s finally awake!” announced ten-year-old Daniel. His intense staring had probably awoken her in the first place.
“We’re in New Haven, Jess! But I blinked and we almost missed it.” Daniel laughed.
“New Haven. What a stupid name.”
“If you hate the name, wait till you see the town.” Daniel pressed his nose up against the window, his breath clouding it.
Sitting up, Jessie stared at the rugged Oregon coastline and sighed loudly. “That bad?”
Daniel shook his head. “That small. When Dad said small, I think he meant microscopic.”
Jessie rolled her window down and smelled the salt air that blew her long red hair around her face. It didn’t even smell like the ocean air in San Francisco.
Jessie rolled her window up and sighed even louder. How on earth her parents expected her to adjust to Oregon after living her entire seventeen years in the lap of California luxury was so far beyond her, she couldn’t even wrap a fraction of her mind around it. It was like having someone tell you that someday, you’d enjoy celery every bit as much as you did hot fudge sundaes.
“Look, hon, Jessie’s awake.”
Jessie smirked at her mother, whose only response was a grin that bordered on mocking.
“Jess, you missed some of the most beautiful scenery. Once you get past Redding and into the state of Oregon, it’s so green and lush. There are all sorts of greens here.”
Jessie glared at the back of her mother’s head and wondered if she practiced that sing-songy voice while watching too many 1950s sitcoms. She fancied herself a resurrected June Cleaver…whoever that was.
“The Oregon coast isn’t anything like California’s,” Daniel added, as if he were reading from a travel magazine. He was precocious like that.
Everyone loved Daniel. Always the smart kid, the Curious George kid, the kid who could do no wrong. He was the prince, and no matter how mean she may have been to him, he seldom ever acted mean back to her. There had to be something wrong with him. “It’s rocky and jagged and stuff.”
As the black SUV climbed higher on Morning Glory, Jessie sank down in her seat. The Oregon coast could have been littered with gold and it would never compare to Baker’s Beach, Santa Cruz, or Monterey. How could it?
This place felt cold and dreary—gray even in the middle of June. They’d left eighty-five degree weather and entered this fog bank. She had begged and begged her parents to put off their insane notion of restoring an old Victorian into a bed and breakfast until after her senior year. How hard would that have been?
“Just one year,” Jessie’d whined three months ago. “Next year’s my senior year! Everything happens in your senior year.”
Jessie’s mother, Reena, leaned across the table and took Jessie’s hands. “Honey, it’s been such a rough year for you…for all of us, really. Your father and I aren’t making this decision on a whim. We believe this is the best thing we could do for our family.”
“You could have waited.”
“We didn’t want to wait,” Rick interjected. “You’re still hanging around the same kids who were busted with you for smoking weed, your grade point average is barely hovering around a two-point. You don’t do anything except sit around in that room of yours and listen to that godawful noise you call music.”
Yes, it had been a really hard year. Busted behind the bleachers smoking pot, Jessie had endured a drug treatment program, community service, and restriction that limited her TV-viewing time, her phone time, and her after-school time.
She hadn’t been put on a short leash—she’d been reduced to a choke chain. Her friends weren’t allowed to come over, she couldn’t go anywhere with any of the kids caught with her, and her weekends consisted of renting videos and eating pizza. She might as well have been in jail.
Her grades suffered because she refused to spend her free time studying. She did not want to be one of them. They were the dorks and weirdos who got good grades and sat around talking about important things like politics and education.
She may have been on restriction, but she refused to become boring. She had decided that she would bide her time for a year in Oregon before returning home in time to graduate with her friends in California.
It felt so far away, and Oregon felt so foreign with its hippies and loggers and back woods mentality. They didn’t even pump their own gas! How lame was that?
It would be a very long year, but Jessie knew she could make it. She wanted the life she’d left, and she wasn’t about to miss out on it because of some stupid pipe dream her parents insisted on carrying out. No, she would be patient and make her escape at the best possible moment.
A few minutes later, the SUV pulled into the driveway of a lavender four-story Victorian house with white trim. From the outside, it didn’t appear to need the kind of work her parents talked about, but then, Jessie had learned that nothing was ever as it seemed. Her parents rarely told the whole truth about anything.
“Here’s our own painted lady, kids!” Rick announced, taking his wife’s hand. “Isn’t she a beaut?”
Daniel was already out the door, excited about scouring the grounds, but it took Jessie everything in her not to ruin her father’s moment. Gazing up at the monstrosity before her, Jessie suddenly felt as though she had fallen through the Looking Glass.
“I know it doesn’t look like a lot of work yet, but that’s because the former owners dropped some pretty pennies on her exterior. It’s the inside that needs work.”
“The operative word, Dad, is former. Ever wonder why someone would drop so many pretty pennies on her and then give it all up?”
Rick turned and looked stolidly at his daughter. “The wife of the former owner died suddenly, leaving him with two young kids to raise. I think he moved so he could be closer to his family.”
Jessie rolled her eyes. Her father had always been such a sucker for heart-wrenching stories. More than likely, the former owner had run out of dough and decided to cut his losses and get the hell out of Dodge.
“She’s prettier than I remember,” Reena said wistfully. “Oh look, hon, the wisteria is in bloom.” Opening their car doors, Rick and Reena stood still for a moment before joining Daniel on the stairs of the centuries-old porch, leaving Jessie in her seat.
“I’m in a nightmare,” Jessie muttered, folding her arms across her chest. Hundreds of miles from home, perched on a cliff, facing a mountain of manual labor, in a town whose main street was more like a dirt road to nowhere. God, if only she hadn’t been busted with that pot. Her parents didn’t trust her anymore, and now they were hell-bent on saving her from herself.
Well, if she was being honest with herself, it wasn’t just the pot. It was also the falling asleep in class, the drastic drop in her grades, and the desire to do nothing more than lie on her bed and listen to music. Those were the red flags that sent her parents scurrying off looking for something they could do as a family. She never imagined this lavender beast would be their solution.
“How typically boring,” Jessie said, shaking her head. “Look at them up there. You’d think they were at Disneyland.”
“Come on, Jess! You just gotta see the view of the Pacific.” Daniel tugged open Jessie’s door and pulled on her sleeve. “You can be depressed later. Right now, get out and look at the view. It’s really cool.”
Grudgingly, Jessie got out and walked over to the edge of the lawn. Sure enough, there was a view of the mighty Pacific, in all of its gray glory. Even the beauty of her beloved ocean was muted in this dreary place.
“Well?” Daniel asked, looking up at her. What was it about little boys that endowed them with such a spirit of adventure? Did they ever see things as they truly were?
Shrugging, Jessie plodded toward the house. “Save it, sport. I’m never going to like it here.” She trudged up the creaking stairs and groaned when she saw her parents sitting on—what else—a porch swing. “I think I’ve fallen into a giant cliché.”
“Come on, Jess, give it a chance. There must be something you can find to like about her.”
Jessie sighed. “What is it about calling ships and cars and now, apparently, old decrepit buildings, she? Can we enter the twenty-first century, please, and refrain from genderizing this piece of crap?”
Rick shook his head. “It’s a compliment, honey, to call a beautiful thing a she.”
“For crying out loud,” Reena said, “Enough already. I would like to enjoy our first few moments here in peace. Smell the wisteria? This place feels like a piece of heaven. Surely, even in your bitter state, you can feel some of that, Jess.”
Jessie sat at the top of the stairs, wanting to bawl. Not cry, not sob, but bawl so big, so loud, so hard, she might even puke. She missed her friends, her neighborhood, even her stupid school. Everything she’d left behind made her heart ache. Like it here? Never.
“Why don’t you go and pick out a bedroom?” Rick offered. “The third floor is the owner’s floor and there are four bedrooms to choose from.”
“Just don’t pick the one with the fireplace. That’s the master bedroom,” added Reena.
Slowly getting up, Jessie was all too happy to leave them to their bliss. They had always been like this, too. When other kids got to have two bedrooms and two parents vying and buying their way into their kids’ hearts, Jessie had been cursed with two parents who adored each other and delighted in showing it as often as they could.
“At least we don’t have any neighbors around to watch you two go ga-ga over each other. I suppose that could be a bonus.” With that, Jessie walked into the old Victorian.
The first floor, it seemed, had just been upgraded, and if there was any work to do, it was nothing more than cosmetic. To her left was a grand staircase with dark cherry banisters and a dusty rose stair runner that dripped down the polished staircase like melting pink taffy. The fireplace in the sitting room was gothic and had a personality like a friendly gargoyle. Dark wood bookshelves flanked it, filled with dusty, leather-bound novels. The hardwood floors were in perfect condition, and the walls were a warm tan color. Jessie could already see her parents curled up on the couch in front of the fire in the winter like two bookends reading their books and stroking each other’s bare feet.
Moving down the hall on her right, Jessie peered into every room, marveling at how perfect everything was, right down to the paintings hanging on the walls. All of the rooms were already furnished with antiques and cozy bed linens, and Jessie found herself fighting the warmth coming from these rooms.
“I. Am. Not. Going. To. Like. It. Here,” she grumbled, trudging upstairs. Deciding she wasn’t even going to give this room choice any thought, she took the bedroom furthest from the master bedroom, which looked like something out of a designer magazine.
Her room had a corner window that looked out onto the cliffs and over the ocean. The sounds from the minuscule Main Street, some three hundred yards down at the bottom of the hill, could barely be heard through a second window perched above the stairs. The Victorian did not sit on the cliffs overlooking the beaches, but instead, sat tucked in a cubby of the mountain on the other side of Main Street, high enough to look over some of the stores and inns on the opposite side of the street. It sure as hell wasn’t Market Street or Van Ness Avenue, and she half expected to see a stagecoach rolling down Main Street.
“This is it,” Jessie said, flopping on her bed.
“This is what?” Daniel asked, standing in her doorway.
“My jail cell for the next ten months, that’s what.”
Daniel walked over to her window and looked out. “It’s a cool house, Jess. You could try giving it a chance.”
Jessie put her hands behind her head and closed her eyes. She liked daydreaming about which of her acceptable friends she would invite up for a week during the summer. Surely they could find something to do in this little backwater town. Shoplift? Graffiti? Steal a horse and ride naked through the streets?
Jessie chuckled at the thought. That would sure show them, wouldn’t it? After all, she was a city girl, not some hippie-lumberjack-freak. She knew the minute she went to town that she would feel like an outcast––like maybe a girl from the future.
“The first floor is finished, but did you see the second floor? Sheesh. Lotsa work there, that’s for sure.”
Jessie opened her eyes and focused on Daniel. “Which room did you pick?”
“The blue one. It’s the only one that’s not so…”
Daniel grinned. “Yeah. My room’s over the garden. It’s cool. There are really big flowers down there. Come on, Jess, come exploring with me.”
Rising up on one elbow, Jessie inhaled slowly. “Tell you what. You explore and report any other cool things back to me. If something looks interesting, we’ll go back and you can share it with me, okay?”
“Okay! But don’t bum Mom and Dad out. We all know you don’t want to be here, but that doesn’t mean you have to ruin it for the rest of us, okay?”
Jessie just stared at him until he turned to go. He’d always been a very bright little boy, but the older he got, the more perceptive he became. His third grade achievement scores were off the charts, but the California public schools had done little to foster his inherent brilliance. Well, she hoped that coming to Oregon would be good for Daniel, but she did not believe it held anything for her.
Looking around her room, Jessie sighed. It was a nice room, really, done in dark woods polished like a gym floor. Had she been on vacation, she might even like it. The intricate carvings on the four-poster bed matched the legs of the desk sitting under the window. Jessie could see herself journaling at that desk as she gazed out the window and dreamt California dreams. An enormous armoire loomed in the corner, probably an antique. The lavender flower wallpaper was a perfect match for the lavender carpet that protruded about three feet from under the bed. It felt like the room of a good girl from Little House on the Prairie but that wasn’t her. That would never be her.
Oh, she’d tried to be good, but good did not fill that gaping void in her soul; a void she tried filling with sex (too one-sided and unfulfilling), drugs (too temporary), and stealing (too risky and unethical).
Nothing could warm that cold spot she felt within her deepest recesses. She had no idea where it came from or how to get rid of it, but it was there, discoloring her world and adding to the immensity of feeling all the therapy in the world couldn’t remedy.
“Jessie seems bitter about life,” one therapist told her parents after their initial meeting. Jessie could only look at her mother and shake her head. She’d never been bitter in her life. Lost, yes. Confused, yes. Even angry, yes, but bitter? She wasn’t bitter. Just empty. A piece of her was missing and she didn’t quite know where to begin looking.
So, here she was, too far from her comfort zone with only three months between her and a new school filled with kids who probably still wore leg warmers and worshipped Duran Duran. Of course, even those kids probably still accessed their cells, iPods, and Facebook. Those had been the first to go when she’d been busted. She would have preferred it if her parents had cut off her left arm instead. A teenager without a cell phone might as well not have a heart, either. It was her lifeline and when they took it from her, she was instantly out of the loop. Jason, the boy she so wanted to hit on just before she left, appeared to have lost interest, and her friends just stopped including her in their triangulations.
In effect, she’d become an outcast, and with no technology to keep her informed, she suddenly found herself on the outside looking in.
Sighing loudly, Jessie stared out the window and watched Daniel trek through the flower garden below. Oh, if only she possessed the adventurous spirit of a ten-year-old boy, maybe this whole thing wouldn’t seem like such a nightmare.
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