Fashionably Late, Darling.
A fantasy adventure.
I was having one of those days.
The ones where you are marking history exams. In your pyjamas. And someone bursts into the room and kidnaps you.
You know, one of those days.
As the black bag descended over my head, I had one defining thought.
Be careful what you wish for.
Now don’t get me wrong. I hadn’t wished to be kidnapped. I’m not that kinky. But between the first and hundredth pile of useless paperwork, I was guilty of one clichéd notion.
I wish my life was more exciting.
Instead, I found my head pressed against glass as a thrum rumbled through my cheek. A gold shape shone on my arm. A straight line with a cross and a circle at either end. Four lines bisected the middle. This small mark had knocked me out. I still felt the mild sting.
The adult in my head told me it was impossible. Strange symbols did not have the power to render someone unconscious. Meanwhile my inner child jumped up and down yelling something about magic. At least until my inner adult locked her in her room.
I straightened in the wing-backed chair. The leather creaked in protest along with my skull. With a jerk of the floor, I was slammed back into the window on my left.
It was only then the sounds came to me. The shrieking of distant people, the thunder of feet, and below it all the tell-tale chuga-chug of a train moving at pace.
Snowy woods flashed by the window. Moonlight speared through their bare branches. Each pass sent discordant strobes of light throughout the carriage. Alarming, as there was no snow where I lived in Australia. My head swivelled to the cabin. With each beam of light my gritty eyes took in new detail. Mahogany wood panelling. A mirror lined bar. Decorated with overlapping geometric patterns. The cabin had no booths. Just posh Queen Anne wing backs set around crisp white covered coffee-tables.
Across from me, a teacup slipped in and out of the light. Hidden in shadow, I couldn’t see much of its drinker. Just a pinstriped thigh and calf, trimmed with a red-heeled Louboutin boot.
A man burst through the door at the far end, he stumbled down the long carriage towards us. Dressed in black, a white diamond apron tied about his waist. His hair fell in disarray around wide eyes.
“More tea?” The woman across from me asked, her voice eerily familiar. He shot her one disbelieving look before continuing his run out of the cabin.
“We’re all going to die!” he yelled to no one in particular.
She tisked at his departure, “So hard to find good service these days.”
The vista out the window changed. The trees fell away to reveal a shallow valley. A city clustered around its edges. All at once familiar and completely new. It looked like home but, wrong. A creature flew up beside us. Its green fins undulated along its long-scaled body. It wound like a ribbon through the air. Like a snake, it coiled, chasing the train.
“Is that a dragon?” I asked. I think I may have pointed like a dumbstruck toddler.
“Not a very expensive one,” said the woman opposite me, taking another sip of tea. My inner child kicked down the door in my head and screamed MAGIC MOTHERFUCKER!
Shocking really, I have no idea where she learnt that language.
My hands fumbled with the phone in my dressing gown pocket. Snapping a blurry photo before despairing. No reception, low battery, no GPS signal to speak of.
I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
“Love your glowing brick, darling,” said the woman. Her face still hidden by the darkness provided by her drawn curtain. “Going to be useless here. None of those towers in this universe you see.”
“This universe?” I asked. I felt dizzy again. I needed a drink. Or therapy. Ideally both.
“Do you have cheap flying dragons in your universe?”
“Then even a person of low intelligence must surmise that this is a different one.”
“I’ll have you know I am a highly respected teacher,” I said. Okay, even to me that was a stretch.
“Teacher? Good god why?” I rolled my eyes. It was always some version of, those who can’t do, teach. Nobody ever liked my answer.
“I like the students.” I wasn’t lying, the kids were the best part of the job. Especially the challenging ones. I liked a challenge.
“Teenagers? Not even teenagers like teenagers, darling.”
“How did you know I was a high school teacher?” I gripped the armrests as the train careened around another corner at speed.
With a sigh, she pulled out a crisp white paper.
“Aubrey Sutton, Secondary teacher, pitiful salary, even more pitiable accommodations. A sad little teacher at an equally sad little school. And you teach Hass? How much is there to learn about avocados?”
“H.A.S.S. Humanities and social sciences.” I corrected.
“Oh, so. It’s worse,” the woman muttered before continuing, “Two dead parents, no siblings to speak of. Friends either. Born and raised in Perth, blah, blah, blah, all lies, naturally.” She dropped the paper to the floor.
I froze. Of all the ways I imagined my past would catch up with me. Well, none of them involved dragons or trains.
“Of all the fake names why Aubrey? Though I suppose it is similar to our original name, but Aubrey!” She flicked her hands in the air as if she was shooing away something distasteful. “A charmed childhood. Not that the police thought so, rap sheet a mile long. Which explains the name change, but Aubrey? Not Aurora, Athena? Alice even!”
“How do you know that?” As far as I knew cops couldn’t afford Louboutin’s.
She put down her cup of tea and lent into the light. My heart stuttered in my chest. She had a sharp jaw and tanned skin. Her eyes were a glittering light brown. My eyes. My tanned skin. My sharp jaw. She had my face. The train did another jolt. My white-knuckled grip was the only thing that kept me in my chair.
“We had the same childhood, sweetheart. Mine was just a little more magical.” As she sat back, she pulled the curtain with her. She was everything the little girl inside me wanted the be. Her pinstriped suit cinched in at a small waist. Her skin was clear of blemishes and her makeup flawless. Where my hair was a rat’s nest of brown, her curls were movie worthy ringlets of mahogany. Her posture was better, her teeth whiter and her red painted smile that much wider.
“Well?” she asked, “meet a better version of yourself and suddenly you’re a mute?”
I wanted to punch her in the face.
I didn’t. I know, what a saint! But if I punched everyone I wanted to punch then my principal would have a black eye and I’d be out of a job.
With each blink her false lashes cast spider like shadows across her cheeks. The effect was mildly terrifying so naturally, I said.
“You look like you’re trying too hard.” The best defence is to cause offence, that what I always say.
She smiled with her blood red lips, and it took everything in me to hide the shiver that went up my spine. The teenage me was in my head now, reminding me of every insecurity I ever had. I’d worked past that girl. I was proud of what I did and how far I’d come. But sitting across from me was a near perfect version of myself. The world had turned cruel and given my anxiety a face and body. What a bitch.
“I’ve died. I’m dead. That’s what’s happened, I’ve died and gone to heaven.” I said slumping in my chair.
“Why would there be two of you in heaven?” asked the prettier me.
“You’re right, it's hell.”
She sat back with a smile. “There I am.”
“Where?” I asked, as I dragged two hands down my face.
“There. You hide me well, love, but I’m in there.”
“Then this is a dream, a bad dream. I'll close my eyes and wake up in my bed.”
“Yes, by all means, wish yourself back to that one room, mould filled monstrosity. So, you can put on your ugly clothes and go teach teens about avocados.”
How annoying is it when assholes are right?
“Humanities,” I said through gritted teeth. I scanned my red and pink stripy pyjamas and matching sequined robe. It felt decidedly less cute now than it had back in my living room.
“Yes, ugly clothes and humanities,” she quipped.
She wore a pinstriped vest on bare skin. It left her tanned arms bare to the cuffs at her wrists. Cut from a shirt, like bracelets. Gold glinted at her cufflinks. It dusted her knuckles with enough metal to knock out a prized fighter.
“Well, if I had enough money for gold I wouldn’t have to rely on sequins.” I seethed. My cold, bare feet flexed against the soft carpet.
“Never apologise for sparkling, darling, if this is going to work you must learn that.” But I wasn’t paying attention. The rings were thick and flat, a symbol embossed on each face. The one on her middle finger caught my eye. A straight line with a cross and circle at either end. If that put me to sleep, what did the others do?
“And your life is so much better?” I asked.
“Isn’t anything?” she laughed, “I galivant about the world making a difference and drinking tea. You really should try it.” In a blink, her face sobered, “aren’t you tired?”
“Pass,” I snapped. I was allowed to be tired of being me. She didn’t get to point it out.
Her lips twitched back up into a smile, “You haven’t met my Valet. Gorgeous. Loathes me. Such fun.”
“You’re crazy,” I said.
“You would know.” The train surged to a quicker pace. The sounds of distant screams got louder as the trees blurred together outside.
“Why am I here?” I asked, figured we had danced around enough.
“Well, I should think that was obvious,” she twirled her arm above her head in a grand sweep, “You’re here to stop the train.”
We stared at each other.
She was serious.
“I don’t know how to stop a bloody train!” The carriage swerved to the side. Nearly shaking me from my seat.
“Ah, so you are choosing Option C. Disappointing,” she shook her head and affected a weary sigh. I knew that move. I used it on my students all the time.
“What exactly are my other options?” I asked leaning forward. I braced my hands on my knees to stop them from going around her throat.
“Option B. You stop the train, and you follow these instructions.” She waved a small, folded paper in her hand before placing it in the Hermes bag at her feet. “-And go back to your little apartment. Where you can pretend to be fulfilled by your life.”
“And I’ve chosen?”
“Option C. We all die.” Brilliant. Juuuuuust brilliant. The sound of metal groaning reverberated through the floor and into my restless feet.
“So far not loving the options.” I said, “The last one?”
“Option A is by far the most fun. You’ll still have to stop the train though. And I won’t be much help I’m afraid. Test and all that.”
“No this is a dream,” I said shaking my head, “this is a dream, and as soon as I die ill wake up.”
A boy ran through the carriage then. He looked like most teenagers did. Like he had been stretched in an unfortunate way, arms too long, body warped and wiry. His big, scared eyes glanced over us as he raced down the aisle and out the back door. My eyes followed him, and I fought the urge to get up. Duty of care. Occupational hazard and mental illness. Made you feel responsible for the safety of every child within a mile radius.
“An interesting theory, love,” the other me whispered, “do you want to risk it?”
“How would I know how to stop a steam engine train?” I asked the other me, surging to my feet. I began to pace. “I was on a train once and I was too busy stopping children from killing each other to pay attention to the mechanics!”
She waved a hand. “Use one of your social sciences! But do be quick. My Valet is waiting for me at the station. And he gets awfully grumpy when I’m late.”
My legs stumbled over themselves as another family pushed past.
Trains. Steam trains. I knew the Steam Engine kick started the Industrial Revolution. A heating element, usually coal was used to heat steam that pushed pistons on the wheel. At the front.
I sprinted through the car and through the blast of frigid air between the carriages. If the engine room was compromised, it could cause a back-up of pressure and an explosion. The safest place would be the back of the train.
“Get to the back of the train!” I yelled as I ran through the carriage. The few remaining passengers bolted like hares. I opened the door to the next carriage. Smoke billowed overhead. This was it. I hefted the next door open as snow pulled the warmth from my bones. I entered a small room barely a metre long where I was confronted with a large metal door. Stumbling over something I saw a man strewn on the ground. Blood trickled from under his navy cap as a bronze badge caught my attention. Conductor.
“Sir?” I asked, lightly shaking his lapels. I tried the handle on the door. Locked.
“Sir?” I tried again. I slipped my hand against his neck and found a weak pulse. Pulling his arm and knee I pushed him into the recovery position on the floor. Thank you mandatory first aid training. -And tried to think of another plan. A box on the wall caught my eye.
In case of emergency emblazoned on its front. I wrenched open the lid and pulled out a rope, a first aid kit and what looked like a flare.
I pulled the coil of rope over my shoulder, shoved the first aid kit in the pocket of my robe and the flare under my arm. Hefting open the outside door I started to run back down the carriage.
Plan B, Plan B. It was like one of those word problems in maths. If Aubrey has one rope, one flare and no clue, how many minutes does she have left to live?
The forest was gone again, and the Dragon was back. It spiralled through the air at the side of the train. The large verdant spikes on its carriage length spine undulated with each twist and turn.
I made it back to my carriage as the train gave a lurch sending me sprawling across the floor at my double’s feet. She looked down at me, her spidery lashes shadowing her face, and took another sip of tea.
“Do try and save people with some style, we have a reputation to uphold!”
She held out her gilded hand and I clasped it in mine, wrenching my body upright, I sprinted to the next door.
Sparks fired from the side of the train as the metal wheels squealed against the track. Outside the sound was deafening. I pushed through the next door and came up against a wall of people. The boy stood covering a corner holding a pulley that read Emergency brake. Well, that explained the jolt and the sparks. Smart kid.
“Stupid boy!” someone yelled. Stupid? He was the only one brave enough to try anything!
The boy pressed himself against the wall as the mass of people advanced. His big blue eyes pulled wide as a man with a fat moustache and red face smacked his fist against his palm.
“OY!” I yelled in my loudest voice “BACK OFF!” The mob stopped in their tracks. Because one, I am a very intimidating person. Or two, they weren’t used to being yelled at by a woman in sparkly pyjamas brandishing a rope and a flare.
“Are you okay?” I asked. The kid nodded, he couldn’t have been more than thirteen.
“I’m going to stop the train!” I said to the crowd. “So, sit down and get out of my way!”
I sounded so confident I almost believed myself.
The crowd fell silent and eyed me warily.
“Do you really know how to stop the train?” asked the boy. But I was distracted by the dragon. It dipped up and down chasing the sparks from the track. Inside my inner child broke out her colours and scribbled together three unconnected things. Year Nine Sailing. Year Ten Cattle Range Camp. And my neighbour’s ditsy cat.
“Do you have a plan?” the boy pressed.
“I do” I said. In my head it was written in crayon with stick figures, but it was a plan. A very bad plan, the adult part of me thought. But, given she wasn’t contributing anything to the conversation it was full steam ahead. Pun intended.
“Do you know how to light this?” I asked tossing him the flare.
“How will this help?” the boy asked.
“Plan Part One,” I said, “hope a dragon is as dumb as a cat.”
With a rip, the flare sprung to life. The crowd finally stepped back. I squinted at the blinding flame as smoke began to fill the carriage. As I moved down the train people rushed to get out of my way. I walked slowly, waving the flare over my head.
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty!” I called. The dragon’s big yellow eyes fastened on the fire in my hand.
Holy crap. It was actually working. A laugh forced its way out of my chest as adrenaline bubbled like champgne in my blood. This was actually working!
I ran down the aisle. With a roar the dragon followed. I darted through the door and into the next carriage before it could catch up, running until my legs burned. Two carriages later I reached the end of the train.
The boy was right behind me. I handed him the flare and pulled the rope off my shoulder.
Plan Part Two. Year Nine Sailing.
Every year the year nines went sailing on the river. Activities included complaining, pushing friends in the water ‘accidentally’, and knot tying. We pushed out to the end of the train. The boy waved the flare in the air as I bent to the coupler at end of the platform. I tied a halter hitch to the bar tugging it tight against the metal of the train. Then started working on Plan Part Three.
Year Ten Cattle Range Camp. Specifically creating a lasso.
Yes, I was going to lasso a dragon. Best not to think about it.
I swung the rope in my hand as the dragon rounded on us. Now flowing behind the train, it snapped Its jaws at the flare in the boys shaking hand. I just needed to fasten onto one of the big spines on its back.
I was about to use up all the luck I was allotted for a whole year.
Three, two, one. I threw. As if in slow-motion the rope flung through the air. Too high. I’d thrown it too bloody high! At the last second, it caught on the spine. I pulled on the length of the rope and the lasso slipped snuggly into place.
“Throw the flare!” I yelled over the wind and snow. The boy reared back and launched the red fire over the beast’s head. It spun. Bending back on itself to follow the fire. The rope pulled taught, and the train jolted with an almighty screech.
I threw my arms up in the air.
“Oh yeah!” But the train jolted again, pulling the poor beast back.
Slow. But not stopped. Argh! I didn’t have a Part Four!
My inner child threw her crayons up in despair. My inner teenager rolled her eyes and my inner adult was, as usual, freaking useless.
Not enough. Think!
The last time I had been on a train was a school trip with the engineering department. I had spent the entire trip ensuring Tommy Torelli didn’t crash the bloody thing. Don’t hang from the curtains, Tommy! Stop ringing that bell, Tommy! Tommy-
“Tommy, don’t you dare uncouple that car!” I cried. I was a genius!
“What?” the kid beside me asked.
“When the train starts going in the other direction pull this rope! It will untie and the train will come to a slow stop!” I yelled to the boy. Before he could answer I was sprinting back through the carriages. I flung myself to the side of my original car, lifted the metal grate that people walked across, and bent down. The hitch looked like two hands gripping each other for a thumb war. A metal bar pinned the mechanism together where each index finger would be. I pulled at the metal with cold numbed fingers but couldn’t get a grip on the head of the pin. My hair whipped about me, stinging my face. The adult in my brain murmured something about leverage.
I yanked the first aid kit from my pocket and grabbed the gauze. Unrolling the bandage, I wrapped the middle around the head of the pin three times. Then wound the excess around each hand and pulled. The pin screeched as it came loose. Clattering down to the tracks and away. Again. I wrapped the gauze and pulled. Nothing. My arms burned. I took a deep breath. One big pull. Rewrapping my hands I heaved, leaning all my weight back, my shoulder joints wailed in pain. The pin popped loose.
With a jolt the carriage I was on sped away as the rest of the train was slowed by the Dragon.
I know what you’re thinking. But it took me a minute.
I was on the wrong side of the train.
I breathed out a heavy sigh.
I pulled my weary body back into the carriage. My other self sat primly in her chair.
“Tea?” she asked
“Got anything stronger?” I slumped into the chair opposite her. She fished a mini bottle of Gin from her bag and threw it to me. At least the woman had taste. I downed the entire thing as the train picked up speed.
A burly man burst into the room.
“Why are the carriages uncoupled?” He yelled, as another man ran into the carriage.
“Who are you?” the second man yelled. He reminded me of Whiley coyote. Like he had been too close to an explosion one too many times. They must have come from the engine room.
“Wait you didn’t do this?” I asked my double. I had just assumed. Test and all that.
“What a low opinion you have of me,” she tisked. “I got a tip-off from my foreseer, T1 And T2 here were being naughty!”
T1 and T2 rounded on us.
“We are making a statement for-“
She cut him off with a weary sigh, “no one cares, darling.”
“Someone will die when the train crashes through the station,” said T2. “You think you’ve saved everyone, you haven’t done shit.”
She stood slowly shaking her jacket out over the seat. With steady hands, she poured herself another cup of steaming tea.
“Tea?” She asked. So quick I nearly missed it, she flicked the boiling liquid in the mans face. T1 screamed and T2 reared back to avoid the spray. With clinking hands she removed four rings. Throwing them to me one at a time she said, “Sleep, Wake, Boom, Freeze.”
I caught each ring, slipping two of them on each hand. She picked up her teapot and slammed it against T1s head. He stumbled back to the open door. With a flick of her hair she planted her red heeled boot in the middle of his chest and jettisoned him off the train. Smiling she turned back to the room.
Danm. That was cool.
“It seems I need a new dance partner, Gentlemen?”
Two big hands squeezed my arms. I looked up. Ah, it appeared there was a T3. And T3 was a mountain.
Without thinking I dropped to the ground. Scrambling past him with very little grace and even less success. I was hauled up by my hair and tears stung the back of my eyes. Without breaking a sweat he lifted me off my feet and the roots of my hair screamed. His face was hard lines and a sick smirk. I flipped a ring around on my left hand and summoning year seven tennis I gave him the backhand of my life.
Two brown eyes rolled into the back of his head and he fell like a sack of bricks. I landed on top of him the air whooshing out of my lungs. All I could think was, Thank god that wasn’t boom.
I clambered over his body and raced to the train conductor. Still laying prone on the floor. I picked the ring that looked like the reverse of sleep and prayed to any god that would listen that I wasn’t about to blow this man's brains out.
I pressed the ring to his neck and he woke with a jolt.
“Train, crash, help,” I wheezed, pointing at the now open engine room door. The man got up on unsteady legs. Slinging his arm around my shoulder I pulled him into the sweltering heat. It wasn’t like any steam engine I’d seen. The metal was embedded with red crystals. Haphazard, like they had grown over the iron themselves. They glowed white hot as dials on the unit shrieked and red lights flashed.
Well, that looked like a good sign.
“It’s overheating.” He said, “the pressure is too much.”
I held my fists up to his face.
“Which one is cool?” I asked. With weary eyes, he pointed to my left pinky.
“Thank you,” I said. I turned to the engine and pressed my fist against the steaming metal. With a hiss, ice crawled across the engine. I counted. One Mississippi, two Mississippi. – Ten Mississippi. The crystals lost their glow, changing from red to blue. The train began to slow. Alarms shut off and the dials shuddered back to the green zones.
“I think I can get us to the station,” he said.
I let out a shaky sigh. I did it. Holy crap!
I made my way back to my double in a daze. A stupid smile plastered over my face. She was waiting for me. She leant over the bar, two unconscious men at her feet.
“Test passed?” I asked.
“Flying colours, love.”
I flung my arms around her shoulders.
“This is what you do, stop trains from crashing, save lives? Then drink tea?” Adrenalin pumped through my system as I pushed back. She held my shaking hands in hers.
“Camomile, to calm” she said, removing rings from her fingers she slipped them on mine.
“Tiring,” she said.
“Exciting,” I said at the same time. The train ambled on at a slower pace.
“I often wish my life was less exciting,” she said, “But I am so glad you like it.” She slipped the final gold band on my index finger. The metal felt heavy on my hands.
“Why are you putting your rings on my fingers?” I asked. Without answering she undid the cufflinks around her wrists. Hooking them around each of my wrists, respectively, and refastening them.
“Thanks, but they’re not really my style.”
“You will grow to love them,” she said, patting my hands.
It was only when she moved away from me that I saw the slump in her shoulders. She stood by the open door. Wind whipped the tendrils of her hair across her tired eyes. The tracks faded behind us. A steep cliff dropped off to one side, disappearing into the black night.
“You really should consider Option A,” she said, “you’d make a brilliant me.”
I smiled back and she jumped out of the train.
It took my brain a second to process.
She jumped out of the freaking train!
I raced to the door. Clinging to the frame I searched the side of the cliff below me. But she was nowhere to be seen.
Half an hour later I stepped off the train onto the crowded platform. The conductor argued with others in uniform at the station. Less than half the train had arrived. I imagine that took a lot of explaining. In a daze I turned in the other direction
I fumbled in the bag pulling out the folded paper. Instructions on how to get home.
“Mistress,” said a deep voice from behind me. I turned and danm.
My libido stretched itself out of hibernation. She fluttered her eyelashes in his direction and arched her back. He was possibly the most beautiful man I had ever met. “Why tell me to arrive at a time if you don’t ever intend on being there?” his diamond eyes pinned me with a hard stare.
“What?” he was talking to me.
Option B dropped soundlessly from my hands. Forgotten on the platform floor.
“You’re late mistress.” The Valet, it was her Valet. And he hated me.
I did like a challenge.
“Fashionably late, darling,” I said, “Shall we?”
About the Creator
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
*insert teenage squeeling* This was really good! After the first five sentences, I was hooked! Again, I really like the prose and the way you describe things. The style of the deep point of view was awesome! You really captured the characters personality and showed how feisty people who are insecure/have anxiety can really be at times. And there were so many great little phrases and one-liners, again. Which I'll list, again. Because I like lists. Some of my favorites, in no particular order: "My libido stretched itself out of hibernation." (that one explains itself, lol) "Meanwhile my inner child jumped up and down yelling something about magic. At least until my inner adult locked her in her room." (I relate to this. A lot) "The world had turned cruel and given my anxiety a face and body. What a bitch."(again, no explanation needed) "The sound of metal groaning reverberated through the floor and into my restless feet." and "The leather creaked in protest along with my skull." (these ones I really liked due to how you merged the setting and senses) "Now don’t get me wrong. I hadn’t wished to be kidnapped. I’m not that kinky." (no explanation needed) "Plan B, Plan B. It was like one of those word problems in maths. If Aubrey has one rope, one flare and no clue, how many minutes does she have left to live?" (there's a lot with this one that's hard to place. But it's the 'no clue' part I think that really calls out to me. I think I just like how it was written kind of like a riddle, not just a stale math question. And how it shows the way her teacher brain works) I could keep going, but I'll stop there, lol. And I really only have a few mild suggestions. The first is skimming through it again. There are a few typos and such that I caught, but they're not bad. (and all stories have them) The second is something I've seen in a few books with a similar tone, which is using parentheses for certain background thought-like commentaries the character makes about situations, if that makes sense. Personally, I try to avoid it in my writing, but only because it's just not the style I'm going for. On this topic is also potentially doing a kind of fourth-wall/talking to the reader kind of thing a little more? IDK. It's good as it is, but just thought I would say it. And the last one: the amount of setting detail and immersion was the perfect amount for me. Which sounds like a good thing, but I don't need much, so maybe there's room for more? I do think it would be fun to see how she would describe things and what would be a different 'normal' in this other world. I can't wait to read your next one!
Love your story