Chapter 1

“Good morning Underdark! This is your wake up call. Thank you for waking up, to UDRB, for your very best in RnB. Here is the number one song in the nation right now.” The DJ starts, and the room is brought to life with the rhythmic sounds of R&B – Jazz fusion of a song about first loves.
This song always gets me in a good mood. This is a great way to wake up—time to check my phone. I roll over and reach my phone, hitting the unlock button. Ugh, a lot of missed emails. Let’s skip all of these invoices and get to something else. Ah, here is one about my order.
“Good morning Lisa Phillips, we are writing to you to inform you that your order of fleur de Souci is on backorder,” It reads. Queen’s breath. Well, ruin my mood why don’t you. I need those flowers for some of my most popular potions.
I set my phone down and get out of the bed. If I’m going to be any more disappointed, I should really have coffee in me first. I hear a ding. I check my nightstand to see who’s texting me. When I look over at the notification, my heart stops.
“Good morning, Bunny.” The text reads from Andre, my ex-crush. I hit the lock screen and try to pretend I don’t see it. I will take all the backorder emails and invoices before I text him back. I dance to the radio and do a bit of a sing-along to shake this feeling. There is no need. Better motivation comes in fur.
Mikey comes in the doorway, tongue out and tail wagging. He gives me a good morning bark and his little shuffle of – come on Mom, time for my walk.
“Good morning to you too, Mikey,” I walk over and pet him a little. “Give Mommy a second.”
I get a bark, and he runs off–more than likely to his bowl. That only give me a few seconds to be out there with his leash. Mikey, much like his mom, likes to get moving in the morning. I dance over to my closet, happy that most of the residents in the Underdark only have limited dark vision. With the big window on the far side of the room, they would be able to see right into me dancing like a crazy person.
While the next song is starting up, I find a shirt and pajama shorts to wear. My wardrobe needs some adjusting. I literally have nothing in here that isn’t flowery. I mean, I guess I like what I like. After slipping on my choice, checking myself in the mirror and make sure nothing fits too tight. Not that I didn’t like my curves. Just wanted to make it’s decent. I toss off my bonnet and let my curly white hair cascade over my charcoal skin and slip into my… ugh flowery slip-on sneakers.
Old me has some explaining to do. I know that my business is mainly done with flowers and herbs, but maybe I need to change it up a little bit.
I leave my room and head left to get to the kitchen. I look out the window above the sink. Past my neighbors’ back yard, I can see the bioluminescent foliage shining clearly. I grab my coffee from under the coffee pot and relish in its rich dark Kelza scents.
Adding a whole lot of creamer and a little sugar, I stir my coffee. If Andre were here… I will keep that man from my mind. Once the coffee is the right color of tan and scent of sweetness, I find the lid in the drying rack and lock it in place. I move around my dining room table and grab Mikey’s leash off the far wall.
He is such a good boy, waiting patiently for me to finish putting together my caffeine fix. Well, I think he is patiently waiting. I really need some nature friends who can commune with animals and find out what he’s really thinking.
Bark!
“Okay, dear, here I come,” I respond–no need for a translation on that one. Mikey comes to my hand to make it easier to latch his hook, and off we go.
The morning air greets us with its mugginess. I swipe at a little at the sweat that wants to start and walk with Mikey. It still amazes me how beautiful the morning looks in the Underdark. Since opening my shop, I’ve been brought into the fold of those who enjoy its pure glow. Crafted by the vegetation and animals with the same hue it is a sight to behold.
The morning lights that I used to wake up to are pleasant, but I would like to see a sunrise like the other races talk about. I’m told it’s beautiful, but I find it hard to believe that it could be more beautiful than this. How could a clash of red, orange, and yellows in a ball beat the streaks of lights that sends a cascade of blues, purples, and violets speckled with lights of all kinds from the wildlife? I guess it will just have to be put on the bucket list.
Mikey and I take our stroll through the neighborhood, and it’s the same crowd every time. My fellow small business owners and fur parents out in about living in our cozy little homes. It’s nice to be in an area with most of us peace-loving Dark Elves. Closer to the palace is crazy with all the Drow running around.
I shake my head and try not to think about the warrior caste of our nation and how our lives are so different. Still, when I see them parade around the city, so often it’s hard not to think about it. I wish downtown wasn’t such a hot spot for them, but even the battle-hungry like to shop too. Especially when they are so loaded.
My phone begs for my attention with a vibration and a song. Looking up, I see that we are near the park. I release Mikey and let him do his running around. I grab my phone from my pocket and read the name of who wants my attention. I read it a second time as I don’t know what to do.
Andre is calling me. What do I do? I want to talk to my friend, but I don’t want to hear about him getting over his breakup with a woman I told him not to get engaged to. My body purrs to say I should.
I find a seat on one of the benches and gaze into those eyes I’ve known for most of my life. Though it’s a picture of him from before he went off to war, it feels as if he’s still looking into my soul. That smile of his always half-cocked, never showing teeth. He hates that smile, but it sends heat to my body whenever I look at it. His body is snuggly wrapped in his leather battle armor while he holds me just as tight.
Why did I keep this as his contact picture? The phone gets the message and sends his call to missed and brings back up my wallpaper. A selfie I took last week. I would notice now that my smile is not as bright when I’m not next to him. I lock the phone and put it back in the little pocket that I have.
I want to be there for him like the friend I have always been, but I don’t want to get involved because I tried to warn him ahead of time.
Never mind that I still hold a flame for him, but that part of me is tucked away in the back. We’ve always been best friends. Nothing more, no matter how much I tried to show him I wanted more. It has been like that for years, and yet he remains the gentleman he is.
There is a ding from my phone, and once again, I free it from its cozy slot.
“Bunny, are you awake?” it reads. Why can’t he call me Lisa like everyone else? Because I would yell at him if he did, I huff. He’s been calling me that ever since I would follow him around at five with my stuffed bunny.
I dismiss the notification and look at the wallpaper on my phone. I flip on my camera and see if I can recreate another photo like that one. I run my fingers through my short white curls. Good luck with that. I just woke up not too long ago. My full lips try to mimic the smile and match that same shine from my red eyes–no such luck. I take the picture anyway. I’ll post it later. Who am I kidding? I’ll just delete it like the millions of others.
Shortly after the photo snaps, my phone shakes again to let me know that I’m still wanted. Queen’s breath, what do you want? Oh, it’s a notification from my social media. By the Queen! Even it’s out to get me. Clearly, this was a setup. I follow it to the page to see that my mother has posted a picture of Andre and me on prom. Though we had different dates, we probably took more photos with each other than the people we went with.
I was so happy that day, a little thinner too. I look down to see how much more my curves have been defined since then. I am satisfied with the results. I look back at the picture and remember how good it felt to be in his arms. Him pulling me in and my arms around him, though only for the seconds it took for the flash of the camera, was still enough to leave a lasting feeling.
His scent still lingered in my mind as we danced and joked much of that night too. I’m sure our dates were more than a little jealous when our first and last dance were together. It also may have been because I participated in the drinking a little more than I should, and my actions were slightly more flirty than they should have been.
Enough of memory lane. It is not a place I have time to drive down at the moment. Locking the phone, I look up for Mikey. I whistle for him and prep the leash. Mikey runs to me and happily allows me to latch him again, and we do the walk back home.
I wish I could get Andre out of my head. I haven’t loved anyone like I loved him. Even my college boyfriend was more or less a placeholder, so I didn’t look like the dorky alchemist girl that couldn’t get a boyfriend.
Well, life goes on, and I am walking into the back door of my house. I unlatch Mikey, toss my cup in the not yet ready to start dishwasher, and make my way to the shower. When I’m having a bad morning, that always seems to cheer me up. Especially when I know precisely which potion to use.
My favorite perk about running my own Alchemy shop is trying all the new fragrances before they hit the self. I wonder if typical Alchemist do this? Probably not. Those drones got into the business for the cash and sit back and play it safe with textbook Alchemy. They may make more than me, but I’m sure they are not happier than I am.
Of course, their competition was medicine, where mine was the mega-corporations that mass-produced air sprays and the likes. For them, that’s an easy battle to win. Cure or healing in a bottle or a trip to the doctor. Doesn’t take much to see who wins that fight.
Me on the other hand, it was a little more complicated. Clean, renewable aesthetics that was a little more expensive or cheap and harmful to the environment? Most people went with the more affordable option. Much harder to make the argument about the environment when there is an entire sect of Elves devoted to making sure the planet doesn’t die.
Science wasn’t my enemy in any case. I think on my cell and computer and think how bad it would be without it, like trying to use shaman magic to communicate. I love some new technology. Most of the Underdark does too, which makes things worse.
I have some loyal customers and middle-class people that prefer magic. So I was doing okay for now.
I should save my worries for another time. In my room, I find something that will make me feel better. I haven’t worn a dress in a while. Maybe I should wear this yellow strapless dress with the green vine patterns going down the side. When I wore it the first time, I got a lot of compliments. Why not? Flowers seem to be my thing?
After grabbing my bath essentials, I make my way to the bathroom. I nab my favorite shower potion and turn on the shower. Once the water starts, I pour in the tonic, and it puffs into its cloud of multicolored smoke. Filling the entire bathroom with the smell of berry fusion.
The only downside to doing this is I don’t have all the time I want in the shower. I do still have to get down to the shop. Easier said than done.
I do my best to not stay in the shower for too long. There is soaking in the shower and procrastination. One I am okay with, the other not so much.
After finishing up the getting ready process, I grab my keys and purse. Doing another little self-check to make sure I have my phone, I walk outside and face the day.
Well, I wasn’t quite ready for this.
Stepping out on the porch, I freeze when I see Andre is leaning against his luxury pearlescent sedan in a clean, no doubt tailor-made, cream and black suit. Adorned with all manner of accessories that makes mine feel shameful. All that falls short to how sexy his smile is. That same half-cocked smile.
Seeing him in the flesh brings back all my high school crush thoughts of him. The brain is kicking in overtime, flooding my sense with him. Like I need that right now. I’m already super attracted to him. Especially when he is dressed like this. I don’t need more reasons to be attracted to this onyx colored, clean-cut, hard-as-steel abs, ex-crush of mine. Let’s not get me started on the smooth-talking part. Gathering myself, I try to escape this. Just need to reach my car.
“Hello, Bunny. You are the prettiest flower I’ve seen today.” That baritone voice reaches out and grabs me by a little more than my heart and pulls me towards him.
“Hey Andre, I was just about to head to the shop,” I say, breaking my half step to him, and start a nervous shuffle to the car.
“Bunny, you could have texted me that you didn’t want to see me.”
“I didn’t say that. I’m happy to see you.” I say, trying to be resilient.
“Really? So, you’re going to pretend that I don’t know you’re going to get breakfast, right? You know that I know your Monday ritual is to go to the Corner Cafe, get the breakfast special with bacon, cheese on your eggs, and lemonade to drink?”
He pauses to wait for me to say anything. I can’t.
“Listen, I get that you don’t want to talk to me. That’s cool. Just next time, pick up the phone and call me to say that, or better yet, come over here and tell me that you don’t want me around,” He says, and stand over there looking as perfect as ever. Damn him for knowing me so well. This is a part of his tricks. He’s just trying to get me alone with him. Well, I won’t fall for it this time.
“Fine, I’ll come to you,” He says. No! Stay over there, you sexy man. Why are my legs not working?
The world comes to a slow grind as his long strides swiftly close the gap between us. I take a step back, and my breath gets heavy when I realize that my back is against the wall. Oh, the irony.
His scent invades me, making every intimate thought I’ve ever had about him overcome me. He looks into my eyes, and I open my mouth to speak, but my brain can’t think of any words.
“I’m sorry I’ve been so distant.” My heart speaks for me. No one asked you to speak up, but I guess thanks for the assist.
“So, do you want me to leave?” He says, not moving. Not an inch. There is so much of him to take in, I still can’t think. I guess it’s up to you, heart.
“No,” I say, on a breath.
“Good, I’m taking you to breakfast.”
“Yes,” I nod.
“I wasn’t asking,” He says, taking my hand and leading me.
Queen’s wrath, why does he have to be so sexy.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 1

  1. The story that’s trying to come out is adorable. You can see the main plot forming with plenty of options for subplots.
    It just needs to be boosted and redefined so the main characters and the settings we see are everything that’s to be envisioned.
    Onward to episode two.

    Liked by 1 person

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