Authors: Jocelyn Han
Fly You To The Moon
Cover design by Jocelyn Han
This book is copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without the prior permission of the author.
The thought kept going around in her head
and wouldn’t leave.
Ava cast a gru
mpy look around the platform. Space cruisers flew on and off hovering silently through the air, dropping off passengers at Luna Terminal Six. The travelers looked well-dressed, their clothes unwrinkled and their hair neatly groomed.
Unlike her, they looked rich. All
the people surrounding her were Elite. And that wouldn’t change any time soon – she was stuck in this place for the next ten months.
When her pad ding-donged in her lap, Ava
listlessly picked up the device to look at the screen. ‘hey you! how’s the good old moon?’ it said.
A message from her friend Georgie.
For just a second, Ava was afraid she’d start crying. The realization that she would have to miss her old life and all the people in it after her father’s death struck her once more. Georgie was obviously trying to cheer her up, but it had the opposite effect.
She could still vividly
recall the moment her life had fallen apart. That one cold morning when the town’s Prefect had shown up on her doorstep, telling her that her dad would never come home again. The unfairness of him dying of a stroke at age forty-two without a single sick day in his life. And just when she’d thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, the executor of her father’s will had paid her a visit in the dilapidated mansion she and her dad had lived in. He’d told her that her inheritance money was locked in some account under her half-uncle’s name, who also happened to be her legal guardian until she reached the age of twenty-one.
“I am deeply sorry, Miss Windsor,” the
notary had apologized. “Your father drafted this will so you wouldn’t have to suffer poverty. He trusted his half-brother. The other Windsors wouldn’t have supported you if this had happened while you were still a child.”
that is why she’d been forced to leave the town of Sutton in order to live with her half-uncle, a man she hadn’t seen since she was five. She knew it wasn’t the end of the world – she was twenty now, so she’d only have to live on Luna for ten more months – but that time seemed to stretch out endlessly in front of her. She loved Earth. Living on the moon and trying to blend in with the richest emigrated Elite of the British Empire and Great Germany didn’t exactly feature high up on her wish list.
, running a hand through her raven-black hair. Of course, she should be thankful her family was part Elite, too. Her dad might have committed a breach of etiquette by marrying a common woman, but they’d never truly been poor. They’d been reasonably well-off, always keeping a distance from the Elite. Instead, they’d mingled with the commoners. The bad news was that Uncle Nicolas was part of the immaculate Carter family. Fitting in with the people in his household would be challenging, to say the very least.
no sign of uncle nic yet. moon = crawling w/ rich snobs. gr8…’ she sent back.
An overhead speaker started to warble announcements about inbound flights. Distractedly, Ava glanced up at the clock on the wall opposite the platform.
Fifteen November, 2196. Thirteen years ago, her mom had died of a mysterious disease striking the town of Sutton. Ten days ago, her dad had passed away too. And here she was, all alone, waiting to be picked up by a man whom her father had trusted enough to make him her guardian.
She narrowed her eyes when a tall, black-haired man
dressed in plain, black clothes appeared at the end of the platform. He looked around searchingly and then locked eyes with her. A dull sense of disappointment grew in her stomach when the man started toward her and she realized Uncle Nicolas hadn’t even bothered to show up himself. He’d sent one of his servants. Her disappointment turned into excitement when he drew closer, though – the guy coming toward her was drop-dead gorgeous. Ava swallowed when she took in his broad shoulders, slim hips and chiseled features. This could prove to be very interesting. Suddenly, living on the moon didn’t seem so bad after all.
“Hello,” the guy addressed her, stopping right in front of her. “Ava Windsor?”
Ava got up from her bench to shake his hand. “That’s me,” she confirmed. “I take it Nicolas Carter sent you?”
He cracked a smile, his green eyes framed by dark lashes looking at her in surprise. “Not exactly,” he replied. “I
Ava stared up at him, pretty sure her mouth was hanging open in complete astonishment. Whenever she’d thought of her father’s half-brother, she’d imagined some middle-aged man sporting a black beard and a bit of a belly – definitely not the tall, muscular, handsome guy with wavy, dark-brown hair and emerald-green eyes standing in front of her. The last time she’d seen Uncle Nicolas, she’d been five, and the guy had seemed ancient, but pretty much
had seemed ancient at that age.
“You – you’re Uncle Nicolas?” she stuttered.
“Just call me Nicolas,” he said. “Or Nic.”
Nic.” She gulped down the lump in her throat. “I had no idea you were so – young.” And sexy, she added in her mind.
Her half-uncle reached out
for her, absently fingering a lock of her hair. “This is what I remember from meeting you all those years ago,” he said. “Your beautiful, black hair and your bright, blue eyes. You look just like your father.”
Ava tried very hard not to blush. Nicolas touching her hair like
this felt too intimate, for some reason. “How old were you when we met?” she asked.
He frowned. “I’m really sorry I didn’t get to visit your father more often on Earth. He did come to Luna Six several times, but you always stayed with your mom or with a nanny.”
Ava quickly did the
math in her head. That meant Nicolas was thirty-two now – hardly an appropriate age to be someone’s guardian.
In the meantime, Nic
bent down to pick up her suitcases. “Here, let me help you with your baggage.”
As they strolled to the end of the platform and
made their way to a flashy Solar waiting for them outside the terminal, Ava inconspicuously eyed Nicolas. She couldn’t stop staring at him. Her eyes roved over his broad back and tight butt, accentuated by the snug, black outfit he was wearing. Nicolas was the most attractive man she’d seen in a long, long time. As he lifted the suitcases into the car hovering noiselessly next to the sidewalk, she closed her eyes in sudden vexation.
Her life now officially sucked.
“Why did you never join your father when he visited Luna?”
teered the Solar away from the cruiser terminal. Very soon, the building was just a tiny speck in the distance. They’d left the cluster of buildings surrounding the station serving Luna Six and were on their way to the actual city. Everything Ava had seen so far was trapped under the giant dome supplying the sixth Lunar city with oxygen, filtered sunlight and fresh water. Outside, the world was airless, dark and freezing cold.
“Because this is unnatural,” she said brusquely. “People aren’t meant to live here.”
Nicolas laughed out loud. “Really?”
Ava looked down at her hands
, her fingers worrying the simple, brown fabric of her dress. “The moon looks so mysterious from Earth,” she softly spoke. “It’s like she’s guiding us, circling our planet, protecting us. That’s what my nanny always told me. She used to tell me old stories. I was afraid…” She paused. “I thought visiting this place would ruin the stories for me.”
her a sideward glance. “I see,” he said. “You know, I actually get what you’re trying to say. Whenever I’m on Earth, it feels as if that white, celestial body up there in the sky isn’t really my home.”
Ava smiled faintly. “Do you visit Earth a lot?”
“Pretty much every two months. One of my uncles lives in Birmingham, so…”
Hearing the name of the biggest city close to Sutton made her heart leap in her chest. What she wouldn’t give to return to Earth. “What do you think of this whole arrangement?” she inquired
cautiously. “Can’t you talk to the notary about my father’s will? Surely you can just give me my money and send me on my merry way.”
Nicolas frowned, shaking his head
at once. “Ava, that would be wrong. Colin – your father, I mean – asked me to take care of you after his death, and that’s what I intend to do. He’s the only brother I had. Even though we had different fathers, we were still close. I’m not going to leave you out in the cold.”
Ava reacted, sounding snappier than she wanted. “I don’t need to be taken care of. I can work.”
“Work?” he echoed. “You don’t need to. You’re Elite, and so is
the Carter family. You’ll be well-provided for. I know life was kind of tough in Sutton. Colin made it hard for you by breaking the unwritten rules, but it doesn’t need to be that way forever.”
She bit her lip, glaring at Nicolas for making her life sound so terrible. Life had been just fine
, although she had to admit it stung that none of the other Windsors wanted anything to do with her.
“Don’t give me that
look,” Nic said just then. “I respected your father for his way of life. I’m not here to judge you.”
He moved his hand from the wheel to grab her hand and squeeze it for a moment, looking into her eyes with his sparkling, green gaze. Ava bit back a tiny gasp when she felt his warm fingers on her skin.
His large hand enveloped hers and made her acutely aware of how much she
see him as an uncle or a guardian figure. Suddenly, the interior of the Solar car felt way too cramped for the two of them. Please,
don’t blush, she desperately told herself.
Nicolas blinked at her. He seemed to
sense the atmosphere in the car had shifted, and awkwardly pulled back his hand. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled.
He didn’t elaborate, and she didn’t dare ask. “That’s all right,” she mumbled back vaguely.
Leaning back in her seat, Ava
glumly stared at Luna Six, the first buildings of the massive city now fast approaching. It was bad enough she had to live in an artificial environment with stuck-up Elitists. Why did she have to be the ward of a man who could turn her insides to jelly by merely touching her hand?
She furtively looked at Nicolas again.
He must have felt something, too. Or maybe she was just imagining that. He was probably married with children.
“Do you have any kids?” she blurted out.
He shook his head. “No, I don’t. Guess I’m not ready to settle down just yet.” A lazy smile tugged at his lips, and this time, she couldn’t help turning red. He made it sound so inviting. She bet he was hot in bed – he definitely looked the part. No wonder he wasn’t eager to settle down. Women were probably throwing themselves at his feet.
“What about you?” he asked. “Any
boys vying for your affection back on Earth?”
She scoffed. “I’m twenty years old,
He raised an eyebrow at her. “So, were they?”
Apparently, he was really interested. Ava shrugged. “A couple. I dated some of them. They seemed to like me.” At age sixteen, she’d lost her virginity to Chris, a young guy who’d been in town to help her and her dad set up an outreach program for flood victims. After that, she’d had her share of fun with local guys from Sutton, but none of them had really won her heart.
e they did,” Nicolas commented, still looking at her. For just a second, a flicker of regret seemed to cross his face. “You’re a beautiful girl, Ava.”
“Well, don’t even think about marrying me off to some Elite moon dweller,” she chuckled, trying to laugh away his compliment. “Don’t let the whole guardian thing get to your head.”
He turned his gaze back to the road ahead. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said sincerely. “You can pick who you want. Just like your dad.”
flinched. Nicolas probably didn’t mean his remark as a stab at her parents, but it still hurt a bit.
“Yeah, whatever,” she mumbled before turning her head away from him to stare outside once more.