Posted on January 31, 2014
I don’t know about you, but I’m psyched for this SuperBowl. Heard this one’s being called the Bowl Bowl, or the 4/20 bowl…hee-hee. I love the Broncos now because my daughter just moved to Colorado and I’ve spent a lot of time there this year. At the Denver airport there’s this huge bronco statue and it’s eyes are lit up red at night…it’s really fierce looking. So, this Super Bowl weekend…I’m for the Broncos! I haven’t written about football much, but I have written about a fictional sport that’s just as intense–airboarding, a combination of snowboarding and surfing IN THE AIR. Here’s an excerpt of what happens during the snowboarding finals on planet RETHA…a parallel planet to planet Earth. This SuperBowl excerpt is from my SciFi Romance Starjump Series, book 1 TRANSFER STUDENT, an intergalactic tale of beauty and the geek:
Two Worlds––Two Teens––One Wish
Geek Rhoe and Surfer Ashley would never be friends.
Even if they lived on the same planet.
But, they’ll become so much more.
In a teleporting experiment gone wrong, Ashley, a Beverly Hills surfer, and Rhoe, a brilliant geek from planet Retha, swap lives when they make the same wish at the same time.
I roll over in Rhoe’s bed-net. Maybe Mr. Bright-And-Early will go away and leave me alone. I just want a few more Ashley-minutes to myself.
“Rhoe, The Finals…,” Yuke says in my ear so loud my eardrums stop drumming, if web-footed aliens even have eardrums.
Blech. Just as I roll over, away from him, and close my eyes––so not wanting to get out of this weird bed-net for another whole day of Ashley-in-Wonderland––Yuke wraps his hands, his very warm hands, across my tummy and pulls me over so I roll back to face him. Tingles climb up my part-frog-part-bird spine. All I see are Yuke’s webbed-feet. Turns out a girl can overlook a few gruesome details when said gruesomeness sports a gnarly six-pack bulging through a nearly see-through neoprene shirt. Yuke is hot in a winged-alien-way. A way I never thought I’d crush on until now. His golden gaze had already cast a spell over me. But I didn’t really pay attention to the rest of him. Something about the way he grabbed my stomach makes me want to kiss him. Kiss a guy as a guy. I want to kiss Yuke so bad even that thought doesn’t cool the way I feel at all. I want him to wrap me up in his wings and kiss me. Now. I don’t even care that I have alien morning breath. And I can’t even enjoy the dream of kissing him before it’s happening. Again. I gasp at the spot in my shorts that looks like a tent.
We’re both guys. I repeat over and over in my head, trying to tame my wild crush as I place my hands over my alien bulge.
“Rhoe, get out of your net. We’ve only got fifteen livcecs to make the lineup,” Yuke says sitting on the floor peering up at me. “Neron’s sick. Only another Astral can be his alternate… Xanny’s at Leadership Council all day. I need you.”
I need Yuke too. He has no idea how bad. I just wish I could tell him without freaking him out. I’ll do anything Yuke says. He’s that gorgeous. I don’t even care what I look like. A guy wouldn’t really primp before helping a friend anyway. Lineup. Board. Yuke wants me to go surfing? This place is getting better and better. I look down at my webbed-feet. They’ll make catching a wave easy but the clunkers’ll be hard to maneuver on a board.
“Yeah, yeah.” I want to move but I’m nervous it will come back, believe me, no one needs to see… that. Yuke darts around the room grabbing random crap. I eye a pair of pants that hover behind Yuke while his back is turned but when I leap for them he spins around.
I freeze. Hoping, praying it’s, gone. The heartbeats in my throat practically suffocate me. Bum-bum-bum-bum, Bum-bum-bum-bum. I wonder if having two hearts makes Rhoe fall harder when he’s in love. Like now. Maybe Rethans love twice as much as Earthlings. When Rhoe breaks up with a girl, it must hurt more. Or, maybe the other heart is more like a spare. Anyway, I’m falling farther faster for Yuke than I have for any boy. Ever. Maybe it’s the lack of gravity. I can’t stop it, whatever-it-is.
“Where’s that crazy powder you like to gleam your board with?” Yuke asks all ready to go.
No matter how much I know that I’m a guy and Yuke’s a guy, no matter how many times I tell the Ashley part of me it’s OK to kiss Yuke, I’m still just a girl who’s nervous about a hot guy standing in her alien bedroom. Make that an incredibly-hot-alien-guy-that-I-seriously-want-to-french-even-though-I’m-a-guy-and-he’s-a-guy. That hot.
“Let’s go. I’m not letting you miss your shot this ray. It’ll help you forget about the invention competition,” Yuke says.
Not. I never forget. And, I always win. Even if I get munched doing it like at last year’s surfing expo in Malibu, and I’m so not going into that now. I’m going to prove to Yuke that I’m not who he thinks I am. That Rhoe isn’t who Yuke thinks he is. I just have to figure out how. Rhoe’s brilliant. That’s obvious. And then, when I do convince Yuke, all those geek losers will know Rhoe really won the invention competition. We won the invention competition.
“Wait. What day is it?” I ask.
“Day?” Yuke says grabbing a jar of green powder.
“Rayling. What Rayling is it?”
“It’s 3 of 7 in the time of Falco,” he says.
Damn. I know I’m missing it. The one year I’ve been invited and actually have a shot at winning The Open Women’s Division at the Laguna Beach Invitational, snagging the scholarship I’ll need to go to med school and say goodbye to freaking Wellesley, driving a station wagon, and being Mr. Right’s wife or a movie star. My mom’s plans for me. I mean Wellesley is cherry, gorgeous even, but I love California. I’d die if I couldn’t surf year round. I know that’s why Mom wants me to go there. She’s a hater, can’t stand surfers. Rhoe better not screw up. What am I thinking? Of course he’ll screw it up.
I might not be able to do anything about the way Rhoe rips the waves. But, if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s Karma. So I’m going to do whatever it takes to make him win everything here. If I rock these finals or whatever-they-are, he’ll do the same for me. I pull a shirt over my hairy, flat chest and stare at my floppy feet. I hope the waves are good to Rhoe.
Yuke tosses me a board and gives me that look. The one that freaking melts me––the real me, deep down inside this alien body. I catch the board in one hand as we run out the door. I can’t believe I catch it one hand. Yuke’s board is propped up next to the front door and a little longer than mine. He grabs it on his way out the door. My board wobbles as I run.
“What kind of a surfboard is this?” I say stroking the wood grain. Admiring the thinness of it. This is going to be fun.
Yuke hops onto his board, squares his frog feet and bends over to adjust their suction. I could watch him adjust his suction all day.
“Shouldn’t we wait until we’re at the water before we…” I say just as Yuke hops into the wind. He sails over my shoulder away from me, toward one of the suns.
These lunatics surf air? Of course they do. Gulp. I’ve walked into some bizarre unreality TV show and I so wish someone would vote me off this freaking alien island. Now. Thanks, Rhoe. Thanks a lot. The next time you feel like making a random Earthling into your science fair experiment make sure YOU DON’T PICK ME. I’m going to die.
It’s just like surfing. It’s got to be. That’s what I tell myself mostly because of my belief in Karma and that since it owes me so bad, surfing the air is going to ROCK. But there’s this little part of me that’s keeping me calm, overly calm. Because it knows that if I freak out, I’ll die.
Yuke disappears over the purple horizon. I slide my wiggly board under my ginormous feet and leap into the air just like Yuke did. The gust has its way with me tilting me one way and then the other. I overcompensate and whirl to the ground. And it doesn’t get any better. It’s all leap, whirl, fall, repeat. Repeat. Yuke has to know the truth now. He has to face it. I’m not Rhoe. There’s no explaining this Lameoid behavior. One minute Rhoe’s a championship flyer and the next a championship faller. Is the time ever right to tell a hot guy that I’m really a girl alien transported into his best friend’s body? And that I want, no need, to French him. No, I didn’t think so. Yuke’s long gone, but not for long. He doubles back, no doubt wanting to track down what his one-time-quarky-now-psycho best friend is up to.
“Hi,” I say, wanting to be ok with kissing him. He’s that hot. And at this point, I have nothing to lose. I’ll never fit in here.
“Wanna tell me what’s going on?” he says, like he just caught me with another guy––well, if I was a girl and he was my boyfriend and I was with another guy.
Here’s what I want to say, um, I’m getting another erection just looking at you and your golden-eyed gorgeousness and I’m so kissing you when you realize who I really am. But I go with, “Ah, remember what I told you. At the academy?” I ask.
“Yes,” Yuke says, staring out in front of us like it’s the Sahara or something, like we aren’t a few livcecs away from wherever-we’re-going. I know because I can hear music and crowds and stuff.
“I’m not Rhoe,” I say, desperate for him to get it. Desperate for his stare. For him to stare at the real me that way.
“We’re so late,” Yuke says. And his golden eyes, the ones that melt me every time he looks at me, dim just a little. He rides the wind like a pro. And as I ride behind him somehow it feels like we’re about to cross the Frenemy Line. I mean I can’t say that I blame him. I’m a total screw up as Rhoe. A total Rhoe wanna-be. It’s weird how sometimes a person can feel the moment when a friendship changes.
My gut’s hollow, worse than when senior-stud Gordon Haley stood me up my freshman year. My biggest social climbing date score that year was foiled by a ghastly opportunistic senior who hijacked Gordon with promises of putting out in ways a freshman never could. I’m over it, can you tell?
On Earth, I haven’t been much of a friend. I use people for what they can do for me or for what being with them can get me. Most of my friends come and go. I say good-bye way easier than hello. I’ve only kept two friends in four years at Beverly Hills High, Sean and Tiff. I switched everyone else up. If Rhoe does anything to screw me out of the only friendships I have left, I’ll kill him. That’s why Yuke not getting the real me hurts so bad. Because it feels like I’ve known him forever and because Yuke is different than any other guy I’ve liked before. I know this because I don’t want anything from him except a kiss. One single kiss.
I slide my board under my feet, adjust their suction and leap into the air. My board is still flimsy in the gusts, but my alien skin adheres better to the board. The wind blows harder. I lean into it and adjust my angle.
The wind is a wave, the wind is a wave, I keep telling myself.
But my life reading the sea is lost on the wind. And when I see Yuke flying back toward me I almost lose it completely.
Yuke tosses me a helmet.
I catch the helmet, but lose my balance and spin over then under my board, again and again. The helmet falls out of my hands. My board lands nose-down in a meadow and I tumble to the ground, landing super-hard on my shoulder. My bad shoulder. The one that got munched at last year’s expo in Malibu when I ended up on the wrong side of the last wave. Good thing I’m in Rhoe’s body or this would’ve hurt like hell.
Wild grass ripples in the wind. The blades sparkle in the afternoon suns. The warmth relieves my sore, twisted muscles. I pick up my helmet and eyeball my board, lying in the tall grass.
“Got another one?” I ask. Yuke glides across the meadow and makes a perfect landing next to me.
He opens his visor. “Right, like you’d ride any other board? How many tries did it take you and your dad to reach perfection?”
I love the idea of riding an alien, hot-dog board. I smile. I hope it’s too girly a smile. That he’ll see right through Rhoe to me. But he just walks off, shaking his head.
Rhoe and his dad were super close. I’m closer to my dad than my mom, but that’s not saying much. Dad’s a corporate big deal who doesn’t have time for me. When he’s home, I try to pretend everything’s normal. Mom’s so much happier when he burns the candles at both ends. He’s around less. She gets to spend more. It’s a win-win.
“Yuke, where am I in the lineup?” I ask.
“Same place you always are. First. But… you’ll be a back a few spots. Because of your fall the other day. But that’s only if we make it in time.”
I put my helmet on, pick my board up out of the meadow and launch back into the air. Every time I leap into the sky, it feels like the first time. I know if Rhoe ever figures out how to switch us back and I do go home, I’ll miss soaring. This feeling. I’ll miss Yuke. I’ll miss lots of things.
I lean one way and then another, not quite crashing into Yuke. If I’d had breakfast, it would be bubbling up inside of me. I rock back and forth, remembering my combustion envy over my friends who surf the heavies during storms and Santa Anas. They’re gorgeous in their lack of wipeout fear. I need to be that gorgeous today. But I’m far from it now.
A smooth breeze lifts me over Yuke.
And for some reason I see my biggest wipeout ever. The one I took at last year’s expo. I took off on a straight up-and-down wall, made the drop and raced off on an eight-foot left slide. It broke so hard then began to curl and crack over me. The wave closed out and buried me. I plunged into the salty white foam. Thinking down was up, I hit my head on the rocky bottom. I stroke my temple to feel my scar, fifteen stitches. Something I always do before a big ride, to remind me how tough I am.
But my temple is smooth. The stitches aren’t there.
I’m not me.
If Rhoe gets munched in the sea, what will happen to me? To us? I drop fast and hover beside Yuke, wishing I could claim the control I have, but I know it’s just the way the wind’s blowing.
Sean says the ocean is a living, breathing thing and, like a stranger, to never trust it. Don’t turn your back on the ocean. I hear him as clearly as if he and I were standing on the beach at Zuma.
What if Rhoe turns his back on the ocean? Why do I trust Yuke so much?
I tip to one side, grab hold of my board and roll over the nose again and again, but I stay in the air. Yuke looks my way, my geek moves reflect in his visor. We ride in silence, something new.
“What’s up?” I ask like I airboard every day. I’m good when the wind is slow and steady, terrible in the gusts, not like that’s a big surprise.
Yuke shakes his head and says, “Rhoe, the old you would have been ready to go two raylings before it was time. I would have been the one you dragged out of bed. The old you would never have settled for a spot in The Teller’s Festival. I don’t care how big of a deal it’s supposed to be. You a Teller? What’s going on with you, Rhoe?”
Rows of flags peek just over rolling hills in front of us. The hills turn into cliffs and the cliffs into mountains.
“I already told you. I’m not Rhoe,” I say, taking as deep a breath as this gentle planet will let me.
We lower ourselves over a path and land. Yuke doesn’t kick up as much dirt as I do. My less-than-perfect landing ends up with me falling into a bush.
Yuke takes off his helmet and says “Prove it.”
Damn he’s thick. Rhoe wouldn’t wipeout like I did. I get all jittery. “Look at me. You know it. Rhoe doesn’t wipeout like this. Whatever, look, I can’t think about wipeouts before a ride okay? It’s bad Karma,” I say.
Yuke’s expression softens, with a look in his sexy twinkling eyes like we’d just seen each other for the first time after a long, summer separation. His gaze warms a place deep inside my hairy, flat chest.
“Karma?” Yuke asks.
I crawl out of the leafy bush and say, “It’s the universal energy in the galaxy.” I lean in closer to him wanting to more than just talk. “It means if you do good things good things will come back to you. And if you do bad things, bad things will come back to you.”
The hippies at the beach tried to convince me to give up my queen-of-B.H.S.S.-back-stabbing ways with the same lecture but I wasn’t exactly the believing-in-Karma-kind-o gal. Not until now. Turns out, Karma’s a bitch. But, if they would have said, “If you don’t listen to us, you will swap lives with a genius boy alien who uses you for his science fair experiment and said geek will be your only hope of ever getting home,” well, maybe I would have paid more attention.
“What have you done to my best friend?” Yuke asks seeing me for the first time.
It’s the biggest moment of my life. I don’t know how to describe the intergalactic pull between us. It’s more than bodies and more than friendship. More than boys and girls. It’s souls. And my soul and his, no matter what we look like on the outside were born to be together. He inches closer to me. I inch closer to him. And we look at each other as if we don’t believe the other is real. Like we can’t believe we’ve found each other. If there really is only one soul in the universe that’s meant for another, what about all of the souls that spend an eternity a galaxy apart?
I love Karma more than ever before. I love it because it brought me to Yuke. I love it because I’m a better person with frog feet. At the same time, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever survive riding a freaking airboard. But, Rhoe already didn’t win the New Invention Competition and totally deserved to. He’s not going to be a quitter too. I won’t let him, I mean us. We aren’t quitters.
But what if Rhoe or I die? Does Karma even notice when two teenagers are a whole galaxy apart and need each other to survive?
Yuke puts a hand on my face and stares into my soul like no boy has ever done before. I want him in a way I’ve never wanted anyone else. If I’m going to die airbording, I’m going out kissing Yuke.
Check out the other Super Bowl excerpts today at the Society of YA Storytellers, click here to read more excerpts and have a great Super Bowl weekend!
A big shout out to all my fellow YA Storytellers :D