Felicity’s Guide to Falling In Love and Not Getting Murdered
By Noor Maahin
Felicity Quinton never would have thought babysitting her sister’s children would result in a wild goose chase around New York City. But, life is full of surprises (tall, dark, and handsome surprises).
Felicity Quinton has always been the most responsible of her siblings. She’s dependable, smart, and a raging perfectionist. She does not have the mental capacity to fail.
She’s also standing in the middle of an almost empty subway car, left hand clutching her niece’s hand so tightly she thinks she might break her bones, right hand gripping the subway pole. She’s acutely aware of the lack of weight in her left jacket pocket where her wallet should be and decidedly is not.
Felicity stands there with dread in her stomach as she takes in the fact that she lost her sister’s other four kids. In short, Felicity Quinton is absolutely screwed.
There’s only one decision that led Felicity here: agreeing to babysit her sister’s demonic children. Unlike Felicity, Amelia Quinton is adventurous and clumsy. Felicity and Amelia were never close, with their contrasting personalities and great age difference. But there was nobody else but Felicity to watch Amelia’s kids when she and her husband, Trent, scheduled their sixteenth wedding anniversary in the Philippines. Being the people pleaser she is, Felicity accepted without regard. Babysitting five kids under the age of fifteen shouldn’t be too hard, she thought. How completely wrong she had been.
Friday night hadn’t been too bad. She kept them in the house and watched movies. In fact, she was never planning on leaving the house. Though, when she was faced with five pairs of puppy-dog eyes practically begging her to take them outside, she had to relent. Felicity never would have thought that they’d rob her and run away.
Amelia loves her kids more than her life. If she finds out Felicity lost them, there’s no way she’ll make it out alive. She feels a tickle in her nose and her eyes begin to gloss with tears. Oh God, now is not the time to be crying.
“Whoa,” says her five-year old niece, Alana, snapping Felicity back to the present. Alana has wandered away from Felicity, stretching her arm out as far as it can go with her hand still clasped in Felicity’s. “You’re pretty.”
Felicity follows Alana’s gaze to see a tall man across the aisle. His dark hair is mussed from the wind. His sparkling eyes are a dark shade of brown. Now Felicity’s even more mortified. Because he is pretty; like he was designed to make Felicity incredibly flustered.
“Do you want to get married?” Alana continues, wide eyes searching his incredibly gorgeous ones. Felicity goes red. There is absolutely no way her niece is hitting on a complete stranger.
The Greek Adonis lets out a breathy laugh at Alana’s questions. “I think you’re a bit too young for me, sweetheart, but thanks for asking.”
“Oh.” Alana blinks up at him. “Is being old important?”
“Yes. ma’am,” he says as he nods sternly.
“Okay, will you marry me when I am older, then?”
“Alana,” Felicity scolds, “stop it.”
The Drool-Worthy Stranger looks at Felicity for a while, a small smile playing on his lips. Turning his attention back to Alana, he says, “Tell you what, when you make it to eighteen, we can revisit that question.” Felicity isn’t drooling. She’s not. His gaze finds Felicity’s again, then he says, “Now, how about you? Is—”
“I don’t want to marry you,” Felicity bluntly cuts in while Tall, Dark, and Handsome quirks a brow.
“. . . I wasn’t going to ask that,” he says. Felicity turns an unattractive shade of red. The man clears his throat before speaking again. “I was going to ask if you were okay.”
“I’m fine,” Felicity says shortly. She most definitely is not fine.
The man narrows his eyes at her skeptically, “Are you sure? I mean you look a bit… frazzled.”
“Frazzled?! I do not look frazzled! I am perfectly fine,” Felicity huffs in exasperation. She’s not about to let some random stranger comment on her appearance. No matter how drop-dead gorgeous he is.
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Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
The Stranger rolls his eyes. “Well, if you’re not frazzled, then what’s up with that hairstyle? Is having a bird’s nest for a head the new thing?” Felicity’s hands go straight to her head while Alana laughs.
He’s right. Her hair is a mess and she’s totally not okay. Tears prick at her eyes. Stop. God. Do not cry right now.
Tears begin to stream down her face. She’s frustrated and there’s now a perfect target to direct her anger towards.
“Well, sorry for not worrying more about how my hair looks when I’ve lost the other four of my sister’s kids! I mean, we’re in the heart of New York City, there’s no way I’m going to find them by tonight! I’m a failure, my sister is going to hate me, my parents are going to hate me, and I’m probably going to go broke because the kids stole my wallet. Okay!? Is that a good explanation for you? Or do you want me to go into detail on what these kids are like? Huh?”
Felicity Quinton is not one to lose her shit. But, boy did she just lose her shit.
The inspiration for this story began when my mentor gave me the prompt, “Two strangers meet on a form of transportation. Write the adventure that follows.” The moment I heard this prompt, I knew what it was I was going to write. The idea started small: girl loses children; girl meets boy; boy helps girl find said children. Though, with every weekly pair session and the help of my mentor, the story began to grow and develop tremendously. I was able to create unique characters and develop their backstories while also writing a chapter every session. The story began to blossom and I am proud of what I have submitted. Not only was this a chance to write creatively, but it was also a chance for my skills and techniques to grow. What I have submitted is a look into the world I created and I am so excited to share it.
Noor Maahin is a compassionate person who values her family and friends above everything else. Passionate about social justice issues like feminism and racial inequality, she approaches everything with the mentality that nobody should be silenced due to situations they are born into. She advocates for what she cares about via social media activism, educating her peers, signing petitions and making donations. Going into college next year, Noor hopes to expand her writing abilities and eventually go on to become an editor, where she’ll be in a position to shine a brighter light on the issues she cares about.