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Fortune fair



Short story prequel to Tall, Dark & Handsome,

and the Tea Leaves Series


Ellie Rose Hawkins



























Fortune Fair Copyright © 2018 by Ellie Rose Hawkins.

All Rights Reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. 

Ellie Rose Hawkins
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First Printing: February 2018
Self-Publishing Author

Fortune Fair

Prequel to Tall, Dark & Handsome

It was July 1997, The Labour Party had returned to power after a landslide victory, and Tony Blair had become the New Labour Prime Minister, in the UK. Austin Powers, was a man of international mystery, Puff Daddy was ‘missing you’, and R Kelly believed he could fly!

For seventeen-year-old Nancy, it was the end of the first year of college, and all the students were buzzing with excitement. Nancy was with her best friend Michaela, getting ready to go to the funfair, to celebrate the end of the college year. Michaela was dyeing her hair black, which made for a stark contrast with Nancy's bright white bleached blonde hair. “I love the Waltzer,” said Nancy, swirling and waving her arms, dancing in circles around Michaela's bedroom. “Not me,” said Michaela, “that ride turns my stomach inside out, but I can't wait to go on the Bumper Cars!” “You just wanna chat up Bobby the ride operator,” giggled Nancy. Michaela went to wash the dye out of her hair in the bathroom. “Well, he always gives me a free ride!” shouted Mickie, from the bathroom. Nancy chuckled. “Here, Mickie, let me blow dry your hair,” said Nancy, still grinning about Mickie's free ride quip. At last the girls were ready to go. “Come on girls, let's get you to the fair,” beamed Mickie's Dad, who was opening the car door for them. The girls chatted all the way to the funfair about the Rollercoaster, the Bumper Cars, the Ghost Train and the Ferris wheel. They were deciding whether they would have candy floss or popcorn. Both were looking forward to all the fun and excitement of the fair. Eventually they arrived at the fairground, which was buzzing with excitement, the screams of people on the Rollercoaster, the sweet smell of candyfloss and popcorn, the loud disco music and flashing coloured lights that filled the fair, drifted out to meet them, welcoming them and inviting them to join in the fun.

“Come on. Let's get on the Rollercoaster first, while the queue is short,” said Mickie, dragging Nancy towards the ride. The Rollercoaster was huge and had big red cars. Everyone was screaming as they whizzed around, up and down, and into an upside-down loop. Mickie and Nancy were at the front of the queue and had the choice to sit in the front row seats. “Come on, this is going to be great,” said Nancy, as they hopped into the front car and put on their safety harnesses, fizzing with adrenaline. The Rollercoaster started cranking its way slowly up the steep first slope to the very top. It paused briefly at the top then with a sudden whoosh it lurched forward gaining speed as it went downhill. Everyone was laughing, screaming and waving their hands above their heads. Twisting faster and faster around the track, suddenly the world turned upside down as the Rollercoaster looped the loop and seconds later with the squealing of brakes screeched to a stop. Nancy and Mickie got off the ride, giggling and bumping into each other as they walked down the steps, hand in hand.

“Where next?” Mickie asked. “Waltzer, for me. I'm still in the mood for speed!” replied Nancy. The girls made their way across the fair towards the Waltzer. On the way, Mickie spied the Bumper cars and saw Bobby with his long dark hair swishing across his face. His long, lean, handsome body was leaning gracefully against the operator’s booth, as he took the tokens for the ride. Nancy then noticed what, or rather who, Mickie was gazing at and remembered that Mickie didn't like the Waltzer. “Why don’t you go and speak to Bobby, he’s spotted you already,” said Nancy, winking at Mickie. “Enjoy your free ride! I'll meet you back here shortly,” called Nancy, over her shoulder, as she headed off to Waltzer. Nancy wandered down the long queue that had formed outside the Waltzer and sighed. Well, at least Mickie will have a long time to spend chatting with Bobby, thought Nancy, as she joined the back of the queue. Nancy, eventually got on the Waltzer and giggled joyfully as it spun around and around. Dave the ride operator asked, “Fancy going a bit faster love?” as he spun Nancy's car even faster. Nancy squealed in absolute delight, she had loved the Waltzer ever since she was a little girl. Faster and faster the car span, around and around with lights flashing, and the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ song, belting out loud. Nancy got off the ride and stumbled down the steps, her head still spinning. “You alright love,” said Dave. “Yes, fine, fabulous ride, thanks,” said Nancy, shaking her head to get rid of the dizziness, Nancy made her way slowly towards the Bumper Cars past all the fairground games, Hook A Duck, the Coconut Shy and Rifle Shooting Range. Nancy paused for a moment, watching the young men try to impress their girlfriends by winning oversized fluffy toys for them. Although Nancy didn’t really want to have a massive stuffed toy, she wished that she had a special someone that was prepared to try and win one to impress her. Feeling melancholy, she drifted back towards the Bumper Cars to find that Bobby and Mickie had disappeared. Nancy felt the panic begin to rise in her stomach wondering where Mickie had gone. Nancy started pushing through the crowd of people, searching for Mickie, her heart beating faster every minute. “Shit where is Mickie, I should never have left her,” said Nancy, mumbling under her breath. Suddenly, Nancy, heard a loud laugh and spun around to see Mickie and Bobby arm in arm coming towards her. They had pink candyfloss on sticks and a large box of salted popcorn. “Hey, Nancy are you OK? You look really flushed,” said Mickie, letting go of Bobby's arm, to reassure her friend. “I thought something bad had happened to you,” whispered Nancy, and Mickie hugged her tight. “I'm fine, Bobby just got his dinner break, and we thought we would surprise you with some candyfloss and popcorn.” Bobby offered her a stick of pink, sweet smelling, fluffy candyfloss. Nancy took it gratefully and started munching it, glad of the sugar rush and relieved to see that Mickie was OK.

“So, are you lovely ladies brave enough to have a free ride on the Ghost train?” grinned Bobby. “Sure, why not,” agreed Nancy. Bobby took the girls straight to the front of the queue much to their delight. They all got into one carriage, and the girls were in the front, with Bobby sat behind them. Bobby started making ghostly noises, teasing the girls, who started giggling. The train shunted forwards through some musty, damp smelling, black, ragged curtains. The train rumbled slowly into the dark, and eerie laughter echoed loudly in their ears. The girls gripped each other's hands, it was pitch black, and they couldn't see each other's faces. Something fluttered against their heads and a ghostly moan resonated throughout the ride. The girls screamed, and Bobby roared with laughter. Skulls with bright red eyes flashed before them, and there was the sound of bows and arrows firing overhead. The girls jumped and clung to each other as the train went through a tunnel, with plastic bats suspended from the ceiling, and more ghostly laughter followed. Suddenly, there was a loud cackle, and a green witch that looked like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz, jumped out screaming “Fly, fly my pretties.” Then with a final jerk, the train pushed through another set of damp, musty curtain rags and the train pulled up at the platform. Bobby was shaking with laughter as he helped the girls out of the carriage. “You two look like you've seen a ghost,” said Bobby. The girls started running their fingers through their hair and trying to straighten their clothes discreetly. They all moved away from the ride.

“Right Ladies, I can squeeze in one more ride before my break is over, what do you fancy?” asked Bobby. “Ferris wheel,” said Nancy and Mickie together. They all made their way over to the enormous, rainbow coloured, Ferris wheel and Bobby took them to the front of the queue. They boarded a lime green gondola that would take them to the top of the wheel, which that overlooked the whole fairground. Mickie relaxed in Bobby’s muscular arms, as the ride started whisking them up to the top of the wheel. Nancy relaxed, it was dark now and the lights of the fair twinkled brightly below them, the loud disco music faintly drifting upwards. It was beautiful up here and Nancy she wished she could stay here longer, but all too soon the green gondola began its descent back to earth and back to reality. Mickie and Bobby disentangled themselves from each other and Bobby helped the girls off the ride.

“Well Ladies, it was a pleasure to keep you company this evening,” said Bobby, picking up Nancy's hand to kiss it goodbye. Nancy giggled, then Bobby embraced Mickie tenderly and kissed her lightly on the lips. He passed her a piece of paper which was folded up and placed it in her hand, curling her fingers around. “Goodnight my fair Princesses, I must return to my duties,” said Bobby, making a mock bow and regal wave, as he turned and melted away into the crowd. Mickie watched until she couldn't see Bobby anymore, sighing contentedly.

“What does it say? said Nancy, pointing at the note. Mickie unfolded it carefully to read it. ‘My dearest Mickie. I love you and can’t wait to see you again, the fair is going to Southampton next month, I hope you will come and visit me. All my love Bobby.’ At the bottom of the note, Bobby had written, Bobby and Mickie, 4ever, drawn inside a heart. “Wow, he really likes you,” said Nancy. “Bobby asked me to run away and join the fair, but my parents would kill me! I told him I had to finish college this year, but I promised to come and visit him when the fair is not too far away,” said Mickie, who was bubbling with excitement and had a grin on her face. Mickie carefully folded the note back up before kissing it and putting it in her pocket.

Nancy was pleased to see that Mickie had found someone that she could connect with, even if the idea of running away with the fair was a distant dream there were times when she would contemplate it herself, especially when she and Mickie were in the religious studies classes at college. Nancy had chosen to study religious studies instead of history, it was supposed to be an easy subject, but Nancy found it almost impossible to stay awake. Mickie had woken Nancy up during one class, and there was a clip of Yoda from one of the Star Wars movies saying, “Use the Force.” To this day, Nancy, still had no idea what Yoda or Star Wars had to do with religious studies. Even copying Mickie’s notes hadn’t helped, Nancy smiled at the memory of it.

The girls started ambling back to the entrance of the fairground, without warning an eccentric looking woman jumped out in front of them, making them take a step back in surprise. The woman was dressed in a purple cloak with silver trimming, and stars and moons embroidered on it, with a long black dress that swirled around her ankles, underneath it. She even had green slippers that curled up at the toes. Her long silver hair curled mysteriously around her shoulders, and her eyes were twinkling. The girls stifled a gasp at this intrusion.

“Greetings my lovelies, I am Madame Marigold the Mystical, Fortune-Teller and seer of destinies, cross my palm with a silver coin, and I will tell you your true heart's desire.” There was a brightly coloured tent behind her and with a wooden sign that read 'Palm reading £2.’ “Go on Nancy, have your palm read just for a bit of fun,” said Mickie, pushing Nancy towards the entrance of the tent. “Welcome, welcome, please sit down,” said Madame Marigold, guiding the girls into the tent to sit down. The tent smelled slightly musty, of the damp straw that was lying on the ground, and some strange incense stick that was burning slowly on the table. The chairs were draped in black silk. The small table had a red velvet cloth that covered it, spilling on to the floor. In the middle of the table, there was a large crystal ball glowing in the dim candlelight. Madame Marigold carefully picked up the crystal ball and put it down gently on the bench at the back of the tent.

Mickie nudged Nancy conspiratorially winking at her. “What rubbish, do you think she going to come up with?” whispered Mickie. Nancy nudged Mickie back, frowning at her as if to say, ‘What have you got us into now?' Madame Marigold appeared to have finished her preparations and sat down in the black silk chair opposite the girls. “First, you must cross my hand with silver, and then I will read your destiny,” said Madame Marigold, pointing at the small sign she had put on the table – Pay £2, take the silver coin and place it on Madame Marigold's hand. Mickie opened her purse and paid the two pounds, giving the silver to Nancy, to cross the palm of Madame Marigold. Madame Marigold pocketed the two pounds and put the silver coin back in the purse from where she had taken it.

Madame Marigold put her hands out on the table and reached to take Nancy's hand into her hands and squinted at Nancy's hand and rubbing it as though it was cold. Nancy and Mickie glanced at each other wondering what was going on. Madame Marigold let go of Nancy's hands and started fumbling in the folds of her cloak and retrieved a pair of reading glasses. She rubbed her glasses absent-mindedly on her black skirt, perched them on the end of her nose, and then peered over the top of them.

Madame Marigold held Nancy's hand again, and moved the table lantern closer to inspect Nancy's palm. Madame Marigold was making a low humming sound interspersed with occasional high pitched “ah -hah” sounds. After what seemed like hours, though in reality, it was only about five minutes, she looked up at Nancy. Madame Marigold was looking directly into Nancy’s eyes, but still holding her hand. Nancy was feeling a bit nervous at this point and was gripping Mickie's hand with her free hand.

“So,” began Madame Marigold slowly, “Your lifeline is strong, and you will lead a long life indeed. Your love line tells me that you will find happiness and a marriage that will last for the rest of your life. You will have a baby girl. The man who will sweep you off your feet will be tall, dark and handsome.” With that Madame Marigold let go of Nancy's hands, stood up and brushed her skirt down, removed her glasses, folded them neatly and put them back in amongst the folds of her cloak.

Nancy and Mickie were struggling to keep straight faces, as they thanked Madame Marigold, and made their way out of the tent. As soon as they were far away, the girls doubled over in fits of giggles. “What a crock of shit,” laughed Mickie. “Hey, I think she was reading your fortune. You're the one with a tall, dark, handsome stranger, I think I need a refund!” declared Nancy. Laughing and joking they stumbled back to the entrance of the fair to see, Mickie's Dad, patiently waiting to take them home.

Tall, Dark & Handsome

Ellie Rose Hawkins

Debut Romance Novel Releasing on 23rd March 2018

Now available for Pre-Order

Join Nancy a year later in 1998, when she starts university. Nancy makes new friends and continues travelling along destiny's bumpy path to find true love. Will the man of her dreams be tall, dark & handsome or did Madame Marigold just use a cliché? Will Nancy survive fate to reach her destiny?


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Ellie Rose Hawkins

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