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Excerpt for Vintage Charm by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Vintage Charm

Published by Ann Sepino at Smashwords

Copyright 2018 Ann Sepino

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, places and events is purely coincidental.

Vintage Charm

Don Juan Silverio Segunda y Abajo.

This is the name borne by the bane of my next three hours of life. Why? Because I’m going to be a babysitter for this man. He’s twenty-five and is not mentally incapable, so he doesn’t technically need a nanny. He’s nice and gentlemanly, not to mention the most gorgeous piece of man to ever traipse through my living room. The problem with him is that he was born in the 19th century. Yes, you got it right. I’m governess to a man of the past.

How did this come about?

First of all, I work as assistant secretary to Professor James Solis, sixty-something head professor at the International College of Advanced Sciences and Astrophysics. One of Sir James’ projects is developing a time machine, and I was picked out to assist him. We had been conducting one of our routine test drives two hours go, here in my home lab. But instead of sending the professor to the past, we accidentally brought someone to the present. I get babysitting duty while the professor tries to figure out what went wrong and how to reverse the machine.

Don Juan Silverio Segunda y Abajo. Brown-eyed, dark-haired devil with the tendency to not shut up. At least he spoke fluent English, something I’m thankful for because it’s been a long time since my elective Spanish classes in high school.

“Beautiful morning is it not, Lady Carmina?”

Speak of the devil.

I swivel on my computer chair and raise a brow as I scrutinize him from head to foot. He looks out of place in my brother’s T-shirt and jeans. Well, it was better than the suit he had on a few minutes ago. Before I could scold him for not taking off his shoes on my Italian marble, he furrows his brows and points to my hand. “Pardon my asking, but what is that?”

I look down at what I am holding. “Oh. You mean this mouse?”

He laughs. “You mean to tell me, Madame, that that contraption you are holding is a mouse?”

I cross my hands in front of me. “Yes. This is a mouse. Or have you forgotten that you are now in the 21st century?”

Like the arrogant boor that he was, Don Juan ignores me and steps to my side. He peers at the computer on my table and points to the flashing images of a Volkswagen beetle. “And is that supposed to be a dog then?”

“No. It’s a bug.”

I hide the snort of laughter that was supposed to escape my lips as he scratches the back of his head in confusion. “So,” he continues, “what is this ‘bug’ for? And why is it inside this small crystal box?”

“Well,” I start, not sure how to explain plain modern-day lingo to a man who’s already supposed to be dead. “It’s not actually inside the box. The bug is really called a car, and this car is used for transportation. It’s sort of like a fast horse. What I put inside this box is a picture of the car, so that the people I’m going to sell it to can see it through the net.”

“So you’ll be sending this box to them, with the picture inside?”

“No, silly!” This time I was really laughing. “The box, as you call it, is mine. The box, also known as a ‘computer,’ sends the picture to the people interested in my car. Get it?”

He looks at me funny, and I can’t help but laugh even more. Indeed, my laughter is so contagious that ultimately he starts laughing too. We end up hollering like three-year-old toddlers over a pile of fallen blocks. Eventually, we quiet down and he stares at me in wonder. “Lady Carmina,” he says, “you are the most intriguing young woman I have ever met.”

“This place,” he encompasses the whole room, “is so very different that I’m finding it hard to believe I am actually still in the same town as where I was born.”

I look at him in awe, at the open admiration he has for my world. But then a thought occurs to me and I sober. “Yes, our developments over the years are amazing. But sometimes I can’t help but think of how plain and simple everything was once. You don’t have to be dependent on electricity and gadgets to get through the day. There’s no traffic, just rolling green hills. There’s no distraction, just everyday life.”

He takes my hand and smiles at me. I’m grateful because even though he doesn’t understand everything I’m saying, he’s gentleman enough to comfort me. I ultimately feel my melancholy float away. A smile replaces the serious line on my face and I ask him a question. “How about I show you a few things we have here that I’m sure you’ve never seen before? But you have to promise to keep everything a secret though.”

“I’d be delighted.”

We sit in front of the PC for two more hours, surfing through stuff that make him exclaim with shock or light up with laughter. I am carried away by his enthusiasm and curiosity. I had thought that he would be terrified of this new world he was seeing, but it seems like he is enjoying every scrap of knowledge I feed him.

“As you can see,” I explain, “quite a lot of changes have occurred, not all of them good.”

“My dear, you are ever the pessimist. Why not look at all the good changes that have come to pass?” he responds. “Look at you, for example. You are a woman free to choose whatever profession your heart so desires. You are free to choose your own path in life, to speak your own mind. This would not have been so in my time. And look at your people, free from colonial rule at last. You are living a peaceful, wonderful existence.”

“I – I suppose you are right,” I concede. It occurs to me that I was taking every day of my life for granted, not really knowing how much power and autonomy I truly held. A time traveler form the past had to mention the fact to me.

Before I know it, time has slipped by. I look at the wall clock, and notice that three hours had indeed passed since he first approached me. Professor Solis knocks on my door and pokes his head in. “We’re all set, Minnie, Señor. You’ve gotta get back in your own clothes.”

A disappointed look crosses the man’s face. We both wait for Professor Solis to leave the room before turning to each other. The Don gives me a slightly gloomy smile. “This is it then.”

We look into each other’s eyes, and we both realize that there was an intense magnetism forming between the two of us. I am smart enough to know that I was indisputably attracted to this handsome blast from the past. In fact, I am so attracted that I impulsively lean forward and give him a quick kiss. Only afterwards do I acknowledge that my action was too forward, even for this day and age. My cheeks begin to blush.

“W-well…” He stutters, having been completely caught off guard. “That was – uhm – although highly inappropriate – and we were alone-”

“You should go and change,” I interrupt him. Then, before I could sink to the floor in embarrassment, I leave through the living room door and head to the home lab.

Professor Solis smiles at me as I enter the lab. I smile back at him and move to stand close to the time machine. While waiting for the Don’s arrival, I contemplate upon how I should explain myself to him. He arrives before I could formulate even one word. He quickly averts his eyes as he passes me to come toward the contraption.

In no time at all, Don Silverio is standing in front of the time machine’s metal door, wearing his black velvet jacket and thick leather shoes. I duck my head, feeling stupid because I could not say a proper goodbye. Just as I am about to man up and tell him so, I feel a hand on my chin.

Juan lifts my face up and smiles at me. I feel like a fish as my mouth hangs open and closes several times. I guess he finds my speechlessness amusing, because his smile widens. “I thank you for showing me the wonders of this new world. In return, I wish to take you to my time and show you our ways as well… if your guardian is agreeable.”

I could not believe it. He was asking me to go back in time with him. Before, only Professor Solis had been allowed to go to the past and observe history. Now here I am, being offered the same opportunity. I momentarily forget the shameless kiss I had given him, and instead feel an excitement I had never before experienced.

I look at Professor Solis with pleading eyes. In return, he exhales and nods seriously. “I suppose you need a reward, considering you’ve been working with me on this project twenty-four seven. But I warn you. Three hours, Minnie. Three hours. Then I’m pulling you back out.”

“Oh thank you!”

I fling myself at the professor and hug him as tight as I could. In the blink of an eye, I am with Don SIlverio in the time machine. He holds my hand as excitement courses through me. “Are you ready to travel to the past, Señorita?”

“Certainly, Señor.”

The metal door closes in front of us. A whirring sound begins, and the surrounding gray walls enclosing us begin to blur. I turn to Don Juan to point out the phenomenon, but two hands grab me by the shoulders.

Two lips press fervently onto mine, in a heated frenzy I had never known before. Two arms surround me, skimming over my body and pressing me to a broad chest. Two voices moan in unison – his and mine – as we partake in the pleasurable act of kissing.

The moment his lips leave mine, a smirk appears on my face. I look into his eyes, my hands still clinging to the lapels of his jacket. His hands remain glued to the small of my back. We hold each other for quite a while, smiling and waiting for our surroundings to shift into focus.

“What are you thinking?” he asks, taking note of the dogged look on my face.

“Oh nothing,” I grin confidently. “Just thinking about the logistics required to make an inter-dimensional relationship succeed.”

END

About the Author

Ann Sepino is an independent Filipino author with a passion for poetry and writing. Her love for writing began at five years old, when she drew a picture book as part of her kindergarten project. At nine, she debuted in the publishing industry with her story entitled “Sanlibutan and Its Inhabitants,” a winning entry in RCBC’s annual short story writing contest geared for environmental preservation. Her fascination with romance novels began at fourteen. Ann leans towards creating female protagonists with characteristics such as loyalty, longevity and inner strength, much like the sunflower depicted in her official logo.

Ann is very active on Wattpad (www.wattpad.com/user/AnnSepino), where she engages with readers and posts early releases of her short stories. She can also be reached via Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/AnnSepino).

About the Cover

Ann Sepino would like to thank yiwunzhang for providing the original photograph/picture/art for this book.


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