The best version of me. The only version. Kissing the best, dorkiest, most tall and wonderful version of him.

When we finally break apart, he takes out his phone and asks, “May I get your phone number? Your real one this time?”

“I think you’ve earned it,” I reply, plucking his phone out of his hand, and kiss him again.


I duck between two Sailor Scouts to snag my and Harper’s orders and carry them to our table. My hair is pulled up into a beanie, but slivers of brilliant blood red escape and twist across my neck. People aren’t really looking at us, probably because everyone is too tired to confront us, or my disguise is finally working, or because I told the barista Imogen’s name at the cash register. Hey, we promised that we would switch back, not that I would stop using her name.

Although, it’s hard to fool the paparazza sitting in her black SUV outside the café, but a girl can dream.

“Do you think Ethan found her?” Harper asks, taking a sip of her iced latte.

“I’m sure he did,” I reply. He hasn’t texted me saying that he didn’t, and Imogen hasn’t responded to my text yet, so something is keeping them both busy. “I think they’d be cute together.”

Her curly hair is pulled up into a bun atop her head, wrapped with the same purple scarf from last night. “Long distance sucks, though.”

“Well, I guess it would, but a few hours isn’t really that far when you think about it.” I nurse my dirty chai latte, and it hits the spot right where a good eight hours of sleep is missing.

She snorts. “A few hours? Jess, Asheville and L.A. aren’t even in the same time zones.”

“Who says I’ll be in L.A. for the next few months? There could be a job that lands me here for a while. And then after that, who knows?”

Harper stares at me, blinking, before she figures it out. She lives here in Atlanta. It wouldn’t be a few hours for us. She grins around the straw of her latte, and the glimmer in her golden-brown eyes is almost as intoxicating as the thought of starting something with her—something real.

A story that I get to tell.

“After all,” I add flippantly, because I can’t keep her guessing, “someone needs to save Carmindor.”

“Indeed,” she replies, trying to disguise her delight, but her knees are bumping under the table and she is not very good at hiding her excitement. “And you’re okay with playing Amara again? Happy?”

I wish interview questions were this simple. Maybe from now on they will be. I lean over the table to meet her halfway, studying her perfect lips and her perfect eyelashes and the perfect curl of her dark hair. The paparazza in the SUV focuses her fish-eye lens on us.

Are you happy? my heart asks softly.

“Yes, I am,” I reply, and I kiss her. I kiss her in front of the entire world, the first word on the first page of the rest of my life.


By Elle Wittimer


IT IS A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED that a fandom in want of a princess will save that princess. And sometimes it’s the princess who saves the fandom.

At the twenty-fifth-annual ExcelsiCon in Atlanta, Georgia, this past weekend, it was revealed that the director of Starfield, Amon Wilkins, leaked the confidential script for the sequel. This morning, the studio announced that they have fired Mr. Wilkins from the project and replaced him with N. A. Porter—the directorial name of none other than Starfield’s original princess, Natalia Ford.

Following the shake-up, Darien Freeman has confirmed that he will reprise his role as Prince Carmindor, as will Calvin Rolfe as Carmindor’s best friend, Euci. The villain in the sequel, revealed (in full costume) in an earlier panel during ExcelsiCon, will be General Sond, played by Blades of Valor actor Vance Reigns.

When asked whether the character of Princess Amara, incarnated so well by Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Stone, would make a reappearance after Ms. Stone’s heartfelt speech on a panel late Saturday evening, the cast reserved their comments.

But they did tell us that Starfield Resonance will begin filming next month. And Jessica Stone will be there.