Star woke up in an interrogation room. Even with her job being what it was, she never expected this. A scruffy looking young man walked in and threw a bunch of photos on the table. The photos where old, and from different points in history. One was even an Egyptian carved stone. Star was in each one.
“Who are you?” She gulped. Oh dear. Star hadn’t expected anyone to find out, but she really should have been more careful. However, what was she to do about it? Who could help the fact that wherever she went, she always made important friends. Even Cleopatra, from 83 BC, was interested in her.
“Well? I’m waiting for a response.” The man shifted uncomfortably and Star came to the striking realization that he looked like Jessie.
“Do you know who Jessie Lane is?” She held her breath unknowingly, and a slight smile crept across her face.
“Jessie Lane. Perhaps your mother or grandmother?” The man’s eyes widened and he took a step back.
“Mother. Why?” Star let go of her breath in a great whoosh and grinned.
“Well then. You can know if you’re mother is Jessie. You see, I’m Star Josephine Cada. Your mother’s best friend. You see, you know that you’re mother is immortal, right?”
“No! No, she’s normal- wait, how do you know?” Star let out a small smile.
“I’m a time traveler.”
1- To the Past
Chase stared with surprise. This girl, Star, was a time traveler?
“I can see you’re surprised. I would be too. Well, it all started in the future, the year 2090. My father was an inventor and he had made the greatest invention of all time- a time travel machine. The only thing is, no one believed him and no one would listen. Plus, he eventually decided it would be too dangerous. So, he put it away in storage for future use. See, he had made it so that no matter how often you went into the past, you couldn’t change it. No matter what you did, the future would always be the same.” Star paused and turned to Chase with a sad smile.
“He died ten years later, in the year 3000. I was twenty two, and as an only child was given all of his inventions. After a few years, in the year 3002, I decided to clean it out. It was then that I found the machine. I discovered that you can’t travel to the future with it, and if you run into your past self you automatically go back to the correct year. It was genius, really.” She stopped and flipped through the photos.
“What was his name? Your father’s name.” He sat up and looked at her carefully, for she had frozen and stared at him with wild eyes.
“Chase. His name was Chase Lane.” They sat in silence for a few more minutes, before Chase stood.
“Mrs. Star, you’re story is unbelievable. Especially with the Chase Lane stuff. You were about to trap me, but…”
“Chase- no. It’s true! Just ask Jessie.”
“Jessie Lane, my best friend. She is immortal and was born in the year 34 BC. The latest I have traveled is to the year 83 BC. You know who I first met there? A young girl named Jessie. Only, she wasn’t really young. She was forty-three. The next time I traveled was to the year 1929, to see the American Great Depression in action. You know who I saw there? A girl named Jessie. She was at the ripe old age of one thousand, eight hundred, and ninety five. The next time was to the year 1855, I don’t remember why. But the first person I looked for was Jessie Lane. She didn’t remember meeting in 1929, because that hadn’t happened yet, but did remember meeting in 83 BC.”
“Mom never mentioned you. Why not?”
“Probably because in 2000 I told her my dad’s name, Chase Lane. She knew what was coming for you.”
“But how can I be sure?”
“Ask your mum.”
“I can’t. She’s dead.” Star’s face magically transformed into one of twisted pain.
“She was shot. Turns out, just because her mother was immortal and she’s half immortal doesn’t mean she can’t be shot.” Chase tried to hide all emotion from showing, but it was impossible and two tears slid into his mustache. Star didn’t notice though; for she was too busy struggling with emotion of her own.
“I always wondered why she didn’t show up in 3029, when I looked everywhere for her.” Chase finally noticed Star’s tears, and quietly removed all the pictures.
“She died in the year 2050.” Chase unlocked the interrogation room doors and opened them wide.
“Do you want to go there?”
“What, to 2050? What year is it now?” Star looked mortified to have asked that question, but couldn’t help but ask.
“2060. Why?” Star looked up at him, eyes wide.
“Are you engaged?” A smile lit her lips and she quickly disguised it. What a strange question! Why would she ask that? Chase frowned, and then nodded.
“Wonderful. What month is it?”
“March 3rd. And before you ask, my wedding is in four days.”
“Perfect.” Star let out a happy squeal and rushed to the time machine. Chase let out a sigh and followed. He wasn’t looking forward to the year he turned twenty, the year 2050.
“Hop in, it’s built for five.” Star pointed to the backseat as Chase inspected the machine. It was small, built with lightweight, yet durable, silver-colored metal. There was only one seat in the front; it was squarely in the center. The only door was to the left of the driver’s seat and had a foot of counter next to it. The rest of the counter was full of gauges and buttons for the driver. The driver’s seat was on a swivel stool and all the cushions where a deep cherry red with silver chrome accents.
“Come on, you lazy bum.” Star swiveled the seat back to the front and locked it down with a small silver lever. Letting out a second sigh, Chase slid onto the first row of seats, internally thinking that each row could fit three adults, not just two.
“Put these on, or we won’t be able to hear each other.” Star slipped her own silver ear buds in, and Chase followed the suit.
“Prepare for takeoff.” The machine let out a whirling sound and Star slid forward. Chase grabbed onto the handles that popped out of the top, and the room around them disappeared. Chase’s ear buds crackled and Star’s voice broke through the crackle with a loud yell.
2- Pain in the past
The Time machine was old, and Star had known it wouldn’t always be so reliant. But she still expected it to perform better for Chase, its maker, at the very least….
“It doesn’t usually rattle that much.” Star opened the door for Chase and slipped the ear buds back into the compartments. “You know, because you are one fourth immortal, you will remember this and any other times I run into you.” Chase looked her up and down.
“Are you…. One eighth immortal?” Star shook her head.
“No. I had my blood tested. Apparently Mum is somewhat immortal too, and I ended up three fourths immortal- more than both of you.” Star hesitated, and then shrugged. “It won’t hurt to ask. Who are you marrying?”
“Fran. Her real name is Francis.”
“Cool. So, well…. Will you invite me to your wedding? It would be so awesome, because a few years back in my time the tapes that had the video got destroyed, and I want to see it again. I can pretend to be a distant relative, I mean, we look similar.” Chase hopped out of the door and turned back to her. For the first time Star looked up and really studied Chase. He had the same rich, warm brown eyes as her, and the sweep of black hair that she remembered from when she was little. She had a darker brown color, from her mom. Their skin however, was a perfect match. The coffee with a splash of milk color, as her mom often said. “See Chase, that proves we are related.”
“Okay, we look similar but that doesn’t mean we are related. And anyway, if I was really your dad you wouldn’t have the last name Cada, would you?” Chase returned Star’s triumphant grin and studied their landing pad. “Goodness gracious! Mum had a landing pad on the roof?” Star smiled and nodded.
“Yup. Just in case I needed to come and visit. And by the way, I’m Cada because I’m married. My maiden name is Lane.” She flashed an impish smile and slipped silently down a ladder into the attic, Chase followed with a little more noise and less ease. Star assumed it was because this was all new to him, and went about finding the light switch or a flash light.
“Wait, how old are you?” Chase stumbled into a box and muttered under his breath, when Star finally found the light switch and flipped it.
“I turned twenty-six last month. I got married at twenty, for your information.” Chase turned pale and sat down on a small stool.
“I die young, don’t I?”
“If you had done the math, instead of jumping to conclusions, no you don’t.” Star sighed and continued to a small staircase. “You die at seventy. At the turn of the century, 3000. But we aren’t here to figure out your future, we are here for your mom. Jessie, Jessica really.” Star disappeared down the stairwell and Chase hurried to follow. At the bottom Star turned around and quietly whispered instructions to Chase.
“You need to stay here.” She hissed in his ear, handing him different ear buds. “Use these for communication. This room is filled with computers that show what is happening in the different rooms, a surveillance room.” Chase nodded and decided to question why his mother had surveillance later. “If you are seen by younger Chase you will immediately go back to your correct time zone. So please just stay in this room.” Star opened a small trapdoor and waved at Chase before disappearing.
Chase wasn’t sure if he was glad that he got to stay in a small room, or mad. He really didn’t want to re-live that horrific day, but at the same time he wished he could see his mother again. With a sigh he turned to the computers and searched until he found Star. She was sliding into Jessie’s room, and Chase found a button that read ‘audio.’ He turned it to on.
“Jessie?” Star slid up to her bed and took Jessie’s hand in hers.
“Star!” The word came out ragged, and Star visibly winced.
“Jessica… oh Jessie! I came from the future. And…. Jessie, I met Chase. Chase Lane. Thirty years of age. Can I tell you something?” Jessie nodded and Star continued. “He’s exactly as he was when I was little. He gets married, you know. To Fran someone.” Jessie smiled and began to speak so softly, that Chase had to turn the volume up.
“I wonder if it’s that Fran he’s always talking about now. It’s his birthday, you know. Chase is a special boy, one fourth immortal. He is all I have left of his father, bless his soul. I’m going to be with him now, you know Star. I never would have guessed that I would have an end, but this is a good way. Star, I don’t even remember how old I am anymore. Isn’t that so-so sad?” Jessie faltered and Star smiled encouragingly. “Star, my dear child. I met you when I was what- thirty? No- oh I don’t know. But Star! Oh Star! I never dreamed, you look like him. Dear me, you do. That makes you my granddaughter. I’m happy to have known you.” Jessie pulled her hand from Star’s grasp and closed her eyes.
“Jessie! No! You can’t go… not like this. I thought I’d always- always know you. You never get to see Chase’s wedding! Jessie! Please!” Star reached for Jessie’s hand, but Jessie evaded her and Star settled for pushing her hair away from her eyes.
“It’s time for you to go, my dear. Go back and get your Chase, he’s waiting for you. My Chase is almost at the door, Star dear. Don’t be caught. No- don’t hold my hand. Star, let me go. Thank you, Star. Good-bye, Star Josephine Cada.” Jessie closed her eyes and Star slid out of the room. Chase flipped to the front door camera nervously, and sure enough, there he was, standing outside the door was a police man and Chase, Chase close to tears and the police with a sad look on his face.
Chase didn’t even need the audio; he had played it over in his head plenty. He turned away from the depressing camera and watched Star climb back through the trapdoor.
“We have to go.” Star didn’t say anything else, and Chase didn’t press her. He simply followed her as they exited the house, making sure to erase any evidence of them ever being there. There was no friendly banter this time, and Star mutely handed Chase his ear buds. Chase handed her the ones she had given him in the house just as mutely, and they went zooming back to the future.
“Here, I’ll see you in three days.” Chase handed Star a small envelope and climbed out of the machine, leaving Star to grieve. She opened the envelope with a small tinge of curiosity, and out fell a piece of paper.
“You are invited to the wedding of Chase Michel Lane and Francis May Smith Please wear formal attire and…” Star dropped the paper onto her lap with a start and burst into tears. Jessie was forever gone, but it was the start of a new generation. Star’s generation. She wiped her eyes and hurried to her home, in the year 3006. A small smile crept across her face as she changed her clothes and turned the dial in the time machine. Thank you, Father.
Epilogue- The Future
Chase Lane straightened his suit coat and twitched his blue tie.
“It’ll all go wonderfully, Chase.” His best friend, Mac, stood in a matching suit. Chase turned to see him fully and smiled.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing Francis. Thanks for being my best man, Mac.”
“No problem. Come on, let’s go see who got here already.” Mac strolled out into the hall and Chase followed a little slower. He wanted to see if one guest in particular would come. A certain girl, Star Josephine Cada. Well, Star Josephine Lane-Cada. He peered at the guests milling about in the entry, but didn’t see the familiar hair.
“Hurry up, slow poke!” Chase glanced down at Mac and hurried to catch up. They waited by the doors, Chase kept an eye out for Star, trying to be discreet about it. He didn’t know he was failing miserably.
“Chase, that’s the third time! Look there, see? That’s Francis’s half-brother, Tom. Who are you looking for anyway, Chase?”
“I’m not looking for anyone.” Chase shook his head and turned to peek at Tom.
“Oh sure. You are looking for someone. Who is it?” Chase let out a sigh and faced the door again.
“A cousin, Mac. A girl that I used to play with. I haven’t seen her in years and she lives far away, so I was wondering if she would come.”
“What does she look like?” Mac smiled thoughtfully and added “Is she single.?”
“No, silly. She’s married to Mr. Cada. I don’t remember his first name.” Truth be told, Chase didn’t think Star had ever told him her husband’s first name. The visitors started to simply trickle through, and Chase let out a small sigh. I guess she couldn’t come. A boy, Francis’s younger cousin, and the ring bearer, came up to Chase’s side.
“Mr. Chase? They need you.” Chase smiled at the boy and tugged Mac’s elbow.
“Come on, Mac. The ceremony is about to start.” Mac sighed and peeled himself away from the door. “Oh Mac. You’ll get to see everyone when you are standing up on stage next to me, if you come.” Mac brightened at that.
Chase stood at the altar, ready to connect his life to Francis Smith’s life forever. He was nervous, but also glad that after nearly ten years both he and Francis were ready to tie the knot. His eyes flicked to the door as the music began. For a moment he looked upward, at the balcony above, and spotted movement. A flash of dark brown hair, a piece of pink fabric, and a silver shoe was all that Chase saw. He studied the balcony with more intent and just caught twinkling eyes. Star. So she did come after all!
Chase let a contented sigh escaped and then turned back to the aisle as the doors opened. Francis. His smile widened as he took her in, standing there, waiting. She began to walk, and Chase saw the twinkling eyes watching from above disappear with a flash. See you in a few years, Star.