Smoky Corners 3-NC: Aussie Dreams

OK, so I'm posting this two days early, but I wanted to do something special for a special person on (or at least near) her birthday. Besides, it's Pi Day, so...

Without further ado, I present:

Smoky Corners 3-NC: Aussie Dreams
(c) 2017
Haylee V

Joanna had just settled down to read another Larry Niven novel she had received from her grandchild. She had finished the day's chores, and it was too early for tea. She had recently restocked her pantry, and was expecting a few friends over later for an evening round the barbie, as it was her turn to host the monthly meeting.

As her mind wandered, she felt herself begin to drift off into the world of twilight. She was eighteen again, with all the vigor of a teen. The world was fresh and alive with wonder, and she had just gotten her passport a few days earlier. She had been accepted to a small college in the United States as an exchange student, and was excited to travel to the fabled "Land of Opportunity". She was saddened, however, as this would be the first time she had ventured more than a few hundred kilometers from home.

She arrived at the Brisbane airport early, and had just checked her baggage for the flight to Billings, Montana. She knew that this particular flight was by no means the shortest, as it would take close to 66 hours to reach her destination, but she had purposely chosen this itenerary, as it afforded her a 23-hour layover in Tokyo, and she had always wanted a genuine silk kimono. Besides, she wanted to see more of the
world, and viewed this as the first stop of her grand tour.

She would then fly to Denver, arriving in time for a late tea. The parka would come in handy, as she could play ski bunny while she toured the chapeau she had rented for the night. She might even meet a handsome ski instructor there before she had to leave the next day.

After reboarding, she would continue on to the last leg of her flight, arriving in Billings around 1 pm. from there, it was a simple 2 hour bus ride to the university, and her dorm in Smoky Corners. She could hardly wait!

The boarding call sounded as she was lost in her thoughts. She quickly borded, taking a seat near the window. She shook with nervous excitement as the plane lurched forward and began taxying down the runway. Her journey had begun!

The flights and layovers went without a hitch, as did the bus ride. By four pm, Joanna was getting settled into her dorm. She was beginning to get hungry, and decided to get a sandwich at the Subway in the shopping complex down the street from her dorm. Locking her door and placing the keys in her purse, she began the short walk up the street.

She quickly arrived at the restaurant and placed her order. Whenshe had finished eating, she decided to see just what this town had to offer. The curio shop in the corner caught her fancy, so she walked towards it, noting the sudden breeze as she did so. The sky was beginning to darken, and she could smell the approaching rain on the wind.

Ducking quickly inside the shop, she was suddenly taken aback by its ambiance. Knickknacks and various bric-a-brac lined the lower shelves of the shop, and she noticed a tea cozy had been set up in the corner. Never one to turn down tea, she made her way to one of the velvet cushions. She failed to notice the bespectacled man smiling at her through the beaded curtain.

"Welcome, cherry blossom. I've been expecting you for quite some time," the man stated.

"Me?" she asked, pointing to herself carefully.

"Yes, Joanna-sama," he said. "I have what you seek. Stand, and begin your journey"

She felt uneasy as she slowly rose. The man had been expecting her??? Not only that, but he knew her name as well.

"I beg your pardon, Mister?" she stammered.

"Chigiri. Kato Chigiri. Welcome to my shop... and your destiny."

With that, he took her left hand, and placed a delicate aquamarine ring on her finger. She felt her body tingle and grow warm. Her chest became heavy and more pronounced, and she noticed her jeans were fitting looser.

"This can't be real!" she whispered in awe as she saw her reflection in the shop's window. For standing before her was a quite beautiful woman.

"This IS your dream, is it not?" Chigiri questioned...
Joanna woke with a start, her book dropping from her hand.

"I knew it was too good to be true," she sighed. "Just another stupid dream."

She bent down to pick up the fallen book. Only then did she notice the pale blue sparkle from her left ring finger...

Happy early birthday, joannabarbarella. And thank you for being a friend--and a damn fine LADY.

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