Someone Else's Fairytale

Free Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts

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Authors: E.M. Tippetts
valley. A footpath zig-zagged beneath us and something, a coyote or a deer – I couldn't see from this distance – bounded away behind a rock. The twisted wreckage of an airplane lay strewn out across the boulders.
    At the second tower, everyone turned to look out the front, and suddenly, we were gazing out across a deep valley. The tram seemed smaller and more fragile as the ground dropped sharply away. The path below shrank to the width of a thread, and another plane wreck lay half hidden in the jagged rock.
    The sky was lighter ahead – east was over the Sandia Mountains and the sun hadn't yet peeked over, but it was close. The tram swayed slightly in the breeze as it passed the other tram car going the opposite direction. All the staff waved at it, even though it was empty.
    “This the longest tram in the world?” Jason asked. His voice was soft.
    “Mmm-hmm, think it still is,” I said.
    “Been ages since I've been on it.”
    “Me too.”
    The tram finished its journey and slowed to slide into its dock at the top. I put on my jacket and Jason put on his sweatshirt before the crew pushed the door open. Sure enough, the air that whooshed in was cold and crisp, like winter.
    “Hey,” said a guy in a restaurant uniform. “Give us twenty and we'll serve breakfast, okay?”
    “That's great.” Jason clapped him on the arm.
    The guy smiled like he'd been bestowed a great benediction.
    “Oh, breakfast?” I said.
    “Yeah. Sorry, I should have spelled that out. Did you already eat?”
    I shook my head. I'd had my coffee and that usually kept my stomach quiet.
    “Just fruit and pancakes and stuff,” said Jason. “That good by you?”
    “Sure.” But I knew I didn't sound sure. Everyone else had let us precede them out from the swaying tram onto the firm decking. Now they all trooped past us to get to their jobs.
    Jason and I were definitely the only non-staff, which meant we were basically alone, at the top of Sandia Peak . The sun rose behind us, painting the sky a deep watermelon pink. He was looking at me, his expression uncertain.
    “Um... okay,” I said, “really stupid question-”
    “Is this a date or isn't it?”
    “I thought you were dating Corey Cassidy.”
    “Oh.” He shook his head. “No, the hot tub scene was purely professional. Except... I need to not say stuff like that to normal people.”
    But I laughed, which seemed to make him relax.
    “You got a boyfriend?” he said.
    “Not exactly. I'm sorry. I'm inept at this kind of stuff.” This was not the conversation to have while the sun rose and birds sang and the city beneath us woke up, the streetlights all winking out in a wave that ran from one end of town to the other.
    “You? I'm not even remotely ept. Look, I'm sorry if this is awkward. Really. It doesn't have to be anything.”
    “We're friends?”
    “Yeah. Friends is fine.”
    I nodded. “Sorry to make-”
    “No, no. Way less awkward when things are clear, you know? I'm freezing, though. You okay with going inside?” He nodded in the direction of the restaurant.
    I couldn't help but smirk at him. “But you're not even in a t-shirt or eating ice.”
    He laughed. “Wearing a coat between scenes just makes me colder when I have to take it off. I don't suppose I can get you to believe I suffer for my art sometimes?”
    “Yeah, I saw the whole red carpet thing. I believe it.”
    He smiled, his blue eyes sparkling.
    We headed inside the wood frame building which also had windows all the way around. It smelled like pine and mountain air even inside. A waiter showed us to a seat by the windows on the east side, where we could watch the sun come up. The cloudy sky cut the glare nicely.
    I tried to think of something normal and conversational to say. “So what's your next project?” The table we sat at had a plain white tablecloth and nothing else on it.
    “I play a criminal. A murderer. You know, good fun family entertainment.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “That

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