Yet another excerpt:
Fourteen and a half minutes later, Rex banged on the window of the Beetle. Violet unlocked the doors and he jumped in, tossing his backpack and a duffle bag in the back seat.
“Be careful!” Violet yelped. “Mr. Skittles is back there!”
“You brought your cat?”
“I had to! I don’t know how long this is going to take!” Violet shot back. “I couldn’t just leave him.” She headed north. Once on the highway, she asked, “So what did you tell your mom?”
Rex coughed slightly. “Don’t be mad, okay?”
“Why would I be mad?” Violet asked, puzzled.
He sighed. “I told her we were dating and I would probably be spending the night in your dorm room this whole week.”
“What?! Rex Thompson!” she yelled.
“I said don’t be mad!”
“I cannot believe you,” Violet grumbled.
“I can’t believe you,” Rex countered. “You’re going to try to break into an alien spaceport and you care if my mother thinks you’re my girlfriend?”
“Point taken,” Violet said. “But come on. Ew.”
Rex shook his head. “Unbelievable.”
They drove on. A little over an hour later, they reached the turn-off from the main highway.
“Mercury Highway?” Rex laughed. “That’s got to be an alien joke.” Violet just shrugged.
“I guess it means we’re going the right way,” she said, gripping the steering wheel. She could feel her nervousness increasing. What if they couldn’t get on the base? What if they were breaking some alien law and they got thrown in alien jail? Would that be worse than Earth jail?
“Violet,” Rex said, breaking her out of her thoughts. He reached across the seat and rubbed her shoulders. “It’s okay.”
Finally, they pulled up to the guard station. Violet rolled down her window.
“Just like at McDonalds,” Rex whispered.
“I never eat at McDonalds,” Violet hissed.
They heard a hiccup from the guard station. A head poked out of the window, and a flashlight shined in their faces.
“Identification, please,” the guard intoned. Violet wrinkled her nose at the smell. She glanced at Rex, who shrugged and pulled his driver’s license from his wallet. Violet handed her license over, too.
“I need your planet of origin cards,” the guard said.
“This is our planet of origin,” Violet said shakily. The flashlight shined in their eyes again.
“What the…?” he said. “You’re from Earth?”
“Yes…” Violet replied. She started getting nervous again.
“We’re visiting her godfather, Berkeley Waters,” Rex called from across the car. “He’s meeting us at the spaceport.”
“Oh,” the guard said. He sounded noticeably relieved. His voice suddenly changed. “Hey, is that cat for sale?”
“Uh, no,” Violet said quickly. “It’s a present. For my godfather, you know.”
“Worth a shot,” the guard said. Violet squinted up at him, trying to read his nametag.
“Could you please let us in now, Mr. Ninford?” she asked.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, scratching his armpit. “Force field’s down. Go right ahead. Follow the signs for parking, and then get on the walkway to get to the shuttle.”
“Thank you!” Violet called as they drove through. She rolled up the window, and both she and Rex burst into laughter.
“I am pretty sure that alien was drunk,” Violet laughed.
“I can’t believe we got in!” Rex gasped. “We’re going to go to space! Like, for real, outer space.” They looked at each other, grinning like maniacs.