Female World War II Pilots in Historical Fiction – Excerpt Seven

My early beta readers all asked me to write something happy, so I wrote parts of the ending to my novel, when Stella and Sasha are reunited after Sasha is shot down and presumed dead. I knew as soon as I conceived the idea for my story that I wanted it to have a happy ending, but every story needs conflict, and between the forbidden cross-cultural gay romance and World War II, I think I’ve got that covered. I still have to work out some of the details of the falling action and resolution – Stella and Sasha adopt one or two of the children, and they move somewhere together, so I have to decide which children go with them and where they’re going to build a life together. Writing is just a long series of making minor decisions and stressing over them even though you’re supposed to be the one in charge.

Sasha gets down on one knee, not breaking eye contact. She holds her closed fist over her heart. If Stella is a princess, Sasha should be her knight. Sasha should be a king: she would still kneel before Stella, and Stella is no longer afraid of it. Maybe she deserves it, or maybe she doesn’t – what she has is Sasha, in front of her, unbroken and offering her the world.

“Stella Elena Razusova,” Sasha begins. “My star.” She’s grinning madly, just like Stella, but there’s something reverent in her voice. Stella probably has streaks of mascara running down her face. She bites her lip and nods encouragingly.

“I am already most lucky. Lucky that I fell out of the sky three times and survived. Lucky that you found me, and held my hand. Lucky enough that I fell in love with you. So I think, you say no, I’m still lucky woman.”

Stella’s laugh is wet and ugly. God, she thinks, how are you real? Sasha has forgiven the world for what it has done and will do to her. Has she forgiven herself? Only time will tell, Stella thinks, and they have plenty of time. Besides – Stella is extremely persuasive.

Sasha goes on. “I want you to roll your eyes at me always. I want you to tell me I’m crazy. Wake me too early. Sing very loud, be worst doctor. Everything, God, baby.” Stella’s heart races. Sasha reaches toward Stella and opens her hand. It’s her Hero of the Soviet Union badge: a single gold star dangling from a plain red pin. “Zvezdochka, will you be my wife?”

Stella bends down and kisses her, open-mouthed and smiling. Yes, oui, da – she wants Sasha to feel her yes, to know with that same bone-deep sureness that this is the life they will build together. The rest of the world will settle back into some kind of normal, probably, or maybe it will go to shit; in any case, they’ll be prepared. She moves to stand up, and Sasha goes with her. She wraps her legs around Sasha’s hips, trusting Sasha to support her weight. Sasha huffs and gets a hand under her ass. If she had a retort, Stella kisses it from her lips. “To love another person is to see the face of God,” Victor Hugo said. God is real and endless. Sin is just another word for fear. Stella and Sasha are made of flesh, and stardust, and love.

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