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You., Me, Naideen and a Bee
cover design 2009 Ardy M.Scott.


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You, Me, Naideen and a Bee

YA fantasy

Ken Ramirez


Jamie and Julia, the Task Bearers, and Allie, the Guardian, embark on a journey into the world of elves, trolls, dwarves, magical dragons, wizards, and the evil sorceress, Lady Celina.


Chapter One


"Please have a seat, Naideen. I have just the most wonderful tea party planned," Julia said, adjusting the cups and saucers upon an a floral patterned tablecloth. "I have invited many guests to join us this afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Teddy are eager to try the special cakes I've baked, and the rabbit twins will be arriving shortly. Oh, Naideen, it will be the best tea ever!"

Julia, whose wispy, brown bangs were in desperate need of a trim, poured a fruity herbal tea into the delicate, pink, plastic teacups and daintily returned them to their rose-covered saucers.

"That's it, Naideen; you just make yourself comfortable and sip some tea while we wait for the others to come."

Humming a happy tune, Julia's dark, almond-shaped eyes sparkled as she placed mud muffins on the plates rimming the flat-topped stump. "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to give you a napkin," she said placing a neatly folded napkin to the side of Naideen's cup.

It was a wonderfully warm spring day. Cotton clouds drifted above in a blanket of robin's egg-blue. A breeze stirred the new leaves of the big black oaks overhead, sending out a raspy melody echoed by a meadow thrush. The quiet wooded grove was a magical place to visit and enjoy a gathering of fine company. Julia smiled as she watched her friend lift her teacup and sip the soothing, amber liquid.

"It's quite good, isn't it?"

Naideen smiled and nodded in silence as she stared beyond Julia.

Setting her own teacup down, Julia looked quizzically at Naideen. "What are you watching? Are the rabbit twins coming?"

Naideen shook her head.

Julia turned around just in time to see her older sister and a friend dart back behind a fat-trunked cedar. She turned to Naideen and rolled her eyes.

"Geesh! It's my stupid big sister, and her dopey friend Maiya, spying on us. Just ignore them," she whispered. Passing Naideen another mud muffin, she watched her sister's antics from the corner of her eye.

"She's so immature. Does she really think we don't know she's there?" Julia asked from behind a tilted teacup.

Naideen shrugged and sipped her tea again; a strand of curly, jet-black hair fell across her emerald eyes as she tilted her head to peek around Julia.

Julia reached into her basket and pulled out a mud muffin that hadn't quite dried. She opened her hand to show Naideen and smiled mischievously.

Naideen wrinkled her pointy little nose. Her high cheeks rose even higher with the spread of a thin-lipped smile.

Julia waited for the slightest sound from behind her, and then spun, launching the moist, earthy morsel in the direction of the sound.

Splat! The muffin made its intended mark.

"Thanks a lot, Julia!" growled her older sister Kayla as she wiped mud from the front of her blouse. "Mom's gonna kill you when she sees mud all over my shirt."

"It's your own fault!" snorted Julia, her nose and forehead wrinkled in anger. "Why, I thought it was a bear sneaking up on me! A woman has a right to protect herself, you know." She winked at Naideen. "Why are you and stupid Maiya spying on me anyway?"

Kayla shook a lump of mud from her fingertip. "Oh! Just look at me! I can't believe you threw that muck at me."

"You didn't answer my question, Sis."

"I wanted to let Maiya see you talking to your stupid, invisible friend."

Julia looked back to Naideen. She was gone. Her face flushed with anger, she turned back toward Kayla. "Why don't you just leave me alone? It's none of your business what I do. And it's not any of your silly friend's business either."

"Sorry, Julia, we just thought it was funny you still have an invisible friend," said Maiya. "I mean…you know…we all pretended to have friends when we were kids too…but…"

"But what?"

"Well, you're twelve now, and Kayla said you have had this friend for as long as she can remember. Don't you think it's kind of weird?"

Kayla planted her hands on her hips and grimaced at her little sister. "Yeah, Julia, don't you think it's kind of strange that you're in sixth grade and you're still having tea parties with stuffed animals and an invisible friend?"

Julia let her eyes fall to the ground. She felt her face change from the red of anger to the darker red of embarrassment. "Why don't you just leave me alone?" she whispered.

"Come on, Kayla. Let's go call Adam and Scott. This is boring."

"Yeah, okay, Maiya, you're right," replied Kayla. "Besides, Julia still has tea left in her cup, and a few mud cakes to eat too."

Maiya laughed as the two girls headed back to the house. Their dribbling teenage-blabber growing fainter the further they walked away from the wooded grove where Julia had set the tea party.

It was quiet again. Julia blinked as a warm tear rolled down her cheek and she silently stared at the empty spot where Naideen had once been sitting. She wished her dear friend Jamie could have been there. Jamie understood. Even though she never met Naideen, she never made fun of her, or caused Julia to feel badly about her invisible friend.

Jamie has the most beautiful blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes. Her rosy red cheeks and her bright smile could light up an entire room. She's loads of fun to have at tea parties and play at school with me on the monkey bars. Besides, Jamie has her own peculiarities. She keeps a wounded bee in a box she carries around with her wherever she goes.

* * *

"He's not really dead. He's been terribly wounded and I owe him my life! I simply must carry him with me at all times; to make sure everything is just right. So he'll heal properly. You know!" she would insist.

Julia met Jamie three weeks into the year when the young beekeeper moved to Grass Valley from Kingsburg, in central California. She enrolled into Julia's school, Beaver Creek Elementary. Her father took a job as a marketing agent for one of the world's largest textile and pharmaceutical conglomerates—Golden Empire Industries.

"What do you have in the box?" Julia asked.

"It's a severely wounded bee," Jamie whispered while she looked around to see if anyone might be eavesdropping.

Julia peered into the open box held out by her new friend. It was a large, cardboard matchbox, lined with a black piece of felt and dried grasses. In the center sat the bee next to an upturned bottle cap filled with a golden liquid. "Wow! That's a big one. Are you sure it's a bee? I thought bees died after they stung something? And how do you know it's a ‘He'?"

Jamie peered into the box at her savior and shrugged, "I don't know? I just feel like it's a ‘He'. He is a kind of peculiar looking bee."

"Are you sure he's alive? He's real still."

Jamie nodded. "That's honey in the bottle cap. He eats it." She reached in, and ever so softly, rubbed the back of the bee with the tip of her finger. The bee's wings quivered a little. "See? He's alive."

"Why do you keep him in the box?"

"He saved my life."

"Really? How?"

Julia leaned in closer to look at the bee, her tanned cheek almost brushing Jamie's.

Jamie looked at Julia from the corners of her eyes. "Four days ago I was playing hopscotch on the pavement between the classrooms, where no one ever goes. I had brought some chalk and drew out the pattern and was using my bracelet as the toss. An eighth grade bully, with a couple of his goons, came over and took my bracelet. I told them to give it back, but they just started calling me names and teasing me."

"Was it that big jerk, Carter Slaughter?"

Jamie shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. I really haven't made many friends, other than you, since I got here. Anyway, he wouldn't give it to me so I kicked him in the shin and socked him in the stomach so hard he dropped it."

"You socked him?" asked Julia with bulging eyes.

With a furrowed brow and an intense look on her face, Jamie pointed a finger at Julia, who leaned away from the stern finger.

"Of course I socked him! I have watched him bully other kids on the play ground and he never gets in trouble." She leaned in behind her finger. "And do you know why he never gets in trouble?"

Julia shook her head, watching the now waggling pointer.

"He never gets in trouble because no one will stand up to him. They're either afraid of him, or afraid of the ‘Zero Tolerance' policy. If anyone were to fight back and defend themselves they'd get suspended."

"Weren't you afraid you were going to get suspended when you socked him?"

Jamie put her hands on her hips and narrowed her big blue eyes. "It's the chance you have to take when you stand up to a bully. If a bully thinks he can bully…well…he'll just keep on bullying. I showed that Mr. Cow Slaughter he can't bully me."

"It's Carter. Carter Slaughter."


"So…how exactly did the bee save your life?" asked Julia confused.

"Well, the next day the bully-boy tried to sneak up from behind me. He was going to squeeze ketchup from the cafeteria on my head." Jamie looked down into the box with the bee and softly stroked its velvety body between the wings. "He would have succeeded too, if it wasn't for this bee. I heard that Carter-cow kid scream, just before he was about to squeeze the bottle. When I turned around, this bee here was stinging him right on the tip of his nose." The image of Carter screaming with a bee stinging his bulbous nose made Julia laugh out loud.

Jamie continued, "The big jerk swatted this poor, heroic bee from his face and was just about to stomp him when I kicked him in the shin and pushed him to the ground."

"Did you get in trouble?"

"No. One of the things about bullies is they always do their dirty deeds after they make sure no teachers are around. That's why they never get in any real trouble. Unless someone snitches on them, which they won't because then they'll be worried that the bully will get them—the bully gets away with it."

Julia peeked in at the bug. "So you picked up this bee and are trying to nurse it back to health?"

"Yeah, poor boy probably has a concussion, or an injured wing, or something. He seems to be getting better."

"How can you tell?"

"He eats more of his honey every day and I've seen him start his wings up a few times."

Julia smiled, her deep, rich, dark eyes riding on rounded cheeks. "I can't wait to tell Naideen this story. She'll love it!"

"Who's Naideen?"

"She's my invisible friend." The words came out so fast Julia hadn't realized what she was saying before it was too late. A wave of heat and nausea rolled through her body as she awaited the terrible response of laughter and ridicule.

But no laughter, and no ridicule, ever came. Jamie just smiled and said, "Maybe we can have a tea party sometime and I'll get to listen to you tell Naideen the story."

* * *

Yep! Jamie is a true friend, and Julia enjoyed their time they spent together having tea parties, building 'Indian Villages' in the forest where they collected acorns and pinecones, and made their own bows and arrows. And most of all, building a fairy house in the interior of an old hollowed out stump. The fairy house was complete with a variety of rooms carpeted with lush moss and a large slate dance floor where they just knew the fair folk gathered during the full moon nights and danced till dawn.





Author Bio

Ken Ramirez is a twenty-three-year resident of Nevada City, California, a Victorian mining community nestled in the majestic Sierra foothills. Ken is a high school science teacher and Alpine ski coach. He is also the author of the popular YA fantasy series, The Naida's Quest Trilogy.

TTB titles: Valley of the Raven
You, Me, Naideen and a Bee




You, Me, Naideen and a Bee Copyright © 2009. Ken Ramirez. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.


Format: PDF, HTML, Palm, Print
    Payment Method
PayPal -or- Credit Card -or- Fictionwise
List Price: $6.50 USD

Format: Trade Paperback
    Available now at
Amazon;;  Barnes & Noble  Borders;  Bookstores
List Price: $18.95 trade paperback


  Author News

Valley of the Raven by Ken Ramirez has been accorded the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment.


  Praise for Valley of the Raven

"Mr. Ramirez incorporates surprising, yet believable twists in his characters, all the while subtly sharing life lessons about responsibility, stewardship of the land, respect for people of all nationalities, and following one's destiny.

"I highly recommend Valley of the Raven to readers of all ages. It will quench a deep universal thirst for adventure and heroism."
Reviewed by Aaron Lazar, author of Tremolo: cry of the loon.




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