...And now, for something different!
I have a special treat today to celebrate the fifth day of Inn on the Edge. A romantic holiday letter, from Angie to Josh (the main characters of the novel), six months after their breathless escape from the Inn on the Edge Hotel and from the sex demon who held them captive there. Enjoy!
My Dearest Josh,
I've been in my studio trying to paint all morning, but I couldn't get anything done because I kept thinking about you. I miss you so much! I know you had to go to this training conference for your new job - but it's crazy hard to have you gone for two weeks.
How can they DO this to people, scheduling the conference just before Christmas? Don't they know we're newlyweds and that this is our first Christmas together? Are they heartless?
Anyway, I wanted to tell you what I was daydreaming about when I should have been painting.
It's the Storybuilder. You never got to experience the magic Storybuilder necklaces with me when we were still at the Inn on the Edge, which breaks my heart. I know you've been reluctant to use them, but Josh - it's been months and months since we escaped the demon. We're safe now. We took care of Mr. Abiba! He's gone! We can play with the Storybuilder now. I know we can!
Still need convincing? Then let me tell you about my daydream.
Close the door to your office, my dear. Lower the lights, sit back in your swivel chair and make yourself comfortable ... prepare yourself for adventure!
First, we'll undress each other. We put Storybuilder Pendants over one another's shoulders. You arrange mine so that it falls perfectly between my breasts, and then you lean over and kiss me. (Like it so far?)
We say the magic words and the Storybuilder turns on. Colorful speckles of light scatter over our faces, our bodies, looking for all the world like miniature Christmas lights. Admiring the effect the light show has on our nakedness, we nestle closer to each other. Before long I'm settled on your lap. We kiss again, even though kissing isn't part of the formal script that activates the magic. (Now I KNOW you're liking it!)
The sparkling lights die down, signaling that the magic is ready. It's time to take turns building our Storyland. Quivering with anticipation - this is so fun! - I choose the setting: we're in a castle, a deserted castle in the middle of a dense forest.
We watch, wide-eyed, as real world of our bedroom fades away and is replaced with magic. Rough stone walls materialize around us. The ceiling is made of wide, hand-hewed beams. The flagstone floor is covered with a hand-knotted carpet. Amazingly, impossibly, we're inside a drafty, cool castle. It even smells old. (Did you expect it to look so REAL, Josh? I didn't, the first time!)
I decide the place should be decorated for Christmas, and more things appear: a fifteen-foot Christmas tree in the corner of the room, fat aromatic candles burning in a wide circle around us, bunting draped from the ceiling and doorways, and, permeating the air, the smell of cloves and cinnamon and eggnog. (Yes, that'll do nicely.)
Now it's your turn, Josh. You get to choose the characters we'll portray in our own private Story Land. You think about it for a moment while I gaze at your handsome flushed face - see? You're getting into this! - and then you smile and tell me that you are the Lord of the Forest, a rich and powerful man, who has had this charming wilderness castle built for one purpose only - to share with his secret love...the parlor maid.
(So I'm to be a PARLOR MAID? You funny, funny man.)
We watch as we're magically draped in rich velvets and supple leather (for the Lord of the Forest), and in a thin, ill-fitting frock (for the parlor maid.)
(Thank you very much, Josh. Would it have been so bad to let me have a ball gown?)
Then it's my turn to add to the Story again. I declare that we need a banquet table heaped with the best food and drink, fresh and savory and ready to eat. Because we're going to get hungry, after all I have planned for us.
Arching your eyebrow, you quickly add an enormous four-poster bed, complete with satin sheets and comforters and plenty of pillows.
I add a mirror over the bed. Why not?
You add a box of sex toys. Again, why not?
And there you have it, Josh. The beginning of a Story. The rest will have to wait until you are here, until we're together again. Until then, I'll be thinking of nothing else.
With all my love,
Your Little Parlor Maid