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Their first Noel

This short vignette follows the characters of The Admirer, and picks up about four months after the end of the novel.

***

James Grey wished for little more than the happiness of his wife. The courtship had been short and carried under tumultuous circumstances. Some of the memories made during that period would likely be the worst of their lives. He could hardly imagine an occasion for them to create worse memories. Nevertheless, he was determined to use every opportunity to create better memories, the best memories, for them both. He had applied himself to that effort since their wedding, a little over a month ago. But this, their first Christmas together, should be nothing less than magical.

The usual touches had been applied, of course. A tree was decorated, their new cook was preparing special treats, they would attend a great dinner at his father’s house. Yet James had something ever greater planned, and the most important touch would be delivered any minute. To preserve the surprise, he needed to get Rose out of the house very soon.

“The viscountess will be expecting us, my dear.” The viscountess Latimer, a longtime friend of the Grey family who had offered Rose her patronage for the season earlier that year, was having a little gathering of friends that afternoon. Taking her in on the secret had been risky, but she loved little better than a great romantic gesture, and James was certain that this was one secret she could be trusted to keep.

“Yes, I am ready.” Rose quickly walked to the entrance, leaving the book she had been reading on the console. As their coats were being fetched, James took the opportunity to see what had so engrossed his wife. “A Christmas Carol,” he read aloud with a smile. “I have always loved this story. My brother and I would gather friends and act out the tale.”

“Really?”

“Of course! A ghost story, what could be more appealing to a group of young boys? We did not have the talent of Mr Dickens – have you ever seen him read; he is as gifted an orator as an author – but we enjoyed ourselves. My brother especially enjoyed playing Scrooge and being horrified by the apparition of his dead partner Jacob Marley, or at the sight of his own grave.”

“I suppose.” There was something in her expression, something she would not say. Rose had been schooled to keep her thoughts to herself on almost every subject. He wanted her to know that she could tell him what she thought and felt, that he hoped she would, and so coaxed her when she retreated into herself.

“What is it?”

“Well… I was thinking about that moment, when Scrooge sees his own grave. It felt like it should have been more frightening than it was. The… atmosphere, I believe, was suitably horrible. The silent Spirit, shrouded in black, guiding Mr. Scrooge through the graveyard. And yet… why would that moment be such a shock to him? Did he never expect to die?”

“Perhaps not. Or perhaps it was the impact that his life and death had on the world. Or should I say the lack thereof. The London businessman made jokes about the funeral, servants took everything they could get their hands on and sold it for pennies, his own nephew was only just a little down. Can you imagine anyone with such a fate? Not even mourned by their nearest relations?”

“I can,” she answered softly. James could have slapped himself. Of course she could. The events of the summer had lead to exactly that fate for her uncle. The man had been a dangerous criminal and utterly deserved to go unmourned, but nonetheless it did no good to bring the subject to his wife’s mind. “Will your family be with the viscountess this afternoon?” The butler had settled Rose’s coat on her shoulders, and turned to hand James into his.

“Absolutely,” answered James, eagerly changing the subject. “Prepare yourself, my brother will likely make you sing yourself hoarse.”

“Oh, I don’t mind. I love playing and signing. I wish…” She looked stricken. “I’m sorry. I know we have no room for a piano. I didn’t mean to criticize, I swear. I love our house.”

“I know. And perhaps, someday, we may have a house with a music room for you.” Someday being that very day, when the piano he had bought was delivered and placed in the small sitting room that had been secretly renovated. Though she would only learn of it on Christmas morning.

“It doesn’t matter, really.” She grabbed his hands and smiled at him. “Being your wife, having you in my life, makes me the happiest woman alive.”

He smiled in return. “I intend to do everything in my power to always keep you this happy.” He kissed her fingers before handing her into the carriage.

***

This post is part of the Renaissance holiday blog roll! Find out what it’s all about here!

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Video post starring Rosie

You know how I said, back in April, that I was taking Rosie for walks on a harness and leash? That she was mostly sticking to the backyard? Well, 10 weeks of almost daily walks later, I have something to show you.

That’s her, on the sidewalks in front of a neighbor who lives two doors down. Can you believe it? She just started going to the front lawn last week, and now she’s already down the street! I’m so proud of her. The only thing she fears are cars, which is, you know, both fair and wise of her.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Summer

The first day of summer was this week (or earlier last week, to be precise). It’s weird how little that means when you’re no longer a student, and/or you don’t have children of school age. It’s not months and months of free time anymore. I still have to go to work every Monday through Friday, except for pre-determined holidays and two weeks of vacation time I asked for in August.

There are some noticeable differences. The days that have been growing steadily longer have already started to grown steadily shorter. The weather is getting warmer, occasionally leading to thunderstorms like the one we had last night, which was pretty cool. (I am once again grateful I live in a house with air conditioning because the heat leading up to said thunderstorms can be brutal.) The neighborhood is a lot quieter in the afternoons, when the children would normally be walking home from school.

So, yeah. Summer. Let’s see how this one turns out.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Goodbye Tit’fille

So, Tit’fille is gone. Not “dead” gone; “this isn’t her forever home after all” gone. Turns out that I’m not quite ready for a second cat.

The difference in eating patterns between her and Rosie was too much for my nerves. Rosie is on portion control, and she tends to nibble, then leave and come back later. Tit’fille gobbles everything down then goes looking for more. Keeping them separated, keeping Rosie’s food out of reach, then panicking because she hardly ate any of it when I managed to keep Tit’fille away: it was draining.

So, Cat Expert Sib took her back to the shelter. I hope she finds her forever home soon. Meanwhile, I learned something about myself; I can take in fosters for a few weeks and then let them go. If I did it once, I can do it again. 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Grateful

I am so grateful for the modern invention of climate control. We’re having something of a heatwave in my hometown, that’s been lasting for a couple of days. A year ago, that kind of weather would have left me tired and cranky, doing what little I could to keep cool in my 3rd-floor no AC apartment. This year, I own a house, with central AC, and a basement should it really get that bad. I’ve got decades of mortgage to look forward to, but it’s totally worth it.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Back home

I spent the week-end in Kingston, at the Limestone Genre Expo. Almost every Renaissance author was able to make it, so it was basically a lot of hanging out with a group of friends. In fact, everyone I met was A++ people.

I spent most of my time at the vending table, though I was “volunteered” for a panel without warning. I didn’t humiliate myself, so I’m willing to forgive the person who did the volunteering.

So, yeah. I had a good time. That being said, the best part of leaving is coming home.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Limestone genre expo

Extra post to inform the world that next weekend, I will attend Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston with my publishers, Renaissance Press. I won’t be in any of the panels, but I may attend a few, and I will definitely spend some time manning the sales table. I went last year, and really enjoyed myself. I look forward to fun times with fun people.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in Uncategorized