• Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 19 - a work in progress inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 19

    (Chapter 8 continued) “I may have lost my wife three years ago, but I remember how we came to be together. Ah, what a beautiful woman. She was my best friend for years before I ever kissed her. I had always thought love at first sight was a powerful thing. She showed me how love from friendship can be just as or more powerful.” “I don’t remember how to make friends,” Robert said softly, his eyes lowering so he only saw dirt. Brown. More brown. A reminder of how dull his life was, perhaps? Maybe it was time to repaint his study. “I haven’t had to worry about making friends…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 18 - a work in progress inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 18

    Chapter Eight Hazel was a quiet soul. She wasn’t one for small talk. It was hard to get to know her at first, but, once we hit on something we had in common, it was hard to shut her up. I sometimes wished I had let her be in her quiet little world. My ears would have thanked me. Still, she was quite knowledgeable on gardening and helped create the herb garden. I planted the Peace rose in her honor, because that’s all I wanted after she left. Robert tugged at a particularly stubborn weed, wondering how he had missed the nearly two foot tall thing until it had reached…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 17 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 17

    (Chapter 7 continued) “I’ve heard you dated Bradley Hunter,” Rose said abruptly, flatly. Startled, Elaina lifted her eyes from where she was watching Clarice stick pins near her waist. “Yes, I did. For two years.” “Missed the lifestyle of the wealthy, did you?” “No,” Elaina said, almost too fast. “Not at all. I like a quiet life.” “And yet here you are, companion to my son, the heir to the largest fortune around.” “It was neither my intention nor my idea. My friends thought I needed a diversion from job hunting, so talked me into joining them yesterday. I never thought Robert would choose me.” “Yet he did.” Elaina had…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 16 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 16

    (Chapter 7 continued) It was so fast that Elaina had to stifle another gasp as her feet suddenly kicked into gear. Her heart was thudding and her stomach was doing uncomfortable loops. She hadn’t expected to be alone in Rose’s presence so soon. What was it that Robert had to do? Rose walked quickly. She faced forward, trusting Elaina to scurry after her. The only parts of her that seemed to actually move were her legs and feet. Her neck and torso didn’t even bend a millimeter as they descended a staircase. They stopped abruptly at a mahogany door. Without ceremony, or even acknowledging Elaina’s presence, she opened the door…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 15

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 15

    Chapter Seven Celeste was a mistake. She was pretty, but vapid. She also had a lot in common with a leech. Oh, she didn’t suck blood, but she sucked energy. Sucked it right out of me. After a week I was running for hiding places as soon as I woke up. It’s a good thing my mother scared her out of her wits one day. I don’t think I ever saw her run that fast. I must admit I chuckled while planting the White Cloud climbing rose. Elaina was certain that, had she been alone, she would have fallen to her knees and wept right there in the middle of…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 14

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 14

    (Chapter 6 continued) Robert smiled at her as he went to grab a pastry. “Congratulations. You survived meeting my mother. And you must have made an impression on her. She usually lingers, just to make my companion nervous.” Elaina smiled faintly, dipping a silver spoon into the parfait glass she had claimed. “You said she’s unpredictable.” “I did,” he acknowledged, “but this is the first time she’s only stayed for a few minutes. The first time in eight years.” Elaina shrugged. “Maybe she’s keeping things interesting for herself.” Robert offered her a faint smile as they finished their breakfast. Unlike the evening before, he was quite taciturn, seemingly lost in…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 13

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 13

    (Chapter 6 continued) Robert laughed as he held out a chair to her, the one facing the door. “My mother’s idea. The women usually expect the grand dining room with the mile long table, extravagant foods, and servers at five foot intervals. This is her way of bringing them down a notch.” Elaina raised a brow as he sat across from her. “If you ask me, that sounds smart. After all, we’re here to keep you company, not bask in the throes of luxury.” He paused as he unfolded the simple paper napkin. “You and my mother might have more in common than we think.” He gave her a wry…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 12

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 12

    Chapter Six Abigail was another older woman. This time, there wasn’t such a huge age difference. She was only ten years older. She was a teacher who had just been laid off, very sweet and very obviously a Kindergarten teacher. Sometimes she treated me like a child, and now I understand why she was single. But she was nice and a lot of fun. Painting was her thing, so we spent a lot of time with paints and easels. I can’t say any of my works were masterpieces, but she was good for the soul, always encouraging. I was sad when she left, but her soul was too fragile for…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 11

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 11

    (Chapter Five continued) A sudden banging at the door made them jump. “Who could that be?” Poppy asked as James went to answer the door. “A jealous girl?” Lily ventured, shrugging. “No one was happy when only Elaina was chosen. You should have seen the murderous looks!” Loud, and rapid, footsteps thudded towards them. James could be heard demanding the person turn around and leave his home. His voice was angry, and Poppy had a sinking feeling that she knew who had just invaded their home. Bradley’s angry face appeared, James standing behind the slightly taller man, threatening to call the police. But Bradley was focused on Lily and Camille,…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 10

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 10

    Chapter Five Jane was much older than me. You could say I was going through a phase. Older women were simply much more appealing. My mother wasn’t happy, and that only further encouraged me. Jane was two decades older, quite matronly. She doted on me as though I were a favorite nephew. We passed many evenings with wonderful conversation. Sadly, she had word that her long estranged husband, who suffered from fugue, had turned up and wanted her back. I never heard from her again. I planted the Peace Rose in her honor. And I still hope to hear of her one day. When Elaina failed to exit Roderick Hall, Lily and Camille went…