• Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 33 - the next part in my work in progress inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 33

    Chapter Eleven continued Elaina took a hasty sip of her ice cold water. Then her eyes wandered back to where Robert was still poking at his food. “It’s not poisoned, you know,” she said, perhaps a little too rudely. He started slightly before looking up with a sheepish look. “Sorry, Elaina. I’m just lost in thought.” He took a sip from his own glass. “I apologize for not being a good dinner companion.” Elaina closed her eyes briefly. “Just tell me why we can’t paint your study a lovely shade of blue or green.” Robert sighed. “I just can’t. It doesn’t feel right.” “I swear, Robert,” she said, her voice…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 26 - the next part in my work of fiction based on Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 26

    Well, Elaina is about to find out something about Robert. Probably not too surprising. But maybe he’ll surprise her with a very different kind of skill? Chapter Ten Annie was not lovely. She was actually very plain. That’s exactly why I picked her. I was tired of pretty faces and thought a plain one would be good change. Maybe it wasn’t a pretty face I would fall for. Sadly, she was just as plain in her thinking and interests. I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored before. And into the ground went the ___ in her honor. Robert shrugged apologetically as Elaina stared disbelievingly at the potatoes he had…

  • 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 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…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 9

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 9

    (Chapter Four continued) “So, what would you like to talk about?” she asked. Robert took a moment to slowly stir some sugar into his tea. From the way his forehead creased, she was content to stay quiet and let him mull his words over. It was oddly refreshing to be in the company of a thoughtful and transparent man. “I had hoped you could help me,” he said at last. She jerked in surprise, nearly sloshing her tea all over her book. “Me? How could I help you?” “The short story is that marriage will free me from this prison.” He quickly held up a hand as a look, something…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 8

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 8

    Chapter Four Elizabeth. So mature. Well, she was ten years older than me. I could tell she didn’t really like me. But she did love the finer things in life. She held out as long as she could, the longest at four months, but even she cracked. She loved stilettos, so I planted the Stiletto rose for her. “May I ask why?” Robert’s voice was surprisingly melodic, a beautiful tenor with a dark silky thread. It was a voice she’d only ever heard in her head, while reading a novel during which she fell head over heels for the hero. Turning him down was going to be harder than Elaina…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 7

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, part 7

    (Chapter Three continued) Robert stood watching from his study. He saw Elaina’s fright, the gathering of girls, and the long minutes of words being exchanged. He tapped his foot impatiently, wondering what was going on down there. It had never taken a girl so long to run into the Hall and throw herself at him. It was then that he knew he’d chosen correctly for the first time in eight years. This girl, the one with the book, the one arguing with Nigel, was the one. He watched with interest as the girl declined Nigel’s hand and instead walked beside him. As she neared, he wished there was more lighting…