• Part 42 of Queen of the Garden of Girls, a fictional story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 42

    Chapter Fourteen Mirabelle shouldn’t have been at the garden party. She was just passing through town. Of course I didn’t know that, but she made it clear she could and would only stay for a few days. I was desperate for some company other than Mother’s and Nigel’s, so I agreed and we spent a pleasant two days wandering the Hall and just chatting. I planted the __ for her. Just to be respectful. Robert was giving her funny looks, but it wasn’t her fault the wardrobe was only stocked with fancy dresses. She’d pulled out the least fancy one she could find, one that looked like it had been…

  • Part 41 of Queen of the Garden of Girls, inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 41

    Chapter Thirteen, continued Rose was not the most predictable person, but Robert knew her better than anyone else. It happened when you were cooped up with the same person for years on end. There were only a handful of people on staff, and Nigel. Well, he was technically a member of the staff, but Robert had grown up with him so he was really Robert’s best friend who happened to be paid by Rose to keep her son looking presentable. As he expected, Rose was in her favorite room, a little unassuming study in a corner of the Hall. It was sparsely furnished with a small writing desk, an uncomfortable…

  • Part 40 of Queen of the Garden of Girls, inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 40

    Chapter Thirteen, continued In hindsight, he should have checked the library first. It would have saved him a lot of walking around. He knew the Hall was massive, but wandering around it trying to find one young woman made it seem bigger. Of course, he should have remembered which young lady was in residence. It would have made things so much easier. Robert had expected to find Elaina’s nose buried in a book. Instead, she was seated, with her hands folded in her lap, her eyes fixed on the wall of books before her. He blinked in surprise, wondering how long she was going to sit there before she selected…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 39 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 39

    Chapter Thirteen continued “Do you think Elaina is falling in love with me?” “Sir?” Nigel asked as he crouched down beside his master to pry the weed from his grasp. Robert’s eyes strayed back to the sky as he let Nigel take possession of the cursed plant. “Elaina is so different. Even though countless women have served as my companion, she’s still, somehow, different. I like her. I just wish I knew if she liked me, too.” “She hasn’t fled the Hall yet,” Nigel pointed out. Robert didn’t say anything. Nigel didn’t know about his agreement with Elaina. He didn’t know she was only staying because of the promise of…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 38 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 38

    Chapter Thirteen Emily was sweet and young, a perfectly effusive young lady, but Mother constantly called her uncivilized and drove her from the Hall in tears. I never really got to know her since she was only my companion for three days before Mother had had enough. I planted the __ for her out of duty. Robert yanked hard at a weed. He wasn’t sure where they were all coming from. It felt like he spent every other day weeding the garden that grew more weeds than roses. He sat back on his heels, glaring at the green stalk that bobbed and wove and taunted him for not being able…

  • Why I Share My Fiction - why I post my writings to my blog for everyone to read

    Why I Share My Fiction

    Once upon a time, The Lily Cafe was a writing blog in 2013-2015. I shared my fiction and some poetry. Most of it’s still there if you’re curious; they’re too much a part of what this blog is for me to want to delete it. When I came back to blogging in 2018, I hoped to find the same writing community I had left. I was a little disappointed. Back then, I had found several writers doing as I was doing and posting their fiction. I “met” Jennifer M. Zeiger at that time, as well as some other writers who no longer blog here, or, at least, not under the…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 37 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 37

    Chapter Twelve continued Elaina’s hands automatically flew to her hair, which hung down around her shoulders in soft tangles, clearly not recently brushed. Her stomach turned over, the nibble of the cookie suddenly not sitting well. She really should have paid closer attention to the time. She couldn’t bring herself to look directly at Rose’s face, afraid of what she would see. “Well, uh, Robert thought a quiet afternoon in, um, the library would be good for me. You know, especially since he was busy this afternoon. He thought it might, er, help calm my nerves.” “And has it?” Elaina giggled a little. “Well, I did lose myself in a…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 36 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 36

    Chapter Twelve continued Elaina had done as Robert had suggested: she’d lost herself in a book. She’d become so lost that, by the time her head had emerged, she’d had exactly five minutes to get to Rose’s study for tea. She’d gasped and flung herself from the plush armchair, hoping fervently her hair wasn’t too untidy and her green gown not too wrinkled. Rose was, of course, perfectly coiffed and attired. Elaina couldn’t help but feel like a scullery maid next to her. But Rose only glanced over her with her usual cool expression before silently indicating she should take the seat opposite her at the dainty round table. While…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 35 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 35

    Chapter Twelve continued “Your mother is inviting me to tea this afternoon,” Elaina said as her eyes re-read the words for the third time. “My mother is what?” “Tea,” Elaina said, looking up at him. “Rose wants me to have tea with her. Just her and me. Should I be worried?” Robert scratched at his ear, an uncomfortable look on his face. “I don’t know, Elaina. I really don’t.” Elaina carefully laid the invitation alongside her plate. She pressed her fingers down firmly over it to stop them from shaking even a little. Rose hadn’t been particularly unpleasant, but neither had she been anything more than a frigid ice sculpture,…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 34 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 34

    Chapter Twelve Isabelle didn’t know who I was. It was refreshing. She’d been dragged to Mother’s latest garden party by her roommate. She’d just moved to the area and hadn’t heard about the recluse in Roderick Hall. She was able to get to know me with fresh eyes and heart, but she had moved here after having her heart crushed. Her heart was not ready to let go of the man who had shattered her. She was a wonderful friend, but couldn’t see us being anything more. I planted the __ in her honor. And I mean that. It was an honor to have been her friend. Lunch was nearly…