• Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 24 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 24

    (Chapter 9 continued) “Nigel is indisposed and will be unable to assist you this afternoon,” were the first words out of Rose’s mouth as Elaina and Robert walked into the dining room. Rose stood beside the table, already filled with plates and platters telling the tale of a cold lunch that would be presided over by an even colder woman. Her hair was, as always, pulled back into a shiny yet severe chignon and she wore a crisp violet dress that looked like it belonged in an office. One hand was delicately resting on the back of one chair, a large diamond ring sparkling from one finger. “What do you…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 23 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 23

    (Chapter 9 continued) Robert chuckled and leaned back in his chair. “Don’t be. That was my reaction, too, but they both found other things to do right after, so my other questions went unanswered.” He gave her a rueful look. “You’ve met my mother. I think you understand why I won’t ask her any more questions.” She nodded and fiddled with a fold in her dress. “It’s almost like they came from another world.” “You’re telling me. How did your parents meet?” Elaina chuckled and her gaze shifted away from him for a moment. “You may not believe it, but I don’t know much about how my parents met, either.”…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 22 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 22

    Chapter Nine Jocelyn was nice. She enjoyed nature, so we took many walks around the gardens. I thought she might expand my horizons when it comes to gardening, but it turned out she had less interest in getting her hands dirty and more in picking flowers to decorate her hair. We didn’t really have much to talk about. I was bored after a week. She took three months before she decided the dying fall flowers weren’t her thing. I planted the Sunset Beauty in her honor. Elaina realized she hadn’t been a very good companion to Robert two weeks later when she saw him reach for a chessboard instead of…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls Part 21 - inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 21

    (Chapter 8 continued) He shifted uneasily in his chair. “My mother and I have a complicated relationship. It works when she thinks I’m under her thumb and when I acquiesce to her.” “What kind of relationship is that?” She seemed horrified. He assumed she had a lovely relationship with her own mother. How could he possibly accurately describe his relationship with his mother? “It works,” he said. “It’s not ideal, but my mother has always been distant.” Elaina frowned, one hand reached out to turn the tea cup around and around on the table. “I suppose I can’t expect every mother and child to have a healthy relationship.” A sharp…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls Part 20 - inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 20

    (Chapter 8 continued) Robert found Elaina in the dining room. It wasn’t quite time for dinner, but she had a small plate dusted with crumbs and a tea cup nestled in her hands. She was sitting at an angle to the table, turned just enough so she could stare out the window her back had been to just that morning and reach whatever she had eaten. Her hair was pinned up and a light shawl was resting over her shoulders. She reminded him of a portrait of a lady from a long time ago, romantic and sad at the same time. He swallowed hard, pausing in the doorway. His previous…

  • 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…