This post is part of ‘WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS’, a series of writings about Prunella (Ella) Smith, author, editor & reviewer, and the many worlds she inhabits: her physical reality; her online world where disgruntled author Dita stalks; the worlds of the books she edits; her dream world, and the world beneath the veil of her ordinary reality.
Click here for the previous offerings in reverse order, or here for links to them in order.
I’m enjoying editing Kelee’s World. The author writes well, so there isn’t much in the way of line-editing to do on it, just a bit of copy-editing. Her grammar’s good, but she often misses punctuation marks. The scene laid out on my computer screen is in Kelee’s bedroom in the Menhir Mansion. The way the author describes the house makes me think of the old buildings in the south of France – terracotta tiled roofs, thick granite walls, small windows, polished floorboards and heavy rugs. Kelee’s bed is a lush four poster complete with drapery – as you’d expect in a romance – and I expect that the room is fairly dim. I focus on the words.
Someone rapped on the door, the thick wood ringing beneath their knuckles.
‘Who is it?’ Kelee called from where she lay on her bed reading the heavy tome Miramar had left her.
‘Tis Suzy, Miss.’
‘Come in then.’
The door opened and the servant girl took a timid step into the room before bobbing her white-capped head in deference. ‘Your mother calls for you. Master Beak is here. He wishes to see you.’
Kelee grimaced. ‘I don’t wish to see him.’
A grin transformed Suzie’s plain face as if lit from within. ‘She said you’d say that, and she said she wants you to come down anyway.’
‘And do what? Have a cup of coffee and a polite chat?’
Suzie giggled and shoved a wayward brown curl back under her cap.
‘Is that so funny?’
She nodded. ‘I can’t imagine you ever being polite to Master Beak, not really.’
‘He’s a creep; you can see that, can’t you?’
‘Of course, Miss. Everyone can see that.’
‘Except my mother.’
Suzie shrugged. ‘He’ll have a big inheritance coming his way when his father dies, and that’s not so long away. There’s plenty would have him for that alone.’
‘But not me.’
‘No, Miss, not you. Will you humour your mother and come down though?’
Kelee slammed the book shut, shoved it beneath her pillow and swung her legs off the side of the bed. ‘Indeed, since she’s not well, but only to make it very clear to Master Beak that I want nothing to do with him.’
The phone rings. I jump. Damn telemarketers. I pick up the receiver.
‘Hello, this is Ella.’ I wait for the silence, the pause that’s my signal to hang up before someone – invariably with an Indian or Asian accent – begins their spiel.
‘Hi, Ella. It’s Scott.’
‘Scott? Oh! Scott.’ Heat flushes my face. To think I’d almost forgotten him already. ‘I was focusing on a manuscript. Off with the pixies.’ And I never actually thought he would ring.
‘I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner sometime.’
‘Ooh, a date, that’s different.’ I grimace. What a stupid thing to say. Not that I care, actually. I gave up thoughts of romance when I moved into my inheritance here in the bush.
‘You mean you don’t have men lined up at your door?’ His voice is nice, smooth and deep.
I chuckle. ‘I think the locals are all taken.’
‘Not this one.’ I can hear the twinkle in his eye, see the little smile lines. I liked the almost continual suggestion of amusement that I’d seen in his chocolate gaze.
‘They don’t consider you local around here until you’ve passed your ten year probation,’ I tell him.
Now he chuckles, but when he speaks again, there’s vulnerability in his tone. ‘Will you come? I’d very much like your company.’
‘Of course, I’ll come. I’d love to.’ Imagine my surprise when only one month after finally joining the Friends of Kiama Library, he’d turned up to the meeting and made a bee-line for me at the coffee break. I guess I was the only one there within ten years of his age – fortyish I guessed. A good match for my thirty-four years.
We set a time and a place, and end the call. The conversation, short though it was, leaves me with a warm feeling. Perhaps it isn’t too late. I never wanted a husband or kids, not when I danced, and we never had time for much socialising outside of the company anyway. Some formed liaisons within the tribe, and I had the usual affairs – we were a promiscuous bunch – but no one ever felt like Mr right.
After The Back gave out, I spent three years in Buddhist Retreat at a Tibetan temple in the south of France, not the best place for finding a man, and I did my degree by correspondence, so no socialising there. If Scott really is as good as he seems, then the universe is definitely looking out for me. But I’m not about to get my hopes up. I don’t mind this journey remaining solo.
Kelee, however, is turning suitors away, but she’s eighteen and lives in a village, and being the protagonist of a romance, she is also gorgeous – white skin, tall and slender with a curvy body and long black hair. Beside her, I’m ancient and tiny. No boobs to speak of and thin, mostly blond hair. I cut it short for my farewell party from the company. Before that, I’d been a picture perfect ballerina, short and light – easy to lift – with big eyes – boring grey- and an aristocratic nose.
I wonder of there’s too many em dashes in that sentence. Nah, it works.
I turn my attention back to my work and grin as I watch Kelee attack Beak with finely honed sarcasm. He has no idea what’s going on, and Kelee’s mum, bless her, just purses her lips and smiles.
That’s it for today folks. Any comments?
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