Calm Down, Mama – Chef Fiction

This last week led to a new guy in the kitchen learning the ropes. But one little irksome thing kept happening to the point where I let it slide then, but won’t now. I do not need a guy telling me to quit yelling when I am just showing him the basics and my voice is normal level. Trust me, he was not doing it to the guys in back. And it started pissing me off. If it happens again this week, well, I’m going to pull a Hela on him.   Pardon the F-word in here a couple times. It’s the only way to express it. 

“Here, like this,” Hela said, showing the new guy how she wanted the pasta coated in sauce. “Then add a dab of butter, a bit of salt and pepper, and finish with the chili flake.”

“Okay, mama, no need to yell. I got this,” Sean soothed as if trying to calm down a child.

Immediately Hela slammed the saute pan down on the burner. Dima, who was watching Hela teach, glanced down at the smaller man and arched a brow. All around, the other stations got deathly quiet, everyone staring, while Gerrit eyed the situation from the other side of the pass. A ticket printed on a machine, but no one reached to grab it.

Hela pulled herself up to her full five feet three inches and stared coldly at Sean. “I highly suggest you refrain from telling me to not yell when I am talking to you calmly. I let it slide last week cause you were the new guy, but I can bet that you have not said the same thing to any of the guys. Do not do it again.” Her voice had dropped lower with each word till even Dima was backing away, shaking his head sadly at the new guy. Hela loud was one thing, but Hela quiet was a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

Sean put up his hands and backed up on step. “Okay, mama, calm down, I was just kidding.”

Hela’s eyes went wide and Dina flinched behind Sean. Oh, the little man didn’t stand a chance.

“Get off my line,” she growled. He didn’t move. Hela stepped into his face, his height and hers identical. “Get off my fucking line!”

When the man still didn’t move, like a wind up toy, everyone moved into action. Dima stepped around Sean and slid between him and Hela. Dina gave Sean a nudge backwards and there was Marcus, clapping his hand over the man’s shoulder to drag him off the line. Gerrit jerked a finger at Marcus and like a firing squad, the three men marched back to the Chef’s office.

Dina reached down and dinged the bell in Carlos’ code before glancing a Hela. She was practically vibrating, the anger dripping off of her in waves of heat. Her face had gone brick red and he could see her eyes were going glossy with unshed tears.

Carlos banged in through the swinging doors his mouth open to ask what.

“I need a Hela bitters and soda and a separate orange juice now,” he ordered, then seeing as Hela started to crumble, pulled her into his long frame and he felt her sigh. Carlos was out the door in a flash, banging them as he slammed through. “Boys, watch the line, do not fuck it up. I’ll be back in a second.”

Dina turned Hela towards the walk-in and marched her inside. They could hear muffled yelling coming from the office that faded as the door closed behind them. Hela stood there willing the tears to fade.

“Hela, breathe,” Dina ordered softly. She took a shuddering breath in. “And again.” She did as was told and he saw the semi relief hit her, along with the cold air. Her flushed cheeks faded a bit. “Stay here, I have to go finish that ticket.” He looked at her sternly and she nodded.

Dina slipped out the door and glanced back at the office to see Sean slamming out and ripping off his apron. The apron was wadded and tossed into the dirty towels bag before he slammed out of the door into the late afternoon sunlight. Marcus and Gerrit followed at a more sedate pace.

“Another one bites the dust,” Dina noted and hurried toward the line calling over his shoulder, “she’s in the walk-in. Carlos is getting orange juice for her.”

Marcus headed towards the doors and caught the drinks just as Carlos stepped back through with the two glasses. “I got her,” he said calmly. “You get the line,” he said to Gerrit.

“You sure?” Gerrit, while having figured Hela out, was still a little unsure how to handle her like this. This was the first time he’d even seen her yell.

“I am. You can talk to her later.” Marcus opened the walk-in and saw Hela organizing. “Come on babe, outside.” He handed her the orange juice first and let her proceed him out the door into the sun. She downed the juice and he handed her the second glass. She sipped it through the straw.

“Better?”

She nodded. “Thank you, Marcus.”

“Anytime. Are you going to be able to finish the line?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Finish your soda, and head back in. I’ll take over till you come back.”

Hela nodded again.

“Oh and the new guy,” Marcus said poking his head back out the door, “he’s gone.” He made a finished sign with his hand and slipped back inside.

 

One can dream the idiots are swiftly removed from the mix. Miss Holly, do not go repeating this. I’ll deal with said idiot this week. As Toni says(one of our ladies), “girl, you’re evil”….. I’ll deal with the little boys, the idiot men of my life. As Twin Bear used to say, “I am a strong, independent woman, who don’t need no help from any guy.” Damn straight.

Kate

 

Smoke Scent Mornings

It’s the hint of sulfur and magnesium that tickle my nose in the mornings. The sharp pine scent, the waves rippling on the shore of the lake. But it’s the smell of a fire being started in a stove, that ‘sweet’ fire smell I associate with the mountains, that always brings me home. I feel most at home in the mountains. There is something that calls me more than I can explain to anyone. While I love the Bay and living in San Francisco, I crave the mountains more than the ocean. I can’t explain it, especially to anyone I work with, though Phaedra understands it best. Even she doesn’t understand it as well though. She likes the city. I like the quiet. I feel I live in the wrong place. Like people always say they living in the wrong century, or time period? For me it’s mostly the location. Location is everything. If it wasn’t so, why do they always talk about it with businesses?

I have always wanted to own a cabin on Pinecrest. Call it a crazy dream. Call it a fantasy. Call it a thing to add to a dream board. But clearly it can happen. If my sister, my baby sister, can marry a man who owns a cabin on this very specific lake, then why can’t I dream of it as well? I mean, yeah, she’s pretty darn lucky to have met Roger, but it’s not impossible. Roger could have a charming brother. He doesn’t. But he could.

I started this book about Pinecrest Lake a couple years ago, taking a book I love and massively tweaking the storyline to be how I would have rather it had gone. This is just a little blip of thought I started typing the other night when I smelled wood smoke, and the smell of a lit match…

Kate

Midnight Reader – Flash Fiction

The door slowly opened, a crack of light, a two inch strip of yellow, illuminating the carpet up to the bed. Carefully, so as not to wake the lump under the covers on the bed, he snuck in on tip toe. He nearly let out a shriek as his bare foot connected with a small Lego.  The sharp cornered piece of hard plastic biting into the soft flesh of his arch.  He hopped and hobbled, trying not to bang into the desk, then the chair.  He caught the back of the chair as he started to lose his balance and the swiveling piece of furniture nearly upset his balance.  Quick moves on his part had him catching himself and stopping as a soft snore and breath from the body.  He didn’t move a muscle as the lump shifted and sprawled out, an arm sliding out of the covers and dropping the book off the side of the bed with a soft thud.  He waited for a moment, or five as the blanket covered lump shifted and grumbled about homework then went back to sleep.  With a quick dash, he scooped up the book, and circumvented the Legos and bits of erector set metal pieces to make it safely to the door again.  He glanced back once to see if there was movement.  Nothing. he was safe!

He propped himself under the covers, a large maglite flashlight in his palm.  He clicked on the light and flipped the pages.  He was looking for a mark…. There! Just a tiny dot and dash where he’d left off.  Knees hunched, pillow at his back, he shone the light down at the pages, and with a fingernail caught soundly between his teeth, he began to find out if the heroine was going to make it out of the forest on her own.

He nearly let out a shriek as the bed shifted and the covers were jerked back from his buried form.

The woman groaned.

“Jack, why don’t you just ask the kid if you can borrow his book while he’s at school,” the woman asked, shaking her head.

“Because, this is way more fun,” Jack replied. “Now quiet, woman, she just had to make a pact with someone,” he shushed his wife.

She just rolled her eyes and clicked off the light before diving under the covers with a flashlight and a copy of her 8 year old’s slightly sticky copy of a very popular diary of a wimpy sort of kid. She just had to find out what happened after a week wait while the book traveled with her son during summer camp.

I just thought, how fun when a clandestine moment happens when a parent reads a book their kids are reading. My dad would read to us growing up… Robert Peck’s Soup books. And my Mom read us the Happy Hollister books. Oh we had so many books they read us. But what if they read some of ours late at night…….. I just remember how much fun I had reading Laura Ingalls Wilder under the covers with a flashlight. Reading till 9pm.  Scandalous at age 8 or 9.  I still love to read under the covers. I now use a Kindle……

Kate

A Touch of Ruin – Book Review

So, I reviewed the first of a trilogy (?) of a Hades and Persephone retelling, A Touch of Darkness. Just this last week, the sequel dropped and I had it read in a few days. I thought I would take the time to review both of the books to support the author, Scarlett St. Clair. I think newer writers can use all the help we loyal supporters can give them.

A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair takes place a few months after A Touch of Darkness. Persephone and Hades are officially public, though all still think Persephone is a mortal. Except for her best friend, Lexa who knows the truth ( who gets a whole story within this book as well).  Persephone is still dealing with the pressure of her mother’s displeasure of being with Hades, her boss is requiring an exclusive story on her and Hades relationship, and now she just found out, her friend Sybil, an oracle of Apollo’s, has lost all her power since she won’t sleep with Apollo. Justice warrior Persephone to the rescue!

Everything is going wrong. Hades past is catching up to him, and Persephone is still dealing with her feelings on trust and love. Her powers are manifesting in ways she can’t control, and all the general stress of life and being in the public has gotten to Persephone in ways that are not helping matters.

Basically, everything is going wrong. By the way, this is classic sequel territory. You have the set up in the first book, the fall down in the second, and redemption comes in the third book. You start to see some redemption by the last quarter of A Touch of Ruin. But this is long after you’ve wanted to shake the dickens out of Persephone. How could she be so stupid? Answer? Because we all do stupid things when we are insecure, unsure, and afraid. (Perse, I’ve been there). But redemption is sweet. While Hades isn’t the best communicator of all times, : insert dark and brooding types never are : he desperately loves Persephone and he really is trying. There are even current social issues of death. I won’t say more as it will spoil.

This book still left me with certain questions, like how in the first one, Hades uses his powers of invisibility to ‘spy’ on Persephone, but you are left wondering if he really was. And if other gods can bestow favors, why can’t Persephone?  And while I love how Scarlett inserted one of the myths of Pirithous, I found it slightly rushed towards the end and I was hoping Persephone was a tad bit stronger. Just a tad. But hey, I’m a writer, I will always want to put my spin on a perfectly lovely story.

This book tends to focus a lot on sex, and as a good sex scenes type book, this hits the nail. We’ve all read our erotic fiction, this one is pretty darn good for that.

I love how we get tastes of other gods in this one. Apollo (I actually love his character), Hermes, Hecate, Aphrodite, and even Helen of Troy are brought in. Hermes and Hecate are truly great supporting characters. Well written and fun and full of depth, they are just the perfect ensemble cast for Persephone.

This book, while not the level of flair as A Touch of Darkness, is still really enjoyable and makes me anxious for book number three. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, but then, most sequels hit this way.

If, like I said in A Touch of Darkness review, you are looking for a fun retelling of the classic myth, then check out books one and two. I can’t wait for number three!

I’m kind of hoping Ms. St. Clair tackles other myths over time. I can see her going to town on so many.

Kate

A Touch of Darkness – Book Review

I love classic story retellings. Emma by Jane Austen to Clueless, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare to She’s the Man, and Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare to 10 Things I Hate About You, just to name three films of that ilk. So when I was on Pinterest browsing one day and came across quotes and lines from a Hades and Persephone retelling, I knew I just had to check it out.

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair is one of this guilty pleasure books that tickle the fancy of any mythology junkie, which I happen to be. I have already read other versions of Hades and Persephone, Cupid and Psyche, Jack Frost and his “winter princess”. Basically it’s like glorified fan fiction, but who cares.

A Touch of Darkness is a modern twist on the ancient myth. Here you have Persephone, an almost college graduate living in New Athens, striving to become an investigative journalist, all while trying to get away from the crushing pressure of her goddess mother, Demeter. Persephone is an unknown goddess herself, but her powers are killing plants. That’s it. She can’t use glamour magic to hide her divine self, so she has to borrow her mother’s, something that irks her and keeps her under mommy’s control. 

Persephone has an internship at The Daily which is what leads her to end up celebrating at Nevernight, one of Hades casinos. And also one of the places Demeter has forbid her daughter from visiting. Interacting with any of the divine in general is a big no no for Persephone as well as she has not had her coming out, so to speak, so she is 100% unknown. But well, sheltered girls are apt to want to spread their wings. Not only does Persephone end up at the nightclub, but she also ventures into single players club and sits down to a card game with a handsome stranger. Oops. Can we guess who this is? Not only is it a god, but it’s Hades himself, where she also inadvertently ended up making a deal with Hades. Boy, how to take mommy’s rules and in with them.

Now she’s stuck having to fulfill a bargain with Lord of the underworld, fighting her attraction to him, dealing with Adonis, who steals her exclusive story on Hades, among a host of other problems. How in the world is a “useless” goddess going to handle all the pressure?

This book has so much more in it than I have even scratched the surface of. Several of the divine make appearances, not to mention the pesky nymphs and backstabbing mortals with favors. Do Persephone and Hades work out? And just what is going on in the Underworld? 

I read this book in a day and a half last summer, loved it so much, I reread it again right off the bat, then had to wait till April of this year for the sequel! The romance and attraction between Hades and Persephone is palpable and sucks you in, in just the best ways. I loved this book. I purchased the kindle version which doesn’t have some of the extras the paperback has.  I am tempted to get the paper copies.

5 out of five stars for fun off the top. Side warning, this book is definitely for adults. Nut read it if you like myth retellings. And then the sequel is next for me to review. The next in the series is A Touch of Ruin.

Kate

 

 

We Are Not Friends, But He Is Home – Prose

Photo by PHUOC LE on Unsplash

We are not friends. We are not lovers. We are something unknown. Standing side by side as confidants, secure in our random trust for each other. He is the strength and knowledge. The quiet before the storm. I am the storm. The whirlwind force. I am the fighting words, he is the calming down. He is the soft and waiting, I am the ready and diving in. Opposites attract, they say. We couldn’t be more different. Or more alike. He’s the future, I’m the past, or the present, or maybe I am the future. He’s tall, I am short. Side by side we stand arms intertwined. He leads, I follow. I direct, he bows down. It’s more than two people. It’s one entity standing against what? Who is to know. We aren’t friends just yet. Barely do I know more than his name, or the way he takes his coffee. But I know he has the world at his fingertips. He’s the answers. I’m the questions. We aren’t lovers. Though we could be. He’s the flowing winds. I’m the earth beneath your feet. Standing on a pedestal, he is king. Seated on a throne, I am a queen. Give and take, push and pull, I’d trust him with my life. We are not friends, but we will be one. We are not the lovers, yet we shall love. He bows to me, and I to him. He is home, and safety and rest. I am sleep, and strength and beginnings. We’ll step forth into the storm, a rock, marble, nothing tumbling us. We are the beginning.

 

I had this super vivid dream yesterday morning that left me kind of reeling. Where I met this man who was like this gentle giant. Tall, like really tall, like my head came only to the middle of his chest. And we barely knew each other, but we were going to work with each other and I was going to help him become this classically handsome guy, classy, and wearing button downs and sweaters and ties and looking all nerdy cute because he wrote for a newspaper. And we just had this connection and it was lovely, and I woke up wishing I could meet him because he was perfect, and it was the two of us against the world. So, I wrote something tonight. Whatever it is. Prose, poetry, fiction. Take it as you will. It was all lovely.

Sigh.

Kate

Don’t Make Me Come Up There – Flash Fiction

Photo by Ryan Hutton on Unsplash

“Don’t make me come up there,” he bellows at the sky. His face is murderous, the scowl etching deep lines into his forehead. The frown isn’t visible on his mouth as his thick beard covers from nose down.

“Darling, who in the world are you yelling at?” comes the soft, and slightly worried question from the woman leaning out of the sliding glass door. The light behind her casts her in an elegant silhouette and the burly man glances back at her, his scowl softening slightly.

“The damn twins are arguing again,” he mutters, jerking a thumb upwards towards the scintillating star-studded black sky framed by tall conifers.

The dainty woman arches a fine brow and glances upward. She doesn’t hear a thing; the forest is so dense and thick she can’t even hear the lake that is just a couple minute’s walk from the glamorous mountain home.

“I don’t hear anything,” she finally says, holding out her palm for him to take. He reaches out and his hand engulfs her, but he allows her to tug him back to the warmly lit interior. He gives one more ferocious glare back at the “silent” sky, then follows her back inside, sliding shut the door and pulling the blinds closed.

“Now where were we before you decided you needed to go out and yell at the sky?” she teases as she hands him back his half-drunk glass of wine and picking hers up as well.  She sinks into the sofa and tugs him towards her.

“When Cass and Pol start arguing, no one can hear a thing,” he mutters, settling down next to her.

She just shakes her head, not having a clue who he is talking about.

But how is she to know she is sitting next to a god?

Someone New – Fiction

Another foray into my fictional kitchen. I had a break in an idea for my fiction, with ‘Her’ meeting  someone new after Micha’s off on sabbatical. I watched this new Alaska PD show and one of the police officers was like the perfect model. Good name too. So boom! Fiction! I always get excited when something new comes to my head and I can actually write. I have missed fiction. Oh, and I finally settled on a name for said “Her”. I’m going with Hela, like short for Helene, but she goes by ‘H’…. Just like I go by ‘K’ in the kitchen.  Hope you all enjoy. It’s a lot of dialogue, so forgive me.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

“H, there’s someone out at the bar asking for you,” Carlo opened one of the swinging doors to where Hela stood at the pass checking over the day’s menu choice.

“Hmm? Who is it, Carlo?” She asked distracted as she frowned at the mushroom selection. They were decidedly low on matsutakes.

“He didn’t say. You want me to tell him you’re busy?

Hela looked up. “What? Oh, no. Hang on a sec.” She crossed off the mushrooms and added shiitakes. “Bobby, we’re switching to shiitakes tonight. Could you make sure they are prepped? I’ll have Justine change the menu.”

“Sure thing, H,” her lead line chef called.

She was texting Justin about the menu switch as she stepped out the doors towards the bar and it wasn’t till she was near the shadow she’d seen in her peripheral that she looked up as a throat cleared. Blue eyes, filled with an incredible amount of amusement, had her catching her breath. The sharp intake of air and the breathy sigh she barely let out, had the corners of his eyes crinkling just a tad more.

“I’m Hela,” she murmured, extending her hand while she slipped her phone into the front pocket of her jacket.

“Gerrit,” the man replied, his voice tinged with just enough masculine gravel. His warm palm engulfed hers and she felt an electrical tingle all the way to her shoulder.

“How may I help you?” She was tempted to tug her hand from his grasp when he didn’t release her hand, but the electricity was humming across her back and up into her hairline. The feeling was delicious and made her want to stretch and arch like a cat in the sun.

“I was told I needed to meet the famous sous chef from Tableside,” his enigmatic response had her cocking her head to the side. She arched a brow.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say famous,” she argued and nearly groaned in disappointment when he released her hand.

“I suppose that is opinion based.”

She hummed a non-committal answer. “Are you from the area?” she asked.

“No, just relocated here for a job. A colleague suggested I stop in and see some of the amazing selections on the menu.”

“Oh, well thank you. Most of the menu is from my chef, but I have a few of my own.”

“And is your chef here as well?”

Hela stared at him, Something he’d said tickled the corners of her mind at the question’s strangeness, but she couldn’t form it into anything concrete. 

“No, he isn’t. I’m actually interim chef as he is on sabbatical and I’m waiting to meet my new chef for the next year.”

“Ah. When does that person arrive?”

“Any day now. No specifics have hit my ears yet. Chef, Micha Grant, said he’d let me know when the new chef was set to come in.” Hela said this as if it was just an everyday occurrence, but inwardly she cringed at the thought. Micha had told her she’d like his replacement, yet he’d been so vague about it all, Hela was apt to be rather apprehensive. She remembered too vividly Lucas and all the hell he’d put her through before Micha had fixed everything.

“Well, I’ll have to come in when the change happens,” Gerrit mused. “Though I would love to try one of your dishes if possible.” 

“Quite,” Hela said warmly. She grabbed on of the menus by Carlo’s computer and handed it to Gerrit. “The coconut curry is a specialty of mine,” she said pointing to one of the items, “but then there is breakfast salad with oven roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, or the zucchini involtini,  or a simple pasta aglio e olio.” She rattled off the three other items Micha had let her put on the menu. She was secretly hoping Gerrit would order the pasta aglio as it was her signature dish. Simple in it’s execution, it had been one of the first dishes Micha had taught her to saute properly. It was still her favorite dish to make.

“Oh, you had me at curry,” Gerrit interrupted her thought. 

“Very good. Carlo, send it through. Gerrit, it was a pleasure to meet you. Any special requests on the curry?”

“No. Surprise me.” He held out his hand for her to shak and the grip was just as warm and inviting as before. “And Hela?”

“Hmm?”

“It’s been a pleasure as well. I look forward to bumping into you again.” His eyes twinkled like he knew a secret.

“Mm. Yes.”

Hela couldn’t resist looking back at Gerrit as she headed back to cook the dish. He was watching her, a slight smile on his lips as he rested a palm over his neatly trimmed short box beard. A finger rested on his mouth and her breath hitched again  as he caught her  gaze with his and grinned again. She nearly burst into giggles as she fled to the kitchen flustered all to heck.

 

Hope you all enjoyed.

Kate

A Hallmark Christmas Story Beginning – Part 2

Photo by John Christian Fjellestad on Unsplash

Yes, she had put her heart and soul into this Christmas. The only thing marring the season was that the Carson’s eldest grandson was scheduled to arrive on the 15th. Nicolas McKenzie Carson the third, was a lawyer from the city and ever since she had come to Westbriar, he had been a thorn in her side. Always questioning everything she did for the Carson’s. he was more critical than his parents or any of his aunts and uncles. Every action, how much they paid her, that she had her own room in the mansion, why did she encourage his grandmother to try a new hairstyle, how dare she get the judge to lose some weight, she wasn’t his doctor. Oh and on it went. She’d never met Nicolas in person. Oh no! His highness didn’t deem to come down from the city to find out how things were. No, he called. All the time. He would talk to his grandfather, or grandmother, then after finding out the happenings, he would demand to talk to Miss Oliver. And the Carson’s thought it was so sweet he cared about them so, and oh wasn’t he a nice boy. Noelle would would just nod her head and take the call, all while attempting a smile while she gritted her teeth till she felt like she had a toothache in her entire jaw.
Noelle sighted as she checked the time on her phone for the umpteenth time. He was due in a few hours. Only three more hours of freedom before the executioner arrived. She sighed again and fiddled with her phone setting a new ringtone.
“Dear, if you sigh one more time, I’m going to have Estelle poke you with her scissors,” Phoebe Carson said as her hairdresser fluffed the new bobbed style with the pale pink streak running through it.
“Oh, Estelle, do you think it’s too much?” the eighty year old woman asked, her voice filled with apprehension.
“Mrs. Carson, you look quite hip,” Noelle interjected, finally looking up from her phone.
“Are you sure?” Phoebe reached up and touched her snow white bob, then ran a finger down the pink streak.
Mrs. C, you look stunning and if that grandson gives you any grief, well I’ll just marche myself down and have a talk with that boy,” Estelle patted her hand over Mrs. Carson’s and beamed a glowing bright-white smile at her in the mirror. Not only were Estelles pristine teeth always glowingly bright in general, but her chocolate skin set them off to spotlight proportions.
“Estelle, you’re gonna blind me, “Noelle joked.
“Now you just knock it off, Miss Oliver,” Estelle admonished. “You wanna try something festive this year?
“Oh, Noelle, you should,” Phoebe urged. “This pink is so pretty, but with your eyes, I would think teal or green.
“Wow, Mrs. Carson. Green?” Noelle was current on the new styles, but even green was a bit edgier than she would have gone for.
“How about a nice dark pink along the base?” Estelle suggested.
“Oooh,” both Phoebe and Noelle gushed together.
And hours later, Phoebe and Noelle exited Estelle’s Hair & Nails, their en vogue hair catching the interest of several of the town’s people. Dainty Phoebe in her ivory sweater set and pearls, pink streak swinging, and elegant and svelte Noelle with her 1940’s inspired mid cut, the sleek brown curls bouncing with a cheery magenta red around the entire base.

And so there it ends, for now, until I can come up with something else for Nicolas, Noelle (whose real name is Sarah Noelle Oliver…. SNO….) and the rest of Westbriar’s Christmas Memories, or, Coming Home to Christmas, or, Make Mine Mistletoe…. Oh heck, I’m sure there are a ton of great holiday romance titles for Hallmark. Check out my blog post A Little Christmas Bling where I mock and joke about the perfect Hallmark Plot Generator.

Kate

A Hallmark Christmas Story Beginning – Part 1

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

‘See the sunlight through the pines, taste the warmth of winter wine, dream of softly falling snow, winter’s cold, aspenglow...’ Noelle hummed along to one of her favorite John Denver songs as she wound the garland around the stairwell railing. All around her the staff was filling the house with holiday spirit for the Judge and Mrs. Carson.

She loved her job of personal assistant slash manager of this grand old mansion. Retired Judge Carson doted on his charming wife and she doted on him and Noelle. They had practically given Noelle carte blanche in decorating the house this year with only a few suggestions and she had taken off running with all of it.

Nearly every large room held one Christmas tree, be it big or small, and each room had a theme that flowed right into the next room. The front entry with it’s large grand staircase was classic red and green with poinsettias at the base of the stairs and green garlands wrapping up the railings. Then tiny fairy lights wrapping the greenery for a delicate glow. A tall fir graced the corner, decorated in red bows and ribbons, simple white lights , and a simple gold star.

The front living room was a white and ivory wonderland. The only green was from the blue spruce, but everything else was in shades of white and cream. Ivory beaded garlands were strung on the tree, which was decorated in cream birds and feathers, glittery snowflakes and delicate angels. A white winter village was set on the mantle with a fake snow batting softening the edges.

The dining room, with it’s large french doors overlooking the back gardens and gazing pool, had been trimmed in the simplest of greenery and clove studded oranges. Pomegranates and large bowls of potpourri decorated the table and scented the air in spice and warmth. Large magnolia and orange leaves were tucked into the long needled boughs and it was right out a very Scandinavian or French country.

The Carson’s entire family was coming home for the holidays, so each bedroom had to be perfect. Advent calendars and stockings decorated the great-grand kids and cousins rooms, while more simple and elegant things decorated the adult’s. Noelle had been planning the rooms since August. It was exciting to see all of it come into focus and reality. Mrs. Carson was delighted with every detail and even she had to concur with the judge, that his wife was as giddy as a schoolgirl with all the festivities in the house.

Noelle had even gone so far as to plan holiday meals each day and every evening since the first of December, light a candle each night for advent. She had found an elegant advent calendar  full of pretty sayings about the season. She had spruced it up with Mrs. Carson’s favorite chocolates, and now every evening after dinner, with their coffees, they would sit in her favorite decorated room. The grand, two story library, with a roaring fire. Mrs. Carson would open the numbered box. Noelle would light a green candle, and the judge would read part of the Christmas story. She had started the tradition the year before, when she had first started working for the Carsons, and now it was a cozy family thing they did. For the judge and his wife

viewed her as family since all of their sons, daughters, and grandchildren lived far away. Her family wasn’t nearby either, her parents still lived in her hometown three states away and 18 hours  of driving away. Her sister was friends with the Carson’s daughter and had recommended her for the job, but her sister also lived several hours away and hardly ever had the time to visit, what with being a housewife and mother of three very active little boys.

Various aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were dispersed throughout the west, and on it went, so for her it had been absolutely lovely that the Carsons viewed her like and added granddaughter.

So with Mrs. Carson’s ever delightful support, she transformed the magnificent mansion to a Christmas wonderland. She also instrucked the gardeners on how to decorate dhte exterior. lights around the eaves and spiraled around the tall conical cypress that lined the driveway. They looked like glittering pillars every night when the first star would come out and the timers would click on . Flick! and there was a stellar driveway. The shrubs were covered with lighted nets that draped over, and various trees were decorated in the dripping icicle lights so they look drenched. If there was one thing she loved, it was lights.

She and the girls from the kitchen and maids had made snowmen families tucked into pockets of conifers throughout the gardens one afternoon when the snow had fallen thickly the night before. The judge had even found an old horse-drawn sleigh that was in need of massive repairs, but with some greenery and red bows and even more lights, it became the welcoming piece de resistance welcoming those at the front gate.

 

Part Two is in the next post. I just didn’t want to bog you all down with this little Hallmark-y story I started writing two years ago.  I only have parts one and two so far, but well I’m dabbling since I’m in the Christmas Season.

Kate