A Christmas Vignette – Regina Decorates Luke’s Office – Flash Fiction

ysnkckdkyty-rodion-kutsaevRegina whirled into the lobby of the hotel, her ruby red, velvet cloak whirling around her. Her arms were laden with bags and there were also a few hat boxes clutched in her hands.  She sniffed appreciatively at the warm pine smell coming from the very large Christmas tree in the lobby. Currently, it only had its lights, twinkling fairy lights, but soon it would be decorated. Late at night, the staff would set to work turning the hotel into a Christmas dream. The bannisters would be strung with garlands, greenery would be around windows and doors. Bowls of glass ornaments and strings of shimmery beads. Glittery snowflakes and icicles dripping off of the balcony overlooking the lobby. The hotel would be alive with classic Christmas music and every member of the staff would have their holiday uniforms; sparkly dresses for the ladies, and festive vests and bow ties for the men.

Regina hummed The Christmas Song, Karen Carpenter’s voice in her head as she plopped her purchases in Luke’s office. Luke was out, it appeared, and Regina grinned deviously. She picked up the phone on his desk and rang up the kitchen.

“Hi, Margo. Could you have a bottle of champagne, a plate of shortbread cookies and some finger food brought to Luke’s office? I’m decorating.” She couldn’t stop the giggle to Margo’s groan of “oh God.”

Luke, while festive, did not like his office touched. Even by Regina, and they were a thing.

Regina had just plugged in some holiday music and was pulling things out of her bags when Craig came in with the things she’d ordered, the champagne in an ice bucket and the rest on a tray.

“Put the champagne on the desk and the two plates on that table,” she directed, pointing at the small table between two comfortable chairs she frequently confiscated when she was writing.

“The boss ain’t gonna like this,” Craig warned as he set the champagne flutes next to the bucket of ice and popped the cork on the bubbly.

“That’s because he’s never had me decorating. Besides, he can’t fire his woman.”

“Just don’t say I had any part of this,” Craig warned.

“Why would I? You only brought my order,” Regina said, confused.

Craig grinned and stuck his head out of the door. “Oy! Jason. Sam. Bring it in,” he called.

Two of the other bellhops came in carting a faux, fluffy, white Christmas tree and set it up in front of one of the long windows that looked out on Ashland’s bustling East Main. They plugged in the cord hanging near the base and the tree was lit up in glittery white.

“Lissa ordered this for your suite, but when she heard you were decorating the boss’s, she told us to bring it in here.” Craig and the boys left and Regina stood, staring at the tree in glee. She knew she always liked Luke’s assistant, Lissa, but this was extra perfect. And she was amazed that the word had gotten around that she was decorating in the twenty minutes since she’d ordered the food. Ah yes, living in a hotel was like a small town. Gossip was always a hot topic.

To the sounds of Bing Crosby and many more classic Christmas artists, Regina pulled ornaments from bags that had come from Paddington Station, one of Regina’s favorite stores along Ashland’s shopping district. There were other bags of ornaments from other stores and soon there were silver and gold and glittery red ornaments hanging on the tree. Thank goodness she didn’t have to put the lights on herself. She wound glittery pine garlands around the windows, she sipped the champagne, she nibbled the good eats, and soon, the office of the very prominent owner of the very luxurious hotel, was a warm and cozy winter wonderland.

She had the shades up so passersby could look in the windows, and she caught many open-mouthed “whoa’s” as she fixed things. Some she would wave at, others, she would toast with her glass of bubbly. It was fun.

By the time Luke entered his office at half past four, Regina was a bit tipsy and belting out White Christmas. He should have been furious with his zen office now almost as richly decorated as a store, but when his gorgeous lady held up a bunch of mistletoe in a gold bow and presented her very red lips, who was he to make a fuss?

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So I have recently been writing little vignettes of my various novels and their characters. I wanted to give everyone a Christmas story. I read off one of my little somethings the other night and was told that it was like a Hallmark script. I had never thought about my stories that way; the stories I have been writing for 16+ years, but it was incredibly encouraging because I like to write nice stories. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my stories for ages. Now I might have some inspiration.

Regina and Luke are the start of something I wanted to write about Ashland, Oregon, and the glorious Ashland Springs Hotel. I wrote a character piece on Luke ages ago. You can read it here.

Emilie Loring’s Novels as a Film Guide

I was sitting there last night watching White Christmas, a film I love and should be a staple at Christmas, and as I watched Betty get all mad at Bob and storm off, I thought, wow, this is really like an Emilie Loring novel.

Now granted, there wasn’t much mystery involved, nor was there  a woman scorned trying to win back someone.  There wasn’t a whole exact specificity that made it like an Emilie Loring, but I still say it was.  The shenanigans and how everything was solved in the end.  Even to the misunderstanding of Betty and her running off to the Carousel Club, and Bob going to see her and trying to fix it.  It really is semi similar.  Maybe that’s why I love the story as I do.

And recently, watching the film Aloha with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, I thought the same thing.  The film has mystery, intrigue, romance, a woman who wants the hero back, a new woman, a new love interest, people wanting to settle down, a villain.  It’s all there. Updated, with some sex, but still, the premise of the film is very Loring-esque.

You have the guy that comes back home, to Hawaii, there’s the girl who’s his guide, and while she likes him, she’s cautious about him, there’s the ex  girlfriend who is kind of interested in the guy, there’s the business man who has sketchy business dealings…. Will the guy end up with the girl? Or go back to his ex? And what about that sketchy businessman? Did I mention that the guy used to be in the military?

I mean, really, could this be any closer to an Emilie Loring book?  I honestly don’t think so.

So now my new mission in life is to watch films with this style of storyline.  Technically, Pride and Prejudice is along these lines.  Okay, it’s a lot like an Emilie Loring.  And maybe that is what makes these such classic stories.  They have a specific theme that pits good against bad, and guy against girl.  And the guy always get the right girl.

A story isn’t any good with out a little intrigue and conflict.  While White Christmas doesn’t have much intrigue, it still has conflict.  And singing….. the singing makes up for the lack of intrigue.

Aloha has plenty of all things.  Romance and intrigue and conflict.

Does anyone else have some good films that have this story line?  Oh, Sabrina with Humphry Bogart and Audrey Hepburn is a lot like this story line as well!

Clearly I have a Loring vibe still.  I think part of that is because I am reading Patti Bender’s blog as she write’s Emilie Loring’s biography.  Could it be any better than that?  I love this. I’m so excited about it.  And she also has read Loring’s books over and over.  So I get to hear about one of my favorite subjects. Emilie Loring novels.  I think I’m in heaven.

Kate

Mr. Grinch and Me

charlie brown I've killed itI’m sitting here a little after 6 at night listening to the California rain. The pouring, pouring rain. I’m sipping a glass
(finger and a half) of Crown, feeling rather depressed.  The rain is part of it, but also I’m troubled. I blame it all on Boris who sent me a very long email yesterday. Boris it seems, is my own Mr. Grinch. He doesn’t do Christmas. He doesn’t like all the commercialization of the holiday (cue Charlie Brown and Linus) He doesn’t want his house decorated, thank you very much. He is tired of the holiday already. He doesn’t like the Christmas music that’s been playing since Halloween.  He doesn’t like green. (that coming from my love of forest green nail polish at the holidays)

 

I’m sorry, but I’m a Christmas person. I LOVE Christmas. Not to the point of going overboard. In fact, our tree is very simple and small. Mrs. B puts up our unique and old figurines that are cute and tucked here and there. None of that houses and snow theme that a lot of homes have (though I love that.) We do not have garlands everywhere. There is a wreath on the front gate because Mr. B decided to take what was left from trimming the tree to the correct height and make a wreath, the old dear. It has a gold bow and a red bow on it. Nothing fancy. Yes, we have been playing Christmas music since the 31st of November, but it’s not on all day.

 

Rocky Mountain Christmas

Rocky Mountain Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, you can see that I don’t go crazy. But I love the holiday. I love listening to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas and remembering dancing in our huge living room as a little girl. When I still hoped to be a ballerina. When it was still the 80’s and the 80’s had their own feel. The years of The Carpenter’s Christmas Portrait. When a little girl still wore plaid and corduroy. When my blonde, blonde hair was super girly…. When Barbies and stuffed animals got decorated up and had balls.

 

When I read all the Christmas picture books with my sister. We would sit and read the stack quietly while the record player had our favorite music on. Oh my gosh, that was before cd players and MP3 files.  Would you believe this was long before I ever saw How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown? I actually had never seen those two until I was probably in my late teens. I still adore them though. It’s not Christmas without those two. And The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. And The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. And White Christmas with Bing Crosby.

 

Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Ka...

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye from the trailer for the film White Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I have a lot that make it Christmas. Silly things. Childish things. Nostalgic things. But it’s always Christmas.

 

So I don’t understand not really caring, and I find it sad that Boris is a bit of a Mr. Grinch about it.  Poor man.  It makes me want to make cookies for him and to arrive with a bit of Mistletoe in hand. I just don’t know what to do with him. It’s so very sad and makes me want to cry. I’m sure he has no clue about his words doing that to me, but I may tell him. How to take a marvelous holiday and make me want to cry. I don’t think that’s very nice. See, Mr. Grinch!

 

So, I’m curious. Does anyone of you have a Grinch in your close knit of friends or family members? Does it make you a bit sad?

 

Kate

 

 

 

Plenty To Be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving dear friends. I want to wish you all the best hope and joy for this coming holiday season.  I’m so thankful for all your comments, likes, and follows. I’m thankful for my dear friends and family, and every new day I greet.  I have my general health, a wonderful dog, and my family.

As Bing Crosby said it best, “I’ve Got Plenty To be Thankful For”

Christmastime Is Here

“The Day” is practically here, but I thought I would post about some of my favorite holiday traditions today.
Christmas Portrait

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just not Christmas to me unless I listen to the Carpenter’s A Christmas Portrait album.  When I was little I loved playing that record over and over during the season.  Karen Carpenter’s version of the Christmas Song is still my favorite.  As well as the Christmas Waltz.  The first words,” Frosted window panes, candles gleaming inside, painted candy canes on the tree,” are what I remember most about her voice.  I was a teenager when we finally got the cd version.  The version that Richard Carpenter messed up.  I mean, what happened to “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel”?  Though I listen to the cd most of the time, I miss the original recording. Yes, I could play the record, and I really should.

A Charlie Brown Christmas never fails to delight me.  I watched it last week with my sister, and will probably do it again once more just for good measure.  I love Snoopy and the gang.  I love Linus’ version of the Christmas story.  This cartoon never fails to delight me.

Along with Charlie Brown is another classic.  How the Grinch Stole

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Christmas.  I love, love, love this one more than Charlie Brown, I think.  I love Max, the dog, and the whole story.  I’ve almost gotten the story down where I can repeat it, but not yet.  A few more years.  I have managed to watch this twice already this year.
Another little thing I love reading a book from my childhood.  It’s A Child’s Christmas Cookbook.  Put out by the Denver Art Museum back in 1964, this book is illustrated with Victorian pen and ink drawings by Thomas Nast.  The book is cutzy little recipes and ideas for children during the holiday season. I’ve never made anything in it, but it’s adorable to read. You can read it like a book as it’s a thin paperback.  I can’t explain why I love it so, but it just brings to mind the smell of Christmas trees and sitting in the living room looking at all our Christmas books. Out of all the books for this time of year, this one is one in particular I ALWAYS read.

Another book or story, is The Night Before Christmas.  A total classic, I know, but a must.  Need I say more?

Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Ka...

Image via Wikipedia

Ah, films.  It’s just not Christmas without White Christmas.  That old classic Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film.  I never grow tired of it, though this year, I wonder if I will get to it in time for the holiday.  If not, I don’t mind too much.

Cover of "The Santa Clause (Widescreen Sp...

Cover via Amazon

Lastly are the three Santa Clause films with Tim Allen as Santa.  I love them, and they have become a staple.  There are other things that scream Christmas to me, and many other things that are minor traditions, these just happen to be musts in my mind.

So, to all my readers, Merry Christmas.  Have a safe and joyful holiday with friends and family.

Signing off
~Kate