The Bumhampton Chronicles: Chapter 9 (Part 9)

I beamed with delight. “Chester! I would adore a ramble through the countryside with you at my side.” Mrs. Cleanknockers cleared her throat softly. “With proper escort, of course.” Her tone brooked no nonsense. “Louisa shall accompany you and the three of you will return within two hours.” Mr. Jones-Smyth readily agreed and he departed much less apprehensive that he’d arrived. “I should return to waxing the floor, Ma’am.” She gave me a tight smile and left as well. I stood there for a brief spell of time until, sinking to my knees, attempted to scrub Chester from my thoughts.

Rather than read each individual drabble, you can go to this page which has links to all the complete previous chapters. For easier reading, once I have posted all 30 drabbles, I repost the entire chapter in 3,000 words.

The Bumhampton Chronicles: Chapter 9 (Part 8)

Her expression was inscrutable and, without guidance, I spoke from my heart. “Mr. Jones-Smyth, I have no intention of crying off, and accept your apology. I would wish we move on from the incident in question and resolve to press forward together with a clearer intent.” He was clearly both surprised and relieved with my forthright statement. He gave me a slight bow, and reached out to kiss the back of my hand. “In that case, dear Ruby, it would give me the greatest pleasure if you would honor me with a carriage drive in the country this Sunday afternoon.”

Rather than read each individual drabble, you can go to this page which has links to all the complete previous chapters. For easier reading, once I have posted all 30 drabbles, I repost the entire chapter in 3,000 words.

Power back on from Irma

Hi everyone, just wanted to thank you in advance for all your thoughts and prayers. We lost power during Hurricane Irma at 11pm on Sunday night, before the worst of the weather hit. We just got power back at 5pm Friday, so were out almost five days.

We had no damage to our house, no trees down. There was extensive flooding in nearby ponds and lakes, but very minor property damage. I haven’t seen much news other than the daily paper, so I am very behind.

First priority is go out and purchase food to replace all that was thrown out as spoiled. My wife is doing good, we managed despite the 90 to 100 degree inside our house all week.

The Bumhampton Chronicles: Chapter 9 (Part 7)

Mr. Jones-Smyth was shortly ushered in by my apparent chaperone. (That horse had already bolted) Mrs. Cleanknockers was composed and dignified as only a plenipotentiary chatelaine could present. “Good afternoon, Mister. May I enquire as to your mission?” He was anything but in control as he shifted from side-to-side and spun the brim of his hat through crushing fingertips. Not quite meeting my startled eyes, he begged my pardon for his unconscionable actions of yesterday. “I have no excuse for my unbecoming behavior, and will completely understand if you wish to cry off our engagement” I glanced at Mrs. Cleanknockers.

Rather than read each individual drabble, you can go to this page which has links to all the complete previous chapters. For easier reading, once I have posted all 30 drabbles, I repost the entire chapter in 3,000 words.

The Bumhampton Chronicles: Chapter 9 (Part 6)

I, being still rather ignorant, asked Mrs. Cleanknockers if aversion to monthly bleeding was a normal male reaction. As she returned the paddle to its velvet cradle, she replied, “In my experience, it has been the norm that men find women’s courses, and the attendant heightened emotions, to be at best, an inconvenience, and at worst, something to be feared and loathed.” Having grown up poor, surrounded by females working before dawn till after dark trying to survive, I was woefully unprepared for the nuances of male companionship. The rap on the door startled me: Mrs. Cleanknockers loitered on purpose.

Rather than read each individual drabble, you can go to this page which has links to all the complete previous chapters. For easier reading, once I have posted all 30 drabbles, I repost the entire chapter in 3,000 words.

Kismet of Submission: Episode 15

The rental isn’t cozy either. Not with Sir suddenly silent. Tamara gnaws her lip and watches him from the corner of her eye. She hopes he’s not upset with her, but can’t figure out a way to ask without rehashing the entire scene. She shifts in her seat; the stiff padding’s not helping the soreness in her butt. With the afterglow fading, she feels shame—a familiar emotion—creeping back to the fore.

To cover her unease, she pretends to study the urban commercial sprawl passing by her side window. Block after block of businesses; pharmacies, gas stations, bank branches and fast food franchises as far as the eye can see. Interspersed are nail salons, tax offices and auto repair shops. The contrast between national chains and mom-and-pop storefronts struggling for attention is striking. The strip mall housing the pizza joint is typical: Vacant stores and rain-washed broken glass glinting under the lights.

‘Looks okay to me.’

Tamara glances at Sir. It’s the first words he’s spoken since the hotel. ‘I wouldn’t come here on my own.’

Sir reaches over and gives her hand a squeeze. ‘You’re not alone.’

‘For now.’

‘For as long as you like.’

She squeezes back and unbuckles her seatbelt. The opening his declaration provides is too tempting to pass up. ‘I thought maybe it was too much—earlier. You know. My emotional outburst.’

The look he gives her is what her daughter calls ‘crazy face’. ‘Emotional? Tamara, if you were any less emotional you’d be a statue. You’ve done nothing to make me consider rescinding my offer. In fact, I’ll tell you now, that I would like you to think about coming with me when I leave tomorrow after the luncheon.’

We watch as her mouth drops open and his smirks. Hopping out, he walks around the rear of the vehicle and helps her out. He locks the doors and taking her by the hand as if they’ve been together for years, guides her over the curb to the restaurant. It’s about half-full, but it’s still early: Mostly families with a few couples and even fewer singles scattered around. It smells Italian. Basal, oregano and tomato as the high notes: baked cheese and grease rumbling underneath. The hostess—obviously one of the family’s daughters—chirps politely, ‘booth or table?’ then leads them to a waiting booth with fresh carnations in a glass and a tea candle floating in a shallow bowl. The menu is basic: Small, medium and large pizzas, two toppings included with a list of thirty-odd additional possibilities. Spaghetti and homemade meatballs, calzones, various pastas with animal protein and sauces fill the center of the menu, with salads and children’s portions the rest. The back cover lists beverages—the footer is an advert for a local insurance agent. The waitress swings by with a tray of food and a stand; she calls out as she passes, ‘I’ll be right there’. Tamara feels like she should jump up and help serve. Waitressing is hard work for little pay: harassment is ever a possibility. At least tonight no one is going to slap her ass.

She laughs out loud as the incongruity strikes her funny bone. At his curious look, she mouths ‘later’ and smiles up at the waitress. ‘Hi, Cindy, I like your brooch.’

‘Thanks, honey. I made it myself.’

‘Really? That’s cool. Do you sell them?’

‘I do, but the owners don’t like it when I peddle my wares here.’

Sir interjects with a request that she slip her business card in with the bill. ‘I’m ready to order if you are, Tamara.’

‘I’d like the ziti carbonara and a side salad with ranch dressing. I’ll have water with lemon and a diet coke.’

‘And you, sir?’

Tamara can’t help giggling.

Sir shakes his head and sighs. ‘Sorry, Cindy, she’s being naughty tonight. I’ll have a medium pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and spinach. No salad, but I would like a side of the garlic knots. Oh, water for me as well with a ginger ale. Thanks.’

The chatter of customers punctuated with occasional clangs from the kitchen fills the spaces between their watchful stares. ‘This feels like a date, Sir.’

‘Not very glamorous in that case.’

‘That’s okay. The company makes up for it.’

‘I agree.’

‘Thanks.’

Cindy sets their drinks on the table. ‘Food will be up soon, folks.’

Popping the straw on the surface, Tamara plops the end in her soda, and takes a long pull of spicy cola. The bite soothes her throat. ‘What’s the schedule for tomorrow?’

He balls up his wrapper and takes a sip of dry ginger before speaking. ‘The author meet-and-greet is from 9 to 11, followed by the closing luncheon from 11:30 to 1 in the afternoon. I have some print-on-demand hardcopies, but I mostly rely on e-sales.’

‘What can I do?’

‘Oh. That’s easy. You’ll be my eye candy.’

Tamara excitedly claps her hands. ‘Maybe to boost sales even further, we can act out some scenes. I haven’t read any of your work, but I assume there’s lots of spanking involved.’

Sir chuckles as he spots Cindy bringing their dinner. He leans closer and whispers, ‘I don’t think they’ll allow a live model, but I’ll ask tomorrow.’

‘Here you are, dears. Zita and salad for you, pizza and knots for you and do you need refills?’ She hustles off at the affirmative nods and by the time they have taken the first mouthfuls, she brings another round along with some extra napkins. ‘Anything else, just flag me down.’

‘Thanks,’ Sir and Tamara mumble around the hot food.

Watching them eat isn’t very interesting; it only spurs us to set the book aside and head to the fridge. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been interested in food porn. The slick photos on social media feeds always seem to veer between desperation and gloating. Food is fuel: If it tastes good, that’s a bonus. A companion who shares your interests makes the meal satisfying.

 

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.

Waiting for Hurricane Irma

Update 3:30pm: We are doing okay so far. We’ve had light to moderate rain off-and-on all day; a total of 3 inches so far. I expect we’ll get 6-10 more inches by Monday afternoon. There have been no winds, storms or tornadoes yet. All the severe weather has been along the east coast from Miami all the way north to Daytona. Hurricane Irma made an initial landfall between Key West and Big Pine at 9:10am. The second landfall took place at 3:15pm on Marco Island and then north to Naples within the next two hours. The extended forecast in my area has the peak winds between 2 and 6am with 84mph gusts. Still have power, but expect to lose that sometime overnight. Don’t have a smartphone, do have a laptop, but the battery only lasts for an hour or so. Will update this post later this evening.

As I write this Sunday morning, the eye-wall of Category 4 Hurricane Irma is closing in with 130mph maximum sustained winds just east of Key West, moving northwest towards the Gulf of Mexico. We live in north-central Florida and will get the worst of the winds and rain beginning around 6pm tonight, until 4pm Monday.

The winds will likely have gusts between 75-90mph, but the sustained winds will depend on how close the center of Irma gets. The forecast from 48 hours ago, had the eye moving very close to our location. This morning, that track has gradually shifted over 60 miles west. Many people who evacuated from the Miami area, wound up in Tampa. They are now bracing for the possibility of a direct landfall.

I will likely lose power later on today or tomorrow morning, so I have scheduled my posts for the next week starting on Tuesday. I will update this post Sunday and Monday, as long as I have power and our house is safe.