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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dear Editor

Dear Author,

     AAHHHH!!! Okay, just focus on one project at a time. Stop thinking about prequels and publishing, sad stories and adventures. Right now you are working with dryads and evil creatures. That is what you need to finish, so finish already. Sheesh. How hard can it be to focus. I mean really. There isn't that much on your plate. You're only moving to AZ from CA and changing domiciles, packing, trying to get your dogs from chewing up every blanket in the house, plus working. It's not much. You should easily be able to focus on one story.  So there's my rant.

  Sincerely,

     Focused Writer

Dear Book World,

     I want so much to be a part of you and let millions of readers be touched, changed and entertained by my imaginations. Please let me in!

  Hopefully,

     MM Mason

Dear Punctuation,

     I think I've actually used all of you and surprisingly enough I've used you correctly, until my editor says otherwise. Thank you all for your hard work and proper usage. 

  Gratefully Yours,

     Keyboard

Dear Dryads,

     I just have to say that I'm really glad I live in a world where boys aren't the minority...oh wait, they are. Never mind.

  Wishing there were more men,  

    Overwhelmed by women

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The four-day trip feels like the three-hour tour...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, 
a tale of a fateful trip. 
That started from this tropic port, 
aboard this tiny ship. 

The mate was a mighty sailing man, 
the skipper brave and sure. 
Five passengers set sail that day, 
for a three hour tour. 
a three hour tour. 


I think the title of this post actually sums it all up.
That and I love NCIS marathons, probably a little too much.



Monday, March 25, 2013

The Shadow 22


Simon called the next day and Marissa decided it would be prudent to tell him about her visits from the invisible man. When she finished he just stared at her.
“Come now Marissa. Are you sure you weren’t imagining the whole thing?” he finally questioned.
Marissa bristled. “Do you really think I would be idiotic enough to invent this and then tell you about it?” she shot back.
He eyed her cautiously. “I suppose not, but you have to admit it sounds a bit fantastical. And this invisible man threatened you?”
She nodded. “He says he’ll take me if I don’t deliver a message to Sarah Clarence,” she added.
After discussing it, she and Sarah decided to maintain the persona of Catherine for Sarah and assert that Sarah Clarence was dead.
“Who is Sarah Clarence?” Simon questioned.
“My mother,” Marissa said simply. He started forward surprised. “She was my mother, but she gave me up to the orphanage and never returned for me. I can only assume she is dead now. I’ve searched for her, but never found her. She certainly hasn’t come looking for me.”
“Have you thought of going to the police? This man has threatened you with bodily harm if this Sarah character doesn’t show up.”
“Do you really think the police will believe me?” Marissa asked derisively. “They would laugh me out of Scotland Yard. I’ve decided instead to take a holiday to the coast. Hopefully if I am out of this man’s reach he will leave me alone.” She sat down in a chair. “This whole thing has been a bit exhausting for me.”
“You poor dear,” Simon said, coming over to her side. “You must be absolutely frazzled by this.”
“Indeed, it is a bit wearing. I’ve decided to take a place on the south shore for a few weeks,” she added carefully.
“I hear Brighton is excellent this time of year,” Simon assumed.
“I’m sure it is, but I’m going to Cowes or Newport on the Isle,” Marissa said cheerfully. “It will be much more relaxing for me instead of one of the other popular destinations.”
“The Isle of Wight?” Simon questioned surprised. “What made you decide on that location?”
“The scenery is lovely this time of year and it is a well known resort. I will have all the gossip I need and the solitude of the parks. I’m quite looking forward to going, though the journey will be abominable,” Marissa explained.
“Then you will most certainly allow me to escort you there,” Simon stated firmly.
“I can’t take you away from your London investments,” Marissa disagreed.
“It would be a welcome change and I wouldn’t trust anyone with your safety.”
Marissa stiffened, dismayed at this turn of events. She didn’t want Simon’s overbearing presence on the Isle creating a distraction for her, but she knew how determined he would be and all her exclamations would be overridden or ignored.
“I suppose a companion would be nice for the journey, but I don’t expect you to stay there the whole time I’m on holiday. I’m certain your work here is much to important to ignore.”
“Nonsense. It will be a welcomed break from the meetings. I shall plan on it. When were you planning on leaving?”
“Sometime around the tenth of May. That will give my servants time to procure an establishment for the month and prepare it sufficiently for my arrival,” Marissa replied, in a very business like manner.
“Please do me the honor of allowing me to assist you in this matter,” he exclaimed.
Marissa bit her lip. Things weren’t going the way she planned at all. “I don’t think that would be appropriate, besides my people know what I like in an establishment.”
“Then I shall do my best to emulate their choices. I insist. I will find you the largest, most lovely estate on the island. Even Osborne House won’t be able to compare,” he declared.
Marissa started at the mention of Osborne House, but maintained her composure. “I certainly don’t need an estate, Mr. Anderson. Please I must insist you allow my servants to complete this task.”
“How would you feel about a house in East Cowes?” he asked, ignoring her plea.
Marissa sighed. “Yes, that would be acceptable.” If he was this determined she might as well let him do the work. “Please don’t get crazily extravagant, Mr. Anderson.”
“Never fear, my darling, your holiday is now in my capable hands.” He got to his feet. “I must go so I can secure you an appropriate location.”
He bowed and left the room. Marissa let out a deep breath of relief and worry. Simon was quickly becoming a problem that she would eventually have to deal with. She didn’t relish the idea of breaking his heart, but she clearly understood her own feelings. Despite the fact that Sean would probably never return to her, she would never love Simon the way he wanted her to.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dear Editor

Dear Publishing Company,

     I'm anxiously awaiting your reply. To publish or not to publish, that is the question.

  Sincerely,
  
   Writer, Hopeful Author

Dear Literary Agent,

     Again, I am anxiously awaiting your reply. Will you take a chance with me or not? Pretty, pretty please!

  Faithfully Yours

    Begging Writer

Dear Period,

     I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I might be using you a little too much. I want to introduce you to some new folks. Meet and, but, and ;. Let's add some length to our sentences for a bit and then we can go from there.

  Happy Endings,
  
     Keyboard

Dear S,

     He's bad, don't trust him! 
     Wait, maybe he's good. Okay you can trust him. 
     Oh no! He's bad, don't trust him. 
     Nah, it's all right, you can trust him now...

  To be continued...

     Uncertainty

Dear Jason,

     I know it seems like she has already forgotten you, but stay strong, she hasn't. She's just busy dealing with a bunch of lying, conniving evil creatures. Don't worry she'll come back and you can blissfully torture her and yourself with your unrequited and impossible love.

  Love,

     Romance



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Shadow 21


The invisible man released her arm and Marissa rubbed the sore spot. Tom opened the door with a smile.
“Sorry about the bumps, M’Lady. I didn't see them. They need to fix the cobbles on the main road through the park.”
Marissa felt a nudge in her back. “That’s fine Tom. I’m sure it wasn’t your fault,” she said carefully.
He helped her out and she kept him just long enought for the invisible man to exit the coach. She headed inside, trepidation filling her breast. How would the man react when he realized Sarah was no longer invisible? The butler took her hat and Eliza took her coat.
“I’ll take tea in my study and will you please send my guest down?” Marissa said calmly.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Elisa replied.
“How did your staff react to Sarah’s intriguing presence?” the man asked snidely.
Marissa walked over to her desk. “The same way they act with every guest,” she replied matter-of-factly.
The door opened and Sarah entered. “What’s wrong Marissa?” she asked.
“Catherine, I want you to remain calm. There is someone here, someone you can’t see and he is demanding to see my guest a woman he is calling Sarah,” Marissa said slowly.
Sarah looked at her strangely. “What are you talking about?”
Marissa turned to where she had last heard the man speak from. “This is the only guest in my home right now, Sir. This mysterious Sarah that you spoke of isn’t here.”
“Marissa, dear, have you lost your mind?”
“I’m not impressed with your little game, Lady Edgington,” the man said behind her.
She jumped and Sarah squeaked very convincingly.
“I tried to tell you Sarah hasn’t come to see me. I couldn’t deliver your message, because she never came,” Marissa said coldly.
“How are you doing this?” Sarah asked in a frightened voice, playing her part well.
“I think it’s time you left. Clearly your Sarah doesn’t care that much about me, or maybe she is dead. As far as I’m concerned Sarah Clarence doesn’t exist in my world,” Marissa said with finality.
“If I discover you’ve been lying to me, Marissa, you will be very sorry,” he said in her ear.
She shuddered.
“Farewell ladies. I’m certain we will meet again,” he said. The window behind her opened and a few moments later closed.
Sarah remained rooted to the floor. “Is he gone?” she asked fearfully.
“I don’t know,” Marissa shrugged. “I’m sure he’ll be back. He told me he would take me if Sarah didn’t go to some doctor’s house and I told him I don’t know a Sarah and that she hasn’t come to see me. He thought you were Sarah.”
“He said he would take you if this Sarah doesn’t go?” Sarah asked.
Marissa nodded. “I think I need a holiday,” she said sitting at her desk. “This whole mess is utterly ridiculous.”
“What are you going to do?” Sarah asked.
“I would go to the police, but they will never believe me that an invisible man threatened me. I think the only thing I can do is leave town and hope that this man believes me,” Marissa said, with a sigh. “I’m going to bed. I have a headache.”
She got to her feet and headed up stairs.  She went into her room and closed the door. About ten minutes later Sarah slipped into the room and locked the door behind her.
“I don’t think he stayed. I’m fairly certain he left the room,” she said quietly. “Maybe I should go to Dr. Bering’s house.”
“They’d just kill you now that you aren’t invisible,” Marissa stated. “I don’t want you going back there at all.”
“What did you discover from the aide meeting this morning?”
“The Royals are all expected to be at Osborne House for Victoria’s birthday. I’m certain they will all be in house by May 17th. I don’t know if that date is special by any means, but the only thing I can think of is that they will all be accessible by the date and time Jarvis listed.”
“So you want to go there in two weeks and try and stop them,” Sarah concluded.
“Like I said downstairs, the police won’t believe me and the only people who know what to look for are standing in this room,” Marissa explained. “I don’t doubt that Jarvis’ man will come looking for me to try and force you to come forward.”
“How are we going to stop them, Marissa?”
“I don’t know,” she sighed. “The only thing I can think of is to get into the house while invisible and keep watch for any sign of the man.”
“I know what I would do to get inside if I were still invisible, so I suppose that is the place to start,” Sarah agreed. “Are you going to see Mr. Anderson again?”
“Probably, though his forwardness is starting to annoy me. He kissed me last night when he brought me home,” Marissa admitted.
“And Sean saw it,” Sarah finished.
Marissa nodded. “I just don’t know what to do.”
“Talk to him.”
“I tried,” Marissa cried. “He just...left.” She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter now, we have other things to worry about. I think it’s time for Lady Edgington to take a holiday to the coast.”
“A holiday would be good, but I think you need a real rest, not one to stop a crazy lunatic from harming the royal family,” Sarah replied sardonically.
Marissa heartily agreed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Moving


So I have to move once again and I am NOT looking forward to it. I am so ready to have my own place and settle down somewhere, but I'm not sure where and when that will happen, so (sigh) I get to pack up and move once again. I'm just hoping the summer in Phoenix won't be too hot, but I'm not holding my breath.

Now where's that tape...


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Attending Church

You just don't appreciate what you have until you no longer have it. I've been thinking about this this morning as I wish I could attend church at home instead of sitting in a hotel room preparing for the start of a long day at work. Don't get me wrong, I totally love my job, but lately I've found that I miss being able to go to church every sunday. I've missed more than I've attended and that is frustrating.

I have to admit though, that the scriptures, conference talks, and Ensign articles have been a blessing to help me stay spiritually strong. So the moral of this post is to attend church whenever you can, because you never know when you won't be able to and just how much you will miss it, even the screaming baby in the back row. :)


Friday, March 15, 2013

The Shadow 20


“Sean!” Marissa exclaimed surprised and alarmed.
“Lady Edgington,” Sean said stiffly.
Marissa was now certain he had seen Mr. Anderson kiss her.
“What brings you back? I thought you were finished with me,” she said bitingly.
“I just returned for a few of my things,” he said coldly.
Marissa bit her tongue. They were both hurt and lashing out again wouldn’t help the situation. “Oh.”
“How was your evening with Mr. Anderson?” Sean asked carefully.
Marissa sighed. “A little boring, actually,” she answered honestly.
Sean smiled just a tiny bit. “You seemed to be getting alone well.”
Marissa decided she wouldn’t rise to his bait. “As well as can be expected with an American. I learned more about his investments in America than I ever wanted to.”
“Oh. Well, I suppose I should be on my way,” he said, a hint of melancholy in his voice. He turned to leave and Marissa knew she couldn’t leave things that way, with this dark wall between them.
“Mr. Anderson took liberties I didn’t give, Sean,” she said quietly, referring to the kiss.
Sean stopped in his tracks and Marissa held her breath. After several seconds he spoke. “I suppose that is between you and Mr. Anderson, Lady Edgington,” he said and then continued toward the door.
Marissa’s heart sank and she felt like she had been pushed aside. Sean was upset, but more than that he was hurt and he chose to express his pain through nonchalance. 
“I suppose it is,” she said quietly. “Thank you, Mr. Doveday.” She didn’t want to hurt him anymore, but it didn’t seem to matter what she did, it would still cause him pain. She turned away and headed for her study, determined to let him go.
She heard the front door close and all her emotions released. She felt hurt and angry and lonely. She glanced around the study and her eyes fell upon a glass inkwell. She grabbed it and hurled it across the room where it struck the door with crushing force. After the inkwell shattered she placed both hands on her chair and sobbed. Moments later Sarah appeared in the room.
“What happened?” she asked, wide-eyed.
Marissa swallowed her hurt feelings and shook her head, drying her eyes. “Nothing,” she said simply. “I’m going to do a little fishing for information tomorrow. There’s an aide meeting and I’m going to find out exactly what is happening amongst the royals.”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea. Maybe you can find out what is happening at the Osborne House in two weeks,” Sarah agreed.
“I’m tired,” Marissa said suddenly. “I’ve got a headache and I’m going to bed.”
“All right. Do you want me to clean that up?” she asked motioning to the door.
Marissa looked at her in surprise. “You are not a servant here, you are my mother and a guest,” she said firmly and left the room.
The next day Marissa geared herself up to face the cats of London society at the aide meeting. She generally abhorred these meetings because it was more of an opportunity to gossip than to actually help anyone, but today was different. She had questions and she desperately needed answers.
Tom drove her himself, not trusting her safety to anyone else. When they arrived he helped her out of escorted her to the door. “I’ll be waiting when you’re done, M’Lady,” he said firmly.
Marissa smiled at his concerned face. It hadn’t taken long for her to win him over when she first became Lady Edgington. Tom watched and worried over he like a father. She knew he was probably her most loyal servant. She entered the home of her friend Charlotte, who was hosting the meeting, and was immediately surrounded by several of the younger ladies.
“Marissa, darling, we heard about your awful abduction.” “Aren’t you just frightened to go out in public?” “I would spend a month in bed after everything.” I can’t believe Mr. Anderson rescued you, how romantic.” 
The ladies all spoke at once crowding around her. Marissa was surprised at how many of them were aware of the abduction and Mr. Anderson’s role in it. She knew it would eventually get out, but she didn’t think it would be so quickly.
“Marissa, I’m surprised to see you here,” Charlotte said, interrupting the chattering ladies. “I would have thought a lady such as yourself would want a holiday in the country after such an attack.” Her voice was full of all the condescension and smugness Marissa was used to hearing.
“Why would I return to the country?” Marissa asked. “I was abducted from the Canterbury Station.” Charlotte’s face went slightly pink. “Besides, what is the point of staying in bed? It wouldn’t help me recover. I much prefer to keep my mind active and alert, so I don’t dwell on the awfulness of the situation.” Marissa wanted to go on, but Charlotte was clearly getting annoyed.
“You’re so brave, Lady Edgington,” one of the younger ladies added before they all returned to their seats.
Charlotte took over the meeting and the ladies returned to their work and gossip. Marissa joined the group most likely to know what was happening with the royal family. Most of the conversation revolved around Minister Cherington’s mysterious death and a few bravely asked Marissa to share the details of what happened to her. This gave her the perfect segway she needed.
“To be honest I have thought of taking a holiday to the sea. The Isle is usually nice this time of year,” she said with a sigh, hoping to stir any news about that particular location. She wasn’t disappointed.
“It’s lovely there right now and you might get to see Victoria’s family,” and older countess said with a smile.
“Victoria likes to spend her birthdays at Osborne House and all the family gathers together,” another added.
Marissa nodded. So Queen Victoria and her family would be at Osborne House at the same time as Dr. Bering’s paper suggested. Marissa remained quiet for several minutes pondering this new revelation. What if Jarvis was planning an attack on the royal family or even the queen? Attempts had been made on Victoria’s life before, but coming from an invisible assassin seemed all the more horrible to Marissa. It would take away any feeling of security the people of Great Britain my feel.
She forced a smile on her face and spent the rest of the morning wishing she could leave. As soon as was proper, she excused herself and called for her carriage. Tom met her at the door and escorted her to the coach. Marissa sat back against the seat and closed her eyes.
She would have to use the attack as an excuse to travel to the Isle of Wight. She and Sarah were the only hope to protect the queen and her family and even that was still slight. No one would believe them that an invisible assassin would harm the queen. Even if she showed the police what she could do they would probably arrest her and haul her off to jail.
She shook her head in frustration. Sarah knew what to look for and would probably be the best asset in locating the invisible assailant. Marissa could move completely unseen, but it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t have more information than what they now had.
Suddenly the carriage jolted beneath her and Marissa was jostled to one side. The door came partially open and then swung shut.
“Whoa there horse,” she heard Tom call.
She glanced out the window, but couldn’t see anyone attacking the carriage. Nervously she settled back in to her seat. They must have hit a rut in the street. She closed her eyes again, feeling the strain of everything on her nerves.
“I’m not very happy, Lady Edgington,” a sinister voice said, from the seat across from her.
Marissa’s eyes flew open and she gasped in fear and surprise. She stared at the empty space, her heart pounding in her chest. It was the invisible man from before. Her mouth went dry and she swallowed hard.
“I couldn’t deliver you message,” she said, finally able to speak. “Your mysterious Sarah never came,” she lied.
“I find that hard to believe, Lady Edgington. She is, after all, your mother and she has done a great deal to ensure your safety.”
“You’re lying,” Marissa said in a choked voice, trying to remain calm. “My mother is dead. She abandoned me at an orphanage when I was a baby.”
“Ah, but that doesn’t mean she died,” the voice chuckled. “She failed to come and now she must suffer the consequences of her actions,” he added coldly. “I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me.”
“This is a mistake,” Marissa bargained. “I’ll pay you whatever you ask, just leave me alone.”
The man laughed. “Do you think your money matters to me?”
“What do you want?” Marissa asked.
“I want a great many things, Lady Edgington, none of which you can give me.”
“And what happens if your Sarah doesn’t come?”
“We have another who will help us.”
“I have no siblings, Sir, and my father is most definitely dead. How are you going to convince this other person to help you if you take me prisoner?” she demanded. It would be good to have an idea of what they were planning.
“That is not something a lady of your position needs to worry about,” he said condescendingly.
His attitude bespoke of English pride and aristocracy. She narrowed her eyes. “You disgust me. You think you can force people to accept your plans and you threaten them, but you have no idea what people are capable of when cornered. All the aristocracy are the same. Silly, prideful idiots with no understanding of the world they think is beneath them.”
An invisible hand grabbed her arm and she shrank back from his touch. “You know nothing about me,” he growled. “You so quick to judge when your experiences are limited at best. How many years did you actually work in that factory before you were taken from the slums and made a Lady? I understand what it means to use my resources. I was educated in the basest of degrading society and I rose above it all.”
Marissa’s temper sparked. “That doesn’t give you the right to abuse and threaten anyone else. I may have been placed in a position of wealth and power, but I have had to fight and earn my right to stand where I am with the respect of those beneath me.”
He laughed. “You are simply a pawn in a greater game.”
“I am no one’s pawn,” she replied disgustedly.
The carriage pulled to a stop and Marissa could see the front steps of her home. Any moment now someone would open the door and she didn’t know what the invisible man would do.
“You have a choice to make, Lady Edgington. Either tell Sarah to come to the doctor’s house or you will be coming in her place,” the man said quietly.
“Sarah isn’t at my house!” Marissa exclaimed, in one last attempt to divert the man.
“Don’t lie to me,” he commanded, grabbing her arm painfully. “I know she’s there and you’re going to take me inside or I will kill Tom and anyone else who tries to assist you. Their blood will be on your dainty, white hands. You have until he opens the door.”
Marissa could see Tom’s determined figure moving to the door of the carriage. He reached out for the handle and the hand on her arm tightened.
“All right,” she hissed. “I’ll take you to Sarah.”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Shadow 19


She closed her eyes trying to get some rest, knowing she would need all her energy to deal with Simon’s over-zealous behavior towards her. It didn’t take her long to fall into an uneasy sleep and by the time she woke up she didn’t feel any more rested than before.
Eliza helped her dress for her dinner appointment and when she finished she examined her figure in the mirror. Except for the annoying bustle, Marissa liked the fashions and the dark blue dress looked particularly striking against her pale skin. She added the wide-brimmed hat to her pinned-up curls. 
With as deep a breath as she could get, she left her room and made her way to the parlor. At precisely seven, the door chimes rang and a few minutes later the butler showed Simon into the room. He looked very dashing in his pearl gray suit and gentleman’s hat. Marissa admired his stature, but his aire of confidence rather annoyed her. She immediately compared Simon to Sean. Sean’s confidence never overshot into absolute certainty, especially where Marissa was concerned. Simon seemed overly sure of winning Marissa’s affections.
She was too independent and educated to feel the need to be tied to any man. Whomever she chose to marry would be an equal partner in life on equal terms. After hearing her mother’s story she knew she couldn’t have it any other way.
“Marissa, dearest, have you recovered from that awful experience?” Simon asked, taking her hands in his own.
“Quite,” she answered simply. “I’m not one to dwell on the past, but learn from my mistakes.”
“Mistakes, which I am certain, are few and far between. Shall we go?” Simon said grandly.
Marissa nodded, placing her hand on his outstretched arm. Simon pulled her arm in, drawing her close to his side. 
“You look very lovely, my dear,” he said, in his usual debonaire manner.
“Thank you, Mr. Anderson,” she answered properly.
He led her out to his waiting carriage and helped her inside. It was a very fine carriage with soft, velvet seats and curtains to match. Marissa settled in, mentally preparing for a long evening of stemming Simon’s advances.
The drive to the restaurant lasted much longer than Marissa expected. Simon chatted about his fortunes back in America and how pleased he was with his ongoing investments in London. Marissa listen patiently, wishing the evening were already over. Finally the carriage pulled to a stop and the coachman opened the door.
To Marissa’s surprise they weren’t at any restaurant she was familiar with, but at the gate to a large house on the other side of the park.
“Mr. Anderson, where are we?” Marissa asked, feeling a bit concerned.
“I didn’t think you would want to fight the crowds, so I had a fine dinner prepared at my house. I hope you don’t mind,” he said with a bow.
Marissa’s eyes narrowed slightly. It was highly improper that she should be at the gentleman’s house unescorted.
“I don’t know,” she said, biting her lip.
“I promise I will keep it to a simple dinner and then take you back home,” he replied with a flourish. “All my servants are at home and I can employ one of them as a chaperone if you’d like.”
Marissa rolled her eyes in annoyance. “This is highly inappropriate, Mr. Anderson, there will be many wagging tongues about my behavior.”
“And who are you to listen to the cats of the London court? You’re Marissa Edgington, Lady extraordinaire. You are the brightest jewel in Victoria’s court. She isn’t worthy to even have your brilliant mind and sharp wit and quick temper,” he argued.
“Please, Mr. Anderson, contain yourself,” Marissa cautioned. “I suppose one evening can’t do any harm.” 
She allowed him to help her out of the carriage and escort her in the house. The butler took her hat and coat and then showed her into the parlor. Moments later Simon joined her.
“Have you discovered who so brazenly took you from the station?” he asked, motioning her to the couch near the fire. 
Marissa moved instead to an upright chair and settled herself comfortably. “No,” she lied. “I haven’t the faintest idea. I’m certain there are any number of criminals who would love to get their hands on my father’s money, but I just don’t know why they would take Sean too. He would be the one to pay the ransom.”
“Perhaps there was another reason you were being held,” Simon said casually. “Maybe some of your old acquaintances from your past are wanting a payout.”
Marissa shook her head. “I simply do not know, but I am certain they won’t try again. My staff is on the alert now and Sean...” She left her sentence hanging. Sean would no longer be there to protect her. “There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m certain my captors are long gone. The police haven’t found anything either, so it is a moot point.” She shrugged. “So tell me about your investments here in London. You said they are progressing well. Just what are you investing in?”
“I’m up to my eyeballs in material,” Simon replied cheerily.
“Material? What kind of material?”
“It is the most unique stuff I have ever seen or felt. My partners in this venture are trying different dye solutions to create a fabric that is unlike any I have ever seen before.”
Marissa’s thoughts immediately went to the invisible material she had taken. That was truly the most unique fabric she had ever seen, or not seen. “Hmm. Interesting. You’ll have to show me sometime.”
“Maybe I will,” he answered positively.
The butler entered the room at that point to announce dinner. Simon jumped to his feet and helped her up, and then escorted her into the dining room. The house was one of the more grand scaled homes in the park and the dining set up did not disappoint. Fine china and crystal adorned the place settings, with silver sparkling in grandeur. Marissa sat down in the chair Simon pulled out and placed her napkin on her lap.
The first course came out, steaming hot. Marissa felt like she was at a private restaurant and the servants all treated her like royalty. After the final course they retired to the parlor for coffee and little cakes. When they finished, Marissa subtly expressed her weariness and Simon took her back home. He walked her up the steps and opened the door before the butler could do so.
“I have had a wonderful evening, Marissa, may I call on you again?” Simon pressed.
Marissa let out her breath slowly. She didn’t not wish to lead Simon on if she didn’t return his interest.
“Perhaps,” she responded illusively.
“You will keep me in suspense?”
“Simon, we’ve only just met...” Marissa began. Before she could continue Simon took her in his arms and kissed her soundly.
For the briefest of seconds Marissa let him, but then she pulled back. “Mr. Anderson, really,” she scolded, as she felt the blood rush to her cheeks.
“You bring out the dashing impulsiveness in me, Marissa. I can’t help myself. Please say you’ll let me call again. I will die inside if you do not,” he pleaded.
Marissa shook her head. “We shall see, Mr. Anderson. If you can behave, then I think another evening might be appropriate.”
He grinned, grasping her hand and kissed it formally. “Until the next time then.”
He leapt off the porch and half danced to his carriage. Marissa couldn’t help but laugh at his exuberance. She stepped inside the house with a smile and carefully shut the door. There was something about Simon that made her insides flutter. Part of her liked it and part of her didn’t. She turned around and stopped short. Sean stood in the hallway holding a box and staring. Marissa was certain he had seen everything.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Shadow 18


The next morning Marissa went down to breakfast feeling tired and surly. She hadn’t slept well after Sean left and the nagging fear of being alone wouldn’t leave her mind. Sarah joined her and immediately noticed something was wrong.
“What is it Marissa?” Sarah asked concerned.
Marissa looked at her debating what to say, but finally gave in to sense. “Sean left last night.”
“You went to Dr. Bering’s house, didn’t you?” Sarah accused.
Marissa nodded. “I had to. I couldn’t think of any other way,” she said hopelessly.
“At least tell me you found something.”
“I did,” Marissa answered quietly. She got up from the table and motioned for Sarah to follow her.
When they reached her room she walked over to where she had left the material on her chair. She felt for it and held it out to Sarah.
“What are you doing?” Sarah asked confused.
“Feel it.”
“Feel what?”
Marissa shook the material until it brushed Sarah’s outstretched hand. Sarah’s eyes widened.
“He made invisible material?”
“And I found a paper in Jarvis’ study that seemed suspicious to me.”
“Where is it?”
“I left everything just the way I found it, but I memorized what it said: Osborne House, May 17th by 7pm.”
“What does that mean?” Sarah asked bemused.
Marissa shook her head. “I don’t know. I’m going to have to do some social investigating. I know it is one of Victoria’s residences, but she hasn’t been out there for months.” 
“We will have to be very careful, Marissa. We are treading in uncertain territory. Jarvis is a dangerous man and he will not let anything get in his way. He’s certain to have people watching you and listening for talk that could change his plans. He told you to tell me to come to his house. He knows the best way to get me to do what he wants is by threatening you, so if I don’t show up at his place soon then he will come after you.”
“Maybe it’s time Lady Edgington took an extended vacation to the countryside or the Highlands. She is becoming far to accessible for my taste. If we take her out of the picture then we can work with relative ease,” Marissa replied, annoyed at her position.
“I’m still not much good to you now that I can be seen,” Sarah said unhappily.
“But you know London much better than I do. Together we can figure things out. We need to know who Jarvis’ new contact is. If Minister Cherington was his contact and his financier, then he will be needing a new one,” Marissa said thoughtfully.
“I don’t think the Minister was financing this project. The times I spied on Jarvis they mentioned an outside source that was assisting them.”
“Then we need to figure out who that source is. Perhaps when we do we can discover what they are up to.”
“How are we going to go about that. No one is going to talk about a secret project and unless we keep a constant watch on Jarvis’ house we are walking blindly.”
“I don’t know what to do, but for now we should at least plan a trip to the Isle of Weight on May 17th. We will just have to find out what they are planning between now and then.”
“What are you going to do about Sean, Marissa?” Sarah asked slowly.
Marissa shook her head. “He left. He isn’t coming back. I suppose it serves me right for not waiting until he calmed down, but I can’t say I’m not glad I went. I don’t think I would have found the invisible material and I certainly wouldn’t have found that note either. Maybe after this is over I can go to his office and beg for him to return.”
She felt like her heart would break. After everything they had been through, it took him leaving for Marissa to understand her feelings for him. She shook her head, pushing her feelings back.
“I want to make a suit out of this stuff so I can move around without feeling so uncomfortable,” Marissa said, holding up the invisible material. 
“That’s going to take some doing, but I’ll help the best I can.”
“I just need a shirt and pants. We can pin it so you have some sort of a guide.” She looked over at the door, thinking about her staff. “I should introduce you to Eliza and Tom so you can move about the house freely. Luckily Jarvis and his man don’t know you are visible now, but if they know someone is here they might realize it’s you.”
“We’ll figure it out, Marissa. We have other things to worry about and you also have a dinner tonight to get ready for,” Sarah reminded her.
Marissa groaned. “Simon. I wish I trusted him enough to ask him for information.”
“Who is he?”
“He’s an American investor. He said he came here on business and that he has fallen madly in love with me.” Marissa shook her head. “I don’t believe a word of it, but he seems sincere in his interest.”
“Be careful. He could be a gold digger,” Sarah replied, in a very motherly fashion.
Marissa smiled. “Simon warned me of the very same thing.” And so did Sean, Marissa thought, her smile fading. “I’ve tried to be very careful. He is the one who rescued Sean and I from Jarvis’ clutches.”
“How did he find you?”
“He said he used good old fashioned detective work, but I’m guessing he also paid for the information he got from the cabbies and vendors he questioned.”
“Well that’s usually the best way to get information around here. You’ll still have to keep a close eye on him when you’re with him. At this stage in the game we can’t afford to trust anyone, not even your own people,” Sarah said carefully.
“I really don’t think my servants would ever do anything to harm me, Sarah. They’ve all been with the Edgington House for years,” Marissa said loyally.
“Yes, but you are still new to them and anyone’s loyalties can be bought if the price is high enough,” Sarah said matter-of-factly. “We will have to be very careful from now on.”
Marissa sighed. She knew Sarah was right, but she hated to admit that her people might be bought. It made Sean’s leaving that much worse.
“Well regardless, I have a dinner appointment tonight and I’m going to have to be my usual charming self. Simon could be a very useful resource if I approach him the right way,” Marissa said.
“I’ll get started with the material. You should rest for a bit. You had a late night and very little sleep.”
Marissa nodded in agreement. She was exhausted, physically and emotionally. She got up and headed to her room. She lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling and reviewed the details of the curious mystery she was caught in the middle of. 
Her mother had been turned invisible, years ago, by Dr. Bering, and forced to do his bidding against the threat of harm to Marissa. Amongst these things she was sent to find out just what had happened to Minister Cherington and upon discovering his dead body, made it look like a murder instead of a result of Bering’s potions. These men had obviously been plotting something and because of Cherington’s demise they now had to find another contact at the palace. 
Next she added in the piece of paper with the house and date on it and the invisible material. Once everything was organized in her head she gasped out loud and sat up. All the pieces put together added up to one thing: an attack on the Royal House! Everything made complete sense except for the why. Why would someone want to harm Victoria? She was old and nearing the end of her life anyways. What good would it do to kill her now? 
Marissa shook her head. There had to be some other reason behind all of this madness she had stumbled into because of her own stupidity. She lay back trying to understand what was behind this and who. Jarvis had mentioned his employer, but who that employer was, she had no idea.
The only lead she now had was the paper that had mentioned the Osborne House, May 17th by 7pm. Somehow she was going to have to find out what Jarvis and his employer planned by May 17th or go to the Isle of Wight on that date herself. She sighed. Sean was right, this whole situation was ludicrous and she was an idiot to continue trying to figure things out, but now she really had no choice. Both the Shadow and Lady Edgington were far too involved to back out now.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Writer's Block



Or when your day job takes over.