Thursday, 29 January 2015

Meet the Boss

So a little while ago for daily writing prompts I started a story called The Hell Fire Club and the follow up here. Anyway I haven't written in a while so I thought I would get back into the swing of things and this is the story that has been toying with me. Here is the next installment. Let me know what you think.

*****
view image here

"Miss Taylor. Alistair." Trixie the hostess nodded as she took Frankie's leather jacket from her. Alistair had been right, entering the club the first time had been the worst. She barely broke her stride now. She did, however, still need a few seconds to take in the club as the foyer opened out into all its opulence. Frankie really wasn't used to all this splendor; two up two downs with her mum growing up and dingy flats through uni were her thing. Getting used to Alistair's way of doing things was taking a little time.

Taking Alistair's offered arm she leaned in and whispered into his ear, "Is there a particular reason Trixie is so familiar with you? I mean with everyone else it seems to be Miss or Sir but you're on first name terms." She finished raising her eyebrow for effect.

"I've told you before I have been coming for a long time."

"Yeah, so have most of the old dudes in here. Come on, there is a lot you don't tell me Alistair and I can handle it, mostly. But at some point you are going to have to start giving something up! Why not start with something small?"

"Hmmm." Alistair had a pensive look on his face as they slid into their usual booth and was staring across the room at the guy Frankie assumed was the owner, he was always there surveying his empire.

"I mean if you two had a thing it's fine. You seem to be over it now. I assume the split was amicable? You are both being positively adult about it. "

"Something like that." Alistair replied, still distracted.

"Hey Mr." Frankie said waving her hand in front of his face. "Conversation over here. Plus we are supposed to be celebrating something, but someone wouldn't tell me what. I dressed up and everything." Frankie pouted and that finally brought Alistair back to the here and now.

"I'm sorry, I....I'm sorry." Alistair sighed with a last quick glance at the guy. "I did promise someone a celebration didn't I?" He said with a wicked twinkle in his eye.

He slid his hand in his jacket pocket and pulled out a small red velvet box. A ring box.

Frankie looked at Alistair, his impeccable hair dark hair brushed back with not a strand out of place as usual and his dark wicked eyes baring down into her soul through her eyes. In the last few months he had taken the half broken woman that she had become, plodding through life like it didn't matter, wasting it on stupid wishes that she could disappear into a world that didn't exist. And he had made her whole again. No more than whole, more than she could ever imagine. Frankie knew that her mouth was probably hanging open by now but she just kept looking from the box to Alistair and back again.

"Are you going to open it?" Alistair asked quietly and for the first time Frankie heard doubt and unease within him.

"I..." Frankie started, touching the box with just the tip of her fingers. Looking up at Alistair, "it's....we've only been together six months...I."

"Open it." He whispered.

Frankie gingerly lifted the small box from the table. The velvet was thick and expensive under her fingers. Taking a deep breath she pulled on the stiff spring and opened the box. She could barely string a sentence together before, now looking at the vintage gold ring sat in the shiny black silk there was no chance of coherent speech. Frankie looked up at Alistair patiently waiting for her reply and back to the beautiful ring; the emerald cut blood red stone, the diamonds set down the asymmetrical band and the filigreed claws holding the captivating stone in place. It was so beautiful, so old, too much.

"It's too much." Frankie whispered finally, her eyes shining bright with the potential for tears.

"It's the only ring I would choose. Don't over think this Frankie, are you happy?"

"More than any other time in my life." Frankie replied, distractedly fingering the ring. "I just don't know if I'm ready for this. It's a big commitment, I'm giving you me and you'll be giving me you...forever. Are we ready?"

Closing his hands around Frankie's and snapping the box to in the centre, taking a breath. "Just think about it, please. Think about what we have. I don't know about you but I don't want it to ever end."

All Frankie managed was a nod as she watched Alistair slip the little red box into her bag. With a sigh she knelt on the booth seat and turned toward the bar. Will, the bartender spotted her and she just mouthed 'Rough Day' then turned to sit down.

"What was that?" Alistair asked. But before Frankie could answer Will arrived at the table. Now he was out from behind the bar it was much more obvious how well toned he was by how well fitting his stripped waistcoat was and Frankie only noticed now the spatterdashes  that he wore over his boots. There were things all over this place that made you feel like you were stuck in some kind of time-warp.

"Two glasses?"

"I think so Will, thanks. And maybe the bottle?" Frankie replied. Alistair meanwhile was sat stunned.

"I took that as a given Frank! I brought the Don, you look like you need it tonight." Will winked, his reptilian eye flicking sideways, and after pouring two shots of Don Eduardo Silver Tequila set the bottle on the table.

"You know all my favourites." Frankie smiled.

"Ah, there she is. Few more of those and you'll be back giggling."

"Not sure that's the answer tonight Will, but thanks."

"Well give me a shout if you run out of lime." He said turning to leave without even acknowledging Alistair's existence. Usually the world revolved around the men in here and she was an added extra, but Will had been a friend these past few months. There to run to when things got a little too weird or when she needed a little time out from the lecherous old men that sometimes needed to speak with Alistair when she was there.

"So Frank, we're on the hard stuff tonight huh?" Alistair asked. Was that jealousy that flashed across his face? Nah, she was reading too much into that.

"Don't get me wrong champagne is lovely. But sometimes tequila is what a situation requires." Frankie smiled, "let's try and enjoy the rest of the night? I know it's not the celebration you were hoping for."

"Frankie, you never cease to amaze me. That is a cause to celebrate in its self." With that he nodded in the direction of the stage and it was only then that Frankie realised there hadn't been any performers on yet, which was unusual, just the band playing various background pieces. The lights dimmed and the heavy bass kicked in. Before even the first spark hit the stage she knew the fire poi dancers were back. They hadn't seen them since their first visit to the Hellfire Club but Frankie asked almost every time if they were on the bill.

"How?" 

"Anything for you."Alistair smiled handing her her glass and clinking them in an unspoken toast to them.

*

The fire held no captivation for Alistair that night. He just watched the glow of the flames dance on her skin, he watched the amazement in her eyes and he felt the beat pulse through their intertwined fingers. Slowly he came to the realisation this time he meant every word he said. That singular thought scared the hell out of him. In three centuries none of them had realised, none of them had guessed what the contract held and it made her all the more attractive. He wasn't going to be able to give her up and as that dawned on him he caught sight of Leonard watching him watch Frankie. How much had he seen? Was she safe? He hadn't gotten out of the first mess he got himself into and now he was walking head-long into another.

Alistair was no longer watching Frankie; his eyes were firmly on Leonard at the blackjack table. Their stares meeting across the club as the poi dancing rolled seamlessly onto Frankies favourite singer. The sultry tones of Madame Kitzsch melted out from the stage while the smell of sulphur still hung in the air from the fire, smoke clinging to the floor.



Dance with me. Alistair blurted out.

But no one else is dancing. Frankie replied.

I dont care. I need you close to me. Come on. He said again standing and taking her hand, pulling her to her feet.

They moved on to the dance floor and Alistair pulled Frankie against him. She really did look exquisite tonight; wearing a floor length deep amethyst satin number, she shone like a gem amongst all the blood red of the club. Tonight he really felt her as they moved to the slow rhythm of the music, how their bodies fit together, how they moved in sync. They cut a path through the smoke clinging to the dance floor like birds through the clouds.

Whats wrong Alistair? This isnt just a delayed answer. Frankie spoke into Alistairs neck.

Frankie, pretty soon I am going to have to tell you some things, but now is not that time. Right now someone is coming, whatever happens be careful. You know enough to be careful around him.

Frankie pulled back to look at him and saw fear, quickly masked under the businessman mask she had seen many times before.

Remember this above all. I love you, I really do He whispered. And pulled her close to prolong what remained of the dance as he watched Leonard approach from the gambling tables.

Well you two make a rather cute pair dont you. The voice made Frankie jump closer to Alistair, making the corner of his mouth twitch ever so slightly.

Good evening Leonard. Alistair bowed his head slightly, Frankie this is Leonard he runs the Hellfire Club.

So this is the infamous Frankie? Leonard turned to Frankie, My dear I have been remiss in not seeking you out sooner. Or Alistair here has been downright rude keeping you all to himself. Alistair caught the annoyance in his tone and wished that leaving the club would solve their problems. He hoped at this point it was still an option.

Leonard, its a pleasure. Frankie, confident as anything stepped up and held out her hand for the King of Hell to take.

A triumphant grin spread across Leonards face as he took Frankies hand to lay a kiss across the knuckles. All the time keeping eye contact with Alistair.

Would you mind old chap if I cut in for this dance? Leonard sleazed, keeping hold of Frankies hand.

Alistair tightened his grip around her waist, its ok Alistair. I believe Leonard owes me a dance given the interruption. He let his arm loosen and she slipped away from him straight onto the arm of the most dangerous person here. Yet she seemed in control of the situation, was that beautiful pixie haired woman going stop amazing himever?

*   *   *

Leonard was completely different to Alistair. Where Alistair was gentle Leonard was forceful and Frankie was pulled against him in a possessive vice like grip. Frankie could feel that he was well built compare to Alistairs toned and athletic physique. They had the same dark eyes though, but somehow Alistair saw her and had a cheeky wickedness to him. Leonards eyes just seem to be wicked and searching for what they can have and own, they made Frankies skin crawl. But she had met men like Leonard before. He was no different than the scum that took her when she was sixteen, she was stronger now. Not physicallybut there is more than one way to skin a cat.




The song had a staccato feel to it; Leonardo was using that and moving them around the floor. Frankie caught a glimpse of Will watching them looking almost like he was going to throw up and most of the club was watching them too, it was like the club and its occupants had collectively held its breath.

So, is this your song then? Frankie asked, making conversation as they moved.

What makes you say that? he asked

The nod to Kitzsch as we moved away from Alistair.

Very perceptive. Its one of many. I guess you could say it fits with my personality. Leonard smiled.

So we can safely say your halo need a polish like mine then? Frankie smiled; maybe she could work with this,


Oh no sweetness, it hangs off my horns. His laugh echoed over the music.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Bookshop Tour

Oh I have a friend that is sooooooo going to be like this with me!

.
found on Pinterest here

All because I have been promising to read a book forever (ok so there is probably more than one friend and more than one unread book but I agree with Lemony Snicket!)

*It Is Most Likely That I Will Die Next To A Pile Of Books...* - Lemony Snicket #Quote
found on Pinterest here

But I got an amazing book for Christmas and really couldn't resist it! It's all my weird and lovely colleague's fault for she introduced me to Jen Campbell and the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops books. They are books that had me ahhhing, nodding and out right laughing with every other quote, even though I have never worked in a bookshop most things translated to libraries. So when I got Jen's new book for Christmas, The Bookshop Book, it just kept winking at me until I picked it up and sneaked a peak. And another one. Then another, well you get the picture.

Sat there nice and cosy in front of the crackling log fire in Northumberland with plans to visit my favourite bookshop in the coming days guess which bookshop the opened onto?...Yes, my favourite bookshop Barter Books, Alnwick. It did raise a little chuckle. Then I did what every good bibliophile should do, I began at the beginning and continued to the end! This tour by page did not disappoint. It was full of little nuggets of wonder and brilliance. Full of rabbit holes for you to follow, books to add to the never ending To Read List and even a few blogs to check out.

But worse than that (at least for my other half) rekindled some dreams and tickled my wanderlust. I now have a list of bookshops circling the globe to visit and a new Pinterest board to gather my thoughts on for my dream bookshop.

I truly loved reading about all the wonderful bookshops all over the world; the ones I want to visit from Wigtown, Scotland to Storytellers Inc. Lancashire and across the pond to places like the Community Bookstore, Brooklyn New York. Jen even had me wanting to visit Paris, something I have never wanted to do before. But with the lure of Shakespeare and Co. who could not want to take a look in person; finger those spines, close your eyes to take a deeper breath of that vanillary book smell and pick one off the shelf to curl up with for a while.

More than all of the places I want to visit, which to be frank would need a gap year and a lottery win to fund, were all the places I wanted to share with friends. Cook and Book, dine on a meal selected from a cookbooks, at that point I said out loud to some rather quizzical looks, "Oh Sandra would love that." And so many book shops steeped in the history of the Beat authors I just kept thinking Connor would love this one and this one and this one and I could see him spending a night or two sleeping at Shakespeare and Co. writing and more. Yes there are bookshops mentioned with beds in where you can sleepover (new bucket list item I think!).There were so many more, too many to mention. I guess that is why I have been going around enthusing about this book so much. Trying to get people to add this to their to read list.

It has been a long time since a book has had me furiously scribbling notes so I don't forget which parts I loved. Even longer since I wanted to start straight back at the beginning as soon as I finished and a little longer still since I cringed when someone asked to borrow my copy, not because I'm precious I know the person will be careful (she's a librarian) but because I'm just not sure I will ever be done referring to it!

I don't even usually review books but I seem to have walked into doing just that! Seriously Jen, well played! But this book is a bit like the gravy of my roast dinner book list, and everyone knows you can't have a roast dinner without gravy.

Now, one of my most favourite parts of the author interviews was that most ended with them describing their dream bookshop so I thought I would do the same, here goes....

It would be warm and welcoming, light but cosy. There would be log fires, coffee and cakes. The cafe would do themed children's meals depending on the story time theme/author of the month theme. There would be comfy chairs and places to sit all over the place and a young adult area too. I'd have arts involved somewhere, somehow with a gallery space and a corner where people can drop in and work on their art or creative journals and if they use our resources there'd be an honesty box system. Oh and a story time chair, which if you know me you know I would probably never sit in as I prefer to sit on the floor with the kids, but it's a must.

So I've told you my perfect place, what about you. What's in your perfect bookshop?


Today's track, Youth Lagoon - Daydream, is a recommendation by the aforementioned Connor. Have a listen, and a daydream about bookshops for a while. Then when you're done if you fancy something completely different to here bob on over to his blog and have a read.

PS Happy New Year ;-) Better late than never!




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bucket of Frogs

Some days staring at the TV is all I am capable of. Other days there are moments when deep questions tickle the grey matter. Like today; when you plug your phone or ipod into your stereo or car audio system and ask that system to shuffle the music, is it the stereo or your phone that controls the shuffle? The music on my way to work was particularly good you see and I wondered which machine to afford the credit to because some days are bad  music days when every other song needs to be skipped as it is just not fitting for the moment. Sorry I digress. Or other bigger 'life, the universe and everything' type questions like; why are we here?

Now I have no idea what the answer to this question is...what? I am no Stephen Hawking am I? I ask questions about shuffling ipods for goodness sake! However in my pondering I did come to a realisation; does it matter? One thing is certain, the thing that makes it all worth while and the thing that has seen me survive has been my connections with other people.

The last couple of months have been hard personally for me, for no particular reason other than circumstances weighing me down. Now, in the grand scheme of things I have a roof over my head, I can afford to feed my family and we are all healthy. These are the times where you think to yourself get a grip, your life is peachy. But it is what it is and downward my mood has spiraled. Through it all there they have been, my little shining stars. The lights that brighten my day and keep my head up and a smile on my face no matter what I face.

Those people that can throw chocolate (and other goodies) a really, really long way and time it's arrival so perfectly it made me smile, cry and laugh all at the same time. Then chat online with you for hours about anything.

The little messages that pop up and say I'm thinking of you, how are you doing? bringing a smile with them, even though things are not rosy for them.

Oh and the laughter. The geeking out, the inuendo, the insider jokes and the down right did I just walk into that  moments that have kept me sane at work. With old friends and new; discovering those things that we are on the same wavelength about or other things that we have in common when we thought we were the only one. If I didn't eat as much chocolate the amount I have laughed recently at work I could have shed a few pounds at least.

Connections...lead to smiles...leads to laughter...leads to a lighter heart...leads to inspiration...

I had always thought in the past that my inspiration came from a couple of very limited sources. I am starting to see that it is there in everything, it is connected to everything I just need a lighter and more open heart (and probably mind) in order to accept it. That's probably why music unlocks things for me and walks in the open. I finally see my awesome friends not only keep me sane and make smile, they inspire me too.



You gotta have friends! They keep you sane!!
view original here on Pinterest.

So thank you my friends, thank you for being there for me, whether you were aware or not you helped (are helping) to keep me sane. Though sometimes I wonder if, "we are all mad here." As mad as a bucket of frogs.


Just a little Stereophonics to end with today. When you are struggling what drags you out of it to face another day?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Slipping Away

Writing Prompt

Prompt pinned from here


"Do we really need to keep this?"

"Yes, it's from Charlie's first week of school."

"What about this?"

"Yes, our first holiday on abroad."

"Seriously we can't need all of these cards and pictures! Can we?"

Liv rolled her eyes. Why was Ian so intent on taking away all of her connections to the past? Their memories, their moments.

She got up, grabbed her cup of tea and walked out into the garden for some fresh air. She would have to let go of some things at some point. Mara would be off to high school soon and there was no more room for 'stuff' in the house, just like there was no more room in her brain.

Cradling the warm china in both hands, inhaling the honeyed vanilla sent Liv closed her eyes and sank into the bench and her memory. 

The fresh clean air in her lungs, the smell of the damp wet grass under her boots and the chatting about nothing as they walked.The blue sky and the birds calling, stopping while he tried to tell her which bird was which. Then the feel of his hand slipping around hers. The warmth and the pressure of his fingers made her feel safe. But then the unspoken hung heavy in the air, the next step that would never be. Neither wanting to let go knowing they would never get this moment again. The memory would be the only thing they would get to keep.

Now Liv worried that her memory would fail her, eventually she would forget this too along with everything else. She had nothing to connect it to.

What ever you take, what ever you throw away. Please let me keep this memory.


After much deliberation it here is a little Stone Sour acoustic to go with today's post. 

What memory would you not want to let go of? What do you keep playing over and over in your mind like a movie on repeat, just so you won't forget any little detail?


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Wanderlust




Today's writing prompt....I know, I know don't all faint at once I'm actually writing it today! 

As well as the picture above, a product of Sabrina's Etsy shopping I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) Caitlyn added the rest of the quote (oh and head over to her blog she has a giveaway!)

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost." 
— J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))

I wander, and I get lost. But often I do it on purpose. I've just had a quick look and I can't believe I haven't written about this before!

I find cities are the best for this, I remember a particularly fruitful adventure in Newcastle. I had time to kill and nothing special to do so I set off in one direction and walked. I found the most amazing shop stocked with local handmade crafts and another that sold delicious whoopie pies.

The secret to getting lost is to allow yourself time. Never be pushed for time or you will panic. Always have an escape plan, smart phones are great for this (though I try not to fall back on mine if I can). Talking to people is unheard of these days I know, but seriously how do you think folks managed before we had our noses super-glued to a screen. Speaking of which, your best friends when getting lost are your eyes. Look around you, aside from seeing some of the most amazing things you will pick up the landmarks you will need to find your way back.

After saying all that I only managed to get lost once on my recent trip to London and I only had an hour to make it out. This particular occasion I didn't do it on purpose so I felt no guilt using said smart phone to navigate my way to Big Ben, however fate would have the last say doing so killed my battery! That little excursion did take me on an unexpected trip past St James' park which was pretty so I wasn't disappointed!

Where I did allow my wandering side free reign was in the galleries and museums I visited, even on a trip into St Pancras station. My eyes looked up and found art not just framed and on the wall but on the ceiling too.

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This was one of my favourite pieces of ceiling art at The Courtland Institute Gallery.

I continued to look around and I found amazing architecture, not just the exhibits I had come to see.

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One of my many favourite parts of the Victoria & Albert museum (hastily snapped as it is in the entrance hall and it was really busy that day!). Try to let the sculpture fade away and look around it, the building is just as beautiful...and massive. If there is ever a building to get lost in in London the V&A is the place to do it, so many places to hide in awe and wonder.

Finally, for you at least because this is only a whistle stop tour of my wanderings, St Pancras Station. The place that wasn't on my plan, the place we nipped into on a whim. The place of any wanderers dreams...The one that steals your heart. I will visit again, I may even eat in the booking office restaurant and truly soak up the atmosphere. If I am really lucky I might one day get to stay in the St Pancras Hotel (that one really is the thing of dreams). For now I will leave you with my snaps of St Pancras.

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'Not all who wander are lost' but some of us get lost to discover something and maybe ourselves along the way. Don't forget to look to the clouds every now and again, you never now what you might see.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Some Days!

Nina punched in the code and legged it to the door. She pulled it to with a thud and turned the key. Pushing her ear buds in she cranked the volume on the drumbeat and guitar riff and let the weight of the last ten hours start to drift off with a deep breath in then out. 

Wrapping her skull scarf around three times, trapping her braid, she stepped onto the darkening street to the beat and headed for the station. Today had been a long day, ok in reality time had moved no differently to any other day, but some days the books ceased to be wonderful other realities, they were just stacks and stacks of lead weights all to be moved and scanned. Sometimes the kids ceased to be wondrous little beings discovering the world around them and were just brats throwing crayons all over the floor. Every now and then that 'book with the blue cover' is not a 'nice little challenge' it's a 'you have to be kidding me' kind of feeling. 

Today had been a 'some day'. The one day when she really didn't want to have to handle the creepy dude! Nina knew what was coming as soon as the sentence, "it's something about shades of grey" was out of his lips. Sat there with the creepy ass look on his face. She was polite and went through the motions of, "yes, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James" and oh joy we have a copy in. She nearly gagged when he was stood so close in the fiction section whispering at her, "I bet you're into this kind of thing, aren't you."

A louder more diverting song came on and Nina cranked up the volume another notch as she checked the road for cars before crossing, something or rather someone caught her eye up the street she had just walked down. Nah it won't be. She shook her head and carried on, speeding up a little to the beat and to match her pace to the adrenaline in her veins.



A few more bars and her heart was pounding almost as loud as the bass, she had to look back. Crap It was the creepy dude. Nina quickened her steps but she had no idea why even if she got to the station is wasn't manned at this time of night. Where could she stop? Where could she go?

Another look. He wasn't there. She turned to get a proper look. No definitely not there. Nina sighed, maybe he was just walking in this direction. She slowed her pace and turned to look where she was heading.

"Hello Nina."




view original here

Wow, Friday's writing prompt took me a while to work out in my head. I must say this is purely fictional and in no way based on any real life events! Leah and Sabrina of course finished their's ages ago...and you must go check out their awesomeness!!


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Mother


Yesterday's picture prompt was been posted courtesy of Leah who is already off the mark with her response as is Deb over at Kicking Corners, go check out their magic, but not until you marvelled at my merger efforts which eventually comes to you after I fell asleep yesterday mid-writing.



"Mother, mother. Look just like you said my wing is mended." Sang the thrush, swooping from branch to branch to show off  his new found mobility.

"So it is little one, rest it for one more day and you should be ready for full flight." At this the thrush broke into full chorus rejoicing her presence and power.

There went my peaceful walk Gaia thought. She tried to focus on the warm grass beneath her bare feet, the bottom of her white cheesecloth skirt catching as she walked. Twisting tiny plaits in her hair as the last vestiges of summer warmed her skin. Until the chattering and squeaking around her became too much.

"Ok, ok my darlings" Gaia sighed. "Your babies are all so beautiful. Yes, yes, my blessings on them all. Come and see me at the Oak this evening Master Rabbit and I will look at your ear then. Go now and be merry in the sun, summer is nearly over and the harsh winter will soon begin."

With that she turned to move through the creatures around her, leaving the voles and foxes and mice and all manner of other tiny creatures in her wake. She needed time to recharge.

As she cleared the gathering the tree tunnel came under a peaceful quiet once more, quiet enough for Hart to step out from his hiding place. Only he could bring a smile to Gaia's face during this season.

"Hello old friend." She greeted him, sliding her hand down the fur on his neck. As she stepped past him the beautiful stag rose up onto his hind legs and shifted into the form of a human man. His antlers becoming thick locks of brown hair. But his eyes they were the same, over these many years all the many times Gaia had changed him for her own selfish reasons she had always kept his eyes. Those deep and fathomless brown eyes.

"Hello Gaia" her name rolled deep from his throat and settled her fraying nerves.

"Oh Hart, these summers are getting harder and harder to bear."

"How so?"

"The constant activity, the constant chatter, oh just the constant....I find myself wanting to set forth winter earlier and earlier every year."

"There is an option Gaia" Hart replied with his usual knowing sideways look, with just a sprinkling of wicked.