Tuesday, June 21, 2005, 5:05 P.M. The Rose Cafe, La Pierre, MI, USA.
Acacia Donovan (5’3”, age 26) and Maxine Gulden (5’8”, age 31) were sitting sipping their usual frozen margaritas when Louise Wilson (5’6”, age 27) arrived with their interviewer, Samantha. Louise introduced ‘Sam’ to ‘Ace’ and ‘Max’ and then excused herself. (She’d been on the road since 3:00.)
“Hi guys, I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example! Well, I’ll be meeting him in Amristar in a few months, but whatever…”
She cleared her voice. “She’s very nice,” she said waving in the general direction of gone Louise, “but tell me about her hand. I didn’t know what to say. She didn’t seem self-conscious about it.”
“Oh, shit,” Maxine exclaimed.
Acacia made a decision. “We’re not supposed to tell you too much about the last year, since it’s all part of the book’s plot. Lou lost ‘two point seven fingers’ (her words) in an accident last fall. She was bicycling.”
“Not to mention both feet,” Maxine added.
Acacia would have kicked her under the table if she was sure she wouldn’t hit Samantha by accident.
“Both feet?” Samantha asked. She smiled and showed her eagerness to hear more. She didn’t have any purse, nor a recorder. She didn’t look like a journalist. She seemed too young to be anything, really, but Acacia and Maxine felt compelled to keep talking.
Acacia knew Martin would be mad, but it was out of the bag. “Right. Double btk amputee. That’s Below The Knee. She wears prosthetics.”
“Amazing. I would never have known. She seems perfectly normal.”
“She’s too beautiful to be normal,” Maxine added.
“Max is an artist,” Acacia explained. “If you want to learn about tits, ask Max to compare Titian’s Venus di Urbino with Manet’s Olympia.”
“I’d noticed she was beautiful,” Samantha agreed. “But not at all stuck up. And speaking of beautiful, Max, you’re the classic Italian black-haired beauty.”
“I’m beginning to like this girl,” Maxine said to Acacia. “Dad imported Mom from Naples. And you’re looking good yourself, Sam.”
“Well, thank you,” Samantha responded. “I’m immortal, by the way…” She winked. “Twenty-three forever is boring, though. Your lives are so much more interesting!”
Louise rejoined them. Jillian arrived with margaritas for Louise and Samantha.
“To Martin’s new book,” Samantha toasted. “Explain what an ‘erotic, married romance’ is.”
The book’s heroines looked at each other. “One word each?” Acacia suggested. Her friends agreed. “Why don’t you start, Lou.”
“You mean, ‘Why don’t you start, Kinky’?” Maxine corrected.
“Oh, pish tosh,” Louise demurred. “Erotic means that it has sex. Lots of explicit sex. Max insists that we always have lots of details about the sex.”
“Kinky?” Samantha asked, looking for information about name origins.
“Oh, of course not,” Louise answered, not entirely truthfully.
“I’ll take ‘married’,” Acacia volunteered. “But why don’t you do ‘romance’ first, Sexy.”
“Sexy?” Samantha made further inquiries.
“Just look at those sexy big boobs,” Louise directed. Louise always called Maxine’s breasts ‘sexy big boobs.’ They were, in truth, a bit too large for a regular D cup bra. “The bartender here named her ‘Sexy’,” she added.
“A ‘romance’,” Maxine interrupted this discussion of her anatomy, “is a love story with a happy ending. Nothing more. But it can be pretty special if it’s told well. Think about Pride and Prejudice, for example.”
“OK,” Samantha agreed. “But what is a ‘married romance’?”
“I’ll take that one,” Acacia began. “It’s strange. But what’s strange is that it’s strange.”
Her two friends recognized the attorney’s jury-grabbing habits. Samantha raised her eyebrows.
“You’re going to explain?” she asked.
“A ‘married romance’,” the attorney began, “is simply a romance about married people. About people that said, ‘I do,’ before the story starts.”
“That’s fine, even though I’m not married,” Samantha said. “So?”
“Take me,” Acacia illustrated. “Half a year before I had my first drink with these two I had said to myself, ‘This marriage is heading toward the rocks and there’s nobody steering.’ Typical two-career couple. Herman was building a website business. I was building a law practice. But our sex life was down from maybe five times a week to just once or twice.
“You know,” she continued, “lack of sex wasn’t the problem. It was a symptom. I decided to use sex as the solution. I told Herman I was going to be the sexiest wife a man ever had. Little, flat-chested me. I wouldn’t mind having Max’s boobs, but I figured I could learn to be sexy anyway. Now you’ve got what could be a classic ‘married romance’ plot. You’ve got the passion fading. You’ve got at least half the former lovers wanting to light the fire again. You with me now, Sam?”
“I think so,” Samantha shrugged. “Saying ‘I do’ doesn’t lead to Happily Ever After. Half of all American marriages end in divorce. Those are the tragedies. The HEAs are probably the exceptions in the other half. Yeah. I can see room for romances after ‘I do’.”
“Exactly,” Acacia agreed. “Now what’s strange is that ‘married romance’ is so strange as to be almost non-existent. It’s such a big, fertile territory. I’d think that anybody who was married, or even wanted to be married, would want to read stories about marriages that reached HEA. Even if the HEA was just temporary.”
TO BE CONTINUED…