Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Elegance of Mid-Winter Champagne

Pic from ~ ~

Ever crave the sophisticated elegance of a bygone age like the late 1930's and the early 1940's? A time when women and men related to each other within a certain code of manners and civilized respect. Or so it appeared in those black and white movies I watched while an impressionable teenager.
If so, please enjoy this burgeoning romance told by Flash Fiction and set in an Other World.

Mid-Winter Champagne

He brought the dark green bottle in from chilling on her home’s frigid marble patio. Popping the cork, he filled their two flutes. She accepted the one he handed down to her, smiling, a generous curve of her lips. Not only did her eyes glisten, he swore her skin glistened with the luster of pearls every time he’d seen her smile.
Hell, he might as well have been socked in the gut the few times she’d turned and smiled at him.
He followed her gaze to the double translucent doors he’d just stepped through, and shut against the cold blast.

Outside, afternoon’s failing sunlight still sparkled on the frozen crystal that coated everything. The cast-iron garden statues held his attention the most, appearing to have arrived from their own magical mystical realms.
He’d admitted it a long while ago. That she utterly bewitched him, and intrigued his soul. He didn’t believe it was because she usually kept her distance from him, one rose he’d never sniffed or savored beneath him.
In truth, he remained uncertain why she allowed his company now.
Lounging against one of her favorite floor pillows, she saluted him with the newly poured champagne. “To the mid-winter.”

“To the mid-winter,” he echoed, saluting in return.
Since it was the best place to view her, he’d perched atop the substantial arm of a high-backed reading chair. Without a tinge of conscience, he indulged in her unique beauty. She wore nothing particularly revealing, or inviting to a man’s carnal nature. Her winter’s outfit was one for casual gatherings. The dark blue corduroy slacks hinted at her shapeliness, and a snowflake sweater only skimmed her plush, gorgeously round breasts. Her sensible, yet stylish shoes made him wish she’d kick them off as she often did when he visited her father.

Icy bubbles of champagne tickled her nose. He watched her delight in the sensation, then take the tiniest sip before raising the long-stemmed glass so the firelight scintillated through the pale amber fizz. Before he’d arrived, around noonish, to celebrate the holiday as a family friend, he knew she’d built the fire, now crackling happy notes in the moderately sized hearth. Because it was a sweet passion of hers.
“You haven’t tasted yet.” She repositioned herself, easing lower while keeping hold of the flute’s stem in a manner where not one drop spilled.
He tasted, tilting the glass up briefly.

Her presence intoxicated him far more than any champagne could. “Excellent,” he praised. It was, the bouquet sharp and sparkling on his tongue.
“It should be.” She sipped, long and slow, obviously relishing. “Why did you stay here with me, instead of–“
“I wanted to,” he interrupted. “The question is, why didn’t you join in the merrymaking?”
“Should I dare tell you part of the truth?”
“I simply felt tired, suddenly weary of the social gaiety. A quiet evening seemed far more preferable, at least, for now.”
“You’re not feeling ill, are you?”
“No, I’m in the pink of health.”

Gazing at the lazy content flames, she tipped up another sip and appeared to be basking in the warmth of the fire and the internal warmth provided by the champagne.
“Father wants me to marry you. I know he does.”
He halted the rise of his glass. Everything inside him stilled as if covered by an unexpected ice storm. Finally lowering his glass, he offered, “That’s news to me.”
Damn, if he could see her face he might know what she was thinking. The lines of her body gave nothing away.
“Is it news?”
“Your father never discussed that possibility.”

“No, he wouldn’t, would he?” She deftly rolled onto her back. Propped up by the pillow, she rested the champagne flute on her belly, her fingers lightly clutching the glass stem. “He would make certain, though, that we were together as many times as he could arrange it.”
“Is that why I’m here? To satisfy your father’s scheme?” Hell, firecrackers might as well be exploding inside him. To cool off he drank too much of the champagne, dizzying his head.
“Yes. And no.” She didn’t look at him.
Moving to the chair’s seat, he stared at her face. “What do you mean?”

“I find myself at a difficult crossroads.” Lifting the glass, she twisted it back and forth, observing the swirling flash of the hearth blazes.
“Crossroads,” he managed to utter past the lump in his throat.
“There is no particular man I find, who interests me. Yet, I am pursued for marriage like a prize thoroughbred filly.” She took a small sip. “I no longer care for that courtship-endless game. I’ve changed, grown. I’m ready to settle into a life of domesticity, that is, with certain assurances.”
Forcing himself to dangle his flute instead of crushing it, he asked, “Such as?”

“I have certain intellectual pursuits I want to continue. I require the freedom to explore them.” Her gaze fully met his, her eyes brilliant, intense and beyond compare. “I’ve heard from certain of my girlfriends that you’re an excellent lover.”
Raising his champagne, he took a large swallow. The glass empty, he set it on a side table. “What about love, falling in love?”
“Love hasn’t seen fit to strike my heart. Longing and moon-eyed crushes, yes, in the past.” She averted her face, focusing on the champagne.
“Would you follow your father’s wish so closely?”
“If it suits me.”

There was no question he would grab what she offered. “Yes.”
“Yes?” Her gaze flashed toward him, her hair swinging in lovely waves at the quickness of her movement.
“Marry me.”
“We’ve never even kissed.”
“A problem easily solved.”
She sat up, placing her flute on a fireside table. “Are you so certain you want a wife, the responsibilities of marriage?”
“I’ll be a faithful husband. I agree to your terms. Are there more?”
“Maybe.” She scrutinized him. “I haven’t thought it through.”
“Then, we should begin with a kiss.”
“We should. No use marrying if our lips don’t mate.”

PROMO: As an antidote to the record cold weather, the Kougar went hunting for pictures of handsome men on beaches for the ~~ Fill Your Ebook Reader Blog Tour ~~ on Friday, the 15th of January.
A group of us Liquid Silver authors are getting together once again, offering some respite from the winter blues and some great ebook prizes. The fun begins at ~ Paige Tyler’s blog ~ ~

Wish Upon on a New Year Star...
May your brightest, most romantic dreams come true...

Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ In Print
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~


Celia Yeary said...

SAVANNA! I imagined the scene as I read--just like a 1930 movie. The narrative and dialogue was spot-on. Thanks for this nice little story--loved it--now I'm going to write one--some day--Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Celia, oh, I know, I'd love to write one too! Hopefully, someday soon.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Beautiful, Savanna! A lovely romance, so elegant, so crisp. Like Celia, I could picture it perfectly.

I love your flash fiction!

This one is espec delicious. Thanks for sharing it on the pinkie!

Savanna Kougar said...

Lindsay, oh, you are so good for my writer's ego. Thank you!

The pinkie is the perfect place for
my less explicit side.

Kaye Manro said...

I love this time period too Savanna. Your little flash is beautiful and so visual. Thanks for sharing.

Savanna Kougar said...

Kaye, oh thank you. This was such a pleasurable flash to write.

Mona Risk said...

Yes, men were more gallant and women more demure in theses old movies. Thank you for giving us a taste of how they court (is it the right word?) back then.

LK Hunsaker said...

Very nice, Savanna! I love the romance of that era, also, although I wouldn't want to actually be in the 30s and expected to stay home and play the little housewife. Like your character, I can't imagine not being able to persue intellectual activities!

Savanna Kougar said...

Mona, I think 'court' would be the right word, or one them.
There was definitely a culture where women were respected in a way by some men that is not seen rarely today.... imo.

Savanna Kougar said...

LK, as I understand it there were certain limiting expectations I wouldn't want.
However, I believe it was in the fifties that the whole idea of the little wife at home became institutionalized, then challenged in the sixties.
As I see it there were certain freedoms women had in that era that we no longer have now.
We've gained certain freedoms and lost some. How that all balances out, I don't know.