The Ultimate Wedding Gift? 

"The late afternoon sun had long gone and left a dull gloom which was rapidly giving way to darkness. Customers bustled in and out oblivious to anything going on around and simply focusing on their own agenda.  
 
The advancing darkness allowed the lights on the tree to glisten and reflect on the huge plate glass windows. Jane busied herself with the baubles carefully selecting the perfect spot for each one. Her eyes never left the tree as she reached deftly into the dusty cardboard box by her side, picking out baubles. Patrick had retrieved the box from the loft a couple of hours earlier and tasked Jane with decorating the tree, it was early November after all and Head Office was looking for photographs of the store looking festive. Patrick stood about six foot away from Jane and the tree. She had her back to him and the rest of the shop as she was clearly totally absorbed in this task. He stood there in silence. He was also totally absorbed. In her. As the darkness advanced, he could see her face reflected in the glass. Her eyes darted around the tree as baubles landed upon it, each one perfect in its position. 
Patrick's arms were firmly folded in order to prevent him from reaching out and touching her. He continued to watch her eyes in the glass. Such beautiful eyes. For a tiny moment, maybe she looked at him and for a tiny moment, maybe she smiled but he could not be sure. Jane suddenly took a step back towards him which jolted him from his daydream, "voila" she said stretching out her hands and pointing at the tree. He put an arm around her shoulder as they both looked at the tree. "A triumph Jane. It is beautiful. Well done you." Jane nestled into his shoulder and put her arm around his waist. "Thank you Patrick, I love doing this with you." His hand gripped her tightly and he felt each of her fingertips touching him in response. In that embrace, the shop disappeared and they were somewhere else, somewhere more natural, somewhere cosy, they were home. He loosened his grip and let his arm return to his side as Jane stepped away and wiped away what he presumed to be dust from her eye. "Best get on" he whispered, "beautiful Jane, always beautiful." She watched him go through the door to the back store area and as he moved away, she whispered, "beautiful Patrick, always beautiful"... 

She Is A Princess, Honest! 

The ivory ball gown featured lace over tulle in a soft A-line silhouette, perfectly flattering for her stature and build. The voluminous skirt was full and flowy while remaining light-as-air as layers of tulle were adorned with delicate lace details and diamante gems that gave off a unique effect. The illusion lace neckline, that would highlight Chardonnay’s face wonderfully, continued to the back of the ball gown where floral patterned lace created a stunning back. Fabric covered buttons finished the back for a polished look that also complemented the diamante beaded belt that perfectly cinched at the waist. Chardonnay hugged the dress tightly. It was so beautiful. Then in the blink of an eye, she was wearing it. She looked down and the beautiful dress which a moment ago had been in the magic chest was now wrapped around her and she felt so gorgeous. 
She lifted up the dress and looked at her toes as the carpet was not tickling them anymore. She squealed with delight to find a pair of Christian Louboutin heels adorning her feet. The ivory follies gloss lace shoe with the ivory patent leather counter complemented the sensational dress perfectly. The delicate lace shoe was mounted on a 5 inch stiletto which revealed the famous Louboutin signature with every elegant step. Chardonnay looked around her bedroom but it had disappeared and she found herself at the top of a very long and very wide marble staircase. A footman stood on either side of her wearing a forest green frock coat and bark brown knee breeches. White knee length stockings led down to a patent black shoe with a shiny silver buckle. At the bottom of the marble staircase was a sea of people with ladies in magnificent sparkling dresses and gentlemen in brightly coloured frock coats made of satin and silk. 

We Are Just Going To Pop You Under The Dryer 

"Hi, it's me" - it wasn't really necessary to say it's me because after twenty years together, she knows his voice and his number comes up on her phone because no-one uses landlines anymore, so anyone can be anywhere. "Are you at home?" She isn't but she says she is because how is he to know any different and how likely is he to care anyway. "On the services, just stopped for something to eat", he smiles at the person opposite but she does not see the smile as she is on the end of the phone but maybe she hears it, difficult to recognise as he rarely smiles anymore. "Going to be late, traffic is dreadful and the rain is not helping" it is not raining where she is so he must be some way off which means he will be late again not that she really cares because years of late makes you kind of accustomed to it. "What you been up to?" he doesn't actually care and whilst she tells him, he will focus on eating the sandwich he has just bought so she could say virtually anything as he won't hear it anyway. She knows this but goes through the motions of mundane housework, a bit of shopping at the supermarket and managing to get hold of the plumber who is going to pop round probably Thursday to look at the shower. "That's fine" the silence he suddenly becomes aware of on the end of the phone tells him he needs to say something and 'that's fine' caters for pretty much anything she said. 
The person opposite him makes some expression which he can see but she can't see because she is on the end of the phone and he wrinkles his nose in reply. "No need to wait up as it will be late and I know you have that thing tomorrow" if she is sleeping when he gets in, he will not wake her and then he can apply some poetic licence to his actual arrival time if she asks. If she does have a thing tomorrow, he has no idea what it is but usually there is a thing of some description. "With a clear road and some good luck..." he looks at the person opposite who mouths something, "about midnight at the earliest" is she happy about this, he can't tell as she is on the end of the phone and he is too pre-occupied to care and after twenty years together, she knows how it is when work needs his attention. "Yeah, ok, see you later, try not to wake you" he hangs up and wipes a crumb from the corner of his mouth. He gets up from the table, takes the hand of the person opposite and walks outside. The evening sunshine warms their faces as they cross the car park to the motel opposite. "Need to leave by eleven really" she says as she puts the phone down and turns over in the bed to face the person next to her. She grins as she always does at how tired the wallpaper looks in these rooms but it serves its purpose, the motel is a short drive from home... 

Introducing The Quill, An Alter-Ego 

“Stop, stop, stop” said the voice behind him. Andrew turned around slowly and found two men stood behind him. One was very tall in a long coat and the other was quite short with four or five cameras round his neck. “My name is Sebastian Daniel Erasmus Horatio Picave, but I am more famously known as the Quill. I am a journalist, a writer, an author, a tale teller and a finder of facts and I write with real ink using a peacock’s feather, I never and I repeat never use a word processor or eye patch.” “Ok, good to know” said Andrew rather confused, “who is the man with you?” “Sadly, and I mean sadly, that is my photographer. I paint pictures with words, beautiful pictures and my writing should be enough to tell the story but the editors I work with like photographs, so he takes the photographs which inadequately frame the sheer beauty of my prose, the magnificence of my poetry.” “I see. What is his name? We can’t just call him your photographer, Mr Quill.” Andrew decided this was a polite way to address this man as he had no hope of remembering his very long real name. “I have no idea. I presume he has a name, but I have never asked it and he has never offered it. I simply call him Snapper because that is what he produces, snaps.” 

Under The Same Sky 

"Are you there? Are you listening? What do you mean, what do I want? Is that any way to open a conversation with one of your flock? Sometimes I feel like you are quite dismissive of me which is a little hurtful. Anyway, just wanted to catch up really. No, I don't want anything, can't we just catch up? Can't we just mull over some of the day's events around the world, goodness knows there are enough to choose from. I think you chose the subject last time if I remember rightly, so I think it is my turn. I am not going to argue with you about it. Last time, you wanted my thoughts on, I don't know, a plague or an infestation of locusts, one or the other. I vaguely remember I respectfully suggested that one million locusts unleashed on Ikea Wrexham was probably neither a justified nor measured response to complain about your flat pack altar. Anyway, it is my turn to pick the subject so can we move on please? I know you have put her under the same sky as me but.... what are you sighing about? Yes, I want to talk about her. It is my subject choice and I choose her, so engage please. As I was saying, I know you have put her under the same sky as me and I am grateful for that but the issue is that the sky is rather, well, expansive and so she is under the same sky as me now but we are three thousand three hundred and eighty miles apart so unsurprisingly I can't see her. I just thought it was worth discussing options to close that gap a little. 
Yes, I know I am about to sky surf and close some of that gap, oh and by the way, ensure I don't consider cloud surfing as you know what happened last time. So I know in a few short hours, I will be under the same sky and a few miles apart which is infinitely better but still not great. I was wondering if instead of using the same sky as the blanket under which we share space, I was thinking about something smaller? Well, ideally a blanket but if that is perhaps a little too much, what about arm's length? How about if I could be always no more than arm's length away from her, how about that? Impatient, me? I don't know what you mean? To be fair, you started this. You and I talked about my solitude and I said I was okay with it and then either for reasons of gift or to test my resolve, you put her in my world. Ok, so I failed. Ok, so I abandoned solitude which I was quite happy with because of you, because of her. What do you mean by that? Oh I know you did. Yes, how clever. You ticked every box on my list didn't you? The creativity, the sincerity, the adorability, the physical form, the chemistry, the indescribable something that just grabs you and won't let go. You took them all and put them in her. So now I love her and now we need to sort out this sky issue, can we?" 
*production cost is the printing costs 
 
 
 

"A moose and a magpie walk into a bar"... 

 
 
 
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