In my one and only creative writing class in college, the professor threatened to fail anyone who started their short story with the protagonist waking up in the morning. He said it was trite, boring, and overused, and that we should get straight into the action, not bothering with little things like greetings, farewells, and everyday actions.
I don't remember what grade I got in that class, but I do remember the professor didn't think much of my writing. The feeling, I have to say, was entirely mutual. If I ever do hit it big in the writing world, I will dedicate my second best-selling book "To everyone who ever told me I shouldn't, couldn't, or wouldn't. PBBBBBBBBTTTTTT."
In memory of that pretentious English professor whose name I do not recall, I present today's Fiction Friday post, which is all about a protagonist waking up in the morning, greeting the day and a special person in her life, and performing an everyday action. Warning for innuendo, but as usual, nothing stronger than that. Please enjoy.
She awakened slowly, allowing each sensation of her body to sweep over her in turn. The smooth sweep of linen against her skin and a gentle vibration emanating from the crook of her knees, the soft tones of the fortepiano being played in the music room, the scents of sunlight and green growing things and the earthy smoke from the kitchen hearth at the other end of the small stone house, each stepped forward in turn for her silent, joyous savoring.
A questing hand extended to one side found the bed unoccupied save for herself and the half-grown cat tucked snugly into the warmest available spot behind her legs. With a small sigh, she opened her eyes and sat up, letting the bedsheet fall to her waist without worry for her modesty, though she wore no nightgown or chemise, and both wings of the tall mullioned window stood open to the morning breeze. The cat opened one bright green eye at her movement, and she smiled and scratched under his jaw, earning a lazy yawn and a soft trilling note added to his purr before he curled into a tighter ball to resume his interrupted morning nap.
"A year ago today," the woman told her feline audience, sliding her feet out of the bed and standing up with care, "I was a titled lady. I wore silk against my skin—" She laughed, running her hands along her unclothed body. "—and I lived in a house so large I could easily have been lost in it. Not only was I not expected to lift a finger to help myself, I was expected not to lift a finger to do so. Which are quite different things, you understand," she added, opening her side of the elaborately carved wardrobe which had been one of the wedding gifts presented to the happy couple by her husband's friends. "Everything was done for me, and there would have been a scandal had I tried to do any of it myself. And now..."
With a gentle twirl of her fingers, a pair of drawers and a shift rose up from their hooks on the inside of the wardrobe door, the drawers hovering at the perfect height for her to step into them before sliding gently up her legs, the shift waiting its turn decorously to slip over her head and arms, then settle itself into place.
"Now I do what I want done for myself," finished Noreen Marlowe, once Eleanor de Maine, Lady Farnton, summoning her hairbrush across the room to her hand so that she could remove the night's tangles. "Or ask my other self to do it, which is almost the same thing," she added with a smile to the tall man who opened the bedroom door and peered around it. "Looking for me, a run?"
"Katie is." Sean Marlowe stepped into the room and took his husbandly dues in the form of a generous kiss. "Even a fire caller can't keep your breakfast warm forever, and you promised to help her make jam today."
"And so I shall." Noreen leaned her head against Sean's shoulder for a moment, and felt his hand stroke gently across the curve of her belly. "Making certain we're both still here?" she teased. "I won't be following any highwaymen to escape from you any time soon."
"You wouldn't be able to, mo chroi." Sean laughed. "You'd stick in the first bush you came to!"
"And whose fault is that?" demanded Noreen with as much mock indignation as she could conjure up on short notice.
"I don't recall you being anything other than a willing participant, mo stoirin—ow!" Sean dodged away from the cuff administered scientifically to his ear. "That hurt!"
"It was meant to." Noreen looked down her nose at her husband. "And if you're going to take up space in here, the least you can do is help me dress so my breakfast doesn't get any colder than it needs to."
"Help you dress?" Sean asked with a lazy smile, crooking his fingers at the windows, which obediently swung shut. "Or—undress?"
Noreen's breakfast, by the time she got to it, was quite cold indeed.