The Contraptionaire

With the Merry Elizabeth's boilers stoked once again, and repairs made to her canvases and cannon, we regained most of our previous altitude and swung towards London. Enemy planes harassed us well into the night, but the armor held, as did the lads' nerves, thank God. Miss Hawthorne and her governess, the formidable Mrs. Posey, kept the coffee flowing and even lent their eyes to the watch. I yet believe we shall see Mrs. Posey take the crow's nest, though I would not wager soon.

But the good spirits on board belie my worries. I am more certain than ever that our mysterious enemy is none other than the Comte de Saint Germain after all. This engagement over Calais is therefore but a foretaste of the great approaching contest, with the fate of all Europe hanging in the balance. But then, as our dear Miss Hawthorne says: isn't it always?

Three Line Thursday: "Array"

So many portals, in rows and columns and trailing loose
As if an orchard planted and untended and spread wild,
Through each of them a new world we can disturb.

That One Crazy Night

He found her in the sun room, sitting quietly, staring out the window at an unremarkable darkness. "Honey?"


"I opened another bottle. Jamie's… what are you doing in here? I thought you just went to freshen your drink. We're in the living room."

"I know."

"…Honey? What's going on?"

"I was just thinking."

"You were thinking?" He waited for a response, then something in his mind clicked over, rearranged, placed the awkwardness of leaving his guests unentertained for a few minutes into perspective. He pulled out a chair and sat down opposite her. "What were you thinking about?"

"Remember when we got married?"

"Of course. Your Mother got blasted. So did a couple of my groomsmen. I think Vinnie ended up sleeping it off on his next door neighbor's front lawn." He saw an ephemeral hint of a smile. "What do you remember?"

"I remember wanting you so much. I didn't want to go to the reception at all, I just wanted to go back to the hotel right away." She glanced over at him, caught his eye, blushed. "I suppose I told you that."

"You did." He grinned. "But later."

"That lasted a long time, didn't it? The newlywed thing? As long as any couple?"


"Longer than most?" She sounded like she wanted his permission to believe it.

"Never went away, babe."

She smiled, but it was linked to a look that might have easily graduated into a rolling of the eyes. "It comes back from time to time, anyhow."


Some music started a couple rooms away, soft music, something from the Ipod he'd left plugged into the dock. Jobim, Quiet Nights. He pictured Jamie dancing dreamily to it, wine stem between her fingers.

"She's got good taste," he observed, reaching out for her hand, taking it, laying the pads of his fingertips on hers. She blushed again.

"I suppose this whole thing was my idea, wasn't it?"


"You agreed right away, and I mean, Jamie's gorgeous, probably enough to make you forget there's another man in the room, but I'm the one who wanted to do this."

"We both agreed." He leaned back in his chair, having screwed up the courage to go through with it, now beginning the process of screwing up the courage to walk into the other room and call it off. "Second thoughts?"

"Tenth? Forty-eighth?"

"I can send them home." He meant it, he tried to say it like it wasn't a disappointment.

"You still want to."

"I want you to be happy."

"You want to watch me make out with Jamie. Et cetera."

"…Et cetera. But not more than I want for you to be sure you—"

She'd taken off her wedding band, laid it carefully on the table. "Don't panic. We're just not going to wear them during this. Yours too, come on."

He didn't want to take it off, but she'd decided that was what they were going to do. He laid his ring atop hers. "Okay."