Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Ten

            Lorelei’s head was spinning. Calliope wanted to name her as her successor? But she had just met her!
            She wasn’t even sure she wanted to remain at the Temple of the Muse once her training was complete. While it would be great to become the next Calliope and train other young Muses in the art of epic poetry, it wasn’t her real dream. No, she wanted to become the Muse to a poet, an author . . . or maybe even a playwright. Anything that had to do with writing, she loved. She wanted to be someone’s inspiration, help spur creativity—not hang out in a Temple for the rest of her life.
            There was a knock on the door. She placed her hairbrush on her vanity table and wandered over to answer the door.
            Darien stood in the hall. She flushed as she realized that she was dressed only in her pajamas—a satin tank and shorts set.
            He eyed her appraisingly. “Is my sister here?”
            “No,” Lorelei said, disappointed. She had been half-hoping he was there to see her, but of course it made sense that he would be looking for his twin.
            “Good.” He took one step forward and pulled her into his arms. She looked up at him, startled. His mouth came down on hers. She froze, unsure what was happening. She gradually relaxed in his embrace and began to kiss him back.
            His lips were firm and unyielding. She felt a surge of excitement. She reached up to wind her arms around his neck, longing to run her hands through the dark hair that curled at his neck.
            He pulled away entirely too soon. “I’m sorry, I’ve been dying to do that since I saw you,” he breathed.
Not caught up on “Bemused”? Click the links below!
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Nine

            Lorelei felt as though she was going to wither under Calliope’s scrutinizing gaze. Calliope stood several inches taller than Lorelei and stared at her down the bridge of her nose. Lorelei wondered whether she might get hit over the head with the writing tablet Calliope carried if she misbehaved. She wished that Delia had stuck around while she spoke with Calliope. Her roommate had disappeared as soon as she made a quick introduction.
            Calliope smiled. “So, I meet my newest student at last.”
            Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe her instructor wasn’t as intimidating as she thought. For someone being nicknamed “The Wisest of the Muses”, Lorelei was expecting someone a lot scarier.
            She wasn’t sure how to greet her mentor. Shaking her hand seemed a little—inappropriate. After all, Calliope was hundreds (thousands, even) of years old. She finally settled on an extremely awkward curtsey, which ended with her stepping on the hems of her robes and nearly tearing them off. Calliope burst out laughing. “No need to curtsey to me!”
            Her balance regained, Lorelei tried to readjust her robes. “I’m sorry. I just . . .”
            “No need to apologize. I was just as scared when I came here to study. I understand completely.”
            “You studied here? But I thought . . .” Lorelei trailed off uncertainly.
            “You thought I was the original Calliope? I assumed the same thing at first. No, Calliope is just a title. I have a regular name, just as you do. Perhaps one day, you could earn the title of Calliope.”
            “That would be wonderful. I think I have a long way to go.”
            Calliope smiled. “It’s good that you realize that. A lot of students come here thinking that we have nothing to teach them. A humble heart is important for success. That is why your application stood out among them others.” She looked Lorelei straight in the eye. “If you do well over the next few months, I may consider training you to take my place one day. You seem extremely intelligent Lorelei. I think I would do well to name you my successor.”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Eight

            Lorelei awoke to Delia standing over her bed, shaking her awake. She peered up at her, blinking to clear her eyes.
            “Time to get up!” Delia announced.
            She sure is chipper in the morning, Lorelei thought. “Already?” She glanced at her clock.  “It’s only six am.”
            “That’s wake up time. Get dressed so we can go down to breakfast.”
            Lorelei dragged herself out of bed and complied. She tried to remember the way Darien had shown her how to wrap her gown the night before, but she ended up with everything twisted. Delia untangled her and helped her dress properly.
            After they brushed their teeth and hair and tied on their sandals, they trooped downstairs for breakfast.
            Darien was standing outside the dining hall, leaning against a wall. “Ah, there are my two favorite ladies! How did you sleep?”
            Delia rolled her eyes at her brother. “Fine. What are you doing out here?”
            “Waiting for you two, of course.”
            Lorelei was secretly glad that he had been waiting for them. She tried her hardest not to react, though. She didn’t want her new roommate to know that she had a crush on her twin. She probably wouldn’t like it.
            They went through the line and sat down at a table. “So, what happens next?” Lorelei asked the twins.
            “We go to classes,” Delia informed her.
            “Well, I kind of expected that.”
            “I’ll show you where your classes are. We’ll be in the same classes. That’s why you were assigned as my roommate—because we’re in the same program.”
            “What about you?” Lorelei asked Darien.
            “I’m in a different program. I’m studying history with Clio.”
            After they finished eating, they cleared their plates and placed them in the designated tubs.
            “Ready?” Delia asked.
            “I guess so.”
            “Okay. Let’s go introduce you to Calliope.”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Seven

            Darien had ended up following Lorelei and Delia to the dining hall. After they ate, the twins had taken Lorelei on a mini-tour of the temple. Once they had shown her the basics, Delia had sent Darien away for the night and led Lorelei back to their room.
            “So, you like my brother?” Delia asked.
            Lorelei was sitting at a vanity, brushing her hair. She looked at her roommate in the mirror. “He seems nice enough,” she said, hoping she sounded casual.
            Delia smirked, reminding Lorelei of her brother. They certainly had similar expressions. “Yeah, that’s what all the girls say at first.” She hesitated a moment. “Just be careful. I mean, I love my brother, but I also know what he’s like. He can be a bit  . . . flirtatious.”
            Lorelei set her brush down and turned around. “There’s nothing going on between your brother and me, don’t worry.”
            “That’s not what it looked like from where I was standing.”
            “Even if he is—flirtatious—I can take care of myself.”
            Delia held her hands up in surrender. “Okay, I get it. Look, I was just trying to do the good roommate thing. I actually like you. I don’t want you to get hurt by my brother.”
            Lorelei sighed. “Thanks for the warning. But how do you know I’m not going to be the one to hurt him?”
            “Like I said, I know my brother.” Delia marched over and turned off the light between their beds, leaving Lorelei sitting in the dark. “See you in the morning. I’ll show you to your first class.”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Six

            “Brother?” Lorelei asked.
            “Twin, to be more exact,” Delia clarified.
            Lorelei looked back and forth between the two of them. She did see the resemblance. She just hadn’t noticed before. They had the same thick black hair and stormy grey eyes. “Didn’t you say that you hadn’t been here that long?” she asked Darien. “Your sister seems to have been here a lot longer.”
            “I did arrive a while after Delia. The Temple only began accepting men to study recently.” He paused. “Accepting men as students, I suppose I should say,” he amended. “They don’t study men here.” He laughed.
            “So, how did you two meet?” Delia asked. “Last I saw you, Lorelei, you were planning on hiding in our room all night.”
            Our room. So she and Delia were going to be roommates. Delia had failed to point that out earlier. “Well, Darien somehow ended up in the room. Apparently he walked into the wrong one.”
            “That’s funny, considering the men’s dormitories are one flight up,” Delia said, raising an eyebrow at her twin.
            “I was looking for you!” he exclaimed. “When I found Lorelei instead, I assumed I had the wrong room.”
            “Men aren’t supposed to be in the women’s hall,” she reminded him.
            “I was looking for you,” he repeated. “It’s not a crime to try to find my sister, is it?”
            “What did you need me for?” she asked.
            “I can’t remember.”
            Delia laughed. “I guess Lorelei could have that effect on you.” She turned to Lorelei, who had remained silent during their exchange. “He likes pretty girls.”
            Lorelei laughed uncomfortably. She didn’t know how to respond, but Delia continued. “Well, since you’re out of the room now, let’s find you some food. You’re probably starving and we’ll need to get to bed soon.” She took Lorelei’s elbow and stared at Darien. “I can take it from here.”
            He grinned. “I’m sure you can, but I’ll still be joining you.” He winked at Lorelei. “That is, if you don’t mind.”
            She quickly nodded her assent. She wanted to get to know him better, even though his sister seemed to be against it. It was definitely an offer she couldn’t refuse.
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex. 

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Part Five

           
            Darien knocked on Lorelei’s door. “Doing okay in there?”
            She threw the mess of fabric over her shoulders. “Actually, I think I might need some help.”
            He opened the door cautiously; carefully peeking around it to be sure she was covered. He might tease, but he didn’t want to be inappropriate. He could get thrown out of the Temple for even being in her room alone. He left the door ajar behind him as he entered the room. “Jeeze, you’re a mess!” he laughed.
            She looked at him helplessly. “Give me a break. This is the first time I’ve had to wear anything like this.”
            He helped her gather and pin the material with a brooch at each shoulder, then wrapped a belt around her waist. “There! Now you just need some sandals and you’re done.”
            “Thanks.” She looked at him curiously. “Why are you being so nice?”
            He shrugged. “I was new once. In fact, I’m still sort of new.”
            “So, where are we going?” she asked as she found some sandals and slipped her feet into them. She fumbled with the laces for a few minutes. Darien began to laugh again and kneeled down to help her. He laced them up her calves and tied them below her knees. “Can you remember how to do this next time?”
            She blushed. “Of course I can! It’s just a . . . new experience.”
            He smiled as he stood. “Let’s go find you some food. You’re probably starving.”
            “I am,” she admitted, “but I don’t really feel up to meeting a ton of people yet.”
            “You’re going to have to meet everyone sometime. Not all of them are going to wander into your room like me,” he said playfully. “But don’t worry. I know how we can get you some food without ever seeing anyone.”
            “Sounds good to me. Lead the way.”
            They headed out of her room and went the opposite direction of the one she had come earlier that day with Delia. He took her through several halls, and down a spiraling staircase. They had just reached the bottom of the stairs when Lorelei ran smack into someone who had appeared around a corner. It was Delia.
            “Lorelei, I thought you were going to stay in your room all night?” Delia asked.
            “Well, I had planned on it, but then . . .” she gestured helplessly at Darien.
            “Hello, Delia,” he said.
            “So, Lorelei,” Delia said, “how did you meet my brother?”
© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Four

Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two can be found here
Chapter Three can be found here
            Lorelei spent the entire first night at the Temple hiding in her room. She didn’t bother going to dinner, even though she was starving. Luckily, she had snuck some snacks into her bags. Who knew what passed for food here? She hadn’t thought everything at the Temple would be so . . . archaic. Sure, she was expecting it to be a little old-fashioned. After all, the Temple of the Muse had been around since ancient Greek times. That was hundreds and hundreds of years ago—maybe even thousands. Lorelei didn’t want to bother to try and figure it out.
            She sat on the floor, sifting through the contents of her suitcases. Maybe she should send some of her regular clothes home to her dad. She wouldn’t be needing most of them here. No, she had to wear the stupid white robes. They weren’t in Greece any more and this was the 21st century! She shouldn’t have to walk around wearing a sheet. What have I gotten myself into? she wondered to herself.
            Her breath caught when the door began to open. Now what?
            She looked up—and up and up. The man standing in the doorway was extremely tall, much taller than her, especially considering her current position on the floor. His hair was as black as midnight, but the eyes were as grey as the sky after a storm.
            She quickly scrambled to her feet. “Hi,” was all she could manage.
            “I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed, flushed despite his golden tan. “Wrong room.”
            He started to walk away. “Wait!” Lorelei shouted, a little louder than she had intended. Why did I do that? she chided herself.
            He paused and turned back toward her. He remained silent as he waited to see what she wanted. “Ummm . . . what’s your name?” she finally asked.
            “Darien.”
            “Hi. I’m Lorelei.”
            He smiled. “What a beautiful name.”
            Now it was her turn to blush. “Sorry, I don’t know why I stopped you,” she admitted. “It’s just . . . it’s my first night here, and I don’t know anyone.”
            “I was pretty lost on my first night here also. I haven’t been here that long, but do you want me to show you around a little?”
            “Sure!” she agreed eagerly.
            He laughed. “Why don’t I step out for a moment so you can change? You’ll blend in better if you’re wearing these ridiculous robes,” he gestured to the one wrapped around his waist and thrown haphazardly over one shoulder. He leaned closer. “I can’t stand the things,” he whispered conspiratorially, “but that’s the rules. They certainly don’t leave much to the imagination.” He winked and pulled on the hem that hit just above his knee.
            She laughed with him and tried to will herself to keep looking at his face. “I think they left me some robes somewhere. I haven’t tried them on yet.”
            “I’ll wait in the hall. Let me know if you have any trouble with those pins.” He winked once more before closing the door behind him, leaving Lorelei standing in her room wondering what exactly had just happened.

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
*Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post.