When I enter the Ballroom after a month’s absence, I find Lady B draping the elegant mouldings in screamingly purple bunting.
The epees over the mantel (relics of Lord B’s famed duel over– well, Lady B hasn’t told us that, but from the way she looks coy whenever she mentions it, only to say she won’t talk about it, it might have been over her). But I digress. In any event, the epees over the mantel have been replaced with crossed parasols.
“What’s all this?” I ask, wondering if sleep deprivation really can cause hallucinations. But shouldn’t I be seeing pink elephants rather than purple parasols?
“Kindly refrain from such uncouth expressions!” Lady B snaps. ”You sound like the bungling detective from a highly derivative fifth rate country house mystery.”
Hmm. Someone has been letting Lady B read chronologically inappropriate fiction again. I’d caught her with a copy of one of the Lord Peter Wimsey books back in June, murmuring, “Denver, Duke of Denver. Didn’t a Duke of Denver offer for me once?”
It’s like having a toddler. You have to be really careful about what you leave lying around the Ballroom. I can only hope that no one brings in a copy of Fifty Shades, because Fifty Shades of Lady B would be about forty-nine too many for me.
“All this… purple,” I amend, waving a hand in the direction of the bunting.
“Oh, Miss Willig.” Lady B looks at me reproachfully. ”How can you have forgot?”
“Forgot?” I’m just barely remembering my own name these days. Anything else is gravy. Gravy…. Did I leave something on the stove? Was I supposed to be making gravy? I’m very confused.
“Book? Which book?” I know I sound dim, but I have one book in copyedits, another that needs to get done in the next month or so, and a one month old who doesn’t understand that Mommy has deadlines.
Lady B’s nostrils quiver with aristocratic distress. ”My dear friend Miss Gwendolyn Meadows’s book.” And then, when I still look blank. ”The Passion of the Purple Plumeria.”
“Oh,” I say. ”Well, yes. But that was two or three weeks ago already.”
Lady B slaps her fan against the flat of her palm. ”Two or three weeks? And all this while you have left my dear friend Miss Gwen languishing– yes, languishing!– in publication obscurity.”
From behind a potted palm, I catch a glimpse of Miss Gwen. Smirking.
That did not look like a languish to me.
“Did you tour for this book?” demands Lady B. ”Did you throw a book party? Did you provide me, your own patroness, with a complimentary copy? No, no, and no again.”
“Things have been a bit–” I begin, but Lady B is on a roll.
“Since you wouldn’t throw her a publication party,” says Lady B grandly, “someone had to.” She thrusts a novelty parasol with an alarmingly pointy tip in my direction. ”Put on your best purple and put your parasol up, Miss Willig! We’re having a Passion of the Purple Plumeria publication party– and your attendance is mandatory.”
“That’s very… nice… of you?” I venture.
Lady B pauses to give herself the once over in one of the few mirrors in the ballroom left un-bunting-ed. ”After all,” she murmers, “purple is my best color.”
What’s your best color?
And have you ever forgotten a birthday or other important event?
In (belated) honor of the release of The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, I’ll be giving away a copy of the book to one person who comments on this post. Winner to be announced on Wednesday!