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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Beyond the Book: Fortuna

A merry tale of life, love and confusion in a small town.

Fortuna is the name of the house my heroine's fiance bough for them to live in. You can see a little bit of Fortuna on the cover, but not too much. The house was a total wreck and actually leaned to one side when Rocky bought it. He wanted to restore it, but Aimee wanted to gut it and start over. Here are Aimee's first thoughts about Fortuna.By the way, Fortuna is the goddess of luck and good fortune.

Rocky grabbed her hand before she could scold. “Let me show you the house, hon. It’s just incredible. I can’t believe how lucky I was to find it.” He beamed at June. “Thanks to you I didn’t buy that tacky McMansion for sale on the other side of town.”
Aimee’s teeth ground together.
With Cade and June following, Rocky indicated the room to the right of the fallen door. “This is the living room.” He pointed toward the ceiling. “See that pretty molding up near the ceiling?”
Aimee shook her head. “No, but I do see some crumbling plaster. Is that what you’re talking about?”
Rocky closed his eyes as if her assessment of the molding pained him. “Hon, this house was built in 1750. Of course it needs a little work.”
“With historical properties one focuses on the potential, not the current condition,” June inserted.
Aimee’s lips tightened when June’s snarky tone registered.
They left the living room and went straight into the room on the left of the fallen door. “This is the dining room,” Rocky said. “Don’t go into the far corner. We have a hole in the floor.”
Aimee bounced on the supposedly safe part of the wooden floor. “I’m not sure we should be in here at all. It feels spongy to me.”
Cade stepped into the hall.
From the hallway, Rocky led them to the back part of the house. “Here’s the kitchen, hon.”
“Much nicer,” Aimee approved as her eyes swept the room. “The kitchen must have been redone in 1920. Is that a woodstove over there?”
June scowled and Cade laughed.
“Hon,” Rocky reproved.
The bedrooms were no better, but the bathroom . . . “There are no words,” Aimee whispered. She kicked the claw-foot tub and dislodged a rain of rust particles. They made a pretty pattern where they drifted across the dirty floor. What did the floor look like? Was it black and white? No, maybe gray and white, or maybe brown? “Rocky . . .”
“Don’t worry, hon.” He patted her shoulder. “We have outside facilities. I told the contractor he’d need to work on the bathrooms first thing.”
“No, he’ll need to shore up the entire thing first, or it’s going to fall down and kill us.”
Cade’s eyes were full of laughter. “Hey, Rocky, where are the outside facilities?”
“Look out the window.”
Aimee rushed to the window and looked out. She saw an outdoor shower with absolutely no way to conceal oneself. Not far away she saw a small, crooked hut. No! It couldn’t be. Her grandmother had told her of such things, but . . . “Is that hut an outhouse?”
Rocky nodded. “Uh-huh. It has two holes and some catalogues from 1955. You won’t even have to take a book with you.” He pursed his lips. “I don’t really know why they needed two holes. Maybe people in the country make communal bathroom visits.”
Aimee tried the deep breathing technique that usually calmed her. It had no effect whatsoever. She gripped the window frame, which of course had no glass in it. “We can’t live here. Besides the fact that the place is falling down and actually tilts to one side, we don’t have a stick of furniture, a working bathroom or kitchen, or a bedroom fit to sleep in.”
June cleared her throat. “You aren’t using your historical imagination, Aimee. Take your cue from Rocky. He appreciates the opportunity to be the caretaker of such a fabulous property. With his vision and foresight, this will be one of the most beautiful homes in West Virginia.”

As you might expect, Aimee's reply to June, the realtor who sold the house to Rocky, isn't too polite, but that's an excerpt for another day.

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