kajel: (Me)
I would sit here rocking, but I don't have a rocking chair. I do have a wicker chair. It has a foot stool. So, I can put my feet up at least. It's not the same as rocking with the breeze blowing gently against me. The smell of honeysuckle teasing my nose. The sound of Gram in the kitchen, cooking up her wondrous delights.

It's been many years since those things have been a part of my life. This wicker chair that doesn't rock just can't compare. Her death changed the course of my life. Dealing with the unexpected, large inheritance by disappearing off to college had worked. Who gets seventy six million dollars as they turn eighteen? I took the time to figure out what I was doing.

Cynthia and I traveled each summer. We toured Europe that first summer. Dublin, Ireland was where the second life changing event happened. Seeing the Book of Kells gave me a passion to pursue. That gorgeous illuminated manuscript inspired my life long collection of those wonderful works of art. The Porta Caeli manuscript is the pinnacle of my collection. Tomorrow, I would possess the key to open it.

Even though the La Chiave Fiore didn't in any way look like a key, I have a growing conviction that this is it. Negotiations to purchase the key from the church outside of Florence took longer than I expected. Cyn was coming over tomorrow to be with me when I finally open the manuscript.


"Alright Meredith, let's do this!" Cynthia grabbed my arm excitedly.

I looked over at her. I was just as excited as she was. I took the Porta Caeli out of the vault and laid it gently on the table in my office. I picked up the small gold flower. It really did just look like a button.

"Here we go," I said as I fit the loop on the back of the key to the small hole on the lock of the manuscript.

With a click, they key slid into place and the lock fell open.

"It worked."

With gentle fingers, I opened the leather cover. A blinding light lit the room suddenly.

"Meredith!" Cynthia grabbed my arm again. "What is that?"

I stared, frightened as I saw my office fade away. Cynthia was looking around as well.

"Oh my, Cyn, do you know what Porta Caeli means? It means Gate of Heaven."


This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Second Chance, Week 2. The topic this week was “Front Porch".
kajel: (Me)
"La Chiave Fiore, The Flower Key."

"What's that Cyn?" Meredith called over her shoulder as she rummaged through the open box in front of her. Where had she put that auction pamphlet?

"This is one of your museum magazine things Meredith. It has a flower key."

Meredith paused and looked up at what Cynthia was holding. "Oh that one, yeah, I got that one about a year ago. It's something that's been in a church in Italy for the past 150 years or so. The name caught my eye."

"Did you go to Italy to get it?"

"What?" Meredith frowned. "Oh, no, it's not a key at all. Just a gold flower. There is a little loop on the back. I think it was a piece of a necklace or maybe a button." Meredith turned back to the box in front of her. "Aha! I found the pamphlet. There's a collection of antique keys being sold in France next week. The nobleman that created the collection was fond of delicate gold keys."

"It says here that the Chiave Fiore is displayed in a private collection at a church outside of Florence. They don't know why it is called the Flower Key as the piece is not a key at all." Cynthia continued reading.

"Exactly. The Porta Caeli Manuscript is locked with a gold clasp. No one has been able to pick the lock without damaging the clasp. It's too valuable to damage. It definitely requires a key."

"I still can't believe you bought that illuminated manuscript last month for so much money and you can't even open it and look at it." Cynthia shook her head. "Meredith, I know that this doesn't appear to be what you're looking for. It doesn't look like a key at all, but I think you should look at this." Cynthia walked over to her friend and handed her the magazine. "Look at the flower. It looks just like one of the flowers entwined around the gate on the manuscript."

Meredith studied the picture of the flower. She jumped up and went to the vault across the room. Quickly she opened the door and moved to the case where she stored the 13th century manuscript. She held the magazine close to the gilded gate on the front of the book.

Cynthia peered down at the two items. "It is exactly the same flower."

"I don't know how this could be it, but I think I need to go to Italy tomorrow. You're right. They are exactly the same in every detail." Meredith said.

Cynthia smiled at her excited friend. Maybe she would actually get to see why that manuscript was worth over a million and a half dollars in this lifetime after all.


This is my entry for LJ Idol: S10 Week 9 Sudden Death Write-Off!. This was an 'Open Topic'. I wrote about these two characters before. Once in 2013 with Treasures Unique, and in 2014 with Rainy Days.

Rainy Days

May. 29th, 2014 08:30 pm
kajel: (Me)
Meredith sat in the rocker, watching the rain drizzle down beyond the porch. The creaking of the rocker next to her was soothing as she stared off into the distance.

"It's over you know."

"What is?" asked Cynthia as she rocked slowly beside her. She had pulled her wine colored blazer tightly around her. Her only pair of good black trousers were covered by one of my Grandmother's lap throws.

"Life as I know it." I envied Cynthia's ability to bring color to this day. The only color accenting my black dress was the cream of the pearls Grandmother had given me on my sixteenth birthday. That would be two years ago next week.

"Oh Meredith, you'll get through this. Gram was eighty nine years old. She was able to stick it out long enough to get you all raised up into a proper young lady. Besides, you still have me, your best friend."

"Isn't that a scary thought." Meredith replied. Cyn had always been good at bringing humor.

"Well, Gram always did say I was a holy terror in an innocent package."

Meredith laughed. "She was mortified when she realized you had overheard her saying that."

Cyn smiled sadly.

"Mr. Parker came over yesterday Cyn."

"Oh yeah? What did ol' dragon breath want."

Mr. Parker had been her neighbor three doors down since Meredith arrived to live with her Grandmother at the age of five. He was a dour man in his mid sixties. He had taken a particular dislike to Cynthia when her family had moved in on the other side of him. It didn't really help that Cynthia was the type to poke the dragon in the eye.

"Apparently, he was Grandmother's lawyer."

"Really!? I never realized. Well as her great-granddaughter and only living relative, I assume she left you the house."

"Yes," Meredith said quietly as she looked back out into the rain.

"Right then, we're going to need a plan of attack." Cynthia said briskly.

Meredith frowned questioningly at her friend. "Plan of attack?"

"Yes. I spoke with mom last night and she told me that if you are lucky, the house will be mortgage free. Gram was here for fifty years. She outlined the bills you should expect to pay to live here and the approximate costs."

"Cyn," Meredith tried to interrupt, but her friend was on a roll.

"I'm going to go over to the Save-Mart tomorrow and put in an application. It might take me a few weeks to find a job, but when I do, I will be able to help with the bills."

Meredith waved her hands to stop the flow of words. "Help with the bills! Cynthia, wait, hold on. Your making plans without me again."

"No I'm not! I'm talking to you about it right now."

Meredith sighed. "Cyn, you don't need to rush out and get a job to help me."

"Of course I do Meredith. We have been best friends since we were six years old. I'm not going to let you do this alone."

"Cyn, you are my best friend, the sister I never had. I love you even more knowing you are thinking of me and willing to help me like that." Meredith reached over and squeezed Cynthia's hand in gratitude. "Cyn, I found something out yesterday. I'm going to tell you a secret. Grandmother left me as her sole heir with not only the house, but a trust fund that will take care of me."

"A trust fund? Gram never had a lot of extra money."

"Apparently, she did. She just didn't live like she did."

"Well, how much did she leave you? Oh my God! You could be rich. Was it like one hundred thousand dollars?"

Meredith watched her friend closely as she said, "more like seventy six million dollars."

"What!?" Cynthia was clearly shocked as she sat up and quit rocking. "But…where would Gram get that kind of money?"

"I have no idea. This is important Cynthia. Mr. Parker explained it to me. This kind of money will make me a target if people find out about it."

Cynthia started rocking again as she absorbed the information.

"What are you going to do?" She asked.

"I was thinking about selling the house. I'm not sure I can stay here without her. When you figure out which scholarship you are going to accept, I think I will let everyone know that I have a scholarship to the same school. I think four years away at college will give me plenty of time to think about how to handle this."

Cynthia nodded. "That's a good plan. Better than mine."


This is my entry for LJ Idol: S9 Week 10. This week’s topic was “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time”.
kajel: (Me)
It was a beautiful, balmy night. The moon sparkled like diamonds on the ocean as the waves lapped gently at our feet. I looked into Curtis' eyes and found heaven.

"Oh my God, who writes this crap?" Meredith tossed the book she was holding across the bed.

She had found it in the nightstand after arriving in the hotel room earlier. She had been cruelly tricked by the simple cover. There was no wilting damsel or posturing hunk of a man to be found. It was no wonder the book had been left behind.

"I am going to have to purge my brain after the insipid text I just had the misfortune of reading."

"What are you babbling about now?" Cynthia asked without looking up from her seat at the hotel room desk.

Meredith sighed. Cynthia was pecking furiously at her keyboard. Nothing new there, she thought. Cyn was always vigorously busy at something. She could never just sit still.

"I found a book in the nightstand. I thought I might read it." She sighed again.

Cyn looked up with a grin. "Really? You were going to read a book without a recommendation. Something that isn't at least a hundred and fifty years old yet? Why Meredith, I am shocked that you would stoop to such a common task as reading a novel."

Meredith grabbed the pillow next to her and threw at her best friend. Cyn just laughed as the pillow bounced off her.

"Tomorrow should make up for this. I can't believe the Vondberg family is actually selling the Porta Caeli manuscript!" Meredith said excitedly as she snuggled into the bed.

Cynthia rolled her eyes as she turned back to her laptop. "Well, if you want a chance at it, you have to have the highest bid tomorrow."

"I want this really bad, Cyn. This illuminated manuscript has the reputation of being the most beautiful of all the manuscripts still in existence. The painstaking imagery and detail given to the illustrations are beyond compare. It has been in the possession of the Vondberg family for over four hundred years."

"Well, the faster you sleep Meredith, the sooner tomorrow will come."


Meredith had her bidder number and paddle. She and Cynthia were sitting quietly in the auction house as they awaited the item they were interested in.

Three loud cracks from the gavel hammering down echoed like thunder through the room.

"The next item up for bid, is the Porta Caeli illuminated manuscript. This manuscript is regarded as a work of art created in the 13th century. The bidding will start at seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

Meredith excitedly snapped her paddle into the air.

"That's the starting bid?" Cynthia whispered. She had no idea that the book was going to be so expensive.

Meredith nodded without taking her concentration off the rapid fire calling as the auctioneer took more bids. The bidding was fast a furious for several minutes. Meredith raised her paddle repeatedly. Once the price reached a million and a quarter, the bidding began to slow down. In the end, it came down to Meredith and a bald, portly man several rows up. At just over a million and a half, her competitor dropped out of the running.

"One million five hundred and twenty five thousand going once…going twice…SOLD, to bidder number 321. Our next auction…"

"Yes!" Meredith squealed quietly. "Come on Cyn, let's get into the back room and finalize the sale."

"I have to admit, Meredith, it's a beautiful looking book. It is a lot bigger and thicker than I thought it would be. It kind of looks like a big medieval diary."

Cynthia admired the leather-bound manuscript before them. The book was a lovely tooled red leather. It was probably about eighteen inches tall and 12 inches wide and a good five to six inches thick. The front had a picture of a gilded golden gate entwined with the most beautifully drawn flowers Cynthia had ever seen. There was also an ornate gold looking clasp that was holding the book together.

"It's in pretty good shape for being almost a thousand years old. Open it up Meredith. I want to see what all the fuss is about."

"I can't."

"Can't, what do you mean you can't."

"I don't have the key, silly."

"Oh, well tell them to hurry up with all the paperwork so you can have the key. I am really curious to see what's inside."

Meredith ran her fingers lovingly over the gold clasp as she smiled over at Cynthia.

"Cyn, the key to the Porta Caeli manuscript was lost over two centuries ago. There is no way to open it without breaking the lock."

"What!" Cynthia looked at her friend in shock. "You just spent a million and a half dollars on a book you can't even open?!"

"Did you ever wonder why I had such a passion for antique keys? Especially ones from across the pond? You never know, maybe I will get lucky someday." Meredith sighed happily.

"Meredith, I love you, but I think there is something wrong with your brain."

April 2017



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