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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