The high pitched screech cuts through the wooden door as if made of tissue paper, startling the young gnome.
“BEPPO! I’M HOME!"
“THAT’S GREAT, MA!”
“KNITTING CLUB WAS CANCELLED. THAT THING ON PHYLINNE’S NECK OPENED UP AGAIN!”
“I’M BUSY, MA!”
The handle on the door rattles slightly.
“TOO BUSY TO HELP YOUR MOTHER PEEL TURNIPS?!”
“DON’T COME IN HERE, MA!!!
Beppo scrambles to gather the young woman’s coat from the floor.
“ARE YOU TOUCHING YOURSELF AGAIN?!?”
Beppo frantically shoves Celina toward the burrow window, whispering apologies.
“DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE IN THERE WITH YOU?”
Celina dodges out of the way, calling back, “Yes, he does!”
“Oh. IS SHE GNOMISH?!”
Beppo looks at the human girl and raises his fingers to his lips before shouting back.
“OK THEN. YOU KIDS HAVE FUN! USE PROTECTION!”
The Grand Diplomat sits bolt upright in bed, heart pounding from the nightmare. Cold sweat chills the morning air even more as he frantically looks around his quarters to reassure himself that he is still in the castle.
Alone, thank the gods! I haven’t had that dream for a long time.
The grating voice pierces the thick ironwood door just as harshly as the gnome remembers from home.
Oh gods, no…
“BEPPO? ARE YOU IN THERE? WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING IN BED? I’VE BEEN HERE FOR HOURS WAITING FOR YOU! OR ARE YOU TOO BUSY TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR MOTHER? I’VE BROUGHT YOUR FIANCEE SO YOU CAN FINALLY GIVE ME SOME GRANDCHILDREN! NOW GET OUT HERE AND MEET THE LOVELY GIRL!”
Beppo frantically throws on his clothing and looks toward the window overlooking the lake and the fifty foot drop to the ground.
If only I’d been able to turn invisible and fly when I was a teenager…