I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soulBram Stoker, Dracula
Miley turned in front of the tall mirror and looked at herself in the amber glow of the chandelier. The curtains were drawn, and one could only make out that it was early morning by the soft light that ringed the curtains in the window of her quarters generously provided by Count Stephan.
The figure in the mirror posed like a manikin, frozen in a pensive gaze. The eyes in the reflection assessed her with a skeptical look and a face that spoke of no hope that some admirable quality would appear in the warm lighting.
She made love to Stephan throughout the night and still, she found their relationship wanting. What was it? What needed to change? Deep down she knew she was the one that had to change. He already had the perfect girl, and Miley wanted to be her, nothing else.
The bed covers were thrown about the bed, the sheets had wrinkles pressed into sharp creases from too many nights under her restless weight. On the floor among a pile of clothes, shoes, and adorned underthings, paper wads of handwritten notes collected like dust bunnies. The dresser was piled high with lotions, perfumes, make-up left open, and powder spilled on the dark wood and faded linen cover from the night before.
The figure stirred in the ancient mirror, fingered the two curious blood spots on the neck, and turned away. Miley – she called herself Miley because her real name was too hard for others to pronounce or remember – looked at the small desk by her bed at the sheets of paper in a loose pile and more thrown on the floor. It was hopeless. She was too attached. She could not document the Count’s genealogical dictations without inserting herself in this ancient family’s lineage.
She wanted him for herself. Miley wanted to be the forty-seventh Countess Radu cel Mare and become a leaf on this 541-year-old family tree. For a moment, Miley contemplated starting over and then the crushing thought of all that time making love to Stephan, and wrapping her life in a story about him was just too much. She had to let go and let him go back to his Anna and his beloved estate steeped in legacy and mystery so she, the Scribe of Vlad Stephan cel Mare could finish the story. His story, not hers.
The rest of the morning Miley thought about him. While she showered, dressed, and applied her makeup, she thought about him. The more she thought, the more she wanted, and the more Miley wanted, the more hopeless she became. The Scribe thought about how she could change him as she rifled through her catered breakfast spread for some tiny morsel to eat.
The troubled girl settled on Greek yogurt that already had the spoon sunk into it and a cup of coffee growing chill on the ornately engraved silver platter. Miley didn’t know why she fell in love so easily or why she always wanted the man meant for another. It wasn’t going to work out. It never did. She went to the desk and picked up her papers and stuffed them in her waste bin with the others she had read then rejected as woefully inadequate for nobility.
After a few minutes of pulling the papers out and putting them back in the bin, she realized she was late for her morning meeting with the Count’s staff. She set her body of crumpled work back on the table. She could change it. Miley decided she could make Stephan love her. She hurried out the door happy with the decision to make it work. Quick footsteps echoed down the hall of the castle’s residential wing.
A shaft of light cut through the crack left by the open door to Miley’s living quarters. On the floor under the side table, a sheet of paper glowed in the light. It was curled from age and neglect with a fine layer of dust.
“Dearest Miss Miley Nikolavska,
I welcome you to my estate in the historic Carpathians. I look forward to your arrival and employment to capture the historical accomplishments and family tree of my lineage.
I hope your journey from Bulgaria is enjoyable and that you have rested well. I have made arrangements for you to travel by train to stay in the tiny village of Vadu Oii when you arrive in my country.
I will pick you up at the hotel the next day at eight pm and bring you to my beautiful land in the mountains. I’m sure you will be enchanted by the countryside and enjoy your stay with me.