A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

 #34048  by Michelle La Fratta
Location: A restaurant in Paris • Date: Saturday, 6 December 2003

In a private room within the restaurant, the soft hum of conversation, clinking glasses, and the snow falling on the French doors behind the head of the table filled the walls. Michelle laughed at something one of her guests said to her before she reached for her glass of wine. Dinner was dying down, with scraps of wonderful beouf bourguignon, chicken cassoulet, and lamb roasted in red wine being picked off by the table of friends.

Michelle wore a black dress with a neckline that swept across her shoulders. It was impractical for a winter birthday, but her ermine stole kept her warm whenever she snuck out for a breath of fresh air. She wore her ever faithful sapphire necklace and rings of glittering gems adorned her fingers.

She'd been favoring quiet birthdays lately, but Michelle knew she would have to do something grand for her 30th next year. Ah, well, she could worry about that in March.
 #34193  by Luca Balcescu
Somewhere back at home his wife was with his children, tending to the agreement they had established between the two of them. Sometimes when he was home he felt he was being held hostage by the woman he had married, but at least he was able to get away. To be with his girlfriend, to be the horrible person he truly was. At least in a few weeks that would all be winding down.

Theoretically, anyway. If they weren't all killed in the process.

"Iubita," he whispered to Michelle, leaning in close enough to plant a kiss behind her ear.

"I have a present for you. A couple, actually. But this one you might want to see now. Before we leave."

After another kiss and a flash of a smile, Luca slid the envelope under the table toward Michelle.
 #34364  by Michelle La Fratta
"Oh?" Michelle asked with a cheeky smile on her lips. She took the envelope from Luca and put down her wine glass to open it. With a long fingernail, she gently broke the seal.

What could it be? Michelle briefly thought divorce papers would be a great present, but she knew that was highly unlikely.

Instead there were two plane tickets and a reservation. "A cabin in the Yukon," Michelle said, her eyes lighting up.
 #34365  by Luca Balcescu
"You had mentioned it," Luca tried to contain his smile but found himself grinning.

"I thought we could get away for a few days. I have business coming up before Christmas, but my students are on leave, and... well..." the Romanian trailed off, taking a moment to steal a kiss instead.

"Happy Birthday, iubira mea."
 #34681  by Michelle La Fratta
She cherished these moments. For Michelle, her entire life existed in this room. After the kiss, she held Luca's face in her hand and ran her thumb over his beard. She smiled widely. "Thank you," Michelle said and brought her hand back down into her lap.

"I'm glad you want to spend your winter break with me in a desolate corner of the world. Where you get to watch me try to live off the land."
 #34710  by Luca Balcescu
"We will both be trying," Luca laughed. It scared him, truthfully, but he was also looking forward to it.

"But I made arrangements just in case we need assistance, but they will leave us be until we call for help so you can do whatever your heart desires."

Who was he to question what she wanted? At least it was interesting.

That, and he was pretty sure she didn't need another diamond bracelet.

"What do you say? Will you be ready to leave tonight?"
 #34743  by Donatella La Fratta
"Oh, are we opening gifts now?" Donatella exclaimed, looking absolutely delighted.

Clapping her hands for a moment, Michelle's aunt hurried to gather an oddly shaped wrapped package and insisted that everyone sitting between her and the guest of honor pass it over to the young woman immediately.

"I was trying to be patient but if it's time, it is time. And I want to see your face when you open it!"
 #34976  by Michelle La Fratta
Michelle's little romantic moment was interrupted by her aunt. She smiled at Donatella as she received the gift. It could be any number of things; her twin aunts were strange, but Donatella even moreso than Fiorenza.

Michelle unwrapped the gift to see an intricately decorated samovar. "Oh thank you, zia!" she said happily. "This will be great for tea out in the heated gazebo during the winters."
 #35146  by Donatella La Fratta
"You are very welcome," Donatella beamed. She was clearly delighted that her niece enjoyed the gift, so much so that she even set down her wine glass long enough to wave her hands excitedly at the samovar.

"It is gilded with your birth metals," she announced in her usual airy tone.

"And decorated appropriately, of course. It should be excellent for doing readings, I would think. Or for desserts, whichever. Both have their time and place, obviously."
 #35666  by Michelle La Fratta
Michelle laughed at her aunts' banter before taking a closer look at the samovar. "We'll have to try this when we get back," she said to Luca. "I don't want to risk breaking it all the way in the Yukon when a teapot will do just fine."

She was absolutely giddy about their trip. They would be surrounded by no one; just themselves and nature. Michelle never thought she'd see herself in that situation, but it was one she'd been wanting for awhile now.
 #35998  by Luca Balcescu
"I'm so happy you like it," Luca grinned, though his expression became momentarily serious.

"The trip, I mean. But this is nice, and you are right about the teapot. I just wanted to make sure you had a good birthday. I know I've been busy with work and everything and...well. You know. I am excited to spend time with you. Just us. Away from everyone else. Not that your aunts aren't, er..."

He trailed off, not sure if he was about to say something rude or not.

English was a terrible language.
 #36002  by Michelle La Fratta
Michelle laughed. "It's okay," she said. Michelle then lowered her voice. "They can be a lot. More than me, eh?" She laughed again as she settled in next to Luca, moving his arm to be around her shoulders.

"And it will be nice to get away." Astrid's words were not too far from memory though. What were they to get out of this? Michelle didn't let it trouble her any further and smiled up at Luca.