Byron was caught in the middle of two conversations. The one he was attempting to have with his housekeeper and the one Madison kept having with him. He continued with Melissa first. Heaven knew he was not up for Madison telling him he was cheap. Apparently the words economical and thrifty were not part of the British vocabulary.
“Clumsy?” He shrugged. “Think nothing of it. It happens to the best us, Melissa.”
Byron knew this for a fact because he occasionally bumped into or dropped things. Still, clumsy was not a word he generally associated with Melissa. She had always been a marvel of efficiency. But as the hoary old saying went, ‘There is a first time for everything.’
Byron returned to his conversation with Madison. The lecture about him being cheap was still in progress. He had almost forgotten how Madison tended to prattle. She could be such a tiresome tigress when she sank her teeth into a given subject. But a lovely and often charming tigress to be sure.
He managed to catch the word ‘cheapskate’ and then something about ‘virgin’s the only way to go’. He glanced at the phone receiver as if it were something alien. Where had that come from? Nonplus he replied under his breath.
“I’m certain most youthful males in rut would concur.”
Madison continued without seemingly taking breath. Was there a point or was this merely a cordial rant? She was all over the map, so to speak, with her commentary. Asking about the weather. Speaking of which flight she would take. Telling of her planned shopping venture upon arriving. Something about a spa. He shuddered, briefly reliving the thoughts of chocolate enemas. Then she offered up what he felt a needless dig about the British currency as compared to that of the United States. He had been offering up concise, appropriate one word replies to all her remarks until she mentioned international money matters. Oddly enough, that comment gave him the opening for a flippant retort.
“Well then, if British sterling is doing so well, then you don’t need me. You can afford the taxi fare?” Byron chuckled to display he was only joking.
Madison went on about the weather and local ladies fashion. As if Byron cared about either. But to pacify her he strolledover to the television and turned up the volume slightly. The news had progressed to the weather portion of the broadcast. The morning had been wet and cool. Typical northeastern fall weather. Tomorrow was to be more of the same until evening when they were calling for a drop in temperatures and heavy snow. 12 to 18 inches worth at least. A sizable amount, particularly for normally snow-less, October.
This did not concern Byron. He was ready for anything man or mother nature could dish out. His basement was specially designed to withstand virtually anything short of a direct hit from an nuclear blast. The place was complete with a long term supply of nonperishable food items. A filtered water supply that would last almost indefinitely. Several generators to maintain proper temperature and air quality conditions. Hundreds upon hundreds of books. Television with a VCR for his large collection of tapes. And of course, plenty of typing paper. Several people could last years in there if need be. It was a survivalist paradise.
Yet for Byron it hurt to have to make concessions to any bits of modern technology like the state of the art generators. Still, these were but white sins to him. The proverbial necessary evils.
Byron had long ago decided humanity was made up mostly of clods. And one day their stupidity might bring forth disaster. So he prepared accordingly by having a place set aside just in case his worst suspicions were realized. Snow, hell that was least of his worries. But it did suit him that snow was in the forecast and in such large amounts. Especially with Madison coming. He wanted time alone with her. Not shopping ventures and other wanderings among the scratching rustics. A large volume of snow would ensure she would be a captive audience.
Lowering the sound on the television, Bryon, an impish grin firmly in place, gave Madison some answers.
“The weather? Oh, nothing out of the ordinary. Typical autumn. Cool and cloudy.” His sly grin widened and he added. “Fashion? Oh my dear, Madison you look lovely in anything. Surely you know that. Anyway, I’ll be waiting at the airport when you arrive.
Madison would love that. Women loved compliments. Especially from men that seldom gave them. And in fairness to himself, he was telling her the truth. She did look exceptional in whatever style she wore. Add to this the fact he would be waiting for her would undoubtedly please her to no end. Now there was one last ingredient to add this mix. The icing on the cake.
“Hotel? I won’t here of it. Stay with me as my guest. My sofa converts into a pull out bed. You can have the bedroom to yourself.”
The gentlemanly touch never failed. That should get in him into her good graces. And make certain she was stuck at his place during the blizzard and not the hotel. Impressed with himself Byron prepared to end the conversation. It was time to slip into his robe and brew some coffee. After all, tonights segment of the month long horror film festival was a late night double feature. Nothing was going to make him miss that.