Byron and Melissa: at least there hasn’t been a shower scene yet…

Melissa had heard what he said, but it didn’t matter, the damage had already been done. She hurried up to the kitchen to make cocoa as she had offered to do as she measured out enough milk and set a saucepan on the stove to start it heating.

She felt like being lazy this time and actually using the powdered cocoa mix, but she still needed to wait for the milk to get to a proper temperature before anything else could happen. So she pulled out the cinnamon sticks and whipped cream while she waited in order to distract herself and keep herself busy so nothing embarrassing occurred.

Byron made his way up stairs away from Madison. He had to have a little chat with Melissa. He would not be nearly as harsh with her as he was with Madison for in his opinion he felt Melissa, in her own way, was defending his honor. Still, he could not have her jumping down the throats of his guests. Even a guest that was acting more the role of a pest.

He checked in the living room. No sign of her. Then he started for the bedroom before coming to a stop. Though he heard no sound to alert him, Byron turned and headed for the Kitchen. Melissa had mentioned making herself some coca. She had to be in there.

He stepped into the Kitchen and stopped his quarry. As expected she was in the midst of brewing coca. He offered a thin smile and moved next to her. “Mind making me some? I could use something to relax me about now.”

“I was planning to do so.” She said softly as she pulled out the grinder for the cinnamon sticks. “There is plenty for Madison too if she cares to have some.” she offered in a tone a little above a whisper as she went back to grinding the sticks.

It was a long time before the click of metal onto the counter signified she was done and she turned to look at him. “Look, before you say anything else, I’m very sorry for the way I acted. I was trying hard to remain tacit and calm but… there is something about her that just… pushed my buttons.” she explained. “I know that is no excuse and I will do better in the future.” she told him before swallowing nervously and turning to stir the milk so it didn’t stick to the pan.

Melissa has done it again. She had anticipated his every move. From his desiring a cup of coco to his wanting to offer up a mild scolding for her behavior. The woman was frustrating indeed. Almost magical in her ability never be heard and to know what he was thinking before he could offer and utterance. That said, she was correct in her surmise. She was out of line as was Madison. They needed to have a little sit down these two and overcome the problems that had arisen. He would suggest it, but known Melissa, she
knew what was coming in advance.

“Why not go ask her if she’ll have some.” Byron said quickly. “We’re going to be stuck here several days together. I’d rather it be cordial rather then us at each others throats.”

He leaned on a nearby counter top as he spoke. The smell of the cocoa was refreshing to his senses. As he waited for it to finish he glanced out the window. The storm was raging. Close to a foot had fallen already and double perhaps triple that was on the way. He was getting the sinking feeling no matter how diplomatic he tried to be, he was going stuck in the role of lion tamer with two extremely willful and feral lionesses for the next several
days. And he without his whip and chair. This could get ugly.

“I will.” she offered gently as she looked over at him before she started adding the powder to the milk. “But… before I do, could I… ask you something?” she said softly as she looked over at him. “Did you… mean what you said to Madison?” her voice was soft, and was barely heard at all. “That… you really don’t love her anymore because she was acting like that?” She swallowed and looked up at him uncomfortably. “Because you really should be with someone who cares about you and won’t ask you to change your lifestyle too much.” she explained gently, wondering if he’d catch the subtle hint… but she sincerely doubted that he would.

Byron was pondering the next few days locked away in this snow covered cage with these two feuding females. Needless to say it would not be a pretty sight. He had visions of himself caught between the two as they waged war over their respective disagreements. He knew Madison. She was overly self-confident like himself. She had opinions bursting to come out and she would not let Byron or anyone stop her no matter what was said. She was going to push her beliefs and desires for all they were worth. Just as he, Byron tended too.

Melissa was the more mellow of the two but if pushed, Byron was certain she could be a handful. It was those quiet ones you had to worry about. Every late night slasher film he had ever seen had proved that. Norman Bates, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Ed Guine, Lizzy Borden. All were either soft-spoken or utterly silent. But if you got their hackles up, they looked at you like a virgin at a Aztec sacrificial ritual. And who knew what could set
them into crazy mode? One minute Melissa could be stirring coco, the next she could be running around in a three cornered hat and a powdered wig.

He chuckled suddenly as the absurdity of this line of thought. What was he thinking? Meek Melissa being that way? Impossible. Besides, even if that were true it would take more than a noisy house guest to set her off. Normally there was a deep catalyst involved. Normally it was something extreme like unrequited love and the addition that the person those feeling were held for was suddenly being removed from reach. Minus such a reactive agent, no worries existed, at least to Byron’s way of thinking.

He glanced into the living room at that moment by chance and his eyes happened on his DVD collection. He was really watching to many of those slasher flicks, he mused. He was starting to think like a actor in one of them. Maybe his mother was right. Maybe after a while they did rot your brain. A slight smile began to cross his face but faded as he noticed one of the films was partly pulled out from the others, as if someone had been
examining it closely. He looked closer and saw the title. ‘The chamber maid massacre.’ Yes, he watched that one evening after Melissa went home a couple of weeks ago. She spotted it out the next morning and asked to borrow it for her nephew, or someone close to her. She must have brought it back today.

He suddenly found himself recalling the plot. A young soft spoken maid working in a hotel falls for the handsome owner and kills off anyone she considers a romantic interest. Later she turns on him when it becomes apparent he does return her love.

The wheels in Byron’s mind began to turn in the obvious, paranoid direction. He glanced at Melissa for a long moment while she was busy preparing his cocoa. Could she be a lady bluebeard under that mild exterior? He thought it over and grinned in a slightly embarrassed manner. Of course not. Just because someone was quiet, somewhat repressed and moved with the stealth of a cat burglar did not mean they were a raving madwoman ready to shove a knife in your back. Or even the back of your comely houseguest. Most damning to this moronic theory was the fact Melissa was not in love with him. She had no interest in him other than that of an employee and good friend. With absence of such an intense feeling as unrequited love there could be no
underlying lunacy.

Silently, Byron was berating himself when Melissa spoke the words that made his bones cold.

“Did you…mean what you said to Madison? That… you really don’t love her
anymore because she was acting like that? Because you really should be with
someone who cares about you and won’t ask you to change your lifestyle too
much.”

His jaw dropped. It was almost a line for line comment from the chamber maid massacre. The maid asked this of the hotel manager the scene before she stole a butcher knife from the kitchen and sliced his visiting ex-girlfriend to shreds. Good lord! Melissa had gone round the bend. Too Cuckoo land. She was secretly in love with him and now was working up to getting rid of the competition. MADISON! He had to think of something fast.

“Uh…well…..of course you’re right, Melissa. And…uh….no…I don’t love Madison. I….uh….I should find someone who won’t try to change me. Promise I will. Yes….exactly. I won’t be changed. Never. Uh…excuse me. I’ll be right back.”

He slipped into the living the room, making a beeline for the phone. He had to get the police here at once before Melissa cracked up on him. He picked up the receiver but the line was dead. The storm? Or had Melissa cut the line. Good lord what now? Madison and her stupid cellular phone. She could get help. Hopefully it had not broken when it hit the floor before. Madison said it was fine but who could tell? He had to reach her make the call for help. Now more than ever. Because he just realized he made a serious mistake. He left Melissa alone in the kitchen, with the butcher knife!


“Byron. I saw you eying the movies… I’m not a slasher. I have no plans to kill you or Madison. The line has been dead for the last half an hour… I think the electricity will be next. I’ve got a bunch of candles ready for warmth and light… unless you wanted to take advantage of the shelter?” she asked him gently. She moved easily back into the kitchen with a soft sigh and took the froth building up in the pan as a sign that the milk was warm and the cocoa was ready. She then pulled down three mugs and filled them each before adding whipped cream and a little more cinnamon on top.

Melissa then took one of the mugs out to Byron. “I’m not going to pursue anything you don’t want. I promise you that.” she said softly. “No hard feelings. I’m in a good place and I don’t want to ruin that.” But he hadn’t heard a word of it. She realized that as she turned around and saw that he’d run off…. Fabulous. She’d really made a mess of things.

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