Poor Mike survived the first round of meetings to meet all the she tinkers at Willow Keep and now must endure another set of more personal interviews. While he should be thrilled to finally be coming closer to his goal of finding a wife to take home with him, the one she tinker he wants to get to know better won’t give him the time of day.
To read the previous episode, click here!
To start from the beginning, click here! An elaborate water clock trickled and ticked against the long wall facing the narrow windows in the engineering room. Mike couldn’t help but be mesmerized as he watched its movements from his perch next to the workbench where Mistress Maybelle worked. Five minutes passed, then ten, then fifteen. Mike began to worry that they would come find him before he even had the chance to say a proper hello.
Finally she set down the file and pick, stood and stretched, and turned to look at him. “What did you want to ask me about?”
Mike cleared his throat, stood, and extended his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I wanted to know if you were the one who made all the wonderful locks and other things around here?”
She ignored his hand. “Some were the work of my mother, some me, she taught me everything I know. Listen, I’m very busy and apparently you have nothing better to do. What’s the real reason you came?”
Mike shuffled his feet, his mother taught him that honesty was always best. He prayed she was right. “I would like to get to know you better. I was hoping you would come to one of the meetings, but when I didn’t see you there I asked to come talk to you.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Really? And you didn’t assume that because I didn’t come I wasn’t interested in being courted.”
“I had hoped that there would be another explanation. That’s why I wanted to ask you. It’s dangerous to assume anything about anybody. I might be wrong.”
“Why me? There are dozens of women that want your hand. Wouldn’t it make more sense to get to know one of them better?”
“That’s the thing. I don’t think half of them have really thought this through. Most seem desperate for a change in their life, not a personal connection. I’ve lived alone for so long I don’t need a prize. I need a friend. I can’t risk returning to my home with someone I can’t feel connected to.”
She picked up the file and hung it in its place. “And you feel that sort of connection with me?”
Mike sat back on the stool. “When I first came here they locked me into a room. They were scared that I would become violent like the other men had. I must have been in there for hours. While I waited I examined the lock on the door. It was then I decided that I had to meet whoever had created it. I fell in love with the hands that would take the time and care to create such a beautiful device. Now that I’ve met you and seen you work, I can’t deny my desire to spend more time with you.”
Maybelle smiled and shook her head. “You are proving to be a truly interesting fellow, Mike Finnegan.”
Someone knocked at the door. Sali, the Queen’s attendant, stepped inside. “Pardon the interruption but Mike is needed elsewhere.”
Before leaving Mike turned back to Maybelle. “Would it be alright if we met again?”
“I’ll see if I can find time in my schedule, but don’t get your hopes up. Like I said before, I’m very busy.” The sternness she had shown before had vanished and was now replaced with a kind laugh.
Mike couldn’t help but smile back. “Please do, I’d very much appreciate it.”
To be continued…