by Megan Hussey
Chivalrous, handsome, and endlessly cultured, Andrew Bergen seems very much like a man from another time. When he acquires a lushly embroidered tapestry that depicts a bountiful Renaissance forest, he finds himself magically transported to the era of knights and ladies, chivalry and grace.
The tapestry takes him to a Renaissance village where he meets its enchanting weaver Lady Estella, an artist and intellectual endlessly oppressed by the constraints of her time. Her friendship with the mysterious, forward thinking Andrew evolves into a passionate romance. But to stay together they must overcome their obvious differences, the objections of her family, and the barriers of time itself.
Release Date: March 25, 2013
Genre: Fantasy - Short
~ A Pink Satin Romance ~
Woven with a skein of pure, lush silk, the tapestry depicted a medieval forest in all its earthly glory; a rich collection of tall trees, emerald-hued ferns, and roses red and gold.
For its current beholder, the tapestry served a dual purpose: both as a teaching tool and an object of fantasy.
Andrew Bergen taught a renaissance history course at Pineview University in Morris, Indiana. He savored sharing the details of his favorite time period with his students; and particularly liked to show them his collection of art from this period.
“In the time of the renaissance, ladies and gentlemen, people could not entertain themselves with television or movies...” Hands folded behind his back, he addressed his students in a friendly but authoritative tone.
“They didn’t have TIVO?” A student in the front row, a self-proclaimed slacker named Duke, looked vaguely suicidal at this news.
“No TIVO to be found.” Andrew smiled. “Even so, they found much joy in feasts and balls, music, and classic art.” Andrew’s thick English accent lent a defined emphasis to these last words. “And they communed with nature, which at that time was pure and untouched.”
“Like that one chick the Virgin Queen?” Duke smiled, drawing a smattering of nervous laughter from his classmates.
Andrew, for his part, pinned the young man with a cool, unyielding stare.
“That ‘one chick’ was perhaps the greatest ruler of her time, if not of all history.” He placed his hands on his hips. “We should revere her and her accomplishments.” With this, he gestured broadly toward the tapestry behind him. “And we should respect and enjoy the many works of art produced during this enlightened era.” His shoulders relaxed as a loud bell resounded through the halls of his classroom. “I believe we’ve ‘respected’ and ‘revered’ enough for one day, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll see you next week.”
* * * *
Minutes later, Andrew carried his tapestry across the campus of Pineview University, shielding it from the crisp fall wind that swept freely through the streets.
He longed to show the artwork, procured at a recent auction, to his live-in girlfriend Courtney, a model he had met more than a year ago at a renaissance fair.
Of course, she was only there to hand out tankards of ale on behalf of a local beer company. He shook his head. When she told me I likened to a righteous dude in my gold tunic, I should have known as much.
Thus far in their relationship, Courtney had expressed little interest in his field of study, or in stories of his childhood spent in Manchester, England. Yet, as he approached the front door of their modest campus apartment, he lifted the tapestry proudly before him.
“One always can have hope,” he added with a shrug.
He opened his front door to reveal a sparsely furnished living room; one that was curiously empty.
“Courtney?” His brow furrowed as his bedroom door opened to reveal a former student, Clyde Wilson, a recent graduate of Pineview U.
“Clyde, what are you doing here?” He frowned, confused. “Did you have an issue with your grade?”
Emerging slowly from the bedroom, the young, bookish-looking man fixed his former teacher with a hard glare. “I have an issue with your girlfriend, Mr. Bergen. I’m in love with Courtney.”
As if on cue, the willowy topic of their conversation emerged from a nearby bathroom, a toothbrush edged indelicately in her carved cheek.
“Drew!” The toothbrush clattered to the ground as the markedly naked woman observed her boyfriend with a wide, startled gaze.
Pursing his lips, Andrew regarded Courtney with inquisitive eyes. “Do you care to explain this, dear?”
“Well, there’s not much to explain.” She shuffled her feet awkwardly. “You’re hot and have a real sexy accent, but Clyde has a degree in computer technology. His earning potential is way greater.”
Andrew nodded. “So you’re leaving me?”
“Well, yeah.” Courtney gestured toward the bedroom. “As soon as I get dressed and everything.”
“But darling.” Andrew chuckled dryly. “You seem so very comfortable nude.”
Courtney snorted, waving away his words with a slender, dismissive hand. “What-ever!”
Andrew nodded, slowly and sadly. “Indeed,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “Whatever.”
For the next half-hour he stood stock still, watching silently as his girlfriend packed her clothes. Her lover, meanwhile, retrieved the few pieces of furniture she had brought to their home.
His heart sinking slowly to the pit of his stomach, he watched with blank eyes as, with a short, curt nod in his direction, Courtney left their home.
A full 10 minutes passed before Andrew moved. With a heavy sigh, he plopped down hard on his couch, clutching his beloved tapestry to his well-muscled chest.
How he longed to lose himself in its radiant borders; to drown in its emerald lushness and escape to another, better time.
“If only.” He shut his eyes tight. “How I wish I could just leave here, to escape to a time when fidelity and chivalry actually meant something.”