*A group of spies and other characters are gathered for a secret meeting.*
Me (presiding as Schuyler’s sis): Thank you, everyone, for gathering today! We are going to make this THE BEST birthday post yet! I know you all spent a lot of money to get here, but ya know, Jaeryn is going to foot the bill, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Jaeryn: Hey, I am not.
Me: *clears throat* Well, we’ll go over reimbursement details later. I’m certainly not paying for your flights or the damages you caused. Moving on….
Ben: Blog hacking is illegal, you know.
Me: Ben, this isn’t the only illegal thing you’ll ever do. Back on track. Roll call first:
- Ben? You’re here.
- Jaeryn? Jaeryn, I’M SORRY. We need you here right now.
- Terry? Pay attention. Stop sending Pearlie Snapchat pictures.
- Fenton? Nope, he’s not here. *calls out* Can somebody find him?
Ben: He won’t come unless you pay him.
Me: *looks over at Jaeryn*
Jaeryn: No. Absolutely not.
Me: Jaeryn, this is for a birthday. Celebration and all that.
Jaeryn: *sighs* Here’s some money.
Me: Blessings on you, Jaeryn! May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your face...wait, your back….may the sun---
Jaeryn: Weren’t you doing a roll call?
Me: Patrick is off to find Fenton. So I guess Patrick is technically here since he's coming back.
Ben: This post is going to be so long if you write absolutely every person down.
Me: Longer the better!
*Ben prevails and ten minutes later the roll call is finished.*
Me: The reason I called you all here today--
Terry: So we can PARTY.
Me: Well, yeah. But something even more important. We’re going to make a list. 25 Things We Love About Schuyler.
*chorus of protests*
Jaeryn: I can tell you a lot of things I don’t---
Ben: I know what you’re saying. There isn’t a lot--
Terry: C’mon, docs. You’re too pessimistic. This idea is so fantastic! I can think of 50 things! Acushla’s eyes, Acushla’s face, Acushla’s cooking….
Me: *ahem* Terry. You only get one thing for this post. But you’re welcome to send Schuyler a letter in the mail later.
25 Things We Love About Schuyler
(With Unfortunate Interruptions)
- Ben: You gave me Charlotte. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I suppose if you can give me something that wonderful, you can’t be a totally heartless author.
- Jaeryn: I appreciate the fact you’re willing to take risks. I respect that.
- Terry: Oh, there are so many things! I’m trying to decide between when I first met Acushla or when I kissed Acushla or when--.
Me: If you say Acushla, I think that will cover it…hey Jaeryn, any love interest you want to mention as your favorite thing about Schuyler? Ben has Charlotte and Terry has Acushla. You don’t want to be alone in the world, you know.
Jaeryn: No, there is no one I want to mention.
Me: Not sure how to take that?
- Charlotte: For the way you love Ben. I don’t understand why you put him through what you do, but I know you love him almost as much as I do. Happy birthday, my dear.
- Alisa: You didn’t leave me all alone when I had no one to turn to. You brought help right to my doorstep.
- Pearlie: *too shy to answer but we all know what she’d say*
(Terry grins and puts his arm around her.)
- Mrs. O’Sean: You watched over my boys in their wanderlust and gave me a stable home and strength to face the challenges.
- Edmond: Not sure you gave me much. The war was pretty rotten.
Me: Edmond, Schuyler gave you a lot of good things. Your wife. Money. A healthy baby boy.
Edmond: True. I guess you said it all for me. Happy Birthday, my authoress!
- Starlin: She definitely didn’t give me anything great. Nearly drowning in the Channel and almost getting killed and--
Me: Surely there’s something she gave you. Just one little thing. Think of all the cozy days at Alisa’s house. Those were wonderful.
Starlin: *gruffly* I guess she brought that doctor to town. That’s something.
- Peters: She has integrity. She is good at organizing. As a butler, I approve of her.
Me: So we still have 15 more to go and we’ve blown through most of the major characters. Shall we bring in some minor ones?
Ben: I’m not really sure those people say “happy” birthday.
Me: We gotta do what we gotta do. Okkayyy, first up: Colonel King. Nope, I like Fenton better. Is he here yet?
Jaeryn: He’s standing in the corner smirking.
Me: YAY, Fenton, tell me what you love about Schuyler.
- Fenton: *fingering banknotes* I love that I always end up with a lot of money when she’s writing about me.
Me: Not sure if that’s what we meant, but it’s probably the best we can get from you.
- Matthew Dorroll: She gave me a dutiful son.
- Lisette Dorroll: I love my house and its furnishings. I suppose she’s responsible for that.
- Colonel King: She crossed my path with certain people who furthered my interests.
- Ann Meikle: She doesn’t read other people’s mail. (That’s my business.)
- Samuel Ryson: She gave me oversight over Jaeryn Graham. I’m pleased to have that authority.
Jaeryn: *mutters something unintelligible*
- Alan Evesham: I’m pleased she gave me my profession and the people I oversee.
- Erin O’Sean: She gave me Brogan, but nothing else.
Me: *cough* There is your husband, Erin, but let’s keep this all happy.
- James Creswick: She gave me money and a beautiful girlfriend.
- Patrick O’Sean: Oh, she’s wonderful. She reminds me of my mum and that’s actually a pretty sweet compliment.
Me: We’ve kinda run out of people. Anyone want to go again?
Terry: I do!!
Me: You bet you do. It just can’t be about Acushla this time around.
Terry: I guess I’ll have to think some more…
Me: Too bad some characters from book 2 couldn’t join us. That would round things up.
Ben: *hastily* I don’t think that’s a good idea. Privacy and those reasons. I’ll go again so you don’t have to do that.
- Ben: You’re kind and empathetic. You appreciate strong friendships.
- Jaeryn: You’re sympathetic to the Irish. Can’t say that of everyone. *side eye at Ann Meikle*
- Terry: Oh I know! You gave me the chance to travel around. Maybe that was so I could tell--
Me: Two more to go! How about I go next and Ben can finish us off with another?
- Me: You wrote about all these characters. Now other people get the gift of hanging out with them.
- Ben: You’re loyal. That something that means a lot to me. I hope you have a very happy birthday, Schuyler.
Me: WE DID IT! Thanks, everyone, for making it out today! Now, if you’ll all stay around for the party, we’re going to wrap presents. Alisa and Pearlie, that cake looks absolutely marvelous! If you all come around later, you can definitely have some!
Ben: I think I have some time to spare. I’ll stay.
Jaeryn: I’m not good at wrapping gifts, but I’ll stick around for the cake.
Terry: I’ll definitely stick around! This party is going to be awesome!!
*This group of spies wish Schuyler a very happy birthday. They hope her year is absolutely amazing (and that she treats them well in book 2).*