This poem came out of the March 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a brief prompt from janetmiles and a detailed prompt from polydad. It also fills the "lifemates" square in my card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Monster House series.
It was the monster under the bed
who finally found a place
where all of us
could take a vacation together.
I turned the business card over.
On one side it said HEA B&B
above a big sprawling house;
on the other it had a phone number
and a website address.
"What does this actually mean?"
I asked, tracing the letters.
"Happily Ever After Bed & Breakfast,"
he said with a chuckle. "In-joke, that.
My sister and her family live there.
You have to see it to believe it.
They make us look ordinary."
I looked around at the fixed-up Victorian
and the little old lady ghost in her rocker
and my wife taking apart the computer to fix it
while our two kids watched.
"Right," I said.
That night I checked out the website.
The bed & breakfast had 31 bedrooms and 11 baths
on the guest floor, plus another 5-and-3 on the main floor
for people who couldn't (or didn't want to) use stairs.
The Great Room was 500 square feet.
There was a spa, a music room, a computer room,
and an elaborate kitchen/dining area.
Above the guest floor lay the family floor,
laid out the same way. Yes, they needed
that much space for the residents.
I gave up trying to read the whole staff list,
let alone make sense of the relationships,
and just admitted that they might indeed
manage to make us look ordinary.
After we piled ourselves
into and out of the family van,
a nice middle-aged lady named Marjorie
showed us to our four-bedroom suite.
Before long, the monsters disappeared
to talk with the resident ones,
our kids vanished into the maze
of secret passages alongside the local kids,
and my wife dove into the computer room.
I wandered through the Great Room,
tracing the Klipshhorn speakers
and the massive fireplace between them.
"You're dying to ask, aren't you?"
Marjorie said with a smile.
"Okay, you got me," I admitted.
"How in the world
did you wind up with this place?"
"Back in my foolish college days,
I cast a lifemate spell," Marjorie said.
"Turned out to be a bit darker than I expected,
which is to say permanent, and it stuck on repeat."
I thought about the dozens of bedrooms
and just said, "Wow."
"Yep," she said. "It's been adding
one lifemate per year ever since,
mostly magical folks like me,
so we decided to go with the flow
and build a place where we could
really be ourselves. And here we are."
And there we were,
in a fabulously entertaining house
with a bunch of awesome people
and the smell of hot apple pie
pouring out of the kitchen all afternoon.
The patter of little feet echoed through the walls,
there were bed monsters and closet monsters
carrying fresh linens up and down the stairs,
and there was a basket of cinnamon sticks
to feed the phoenix in the fireplace.
I had forgotten what it felt like
to be normal, to be
not the odd family on the block
but ... just folks.
"Just one more question?"
I asked Marjorie, and she nodded.
"How far ahead do you take reservations?
Because I'd like to book us for next year too."