Sweet Hearts are for Tarts

Teresa Grey was trying to live out her life peacefully when a medieval castle springs out of the ground and into her life. From there on, there are just all sorts of conundrum that Teresa simply cannot take: mainly Mr. Watson. Rich, well-dressed and impeccably polite - Teresa can't help but want to wipe the smirk off his handsome face. Facing intruders, new law suits and battling rights, what's a girl gotta do for some love?

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1. Sweet Hearts are for Tarts

The skies were a bit grey and a bit blue and clouds were big, puffy and looking soft as ever as the sun rose to greet the small town of Briar, Nevada. The population of Briar was a little over two thousand people; give or take a few of those numbers. There wasn’t much in Briar except for an old movie theater, family owned general stores from the 40’s and of course, the developing strip of fashion outlets by a big company. It, by default, was the most exciting thing in the community since the Beeroot boy and the Malburry girl decided to elope in 99’.

But amongst the gold mining and the arid climate east of the Sierra Nevada, there lied on the outskirts of town, private property belonging to a young woman. With 300 acres of land to her name and enough water rights to irrigate a third of it, the young miss didn’t need much. She invested a little bit here and there; and she was set. However, not even she could have imagined the next ridiculous event to occur in her life as Teresa was simply tired of all the surprises life loved to throw at her.   

It was a Monday when a castle had seemingly popped out of the ground and taken root on a very, tired Teresa Gray’s land. The land in which the castle was situated on was unlike the rest of the land for it was unworkable and unfarmable - all in all - the land was dead with not a drop of life on it. Nonetheless, it didn't matter much considering how the castle was now occupying it.  

Slowly one by one, the townspeople gathered at the sight – Instagram-ing, Facebook-ing, texting, emailing, Tumblr-ing –every media outlet was being utilized in order for the world to see the phenomenon that was happening in their town.

            Long hair that was slightly greyed over the course of her life draped over her cone-shaped head and her glasses, big and still stylish, were askew as she took in the sight before her very eyes. Her jaw hung low while her eyes grew larger and larger with each passing moment. This could just not be happening.

            In the hours before dawn, Teresa had been in a sound sleep without a care in the world. Chattering had eventually turned into screams of excitement and fear.

Teresa awoke to the clamoring of her fellow townspeople, peeved that she was unable to enjoy one of her only rest days. Grumbling and fuming, she cursed her mattress for being uncomfortable, cursed the people outside her house. Pulling the toothpaste and her toothbrush out of the cabinet, Teresa went through the mundane motions of her everyday life. She had wondered why so many people were gathered outside her house…

Dear God, Allah, Buddha, Zeus… Teresa prayed to every known deity out there that humanity believed or once believed in that it was not an angry mob, trying to chase her out of town. She had done nothing wrong.

She was a good woman.

With that in mind, Teresa made the decision to swallow her fears.

Her steps were quick and precise – never flattering – making her way through the house she never quite learned to love. It was nothing special. Opening the window curtain carefully, she glanced out to only see that people were fixated on the empty lot right next to her house. On her land, her property.

Teresa was not sure whether or not she should be pleased about the development. It was good that they didn’t want to tear her heart out and stake her body on a pole, but at the same time, she slightly, just a tiny bit – no, never mind.

Those thoughts were dangerous and unhealthy.

The comfortably dressed woman turned the knob of her door finally, patting her robe’s pocket making sure her keys were inside. Seeing how many people there actually was made her gasp.

What in the world, God?

“Wha’cha all doin’? Don’t yah think it’s a little bit too early to be doin’ stuff like this?” Teresa hollered at no one in particular, not expecting a response. She cranked her neck sideways to see what everyone was looking at.

It was a castle… A castle.

Holy shit, she was on a game show. Or some kind of reality T.V.

How else would she be able to explain this?

Stuff like this just didn’t happen in real life.

Was she still dreaming? She hoped not. It would be a cruel, cruel joke to play on herself.

Her fingers skidded across her skin, looking for a spot to inflict herself with a pinch. The pain was practically nonexistent, but nonetheless, Teresa acknowledged the fact that she was very much awake and functioning.

 Suddenly, mirth and excitement bubbled up within the depths of her very soul as she took in the fact that there was a castle right next door to her. How? She’d never know. When? Probably last night. Did she care? Maybe, but Teresa hadn’t felt like this in what seemed like ages. It had been too long and she just wanted to be a little happy, excited and maybe, she didn’t know.

The castle was definitely Gothic, Teresa concluded when she saw the emphasized height and pointed arch. The stones looked as though they were cut with precision while the walls were thinner with wide window openings. And the towers were very slender comparable to something she would imagine coming out of a fairy tale.

“Teresa!”

She merely looked over shoulder, seeing Sean Watson briskly coming towards her. He was well-dress, handsome and for the first time, in Teresa’s life, there was a look of worry. He was something that you would see right out of GQ magazine. His dark hair was slicked back and probably wearing some expensive suit. The collar of his shirt was open… Which was interesting to say. But the frown lines on his face didn’t suit him, but Teresa was not one to dictate on how a person should behave or act. “Teresa,” He said a little bit more calmly. He was always the classy sort of guy that you’d see dining in fancy restaurants…

Teresa nodded at him in acknowledge. But she wasn’t exactly pleased by his appearance. It meant he wanted something from her. And she knew what it was.

“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?” He looked at the castle with amazement in his eyes, his hands deep in his pant pockets. The pause that gathered between two was stifling and Teresa did not enjoy it.

The young woman with greying strands of hair merely sighed, tired of the fact that he was trying to kiss her up. “What d’ya really want, Mr. Watson? I ain’t giving you mah land.”

“Teresa, I think,” He paused. “No, we need to talk. It would benefit us both in the long run.”

Teresa merely chuckled to herself quietly before turning away from Mr. Watson and the crowd of people, she allowed her legs to move her towards home. It was about time these people leave.

“Teresa–” She turned at the mention of her name. Her hair whipping wildly in the air.

“It is Ms. Gray to you,” She said firmly. Her hands were crossed against her chest as she eyed him. She didn’t care that he was taller than her. There was no way in hell he was getting her land.

“You know, I like you,” He said smoothly just like a business man delivering his pitch to a customer. “That’s why I think this deal will work well.”

He would always be in a higher position than her, wouldn’t he? Looking down on her from his height, status and everything else that was warranted.

Bullshit. This was fucking bullshit.

No, he wouldn’t be getting this land even if it killed her.

Her fists clenched tight, her nails biting into her palms.

Teresa’s lips curled up and gave him the sweetest smile she had ever given him. She hoped this would throw him off. “Y’know? I think I’mma think about your words, Mr. Watson. So goodbye.”

“Teresa,”

“Mhm?”

“You should really reconsider my proposal.”

“Goodbye, Sean.” Teresa slammed the door shut on his face.

 

The sun was setting and the sky had become purple and orange. The clouds were becoming thinner and sparse. And she didn’t quite know how she did it, but Teresa was able to rid those people from her property.

It was her castle. And taking pictures and other stuff didn’t come free.

If they wanted a picture of her castle, they were going to have to pay a price.

Nothing came free in this world of theirs.

Teresa was dazed, tired and just worn out. The porcelain tub was filled with hot water and it was clear of suds and scents. First, she tested out the water by dipping her big toe in. Slowly she emerged her entire foot then her legs and finally, she entered the bath. She let out a little sigh of pleasure. Teresa loved hot baths. They made her – they made her happy, she supposed. As Teresa relaxed, her thoughts started to wonder off. They were a cluster of random thoughts.

           Her parents. Her car. Her horses. Her land. Past loves. Why they didn’t work out. It wasn’t her fault. But it wasn’t theirs either. It just didn’t work out… Kind of like life. Then there was the castle… It was hers. It was on her land. And her name was on the deed. Therefore, it was hers.

            Immediately, she thought about the legalities, responsibilities and anything else that came along with the castle. She needed to call her lawyer tomorrow. And she needed to do something about those people coming on to her land.

            The castle wasn’t an attraction.

            A minute passed. Then two. Then three. And finally, she thought about the history of the castle. Behind the stone walls, was there a mystery to uncover? Or a story to be told? She placed her arms on the rim of the tub, settling her head down. Teresa blinked once. Slowly, but surely, the bathroom was filled with a low hum. The melody was soft, relaxing and it gave Teresa peace as she allowed herself to sway to the music. It would be too sad if the castle didn’t have a story to offer.

            Was it a place filled with love and betrayal? Hate and anger? Murder?

            Or maybe a little bit of everything. After all, didn’t fairy tales have a little bit of wonder and grit? Maybe it was the castle of Rapunzel and her long, beautiful golden hair. That couldn’t be right, Theresa shook the thought off.

            “It had to be Cinderella,” The words were muttered. “Or maybe Sleeping Beauty...”

            Lights of every color filled Teresa’s imagination, flickering and creating the story of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty as they merged into one. Yes, Teresa could finally imagine it.

            Once upon a time, there lived a young girl who just didn’t know who she was in life. She didn’t know her place in the world. She had an evil stepmother and her royal parents were too far off in their own lives to simply care about Ella. And so one day, she decided to run off and simply be with the woods. It was better off to be alone than to be fed lies from false pretentious people. And through the trail in the woods, she found the castle. It was enchanted and the dragon guarding it was – It was.

            Teresa didn’t know. She was at lost. It would have to continue another day.

            The water was still warm and suddenly, Teresa didn’t feel quite cold anymore. She felt okay. It was good to be okay.

            Thud, thud, thud!

            The noise startled Teresa, not knowing why her door was being pounded so roughly.

            Teresa dried herself off and grabbed her robe. She slipped into her slippers and before opening the door, she went to her bedroom. It was there inside of her nightstand where her pistol lay. It was cleaned and loaded. Making sure the safety was off, she made her way back to the front door. She had never used it before, but there was a first time for everything.

            The pounding continued again for three more times.

 

            “Teresa?” 

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