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The day outside Rose's cab was unseasonably sunny and warm. She smiled and let her arm dangle outside the window while the cabbie navigated an unusual amount of light London traffic as they headed east. Eventually the cobblestone and pavement gave way to lush green fields and pastures. Rose squinted merrily through her sunglasses while expectations ran rampant through her imagination. After a couple of miles passed between her and the city, her smile broadened as expectations gave way to a little bit of fantasy. She had never before done something like this – a love academy for Pete's sake – but maybe it was just what her humdrum love life needed to jump start... something.

The truth was, this little adventure of hers was completely out-of-character for Rose. Quiet, mousy Rose, who never missed a day of work, who was the perpetual designated driver for every Friday night excursion with her friends since college, and who always paid her bills on-time. She was about to spend a good hunk of her life savings on a week-long session to enhance and perfect her love life, of all things. A cursory reaction to such a choice might be one of mild shock and disapproval, which was why she hadn't told her boss or her parents where she was going or what she was doing for her week's vacation; she didn't think she could ever live down the scorn.

But it was important. She didn't know why, and she knew she could never accurately explain her motivations – not even to herself, but something within her needed this. A chance to live out a scene (however brief) from a romance novel. Not the trashy ones her mother enjoyed, obviously, but perhaps from something containing a tad more literary depth.

Oh, who was she kidding? Trashy would be welcome, too!

After another three-quarters-of-an-hour, the taxi turned down a long path cut into a dense grassy field. Overhead, a lone white cloud punctuated the crystal blue of the sky. A mile of identical-looking scenery made her think she would never stumble upon the appropriate address, but soon a Gothic castle centered amid an immaculate landscape of pastel flowers and water fountains emerged as the cabbie rounded a corner. He deposited Rose at the ornate front steps and retrieved her bag from the trunk, at which point Rose nearly hugged the man. The least she could do was give him a big, fat tip.

The End

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