Chapter 1

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DECEMBER 30th, 2008

She heard waves brushing onto a beach. 

The whooshing back-and-forth rhythm of the water calmed her; it excited her.

Sappho Höst loved the ocean. 

She loved the ocean so much that if she had to make a choice between sweet tea and the Florida coast, she'd choose the beaches of the sunshine state; and forever mourn the loss of delicious sweet tea, of course.

Her eyes fluttered open and gazed into an endless blue horizon; she sighed.

The full moon glowed; the waves below the night sky glittered like lights on a Christmas tree.

The wind blew softly, and Sappho smiled.

She felt at peace with the universe; she felt content.

But then the wind changed, and blew harder and harder. 

The tranquil sounds of the ocean became loud and dreadful; it made her think of the groans of a sick man on his deathbed.

Her eyes shot open; the beach was gone.

Sappho laid in bed, blinked her eyes and looked around her. Instead of a vast ocean, she saw the dark interior of her bedroom.

Her eyes drifted to the falling snowflakes that landed on the window sill outside, where they promptly melted.

It was the middle of the night, and the flurries outside glowed like fireflies as they fell to the ground. 

Disappointed, Sappho sighed again.

What a nice dream, she thought; she wished she could have stayed at the beach longer.

She was wrapped in a soft comforter blanket in bed and felt snug, like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Only her face showed, illuminated by the light glow of the white pillow it rested on.

Her bedroom was neat, clean, and organized- save for some scraps of torn wrapping paper on the floor next to the desk in front of her window.

I need to clean that, she noted, squinting at the small mess in the dark.

She returned her gaze to the bright snow outside her window. Even in dark twilight, the blanket of soft snow glowed and she wondered about snow angels and snowmen.

She was hypnotized by the shadows cast on wall by the snowflakes outside, their descent like a slow dance.

At this moment in the middle of the night, Sappho's bedroom was like a winter wonderland.

Well, her bedroom would have seemed like a winter wonderland... if not for the obnoxious bellowing of a large bear of a man sleeping— and snoring beside her. 

Winters, Sappho thought, snorting softly.

She was now aware of the familiar feeling of the mattress sinking under the man's large frame. 

It was her bed, mind you- not their bed, but her's

She always welcomed this man into it, though. Except for the time he compared the size of her rear-end to the size of Alaska; that night, he slept in the guest house.

She tried not to giggle as she rolled her head over her pillow and gazed at the man.

The man's right leg and arms were out in the bare air; their shared blanket was wrapped around his waist like a sash.

Where only Sappho's head showed, his body showed just about everything; he was practically naked!

She blushed, and the thought that she should move the blanket to better cover him crossed her mind.

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