Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Dear Ivy...

Dear Ivy,

I was a little concerned when my sixteenth birthday passed and he had yet to show, but it's finally happened. I've met the one. He's not like the other boys I know. The room doesn't fill with deodrant fumes when he walks in. Instead, I smell pomegranites, honey, cinnamon. 

It happened on the way home from school in October. I was walking alone in the dark when I came across him, leaning against the wall in his beat-up leather jacket. His eyes were like the sun. Just one look and I was dazzled. It's all a blur, but we must have gotten to talking because the next thing I knew we were outside my house, his hand touching my neck. He leant in, his teeth grazed my throat, and I know he would have kissed me if it hadn't been for my father appearing at the door.

Every night since I've met him on the road to Castle Street. In the moonlight, he seems carved from marble, shaped by the hands of one of the greats. We kissed beneath fireworks on the fifth of November, the sparks catching on his midnight hair, and in a snowstorm on New Year's Eve. We've had our hiccups of course - he was impervious to hints that he should sneak in my bedroom window when I wanted to show him my prom dress, and the first time I cooked him dinner he had a terrifying allergic reaction and fled into the night - but I truly did believe that things were going well. Now though, he tells me that when March comes he will no longer be able to meet me on this road. I've begged and pleaded for him to explain, to tell me what it was that I did wrong, but he just runs away, disappears into the shadows. Sometimes, he suggests I try another route, down past the cemetery. He swears it'll shave half an hour off my journey, but I like sticking to the lit streets. Do you think if I compromise he'll stay?

Yours sincerely,

Unwitting Protagonist

(Dear Unwitting Protagonist,

You are aware that boys aren't supposed to be edible, right? To be fair to you, loverboy is definitely labouring under the same misconception when it comes to girls. 

A compromise will not save your first love. In fact a compromise will most likely leave you a bloodless husk on a dark street. He's not leaving you because he wants to, he's doing it because he has no other choice. Think about it, you met him when the nights were drawing in, and he's leaving you just as it gets light again. There's no way to sugarcoat it: the boy's a vampire. I don't know how you could possibly have missed this. It's YA heroine 101. Let's start with the obvious, nothing human has eyes that colour. If they're not brown, blue, green, or grey, you should be asking some questions. Then there's the fact that most guys - let me rephrase that, most human guys - aren't going to try and stick their teeth in your neck ten minutes after meeting you. If they are, you should be running. As for your hiccups, I think you'll find that a mere hint doesn't qualify as permission to cross the threshold into your home. Shocked? You should meet some of the vampires I know down south, they want it in writing. On the allergies front, I'm going to hazard a guess here and say that dish included a substantial amount of garlic. 

My advice? Put some garlic near your window, start wearing a crucifix under your clothes, and forget him.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. What do pomegranites even smell like?) 

Dear Ivy,

In hindsight, I think my marriage was a mistake. It's not his average looks, or advanced age, or impressive bank balance. It's his (very large) house. At first, I thought it would be a joy to live in. My family was disinherited, you know, so I grew up in almost a shack with only two maidservants and a cook. This, I thought, was my kingdom come at last.

As it turns out, I'm not cut out for mansion-life.

I just can't seem to find my bearings. The garden stretches for miles between us and the road - God forbid we ever have to run for help - and, whilst the gardeners keep it gorgeous, there are far too many rhodedendrons. They're so easy for one to get lost in. Then, once you've found the house, you have to navigate the hundreds of passageways. If I did not know better than to indulge such a fancy, I would suggest that they moved daily. You cannot imagine how often I have opened a door expecting to enter my own quarters, only to find the library, or the dining room, or, on one occasion, a broom cupboard. It was in this way that I stumbled across it. The locked door.

Now before you tell me to ask my husband, I'll have you know that I brought the matter up over afternoon tea. He was infuriating! Dillying and dallying over excuses you wouldn't believe! Perhaps I'd been mistaken? Perhaps I hadn't applied another pressure to the handle? Perhaps I'd gotten so turned around I'd ended up outside by the sheds? The nerve! 

Anyway, he went away this weekend and, before he left, he handed me a set of keys. There's one on there that I haven't seen before, one that he forbid me to use. If I could find that room again, do you think I should try it?

Yours Sincerely,

Help! I Married a Byronic Hero!

(Dear Help! I Married a Byronic Hero!,

I don't suppose you can get a divorce, can you? That would definitely be the best thing to do in this situation. Still, I suppose we should deal with the immediate situation first. 

You want to know whether or not you should try that key? No. Oh God, no.. You won't like what you find and he'll know - he'll have his ways. My advice would be to stick to your normal rooms. You should try to contact any family you have. If he's away long enough, you could even try to arrange somewhere to escape to, but do everything you can to ensure that the letters pass through no one's hands but your own. In a house of that size, anyone could be a spy.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. By the way, you might want to check the attic. Make sure to keep an eye out for hidden rooms!)

Happy Valentine's Day!