She was everything he wanted in a girlfriend: smart, funny, sexy, with a voice like an angel, and a kind, encouraging nature. She was always there for him, but not in a creepy Center-of-Her-Universe way. She was a wonderful, warm, beautiful woman who brightened his days with a smile or a touch of a hand or just by singing in the kitchen while cooking breakfast. She was the perfect girlfriend.
She was a lousy muse however.
Bram stared at his blank computer screen. Not a word. Not a lousy word. And it was Euryale’s fault.
The smell of bacon and eggs drifted from the kitchen. She made incredible eggs. And the bacon, there were no words to properly describe it. There should’ve been words. He should’ve been able to come up with something. Nothing especially poetic. It was bacon, after all. But he had more options than delicious, but he couldn’t think of them at the moment.
Because of her.
“Breakfast’s on,” she sang out.
“Be right there,” he called back.
He rested his fingers on the keyboard. He would type something. Anything. One sentence. The beginning of something great. Or something terrible. But the beginning of something.
Her bacon was really good, he typed.
The sentence pained him as surely as if his keyboard was a sprung bear trap. He jumped away from the computer. This was all her fault.
She stuck her head in the study. Her beautiful green eyes and reassuring smile made him feel better. A few strands of curly hair fell across her face. He loved that. He loved her.
“How’s it going?” Euryale asked.
“Good,” he lied. “Good.” He sounded less convinced the second time.
“You should eat your breakfast before it gets cold.”
“I’ll be right in.”
She blew him a kiss and disappeared.
Euryale had always been a terrible muse. But the service had promised that she was the best they had at his price range. She’d show up once a week and give him ideas, inspire him. He’d been entranced by her beauty immediately. Her humor and joy came later.
But her ideas. Her ideas always sucked.
“What about a talking fire truck who solves crimes with the help of a telepathic Dalmatian?” she’d suggested in that first session.
He should’ve thanked her for her time and canceled her then. But he hadn’t. He liked her too much. The thought of hurting her, of not seeing her, of even simply requesting a new muse was out of the question.
And so she came back, week after week, and gave him rotten ideas. Terrible opening lines. Horrible premises. A robot shoe salesman who finds love. A story of WW2 from a flea’s perspective. An apocalyptic thriller where everyone dies in the first chapter and the rest of the book was about how quiet everything was.
And then he’d slept with her.
Now, she lived with him. He didn’t pay for her inspiration anymore. She gave it freely, and there was no way to get rid of it short of breaking up with her. And he couldn’t do that. She really was perfect. Almost perfect.
He hated that word because it seemed shallow and inadequate, but it was the only one that came to mind. He knew there were better ones, more descriptive, more interesting, but he couldn’t find them.
He joined her for breakfast. The eggs were great. The bacon was . . . something really awesome. Transcendent?, he supposed, though that was a cheap, ten dollar word that sounded meaningful but wasn’t.
He didn’t care. He loved her. She loved him. And it might have been a bad idea to fall in love with his muse, but everyone sacrificed something for love.
“Hey, how about this?” Euryale said. “A theme park full of dinosaurs where everything goes wrong!”
He smiled at her. “That’s a great idea, honey. They already did that. Four times.”
She frowned. “Oh.”
Bram reached across the table and took her hand. “Don’t worry. We’ll get it. Eventually.”
Euryale smiled, and nothing else in the world mattered to him.
They ate their really, really good eggs and their really, really, really good bacon. And then they made love. And Bram mused on his life.
It was really, really good too.
And that was more than enough.