Chapter 25 – Delilah and Louise

Delilah was a tall, well-built woman, her dark hair had an undercut with a much longer, soft curly top that flopped to one side. Her face had a slight masculine angle to her cheek bones and jaw, and her dark brown eyes meant business. She was a force to be reckoned with. Above her attention-commanding eyes were neatly curved eyebrows, one of which was pierced and the other had light scarring, evidence of previous facial piercing. She lived with her partner Louise in a house in the waterfront village of Eastbourne, on the other side of the harbour from Wellington. Louise was much shorter in height, more finely boned, hazel-brown eyes and a cherub-like face framed with long wavy mousey-brown coloured hair with blonde streaks. She often wore her hair swept up in a messy loose bun held in place by a random pencil or pen or paintbrush with stray hairs that fell in ringlets around her face. But there was nothing messy about her demeanour. She was always impeccably dressed, just loved having wild hair. 

Delilah and Tom had worked together for over 15 years, having first met whilst both employed by a large publishing company. After attending numerous book launches and book awards over the years, they had shared many discussions in private about what was lacking in the industry. They witnessed the plight of some excellent writers who were not able to get their manuscripts noticed by these larger companies. It was disheartening to see so much work of value going unnoticed. Together they both wanted to do something of worthwhile to assist these writers in getting published. Indie Authors and Self-publication was a growing industry world-wide, particularly with the increasing interest in the ease which ebooks offered – ease to publish, sell and purchase on-line. This new format was particularly favoured by travellers, being able to store numerous eBooks on an iPad or android tablet. At that time, this new innovative approach to reading and publishing interested them both. And they knew that there would always be a demand for hard copies. They had agreed to approach those authors who had not received at the next book awards or any recognition of their work. In the meantime they had put together the structure of a new business. When the timing was right, and they had the necessary information, they took a leap of faith and left their paid jobs to set up a self-publishing company in Tom’s garage. From that day onwards it had continued to grow. They decided for the business stay at a boutique level, offering personal attention and quality of service to their authors. It was about the experience, not so much the amount of money that could have been made. And because of this, money came easily to all of them.

Tom and Delilah shared an interest in repurposing old into new, unwanted into wanted, unusable into usable, undesirable into desirable. When Tom discovered the old warehouse he shared his vision with her. Delilah was excited and more than happy to come on board with the project. It was a little bigger than what they were able to do completely on their own, so they took on the help of a team of tradesmen who worked in the field of restoration and innovative architecture, together with the assistance of the local Mens Shed where there was a wealth of knowledge, skill and willingness. Plus it provided a wonderful opportunity for Louise to create another Living Space, providing a perfect showcase for her work. Together they wove their dreams into reality, and a home for The Little Book Publishing Company was established. That was now five years ago and it continued to grow.

Delilah and Louise had been living together for just on 10 years. Last year they had bought an old rundown cottage up the side of the hill set back from the main road, with the most stunning views over the harbour. For their interview with Molly & Will, They had invited the couple to their home for dinner on the following Saturday night. Delilah  had specifically asked them to come over late afternoon to enjoy the spectacular sunset. 

Delilah’s other talent was her knack of restoring and recreating old buildings and interior design, combined with a passion for recycling and repurposing. Her  zest for this evident in what she had done with the warehouse together with Will, and several other cottages that she and Louise had revived and since sold on. Their furniture was also expressions of this passion. Louise was a horticulturalist by trade, having studied Feng Shui in China, whilst travelling in Asia, and was fascinated by the art of flow forms (water courses which generate peace and oxygen). Combining all of her skills she had started her own business specialising in creating interior Living Spaces in offices and homes. These Living Spaces were a combination of art, horticulture, Feng Shui interior design, and flow forms of water as an interior feature, together with living plants to bring a building to life with the intention of producing vibrant energy for healthy living, which were peaceful, uplifting and added oxygen into often air-conditioned spaces.

The kitchen was the centre of the house, both girls felt that this room was the heart of their home and all of the other rooms branched out from this, creating several nooks which provided individual living areas, for reading, music and a quiet space for meditation and yoga. The preparation and cooking area was in the middle of the kitchen space, with a breakfast bar on two sides enabled them to chat with guests whilst they prepared and cooked. It also encouraged their guests to join them, making the meal a fun, creative, communal experience. Particularly when kids came to visit, Louise loved getting them involved with preparing, picking foods from the garden and conservatory, cooking and cleaning up. Her light-hearted vibrant nature made you want to engage with her, it drew you in. She was passionate about making meals which had come from her own garden, and had started preparing this evenings meal the day before. It was one of her favourites – what she called her Amazing Moroccan Meatballs, made with minced venison, marinated overnight in garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, Himalayan salt and a little balsamic vinegar, and a not-so-secret-any-more-ingredient – ground coffee. The sauce was made from cranberries marinated in red wine, creating a sweet, spicy, sauce combined with chilli, mushrooms, pureed tomatoes, garlic and fresh chopped coriander, served on a bed of Israeli couscous with wilted  spinach leaves, lemon juice, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Dessert was banana coconut baked rice custard with a crusty top of whipped eggs whites and served with a sauce made with banana, nutmeg, cardamon, coconut milk and a little brown sugar. 

The girls loved to entertain and the plans they had for the house were inspiring. The house was originally a tiny bach (cottage) which had been added to over the years, creating lots of odd semi-detached rooms. But this is what they loved about the building, Louise saw these as quirky inter-connected living spaces. Work was well underway, most of which Delilah had been doing herself, removing some of the interior walls or part of to interconnect the rooms and yet keep their individual purposes. Louise was focussing on the gardens and building raised beds for food production amongst beautiful flowering shrubs both exotic and native. And yes the sunset was spectacular. With the sun going down behind the hills on the other side of the harbour, the light cast a magnificent display of colours across the water together with the ever changing backdrop, the city lights reflected on the surface of the water, increasing as the sky darken after sunset. 

Will was inconspicuous with his camera throughout the evening, and Molly got enough information to create Delilah’s Story. But what fascinated Molly the most was that she was able to see the ghost of a young woman following Delilah around. With no hints of reference to this from Delilah, she decided not to mention it. Maybe the girl came with the house….What the girls were yet to uncover about the house was that it was originally built by a young man who had moved to New Zealand in the late 1800’s from England following the tragic death of his wife. The young man was a print setter who never re-married but had a long standing affair with a well-to-do married lady on the other side of the city, a well-known socialite and  published author…

It was almost 1.30am when Molly and Will headed home. Too tired to visit Grace, she flopped into bed next to Will, who was almost asleep. “In the morning Grace, I’ll see you after breakfast,” she said quietly. Her dreams were snippets of people not known to her, of here in New Zealand and in Europe. Visions of people dressed in Victorian styled clothing, and some in a slightly more modern Art Deco fashion.

The following morning after breakfast, Molly left Will to continue his art work and went upstairs to her office. She loved the view out over the reserve behind the house, listening to the melodic conversations between the Tui’s (NZ native bird). Sitting there quietly sipping her tea, she heard it again. The Voice.

“How delightful to have a writer in the house again. It has been so long. And a psychic as well!” Grace Simpson felt it was time for Molly to see her. Turning to find the source of the voice, Molly came face to face with Grace Simpson.

“Oh shit! ….Oh I do beg your pardon!” Molly exclaimed. “You did startle me!” To which Grace Simpson smiled amusingly.

“As do I too – beg your pardon that is. Allow me to introduce myself. Mrs Grace Simpson, I believe we have already met, in a way. (she paused waiting for Molly to recall the connection) …In your dream, remember?”

“Oh my god, it’s you!” Molly exclaimed. “I have so many questions to ask you.” 

“Not now my dear, you have a story to write, however, we shall discuss this another time. Soon,” and with a mischievous wink, Grace Simpson vanished.

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