The next day, Will had a surprise planned for Molly – a day out together, doing a tour of the local antique and secondhand shops and had booked lunch at their favourite restaurant on the waterfront. It was a beautiful warm summers day and they stopped at a small bay on the way into town. The water was much warmer this time of year and the temptation to go for a swim was enough for them to strip off for a quick dip in the tiny, secluded beach in a sheltered bay. Swimming naked was one of Molly’s favourite summer treats, loving the sensation of her bare skin gliding through the fresh salt water, and the way it made her skin tingle. A loud wolf-whistle from a passing car brought their attention back to where they actually were. Wrapping a towel around her, Will pulled her body up against his. “Mmmm, what I would love to do with this naked body of yours right now.” Molly, looking over his shoulder, was able to see a young family walking their dog up the beach. “Um, somehow Will, I don’t think now is quite the right time! Laughing, they both tucked a towel tightly around their bodies, grabbed their clothes and ran back up to the car. Thinking that the road would be quiet this time of day, Molly got dressed standing behind the open car door, in the carpark set back from the road. The same car passed by again, this time the wolf-whistle was long and loud, the car slowing down for a better look. Molly, unable to resist a naughty moment, turned towards them, wearing only her jeans, her breasts bare, which was met by horn honking and yells of encouragement for her to “get it all off!” Will got into the car giggling, “Oh Molly, you are such a flirt!” He loved it when she played the sexy minx. “Get the rest of your clothes on, or I shall have to take them all off and make love with you in the car, right here, right now,” Will called out of the window at her. Molly, seeing that the young family was now within earshot, having already put her t-shirt back on, leaned through the drivers window and said in a loud voice to Will, “What ever are you referring to Sir? Do I know you, have we met before?” Finding her irresistible, he gently grabbed her face and kissed her through the open window. When he let her go, he said teasingly “Now who wants to keep her clothes on…. hmmm…..?”
They drove on to cruise around the antique shops, enjoying all of the beautiful treasures of by-gone eras. Molly found an assortment of Beatrix Potter books, something she had been collecting over the years. And here was one she had been looking for ‘The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes’. Inside the cover was printed a dedication….’For many unknown little friends, including Grace’. Molly smiled at this. For a moment she fantasised…what if Beatrix Potter had unknowingly written this to one of her Grace’s? Maybe Beatrix had a ‘Grace’ of her own, a guardian angel…she couldn’t wait to take this little book with her next visit to Grace in The Attic. But that would have to wait… for now, she wanted to indulge in playing with Will for the day.
They enjoyed perusing the shops and a scrumptious lunch at ‘1904’ their favourite restaurant, sitting outside at a table along the waters edge, under the shade of an ancient peppercorn tree. The sunlight glittered on the surface of the water like diamonds bouncing on a rich blue silk fabric. It was one of those days when everything felt just right. They discussed their plans of travelling to the South Island, wanting to visit the older areas of the towns and some of the abandoned towns on the West Coast, in search of ghost stories, or, as Molly was to learn more about, the spiritual hitch-hikers they were to meet along the way.
When they arrived home, Will stayed outside to water the garden and Molly took inside the treasures they had bought that day. She went into their bedroom and placed the little book by Beatrix Potters under her pillow. Patting it fondly, she whispered, “Until tomorrow.” She went back outside to wander the garden with Will as he watered the plants. Content with their day, Molly guided him into the barn, where a nice warm pile of hay covered most of the floor. She turned to Will and asked enticingly, “so now can I take my clothes off?” As she started to unbutton her jeans, looking at him seductively. Not waiting to reply, he wrapped his arms around her waste and kissed her hungrily, pulling her body in to meet his…
During the night, Molly’s sleep was restless, she tossed and turned, her dreams were vivid flashes of days gone by, in England during the late 1800’s, glimpses of a woman who seemed vaguely familiar. She communicated with animals quite comfortably. Molly watched on, as if she was not visible to this lady. Then, the woman turned to her and asked, “So what do you think, Grace? Should Peter Rabbit have a blue jacket or brown trousers?” Molly woke with a start. The dream had been so vivid, so real! It left her heart pounding, her hands hot and sweaty, her body trembled, feeling as if she had fallen through a crack in Time. Molly reached over for a glass of water on the bedside table, and checked the time on her phone – it did not surprise her that it was 3.33am. She smiled and flopped back into her pillow, her head touched lightly the hardness of the book she had placed beneath it the day before. “No wonder I had dreams about Beatrix Potter!” she thought silently, laughing at herself.
Will was to be away for the next 4 days, going to meet with Tom and Delilah in Wellington regarding the final proof of their book. Molly had decided to stay at home and keep the continuity of ‘classes’ with Grace in The Attic. Time was passing quickly and before long Anna will be back to celebrate Christmas with them, then they would be heading south to Wellington for the end of year party and book presentation with the staff of The Little Book Publishing Company.
After she had returned from taking Will to the airport, Molly parked the car around the back of the house and sat outside in the garden on the stump beneath the apple tree. Albert raised his head and bleated a hello to her. Molly called out her reply, “Hi Albert, how you doing?” To which he looked at her for a moment, chewing a mouthful of grass and returned to grazing. It was so easy to slow her mind down here, the garden being so peaceful and quiet. Focussing on her breathing and the sensation of the warm sun on her bare skin, Molly drifted into meditation with ease, floating, words forming and dissolving, drifting through her mind carelessly. The alarm on her phone went off all too soon. Had it really been 20 minutes? She opened her eyes to find Albert sitting at her feet, nibbling dandelion flowers. She smiled at him and said, “Well, Prince Albert, it is time to go to work.” She walked in through the kitchen, stopped to make a pot of tea, and prepared a tea tray to take upstairs to The Attic.
Walking up the stairs, Molly smiled as she felt the familiar static-like sensation. Opening the door, she was taken by surprise, the room had changed! It appeared so different. She looks around the room trying to find something familiar – there was a bed covered in a candlewick stitch throw with matching pillowcases and a toy bunny. There was a messy table covered with watercolour paints, a clay pot filled with an assortment of brushes, pencils and an ink pen were all scattered atop a page of drawing paper. There was a fire burning in a small coal range with a caste iron kettle perched precariously on top, steaming gently, and two wing-backed arm chairs facing the fireplace. An oil lamp burned brightly on the table. Molly heard heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. Alarmed, she was unsure of what to do. “Where am I?” she whispered, “Who’s house is this?” The only familiar landmark were the armchairs, similar to those in The Attic as she remembered it to be. Healing footsteps coming up the stairs, Molly quickly sits on one of the armchairs and closes her eyes, hoping that whomever was coming into the room would not see her. The door burst open and in stormed a young lady, flustered and muttering out aloud…”damn, bother, oooooooh! He frustrates me so!” she exclaimed angrily, flopping herself down heavily in the chair at the table, sighing loudly, attempting to shake off the unpleasant feeling. Looking around the room for a distraction she turns her attention to a piece of art on the table, her face softens, a smile dances across her lips and the young woman chats out aloud to the half finished picture of a small squirrel dressed in a tiny red jacket, “Oh Timmy, what are you up to?” Cautiously Molly glanced over the back of the chair at the picture on the table, and watched spellbound as the animation of the squirrel came to life. It dashes across the art paper and up the drawing of an oak tree to the side of the picture, and starts hurriedly collecting acorns. The young lady laughs happily as she shrugs off her ill feelings from before, smiling cheerfully at the tiny fellow as he scampers across the page. She dips her paint brush into a jar of water and then into the palette of paints, and continued to colour the outline of the scene before her drawn in pencil. Enthralled, she works fervently, page after page, her pencil and brush creating a story, as she chatted to the squirrels she called Timmy and Goody Tiptoes.
Molly watched on in awe, obviously invisible to this young woman, whom she now realises is actually Beatrix Potter! Like a scene from a movie, she continues to watch as Beatrix sighs contentedly, neatly stacks the pictures to one side of the table, takes out from the drawer below another fresh sheet of paper, and dips her pen into the ink well. At the top of the page she writes, “The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes”. On the next page she wrote, “For many unknown little friends, including Grace.” The young woman smiles and sighs contentedly as she gazes at the first watercolour painting of Timmy Tiptoes in his little red jacket. She scratches him under his chin with the end of her ink pen, and the squirrel comes to life, the animation of the little squirrel moves in response to her actions. These characters are so real to her, just as they are portrayed in all of her books which Molly had read.
The words of the dedication resound in Molly thoughts. Who was this ‘Grace’ Beatrix was referring to? What if she did have her own ‘Grace’? Did she create this with not even a thought of how this little book would reach across time and space to now be in Molly’s possession, here in 2017, more than 100 years later…Molly sat in the armchair captivated, watching Beatrix write, a privileged silent observer of this impressive artist and author who has personally inspired her. With the warmth of the fire and the comfort of the chair, not dissimilar to the wing back armchairs in The Attic, Molly felt her eyes droop heavily and lowered her head to rest it in the crook of her arm, falling into a deep sleep. Spinning. Molly felt herself spinning and falling through Time and Space. She opened her eyes to find herself still sitting in the chair, travelling at great speed through what she could only describe as a vortex, a spiral of energy spinning at incredible speed. Squeezing her eyes shut tight, feeling nausea rising up in the back of her throat, she gripped the arms of the chai, her knuckles white, holding on not knowing what was happening. The chair landed with a heavy thud and Molly opened her eyes again to find she was back in The Attic. Drawing her breath in sharply through pursed lips, she looked around to grasp where she had landed. “How could this be?” she thought.
To her surprise, she heard a response, “How could it not be?” It was Grace. “I told you this room was a doorway into many worlds. Fresh cup of tea weary Time Traveller? And how is Miss Potter today? What is she up to? Oh do tell….” Molly shook her head in disbelief and then reminded herself that there is no room for disbelief, as she was learning that all of this is indeed possible, for the Universe is a very big place full of limitless possibilities and alternate dimensions to match each and every one of them.