bonus fixed universe content: Valentine's Day

 

Alayna,

 

This Valentine’s Day, I decided I wanted to add to your book collection with the greatest love stories ever written. As I perused the various lists online that named and argued over which books these were, I came across the recent erotic sensation, Fifty Shades of Grey. I couldn’t help it—I was curious. When it arrived, I read it. Skimmed it, really. I have to admit it was a fascinating study. Do women really think that Christian Grey personifies the typical CEO billionaire? Or that it’s hot to have your toothbrush used by someone who’s spent the night throwing up? And sex infused with pain—is that what women want from their lovers?  

 

I can’t be too hard on this story, however. Compared to many of the heroes of the other books I ordered—classics that have stayed the test of time—the standards are par. No one can argue that Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester isn’t a selfish, self-centered bastard or that Heathcliff isn’t the definition of the word despicable. How much pain did they inflict upon those they loved? How much heartache?

 

But in the end, there is that common thread, the one element that turns each of those men from miserable pathetic creatures into the beloved heroes—miserable men that they are, each of them has love. Love that can’t be quantified or measured. Love that overwhelms. Love that has the power to change. Love that doesn’t end.

 

Then I think of us.

 

How much pain did I cause you in the past? How deeply did I break your heart? And how despicable and selfish and miserable of a man am I? I can’t deny that I am no better than any other Byronic hero. But, like them, I do have love. I have love for you that overwhelms and transforms and never ends. I love you with the passion of Heathcliff and the commitment of Rochester and the devotion of Christian Grey.

 

And as for the love I feel from you—it eclipses anything that Anna or Jane or Cathy could ever even fathom let alone feel.

 

So I ordered the books for you. I put them on your shelves and they are yours to read and cherish, as you will. But I stopped looking for which one was the best. I’m convinced that the greatest love story is ours.

 

Forever,

 

H