"Hello, John," Marcia said as she sauntered into the room.
"Marcia." As she had never been in this part of the house, or seen him in his present casual yet attractive attire, John waited for her to take in his appearance and that of his surroundings before he asked, "What are you doing here?"
Marcia indulged in several paragraphs of describing John and the room to herself. She allowed her conflicted feelings about him to rise and ebb before she felt a pressing need for dialogue and remembered she hadn't answered him.
"What am I doing here?" she repeated, in the event the reader had forgotten John's question. "I really don't . . ." She swallowed and looked around in confusion. "I really don't . . . know."
John noted two paragraphs worth of Marcia's considerable physical assets with a healthy amount of lustful yet restrained and heroic-sounding internal admiration, although it felt a good deal like what he had done in an earlier scene when he had observed her walking through the expansive gardens outside his mansion while she wore a thin frock that unbeknownst to her the bright sunlight had turned semi-transparent.
John discreetly acknowledged the always-surprising fact that he had a boner before crossing his legs and asking, "Aren't you supposed to be sneaking off to cheat on me with that struggling, under-employed painter?"
"That's tomorrow night," Marcia whispered, hoping the reader wouldn't hear. "In Chapter Five. And his name is Harold."
"I see." John fell silent and recalled a page of irrelevant information about the preceding chapter that had nothing to do with his rival before murmuring, "And I'm supposed to catch you sleeping innocently in his arms in chapter . . . ?"
Marcia discreetly held up six fingers. "This is a lovely room." She looked around as if she hadn't seen it, recalled that she had in the beginning of the scene and just a few second ago in a confused state, and quickly asked, "Did your mother decorate it?"
"Don't you remember?" John asked. "We talked about that when you first came to the house to confront me about my heartless decision to takeover your dying father's nearly bankrupt company and sell off its assets, leaving you and your sheltered, spoiled mother penniless."
"Oh, my." She pressed a hand to her throat. "You're not going to do that anymore, I hope?"
"No, dear." John shook his head in such a way that required a paragraph of hair movement description. "I made you promise to marry me in exchange for saving the company, seeing that your father had that bone marrow transplant that wasn't covered under his insurance policy, and keeping your mother in the family home collecting Yorkies and scrapbook supplies."
Marcia frowned. "And now I'm going to try to do the nasty with Harold because . . . ?"
"Because you resent me for forcing you to marry me, the cold-blooded, arrogant, merciless tycoon who, despite spending several million dollars to bail your family out of the mess they're in, does not deserve your love the way Harold, the boy that you have loved all of your life and don't yet know is gay, does."
"This sounds an awful lot like an info-dump refresher," Marcia said, clearly worried now.
John lifted his hands. "Darling, what else are we going to talk about? You know the guidelines; we can't have sex until after we're married. We don't even kiss until Chapter Eight. We have nothing in common. Our author needs this book to be seventy-five thousand words in length, but she doesn't outline."
"Ah." Marcia nodded. "I see. We're covering a story lag."
"You're such a bright little thing, for a self-sacrificing, sexually confused virgin." John beamed. "So, my sweet, tell me what you think of the weather. I know that hasn't been mentioned more than once or twice since the beginning of Chapter One."