There are two rooms in two houses.
The first house is the one she got when she was still working her way up. She didn't like it very much--not the best neighborhood, no front yard to speak of, difficult to have any decent privacy--but she keeps it, because it's hers, and because people expect it. In that house, she allows herself two luxuries: two places she needed, not for her work, but for herself, before she would consent to living in such a house for decades, for the rest of her life.
The first is not one of the rooms, but a back yard. It is small, but present, and enough to grow in. She's made it good publicity, since it is organic and environmentally friendly, but first and foremost her garden is her garden. Life from her, feeding her. That keeps her grounded, no matter how many people might try to knock her down. When something goes too horribly at work, she thinks, garden, and her head clears. There's hardly room for what she's managed to fit, but the garden is there. It's hers.
The second luxury in the tiny house is her room. In the dining room, there rests a blank panel that swings out if you press here. Behind, there is a room without a visible floor, because it only barely fits her bed. On each of the four walls, there are books. No one has ever seen this room, though a spouse would, if she married. Anyone she trusted completely would see it.
The second house is a luxury in itself, and she knows it. It's a second house, how could it be anything else? But her work demanded something, some show of status--it was a second house or a mansion. She hated living alone in large places. They always felt cold, and hollow, and empty.
So she bought the place, a small, cozy space, and snapped a picture from the right angle, and put a picture in the right place in her first house. She dropped, "my cabin," or, "my retreat," when necessary, using the latter just enough and in the right tone that no one ever asked to attend. Whatever her words said, she made her tone say, "my sanctuary," "my sacred space," "the place I go to be alone."
That one is more isolated. It had to be, to give the right effect. That is no luxury, that is work, that is showing off to impress the right people. Nor are the books luxurious, to her mind. They are the ones she cannot bear to part with--torn, beat-up, almost disintegrating, old, well loved, hers. They do not fit in the reading room, so they were in storage until she had her reading cabin.
The bed, here, is in one of the rooms she takes pictures of. She can't sleep without books around her. But there is one room she never photographs, she wouldn't even let someone she trusted completely photograph. Show them, yes, but not let them document.
In the heart of the cabin she built, she has something she calls a waiting room, though she only calls it that when no one can hear her. It is behind a bookshelf--push here and the wall and shelf swing in. She sleeps in her reading room, but she only enters this one to dust and polish.
Her garden grounds her, makes sure no one can knock her down.
Her reading room is home, where she can forget the world and sleep.
But this, this room...
Two chairs, one candle in the center of the table, and a small kitchen off to one side. No division--the dining room and the kitchen are the same room, in her waiting room.
Whenever she's in a relationship and her partner want to know if she loves them, or asks her to marry them, she thinks, Would I show them this room?
If she can imagine them in the waiting room to her home, her heart, then they get to come in. They can see the cabin, the room, even the reading room in her first house, that most guarded of sanctuaries. If not, she's honest.
She hasn't been able to say, "Yes," yet. But she may, someday, so she keeps the room. Sometimes, on the days where she takes down a romance novel and wears rose perfume, she imagines cooking with someone else, in that room.