From Work in Progress to Publication
Deja Vu is on the virtual shelves:
Angela Marie Guidry Ellis Hendrix adjusted the sparkling jangles of gold and pearls around her neck and appraised her appearance. She smoothed a few wisps of her raven black hair back into the bun pulled tightly at the nape of her neck, straightened the lines of the black skirt down her shapely legs and adjusted the black and white bouclé jacket over her ample bosom. She noted that she looked good for a grieving widow.
“Hmm…” She grabbed a tube of lipstick from her make-up counter and reapplied a layer of coral shine to her lips. Fifty-six and she still had a kissable, perky mouth.
No time to think about that though, there was a funeral to cry through, after all.
Darcey St. Claire jerked her rolling bag from the third muck-filled hole she’d encountered since lugging it down the narrow set of stairs from her upper-level apartment. “Oh, hell!” She stumbled backward into the rear wall of her apartment’s enclosed courtyard.
“Oh, hell!” She twisted around, wiping the back of her shawl to make sure she wasn’t sporting the remnants of whatever her neighbors had burned last night for a Three King’s Day party.
“You should carry that,” chirped a feminine voice from above.
“Those little wheels aren’t made for these old courtyards. Needs a smooth surface like in the airport,” answered the male of the Holmes and Watson team.
“Thank you.” She smiled up at the balcony opposite hers and shielded her eyes from the sun as well as anything more than a glimpse of Edward Newton’s pale bony legs. If it was more than fifty degrees outside, Judge Newton was sure to be having his morning coffee wearing his green and white striped robe.
“Good morning. How are you?”
“Very well. We were looking for you at the party. There was another young lady here from England. Oh, Edward…where was she from exactly?”
Darcey groaned while Judge Newton named cities and towns in England, Ireland and a few in Scotland if she remembered her geography correctly.
She had told her neighbors countless times that she wasn’t from England. She had lived there for four years with her English mother while her father, a Jamaican minister, completed missionary work in South America. And even if she sometimes used a perfectly acceptable alternative word pronunciation, she was from Miami.
“That’s okay.” She shook her head several times and raked her hand through her hair to tame the springy curls which had been whipped into her face. “I’m sorry but I’m running a little late for work this morning.” She inched toward the exit and an end to the conversation.
“Oh go, honey.” Mrs. Newton folded her arms over the railing of the balcony. “But I’m going to drop by your hotel next week. I want to book Edward’s retirement party with you and the Hayden.”
“Wonderful.” Darcey smiled. “We’ll have lunch, my treat.” She gave the couple a small wave and pushed through the heavy black gate onto Royal Street
with a tingle of excitement.
Yes! A contracted party by the end of next week. In the middle of the winter slowdown.
Even as a top Sales and Catering Manager for one of the city’s most famous hotels, it was difficult to book anything more than a luncheon during the span between New Year’s Eve and the first balls of the Mardi Gras season. With Mardi Gras falling in late February, it was going to be quite a lull.
She should have been finding her own leads for small parties over the past week not waiting for an off-hand comment from a neighbor to give her direction.
During the last five consecutive quarters, she’d received the largest bonus of any of the Hayden Court’s ten sales managers and keeping her record intact should have been first and foremost in her mind. Instead she’d been thinking about Vincent Guidry and their weekend-long date, scheduled to begin in seven hours.
“Arghh!” She yanked a newly scuffed wheel from a grate and continued less enthusiastically on a five block walk that should have taken ten minutes but was leaning more towards twenty.
That’s what Vincent did. He caused chaos in her life.
Last week he’d arrived early for his construction company’s New Year’s Eve employee event. She’d had to scramble to readjust schedules for entire departments comprised of slightly more than a hundred and fifty people. By that point she’d been irked beyond comprehension by the mere mention of his name.
And in the end, she’d still slept with him.
Groaning, Darcey stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. Not being impulsive was one of those resolutions she’d made and broken throughout her twenty-eight years. This year didn’t seem to be starting any differently than the others.
Most likely, it wasn’t the wisest of decisions to spend an entire weekend in the home of a man she’d just met. In hindsight, letting him take her panties off on the balcony of a club probably hadn’t been a good idea either.
Spending the weekend or not spending the weekend?
That was a question best not answered on an empty stomach. The smell of fresh baked bread wafted under her nose and she wheeled her bag, suited for smooth runways, down a deeply rutted side street toward her favorite non-touristy breakfast spot.
Hell, she was already late for work. She might as well get something good to eat for the trouble.