I don’t know why I titled this Happy Mardi Gras,… now here it is, Ash Wednesday.
And I also don’t know how I managed to stretch this out to 4 posts, but I hope I haven’t bored you. Lisette, CB, and New Orleans took me over, and I just wrote for them. Thank you for reading, for sharing, for tweeting and for facebooking this. Be kind… it’s my first time sharing publicly, it’s unedited, and it’s all been off the top of my head.
“Who do you think you are? Just who gives you the right…? You have balls, CB, balls I wish I could take…” she made a claw with her hand –” and crush…” Lisette showed CB exactly how she would damage that part of his anatomy.
He merely stared at her hands forming and crushing said balls from thin air. He appeared impassive, something he’d honed to perfection, an advantage in his career as a family court judge.
In matters of romance, not so much.
Lisette was angrier than he’d ever seen her, and he had to admit it– she had every right to be. Over the past year that she’d spent in his family’s home as the housekeeper’s daughter he’d hear her voice through the door, the vent — it wasn’t eavesdropping if she was loud enough to be heard through the wall. He’d listened to her and Pia vent in detail the shortcomings of the male species. Or muse to the cat ways she’d handle her mama’s dilemmas, her dad’s debts, the problems of the world. She had a favorite phrase …if only someone would ask her.
He wanted very much to be the one to ask her.
To ask her opinion, listen to her advice, every morning over coffee, and every night from the pillow next to his own.
But at this moment, another woman in his life needed him.
“Thank you Captain,” he shook the silent, masked man’s hand, patted the horse’s neck, and waved them adieu.
He turned to Lisette, who was still sputtering. “I owe you an apology.”
Lisette froze with her hands clawed before her, still squeezing air. She stopped, blinked, stared . “An apology.”
“I brought you here on false pretenses, a completely fabricated ruse designed to scare you.” He shifted, suddenly aware he was about to sweat through his coat. “I’m not like that– not at all. But… we needed to get your cooperation…”
Zombie like, she repeated his words. “You needed to get my… cooperation?”
CB took a deep breath. And here is where it hits the fan. She was much too calm, like the calm before the hurricane, and she was about to become regally and royally pissed. He knew how she could rub a hole in the family silver, or scrub the green patina off the copper fixtures outside….
She was a hurricane all right… .He hoped to one day make her his hurricane.
But first I need to duck.
“My cooperation… for?” Lisette prompted.
“Yes, your cooperation.” CB took her elbow and propelled her into the grand cathedral. Candles lit the altar and the side aisles, casting a warm glow. Incense scented the air. It was holy and romantic, all at the same time. The perfect place for a wedding.
CB walked Lisette down the center aisle, feeling his heart beat hard in his chest.”Pia wants to elope. Here. Now. There was this family thing about the Krewe, so Pia was all set to be queen, but then Dewey got his orders to deploy–“
Pia’s voice rang out across the arched space, with no regard for those praying. “Lisette! Oh thank God!Finally! Lisette, has he told you? Please, come quick!” She stood in one of the confessional booths, wearing only a slip.
CB dropped his hand from Lisette’s arm. His father’s last words to him rang in his ears. Your mother…, Pia…, they come first. Always, you hear? Take care of family first.
But CB groaned inside from the weight of his legacy. There was too much of his father’s dreams to be fulfilled, and no room for his own. Lisette, Lisette was to have been a big part of those dreams.
Now he watched her face as the gears clicked into place, one by one. Take care of family first. But what about me?
The color drained from Lisette’s face, even worse than yesterday when he’d been so cold to her. “Why did you make me feel so common? How could you treat me this way?” Her skin flushed, angry tears filled her eyes, her voice quivered. But the anger strengthened her, strengthened her voice. “You made me feel like a–a–” the words wouldn’t come.
CB’s heart broke inside. He knew he’d wronged her– he knew that. “Lisette, honey–” he began, but she whirled away from him and stalked down the aisle, out the door.
All three of them… he’d failed them all miserably.