Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sneak Peek at Getting Hers

Prologue--Fate is A Funny Thing


“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to put to rest the body of our brother, Troy Benning, husband of Kimberly Sheppard-Benning and a friend to many . . .”
Kim’s alabaster complexion was dutifully shielded behind the black veil that dipped down dramatically from her wide-brimmed black hat. She brought a white handkerchief beneath the veil and dabbed at her dry eyes. “Bastard,” she muttered.

The reverend droned on about what a wonderful man Troy was while an endless stream of grievers marched up to the grave to toss a rose or utter words of sorrow and condolence to Kim.
Kim scanned the crowd from behind her veil hoping to catch a glimpse of Stephanie. Finally she spotted her, with her arm tucked through that of her husband, Malcolm. Kim’s stomach muscles tightened as Stephanie’s green-eyed gaze found Kim’s blue one. Stephanie offered a slow, sad smile before looking away.

On the far side of the proceedings, Tess McDonald desperately wanted a cigarette. Funerals, cops, pre-dawn phone calls, hot sex and situations out of her control always elevated her craving. Casually she looked the crowd over. Nothing particularly unusual, except that someone in attendance murdered Troy Benning.

From the opposite side of the hole, beneath the shadow of a spanning oak, Nicole Perez murmured “Amen,” along with the mourners. “And good riddance,” she added under her breath. Nicole clasped her gloved hands together and licked her blood red lips. From behind dark glasses her onyx eyes darted around the throng of mourners then returned to rest on the hole in the ground. She swallowed. With all of the situations that she’d found herself in, even behind bars, she hadn’t been afraid, wary maybe, cautious for sure but never afraid. She put on a good front, she had to. No one could ever find out what really happened—or didn’t. She swallowed hard and tugged in a deep breath. This would all be over soon and the three of them could move on with their lives—whatever that may be.

Two Months Later:
Tess, Nikki and Kim raised their wine glasses in a quiet toast.
"To us," Tess said, as her lids lowered ever so slightly over her honey brown eyes and the curve of her wide mouth spread in a salacious grin, the bold bronze color matching her body-hugging dress to perfection.
The trio clinked their glasses together as the Amtrak Acela Express sped out of New York City en route to Washington, D.C.
Expertly coiffed as usual, Kim’s signature diamond studs sparkled against the light. Kim lowered her head and her voice to a whisper. "I still can't believe it.”
"What's not to believe? They tried to screw us and we fucked them first," Nicole said with a nonchalant flick of her wrist. Her tennis bracelet flashed. “The bastards deserved it.”
Kim flushed crimson. She spoke from between clenched teeth. "Do you always have to talk like that?" Her blue eyes darted around the dining car to see if anyone in earshot was offended. “We can dress you up but we still can’t take you out.”
Nicole grinned and gave Kim a wink. “Be careful my little pretty, the wife is always the first suspect.”
“Nikki--”
Tess stretched her slender hand across the table and covered Kim's pale fingers with her cocoa brown ones. "Relax. You know Nikki is just being Nikki. She loves to see you flustered, and you go for it every time."
Kim cut a look in Nicole's direction. Nicole smirked into her glass.
“Philadelphia 30th Street Station in three minutes,” the conductor announced.
Nicole picked up her purse and rose.
“Both of you be sure to check the classifieds from time to time. It is how we will communicate—should the need ever arise,” Tess said.
Kimberly and Nicole nodded in agreement.
Nicole looked from one woman to the other and for an instant appeared sad. “New city, new life.” She paused, pulled and pulled in a breath of resolve. “Thank you both,” she said barely above a whisper. She turned and walked away.
“I should be getting back to my car,” Kimberly muttered, before polishing off the last of her drink. She stood. “I’m sure we won’t be seeing each other again.”
Tess nodded. “You never know,” she said slowly.
“Take care of yourself, Tess.”
“You do the same, Kim.” She smiled as Kim walked away.

Alone now, Tess leaned back against the blue leather headrest and watched the landscape sweep past the window. She crossed her legs beneath the table and took a thoughtful sip from her glass of wine.
Over the past few months they'd gone from virtual strangers and wary adversaries to partners in crime--so to speak—revealing and acting upon their deepest secrets, their darkest fears. It had been risky. They’d put their families, their money, themselves in jeopardy. It had taken all of their connections, wits, and determination, but mostly the unholy pact they made to get as far as they did. Had is all been worth the sleepless nights? Only time would tell.
Under normal circumstances they would have never met in a million years—she a black high-priced Madame who ran the biggest escort service on the East coast, Nicole a Latina beauty boasting a mouth like a long shoreman, with a penchant for guns and fast cars, and Kim a white, married business tycoon who was in love with the wife of a congressman. But fate, the stars, and the mutual goal of retribution brought them together one blistering afternoon in June--the hottest June day on record...

2 comments:

The Humanity Critic said...

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