“That’s it, that Ditz is a freaking popsicle this time!!” roared through the common area of Dragonfly’s Gentleman’s Club followed closely by the sound of a door slamming. Dragonfly was going over the closing procedures with Astoria, the “newly hired” sylph and gave out a sigh before calling out “Hey Terri, I am out here. What has our Andromeda done this time?”
Terri came storming into the room and threw herself down on one of the centerpiece lounges with her arms crossed and scowling like a thundergod of old, looking as petulant as her 8 year old mortal self would have been.
“You’ll never believe this, here we are about to take out Adrika for good when she has a ‘why do we have to do this’ meltdown after we already had to delay for two hours for yet another wardrobe change!! I swear if I have to ….” Dragonfly stopped listening to specifics at this point. Fill in the blanks, it was yet more of the same that had been going on for most of the year now. Fire and ice were more compatible than those two. Some days it almost got to be more than even Dragonfly herself could tolerate.
Terri paused in her rant for a beat so she said “I could remove her, if you would like, maybe make her a semi-permanent feature dancer? I believe I have a few Olympian favors lying around here somewhere and I know the clientele will absolutely LOVE her!”
“And deprive me of the hands-on satisfaction, NO. THANK. YOU!” Terri took a deep breath and let it out slowly before adding “Sorry, so what’s new and exciting with you?”
- – - – -
“It is beautiful, Terri, even better than your sketch. A fitting tribute to a heroic spirit and I am sure the knowledge that it will be seen every morning by those who belittled her eases some of the sting of her passing. When is the service for Susanna?” Dragonfly was impressed with the mural, glamour could barely have rendered it more lifelike.
“Never, officially anyways, some stupid Egyptian thing. They said they already cremated her and sent the ashes back to be entombed. We are holding a remembrance this weekend at Cleopatra’s Needle in the Park. Ditz’ idea, probably used up her quota for the whole year!” Terri sullenly answered.
“Be nice now, you know Andromeda cared for her just as much as you did, probably the only thing you two could agree on even if you could not agree on how.” Dragonfly mused on how differently this conversation would be if she had still been with WINTER.
“Come on, Studio 54 was no place for a sixteen year-old! And he was way too old for her, that’s like double statutory or something. Tell me I’m wrong.”
“Remind me again what is the difference in our ages?”
“That is so completely not even close to the same thing.”
“As you say. Feel any better now?”
“NO, I still want to go hurt someone who desperately deserves it.”
“Have Andromeda call me with the time for this weekend.” Terri quietly said okay as she walked back to her motorcycle.
- – - – -
“So we finally all get together and Siobhan tells us the theme, Caribbean Coral. It should be called Candy Princess if you ask me, it’s enough to make even Walt Disney throw up. Siobhan’s side will be in classic black with salmon trim while we get the opposite. I was flat out told that I could not switch sides as Siobhan does not really like me … As if Andromeda does? Really?? At least we get our choice of a tux or a gown. I guess I can find a use someday for a nice suit.”
Dragonfly had a hard time not laughing at the exasperated look on her face as Terri related this latest calamity involving preparations for Andromeda and Siobhan’s upcoming celebration. “You could always ask to be excused from the wedding party, you know” Dragonfly said just to twist the knife a little.
She was not disappointed when the pained response came almost immediately “Puh-leeeese, that’s how I got stuck in this mess when I tried to ditch the bridal shower. Thanks ever so for that by the way. Any more forgotten favors lying around that you’d like to clue me into?”
Dragonfly pretended to think a moment before replying “Well, since you brought it up, you know how much I adore you in a proper gown …..”
- – - – -
“This. Is. Pink!” Terri repeated.
Cameron picked her gown off the rack right next to her “Actually, by current textile color standards, this is Sunset Coral.”
Jane spoke up from across the room as she finished adjusting her own gown “At least it isn’t Cotton Candy, I’d have to arrest someone in that case.”
Terri glared at them both as she said “PINK!” through grinding teeth.
“Oh, look how darling they look! Simply adorable!” rang throughout the room as Bonnie, or Bonsai, or whatever Siobhan’s cousin’s name was came in ostensibly to see if everyone was ready yet. “I’m so glad they were able to finally get the color right. This is going to be so absolutely magical!”
“I’ll give you magical, you …” Terri muttered under her breath as she turned toward the short woman in the doorway. Cameron ‘accidentally’ lost her balance and bumped into Terri while Jane quickly rushed the oblivious future ice sculpture out of the room.
“The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can have a ‘burn the dresses’ party afterwards. Besides, just think how Charles, David and V.S. will look in this color.” Cameron said with a smile.
“At least I don’t have to dance, no owed favor is worth that suffering.” Terri admitted grudgingly.
- – - – -
Terri sat at the table watching the others on the dance floor in various degrees between ‘gliding’ and ‘stumbling’, with Cameron of course at the former end of the scale with V.S. desperately trying not to look like the latter. Dragonfly came back with their drinks and handed Terri hers as she leaned against the wall next to her “Are you sure I can not entice you onto the dance floor with me? I see how you look at all of them out there. I could heal you better than you were and we could join them in the festivities.”
Terri looked up at her and smiled “It has been tried and failed. Please go enjoy yourself, there is not a single person who is single in here that would deny you a dance.”
“And I’ll keep her company while you’re gone” said Andromeda as she sat down across from Terri “it’ll give me an excuse to take a break from ‘the circuit’ for a few, believe me!”
Dragonfly took to the floor and suddenly it looked Cameron had some competition at the top of the scale.
“So if you don’t mind my asking, there’s nothing more they can do for your leg?”
“Not complaining, they had to completely rebuild the pelvic cradle and upper thigh. There’s no pain, no matter what the weather does, and I can still walk fine but standing is uncomfortable and running is right out. Whatever it was exactly that Rameses did has resisted all magic. I look on it as a reminder to not be who and what I was. Anyway, so what future plans do you and Siobhan have?”
“Well, she has to return to Edinburgh for some council business so we thought we’d make a European tour out of it, maybe check out a few sites and such.”
They both looked toward the dance floor as the crowd collectively ‘oohed’. It seemed an impromptu dance off had erupted between Cameron and Dragonfly. “Oh, by the way, what’s this I hear about Drucillia throwing a baby shower for Cameron, is that even possible? I mean I know she has said all along that she was fully functional but really?”
Terri sputtered and choked a minute before answering “Warn me next time, will you, that stuff burns! No, that was for Debbie, the redhead works in the flower shop next door to The Shop Around The Corner. Her husband was deployed a month ago and all her family is on the west coast. Dru has been going on and on about Cameron’s mini quiches though and trying to find ways to get her to make more. I always thought that ‘fully functional’ line was just to make V.S. blush. Of course, now that I think about it, his patron IS the Lord of Creation ….” Andromeda’s laughter could be heard throughout the reception.
- – - – -
“Wallabout Community Art Center. How may I assist you?” Bob answered the phone before the third ring as Mickie was busy assisting Mrs Myers into the taxi. If not for that broken hip last year, ol’ girl would probably be jogging to and from here. Aside from needing help getting up and down it hadn’t slowed her at all. He hoped that he was half as lively on his 85th birthday as she was.
“Hello, it’s Romy, is Terri around? I tried both her cell and studio but both mailboxes were full and not accepting any new messages” came the response over a muffled back beat of some kind.
“Hey Andromeda, it’s Bob. No, she had a meeting with her lawyer and hasn’t returned yet. Can I take a message or have her call you once she gets back?”
“That’s okay. Just tell her the entertainment for the benefit is covered regardless of the court case so not to worry. Give her my best and Siobhan and I will be back in the states by then. Give Fluffy a belly rub for us and we’ll see you there.”
Bob recorded a memo regarding the call and to check both voicemails. Some days it seemed his job was more to keep an eye on Terri than on The Brown Forrest, to the extant that he sometimes considered changing his name to ‘Alfred’ or ‘Jarvis’.
Squeals of delight sounded from outside heralding success, the children must have gotten their scratch built box kite to fly. The door opened and Terri’s familiar voice said “What exactly does it say about my life that I look to this place as my source of balance and sanity?”
“No clue, Ms Stark.”
“Excuse me?” came the startled response.
“Oh, sorry, your friend Andromeda just called a little bit ago and set off an odd chain of thoughts in my head that ended with ‘Iron Man’ so…”
“I can just imagine. So how is Europe, they haven’t sunk it yet I hope” Terri said with a chuckle.
“I imagine not, the call didn’t sound watery at all. She sent best wishes and that the entertainment was all set for the benefit and they’d be back in plenty of time so don’t worry.”
“Benefit? I told her it’s just a block party. Meet, greet, eat and have fun. Oh well, it’s guaranteed to be lively now for sure. Anything else I need to know about, ‘Jarvis’?”
Bob laughed out loud “You caught me. Are you sure you can’t read minds? And yes, both of your voicemail boxes are full.”
“Can I, no clue. I don’t try though because it’s written all over your face so why waste the effort?”
- – - – -
“I’d just like to take a moment to thank you all for coming out to our 2nd Annual Block Party and getting to know our local craftsmen and women. And I would like to thank in advance every one of our entertainers. Usually if we are lucky we get a band or two that are pretty good with a lot of heart. Today, we have a lot of great bands, in fact the one behind me IS Heart. I would like to thank them for donating their time to be with us today. What’s that?” Terri asked as one of the lead singers said something.
Ann Wilson leaned into the microphone “We had a choice? That’s it gang, pack it up, we’re out of here!” she said with a smile.
“Oh, well, Surprise! I’m kidding of course, folks.” and she handed the mic back to Terri.
“Everyone of these group’s great music is only ever surpassed by their great deeds. Those of you interested can find a list of charities on the bottom of the flyers that our real volunteers are attempting to keep from littering our fair neighborhood. Give them a hand, folks, they are easily worth every dollar we don’t pay them. And finally I would like to thank the woman responsible for conning all these great artists into joining us, even though I’m sure a few would just follow her anyways, my not too bad friend and favorite punching bag, Andromeda, even though ultimately I deserve the credit for letting her live this long. Thank you all and enjoy!”