Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Hour ~ Chapter 3 Teaser

I'm going to leave Alyssa and her story now. You'll need to buy the book if you want to find out if she goes into the restaurant, if she tells Terrell her secret and what happens if it does get out.

Time to move on to Danielle's story. And remember it's still 3 years ago :)

These things were always so phony. The smiles, the chit-chat, the bullshit. Women in their designer outfits discussing the latest craze in cosmetic surgery and gossiping about which desperate housewife had taken the leap and gone under the miracle worker’s knife. Good God, could it be any more dull than that? Get a life, right? But Danielle Bastillia caved every time someone called and asked her if she would participate in whatever charity event their organization represented. Al thought it was wonderful, explaining how necessary it was to keep good community relations. Sure, that was a part of it. However, for Danielle, it always came down to the charity itself. She was a sucker for kids, animals, anything and anyone stricken. Maybe it was the Catholic upbringing and the inevitable guilt that came with it, but come on? How could she turn down the Leukemia Fund for Children’s Hospital, or the rescue center for greyhounds? Everyone knew that if you invited Danielle Bastillia to your charity event, she would show up to donate her wines and her time.

Today’s event was yet another Danielle could add to her list. She braved a smile at Marilyn Dixon, the co-chair for Homeless, Teenage mothers. Ah, Marilyn, all cheeky and blonde. Indeed she’d seen the inside of Dr. Get-rich-off-of-women’s insecurities office. Her face was taut to the point where Danielle found herself wanting to touch it to see if it felt like Saran Wrap.

“Danielle, you look absolutely stunning. Vintage Diane, right? It’s amazing on you. Love the purse, too. Prada, right? Saw it at Bloomie’s in the Big Apple and should have grabbed it, but the hubby was rushing me. He had some meeting or something. I don’t know. Anyway, you’re seated at my table, and…oh, you…” she snapped and pointed at one of the servers. “What’s your name?”

“John,” the young man replied.

“Right. John, can you please move the chairs over there that are blocking that doorway and put them in a back room or something? It’s not tidy looking.”

The server nodded and scurried off.

One thing, well, two things that Marilyn was actually good at: charm and delegating. She had those down to a tee. Even with her apparent A.D.D.

Marilyn haphazardly flung her hands in the air, cocked her head to the side, and smiled back at Danielle. “Thank you so much for your time today. Your wines are lovely. Everyone is singing praises.”

Anyone who used the word lovely or expressions like ‘singing praises,’ was someone Danielle could never trust. Especially anyone who looked like Marilyn Dixon—hair dyed a golden blonde that was only natural on three-year-old children, eyes a shocking ocean blue that were surely colored contacts, and skin that was…well, that was the clincher. No way the woman could be trusted.

Danielle stared at Marilyn with a mix of envy and loathing. “You’re welcome. It was Al’s and my pleasure to supply the wines.” She smiled again feeling the crinkling of the crow’s feet that had recently shown up on her face. She hoped she didn’t look as exhausted as she felt. Two days earlier, Danielle had conducted a food drive through the organic growers association. She’d packed and loaded food onto vans with a handful of other folks, then had driven one of the vans into San Francisco to the food bank. Her mind and emotions handled it fine, but her body in full PMS mode hadn’t fared so well, and now she found herself wiped out and wanting chamomile tea and her bed.

Marilyn cocked her head to the other side. “By the way, how is Al?”

“He’s good. Busy as always. We’re both working constantly. And you know how it is with kids. It’s go, go, go.” What time was it? When could she get out of here, kick off the high heels, and slip out of the Diane Von Furstenberg dress? Not that she wasn’t in love with the dress. Diane had a knack for making a dress that showed off a woman’s best assets, yet camouflaged less than attractive areas—like that belly bulge that inevitably followed childbirth and hung on into middle age. Middle age! It couldn’t have been called a wiser age, the mature age, the grown-up age? But middle age, was a term that meant she gained five extra pounds annually since turning forty a few years ago. Middle age was not nearly as fun as everyone claimed.

For Danielle, the wraparound navy blue dress made the most of her breasts—totally natural and not yet sagging. With good boobs you could usually get away with an extra pound or two, and good boobs fit great in a Furstenberg dress. All the same, Danielle preferred her jeans and T-shirts. For these events, though, she did what she had to, even having her long dark red hair styled and putting on some makeup. No matter what she felt about the charitable brouhahas around town, she did have an image to maintain. Al reminded her of that regularly. They were important people in the community. God forbid anyone think that the owners of Bastillia’s Wines had any issues. Yes, God forbid she taint their image.

Marilyn nodded emphatically as if she completely understood Danielle’s life. What a joke, because although Marilyn stood as the president of the woman’s club chairing the event, the fact was that Marilyn Dixon never picked up her own children from school—and it was doubtful that she ever really did anything with her kids unless nannies were along for the ride. Her staff consisted of a personal trainer, private chef, nannies galore, and a housekeeper. If the woman ever lifted a finger, Danielle guessed it would be to get a glass of wine for herself. At least, those were the rumors in Napa’s gossip logged vineyard land.

“And the girls? They’re good?” Marilyn asked as if she was really interested.

Danielle applauded inwardly. The moment she’d been hoping for. Danielle wanted to palm her hands together and wave them high over her head and do the victory dance. Instead she smiled warmly. There were times to be grateful for that gossip vine… Thanks to the local grapevine, Danielle had learned that Marilyn’s daughter had been rejected by Yale. “The girls are great. Shannon earned a full scholarship to Yale. We received her acceptance letter over the weekend. And, of course, Cassie will be starting at Trinity Prep.”

Marilyn was rendered speechless. “Why, that’s wonderful,” she finally said, and rose from her seat. “I guess I better get things started.” She walked up to the stage at the front of the room and tossed back the golden waves.

Marilyn smiled brightly at the crowd and Danielle studied her. Yes, it was petty not to like the woman for being fake—sort of—but, dammit, get real. Please, would someone get real around here! She was acting as badly as Marilyn, posing at the luncheon in her designer dress, with her newly colored hair, boasting about her kids for her own ego while carrying a fake Prada purse. Yes, fake. What was the point in spending two grand on a purse when you could get a perfectly decent knockoff for thirty bucks? Maybe she was the true fake here. Danielle, at least, knew better than to believe this shit was what made up the real world.

Her mouth went dry. No time for a panic attack or a reality check. She’d stopped popping Xanax a few months ago and had gone on a health kick, even joining the local gym, secretly hoping that Al would notice her again. She’d shed ten pounds and felt better than she had in years, but Al still didn’t seem to pay much attention to her, except when there was a problem with the payroll, or the accounts, or an employee. Their life together after twenty years had boiled down to a business relationship, not a marriage, and she missed that connection that they used to enjoy. She missed the jokes they shared about the craziness that went on in the world around them.

That was where she should start being honest—with her own husband.

To find out what happens with Danielle - if she fesses up to Al and the potential repercussions if she does, click on the "buy now" button on the right to pre-order your copy today :)

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