Home - Chapter FiveSeptember 7 2006 at 11:25 AM
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There were only three words that could come to her in that exact moment.
“Oh. My. Gaaaaw…” The ‘d’ dropped off as the rest of it transitioned into a squeal as she bounced up from her comfortable chair and began hopping up and down on her not-so-comfortable shoes. She didn’t care at this point in time.
Standing in front of her was a mousy-haired girl, no, woman she hadn’t seen in six years. Mimi Lockhart looked just the same.
Neither one of them could keep the giggles from escaping their mouths. Mimi began to bounce, too. Somehow, without breaking any bones or knocking any teeth out, they made it into each other’s arms. The squealing continued.
Belle’s office door flew open nearly knocking into Mimi’s back. Belle, arms still around her high school buddy, pulled Mimi against her and turned her sideways and narrowly missed getting her own knuckles shaved off for her valiant efforts by the fast-moving door and the woman behind it.
“What ees happen?” Monique asked, running through the door, winded as though she’d just run a marathon.
Belle finally released Mimi. “Monique, this is my oldest and best friend in the whole world. From Salem.” She turned to Mimi. “And Mimi, this is Monique, the best assistant in the whole world.” Belle exchanged a beaming smile between them.
Mimi reached out her hand and gladly took the other woman’s hand in her own. “It’s so nice to meet you.”
“Vous aussi,” was all Monique could manage, a weak smile forming at her lips. She dropped her hand from Mimi’s. “I thought something was de matter.” She exchanged a look from Belle to Mimi and back to Belle and turned toward the door. “Je ne peux pas vous croire. Les filles américaines folles. M'effrayer à la mort.” The door closed behind her while she was still muttering rapid French under her breath, what little of it she had left.
Mimi hitched her thumb in the direction of the door. “What’d she just say?”
Belle rolled her eyes. “Oh, nothing. Something about crazy Americans.” She flipped her hand as though it were no big deal.
Mimi let out a small laugh, and Belle reached down, taking both of Mimi’s hands in her own. “What are you doing here?” She guided Mimi to one of the two chairs in front of her desk while she occupied the other.
Mimi leaned back in her chair, releasing her hand from Belle’s. “Oh,” she said with a nonchalant flip of her hand. “We can get to all that later. Tell me how you’ve been doing? And tell me how in the hell you nailed this swanky office?” It looked as though Mimi was finally taking in her full surroundings. With astonishment, of course. This wasn’t the typical office of a 24-year-old.
While Mimi’s eyes searched the room, Belle looked her old friend over. She looked the same. But different. She was dressed in a gray wool skirt that came just below the knees. Her black cashmere sweater was revealed as Mimi slipped off her overcoat. Her face had lost its pudginess and was now slender. And her ‘baby fat,’ as she’d always referred to it, had finally melted away and let the woman from within take over. She looked beautiful.
God, I’ve missed her. Belle had basically forgotten what it was like to have a girlfriend with whom she could do and share anything. She wanted, no, needed Mimi Lockhart back in her life at this moment. She needed her best friend.
And with those thoughts, other old memories came flooding back, and Belle had to cast them aside in order to answer Mimi’s questions. Don’t think about him.
“Okay.” Belle leaned back in her own chair, reminding herself that she could fully relax in front of this woman. “Well, about five months ago, Dad called me up while I was finishing up a line in London.” Belle felt herself start to smile at the recollection. “He told me that he was in,” she cleared her throat, “’dire need,’ at least that’s what he said, of a Designer for Foreign Operations.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I thought that was it until he said it would be here.” Belle turned her head to the left to look out of the massive window behind her desk, revealing France in all its afternoon glory. “And here I am.”
Mimi just stared at Belle for what felt like forever. Then she began to shake her head, the famous Lockhart smile never leaving her lips. Finally, a tiny squeal left her mouth. “You are the luckiest bitch in the entire world. I am so jealous of you!” She leaned forward again, and patted Belle’s leg. Belle followed suit with the leaning, not the patting.
“So,” Belle started. “What about you? What brings you to Paris?” She squinted her eyes. “And to,” she paused for dramatic effect. “Noir fondamental?”
Mimi furrowed her eyebrows and dropped her smile. “No clue as to what you just said.” She smiled like the Cheshire Cat. “But it sounded good.”
“Seriously, though, what brings you to Basic Black?” She leaned forward as if about to reveal a big secret that no one else in the office was allowed to be in on. “That’s what I said in French.” She giggled. “That’s about all I know in French.” Mimi laughed, too.
“Well,” Mimi said, finally straightening up in her chair, the smile never leaving her face. She cleared her throat. “I’m here as a client.”
“A client,” Belle repeated. She wasn’t exactly sure what Mimi meant, but she was about to find out.
She reached into the black portfolio clutched at her side that Belle just seemed to notice. Extracting something from inside, Mimi looked up at Belle, smiling and scrunching her nose.
Belle reached out to take the contents of Mimi’s portfolio from her. She looked down at what lay in her hand and shot a quick glance back to Mimi. “What’s this?”
Mimi sat back proudly in her chair. “Read it.”
Belle turned her full attention to what Mimi had handed her. She realized after taking it into her hands that it was a folded-up newspaper.
Still wary, Belle slowly opened the newspaper to reveal a large 5x7 picture. The date on the top said February 17. “Oh my goodness,” Belle exclaimed. “You mean to tell me that Salem High track team finally won!?”
Mimi reached up and snatched the paper from her, swatting Belle in the leg with it. She began to fold back the pages with Belle looking on.
“I can’t believe it,” Belle continued. “I mean, honestly, it’s about time. After all their years of struggle…” Belle pursed her lips in mock pride and began to fan herself as though she were about to cry from the sheer joy of it all. However, all she earned for her facetiousness was a glare from Mimi. She dropped her hands and looked down at her lap as though having just been scolded by a favorite teacher. “Sorry.”
The newspaper was thrust back in front of her.
“Here, smart ass,” Mimi said, not completely succeeding at keeping the humor out of her voice.
Belle just stared at what was before her. It was another picture. This one in black and white, unlike the large color photograph on the front page. But this one tugged at her heart.
The handsome man standing in the photograph next to a beaming Mimi was one she was quite familiar with.
She read the caption: “Lockhart to wed Brady.”
- Great chapter! Continue soon! - Holly on Sep 7, 2006, 2:15 PM
- ohh my god it ge better - camile on Sep 7, 2006, 2:43 PM
- Oh dear (m) - Jennifer'S on Sep 7, 2006, 10:52 PM
- that was awesome - shelle34 on Sep 8, 2006, 12:51 AM
- Oh My Gawwwwww.... - Jo on Sep 8, 2006, 8:02 PM