Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chapter 26: In Which Katie Discovers a Previously Hidden Talent For Accents

"Oh, I have to be okay. I’ve got too much shit going on at work to dwell on this. But if I was reluctant to attend this party before, I am really dreading it now. Please tell me you’re coming? You’ll bring Eoin.”

“I’ll ask him,” Katie hugged her friend back, just as she heard a deep voice behind her.

“Well. Miss Williams. It’s no wonder you couldn’t make our lunch meeting. Too busy with your afternoon delight?”

Katie felt her friend freeze in her arms. “Fuck, Katie. I forgot about the meeting.” Melissa whispered nearly indecipherable words into her ear.

Melissa missed a meeting? That was craziness. Katie often forgot meetings -- she couldn’t count the number of times she’d been sitting at her desk, reading Laineygossip or Gofugyourself when Erica had tapped her timidly on the shoulder to remind her that she had been due in the conference room five minutes ago. But Melissa was...she lived for meetings. She played hard, sure, but she worked even harder, and for her to miss a meeting meant things really were spiraling out of control for Katie’s best friend.

“S’okay,” Katie mumbled to Melissa, and vowed to save the day. She would cover for Melissa and their mending friendship would finally be totally better.

“Rebecca! Angus! Good afternoon,” Melissa had detached herself from Katie and was pushing her, none-too-gently, to the side. “Yes, missing the meeting was unfortunate. I must apologize. I was delayed.”

Rebecca, (a mid-forties woman with wide hips, great legs, and a terrifically expensive red suit), glanced over at Angus, (a tall, muscular man with a square jaw and a nose that veered so far to the right Katie could only imagine he’d been in an awful football accident), who smiled knowingly. “Delayed by this pretty young thing, I see.” He spoke smoothly, with a British accent. (So not football. Katie looked thoughtfully at his mangled nose. A soccer accident. No….rugby, perhaps? Or maybe he was smashed in the face with a cricket bat? Or a polo stick? What other generalizations could she make about the British?)

Suddenly his words hit her and Katie snapped back to attention. Oh, dear. These Business People thought Melissa had played hooky on their meeting so she could sneak off with her girlfriend. The thought would have made her giggle but this was serious--this guy might have been smiling cheekily at them but having sex when you were supposed to be at a business meeting wasn’t cool. Katie should know -- she had a whole draft folder of emails she was going to send to Paul and Mike telling them pretty much exactly that as soon as she worked up the courage to send one.

“Oh, we’re not, it’s not--” Melissa, usually so cool and collected, was stammering, and so Katie, usually so stammery herself, came forward, stuck out a hand, and said, “Sorry, Rebecca, Angus, is it? Sorry, this is entirely my fault. I insisted Melissa meet with me.

“And you are?” Rebecca raised a carefully groomed eyebrow. What a skill! Both plucking so well and raising one eyebrow were abilities Katie had yet to master.

“Violet. Violet Marsh.” Katie had no idea where the name came from. Nor did she know what was happening to her voice. She was sliding into a Southern drawl, not unlike the one Anna Paquin had adopted for her role as Sookie Stackhouse.  “I’m an old, old client of Melissa’s and we were having a wee crisis. I implored Melissa to meet with me before your meeting and, well, we just kept talking.” Implored? Wee crisis? Violet Marsh was taking on a pretty solid shape, here. Katie heard her long vowels, her up-tilted sentences. Dammit. She knew what this was – she’d been mainlining True Blood episodes since she’d learned how to download television illegally and this was the result. “I had so many questions, you see, and Melissa is such a dear, dedicated worker. She did tell me about her meeting with you and I’m afraid I just monopolized her.”

"So you're a client as well?" Angus looked appraisingly at Katie, who couldn't believe the luck that she was dressed like an actual business person herself for once.

"Oh, yes." Melissa, somewhat recovered, stepped forward and smiled. "I've been working with Ms Marsh for some time now."

"And I was a teensy bit worried about our sales lately. I flew in special just for this meetin'," said Katie. "All the way from Louisiana." She smiled a sweet, Sookie Stackhouse-style smile. "So Melissa here just had to meet with me. My daddy's comp'nee has been working with Mr Ambrose since before I was born." Katie batted her eyelashes in a Scarlett-O'Hara way. She was exhausting all her stereotypes today. "Daddy's in hotels," she whispered, leaning in so close to Rebecca and Angus that they had to bend in to listen to her, as though she were telling a juicy piece of gossip. Good lord. All she needed was a fan and a passel of horny young men to bring her barbecue and biscuits to seal the deal.

"So you can see why I was able to convince Miz Williams here to miss her meetin’ with you two." Here Katie allowed her voice to get hard. Tough. Like a Steel Magnolia! "It's not that I'm trying to be more important than the likes of you," she said, "But I guess maybe I just am…"

The looks on their faces were of shocked amusement, and Melissa stiffened at her side. Katie supposed maybe she had gone just a bit too far. "Well, it was lovely meetin’ y'all. And please, don't take this out on Ms Williams. Like I said, this was entirely my fault. You are in the best of hands with this one. You couldn't have picked a better member of staff to rep your product." Katie gave them all a delicate little wave. "G'bye now. Have a terrific afternoon."

She turned and walked away as quickly as she could on those terrible, too-small Steve Maddens. She wanted desperately to take them off, but she didn't think walking down
Front Street
barefoot was something that Violet Marsh would do.

Her heart was pounding, she was sweating into the unforgiving cashmere sweater. Pink wool was definitely not the ideal choice for a summer day when you impersonate a Southern heiress.

She decided to stop in at a Shoppers' and buy a plain white tshirt. She was perusing the aisles when she got a text message from Melissa. "WTF was that???"

"I don't know." she texted back. "I think it was the pencil skirt and makeup combo. Or maybe those improv classes paid off."

"Whatever it was, THANK U :):):)" texted her friend, and Katie felt a wave of happiness. As crazy as that had been, they were totally best friends again.

On her way out of the shop she saw a bulletin board by the door. Flyers for puppies for sale, someone looking for English lessons, someone offering English lessons. A babysitter-for-hire, and a bunch of people looking for roommates. Katie reached into her bag and pulled out one of the giant, spooky caesar drawings that she'd made, entitled  "you were going to be fantastic.” She pinned it to the notice board.

Katie went back into the shop and bought a package of tacks. By the time she got back to the office, every single one of her pictures, all variations of the caesar posted on the bulletin board at Shoppers, had been affixed to something: a fence, a telephone pole, the side of a building, under the windshield of a car. None of the pictures were signed, and none of them had Anne's name on them. That wasn't the point. The sisters were beyond that kind of thing now. Katie had stopped imploring Anne to surface. This was just a new way to love.

Back at the office, in her new white tshirt, Katie watched the elevator doors opening and closing with an anxious churning in her stomach. What if Melissa brought Rebecca and Angus back to the office? It was entirely possible. Not every meeting could be conducted on the sidewalk or in Cuban-French fusion restaurants. Eventually people want big wooden tables and receptionists to make a deal seem real. She took out her bun, wiped the makeup off her face, and hoped that with her tshirt and Canadian accent they'd be fooled. These diversionary tactics were the kinds of things that would only work in a chick-lit novel. But given that her life often felt like a chick-lit novel, Katie kind of expected this ruse to work.

By four o'clock Melissa had not yet returned, clients in tow or alone. Katie was starting to relax when the elevator doors opened up and out walked….

You Decide!

Eoin! He wants to tell her about his upcoming art opening.


Her mother! She wants Katie's help cleaning out Anne's room.


  1. Time for Mom to put in an appearance...though why wouldn't she just phone?

  2. her mom! her mom! her mom! and maybe even with a new aunt???

  3. Ooh another Anonymous. Well this is the original Anonymous, the proto Anonymous.

    I agree (as always) with Nancy. And I agree the personal appearance is curious but we all have faith that our intrepid writer will clarify. Both Eoin and mom showing up having an intense conversation would be very good too. (new aunt? sheesh!)

  4. Eoin, and Paul and/or Mike could come on to him!

  5. Eoin! I like Cyndi's idea - if it's an in-person appearance, Eoin would have a greater dramatic impact than her Mom. Her Mom can call her while she's with Eoin. Also, in case Rebecca and Angus reappear, I bet Eoin would be good to distract them.

  6. Enjoyed the Violet Marsh bit! and I'm going to have to vote for Mom :)