In the excerpt from The Ghosts of Shleby Fierce, Louis and Shelby are reunited.
“Hi, I am Scarlett,” a pink sweater bursting with silicon says as she shoves her hand in front of the book I am reading. A ginger named Scarlett, how original. I start to roll my eyes and then remember my manners. The wide-toothed grin beside her can read my thoughts, I am sure of it. He looks at me sideways with a laugh. I invite them to join my table.
When I booked this conference, I posted it on facebook in that way you do to show everyone you have a life. That’s when Louis messaged me and invited me to meet his fiancé for dinner and drinks since they lived nearby. It has been about five years since I watched Louis depart my driveway. We kept in contact all these years, but I am not sure why. Sometimes I think it was because he did have a sincere interest in me – however, I was not and would never be his type. Sometimes I wondered if it was because he felt that he took advantage of my kindness and vulnerability though I was the one that undid the first button. A tiny part of me wondered if his weekly whispers were to lock me in place as a backup to domestic boredom.
Louis interrupts my thoughts to inquire about John, and I explain that he is running late from a meeting. For all I know, that bastard is standing outside smoking a cigarette with his face in his phone. Before I can finish the thought, John graces us with his presence. The smell of whiskey on this breath tells the real story. The two men begin to talk about the old mustang that Louis is restoring and the rusty bucket of bolts of a motorcycle that is taking up space in John’s garage. Their conversation bores me, leaving me with two options, quietly drink my wine or engage Scarlett.
“What were you reading before we got here?” silicon valley says, interrupting my wine interlude.
“A French translation about social class,” I explain. Scarlett blinks at me as if I said the words in French. Changing the subject to a more pedestrian topic, I ask about her job – nearly spitting out my wine when she says pharmaceutical sales rep. Oh, Louis, you haven’t changed a bit… this is going to be fun.
I shift in my chair to set my wine glass down on the small table separating our four bodies. The suede tips of my Jimmy Choo pumps are pointing at Scarlett, my legs stretching the divide between Louis and John. I am trying not to look at Louis out of respect for Scarlett, the whole time wondering if she knows about our past.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Louis move and open his long legs wider in this chair. Is he fucking with me? There is a mischievous grin on his face per the usual. I return the gesture by dropping the twisted up piece of bar napkin I am playing. I reach my hand slowly to the ground, letting the opening of my blouse dip down further. Our eyes meet from that place he was looking as I arch my back and let out a slight sigh from my wine-stained lips. With a quick glance, I see no one is watching us – John’s face is buried in his phone and Scarlett is ordering another Cosmo from a waiter that looks annoyed by something she is asking.
You wanna play Louis? Let’s do this thing.
By: Brandi L. Holder
So, readers what do you think happens next?