So after a week away on holidays at the beach, I’m back. And straight back into the writing. Kelly Clarkson has always inspired a few characters, and it seems that hasn’t changed. So take a step back into the days of prohibition and pearls, and enjoy.
You ain’t got the right
The lights dimmed as John Baron’s best girl took to the stage again. The beauty Eva Delacroix wore green that night and there was something different about her. All the regulars saw it as her small hand wrapped around the microphone. Her shoulders were pulled back and her head was up. None of the shy wilting flower who always stood singing to the carpet just beyond the edge of the club’s stage.
This speakeasy belonged to a small player in the business, having just come from London, who was getting bigger by the day. His business methods were brutal, and that reflected in other aspects of his life.
Eva was the latest in a line of woman that John Baron had picked to be girlfriend, lover, mistress. Often there were more than one.
John had not noticed the change in the singer. He was too busy plotting against a competitor, one Charlie Cassano.
What he did not know, was that Charlie had been plotting too. Not for the same reasons.
Eva began to sing, her voice sultry as she crooned. Tonight there was more power in her voice than there had ever been before. Tonight she performed like never before.
A final performance deserved that.
You ain’t got the right to tell me
When and where to go, no right to tell me
Acting like you own me lately
Yeah, baby, you don’t know a thing about me
John did not hear any of the words of the song, and he would have scoffed at the words himself, as many of them might have had they been paying attention to the lyrics and not just the singer.
Eva finished her song and looked out into the crowd. She knew where John would be, she could not make out if he watched or not, it was of no consequence.
Eva felt a flutter in her stomach as she curtseyed for the applause. It was not stage fright, though she got that every night, tonight it was something different. Tonight was different.
She smoothed the borrowed dress down as she straightened and again and gave a little wave to the audience. She left the stage and walked down out the back but instead of heading for John’s office she simply walked out the back door to the car that was waiting.
“Evening, ma’am.” The man tipped his hat and opened the back door and Eva climbed in.
She was immediately enveloped in a hug as a small figure launched at her. “It went smoothly?”
“I doubt he shall know I am missing for some time,” Eva replied. “Thank you, Georgie.”
“It is our pleasure, doll.” Georgie grinned at it was so warm and sincere. She leant over as the man who had opened the door got in the car. She tapped him on the shoulder and he turned back to look at her with an amused look.
“Home, Dixon. And make it snappy.”
“Right away, your highness.”
Eva had met Georgie while she was shopping for a new hat. The girl had noticed faded bruises on her arm, the shape of fingertips that had squeezed flesh too hard. Georgie had not liked it and had not let Eva leave the shop without knowing everything. The girl’s kindness had been welcome to a country girl in the big city who had been taken advantage of for her beauty and talent since she had come to find her fame.
Georgie, it turned out, danced for one of John’s worst enemies, Charlie Cassano. And Charlie was only too happy to help Georgie out with her rescue plan for two reasons. The first, Charlie would do anything to spoil John’s day, and second, Charlie had a code about women and children and he would not leave Eva to be abused.
As the car started and pulled out of the alleyway, Eva looked back at the building. With any luck she would not step foot in the place again, nor would she ever have to lay eyes on John Baron again. Most likely she would return home with her tail between her legs and admit that her parents had been right about her dreams. She did not wish to stay and cause more trouble for Charlie when he had helped save her.
“You’re going to love it with us,” Georgie said, drawing Eva’s attention back to her.
“I do not think I will be staying once I have worked off my debt to your boss. And I will never be able to thank you for aiding me. It was so fortuitous meeting you.”
“Els would say that all things happen as they are meant to, I was meant to be there that day,” Georgie had Eva’s hand in her own now. “And for it, you are meant to be coming home with me tonight. And you don’t have any debt to work off to Charlie. I’d box his ears if he forced you to work.”
“He would not have to force me. I will earn my keep and earn my bus ticket home,” Eva nodded. She had already thought about this on the sleepless nights since Georgie had come to her with her plan. She would earn her way back home. If events led to her staying then so be it, but she would be prepared to get her way home and she had the skills to earn her way. Though she would prefer not to sing and from what Eva had heard, Charlie had a singer that few compared to. Eva could dance, and she could work the floor like she had done before John had picked her.
“Charlie will be okay with that, and you’re so pretty I bet you’ll be second only to Els. But you won’t resent her for being top dog, no one ever does. You’ll understand when you meet her, she’s something special and she’s basically my best friend. That’s her dress you’re wearing. I knew it would look great on her. She often wears green, she says an old friend loved green and loved the green on her. They were almost like sisters. I think she’s dead but Els doesn’t talk about her past much.”
Eva smiled as the bubbly girl kept talking. It was endearing. Eva did not have a lot to say or any comment to make about this Els. And she definitely had no plans to try and become Charlie’s top girl. Not at all. Eva was quite happy to just be part of the background for a while. To be unnoticed by all.
But the fates do not care for what we think should happen. They have their own plans.
And as Eva was escorted toward Charlie Cassano’s office and laid eyes on the man standing with the woman in an almost matching green dress, she suddenly wished for nothing more than to be noticed.
Her very soul called out for this man to turn and look at her and see her.
But the fates do not care for what we think should happen. Eva was escorted into Charlie’s office and the man never looked her way.