An Important Note for my Readers...
Although this blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content is strongly recommended for adult audiences. Please be advised.
|Park West Hotel, Dollyville, Massachusetts|
(Could that be Beckett's Mustang parked out front?)
Standing in the afternoon heat waiting for the valet, he silently fumed. Just what the hell was her damn problem? Against the sound advice of his own attorney, he had been exceedingly generous with the arrangements. If he suddenly found himself dead, she'd be a very wealthy woman. And if they ended up becoming just another divorce statistic, Maureen O'Kenney would still live very comfortably indeed. There was no reason at all for her to carry on as she did. It was silly, childish and extremely disrespectful, and when he caught up with her, he sure as hell was going to tell her so.
Not for the first time, he questioned his sanity over the decision to marry this tiny, vanilla cupcake. He liked his women experienced. Compliant. Obedient. She was none of those things. In fact, there were times he thought she purposely did the opposite of what he asked, simply to see if she could get a rise out of him. An outright brat, who obviously didn't know the first thing about submission. He ought to have his head examined for mixing it up with her in the first place, and if he still had a half a brain in his head, he would call the whole thing off. Pay child support, and drag his sorry ass out of the line of fire while he still could.
Beckett looked at his watch, and began to pace. It was taking too damn long for them to bring the car around. By now, she might be several blocks away. Wandering around in those ridiculously sexy shoes. What if she turned an ankle? Tripped over a stone, and fell on her face? And was it all that sensible for someone in her condition to be hiking around in this oppressive summer humidty? Not to mention the unwanted attention she was probably garnishing in that clingy, little dress. A wrong turn here or there, and she could end up in some lousy neighborhood. And it would be his damn fault for being shitty about the car.
When they finally pulled the Mustang around, Beckett throw a $20 at the kid, and began moving slowly around the streets nearest the hotel. He eventually located her about eight blocks away, now barefoot, and carrying the Louboutons in her hand. Maneuvering across traffic, he pulled up at a corner where she was waiting for the light to change, and rolled down the window. "Get in the car, Maureen."
She shook her head vigorously, side to side, refusing to speak.
"I'm asking nicely. If you don't comply, I will put you in it myself, and I guarantee you will not enjoy the way in which I do it."
She hesitated a moment, and then spoke. "Just leave me alone, Beckett. This won't ever work.
We're just postponing the inevitable, and everyone knows it. That's what this afternoon is all about, isn't it? Getting everything in order for our sure fire failure."
Voice still calm, he leaned closer to the passenger window. "I do not wish to have this conversation on a public street corner. Get in the car. Now."
Turning away, she began to move across the street against the light, but caught sight of him putting the vehicle in park, and opening the driver's side door. Seeing the look on his face, and realizing he was actually coming after her, she backtracked to the car. "Okay. Okay. I'm getting in. See?" She dropped unceremoniously into the bucket seat, and waited for him to say something, but instead, he remained grimly silent. For the next ten minutes, she attempted to start a conversation, even going as far as to try and goad him into a response with accusations and insults. But Beckett stayed tight lipped and mute, his face offering only a slight hint at his annoyance.
Eventually, they pulled up the drive way of his home. Parking the car, but leaving the engine running, he finally turned to speak to his bride, whose frustration at being ignored was bubbling over. She opened her mouth to begin a new tirade, but he held up a hand, suggesting she stop. "This will be a very short conversation if you keep on the path you are heading. I have a handful of questions, and I expect you to answer them calmly and honestly. Can you do that?"
Eyes welling up, she nodded her consent.
"Good girl. Question #1. We had a discussion similar to this one the last time you did a runner. From my house...at night...without a word. Do you recall that conversation?"
Again, she nodded, not sure where he was going with his line of questioning.
"And what was the result of that debate?"
Hesitating a moment, she mumbled. "I promised you I wouldn't do that again."
"Correct. And what did we decide would happen if you broke that promise?"
Not liking the direction of his questions, she narrowed her eyes, and folded her arms across her chest. "This is ridiculous. You know very well what was said."
"I need to hear it from you."
"Forget it, Sheriff. I'm not some five year old you can scold and intimidate with reverse psychology."
Shrugging his shoulders, he put the car in reverse, and began backing out the driveway. "Okay, Maureen. Conversation over. I'm done."
Suddenly fearful that he meant he was done with her, and recalling the last time they argued like this, she protested, grabbing his arm as she spoke. "Wait! Don't leave. I'll answer. Just stop."
He watched her face, and satisfied she was serious, put the car back in park. "The question again is... what did we both decide would happen if you broke that promise?"
Looking at her hands, she replied in a whisper. "I would willingly suffer the consequences."
"Nicely done, Maureen. Now, only more question to go." He thought about reaching for her hands, but decided against it. "Do you want to marry me?"
"Of course I want to marry you! I love you to pieces. But...it's just..."
"There are no 'buts' Maureen. Excuses are nothing but negotiation. You either do...or you don't."
He could see the wheels turning in her head, and wondered whether he had misjudged her. The quiet in the car grew to monster proportions, and he asked again. "So, yes or no? Do you want to marry me?"
She sighed heavily. "Yes, Ted. I want to marry you."
He would never admit to anyone just how relieved her answer made him, but their conversation was far from over. "Then, if you've made such a monumental decision regarding your choice of a spouse, you must surely trust me enough to have your best interests at heart, correct?"
Still hesitant, she answered, "Yeah. I guess so."
"Then trust me when I tell you that you need to sign that pre-nup. It is necessary for your own security, as well as mine. And if it turns out we never need it, then no one would be happier than me. But, I need to have things settled, Maureen. It's who I am. And it's gotta be my way."
"Fine, Ted. Whatever. I'll sign the damn thing. But I want you to know...I don't care about your money. I never cared about your money, so this whole damn thing is a waste."
"That's good to hear, darln'." He leaned over the console, and kissed her. A lot gentler than he wanted. Then taking the ring from his pocket, slid it back on her left finger, and kissed each of the tips. "Gimme a sec here, sweetheart. I have to call the two gentlemen we left sitting at the Park West."
She giggled, letting her heart return to a normal beat, and listened to him talk to his attorney. When he was finished, she looked at him, confused. "Why did you tell them we'd be back in two hours? It'll only take about fifteen minutes to get back to the hotel."
"We're not quite finished here, baby."
She looked at him quizzically. "We're not?"
"Nope. There's that little matter of consequences for taking a runner on me."
"But...but..." She turned red, and stammering, explained, "I thought we talked through everything. And you were okay." Stalling, she brushed a lock of dark hair from his forehead, and ran a hand down his cheek.
"We did. And I am. Quite satisfied, actually. But a promise is a promise, Maureen. I expect you to keep your word." He left the driver's side, and came around to open the door for her.
"You're serious? Ted...I...I thought you were just teasing." Her breath hitched, and she turned a deep shade of pink.
"I never tease about consequences." He put out his hand for her to take.
Reluctantly, she took hold of his hand, and let him pull her out of her seat. "You mean...like now? Here at your house?" Planting her feet, she whined. "This is weird, Ted. We can't. Your housekeeper is here. She'll hear us."
"Not here. Off on Thursdays. So...it's just you and me, sweetheart."
"But your lawyer...and Patrick...are waiting for us back at the Park West."
"You heard what I told them. They know we won't be back until 5. Right now, I would guess they've made themselves comfortable in the hotel bar. Lawyers are used to delays. Comes with the territory. I wouldn't give it another thought."
"Ted, I don't think..."
"Seems to me I do recall someone saying something earlier about postponing the inevitable." The corners of his mouth turning up in a wicked grin, he punched in the security code, and opened the front door. Turning to Maureen, he swung open his arm in mock invitation. "Shall we, darlin'?"
Two hours later, O'Kenney and Beckett, along with their respective counsel, convened at the Park West Hotel. If anyone noticed that the bride was giddy and flushed, and wearing her dress inside out, no one mentioned it. And the fact that she refused a chair, and instead choose to stand throughout the rest of the proceedings, also went without a comment. The focus remained solely on the fact that the pre-nuptial agreement was signed, sealed and delivered, allowing the wedding plans to move forward, much to the relief of the woman's attorney, and elder brother.
|Maureen O'Kenny signs the pre-nup, under the watchful eye of brother, and counsel, Patrick|
|"Ravishing Roksi" on the pole at Ruby's Lounge|
(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WILDWOOD DOLLHOUSES)
It was slow for a Thursday. By 11:00 PM, the club was normally filled with patrons getting a jump on their weekend celebration. Strangely, on this particular night, the place was a virtual wasteland. Two old guys, each nursing a half empty glass in front of them, sat near the stage, their eyes glazed over like victims of a hypnotic trance. On the pole, Roxanne Spinelli spun while working the math in her head. Smaller audience meant less tips. Less tips meant she probably was going to be late with the rent again.
To the strains of Black Velvet, by Alannah Myles, wailing in the background, Roxie shifted her weight to her left leg and moved into a Front Hook Spin, followed by a full Carousel Straddle. This point in the routine called for her to unsnap and toss the bra part of her costume as she slid to the right of the pole. But in the mood she was in, there was no damn way she was going to parade her boobs for the two lone geezers drooling at the stage's railing. Not tonight, anyway. As the song neared it's end, the shapely brunette grabbed the brass, and with perfect precision and grace, dismounted with a Shoulder Mount Inversion, landing on the floor with a dramatic back flip.
The tiny audience answered her performance with a weak attempt at applause, obviously disappointed with Roxie's less than full disclosure. "Tough shit." she murmured under her breath. "You morons got more than your money's worth already." Grabbing a towel off the rack behind the stage's curtain, she headed for the dressing room. She had 45 minutes before her next call, the last of the night. If all went well, and she wasn't interrupted by the nonsense of the other girls, it was remotely possible she'd be able to get through several pages of tomorrow's assigned reading.
"Cuttin' corners again, Rox. You know how Ruby feels about that." Stepping in front of her, Jake Kresky, the club's stage manager, blocked her passage.
"Come on, Jake. Cut me some slack. The place is empty. It's just those two losers who've been here since 9, sucking on the same watered down drink since they walked in."
"A customer is a customer, girlie. They pay the $20 cover, they can sit there until they fuckin' grow roots. And if they come to see "Ravishing Roksi", they're entitled to see all of her...including her tits. We got a reputation to uphold. Ruby runs a tight ship, and by now, ya need to get with the program. You're no damn newbie, Rox."
"Quite blown' smoke up my ass, Kresky. You and I both know I'm the best there is on the pole. In all of Boston. That's just plain fact, and everyone, including Ruby, understands that. I bring more revenue into this dump than any girl here."
"I'm warning ya, Spinelli...lose the attitude. You got the moves, but you're damn well closin' in on 30, and it ain't gonna be long before gravity takes over. Then nobody's gonna want to see your bony ass, and saggy boobies, shaking it up there on that stage. You'll end up workin' the morning slot, and wrestling the other sorry shits for lap dance tips."
Fighting with Kresky was like pissing in the wind. Whatever she lobbed at him would eventually come back, and hit her square in the face. The asshole had Ruby's ear, and if he complained long and hard enough, her skill wouldn't matter a bit. She'd find herself out on the street before she could say jack shit, and right now, she needed this job. Between rent, utilities and tuition, every penny was accounted for, and there was no room for sudden unemployment. Turning her back on the man, she flipped him the bird, and made her way to the dressing room.
In one sense, he was right. Her attitude of late did suck. For good reason. Only two weeks into the summer semester, and she was already behind. She had a paper due in her Crime Analysis class, a lab to finish in Forensic Studies, and a ton of reading on the subject of juvenile defenders. Not to mention the part-time investigating she did for some of her neighbors. She had promised Mrs. Wong that she would try to track down her grandson, who had left to move into the Chinatown area, and from whom the family had not heard a word in six weeks. And she told Mr. Khajami in apartment 6B, that she'd follow his wife, and find out where she disappeared to every afternoon, promptly at 2. Throw in her time here at the club, plus the needed rehearsal, and she might as well give up eating or sleeping.
None of that could be helped. She was gonna chase this dream, or die trying. From the time she was kid, she had wanted to be a detective. A gun- toting, trench- coat wearing, hard boiled PI. The kind she drooled over in hours of mystery stories, and found in the likes of every character from Nancy Drew to Phillip Marlowe. In the endless hours of cable channel reruns of Perry Mason, Ellery Queen and Magnum PI. It had been her salvation during the bad times. The moving from place to place. The new schools. The shunning, and embarrassment of having a jail bird father. Through it all, she had set her mind to what needed to be done, gritted her teeth, and dove in head first.
When she graduated from high school, there had been no money for college. Daddy was already in prison, and Mama was barely hanging on. Her grades were good, but not extraordinary, and despite an amazing amount of skills in gymnastics and cheer leading, there were few scholarship offers. The hand full of schools that had been semi-interested offered partial tuition, but not nearly enough for a girl whose family could not ante up a single dime. So instead of packing up for a college adventure, she was picking through pages of help wanted ads, filling out applications, and hitting the pavement, business to business.
Her first job had been as a waitress at Mike's City Diner on Washington Street. It was a grueling, dog-eat-dog job, and at first opportunity, she looked for something better. She found a position as a dog groomer, then as day care worker, and finally at UPS as a package handler. It was during her time at Brown that she and a friend decided to take an evening pole dancing class as a lark. With her years of gymnastic training, she found herself to be a natural, and with the instructor's encouragement, decided to try and go pro.
After a ten minute audition, she was hired on the spot by Big Al's, a small gentlemen's club in the South End neighborhood. There, she quickly made a name for herself, and after only four months on the job, was recruited by Ruby Wheeler to make the move to her popular spot, promising more pay, and a larger percentage of tips. The fact that she made her living as an exotic dancer, taking her clothes off and dancing for strange men, gave her absolutely no pause. It was simply a matter of working toward a goal, and she had long ago given up worrying about what people thought of her. Their opinion mattered little, and any hesitation was lost as her bank account began to grow.
When she had saved enough money, she enrolled as a part-time student at Boston College, listing her major as Criminal Justice. She had done her homework, and knew Massachusetts law required that she work in professional law enforcement for three years before applying for a PI license. And no decent municipality would even consider hiring her until she earned her BS in Criminal Justice. Taking two or three classes at a time to hold down the costs, and working the needed night job at the club, it had taken her almost five years to get to this point. She needed only one more semester to graduate, and then she could finally start the journey to actually becoming a real private investigator, with a plan to start her own firm.
In the mean time, she practiced on her neighbors and friends, doing little jobs for free. Just last week, she had finally been able to help prove that a man suing her landlord for personal injury was, in fact, faking his symptoms. And only a month ago, she tracked down a dead beat dad for one of the girls at the club. There was no doubt she had a knack for this sort of thing. A six sense for getting to the bottom of things, and working in law enforcement a few years was only going to sharpen her skills. Thus, the key to this whole plan, was landing a job as a police officer.
Getting accepted to the police academy here in Boston was a pipe dream. The waiting list was ridiculously long, and she didn't have a single connection to help move her long. She wasn't about to go gray waiting to make the cut. And even if they did admit her to the program, once they found out how she had put herself through college, it was unlikely anyone would ever take her seriously. No, she needed to branch out. Leave the Boston area, and look for a position in some small town where she could start fresh, and learn the ropes.
It was for that reason, and that reason alone, she accepted the invitation to Maureen O'Kenney's wedding. It wasn't as if she didn't think of Mo as a friend. They had reconnected a few years ago, after running into each other on the campus of Boston College, and made a point of getting together every six weeks or so. It was even Roxie herself who suggested to the broken hearted Maureen that she leave Boston awhile after the whole affair with the boss debacle came to light. She was happy that her childhood friend had moved on, found someone special, and made a life for herself. But going to the wedding meant a high probability of running into her brother, of having to come face to face again with Kevin O'Kenney, and the thought made her queasy.
She hadn't spoken to Kevin in almost fifteen years. Not since that September morning in the halls of St. Bridget's. And despite the years that followed, and all the lousy, rotten things that had happened, the memory of that encounter cut like a knife. She had heard through the grapevine that he had gone on to the seminary, and remembered people on Facebook mentioning his ordination, but after that, lost track of the family entirely. It wasn't until she had met up with Maureen, that she found out he had been assigned his own parish out of the Boston area, and breathed a sigh of relief. It was unlikely she'd run into him in her line of work, and she sure as hell wasn't going to trek down to the middle of now where to see him say Mass any time soon.
But here she was, willingly placing herself in a position that required her to face ugly teenage demons. Maureen undoubtedly told him what she did for a living, and she could picture him congratulating himself on the fact that he had avoided a fall of grace under the temptation of the neighborhood Jezebel. The image wanted to make her puke. Grabbing a robe from her locker, she slipped it over her shoulders, and belted it at the waist. Finding a quiet corner of the dressing room, she pulled out her textbook and highlighter, and got busy on her assignment for tomorrow's class.
The dream was all that mattered, and the only reason she was willing to risk emotional flagellation. Upon receiving the wedding invitation, and personal note from Maureen, she had Googled the prospective groom, and was surprised to find that he was Dollyville's Sheriff. A Sheriff in a small town, where just maybe, if she were lucky, and begged her friend's influence, she could land a job in law enforcement when she finished her degree. If suffering this wedding meant networking that option, she would do it. She'd take the chance, and Kevin O'Kenney be damned.
|Roksi's last stage performance of the night|
(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WILDWOOD DOLLHOUSES)
All Rights Reserved
CREDITS, INFORMATION AND A GIANT THANK YOU...
ROXANNE SPINELLI'S CHARACTER WAS INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF THESE FABULOUS ARTISIANS. I HAVE INCLUDED CONTACT INFORMATION BELOW.
April and Ron Gill, of Wildwood Dollhouses, who created the whole building and scene, including the awesome three-way infinity mirrors, revolving stage, and special "club" lighting.
Contact them at WWDHMS@aol.com for information on this piece, and other wonderful dollhouses. You can also find and "like" them on Facebook under Wildwood Dollhouses
Bev Gelfand who created the lovely "Ravishing Roksi"
For information on her other dolls, or custom work, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cat Wingler, who created the gentlemen patrons shown in the club.
For information on her other dolls, or custom work, contact her at email@example.com
|The outside of Ruby's Lounge|
(PHOTO COURTESY OF WILDWOOD DOLLHOUSES)
AND JUST ONE MORE THING...
I wanted to make note of Maureen's outfit today...only because it gave me such a headache. I wrote the scene last week with a description of her wearing "a soft green, jersey knit", not realizing what a pain that would be to create. I do not excel in doll fashion, and after three failed attempts, I almost gave up, and planned another scene. But last night, I tried this last ditch attempt at dressing her, and I'm rather pleased with the results. Not a jersey knit, but clingy enough to give the effect. And you'll never guess what her dress was made of. Give up? It started life as one of those scrubby bath gloves from the dollar store, cut and pieced together. I rather like how she looks.
Unfortunately, I had to sew her into that dress, so I hope she likes it. She will probably end up wearing it for the next few posts. (Well, maybe not the shoes. She's already complaining those Loubouton stilettos are killing her. LOL)