Let the Good Times Roll
Copyright 2013 Rosemary Armel
Disclaimer: All characters in my story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Camille rushed into the house letting the screen door slam behind her. Her long tan legs carried her up the wooden stairs and into her sister Emmeline’s room. Camille did not have much time to decide which dress she would secretly borrow from her older sister. Her own wardrobe consisted of everyday clothes and a Sunday dress. Tonight was special and she wanted something that looked fancy. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand, noting that she had about ten minutes before Emmie came home from her job at the Parish Council. She sifted through the armoire and selected one with tiny pink roses that had a laced bodice and ruffled sleeves. Holding it up to herself, she wondered why Emmie inherited their mother’s ample breasts and not her.
She stopped moving around and listened as the screen door banged shut. Standing there frozen solid for a second in the middle of the bedroom, Camille realized that it must be the twins coming home from school. Holding the dress close to her, she slinked off to her own room before Angelo and Antonio came up. Camille let a few minutes go by and then stuck her head out her bedroom door.
“That you Angie and Tony?”
The boys were already at the kitchen table arguing over the division of some left over blueberry la tarte from last night’s dinner. Looking into the kitchen, she shook her head and warned the boys.
“Emmeline will have your hides if you mess up this kitchen.”
The boys nodded in agreement as blueberries dripped down their faces and onto the kitchen table. Camille went back up the stairs. She had better things to do than play nursemaid to those two. They were twelve now, and it was high time they learned to clean up after themselves. Her thoughts went back to getting ready for the dance. Tonight her boyfriend Charlie Thibodeau and his band had a gig playing at a real club called T Bo’s, not a high school gym where they usually played. She knew this was just the start for Charlie and the Woodchucks, as she twirled around in her room with the dress.
Charlie’s cousin Chet pulled up in his Tin Lizzie and laid on the horn. Charlie came out of the repair garage wiping the sweat back onto his red matted hair with a greasy arm. He yelled over the clunking engine. “Give me a minute cuz I have to tell Pa I’m leaving.” His father did not mind that Charlie played in the band along with a couple of his cousins and friends. He knew it was a boys dream, but when he graduated this year he would make sure he buckled down to the family business.
Charlie jumped into the car stretching his long tired legs, before he could get comfortable; Chet told him the exciting news.
“I got us a gig in New Orleans at La Reux’s Dance Hall at the beginning of July”
Charlie repeated opening his blue eyes wide in surprise. He had only been out of Lake Trowley a few times to visit cousins in Baton Rouge and once to New Orleans when he was about seven.
“Mon Dieu! How did you manage that? “
” I know people Charlie boy.” Chet replied with a grin and continued to talk about all the details while Charlie thought about how excited Camille would be.
When evening set in Camille lowered the dress on a hanger tied to some string. Carefully she lowered it down from her bedroom window and then closed the window quietly as possible. Dressing in a plain blue sundress, she headed downstairs to where her family gathered as they did every Friday night. The twins Tony and Angie were huddled by the radio waiting for the new Superman show to come on. Their father Aubrey sat in his favorite easy chair talking with her older brother Roberto and his new bride Rene’.
“Pop it was the strangest thing today out of nowhere my nose started to bleedin and bleedin at work. I nearly used my whole shirt to stop it.”
Rene’ patted her new husband sympathetically on the back.
Emmeline sat on the loveseat at a proper distance from her finance’ Joe Bo. Aunt Na and Uncle Luke were just arriving with a bottle of wine and some homemade dessert. Their son’s sixteen-year-old John-Henry and eleven-year-old Frank followed in and took a seat by Tony and Angie. Aunt Na who never missed a thing over heard Roberto’s conversation.
“Your Rene’ has a bun in the oven.”
Roberto laughed. “That’s an old wives tale Aunt Na we are not having a baby yet.”
Aunt Na shook her finger at him. “You laugh, but you will see I’m right. Your bloody nose just told me it is so.”
Camille quietly entered the room and started making her way slowly towards the front door.
“Where are you off to tonight cher?” Her father inquired.
“To see Charlie and the band, Poppa.”
He nodded his approval. He knew one day soon Charlie would ask for Camille’s hand. He liked the boy and his family.
Emmeline was waiting for her moment to pounce. “Poppa, Camille didn’t say where she was going to see Charlie play.”
Camille turned her head quickly, snapping her long dark brown hair around. She shot her sister a look that would have knocked her and the loveseat over. Aubrey waited for Camille to respond; in fact everyone in parlor had her attention now.
With a frustrated breath Camille replied, “At little place called T Bo’s.”
Emmeline shot up righteously from her seat shouting.
“That is a swing club Poppa!”
Camille took a few menacing steps towards her sister “Shut up Emmie you’re not my mother.”
Aubrey raised his hand to stop the quarrel, as he did so many times before. Ever since his wife passed away of the cancer eight years ago, Emmeline had tried to play the role of surrogate mother to Camille and the boys.
Aubrey looked at Emmeline and said, “I’m sure Charlie Thibodeau will look after your sister.” Then he turned his deep-set blue eyes to Camille. “You will be careful and stay close to the band while you’re there?”
“Oh I promise Poppa.”
Camille crossed the room to give her father a peck on the cheek. “May I wait for Charlie on the porch?”
He patted her affectionately. “Go ahead cher and be careful.” Camille walked out the door making sure her sister could see her very smug smile.
As soon as she was out the door, Camille ran around back to the outhouse and changed into her sister’s fancier dress. When she heard Charlie pull up, she ran straight out to the car, but not before Emmeline looked out the window and got a quick glimpse of her leaving. She could have sworn that Camille was wearing something else when she walked out the door just a few minutes ago.
Camille jumped in Charlie’s black Chevy pick up truck before he came to a full stop. “Floor it Charlie!” Camille yelled as she quickly slammed the heavy door shut.
Charlie hit the gas without asking any questions. When it came to Camille, he knew it was better to do as he was told and not ask questions. When they were a fair distance from her house, he told her the good news about the band. Camille threw both of her arms around him while he drove.
“I just knew it. You are the best crooner in all of Louisiana. You are gonna be big some day Charlie boy. They will be asking for Charlie and Woodchucks all the way to New York City. I bet you get a record deal before Christmas!”
Charlie smiled and listened. He loved to hear Camille dream about their future. Even if he knew deep down it was only a dream. He already planned to buy her engagement ring with the extra money he made over the summer.
Camille sat out on the veranda of T Bo’s sipping a soda pop, while the band set up. There would be a big crowd tonight. The well-known Bebe Courrie would be playing his fiddle as a guest with the band. As the sun started to sink low, Camille watched as the shiniest red car she had ever seen pulled into the parking lot making dust fly all around.
The car was a 1940 Ford Deluxe convertible club coup just off the show room floor from New York. The driver Daniel Dashelle was just like the car sharp, fast and good-looking. Getting out of the car, he checked himself in the side view mirror to make sure his black immaculately groomed hair was still in place. As he walked towards the club, Camille thought he might be a movie star. He walked with long sure strides like he owned the place. Camille kept her eyes down pretending to examine her bottle of pop. She could hear his footsteps walk up and then stop directly in front of her.
Gazing down on her with a smile he said “Say, didn’t we go to different schools together?”
Camille looked up at the towering six-foot man with broad shoulders. When their eyes met, she felt a tingle run up and down her spine and then her heart skipped a beat. She had never seen a man that looked that gorgeous in real life.
Camille stuttered a reply “I’m, I’m not sure I go to Lake Trowley High School.”
Dan nodded and smiled giving her a quick wink before he walked into the bar. He thought to himself he liked country girls, they did not have a lot of clutter going on in their heads
Camille mulled over what he said after she regained her composure. Go to different schools together? How could that be? Smacking her hand against her forehead, she blushed. “How could I be so stupid, she moaned to herself?”
Dan sat back in the bar stool and ordered a whisky straight up. He had just arrived in Lake Trowley yesterday, after high tailing it out of New York four days ago. Someone had pinned him at the murder scene of a local restaurant in the city and the law was looking for him. Dan worked for the Raguli family. He did some numbers-running, drug trafficking and racketeering, but he never would kill anyone, and anyone who knew him knew it was not his style. He would have to lay low, until he could prove an alibi that no one could shake. Salvatore, the head of the Raguli family suggested that this would be a good time to take a vacation.
Camille heard the band start warming up and decided to go inside. She kept an eye out for the handsome stranger and made sure she sashayed past him on her way to her table in front of the band. When she got to the table, Charlie blew her a kiss from the stage as she sat down and then he turned his attention back to the band.
The band started playing Jeepers Creepers, which got the dance floor going, and then the Beer Barrel Polka. Camille loved to dance and was on the floor with someone for every song. In a small town like Lake Trowley, she was usually dancing with a cousin or someone else’s cousin or someone she knew since grade school.
Halfway through the evening the handsome stranger approached Camille on the dance floor and asked her to dance. It was a slow number called If I Didn’t Care made popular by the Ink Spots. As he held her gently to dance, Camille recognized the fresh scent of Burma-Shave.
As they danced across the floor he asked, “My name is Dan. How you like me so far?”
“I like you just fine Dan.”
Dan flashed a smile that showed his straight pearly white teeth “I knew the minute I laid my eyes on you Angel Cake that you liked me.”
Camille stumbled. “I didn’t mean it like that! I have a boyfriend and he’s singing right now.” She nodded towards Charlie on the stage.
Before they could have any further conversation, someone tapped Dan on the shoulder to cut in for the rest of the dance. Dan bowed out graciously. He did not want any trouble with the locals or draw any attention to himself. He would catch up with that piece of angel cake another time.
Camille was curious about the new mysterious man. As the evening wore on, the dance hall became so crowded there was standing room only. She found her best friend Margaret and told her about the new stranger in town. They circled around the bar and the dance hall, so Camille could point him out to her, but he was already gone.
It was three AM when the band was finished and packed up to go. Camille told Charlie how wonderful they were tonight and he believed her. Tonight they were both excited. Instead of going straight home, Charlie drove the truck to an abandoned barn and parked. He pulled out a bottle of wine from the back seat and they toasted to their future.
When the bottle was empty, Charlie took Camille in his arms and kissed her passionately, letting his hands roam all over the body that was so familiar to him. Very willingly, Camille helped him slip her out of her sister’s dress and moved to the make shift bed in the back of the truck. The air was warm and humid even though it was only early May. He laid out a blanket and Charlie shrugged hastily out of his own clothes.
They made powerful love that night. As Camille gave up control and surrendered to her own desires, an image of the stranger she met tonight came to her mind. She had never thought of anyone else while making love to Charlie. Trying to ignore the image she pushed against Charlie harder. Holding him tightly, their tongues mingled to the same rhythm as their bodies. Passion swept over both of them as their bodies tensed for the final release.
It was a little after four A.M. when they pulled up to house. Camille remembered to put her own dress back on before going into the house. She threw her sister’s dress behind the house and went quietly inside. Everyone seemed to be asleep as she crept up the stairs. As she entered her own room, she heard Emmeline’s door open for a moment then shut in haste.
Camille woke up much later after the family returned from church. Emmeline’s voice ranting about something roused her out of bed. After dressing for the day, Camille came down the stairs. Emmeline was pacing back and forth in front of their father who listened calmly from his easy chair.
“There she is Poppa. Go ahead and ask your daughter the night owl, why she would throw my good dress in the dirt.”
With a sigh, Aubrey asked Camille what seemed to him a ridiculous question.
Throwing her hands in the air Camille responded. “Oh Poppa! Why would I throw her dress in the dirt? I really think she might be losing her mind.”
In a very tight stern voice Emmeline asked, “Well then how did my dress get outside?”
Very coolly, with a small smile, Camille said. “Maybe it fell off the clothes line?”
“Mais oui that is what has happened Emmeline. Now, let your sister have something to eat”
Their father stood to go out on the porch signifying that that was end of the discussion.
On a rainy afternoon a few days later, Dan pulled up in his car along side of Camille, while she was walking home from school.
“Would you like a ride Angel Cake?”
Camille thought about it for a moment. She knew better than to take rides from strangers, but he was not actually a stranger now. She knew his name and they had even danced together.
“Yes I would appreciate a ride to get out of this rain and you can call me Camille, if you don’t mind Dan.” Camille said as she got in the car.
“Angel Cake you remembered my name! But I’ll call you Camille, because it’s just as sweet.”
Once again, he had that effect on her. She blushed and started to babble.
“Oh I remember everybody’s name. All the time and everywhere I go with everyone I meet. I remember just about all his or her names when I’m at a party. I remember way back when I was in kindergarten, on the second day of school no on could remember the teacher’s name, but I did.”
She stopped talking to take a breath knowing she was rambling, but could not stop.
He smiled his bright white smile and nodded. She smiled back in return, as she felt that warm unexpected feeling swelling up inside. She tried to hide the awkwardness by asking him questions.
“What brings you to Lake Trowley Dan?”
“I’m on vacation. I wanted a nice quiet place to stay, so I could rest and relax. I have a very busy job in New York and just needed to get away.”
“What kind of work do you do?”
Dan hesitated for a moment and then thought of a quick answer. “I am in the import/export business, sometimes I have to visit clients all over the world. I just went Bangkok last month. Have you ever been to Bangkok?” He asked changing the subject.
Camille giggled. “Bangkok, I’ve never been out of Louisiana my whole life, but I will one day, when Charlie and the band make it big.”
Camille pointed out her house. As they came to a stop, Dan suggested that they get together sometime.
“You know I have a boyfriend Dan, but my friend Margaret might like to meet you. She’s a real nice girl.”
“That sounds swell. I’d like to meet a nice girl.” Dan said with all the sincerity he could muster. “How about introducing me to her Friday night?”
He wrote down his phone number and handed it to Camille. “Call me and let me know where I should meet you.”
“You mean where you can meet Margaret and me.” Camille reminded him.
“Yeah, yeah I know you’re dating the big shot singer. Give me a call Angel Cake he winked as he drove away.”
“My name is CAMILLE, she shouted, as he went down the road.”
Camille called Margaret three times, before she finally got her on the phone.
“Margaret I’ve been calling you all afternoon. How long does it take you to get home from school? Before the girl could answer, Camille went on. “There is this dream boat of a guy who wants to meet you.”
“Meet me? Why would a dreamboat want to meet me? Margaret slowly drawled.
Margaret was the oldest and shyest of the six Dupoy children. She was taller than most of the girls in her class and always felt self-conscious about her curly red hair, freckles, knobby knees and glasses.
Camille went on and on about Dan. Margaret finally agreed to meet him with a little reluctance. “I’ll meet with this great guy as long as you stay with us the whole time and he better not be some poor toad you dug up. That cousin of yours from Lafayette you tried to fix me up with last time looked like a frog.”
“Believe me Margaret this guy is no frog, he’s a genuine prince.” Camille said laughingly as she hung up the phone.
Charlie would be busy for the next couple of months with the band. They had another gig at T Bo’s next week, one of his Uncles wanted the band to play at his Fais do-do, and then they had to practice for the big one in New Orleans. He saw Camille when he could, but she understood and never complained about his lack of attention towards her. She really wanted the band to do well when they all went to New Orleans.
Camille waited to ask her father if she could go with the band. She thought as long as she was with Charlie, he would say it was all right. In the meantime, she kept herself busy playing matchmaker.
Friday evening Camille and Margaret went over to Landry’s Malt shop and waited to meet with Dan. Margaret kept banging her leg against the table in the booth alternating with nibbling on her fingernails. For the fifth time Camille told Margaret what Dan looked like, where he was from and what he did.
Dan walked in with his usual flair. He wore neatly tailored black slacks and a white shirt. His shoes looked recently polished and shined. He found the girls immediately and slid in the seat across from both of them flashing them a charming smile and smelling of Burma-Shave.
“This must be the beautiful Margaret, Camille’s told me so much about.”
Margaret barely nodded her head and sat staring wide-eyed like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. Camille and Dan kept the conversation flowing between them, trying to include Margaret as they chatted along. Dan took the liberty of ordering shakes and fries for all of them.
Dan rubbed his chin and gave a wink towards Margaret. “Let me see, you look like a chocolate shake kind of gal, Margaret, am I right?”
Margaret nodded with a little smile and almost formed the word yes. After they finished eating, Dan offered both of the girls a ride home. When they reached the parking lot, Camille rushed Margaret over to the red convertible and pushed her into the front seat with her. A second later Camille jumped into the back seat, all before Dan reached the car. Margaret’s house was first on the way. The ride to her house was quiet, so Dan turned up the music and sang along to Oh Danny Boy as they rode along.
Before Margaret got out, Dan said, “I really enjoyed meeting you. Would you like to go out again sometime?”
“Huh, huh.” She gulped out in reply and then opened the door to the car, leaving it ajar as she ran for her house.
Camille got out of the back seat and took a seat up front. Dan started to drive and for a few moments, silence enveloped the space between them, until they both busted out laughing.
“That’s a great gal you got me Camille.”
“She’s just a little shy. Wait until you get to know her, she’s really a lot of fun.” Camille said trying to defend her girlfriend.
A few minutes later, they pulled up to Camille’s house and Dan turned to look at her, locking her eyes to his.
“Is she as fun as you?” Camille felt herself flush. “Yes she is a lot fun! You should come to T Bo’s next week I bet she won’t be so nervous.”
Dan looked deeply into Camille’s light brown eyes.
“I bet you’re a whole lot more fun.”
They could both feel the heat rising between them. Camille had her hand on the door handle, when Dan leaned over and kissed her gently on the cheek
“Sweet dreams Angel Cake.”
He drove off leaving Camille in front of her house with her hand on her cheek and her heart pounding in her chest.
She walked through the front door of her house lost in her own thoughts. It was just a kiss on the cheek. It was really no big deal. She kissed people on the cheek all the time and it really didn’t mean very much, right?
To Camille’s dismay Emmeline was home. “Whose car just dropped you off?”
Without thinking she answered. “That was Dan’s car.”
“Who is Dan?”
Emmeline was starting to annoy her with the questioning. “He is Margaret’s new boyfriend.”
“Margaret has a boyfriend? When did she get a boyfriend? How did she get a boyfriend?”
Camille started walking upstairs tired of the line of questioning that she knew would never stop.
“He’s Margaret’s boyfriend from New York.”
Before Camille shut her bedroom door to shut out her sister’s questions, she heard Emmeline exclaim.
Camille knew Emmeline would be on the phone the rest of the night getting details from every source she could. She stretched out on her bed and shook her head ruefully. By morning Emmeline would have more information or opinions about Dan, than the New York Times had about Germany invading Holland.
The week went by in a flash for Camille. High School finals were coming up. She tried to study and watch Mrs. Mouton’s seven children after school all week. Working for fifteen cents an hour, Camille hoped to earn most of the money for a new dress to wear at T Bo’s Saturday night. By Friday evening she had made two dollars and twenty-five cents. Aubrey appreciated the fact that Camille tried to earn her own money for the dress, but would have been more than happy to buy her one, if she had asked. That was Camille he mused, she always did things the hard way.
Saturday morning Aubrey drove her into town, so she could go to the two dress shops in Lake Trowley. She thought that he would just drop her off, but he wanted to go in each store with her. He didn’t approve of some of the snazzier dresses that Camille selected, so she kept trying on dresses, until they reached a compromise. She ended up getting rose-colored taffeta twill. The bodice had a slit neck with a modest tie at the top and the bottom was a full rustling skirt with roses sewed all around it. As they shopped he bought her a new pair of shoes and a handbag to match. The bill came to a walloping fifteen dollars. Surprised by the generosity, she threw her arms around her father and hugged him.
“Merci beaucoup Papa”
“Ca fait pas rien, pas de tracas” He replied as he hugged her back.
“You can wear to your graduation too, no?”
“Oui, it will be perfect Poppa”
Aubrey thought to himself, it wouldn’t be too long before he would be shopping with her for a wedding dress to marry Charlie Thibodeau. He talked to his departed wife in his head as he drove. He told Marie how proud she would be of their beautiful daughter.
Margaret met Camille at her house before going to T-Bo’s that night. They went to Emmeline’s room, because she had the big mirror and the most make up. Emmeline and Camille fussed over Margaret’s make up and hair, while giving her advice on how to act in front of a potential boyfriend. Margaret’s head was spinning from too much information and the scent of toilette water. Camille rolled up her skirt at the waist. “You need to show a little more leg.”
“With a swooney guy like Dan, you’re going to have to show off your goods a little bit, girl.” Camille rolled the waistband of the skirt one more time, so the hem would be at least just above her knee.
When they were finished primping Margaret, Emmeline asked the girls what they thought she should wear tonight.
“Why, where are you going?” Camille asked
“To T-Bo’s with you, I’m just dying to meet Margaret’s new beau.”
Camille cringed at the thought of Emmeline being there. “I thought you said it was a horrible swing club. Are you sure you want to seen in such a place?”
Emmeline sifted through the dresses in her armoire, ignoring her sister’s comment and selected the one with the tiny pink roses and laced bodice, much to Camille’s chagrin.
“I have changed my mind about T-Bo’s and I’ve already told Poppa I’m going. Joe Bo will be here to pick us up at 8:30.”
Camille didn’t fuss over the driving arrangements; once they were there she would make it clear she was leaving with Charlie. Instead she went over to the armoire and picked out one of Emmeline’s older party dresses.
“Emmie you should wear this one, it makes you look so much thinner.”
She considered her sister’s suggestion for a moment.
“No, I think this one’s nicer.”
As Emmeline put it on, Camille watched her fill it out with no problem. Camille hoped that no one would mention that she was the one wearing it last week.
Joe Bo arrived exactly at 8:30, as Emmeline told him to do. Dressed in the suit Emmeline picked for him and told him to wear. He was the perfect husband in training. The heavy rains were back again and he stood with an umbrella waiting for each girl to escort them to the car. When they got to T-Bo’s, he did the same to get them inside. Poor Joe Bo, he looked like a soaked water rat by the time they got in. He excused himself from the girls, so he could dry off, but headed for the bar.
Around 9:30 Daniel made his appearance. Even soaked to the bone the man was luscious. Now that he was a potential boyfriend for Margaret, he was invited to sit at the table up front with opened arms. Dan flashed his million-dollar smile, as he made his way to the table. Things were working out just as Dan anticipated they would.
He took a seat closest to Margaret and patted her hand
“You look lovely this evening.”
Margaret giggled and looked down at the table in reply. Camille stretched her leg under the table and kicked her. Margaret looked up into Camille’s glaring eyes and then turned her head slightly towards Dan. In just barely above a whisper she said “Thank you.”
Camille introduced Dan to everyone at the table. When she introduced Emmeline, he complimented her dress and won her over immediately. Camille held her breath for a moment, when Dan commented on Emmeline’s dress.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one quite like it.”
He flashed a quick smile over at Camille. She let out a breath, as Emmeline elbowed her.
“See I told you this was the dress I should wear tonight.”
As the evening passed different people came to sit at the table. Camille introduced Dan to everyone, letting him or her know he was from New York. When the subject of the World’s Fair came up, he told them how he had been twice. He instantly became the star at the table. He held everyone’s complete attention, as he talked about the Trylon and Perisphere buildings. Everyone had questions about this new thing called television. He won over all the men’s attention when he started to talk about Billy Rose’s Aquacade.
“I’ll tell youse guys, it was the best show I’ve ever seen in my life and believe me I’ve seen some hot shows. Those sweet little wet fillies barely had any thing on.” Dan rambled on in detail.
Camille nudged Margaret and Emmeline. “C’mon girls the band is playing the Boomps A Daisy song, let’s practice our steps.” Camille led the way onto the dance floor happy to get away from testosterone-laden table of men.
She made sure her hips bounced a little extra, as she banged them against her dancing partner. I wonder what Billy Rose would think about these moves, she thought as she glanced over at Dan, catching his eye as she danced. She didn’t know why Dan’s opinions meant anything to her, but they did.
When the girls came back to the table, the topic had turned to the new invention called fluorescent lighting and how du Pont had just come out with an amazing plastic made from coal, air and water they called it Nylon.
The band took a break. Charlie came to sit at the table and jumped into the conversation about the World’s Fair. Dan made a point to show Margaret some attention, while completely ignoring Camille. By the time the break was over, Charlie thought Dan was a swell guy, but something tugged at the back of his mind, that he couldn’t put his finger on. He chalked it up to Dan being an outsider.
The band began to play another set of songs. Dan picked his moment to ask Camille to dance. It was the same slow song by the Ink Spots. Dan held her a little closer than the last time they danced.
“I wanted to be sure we danced to our song.” He murmured in her ear.
“I didn’t know we had a song.” She coyly replied back.
Acting hurt and surprised he put a hand over his heart. He pulled back from her as they danced. “You don’t remember our first dance?”
“No, I don’t believe I do.”
Dan jerked his head back further trying to show his exaggerated pain.
“Oh you’re killing me Angel Cake, how could you not remember our first dance?”
Camille smiled at his feigned hurt “You’re a very funny man Daniel. Daniel whatever your last name is.”
The song ended as he mocked a bow “Daniel Dashelle at your service Madame.”
Camille walked away mulling over his last name. She was disturbed that she actually did remember their first dance and touched that he remembered too.
The night came to an end. Emmeline left with a very intoxicated Joe Bo She didn’t think about how the girls would get home, because she was to busy making mental notes about giving Joe Bo hell in the morning. Camille waited around, while the band packed up. That left Dan with the only option to offer Margaret a ride home. She accepted with a nod and he accepted it was going to be a long quiet ride to her house.
It was still pouring down rain when they left T-Bo’s. Dan turned up the radio as they drove. Judy Garland was singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Dan sang along, wishing he could be there with Dorothy and Toto too. When the song was over, Margaret said her first sentence.
“I know a shortcut to get to my house.”
Dan looked at her in surprise and grinned.
“Baby doll you were reading my mind, just tell me where to go.”
Margaret was happy she could be helpful. She perked up and sat up straight her seat.
“Just make a left up here that’s Dry Brook Road, then you go down about a half mile to Toober Road and make a right and then we’re there.”
Shortly after the turn Dan felt the car pushing hard against deep puddles of water and mud. Margaret had forgotten, that when heavy rains fell the dirt road washed out. Soon the tires were spinning hopelessly in the mud.
Resigned to situation Dan said. “I’m going to get out and push. Margaret, you get behind the steering wheel and give it the gas when I tell ya.”
Margaret started to tear up. “I don’t know how to drive.”
“You’re not going to drive Margaret. You’re just going to move the car forward, so we can get the hell out of hear.”
Dan slowly started to raise his voice, but tried hard to control it, as Margaret moved over to the driver’s seat. Dan got out sinking ankle deep into the mud. He motioned to Margaret to roll down the window some.
Standing beside the car, he said. “Now when I say go, you give it the gas. Just push your foot down real easy.”
“Which one is the gas?” She asked, as she tried each pedal.
When she found the gas pedal, mud flew, spitting it into Dan’s face and speckling Margaret. She began to cry.
“I’m sorry Dan, I told you I don’t know about driving.”
Dan walked to the back of the car and starting pushing, letting his frustration out on the car. He yelled through the pouring rain. “GO” He pushed waiting for Margaret to step on the gas. Nothing happened and he yelled again. “GO” Still nothing. As he stepped away, Margaret found the gas pedal and pushed her foot down with all her might. Mud kicked back with the full force from the tires, covering Dan from head to toe. The car sunk lower burying the tires completely. Dan trudged back to the side of the car. Margaret screamed startled by the muddy creature in the window.
“Margaret what the hell did you do? I told you to hit the gas lightly.”
Margaret started to cry again. “I told you I couldn’t drive.”
“Oh for the love of God Margaret, you’re not driving! Stop crying, get your thumb out of your ass and help me push this car.” Dan was yelling now with no holds barred.
Margaret got out and did as she was told. After two hours of pushing and shoving, they finally got the car to slide out of its rut. When they pulled up to her house it was two AM. Before Margaret got out, she told Dan how sorry she was for forgetting Dry Brook Road washed out when it rained a lot. His own voice exploded inside his head. She knew that this might happen! He gripped the steering wheel to prevent himself from back handing her.
As she got out of the car, she thought he might say he was sorry too, because he yelled at her. Dan sat looking straight-ahead holding tight to the steering wheel, and waited for the car door to shut, so he could leave. The wheels spun a little as he pulled out and he couldn’t help hoping that some of the mud would catch Margaret.
While Daniel and Margaret were fighting their way through the mud, Charlie and Camille stole away to a small lounge above T Bo’s. After the band packed up and went on their way, Charlie locked the door and took Camille in his arms. He had been so busy, that he hadn’t been able to tell Camille that Chet had expanded the bands tour. Now they were going to New Orleans, three towns in Mississippi and two in Alabama. They would be on the road for more than a month. It was a dream coming true for Camille. All of her thoughts came tumbling out at once.
“I’ll have to borrow Emmeline’s camera. I can be the band’s photographer. I wonder if Poppa will let me buy a new suitcase.”
Charlie didn’t want to burst her bubble, but he didn’t think her father would let her go at all.
Camille started going over a checklist of all the things they would need to do before they left. Charlie made sounds that let her know he was agreeing with her as he kissed her neck and worked his way between her breasts with his lips. His hands worked the zipper on the back of her dress. He backed her, up until she tumbled onto the couch.
“What towns are we going to in Mississippi?”
“Mmmhm” Charlie replied, as slipped the dress off her shoulders.
Camille forgot what question she just asked as her body began to respond to his attentions. She arced up against him as his hand slid down her firm waist and parted her legs. She quickly reached down for his belt buckle, unbuckling the belt and undoing his rough jeans in one swift motion. She knew Charlie was more than ready for her.
Charlie kissed her passionately and Camille responded back by plunging her tongue deep into his mouth. Their bodies rocked hard against each other. Back and forth, faster and faster they collided. He used his fingers in ways that that made her moist and wet
She grabbed for his manhood and tried to guide him in, but he stopped her. Using his fingers in ways she never experienced, Camille moaned and then her body began to tremble against him. He entered her in one swift plunge, while calling out in a harsh whisper. “Oh Camille.”
They laid there quietly for a few minutes, listening to each other’s heartbeat. Before they their heart beats completely slowed down, Camille picked up right where she left off.
What towns in Mississippi are we going to?
Charlie smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I’ll remember to ask Chet tomorrow. We better get going cher before your Pa misses you.”
When Camille walked in the door, the whole family was is the parlor. At 1:30 in the morning it wasn’t a good sign. Emmeline had tears in her eyes.
“Margaret’s missing, her parents called a half hour ago. I knew that outsider from New York was a shady character.”
Camille jumped immediately to Dan’s defense. “You’re so full of it, just two hours ago you were making goo goo eyes at him, when he was admiring your glad rags.
Sleepy eyed Tony and Angie sat on either side of their father watching and listening with all their attention as the two sisters’ battled words.
“I was doing no such thing! I was just being polite to that lousy dog.”
“Did you ever think that they may have been in an accident or maybe they were spending some time alone together?
Emmeline rolled her eyes. “Do you actually think Dashing Dan and Margaret are pitching woo?”
Before the conversation between the two sisters became any worse, the telephone rang. Aubrey got up to answer it. It was Margaret. She called to let everyone know that she made it home safe. In a teary voice she explained that they had taken Dry Brook Road. In the background you could hear her father threatening her with a whipping if she was knocked up. Aubrey told the young girl he would let everyone know she was all right and to take care.
“All right everyone. Margaret is just safe. She was just stuck on Dry Brook Road. Let’s all go to bed.”
Camille laughed. “No one would take Dry Brook Road in this weather.”
Emmeline smiled along with her. “Maybe something else got stuck.”
“Emmeline!” Camille looked at her sister in surprise. “What are you trying to say?”
They both laughed as they headed upstairs. Aubrey was right behind them chuckling at their conversation. The twins wondered what was so funny?
By Monday morning the whole school was talking about Margaret’s new boyfriend and her late night escapades. No one wanted to believe she was stuck in the mud. The girls surrounded her and asked her what it was like doing it for the first time with a guy like Dan. Margaret liked all the attention. All eyes were upon her as she started to give the girls the details. Before she spoke, she thought about the lickin her father gave her when she got home.
“It really hurt.”
Some of the girls nodded knowingly.
“Was he real good at it?” Clara wanted to know.
“I guess so, because he knew how to do it really fast.”
Everyone giggled at that, so Margaret countered her remark and said” but then he slowed down some.” This brought on peals of laughter. Luckily the bell rang and everyone left to go to class. Secretly Margaret never wanted to see that nasty man ever again.
After taking Margaret home that night, Dan decided to stay clear of Lake Trowley. He preferred the company of girls he met at the beer joints close to his hotel room. For a couple of drinks and a few dollars Dan could have the dame of his choice for the night without the complications. Most nights he took pleasure with a girl named Moira. He was attracted to her long dark hair and deep-set eyes. When Dan took her up to his room and turned down the lights he thought of Camille.
Camille cornered Margaret at graduation practice to convince her to call Dan.
“I think you should invite Dan to Uncle Bernard’s Fais do-do.”
“I’m not inviting that pampas ass to anything. You should see him when he’s not in a group, he’s a nasty beast.”
“Oh I see your one of those girls that does things with a guy and then drops him.” Camille chided.
Margaret pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose and turned sharply to look at Camille. “I’m not that kind of girl.” She replied through gritted teeth.
Camille knew she had Margaret’s attention now. “Then what kind of girl are you?
Margaret wasn’t about to admit nothing happened, so she turned the line of questioning around. “Why do you want Dan around anyway, maybe you’re getting tired of Charlie?”
“That’s a stupid thing to say, you know I love Charlie. I just think Dan would be fun to have at the party.”
Margaret wasn’t very good at confrontations and apologized immediately. “I’m sorry I just don’t want to call Dan.”
Camille was quick to forgive her. “Ok then I’ll call him for you.” Before Margaret could say anything else, Mrs. Martin the PE teacher was clapping her hands for everyone to get in their places. It seemed like it took hours for the practice to be over. As soon as the bell rang Camille bolted for the door and headed straight home.
Camille rushed into the house and went directly for the telephone. She wanted to make the call to Dan, before anyone came home.
When Dan answered the telephone he was still nursing a hangover from the night before. Moira already let herself out. She had experienced Dan’s foul moods before and made it a point to disappear before he woke up.
Camille was taken back by his abruptness, when he answered the phone. Not sure if it was Dan, she asked. “May I please speak to Daniel Dashelle please?”
“You’re talking to him baby.”
“Oh, I see, well then hi.” She stumbled for words.
“This is Camille. Do you remember me from T-Bo’s?”
A small smile came to Dan’s face. “Angel Cake, what’s cookin good lookin? I haven’t heard from you in awhile?” Camille smiled at the other end of the line. Thinking to her self how he always had something clever to say.
Dan stretched out in his bed, as he listened to her sweet voice.
“I was wondering if you would like to come to a Fais do do this weekend?”
“What’s a doe doe babe? I’m not sure a guy like me would go to one of those.”
“Dan it’s not a doe doe, it’s a Fais do do. It’s a really big party with music and dancing and they’ll be plenty to eat and drink.”
Instead of answering the question, he changed the subject. “What are you wearing?” He asked, as he slid his hand down his boxers.
“Well, I’m not sure what I’m going to wear Dan.” She thought it was sweet that he would care what she wore to the party.
“No I mean what are you wearing right now?” He took himself in hand and starting rubbing up and down.
Camille thought he must really like clothes. “I’m wearing a sleeveless shift with big white daisies and a white belt.
In a voice that was a little lower and deeper he asked. “What are you wearing under that?”
Camille wasn’t sure she heard right. “What?”
“What are you wearing under your dress Angel Cake?”
Camille flushed feeling her face turn hot. She thought she should slam down the phone. But then again she never had this kind of conversation before. Just for a minute she would play his game. She paused for a second trying not to giggle and said, “I’m not wearing anything.”
She heard his heavy breath in reply, as he tightened his grip on his member.
In a husky voice he said “You are so beautiful Camille, I wish I could hold you right now.”
The husky change in his voice made her feel a heat wave flash right through her. Quickly she decided she was playing a game she wasn’t ready for.
“Oh Dan stop fooling around. You’ll come to the party won’t you?”
Dan withdrew his hand from his boxers. He didn’t want to scare Camille off by pushing his end of the conversation too far. “I’ll do anything for you, Angel Cake.”
Camille smiled with relief, when he readily changed the subject back to the party. She felt she needed to mention Margaret, since that was the reason she was calling him. “Remember Margaret will be there too.”
In a dry voice he replied. ”How could I forget the amazing Margaret?”
Dan agreed to come as he wrote down the address and directions. He thought he would take one more shot at winning over Camille. There was something about that girl he couldn’t get out of his head.
That Thursday night the family celebrated Camille, Tony and Angie’s birthdays. Camille’s birthday was on June 15th and the boys were on the 11th. They usually celebrated by having a dinner and inviting Uncle Luke and Aunt Na with their sons John-Henry and Frank. Tonight Joe Bo and Charlie would be at the dinner table too. Emmeline made a point to leave work early to make crawfish etoufee and the boy’s favorite dish, bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Instead of a cake, Emmeline made sugar dusted beignets and put a candle on each one. When dinner was over, presents were handed out. Before anyone opened any gifts, Roberto had an announcement to make. Rene’ was having a baby. Aunt Na shook her finger at Roberto.
“I told you so weeks ago.”
She went over, took hold of his face and kissed him and then Rene’. When everyone had finished congratulating and kissing everyone Aubrey allowed his impatient sons to open their presents. He bought them their first real bat, baseball and mitt for their thirteenth birthday.
“Now one day you two can become Ragin Cajuns and play for Southwestern University.”
Aubrey always hoped one of his children would graduate from college. They opened socks from Emmeline and T-shirts form Aunt Na and Uncle Luke. Charlie gave them baseball caps.
“C’mon Camille hurry up and open yours its going to get dark soon.” Angie said glancing at the window with the ball and mitt in hand. Tony nodded, already standing by the door with the bat.
Camille ripped into the biggest box first from her father. It was a gray pleated skirt with a starched white blouse.
“I helped Poppa pick it out.” Emmeline informed her. “I told him you needed sensible clothes when you started looking for work.”
Emmeline embroidered a hanker chief for her and her Aunt and Uncle gave her toilette water. She saved the smallest box for last knowing it was from Charlie. When she opened it, she found a gold heart shaped locket on a chain. He wrote a little note and put it inside the box. Camille read it to her self and tucked it away quickly. Before anyone could ask any questions, she stood up and graciously thanked everyone. A second later Tony, Angie, John-Henry and Frank stampeded out the door. Charlie and Camille went out to the corner of the porch for some privacy. She took out his note and read it softly out loud.
“You’ve stolen my heart, please keep it close to yours. Love Charlie”
Camille wrapped her arms around him and kissed him on the lips. Charlie bent his head down to nuzzle her ear and reached around to give her bottom a little squeeze. Before they became too involved with each other, the boys out in the yard hooted and whistled at them
“Charlie stop kissing my sister and come play ball with us.” Angie yelled.
Charlie looked over at the boys. Camille pushed him away laughing. “Go play Charlie, I know you want to.”
A few minutes later all the men inside of the house were playing baseball in the yard. The women stayed inside discussing all things that involved babies. Camille stayed out on the porch watching the men folk play, while she thought about her own life. Today she turned nineteen and on Monday she would graduate high school. Next month she would be in New Orleans living the life she always hoped for. She felt like all the pieces of her life were falling into place. She sighed and smiled. Life was good. The thought that things might not turn out as she expected never crossed her mind.
Uncle Bernard owned the largest house and the most land in Lake Trowley. At the end of June he hosted a Fais Do Do. The party would also double as a huge graduation party for that years graduating class. The entire town would show up and bring something with them to add to the party.
The morning of the Fais Do Do started with a light misty rain. Groups of people started arriving at Uncle Bernard’s even though it was only eight o’clock in the morning. Some were arriving with tables and chairs, and others had blocks of ice to keep the barrels of beer and bottles of soda pop cold. A group of men were building a temporary stage in front of the barn
One group of women started decorating, while others were storing foods in the pantry or the kitchen, as the dishes arrived. Every female and a few of the men in town had to stop by the kitchen to see the brand new Kelvinator refrigerator. Each visitor to the refrigerator had something to say about its $139.95 dollar price tag. They peeked inside the freezer, so that they could fiddle with the new style ice tray. Everyone had to lift the arm of the tray to watch the ice loosen. Others were upstairs helping to transform bedrooms into large sleeping spaces for the young children that wore out in the evening.
At home, Camille was frying up cornmeal to make cush cush and Emmeline was cracking eggs to scramble up for the family breakfast.
“I have a job interview set up for you at the Parish Council on Monday.” Emmeline said to her sister with a smile.
Camille froze with the frying pan in her hand. She didn’t want to tell her sister about the trip with the band. She thought to herself, she couldn’t possibly start to work just before leaving. At that moment she decided she would ask her father about the trip tonight, after he had a few glasses of wine and was feeling relaxed.
Camille forced a smile on her face and quietly said “Thank you”
. “You’re welcome and be sure to wear that outfit Poppa gave you for your birthday. It will be perfect for the interview.”
After cleaning up breakfast, Camille made a quiet phone call to Charlie.
“Charlie please, you have to get me out of here, my sister is planning my whole life and I only graduated two days ago.”
“Come as soon as you can. I can go help set up things at Uncle Bernard’s.”
”OK, OK I’m on my way.” Charlie started pulling on his pants, while they were still on the phone.
Pitching in at Uncle Bernard’s would please her father and get her out of the house, she thought as she hung up the phone. Her brothers overheard the conversation. They stood in front of her blocking the doorway.
“Take us with you.” Tony said a firm low voice. “If you don’t, Emmie will make us clean all day” Angie added.
Camille thought about it for a moment. “When Charlie’s truck pulls up, run and jump in the back as fast as you can.”
They nodded in unison and headed for the porch.
Camille went upstairs and swiftly put on her new dress and carefully put on the gold chain necklace with the heart shaped locket that Charlie gave her for her birthday. Everyone made their escape before Emmeline could catch them.
Camille and the boys spent the rest of the day helping out at Uncle Bernard’s. It’s not what Tony and Angie had in mind, but at least they were out from underneath Emmeline’s thumb. Camille took charge of putting tablecloths on all the tables. She caught Mrs. Thibodeau, Charlie’s mother in the corner of her eye. Camille readied herself as his mother walked up to her.
“Be sure you put right side up on those covers Camille.”
Ophelia Thibodeau went to each table inspecting what Camille had done so far.
“You know Camille if you ever have questions about housekeeping you can come to me anytime. I know growing up without your mamma may leave you wondering about things sometime.”
“I know you want to be a good wife to my Charlie one day.”
“Yes Mama I do.”
Ophelia gave her a gentle pat on the back and started walking over to a group of ladies and Camille blew out a sigh of relief. Camille day dreamed about moving to New Orleans and maybe she would let Charlie’s mother visit sometimes.
By six o clock the light rain had stopped, but the clouds hung low and threatening. All the dishes were put on tables that were on the porch, that wrapped around three sides of the house. The smells of jambalaya, gumbo, corn on the cob, red beans and rice, and barbecued shrimp drifted in the air. Aunt Na brought her famous boulet balls in alligator sauce. Camille looked over the spread and picked at some tomatoes and cucumber salad and shrimp Creole. She didn’t have much of an appetite and took small bites of the food.
As she was thinking about how she would convince her father, Charlie came up behind her on the porch and wrapped his arms around her giving a warm kiss on the back of her neck
“Now who could that be?” She teased.
Charlie whirled her around briskly. “Who else would it be?” This time he held her tightly and kissed her deeply.
When they broke the embrace, Camille looked up into to Charlie’s eyes and asked him to come with her to ask her father’s permission to travel with the band.
He tensed for a moment and ran his hand through his red hair and pulled it back tight.
“Why don’t you wait until after we play the first set cher? I only have a few minutes before I have to go on.”
He chucked her under her chin affectionately and headed towards the make shift stage. He had a feeling the conversation with her father wouldn’t go well and wanted to put it off for as long as possible.
The crowd had gathered in front of the stage. They sat on blankets, wooden chairs or at a picnic table. If you walked around, you could hear bits of conversation surrounding President Roosevelt, the war in Europe or latest scandal involving Governor Leche. A few minutes later, Uncle Bernard stood on the stage banging a pot and wooden spoon to get everybody’s attention.
“Please gather to hear the up and coming famous band Charlie and the Woodchucks. On the drums we have the renowned Woody Pitre’.”
Woody played a quick drill across the drums to get the audience applauding.
“On the gitbox we have the well-known Chet Landry and on the accordion we have the famous Chuck Orillon.”
The two boys played a quick verse of My Marie together, getting more applauds from the crowd
“Now everyone please put your hands together for the best singer in all of Louisiana Charlie Tribodeau.”
Of course everyone at the party knew everyone in the band, since they were born, but Uncle Bernard liked to make a big production of everything.
“Tonight you will also have the privilege of hearing Aubrey Bellard on the washboard and his brother Luke on the jug and of course me on my harmonica.”
The crowd cheered loudly. Camille’s father and uncle took their places on the stage next to the band and started playing.
As the band played the first set a light breeze turned into a wind. When they started playing the last song of the set, no one really noticed the dark clouds moving in. They sang the Old Man’s Sow. It was a funny song where the audience participated.
There was an old man and he had an old sow
The audience responded by making sounds (snort) (raspberry) (whistle).
Oh, Susanna’s a funny old man, man, man
Susanna’s a funny old man.
(Snort) (Raspberry) (Whistle).
By the time the song was over everyone was laughing and patting Aubrey and Luke on the back as they headed back to the table. Aubrey had his favorite wine waiting for him in a tall glass. Camille kept an eye on her father from a distance, as she twirled strands of her hair around her fingers. He finally finished his first glass and started the second one when she walked over, pulling Charlie by the hand.
“Poppa did you know Charlie and the band are going to New Orleans to play at La Reux’s Dance Hall?”
“No, what good news Charlie” Aubrey stood up smiling to shake Charlie’s hand and give him a quick hug.
With her heart pounding hard Camille bit her lower lip.” Poppa there is even better news. Charlie wants me to photograph the band while they are on the road.”
Charlie stood frozen as Aubrey’s smile faded a little. He cupped his daughter’s chin in his hand and looked into her brown eyes full of anticipation.
“No cher you can take pictures here.”
Camille raised her voice a little in desperation. “Poppa I want to go to New Orleans. Please let me go. I’ve wanted to go there my whole life”
Aubrey’s smile was completely gone. “No New Orleans is too big of a city and not a place for a nice girl to go. I won’t allow it.”
Camille’s eyes started to fill with frustrated tears, as she turned to Charlie.
“Charlie tells Poppa that you need me to go.”
Charlie took a deep breath and exhaled. As soon as he said it, he knew he would regret it. “Maybe your Poppa is right Camille. It’s a hard life on the road. We’ll probably be sleeping in cars and working all the time.”
Camille took a step back from both of them. Charlie’s words cut into her like a knife. The impending storm picked up speed and the wind whipped her hair around her face as she shouted at Charlie.
“How could you say that?”
She turned and quickly walked away with tears running down her cheek. Charlie started to reach out for her, but she dodged him. Aubrey put a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
“Let her bouder for awhile Charlie. She will get over it. You must not pamper her too much or she’ll be your spoiled wife one day.”
Charlie gave Aubrey a small smile and shook his head. He wasn’t so sure, if letting Camille pout for awhile was the way to handle her. Just then a bolt of lightening struck. They turned their attention to the back of the house. A large branch crashed across one of the parked cars and smashed a fence. A few goats started running towards the road. Charlie and Aubrey ran over to help and forgot Camille’s tantrum.
A minute before the band stopped playing, Dan pulled up to the house and parked across the road. He sat in his car and looked at the large gathering of people. He decided to scan the crowd for Camille before he got out. A few minutes later he jumped in his seat as he watched the lightening bolt touch down. He watched as a couple of goats ran across the yard and more dark clouds rolled in. Dan was still debating weather he should go to this shindig or not when he saw a girl walking away from the house. Her red dress billowed around her and her long dark hair trailed behind as she battled against the wind. Large drops of rain began to fall mixed with small bits of hail. On a hunch Dan decided that that must be Angel Cake walking down the road. He pulled away from the house unnoticed and headed in the direction of the girl. A minute later he caught up with Camille and rolled down the passenger side window to talk to her.
“Hey Angel Cake, what is it with you? Do you like walking around in the rain?”
With tears still in her eyes she kept walking and looking straight ahead. “Go away Dan, I don’t need a ride.”
He drove the car slowly to keep up with her gait “Like hell you don’t, its’ raining cat and dogs and God knows what ever else is hitting my car.”
Dan kept watching the clear little pebbles bounce off his car and worried that it would ruin the looks of the exterior.
“That’s hail. Don’t they have hail in New York?”
Dan yelled through the window imitating her southern drawl “Hail huh. Well get the hail in the car Camille.”
Camille smiled for a moment and stopped walking. She wiped the tears away from her eyes and got in the car rolling up the window. They drove in silence for a while, listening to the rain and hail pelt against the car roof. Dan glanced over at Camille. She was sitting quietly and staring out the window. He could tell she had been crying.
Softly he asked her, “Why so blue, Angel Cake?”
She started to say something, but stopped when the tears started welling up again. With just a little encouragement from Dan, Camille soon blurted out her whole story between tearful sobs. Dan listened giving a sympathetic nod every now and then. He reached over and patted her hand that was sitting in her lap and left his warm hand on top of her chilly one. When she finished talking Dan spoke.
“I can see why your Pop would want to protect you Angel Cake. New Orleans is a wild town. What I don’t understand, is why your boyfriend would ever want to leave you behind. If you were my girl, I would never leave you.”
He gave her hand a little squeeze. “Maybe your boyfriend wants a little wild time to himself. You know what I mean? Before he has to settle down and set up housekeeping with you.”
Camille’s eyes widened. She had never thought of that. With her mouth set she nodded thinking it over.
When they drove up to the hotel, where he was staying, he stopped the car. Camille looked around
“Where are we?”
“This is my place babe.”
Dan moved his hand from on top of hers and rested it on her shoulder.
She didn’t say anything for a moment and then looked into Dan’s dark brown eyes.
“I shouldn’t go up to your room with you. It wouldn’t look right.”
Dan took his hand off her shoulder. He gave her a half smile and a sigh
“Ok honey lets take you home. You have a lot on your mind right now.”
Camille nodded, as Dan restarted the car. When they pulled up to Camille’s house she sat staring out the passenger side window.
Before she got out she told Dan “I’m sorry I wasn’t such good company today.”
Dan reached over and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“You’re always good company Angel Cake. Call me and let me know if I can help you in anyway.”
. She nodded and thanked him for the ride.
When she got into the house she immediately took the family picture off of the credenza in the parlor and sat in her favorite rocking chair. The picture was taken about twelve years ago. Her mother and father were seated on matching armchairs. Her mother held dark headed Antonio on her lap and her father held the fairer twin Angelo on his. Camille sat on a step stool on her mother’s side. She had her hand on her mother’s knee as she smiled and looked up at her. Emmeline and Roberto stood on each side of their parent’s chairs. Camille traced the outline of her mother with her finger. She noticed that she looked more and more like her everyday. She didn’t have the same figure, but the face was the same. Maybe after she had five children she would look exactly like that she thought to herself. Her thoughts were interrupted when Charlie walked into the house. She looked up at him with a cold stare and then returned her attention to the picture. Charlie stood looking down at her not sure what to say.
“Talking to your Mamma about me?” His comment was greeted by silence.
“Did your Mamma tell you that she knew I loved you and would do anything for you?”
Camille got up and replaced the picture on the credenza and then stood in front of Charlie toe to toe.
In a menacing voice she said. “My Momma said you are a lying sack of crap.”
“You just want to go to New Orleans without me, so you can have a wild time for yourself.”
Raising her voice another octave she continued. “You never wanted to take me with you Charlie.” All you want me to do is stay here and wait around, so I can get married, have your babies and die before I ever get to leave this town.”
Charlie raised his hands in exasperation and then dropped them down to his sides. “Camille you’re talking crazy. I want you with me, but I knew your Pa wouldn’t allow it.”
“Go ahead make excuses all you want. I’m not stupid. I know what you’re planning to do.”
Charlie started shouting. “I’m sure glad you know so much about what I’m doing, because I sure don’t know.”
Hearing the front door open and close the two stopped arguing and turned towards the door.
Emmeline and Joe Bo were standing in the doorway. Joe Bo spoke up first.
“We just wanted make sure you were ok Camille.”
Joe Bo started to go back out the door, but Emmeline pulled him back by the back of his shirt. She had something to say to her sister and she wanted Joe Bo to stay and listen to it too.
“Are you out of your mind Camille?” What makes you think you could go traipsing all over New Orleans?”
Camille snapped at that moment and started to charge for sister across the room. Joe Bo stepped aside and the two girls went tumbling to the floor. Before Camille could land a punch to Emmeline’s face Charlie pulled her off and stood Camille on her feet. Camille swung at Charlie and hit him straight in the gut. Charlie bent a little and took a breath. When he straightened up, he calmly told Camille he would talk to her later. Without looking or speaking to anyone Camille stomped up the stairs. Once she was in her room she carefully hung up her new dress and then threw the necklace Charlie gave her across the room.
Joe Bo helped Emmeline to her feet. After she brushed herself, off she slapped Joe Bo across the face.
“Big help you were. If it wasn’t for Charlie I’d have a black eye or broken nose.”
To the reader: I hope you have liked the story so far. If you would like to read on, you can find the continuing adventures of Camille at: Let the Good Times Roll (Unexpected Turns) on Amazon.com
Here is the dress Camille stole from her sister.
Here are recipes, pictures and song clips from the book “Let the Good Times Roll”
Blueberry La Tart Recipe:
Serves: Makes 12 Servings
- 5 cups (about 1¼ pounds) blueberries
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
Sweet Pastry Dough:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons top-quality blueberry jam
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- For the pastry dough, cut the butter into small cubes and freeze for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, flour, sugar, and salt. Process for 10 to 15 seconds, until the butter is finely chopped. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of the water and pulse for another 10 seconds, or until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Pinch some of the dough between your fingers; it should hold together, not feel crumbly or dusty. If necessary, add more water, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Gather about one quarter of the dough into a small pile and use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you two or three times, which helps thoroughly blend the butter and flour for a flakier crust. Don’t overwork the dough or it will produce a tough crust. Repeat with the remaining dough, then use a pastry scraper to gather the dough and form it into a disk about 5 inches across. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
I want to thank Sur la table for sharing this great recipe.
You can find this story and others that have written at Smashwords.com
Here is a link to the first Superman radio show:
The Ink Spots playing “If I Didn’t Care” The song Dan and Camille dance to