Welcome back to the Jazz Age and our little 1920’s serial story.
There are so many different (not to mention fascinating) holidays at this time of year. Whatever you may have celebrated — or perhaps you choose not to honor any day at all — no matter what the case, I hope it has been a time of happiness, health, and satisfaction for you.
I appreciate each of you for sticking around for this “rewind” of the original interactive serial. With work and other things, my writing time is very limited. So this rerun has given me a little time to work on novels in progress.
I’m still fleshing out the draft for The Guitar Mancer. The mythology I created for that story (National Novel Writing Month 2014) took me to unanticipated scenarios, causing me to stumble for awhile. But now I’ve embraced that part of the story and come to love the difficult turn.
However, I have a bit of angst about working on this new novel. I’m such a slow writer that I really should have skipped NaNoWriMo this year and focused on book-2 of Atonement, Tennessee.
Atonement in Bloom, the sequel, still gets tended and nurtured as I go along. The new supernatural characters are leafing out, and the seed of the mystery subplot has sprouted and ripened in my mind.
The “things” for the ending really took control and led to such a strong concluding episode that I had to divide it into three parts. So today I’m giving you Episode-29 and part one of the conclusion.
Join me for a cup of java, and let’s get a wiggle on with this rewind.
Without further preamble, here is episode 29 of the Three Things Serial.
29. Cypress Tree, Mosquito, Gams
All the Fabro cousins stood on one corner of the deck, apparently just beating their gums about nothing in particular while they fished. Frankie swung his fishing line out into the water, and then looked up at me with that adorable lopsided grin of his. Okay, so it’s just the way my pop raised me… so I don’t talk a lot about these things, but I had gotten pretty sweet on Frankie.
In case you’ve forgotten, the yacht was on the way to the Ca’ d’Zan mansion in Sarasota, the rich circus magnate having invited everyone for the trip. We barely had enough time to hurry back to the office building where most of us lived (except the Fabros) and grab a few personal things. Andy and Mona were below decks talking to Ringling about the Astronaute man’s short film idea, which was the impetus for the generous invitation to all of us.
As I walked across the deck toward Frankie and his cousins I pulled my sweater closer. Around Sarasota it was 61 degrees Fahrenheit (°F), still warm compared to most places. But out on the open water it felt a lot cooler to me. My gams were freezing and I wished for some thick wool stockings, or — the flapper in me hated to think it, but maybe a longer skirt!
The boys didn’t seem to notice the cold. All of them had their shirtsleeves rolled back. That was the first time I paid any attention to the tattoos. They all had the same one on their forearms. Once I had asked Frankie about his, but he seemed shy about it and conveniently put his arm around my shoulders where I couldn’t see the tattoo. It was of a Maltese cross inside a triangle and it had a spear through it.
The men abruptly stopped talking when I walked up. One of the twins elbowed the other, Fred or Fedel — it was hard to tell them apart. Flavio shot me a funny surreptitious look, but that was just him. Charming as he was, he did have sort of an odd way about him. For the first time I felt kind of awkward around the guys. I shivered dramatically to cover my self-consciousness and commented on the weather. “At least it’s too cold for mosquitoes! Catching anything?” I asked.
Fred (or was it Fedel?) held up an impressive string of fish, and I made a big deal over them. Frankie waived toward the shore. I could make out some cypress trees and realized that there must be a stream or lake just beyond my view. The yacht wasn’t too far from shore. “My grandma always said that there’d be good fishing if a cypress tree was within sight,” he told me.
Frankie seemed to really love his grandma. That was one of the things that endeared him to me. I remembered the time he threw his shoe to stop the guy who broke into Boris’ place. He had proudly said “Good thing I’ve got big feet! I get them from my grandma!”
I chuckled at the memory. He gave me a funny look for a second, but his smile never faltered and he reached out and pulled me closer to him. I snuggled up under his arm — after all, it was kind of cold out on the deck.
Three Concluding Things Episode 30, Part 1
Clasped Hands, Harpsichord, Pyx
I looked down at my clasped hands and told myself not to fidget. My eyes wandered absently around the amazing rose garden of the Ca’d’Zan mansion. I was vaguely aware of the cold bench on which I sat. Even at that time of year some of the roses still bloomed.
Mona said something and I jumped. I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even notice when she walked up. “Why so glum, Pip?” she said with the smile that made everyone like her. Mona the Movie Star sat down and put her arm around my shoulder and gave me a little hug. “You and Frankie have a little spat?”
I shook my head and gulped. Why did I want to cry? Why should I? There had never really been anything going on in the first place. Mona hugged my shoulder a little tighter. “Go ahead and cry if you want to, Sweet Pea.”
That name made me smile. It was what a lot of people called my grandmother. We both had P.I.P. as our initials, though when people kept spelling her name, Phanny with an “F” (making it Fanny), well Granny just went with the flow.
I brushed away a single tear. “No, we didn’t fight. I’m just feeling out of sorts. I thought Frankie liked me, but all through the trip here, he acted like I practically didn’t exist. It really doesn’t matter,” I said with a sniffle.
Mona handed me an embroidered handkerchief and I dried my eyes and blew my nose. A window was open, and somewhere inside we heard the happy voices of Countess Babikov and her friend Mable Ringling. “Please won’t you play, Bepa?” our hostess asked. Then I heard charming music from a harpsichord.
“It sounds like those two are having fun,” Mona said. “Why don’t we join them. It’s a little too cool out here. This bench is freezing my bottom!”
We stood to go inside. Movement caught my eye at the far end of the huge rose garden. It was one of the Fabros. However, all four of them looked so much alike that it was hard to tell them apart from that distance. He pushed back a thick leafy climbing rose and seemed to struggle briefly with something. He looked over his shoulder and motioned to someone out of my view. Stepping forward he disappeared into the vegetation. Then two more Fabros followed, and finally a larger man. Comparing his height to the others, I recognized him for Frankie.
Before I knew what my feet were doing, they were taking me quietly down that path. Mona grabbed my elbow, but followed. I made a shushing sound when she asked what was going on.
“I don’t know,” I said. “But I want to find out.”
Stay tuned for more of these three things (Clasped Hands, Harpsichord, Pyx — especially Pyx) in part two of the conclusion.
Copyright © 2013 – 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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