Disclaimer: No, I still do not know how to share. These characters are still mine mine mine. Copyright 2003
Love/sex/subtext disclaimer: Ok, for those who have been living under a ROCK, this story contains romantic and sexual relations between consenting women. If this offends you, I shall refrain from making caustic remarks about your narrow worldview. (It just kills you we are having this much fun without you doesnt it?)
Age thing: This is for external use only! Not for use by children under the age of 18 or while handling heavy machinery or while playing under power lines (and what the hell are you doing playing under power lines! Cut that out!)
Language Disclaimer: Not too much, a shit here a damn there.
Air Sick Bag warning: No air sick bags were harmed during the making of this story.
Dedications: Dear M, I will always be your dream weaver even if it seems like it is taking me forever. Also want to thank the rest of my beta readers for all their help in making this possible. And finally to my lovely wife, thanks for always being there and letting me know I can do this. Dont forget to feed the bard (I dont bite, well only by request) at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The plane was shuddering from left to right and then up and down. The fury of the quickly rising storm could be heard despite all the shades being tightly closed.
The girls, who were all securely fastened to their seats, were being jostled and jolted with every new surge from the unexpected squall. Becca felt like a milkshake being shaken to the point of frothing over. Her stomach churned even more violently than the tempest outside.
"Becca, you doing ok? You re looking a little green around the gills," Jessie asked.
"Oooooooooohhhhhhhhh, Im ok, suga." Becca smiled a weak sickly smile. "Im guessing that rum runners and caviar were not such a hot idea after all."
Jessie rummaged around her seat until she found an airsick bag. "Well if you are going to spew, please do it in this and pointing that way."
Becca, incensed by her friends lack of confidence in her, sat up straight and slurred, "And just what are you implying? Ill have you know that I have never, as you so vulgarly put it, spewed. I can hold my liquor, Jessica."
Pressing the airsick bag into Beccas hand Jessica stated, "Well, here take this in case your liquor needs a new receptacle."
Becca growled at her friend but did take the bag.
No need to be foolish about it. Damn, I hate it when she is right.
Becca belched audibly, while trying to keep those damnable fish eggs from swimming up stream.
Covering her mouth in an embarrassed posture she mumbled, "Excuse me."
"Ill give that one a 5."
"Yeah a five out of ten," Jessie stated matter of factly.
Becca becoming irritated snapped back, "Youll give what a five out of ten?"
"That burp not quite Olympic quality, and I think the Russian judge would have only given you a two but I always vote American," smiled Jessie trying to lighten the mood in the cabin. Looking over at Shannon she knew that Becca wasnt the only one in danger of exploding.
Becca glowered at Jessie.
"Right now I just dont have the strength but if I did I would ." Becca put her hand to her mouth again still fighting against the fish eggs, the liquor, and the bobbing airplane in an effort to keep the contents of her stomach right where it was.
"BBBBBBUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPP ..damn!" Becca growled.
"Now there you go, I think even the Russian judge would have been impressed," Jessica smiled sweetly over at Becca.
Becca, with foul language about to burst from her lips, was stopped before her tirade could begin by a sudden and severe jolt of the plane. For those few seconds everything was forgotten as the sound of a loud crack of thunder filled the air almost deafening the three young women.
"WERE GONNA DIE!!! WERE GONNA DIE!!" Shannon shouted, clumsily trying to undo her seat belt.
Jessie, extricating herself in a split second, was at Shannons side.
"SHANNON, SHANNON!! STOP IT. WE ARE NOT GOING TO DIE!"
"Yes we are. Didnt you feel that? Didnt you hear that? Weve been hit by lightning! We are going down, down, down." Shannon was still struggling with her seat belt.
"Shannon, leave your belt alone," Jessie chastised Shannon, getting frustrated by her hysterics. "Besides where are you going to go? Just calm down. Nobody is going to die."
Shannon continued her ravings until finally Jessie slapped her across the face. Shannon looked up at her stunned while raising her hand to massage the affected cheek.
"Damn, Im sorry, Sha. Just calm down everything will be ok." Jessica hugged her before returning back to her seat and tightening her seatbelt around her trim waist.
The plane pitched and rolled some more. All the girls tightened their seatbelts, as if they would be protected by the 2-_ inch wide strap and the chrome buckle that it was securely fastened to.
Becca sat quietly clutching the airsick bag in her hand like a charm to keep nausea at bay. Shannon sat rocking back and forth muttering something unintelligible with her eyes tightly shut. Jessie sat quietly, praying for the safety of her friends and herself.
Suddenly a jolt startled all three young women from their supplications to any god that would listen. The plane teetered slightly to the right and then to the left and then balanced obviously on the landing gear. They were safe on terra firma again.
In silence they looked at each other. Then with a resounding "Wwaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooo!!" Jessie cried out, "She did it! WAY TO GO, VICTORIA!!"
Victoria sat motionless, her head lying atop her hands that still clutched the stick. Her breath coming in quick shallow rasps, adrenaline pumping nonstop through her veins to the point that her heart felt like it would explode from her chest at any moment. Her dark eyes tightly closed still tearing from the flash of lightning that had just about blinded her.
Lifting her head, she rested her chin on her hands and looked out the rain-streaked windshield. She blinked her eyes several times waiting for them to come into focus.
Slowly she took a deep breath and slowly released it in an attempt to steady her nerves.
She had never before been in a situation where her life passed before her eyes, but after that lightning blinded her, she was sure that they would all die. Seeing the parade of her endlessly inane life brought her up very short. But at that moment she had no time to reflect on what she had seen, being way too busy trying not to crash. Now, unfortunately, in this stillness, she did have time to reflect.
A life filled with privilege but no substance. Yes, she had many accomplishments and was highly competitive, but to what end? Were the accolades she received for herself or were they just another pathetic attempt to gain her parents approval? How would she be remembered at the end of her life? Would she be remembered with solemn warmth, or just as a blurb in the local paper that the butcher will wrap the catch of the day in?
She closed her eyes tightly again. Behind those darkened lids an image began to take shape. A stark desolate area hidden under a blanket of fog formed. A frigid wind rages across dismal emptiness. Out of the mist two dark figures slowly materialize. Two men standing by an open grave, one man holding a bible the other a shovel. Both men pulled up their coat collars in an effort to find protection from the bone chilling blast of frozen air. A banshee cry is heard as it rises upon the moaning gusts.
Victoria can feel the cold as it assaults her body. She can hear the crunching of the frost-covered soil as she creeps close to the graveside. Neither stranger took notice of her as they continue to gaze into the open pit. The minister began to speak in soft tones.
"Ashes to ashes.
Dust to dust.
Return to the earth,
We all must.
Of Victoria Sinclair,
Only one thing can be said.
The Bitch is dead."
Shaking her head she tried to remove these haunting images from her mind.
Get your head out of your ass! You dont have time for this now.
A staticy squawk from her earphones pulled her from her nightmare.
"Come back, I missed the last transmission," she called into the mic.
"That was some landing, little lady. Is everyone alright?" a lazy southern drawl responded.
"Yes, we are all a ok. When is the weather going to clear?" Victoria asked trying to keep her distain at a minimum.
"Oh well, little lady, you aint gonna be flyin outta here anytime soon."
OH MY GOD! What is with this guy?
"Tower, when would you estimate we could get a departure clearance?" she asked, gritting her teeth.
"Well, you just flew through a pretty big storm front. I dont see yall bein able to leave until sometime tomorrow, maybe the day after. Not sure when this storm will clear," came the very unwelcome answer.
DAMN IT. Well lets face it there is no way Shannon could continue even if we were able to leave. As it is I will probably have to peel her off the paneling.
"Roger that. I will need to register a new flight plan and I am also going to need accommodations for myself and 3 passengers for the evening."
"Affirmative on the new flight plan, but a negatory on the accommodations."
"What?? Are you telling me that there are no hotel rooms available for tonight?" she barked into the mic.
"Yes, maam, that is exactly what I am sayin. Between the jazz festival and the bicentennial there is not a room to be had for 500 miles or better."
Anger burned white hot inside of her. She could see that sappy stupid smile that must be plastered all over his cracker features.
"Look, Billy Joe Jim Bob, I am Victoria Sinclair of the Boston Sinclairs. The odds that my father owns a good portion of this airport and the best hotels in this city are very high. So I know there is at least one room available for my friends and I. Am I making myself clear?" Victoria barked.
"Well, little lady, I caint say that I know who you are or who your daddy is, but what I can say is that I am just about positive that there is not a room to be had in the city. And since we are not a travel agency, the best I can offer is our lobby area until this storm lifts and you can continue your flight," came the irritated response.
Well that was brilliant, piss off the locals. Good job. Oh yeah, Victoria, you are ready for that job in the UN diplomatic corps arent you?
Embarrassed by her outburst, she simply answered, "Roger."
Grabbing her cell phone she pressed a speed dial button. "Jenny? Yes, this is Victoria Sinclair and I am in Baton Rouge and I need a suite for the evening. Yes, Ill wait."
Shannon turned to look at Jessie who was doing a happy dance in her seat. With child like innocence she asked, "We didnt crash? We didnt crash." A smile so bright as to be blinding crossed the tall blondes face.
Speaking to her as if she were a kindergartener, "No, Sha, we didnt crash. Were all just fine."
"Were fine," She repeated mechanically.
"Yes, honey, were all fine. Well, most of us." Jessie grinned as she glanced over to a very green Becca.
Becca still had the barf bag clutched to her chest, her normally rosy cheeks totally devoid of any color.
"Bec, you ok?" Jessie asked.
Without looking at her friend, she answered, "Yes, I think. Have we landed?"
"Yes, we have," giggled Jessie.
"Becca, we didnt crash. Victoria did it." Shannon beamed proudly.
"No, we didnt, Sha. And yes, Victoria did a great job. See? No worries." Becca tried to smile at her friend while she valiantly willed her stomach to settle. It was not working and she knew that it wouldnt be long before she would have no choice but to race for the restroom.
"Wonder when we are going to try to take back off?" Jessie queried out loud secretly wondering where Victoria was.
"We dont have to fly any more do we?" came Shannons squeaky voice. "I mean were so close we could drive cant we?"
Unhooking her seat belt Shannon knelt directly in front of Becca. Seeing the look on Beccas face, Jessie wasnt sure how good of an idea that was.
Taking Becca by the shoulders Shannon began to shake her while she begged, "Becca, we dont have to fly anymore do we? Please, Becca, you said it was too far before, but now we are so close we can drive cant we? Cant we drive, Becca? Please, please cant we drive??"
"Bruff," holding a hand to her mouth, "hold that thought?" She brushed past the still kneeling Shannon and galloped to the lavatory at top speed.
Both women watched as Becca closed the door. Shannon turned her tearful pleading eyes to Jessie. Jessie found it hard not to snicker in the face of her pathetically frightened friend. Those scared blue eyes touched her heart as well as her funny bone. She wanted to make it all better for Shannon but at this point was not sure how.
"Shannon, everything is going to be ok. Listen for a sec." Jessie putting her finger to her lips gesturing for silence. Both women sat quietly for a few moments listening to the patter of rain falling on the fuselage. They both closed their eyes taking in the solace this calming sound was bringing. The same storm that had brought so much terror was now soothing and calming both troubled women.
This was truly a poignant moment that the two young women were sharing until the sound of Becca being sick in the bathroom cut through the stillness. Both sets of eyes popped open simultaneously. Blue met green and both women began to laugh uncontrollably as Becca continued to purge.
Tears of mirth were still running down their faces as they heard the door lock unlatch. Both women tried to pull themselves together before Becca could see them. They quickly composed their features and wiped the tears from their faces as the curly headed brunette exited the lavatory using a tissue to wipe her lips. Shannon pressed her lips so tightly together to keep from laughing that they went white. Meanwhile, a tear that escaped her twinkling eyes gave Jessie, who was trying to quell her laughter, away.
Becca looked at the women and before she could get her indignation in full gear she let out a belch that rocked the entire plane. That was it, both women once again dissolved in a fit laughter. Shannon teetered from her position on her knees and flopped unceremoniously on her ass. Seeing Shannons collapse Jessie lost it completely. Chortling loudly, Jessie lost her balance and fell out of the chair. She bounced on the floor and rolled to her back on the plush carpet.
Becca placed her hands on her hips trying to gather some semblance of dignity while mustering her righteous indignation at being laughed at. But seeing her friends totally disabled by this rollicking laughter all she could do was shake her head and chuckle.
There is no saving my pride here so let them laugh, at least Shannon is not climbing the walls anymore. Guess thats worth me sacrificing a little dignity.
Slamming her phone closed in disgust, Victoria stood.
Well I better go peel Shannon off the fuselage.
With a heavy sigh she entered the cabin. Her progress was arrested by the unexpected sounds of riotous laughter that emanated from the small room. Both Shannon and Jessie were still rolling on the floor clutching their stomachs while Becca stood over the two just shaking her head.
"What is going on here?" Victoria asked puzzled by the scene before her.
"To be perfectly honest they are having a good laugh at my expense. So tell me, where are we?"
"Yeah, Mom, are we there yet?" Jessie was able to barely giggle out between peels of laughter.
"No, we are not there yet, and we will not be able to get back in the sky anytime today. But the really bad news is that we will probably have to sleep in the airport," Victoria reported.
"What??" the girls chorused.
"Yeah, there seems to be a huge jazz festival and also something about a Bicentennial. There are no rooms anywhere," Victoria groused.
Shannon leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her bent legs. She was relieved that they would not be leaving any time soon.
Jessie also sat up placing her hands behind her to support her supple body. Becca stood over the little blonde her arms crossed, a far away look in her dark eyes. The women let silence fill the cabin, the only sound to be heard was the pattering rain and the occasional peal of thunder.
"Wait a minute, Becca, dont you have family here? I mean in Louisiana. Thought you said they were somewhere around New Orleans?" Jessie asked looking up at the brooding woman.
Becca closed her eyes slowly and then opened them equally as slow. She had prayed that Jessie would forget that little fact. With a heavy sigh she answered her friend, "Yes, I have relatives in Lafayette."
The women waited for the other shoe to drop, but when it was obvious that Becca was not going to continue Jessie again asked, "Well, do you think your family could help us out? Ya know, put us up for the night?"
"Jessica, I said nothing about family. I do have relatives here, but no one that I would consider family," Becca responded flatly.
Jessies eyebrows furrowed, she didnt understand the difference. Victoria answered her unasked question, "I understand, Rebecca. Well just have to make other arrangements."
Looking at Victoria, Shannon began, "Well, I dont understand. Family is family, I dont care what label you put on them. Not that I mind sleeping in the terminal, believe me I dont. Anything to keep me on the ground is just fine. But, Bec, why dont you give them a call? I mean, it never hurts to ask does it?"
Victoria shook her head slowly seeing Beccas rising discomfort.
"In this case it could hurt," Becca mumbled. She had not seen her great grandmother for years. And on the few occasions she did see her it was memorable, not always pleasant but memorable.
On the other hand, they were stranded, surely Madame would consider that. Madame prided herself for being a most gracious hostess. Becca had to admit that the woman did put the hospitality into southern hospitality and her ability to put guests at ease was legendary.
It was not as easy as just making a phone call and asking for a favor. Her father had been out of good graces with this part of the family since he had the audacity to marry her mother for love instead of making what the family considered a good match. Becca had to admit to herself, though, even with all the problems her family had with Madame, she secretly liked the stubborn old woman. She heaved a sigh while her stomach began to churn again.
Victoria studied Beccas face. She wasnt sure if she read shame or just reticence in those dark orbs. Victoria smirked at the thought that Beccas relatives were probably some back woods crackers that lived out on the bayou somewhere in their doublewide trailer. Now if that was the case she would much rather stay right where they were. But for whatever reason, Becca obviously had no desire to consort with this branch of her family tree, much less ask them for a favor.
Jessie also noted the change in her friends demeanor. "Becca, who are these relatives?"
"It s my great grandmother. She lives on the plantation in Lafayette," Becca sighed again resigning herself to the fact that the questions would not go away so why not just answer them.
"Plantation?" the three chorused.
Flopping into a seat Becca continued, "Dont sound so surprised. After all I was born and bred in Mississippi so it isnt all that unlikely that I would have relatives that owned plantations."
"Well, if she lives on a plantation she should have plenty of room for us," Shannon chimed in with blissful ignorance.
"Shannon, its not that easy. My great grandmother is old south, French-Creole south. Lots of tradition, lots of history and as far as Madame is concerned the south never died. My immediate family has been persona non grata for a long long time."
Becca leaned back and covered her eyes with her hand.
Victoria was completely taken aback by this information.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! Victorias mind screamed. Plantation Lafayette Dushont OH MY GOD Rebecca is a Lafayette Dushont, one of the most powerful families in Louisiana.
Victoria was in total shock. Here she had always looked down on this self-proclaimed southern belle for not having the resources or the background that she, herself possessed. Now to think that not only did Rebecca have a rich lineage, but her heritage actually put her on a higher plain socially.
"Have you ever met your great grandmama?" Jessie asked.
"Yes, on a few occasions. Sometimes a pleasant experience, sometimes not."
"Well, I guess we have to come up with another plan or just sleep here until the weather changes," Victoria stated matter of factly. She wanted to take the pressure off Becca to call her great grandmother. She knew how these matriarchal types could be and she didnt feel it was worth the trouble that Becca would be put through to do otherwise. Besides she actually felt intimidated by the thought of meeting Rebeccas family.
Becca stood slowly and walked over to the cabinet that held her bag. After fishing in it for a few minutes she pulled out her cell phone. Pressing a speed dial number she put the phone to her ear and waited.
"Daddy? Yeah, its me," Becca began. "No, were not in Florida yet, we ran into a storm and had to land."
"No, everyone is ok."
"No, were in Louisiana. Thats why Im callin. Were in Baton Rouge, but theres not a room to be had for miles and miles. Somethin about a Bicentennial or something like that "
"Yeah, the Louisiana purchase thing," Becca grimaced.
Another heavy sigh escaped the brunette as she asked, "Daddy, do you think Madame would be willing to let us stay there for a night or two?"
Silence filled the cabin. All eyes watched Becca as she spoke on the phone to her father.
"Yes, I know, Daddy, but dont you think it is time to start? I mean the old woman cant live forever."
A smile tugged at the edge of her lips and a coquettish giggle escaped, "Oh stop that, Daddy. You know I dont give a damn about her will. You can be so bad sometimes."
"If she says I do declare Im gonna spit up," Victoria said. Jessie, from her seated position at Victorias feet, batted her leg. "Ouch. Oh come on, Jessica, look at her. All she needs is a fan and Ashley Wilkes and we will have "Gone with the Wind Revisited"."
Jessie had to admit that Victoria was right and began to snicker and shake her head.
"Shhhhhh. Shhhh," came from Shannon who was still listening intently to the conversation. After what they had just been through she would give up the sun and surf to just stay here for a couple of days and drive back home.
"Well, my French and Creole are rusty but I think I can manage. So will you call her, Daddy?"
"Oh, Daddy, you are an angel. I just want to crawl through this phone and give you some suga right now, Becca replied making kissing noises into the phone.
"HURUMPH." Victoria put her finger down her throat in a gagging gesture. Shannon and Jessie could not help but giggle at Victorias antics.
Sending a fiery glance Victorias way she continued, "Oh yes, Daddy, that would be fine. You have my cell number?"
Bobbing her head in cadence with the number that was being recited to her. "Yes, thats it. Well be waiting. I love you, Daddy."
With a shrug she began, "Well now all we have to do is wait."
"Is your father going to call your grandmother?" Victoria queried.
"Yeah, have him do the introductions so to speak."
Victoria nodded her head knowingly.
"So what is your great grandma like?" Shannon asked.
"Well, shes a mixture of old world and old south rolled together. Like I said before I have only met her a few times, but what I do remember, shes exactly what you would expect from a matriarch of a plantation." Becca shrugged.
"Is that why you call her Madame?" Jessie wondered.
"Yeah I guess so, it just seemed to fit her."
A smile began to appear on Jessicas fair features. "And you like her dont you?"
Becca smiled sheepishly.
"Yeah, you do like her, despite how your parents feel about her."
"I have to admit I always wanted to get to know her better. I know my parents always thought of her as a real bitch, but there was just something about her I always liked." Becca shrugged.
Grabbing her phone she quickly flipped it open. "Daddy? Yeah. Uh huh .Uh huh oh ok thats great. Thanks, Daddy, youre the best. Yes, Yes, I promise I will. Yes, Ill call you when we get there. Ok, bye, Daddy."
"Ok, guys, Madame has consented to give us an audience and lodging," Becca snickered.
"Thats great," Jessie bubbled.
"See I told you, it never hurts to ask." Shannon said, pleased with herself for suggesting it.
"Well its not all that easy." Becca turned serious. "My Grandmamma is very old world, very proper. We are going to act accordingly, yall understand?"
"Becca, come on. We know how to act. I mean, we dont consider fine dining eating at the local truck stop and dont make all our social contacts at the bowling alley," Shannon groused. "Im sure if we start to make some major faux paux Victoria will be there to kick us under the table."
"Im sorry, Sha, its just that I want us all to make a good impression," Becca apologized. "Especially me. I mean its been so long since Ive seen her and ."
"You want her to like us." Jessie cut to the chase.
"Yep, you hit the nail on the head. Victoria, youre being so quiet, is this ok with you?"
It took Victoria a moment to answer Becca, still in shock by the fact that she was about to meet the matriarch of the Dushont family. "Oh oh yeah, its ok. I was just figuring how long it would take us to get from here to Lafayette. Do you have directions to the plantation?"
"Ummmm, no?" Becca blushed while Victoria rolled her eyes.
"But I do have the phone number at the plantation, will that help?" Becca sheepishly offered her the number she had scribbled on a scrap piece of paper. Victoria took the number, flipped open her cell phone and began to dial, walking away from the girls so that she could hear more clearly and without distractions.
"This is way cool, Ive never been to a plantation. Does it have ghosts and secret passages and all that neat stuff?" Shannon gushed.
"Sha, you watch too much TV. Its a mansion, granted it has ancient servants quarters in the fields, but other than that " Becca winked.
Snapping her phone shut Victoria once again joined the others. "Well I have the directions. It will take us about an hour and half to get there. Now all we have to do is get our luggage and we can be on our way."
"OH SHIT!" Becca cried out and put her hands over her face.
"WHAT NOW??" Victoria said with an exasperated tone.
"What did yall pack?" Becca asked.
Jessie and Shannon looked puzzled, while Victoria said, "Oh, I didnt think of that."
"Think of what?" Jessie asked.
"Did anyone pack evening wear, formal or otherwise?" Becca asked.
"The only thing I packed was bathing suits and shorts, maybe a pair of jeans?" Shannon inventoried the clothing she had brought in her head.
Becca rolled her eyes and shook her head in despair.
"What is it?" Jessie was confused knowing that she had exactly the same items packed in her bags.
"Jessie, we are going to a mansion to have dinner with the Matriarch of one of the most influential families in the south who happens to be your best friends Grandmother," Victoria answered without one single note of condescension in her voice. "Do you see where Im going with this?"
"Oh," both Shannon and Jessie responded, the bulb finally lighting.
Becca turned to Victoria. "What are we going to do?"
Victoria fished in her back pocket for her wallet and pulled out a platinum American Express card. Flashing a smug grin at the ladies she simply replied, "I never leave home without it."
To be continued in part 5!!!.
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