I’m about to wrap up the whole Arlan Truss a.k.a. Blue Devil Singing Cowboy chapter of Infusion Blue, and so this is going to be his Swan Song — at least it is here on the blog. In the published story, you may find him showing up again!
One of the things I always put into my story is the jealousy and backstabbing that women can do to each other. I’ve seen, experienced others doing that to me, and I know that most of you can relate when I say that.
In this post, Claire and Jaycee have plans for a great night out with other friends – until something sinister comes along.
Thank you all for your support and amazing feedback!
It was a dark and stormy night.
Jaycee had the ticket app on her phone and it was fully charged, ready to go. There were nine of them tonight. Nine ladies. All gorgeous. All decked out to the max.
Dinner plans were in place at the best steak house in town. Expensive wine would be flowing and the good time would just get better and better.
Except for one small detail. There was a funky smell in Jaycee’s car earlier she couldn’t get rid of or find the cause of, either. And when she came out of the shower, her beachfront condo smelled of it, too.
She knew that smell. She’d been around it before. But it had been so long she hoped it was gone or that her memory of it was exaggerated. It was definitely not gone. And if anything her memory of it was too mild.
“Good thing I hired a car.” Jaycee climbed into the back of the stretch limo, sat down and smoothed her glittering dress. “That smell is back.”
Claire’s smile evaporated. “What??”
“Yea. It’s in my car. And my condo smells like a slaughter house.”
Leaning back and closing her eyes, Claire felt her heart beat faster in her chest. There was a pain in her head that she knew all too well was a migraine in the works. “I can’t believe it. That Thing has been silent all this time. Over a year! And now? Tonight of all nights??”
Jaycee poured each of them a glass of champagne from the uncorked bottle of Dom that was left for them by the chauffeur. “Drink this quickly. It may ward off that migraine.”
Claire smiled despite the stabbing knife going through her skull. “You know me too well.” She gulped down the bubbly. “But, what are we going to do? There are all of our best friends from college waiting for us at Chez Ray. What do we tell them?”
Jaycee finished her glass and poured them two more. ” How about the truth?”
Claire gratefully accepted another glass. “Oh right! We should tell them that a monster from hell has come to Earth to feed on people. Not just anyone. Just those who are basically evil and happen to be wearing blue. Oh yea, that’ll be perfect! Let’s see, our girls include three lawyers, two journalists, one teacher and a fucking psychiatrist! We will be arrested, torn apart by the press, the kids we haven’t had yet will be banned from private schools and, oh, last but not least, locked up in a padded room until we recant our story!”
Jaycee sighed. “No. Not that truth.” She sipped her champagne. “The other one. The Arlan Truss truth.”
That surprised Claire. “No. I’m not going down that road. I used to feel something real for that man. Don’t forget it. I don’t give a damn about him anymore, but, I’m not going to make myself look like an idiot in front of some of the most successful women I’ll ever know.”
“Some of them have been idiots, too. Successful or not every women loses her freaking mind sometime.”
“Yea. I know. But, not now. I’m not ready for that kind of a revelation.”
“Then you have to fake sick.”
“Fake it? Hell, my head is about to explode!”
After telling their friends they were not going to the show, and insisting that the 7 others continue on without them, Claire also insisted that Jaycee stay at her place. “That smell is probably going to be there. Or it will come back. I don’t feel good about letting you go back.”
“No argument here. I don’t feel safe there anymore. It’s in my house, Claire. Even if the smell disappears I don’t feel comfortable there anymore.”
“Move in here. I have a big place. Plenty of room. If we don’t like it we’ll get a house big enough to get lost in. This is serious. I feel we need to maintain a united front.”
“I think I’m finally believing what Cat said about the monster living in Arlan’s body. It makes sense. I don’t think it wanted us ladies all together tonight? Why? I have no idea.”
“Same here. But we are getting a clear message that it does.”
“I need to go back, Claire. Back to my condo. Tonight. Just to get something I need.”
“All right. I”m going, too.”
“But I want to go in alone. It’s important to me.”
Claire felt a bit uneasy about that, but, in the end Jaycee won.
The foyer outside her expensive penthouse condo was softly lit, as always. Fresh flowers adorned a long table and were discreetly replaced by staff members every day and today was no different. Their fragrance was sweet and pleasing, and it made Jaycee feel a bit less anxious about going back in.
But, once she opened the door, the smell hit her so hard her eyes watered. There wasn’t anything Jaycee needed here. That was just an excuse. There was something she very much needed to say. “I’m NOT backing down!” She shouted it as loud as she could. And she kept shouting it over and over.
Fifteen minutes went by and Jaycee was losing her voice. She stood at the door to leave, her key in hand, breathing hard, when something else happened to shock her.
The smell left. Completely. As if it had never been there. Jaycee walked out.