Chapter 12: Oh, and I Almost Forgot...A Chapter by Rachel
I was flying into the edges of Roma when I remembered that I had driven here, not flown. I shook my feathered head and tilted a little towards the ground I could see the Coliseum in the distance, so I knew that I was getting closer to the parking place. I let my mind wander as I let my mind go into auto pilot. My thoughts automatically went to memories, but I managed to suppress the ones about Them this time. I remembered how much I’d researched about this particular place. Greek and Roman Gods, architecture, the ancestors of modern science, I’d been altogether fascinated with all of it, but now that I was here I wasn’t looking at any of it. I shook my head at this realization, but didn’t falter in my course. I was almost there.
I flew behind a dumpster in an alley way and let the heat roll out through my shoulders. I dusted my dress off as I walked back into the sunlight, in awe at the soft fabric. I shook my head and continued in the direction of the parking garage I had used.
I nodded to the security guard on the way back into the semi darkness. I explored the innumerable amount of cars in the garage on the way to mine. Most of them were incredible, as expected. I was in Italy, after all. I sighed as I saw the last column before I turned to get to my car and rushed forward. What I saw as I rounded the corner made me gasp and stop in my tracks.
The car, I couldn’t call it mine, was totally dismantled. I heard my IQ drop a couple of points as I took the destruction in. All of the glass was broken, the doors were in a pile on the ground, the trunk was open and the sound system torn to shreds, the stuffing of the seats was ripped out, the engine was dismantled into small pieces, and all of my personal belongings were strewn along the ground. I walked forward, forcing my legs to move. I was crying. Had I been here, I knew that it would have been hard to survive without going the long way around.
“This is unacceptable,” I muttered as I bent down to my belongings. Most of it had been clothes, but some of it would be hard to replace. I picked up the remains of a Moon Lily bloom. “Do they know how hard it was to get these?” It had taken me 5 years of searching mountain valleys to find some that grew wild. The effect just wasn’t the same if you bought the bulbs from someone. They just didn’t get enough raw moonlight anywhere close to towns. I walked through the wreckage, noting that nothing had been spared. My heart sank as I saw a book tossed to the side and ripped in half. When I got close enough to see what it was, I gasped and shut my eyes. It was the herb-all that my grandmother had given to me. I felt heat rush down my back, but held it in check. I was angry, I was sad, yes, but I wasn’t going to go ballistic. “If I ever meet these guys, they are going to pay dearly for every bit of this.” I said bitterly as I picked the remains of the book out of the puddle it had landed in. I shook my head and ran out.
By the time I reached Alessandro’s department store, it was closing time. Alessandro was standing outside as he locked up. He looked up, as if sensing my presence, like an animal sensing a predator.
“Sandy?” I said sadly.
“Akira? Is that you?”
“Oh, Sandy, you’ll never believe what happened!” I cried as I ran to him and threw my arms around him. I was still crying.
“Oh, Fiamma! What? What happened?” He was patting my back and trying to get me to stop crying, but now that I’d started I couldn’t stop. I heard a car pull up.
“Alessandro, what is this? I didn’t know you swung that way.” I heard a chuckle and recognized the voice of Guido.
“You know I don’t, but Fiamma here seems to have run into hard times in the few hours that she’s been out of our direct control.”
“I thought you would have at least done better than that, Signorina.” I could hear the sympathetic smile in his voice, but I still couldn’t get myself to stop crying. It was like all of the tears from the past years that I had refused to shed, or had shed and stopped before I was done, had come back all at once. All of the sadness from Her leaving, the aggravation that she didn’t trust us enough to help her, all of it was coming back. I kept thinking that, had She stayed I wouldn’t be in this situation. I felt a second hand patting my shoulder as Guido also tried to get me to stop crying, but it just made me cry harder because that was what She would have done.
“Guido, I have an idea.” Sandy pried me from his shoulder. “Come, Fiamma, I know how we can fix this.” And with that I was whisked away.
“…And then I freaked out and ended up here, because you correctly guessed that I needed a ‘girls’ night out.” I did air quotes in the air on girls, because they were most obviously male. Alessandro’s idea for cheering me up had been to take me to the club. Well, it was more like a bar really, because the atmosphere was too mellow to be a club. I took a sip of the apple wine that, by some miracle, Alessandro had known to order me for after I was done crying. That had happened about when I was had reached the point where I was talking about getting knocked out and kidnapped (again), because I was too busy going on a rant to cry.
“Wow, I have to say, that’s a pretty big s**t-list.” Guido stated, complete sincerity ringing in his big dark eyes. He was bigger than Sandy, not in height, but in muscle mass. He looked like a male model, which told me at least one reason that Sandy was so smitten with him.
“Yep, and that’s only in this leg of the trip.” I said with a smile. “What I want to know is how I’m going to explain the car to the rental company.”
“Do you have their number?” Sandy inquired with a mischievous look on his pretty face.
“Yes…Why?”I asked warily. He smiled and put out his hand.
“Give it here, Tesoro.” I handed him the card and watched in fascination as he pulled out his cell and dialed the number. I heard the rings from across the table and smiled as I heard the professionally polite greeting.
“Yes, I’m calling for Miss Akira Leona? It seems there’s been an accident involving her and the car that was borrowed from you.” He responded with an equally cultured tone. He sounded like, dare I say it, a secretary.
“May I have your name please, sir?” I heard the woman reply coolly.
“Alex Fae, Miss Leona’s assistant.” He said with a smile. The line went silent for a moment.
“Wait, you mean she’s the Akira de Leona?!” I smiled, both at the inside joke of his last name and because I’d expected that response when I first came in to borrow the car, and had been surprised that I hadn’t gotten it. “Like, as in DeLeona Designs? I love her!” I heard a bunch of other rambling, but I was too busy laughing to pay attention. I had used Leona as a name for my clothes because Leo was already taken and had added the de because it made it sound more professional, but I hadn’t anticipated it becoming so well liked that I had to use Leona as a last name. The License woman had recognized me when I walked in to renew my license, so, bam, there it was on my card. I swear, I had to start carrying a magazine with me to prove it.
“Yes, well, as I said, there has been a slight problem,” As I heard Sandy speak I stopped giggling to hear what would happen.
“Oh, right.” I heard her say as if snapping out of a trance. “What happened?”
“Well, when Miss Leona came back to the car after checking the set up for the photo shoot of her Summer Line, she found that it had been severely damaged,” He lied smoothly. I smacked myself as I remembered that, indeed, the shoot had been today. I remembered sending my look alike secretary in my stead. She was a smart girl, if I called her she would be able to cover for me.
“What do you mean by severely?”
“I mean it’s completely totaled. Someone must have really had it out for her.” Finally I heard complete sincerity.
“How? She’s never done anything more than design clothes! Wait! Could it be DeLoupe?” I growled at the mention of my rival designer. He was gaudy, big headed, and everyone loved him just as much as they loved me. My purist fans hated his purist fans with a passion and his were just about as bad as far as mine went. I shook my head.
“Maybe,” He said with a look in my direction, “She mostly wanted to know whether it was covered under her insurance or not before she flew to her secret- I mean, before she flew to France.” He said with a smile and crossed fingers.
“Oh, right.” She remembered with uncertainty, “Her coverage is good for it. You said something about France?” She asked nonchalantly. Oh, he was good.
“Oh, it was nothing, just another shoot. Just between you and me,” He started conspiratorially, “She’s got a new look that she’s going to bring out. She didn’t want DeLoupe to know about it, so she didn’t give any press. It’s all being done by a small time photographer, very secret.”
“Oh, right, right,” She said as if she wasn’t running on a high at the moment, “Does she need a ride when she gets there?”
“Oh, yes.” He said with all the authority of a head assistant, “She would like something discreet, but very fast.”
“We have another Camaro, if she would like it. It’s a classic ’67, I’m sure she’ll enjoy it. It’s also almost indestructible, which seems like a plus with a client like Madam Leona.” I almost fainted on the spot. Riding in a ’67 Camaro was to me what a comet or a solar eclipse was to a serious astronomer, a rare and lovely occurrence.
“I believe that will be adequate.”
“Okay, I only need her account number.” I flipped the card over on the table so that he could see where the person who’d given me the card had written the number.
“The number is three-nine-five, three-two, two-two.”
“Okay, the car will be waiting for her when she gets of the plane in France.”
“Okay, thank you.”
“Any time.” I heard the phone disconnect. We all three looked at each other. After a couple of moments we busted out laughing. I wiped my eyes as the laughter died down.
“That was great, oh, I needed that!” I giggled, then sighed with a smile, looking at Sandy. “How did you know, Sandy?” He shook his head with a smile and a sip of his fruity cocktail.
“First of all, any gay guy worth his salt knows about Madam Leona and her edition of the strictly gay clothing line, Fair Leone.” He smiled brightly, “Both Guido and I have several of you pieces in our closets.” I turned to Guido and he nodded.
“It’s true. I absolutely loved your Formal wear. It was subtly just what the doctor ordered.”
“Thanks,” I was blushing.
“And second,” Sandy continued, “You certainly didn’t need me to tell you why I chose which fabric. I could see it in your eyes that you knew why I’d picked each one.” He shook his head, “I’m not even sure why you needed my help in the first place.”
“Well, I was in kind of panicking when I noticed that I didn’t fit in…”
“That’s an understatement,” both of them said at once with friendly smiles.
“So I just ducked in. I thought it might be a little presumptuous of me to pick clothes for Italy when I’d already messed up so righteously.”
“Ah, I had wondered.” Guido said, “I had thought that it was a disguise, actually.”
“To be completely truthful, I wasn’t exactly sure until you were in the first outfit,” Alessandro confessed.
“So that’s why you got a little less flip,” I smirked, “Mind you I said a little.”
“A little,” He agreed with a nod.
“Okay, well here’s my confession, I can dress other people a lot better than myself.”
“Not much of a confession, if you ask me.”
“True,” I chuckled, “How about this one,” I looked both ways and leaned close secretively, “You guys rock.”
“You’d better believe it,” Sandy laughed.
“Aw, thanks, Fiamma. I, at least, am touched.” I didn’t know why, but I felt really close to Guido, even though it was Sandy that I was used to.
“Well,” Sandy glanced around at the sparse crowd left in the bar, “This has been fun, but it is getting late. Do you have some where to stay the night, Tesoro?”
“I think I can manage,” I said with a smile. I knew just the place. With that we all got up and I paid for the drinks saying, “If anyone owes anyone a drink, it would be me.” When we got out the door, I said my goodbyes, gave them hugs, and promised to come back and visit.
“You do realize that you have to make an entirely new line of clothes before you get to France, right?” Sandy inquired from the window of Guido’s car.
“I do,” I replied with a mischievous grin, “Good thing I’d already had plans for a Summer Line and hadn’t told anyone about it.”
His eyes were wide as Guido drove off, I heard laughter as I waved to his tail lights. As soon as they were around the corner I got my bearings and started walking.
I sighed as I settled back onto the columns of Saturn’s temple. It was nice and quiet up here above the streets of Rome. I glanced at the stars that hung in the nightscape above me, picking out all of the constellations I knew with my sharp vision. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep to the sound of my own breathing.
© 2009 Rachel
Added on May 8, 2009
Meeting the First
AboutWell, I'm ever so slightly insane, to start with. In my opinion, insanity is a necessity for any artist, be they writer, singer, player, or doodle-bug. I love to write, though I often get stuck, and l.. more..