Thanks so much for all your kind reviews. They really do mean a lot! Send me more! They make me write faster...and better! My interpretation of Scarlett and Rhett is based on how their lives had been shaped by the circumstances they faced – just in a modern world. They are both so wonderfully created by the literary genius, MM, that the fit quite well in twenty-first century America. Regardless of the time, be it 1865 or 2018, she is a strong heroine for women of all ages and has always been the stronger of the pair of she and Rhett.
As for the guest that requested some steam between our favorite couple, this is the best I could do?
"Do you have any idea how tempted I am to leave you like this?"
Scarlett narrowed her green eyes. "I'll kill you.", she said in a low, serious voice as she pulled against her black, velvety restraints.
"I could even sell tickets. Come take a whack at Scarlett O'Hara for a thousand bucks" he laughed.
"Untie me right now! I should have never agreed to this!" Her cheeks were still flushed with color from their recent lovemaking.
Rhett crawled across their massive bed, feeling the cool silk under his knees. For once, he appreciated the overwhelming "girly-ness" of their bedroom. Under the gleam of the low lighting, the room, which in daytime looked like a nauseating combination of Edwardian and whorehouse, became a silken boudoir of feminine sensuality. Reaching across to where the restraints were tethered, he couldn't help but run has callused hand over the rise of his wife's soft porcelain breasts.
"Do you really want me to untie you?" he said kissing her neck and running his hand along her inner thigh.
Scarlett moaned, arching her back in response.
"I didn't think so."
For the first time in years, they made love again – twice in the same night.
"I needed that", she sighed drowsily as she lay in her husband's arms. She needed all the fortification she could get to get through tomorrow. She had already planned to take a Xanax in the morning as soon as she opened her eyes and wondered if even that would be enough. A night of mind blowing sex just might be the top-off she needed. She wondered if she would have time in the morning to have a quickie with her husband; a booster shot of sorts. Nothing could calm her down and set her in a good mood like an orgasm so intense that her head felt as if it would explode.
Tomorrow she would go wedding dress shopping with her daughters. She should be looking forward to this rite passage with her girls, but instead she was dreading it. Much to Scarlett's dismay, her darling, wonderful daughter had invited her new mother- in- law to come along.
"How's it feel, Cat? I made sure that I picked out one without a tag." Ella smiled as her youngest sister carefully inspected the fabric of her junior bridesmaid dress. The material was a soft cotton, purposefully plain and without embellishment. Cat ran her hands along the sides as she appraised how she looked in the large floor length mirror.
Bonnie sauntered out of the dressing room, her hands clutching the sides of her dress to prevent herself from tripping over the hem. She nudged Cat from the pristine spot in front of the mirrors, gazing at the image reflected back at her. "I love the color, Ella. As your maid of honor, I approve."
"Alright Catherine", Scarlett appeared holding four shoeboxes "if you tell me that these shoes won't work, I suggest you go bare…." Scarlett gasped at the sight before her. She was stunned by the beauty of her daughters. "You both look so beautiful. All grown up."
Ella could see her mother swallowing back her tears. Since her graduation from high school four months ago, she had seen her mother cry more than she had in her entire life: tears of hurt, frustration, anger, and fear. Now she could add tears of nostalgia.
Her mother had literally fainted when she told her that she and Taz had eloped. She would never forget how all the men in the room, her new husband included, ran to her aid as she lost consciousness. Ella wiped her mother's face with a warm cloth, gently slapping her cheeks as others nervously ran about trying to rouse her. When she opened her eyes, she locked her fiery green eyes on her daughter and whispered, "I'm going to kill you."
After all the commotion settled and her mother agreed to speak to her again, both families had agreed that even though the pair were legally married, they would still have a traditional Spring wedding in the following year.
"Do you like them, Miss Belle?" Despite Belle's insistence that her new daughter in law call her simply Belle, Ella resisted and always added "Miss" before her name. Belle nodded her head with a smile. "Very nice, Ella."
Ella's "personal attendant", who was in all actuality, nothing more than a sales clerk with a fancy title given to her by the bridal shop, approached the gaggle of women with a massive cloud of white fabric in her arms. "Mrs. Watling, I've selected these gowns based on your preferences and your coloring. Shall we move to the fitting suite to begin trying them on?" Scarlett felt a jab to her heart. Mrs. Watling. You stupid bitch, she wanted to scream at the poor woman. Her name is Ella Kennedy! She's a child, not some married woman!
Ella gave an enthusiastic smile. She loved being called Mrs. Watling. "Mama, you and Miss Belle sit here, okay? I want to surprise you. Bonnie, you can go select the shoes for the dresses. Whatever you pick out will be what all the other bridesmaids have to wear too."
"Really ?!" Bonnie's blue eyes lit up with excitement.
"Bonnie" Scarlett began. She gave a quick side glance to where Cat was standing. It was a common phrase in their unspoken language, one that said: please take Cat with you.
"Cat, you want to come with me? We can check out shoes for you too." Cat shuffled her feet along the plush gray carpeting following her sister's lead.
"There's something stuck in your hair, honey." Belle said as she reached to remove the sticky adhesive, brushing her hand against Cat's shoulder in the process. "Don't touch me!" Cat screamed as she jumped back in terror. She was already in sensory overload with the foreign smells, bright lights, and loud noises of the bridal boutique. Belle shrunk back in mortification at the girl's rejection.
"Come here, baby", Scarlett said softly. Cat stood before her mother in a clear state of agitation. "Miss Belle was only trying to help. She didn't know that you don't like to be touched." Belle noticed that Scarlett was running her fingertips along her daughter's arm as she spoke. "That's my fault, I should have told her. But you may have hurt her feelings when you yelled. I know you didn't mean to, but what is it that we do when we hurt someone's feelings?" Cat turned her body to face the woman standing next to her mother. "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. I do not like to be touched, but I will shake your hand." Belle took the little hand that was offered to her and shook it gently. Cat glanced back at her mother for approval.
"Very good, kitty Cat. Now, go along with Bonnie and pick out some pretty shoes."
Scarlett took a seat in one of the large paisley patterned armchairs that lined the viewing area, gesturing to Belle to do the same. "I'm sorry about that. She meant no harm." Belle prayed her body language did not reveal just how uncomfortable she was sitting here with Scarlett. She could count on one hand the times they spent together through the years, none of them were good either. "No worries, Scarlett. She's adorable." Scarlett gave Belle a genuine smile. The first one ever. In it, Belle saw in her beautiful face what Rhett must see – the light in her eyes, the soft blush on her cheeks, the adorable dimples. No wonder she didn't stand a chance against her. Suddenly, Belle felt the need to create some sort of small- talk; sitting together with her mother in silence would no doubt cause Ella to worry. Ella was so very sweet, and more than anything, Belle wanted this day to be special for her. She had begged her to come along dress shopping, her green eyes large and sincere. "Please say you'll come, Miss Belle." Belle couldn't say no. She wouldn't ruin her day by entering in to fisticuffs with Scarlett.
"Where's your littlest one?"
"Home. Thank God. He'd have torn this place apart." No doubt the fragile gowns and wedding accessories would be no match for the four-year-old. It had taken a certain amount of deception to leave the house without him.
"I come with you?" Gerry asked his mother as he filled his mouth with dinosaur shaped cereal. Scarlett was ready for this. The second Gerry heard her grab her keys, he began begging to go too. "Of course you can come, tootsie. Run upstairs and get some clothes on. Your sisters and I are all going to the doctor to get lots of shots. Big ones." She used her hands to indicate their length. Gerry's eye grew wide. "I stay home with daddy." he said as he slumped back into his chair.
"You should be ashamed of yourself, misleading a baby.", her husband playfully reprimanded. "I guess you'll just have to punish me when I get home." She said it with a sultry tone, narrowing her eyes seductively and giving him a sexy wink.
Bonnie loudly dropped her fork sending sausage grease across the cream tablecloth. "I think I just threw up in my mouth."
"I hear you're busy planning another wedding too."
Scarlett seemed surprised that Belle was engaging her in conversation. "I'm not exactly planning that wedding. I'm just along for the ride. My future daughter in law is not exactly interested into any contributions I make. Do you know the only entrée selections for the reception are going to be vegetarian or vegan?" Belle laughed a deep laugh that made Scarlett laugh too.
"And, instead of gifts, they're asking for donations to a wildlife charity that tries to stop whaling in the Artic! I mean, who does that?"
Belle felt herself start to relax." I would guess that'd be the best part of getting married – all the presents."
"Oh, it is, believe me. The morning after our wedding, I was so excited to open the presents we got that we almost missed our flight to Bora Bora. Rhett had to practically….." She suddenly stopped, remembering who she was talking to. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat as the awkwardness began to set in. Belle noticed Scarlett's change in body language as the tension in the air began growing thick. She was going to be the first one to try and break the ice.
"Scarlett, I don't want this to be a barrier between us."
"Excuse me? What barrier?"
"The thing that happened, between Rhett and me. I don't want it to define us."
Scarlett narrowed her eyes and slightly tilted up her head. "Look, I'm being nice for Ella's sake, but I don't think I could ever look past the fact that you were my husband's mistress." She continued," You know, there's one thing I'd really like to know." Her eyes had changed. Behind her mask of superiority, Belle could now see the pain reflected in them. "During your affair with Rhett, did you encourage him leave me?" There was no use in lying. She knew that Scarlett knew the answer anyway. Belle gazed at the blue carpeting, studying the intricate patterns in the fabric. "Yes. I loved him. I had loved him for years. I would have done anything to have him love me."
Scarlett shook her head and gave a grunt of revulsion.
"I don't mean to upset you. I'm being honest with you, Scarlett; I did everything I could to make a life with me seem to be the most appealing thing to Rhett. I wanted him to leave you. He had never once told me that he loved me, but I thought we could overcome that and that my love would be enough for the both of us. But it was pointless. It's impossible to make someone love you when they are in love with someone else, is there? And that someone else was you. It was only ever you. It didn't matter what he said or did, it always you – never me; or anyone else for that matter."
For the first time, she understood. Was her relationship with Ashley so very different than Rhett's with Belle? Hadn't she tried to convince Ashley to leave Melanie? How many times had she suggested that they just run away? And hadn't she been the one to ask for forgiveness from the woman she wronged? She thought back to the terrible day, so long ago, when she bared her soul to another, begging for absolution.
"Don't lie to me, Scarlett. How long were you and Ashley sleeping together?"
Scarlett remembered begging for Melanie's forgiveness. With tears streaming out of her eyes, she told her everything, saying how much she regretted it, how it was different between them now, that she was her best friend, that it was over and would never happen again. The icy stare that Melanie gave her in that moment had been branded on her heart and soul for all eternity. As were her words. She would never forget them, and they would haunt her always.
"Stay away from me, Scarlett, and away from my family. You are exactly what they all say you are: nothing but trash."
In time, Meanie had forgiven her; even though she could never forgive herself. They agreed to put it all behind them, to look forward instead of back. Melanie was ten times the woman Scarlett is, and she couldn't see herself linking arms of solidarity and friendship with Belle Watling; even if that had been what Melly did with her. What she could do, was move forward, to quit looking back. She owed it to Ella – and to Melanie.
Scarlett looked at Belle with tears welling in her eyes. She swallowed her pride and was about to tell her that she wanted to move forward too when they heard Ella's voice. "Are ya'll ready? I'm about to come out."
Weary from her day, a bedraggled Scarlett shuffled her way through the side entrance of the estate. She was too tired to make the long walk up from the front path. Both Cat and Bonnie had fallen asleep in the car and were still groggy. The last thing she wanted to hear was their whining about how tired they were all the way up the front drive.
The day was more pleasurable that she had expected. She loved the way the girls looked in their matching blue dresses and was lost for words when Ella stood before her in stunning white satin. Lunch afterwards also went smoothly – almost pleasantly so. All except for Bonnie's ridiculous questions about becoming a burlesque dancer.
"Don't you think I'd be great as a burlesque dancer, Miss Belle?"
"Well, you certainly look like one. But you need to well-trained in the art of mystique." She leaned closer to Bonnie and whispered," Your mother would be wonderful at burlesque." She sat back up and took a sip from her wine glass. "Scarlett, have you ever heard of Dita Von Teese?"
Scarlett shook her head no as she spooned perfectly separated portions of veal and asparagus onto a plate for Cat.
"You look like her. I've never really noticed it before, but you do."
"Well, she must be gorgeous then."
She followed the smell of cigar smoke to Rhett's study. She walked behind where he was seated in his favorite chair, the one covered in red velvet that reminded her of something out of the Playboy mansion and draped her arms around his neck and shoulders.
"Gerry! Get up, quick. Mommy's home. Get the naked girls out of here before she sees them!"
He looked up at her with a big smile before grabbing her arm and pulling her into his lap. "I didn't get a call to bail you out of jail, so I'm assuming it all went well today." She leaned against his chest, breathing in the familiar scent of cologne and tobacco. "Very well. You should have seen how beautiful our girls looked today." She didn't mention Belle and he knew better than to bring her up.
"What'd you do to my baby?" she said looking at the way her son was sleeping. Gerry was peacefully sleeping on the sofa in a sitting position with his head resting on a pillow propped up against one of the arms. He was surrounded by a melee of toys, crayons, and fruit snacks. She slid off her husband's lap to adjust her little boy into a more comfortable position and saw that he had a drawing clutched in his tiny hands. "What's this?"
"He made it for you. To make you feel better after all those shots"." It was a picture of a dinosaur under a rainbow. He had drawn the dinosaur with a big smile and purple skin and had written I love mommy with a bright orange crayon. She kissed his little pink cheeks and smoothed the hair out of his face. "Such a little mama's boy." Rhett said as he took a long drag of his cigar.
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
Rhett smiled at her. "Well, it can be, if your mother happens to be Scarlett O' Hara."
She lifted Gerry onto her shoulder and stood up. "Scarlett, leave him. I'll bring him up to bed." She was soothed by the sounds of the soft snores of her son in her ear. She could feel his fingers begin to twirl the strands of her hair. Her nest was getting smaller by the day, two had flown away and one was ready to try out her wings, but this little one was still her baby. "No, finish your cigar. I want to show Mammy the pictures of Ella in her dress anyway. And before you ask, no you cannot see them. I'll see you upstairs. Don't stay up too late." She puckered her lips and blew him a quiet kiss as she left.
After placing Gerry in his bed, she went to check on her daughters. It still felt empty without Ella and Wade here. Less chaotic, less animated. Cat had fallen asleep in her bed, fully clothed and over the comforter. Scarlett removed her shoes and gently guided her under the covers. She placed a feather-soft kiss on her forehead. It was only in sleep that she was given the change to kiss her little girl. Bonnie was snuggled up in her bed with her mouth wide open and snoring; her phone still clutched in her hand. Scarlett placed the phone back on the charger, giving Bonnie a kiss goodnight before leaving the room.
She walked across the hall to mammy's room. She gave it a soft knock. Thanks to Bonnie the new family rule was that everyone had to knock before entering a room. There was no answer, which didn't surprise Scarlett. Mammy was so hard of hearing, she probably couldn't hear it above the blare of the television. Once inside, Scarlett could see mammy's large legs lifted up on the recliner and crossed at the ankles. A large green bowl filled with a half-eaten orange sat on the table beside her. The blanket the kids had given her last Christmas was draped across her lap, only the words Best Grandma were showing amidst the folds of fabric. Dirty dancing was playing on the t.v., an all-time favorite of hers. Patrick Swayze was in the middle of teaching Jennifer Grey how to dance.
"I really wish you could have been there today. You should have seen Ella, mammy. She looked so stunningly beautiful. I took some pictures to show you, look."
"Mammy, can you hear me?"
Somehow her body knew before her brain. Her heart began beating faster as her legs began to feel as if they couldn't support her. She reached out a shaky hand to touch her mother's arm and let out a sound that was half cry and half scream.