LIFE GOES ON

MATING GAMES, PART 5:

Let the Good Times Roll!

By Kimberly T. (email: kimbertow -at- yahoo dot com)

Standard disclaimers and acknowledgments apply. I'm not making a dime of profit; please don't sue.

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5.1: Starting Anew

Angela knew that most American calendars showed Sunday as the first day of the week, which always struck her as rather odd for a nation of mostly Christians. Wasn't the Sabbath, the holy day that was designated for rest, supposed to be the seventh and last day of the week? After all, God had rested on the seventh day after making Adam, not before starting all of Creation.

Sitting in the back of the New Orleans Clan's delivery truck, she asked that question of her escorts for that Sunday night's trip into New Orleans, Lucretia and Cassius. It wasn't really a question she was burning to have answered, but she was trying hard to find "small talk" that would not detract from the conversation being held on the other side of the truck, but would also cover the occasional awkward silences emanating from that side.

Brooklyn sat on the other side of the truck, with his date for the night: Martha. She was the New Orleans Clan's primary cook for the night hours… and, as Broadway had discovered last night, their resident successful author. Angela knew that, before last night, Brooklyn hadn't really been considering Martha as potential mate material for him; she seemed nice enough, but not all that interesting. But after Broadway had excitedly told everyone what he'd learned last night, Brooklyn realized he'd been wrong about her; Martha had simply been overshadowed by her more aggressive rookery sisters. Not only was she a marvel in the kitchen, but under her nom de plume of Martha Dubois, she was highly witty and good humored, and an excellent storyteller.

At dusk, just before they'd boarded the truck that would take them into New Orleans, Brooklyn had said to Martha, "How about we start over? Pretend we're only meeting each other tonight, total strangers until right this minute. Hi, I'm Brooklyn."

Martha had giggled before replying in kind, and so far during the truck ride, she'd proven to be a much more animated conversationalist than Angela had glimpsed earlier. Brooklyn really seemed to be interested, too; not just politely feigning interest. So perhaps Martha was—what was the modern phrase?—back in the running, with those competing for Brooklyn's affections.

Angela thought to herself that if Brooklyn did choose to court Martha, she'd make a pleasant addition to the Manhattan Clan; almost like having Angela's rookery sister Naomi around to talk to. But she hesitated from saying so, not wanting to appear as if she was trying to influence Brooklyn one way or the other, for any of the available females. (Especially considering the underhanded tactics that at least one of the competing sisters had already exhibited. Angela didn't want or need another female trying to suck up to her, hoping to gain influence with Brooklyn in the process!)

So she tried to stay out of the conversation that Brooklyn and Martha were having, without just sitting there like a rock for the whole trip in to New Orleans. Which meant making small talk with Lucretia and Cassius. For most of the trip, she'd been asking questions about the city and the attractions they were taking her to see, but ten minutes ago Lucretia had gently shushed her and said, "Don't try to learn everything before we get there. Let the city and its wonders unfold all around you!"

But it was hard, refraining from asking more questions about New Orleans; there was so much she wanted to know! This was the first chance she'd had to really go exploring since arriving in Manhattan last summer… and from what she'd heard so far, New Orleans was even more exotic than New York!

The only thing that would make it better would be to explore the city during Mardi Gras, when the gargoyles all pretended they were costumed humans and walked freely among the tourists and New Orleans' general populace. Angela had had a taste of that last Halloween, and couldn't wait for another such opportunity! Perhaps next February, they could come down here again…

But in the meantime, she was exploring anew! As much as Angela appreciated having a good solid home to live in and perch on every day, rather than a too-small skiff that never sank but occasionally capsized and frequently had to bailed out for comfort's sake, she had really begun to miss the opportunity to go to new places and see new sights.

Not that she was bored with New York already; she'd really only explored half of Manhattan since her arrival, and even after she'd finished seeing everything there was to see in the clan's island protectorate, there were four more boroughs nearby to explore. But she absolutely would not pass up a chance to see another city, particularly not this one!

She did feel somewhat guilty about going to see the city without Broadway at her side; he was almost as eager to see New Orleans as she was. But in Broadway's case, it was because he'd known of this city before; he'd read each of Martha's books from cover to cover at least four times, long before learning they had been written by a fellow gargoyle. Angela thought that was part of the city's appeal to him; he'd read of it in print so often, seeing it with his own eyes would be a little bit like visiting an old friend's home. (Though for Angela, part of the appeal was that it was so unfamiliar!)

But Broadway's chance to see the sights Martha had described would have to wait until tomorrow night; he had already agreed to take on Martha's duties in the kitchen while Martha herself was on dates with Brooklyn. And when Angela had been approached just before dawn by Lucretia and Cassius, an older mated pair who were going in to New Orleans anyway and said they would be happy to show her the sights, she had jumped for the opportunity with her talons outstretched.

Oh, she'd go in again tomorrow night at Broadway's side, and act as his left wing to help him glide to all the places he wanted to see. Tomorrow she'd see the French Quarter, the Musée Conti Historical Wax Museum, the place they called Mardi Gras World, and (naturally, for Broadway) the French Market. But tonight, Cassius and Lucretia were going to take her to the places that Broadway might not be interested in, but that she definitely wanted to see! When Lex had called last night, he'd raved about not only the French Quarter but the Aquarium of the Americas, and the Audubon Zoological Gardens. And Angela had already heard a few clan tales about the Cities of the Dead…

Angela noticed her tail was impatiently twitching again, and sternly wrapped it around her calf. There was no need to go acting like a hatchling! Just because she was off to explore again… (Wheee!)

To be continued