A/N: I've been watching Designing Women nonstop, and I couldn't help but write a fanfiction about it… Dixie Carter was just too damn hot not to.
On that note- this is in memory of Dixie Carter. Thank you for everything.
Wednesday, July 26, 1989
Long days. That seemed to be the only type of day in Julia Sugarbaker's life.
Always an early riser, the 6am alarm was far more unwelcome than it had ever been before, though her body needed the time to wake up, drink coffee, and attempt to stretch out the kinks in her lean muscles.
Her body had always been thin and tall, unlike her sister Suzanne who had curves that killed. She had envied her sister during her youth and young adult years, but as she approached middle age, she was rather thankful for her slim physique, even if others called her a twig.
The hot Atlanta morning forced Julia to turn on the air in her house as she went about her morning routine. Only 6:15 and already the temperature was eighty degrees. The weatherman predicted today would be a scorcher- ninety-five with a heat index to make it feel like it was one hundred and five.
Groaning at the forecast, Julia decided today would be a loose clothing kind of day. It was her own personal law to never perspire in public. It simply wasn't ladylike. She'd rather go home and change a couple of times a day than to have any sort of sweat marks on her body. Normally she would have a few extra pairs of clothes at Sugarbaker's just in case.
Still in her pajamas, she lowered her body onto the soft carpet of her den and began her stretches. Straddling her legs, she winced at the soreness. Leaning over, she pressed her nose against the floor as her arms stretched out towards her feet. A dancer in her youth, her body went through the memorized patterns of various stretches and positions.
When her body felt limbered up and awake, she made her way to the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee. Moving towards her couch, she flipped mindlessly through a Southern Living magazine. The girls had signed on to decorate a new mansion on the outskirts of the town and she was running low on new ideas. After the fifth room, it was hard to come up with different ideas.
When she had finished her mug, she took a cold shower, hoping to freeze her body before it had to face the muggy oppressiveness of the Georgia summer.
She stepped out, dried, and wrapped her white silk robe around her body. Deciding that a blow dryer would probably make her hotter, she fixed a towel around her hair and twisted it to rest on top of her head.
Looking in her closest, she picked out a red silk top without sleeves and a thin white cotton knee-length skirt. Deciding against her normal leather pumps, she grabbed her white lace espadrilles with the small cork heel.
Laying them on her bed, she returned to the bathroom and let her hair down. The water was mostly gone from her thick but fine brown hair. Bending over, she vigorously rubbed the towel against her scalp to take care of the last remnants of her shower.
Looking at her reflection, she had to laugh. "You look like a poodle, Julia Sugarbaker!" She said to herself. Grabbing her brush, she flattened out her wavy hair and pinned it back with a small silver clip.
She moved back to the bed and put on her clothes. The clock displayed 7:06.
Sitting at her vanity, she did her small makeup routine. Foundation, powder, mascara, and lipstick. She decided to forego the blush. More than likely, her cheeks would be colored from the temperature anyway.
Or from something else…
But she pushed that thought aside as she headed down the stairs. Grabbing her briefcase and purse, she cut off the lights before walking outside.
The hot air hit her like a ton of bricks, making her sunglasses fog up. She dared not remove them, lest the white sun blind her brown eyes.
She made her way to her Cadillac and cut on the air conditioning.
She was mildly surprised when semi-cool air came out of the vents.
Upon arriving at the house, she saw Carlene's car parked in the driveway. Her heart gave a mild flutter.
She ignored it.
She parked behind Carlene's Ford as Mary Jo's old car pulled in behind her.
Getting out, Julia grabbed her things and flashed her co-worker a smile. "Good mornin' Mary Jo!"
"Mornin' Julia. It's dreadfully hot isn't it? I woke up and I thought my kids had locked me in the bathroom with the shower on!"
"Indeed. I was none to thrilled myself when the weatherman reported today's high. Leave it to Hot-lanta to thoroughly cook its inhabitants."
Julia opened the door and allowed Mary Jo to enter first. The cool air felt like heaven against her skin.
"Hi y'all!" Carlene called. "I made coffee and got some yogurt from the store, figured it'd be too dang hot to have biscuits!"
Julia smiled, "That was very considerate of you, Carlene! Thank you. Have you heard anything else from the Smith's?"
The blonde moved to her desk and rifled through her papers. "Yeah, they called this morning. They asked if we could finish up the south wing by Friday so that they can have some dinner party or another."
Mary Jo's amber eyes snapped up in surprise. "Friday! Today's Wednesday! How the heck are we supposed to finish that whole wing by then?"
Carlene shrugged. "The guy from the textile place called too. The drapes are all ready to be picked up whenever we can go get them."
Sitting down at her desk, Julia donned her glasses and nodded. "Good, we'll send Anthony to get them. As soon as Suzanne gets here, we'll head on over to the Smith's house."
With an exasperated sigh, Mary Jo turned to her regal boss. "How are you so calm about this? You know it's going to be hell trying to finish that wing of that stupid house!"
"Hell? Yes. Impossible? No. It'll be long hours and a lot of work but we need the money. You and I both know that we need to complete this job perfectly to finish out this season."
"Yeah, Mary Jo, Julia's right. Besides, we can turn on a little music on that real nice radio they have there… The time will just fly by!"
The door flew open and Suzanne Sugarbaker stepped through, head adorned in a large white hat and body in a hot pink lacy dress with a white, sheer sweater. Suzanne marched into the house, slammed the door, and launched into today's string of complaints.
"Lord have mercy it is hot as Hades out there! Do you know how much I paid for these shoes? A hundred bucks, and now they're all ruined from that hot asphalt out there! It's as if Mother Nature has no appreciation for attractive women who try to look good in this nasty summer weather instead of simple women like Carlene who settle for cotton and khaki!"
Carlene rolled her eyes but Julia spoke up, "Suzanne, your shoes look fine. Get over yourself. We're all hot and miserable."
"It's like that time I was in the Miss Atlanta pageant. We were backstage and both girls beside me had their blow dryers going. Now, you know I would NEVER blow dry my hair because it makes it frizz out like Julia's?"
Eye roll from her sister.
"All I do is deep condition and air dry. Well these girls kept on blowing and blowing and drying and drying, and then I started to get hot and sweaty and my hair started to poof out. But instead of walking out, like I was tempted to do, I pulled my hair back into the most elegant braid you have ever seen and won the whole thing outright. Those girls never had a chance!"
Mary Jo raised her eyebrow and said flatly, "Thank you, Suzanne, for that lovely story without a point."
Suzanne flashed her best Miss America smile. "You're welcome!"
Julia looked over her large frames. "Now, if we're all done reliving Suzanne's glory days, can we get to work and head over to the Smith's place?"
"Not until Anthony can get here and get the curtains." Carlene reminded.
"What curtains?" Anthony appeared at the door.
"Oh Anthony," Julia rose from her seat and grabbed the address from her drawer. "The curtains are done from Greg's Textiles. Can you go pick them up and meet us at the house?"
He looked a bit nervous, "Well, I would Ms. Julia, but that man does not like me and I would feel uncomfortable going over there."
Carlene looked shocked. "Why wouldn't he like you? Everyone likes you!"
"No, y'all like me. This… this man is an Atlanta racist through and through! He even has a KKK sign on his office door!"
Julia shook her head. "Fine, I'll go. Carlene, care to tag along?" She held her breath for the blonde's answer.
"Sure, let me go grab my water!"
Suzanne motioned for Mary Jo and Anthony to follow her. "Come on, Anthony can drive the Mercedes!"
Tossing the keys into his hand, the team walked out the door.
R/R Concrit please!