A.N. Greetings! Welcome to the next segment of Alex Writes Stuff! Once again, I want to thank everyone that followed and reviewed and favorited Rescue Me, making it such a treat to write, and I can only hope that you all-new and old readers-enjoy this one as much as that.
I'd like to say now that I've never been to New Orleans. I only know what I know about it from movies and books and the amazing pictures I've seen. So please don't hesitate to correct me if I happen to slaughter this great city.
I know the first chapter is kind of short, but that only means the next chapter will be up soon.
As always, see you peeps at the bottom.
It was all she could see. It was everywhere.
On her hands, on her clothes, in her hair, between her fingers...no matter where she looked, all she saw was glistening red.
Her breath came in shuddering gasps as she stumbled to the door, bare feet sliding on the polished oak floor. Her legs felt like jelly, barely able to hold her own weight, and her hands clawed at the paneled walls as she slumped against them, sobs wracking her body.
If she could just make it to the door...if she could just shoulder her way outside, if she could just make it those last final inches...
Thunder cracked as lightning lit the midnight sky, and as she pushed open the door and fell to the pavement, she raised her head, eyes panicked, and screamed.
"Welcome to the dark side of New Orleans...where the living are easily lost and the dead...stick around to play."
The man who spoke was large and burly, his mess of brown hair reaching well past his shoulders and nearly matching inch for inch the beard on his face. He was dressed in leather-jacket, shoes, pants-and faded ink of prison tattoos graced nearly every inch of his hands and arms. In any other instance, people would more than likely be on edge around this man, but his friendly smile and the jovial lilt of his voice was a stark contrast to his every appearance.
The crowd of tourists shuffled along behind the amiable tour guide, the click of shutters and flashing of bulbs following their every step as they gawked and awed at the legendary French Quarter around them. They looked on with smiles and aimless chatter, so lost in their own wonderment they failed to notice the small blonde woman who melded into their ranks, her cautious blue eyes taking in every sight and sound with them, but with a different fascination.
Shifting the small duffel bag draped across her shoulder, Caroline Forbes let her eyes slowly rake across the flurry of activity that was erupting around her. Music poured from nearly every building, lively upbeat tunes that had the people swaying their hips and dancing in the streets. Bright colors pierced the sky, from flags to the banners and streamers, all declaring the life and beauty that this city had to offer.
The life and beauty was seductive, Caroline conceded as she let a small smile grace her face as she watched a troupe of children weave in and out of the crowds, their laughter ringing in her ears. But it was the flurry and the hustle and bustle-the sheer ability of anyone and everyone to simply fade into the crowd-that she was counting on.
"New York is lauded as the City That Never Sleeps, but don't let their bright lights and speeding cars fool you," their tour guide laughed, spinning on his heels to face them, his hands twirling in the air to indicate the bustle around them. "This city is alive with music and magic and laughter from daylight to midnight. Make no mistake, my friends...THIS...is the city of opportunity."
"There's not much to it," the young woman who'd opened the door to the apartment said with a smile and a shrug as she led Caroline down the hall. "Two bedrooms, two baths...the kitchen is pretty huge, and so is the living room, which kind of makes up for the smallness of everything else. Plus, you know, the view over the Quarter is breathtaking."
Caroline let her fingers drift over the countertops as she peered out the window, her eyes taking in the non stop streams of people hovering in the streets below. She shifted on her feet, glancing over her shoulder and offering the girl a smile. "It's great."
Bonnie Bennett was beautiful and statuesque, with caramel colored skin and dark curls that cascaded over her shoulders, and brown eyes that appeared to take in every little detail as they happened. She leaned against the doorway that separated the kitchen from the rest of the apartment, arms crossed over her chest and a friendly smile on her face. She nodded, shrugging. "Yeah, it's served me well. Though, you know, with student loans and bills piling up, it's gotten just a little more hefty than what I can manage on my own, hence the ad in the paper."
Caroline nodded, wrapping her arms around her torso as she lifted herself onto her tiptoes, looking out into the expansive living room.
"I'm in Med School. so I'm afraid my hours here will kind of yo-yo. Lots of late nights and early mornings. I'm here on weekends all the time, though. Well...most of the time." She laughed. "Hopefully solitude isn't a total deal breaker for you."
The blonde shook her head, nibbling at her lower lip as she settled back on her heels.
"The, um, the room comes furnished with the essentials. Bed, dresser, nightstand. The closet space isn't fantastic, but it's workable. I don't know how much you brought with you, but there's those." She smiled, pushing away from the wall and swinging her arms at her sides as she stepped further into the kitchen. "Anyway, I'm sure you want to think it over, maybe check out a few other places..."
Caroline shook her head, shifting on her feet. "No, actually, I love it. It's...perfect," she smiled.
Bonnie blinked for a moment, the blonde's sudden certainty throwing her off slightly, but then the smile widened on her face and she nodded in return, bobbing her shoulders. "Oh. Well, okay then," she laughed, striding forward and extending her hand. She watched as Caroline stared at it for a brief moment, her fingers flexing against the sides before she let out a breath, smiling, and quickly slipped her own hand into hers.
"Welcome to New Orleans."
Are we intrigued? Bored? Confused? Please let me know. I love hearing from you all.
Thanks to Becky and Miranda for their awesome support and opinions. And thank you to Mel for the incredible cover for this story.
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Until next time!