Mid-March Meetings

Started by Bessie Dooley at May 15, 2020 5:57 PM
March 13, 1924
477 Views
7 Posts

Bessie Dooley

Hostess
176
?Years Young
13 Posts

"Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy;
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me."


The Chanteuse had just opened for dinner, and guests were coming aboard. Bessie moved along the deck, directing guests to their reserved tables or finding free tables for them in the warmly-lit dining room. She had had almost two full months at her hostess position and was finding it very nice. She now felt like she belonged on the Chanteuse and had made friends with a few of the other staff.

She wore a light, flowery gown purchased with her allowance that was perfect for the muggy Miami weather, with a scarf pulling her hair back away from her face. She also wore a handmade wooden necklace that Lucian had bought for her while they were in Nassau. It wasn't the type of necklace a woman would normally wear for a job like hers, but it added a tropical flair to her outfit and provided an opportunity to tell the guest she had gotten the necklace in Nassau on a cruise. A bit of advertising couldn't hurt.

She had just finished showing a couple to their table when she noticed a young woman who she recognized. Well, not recognized. She didn't actually know her. The woman was Jessica MacLeod, Lucian's younger half-sister. Lucian had mentioned her a few times and pointed her out once, but they hadn't been introduced yet.

Bessie decided to go introduce herself. She checked to make sure there were no guests needing immediate seating, then made her way over to the deck where Jessica was standing. "Jessica?" She smiled at the younger woman, a slightly more hesitant smile than she used for the guests.


Cat's Meow! 1

Jessica MacLeod

Heiress
56
?Years Young
11 Posts

For once, Jessica MacLeod was not sneaking aboard the SS Chanteuse. Usually, she was playing cat-and-mouse games with the ship's security, her older brothers, or the staff to keep from being caught and escorted off before the ship left port on the weekends. This evening, Jess was making her way into Club Lorelei fair and square. She wanted to see her eldest brother Lucian and wish him a happy birthday. She planned on offering to buy him dinner if he was not already engaged for the evening.

As if on cue, a woman's voice called her name. Jessica turned toward her and could not help the frown that suddenly marred her features. She had a few friends amongst the club's employees, so she was well aware of who Bessie Dooley was even if they had never been formally introduced. Then again, she found it unlikely that her brother would introduce her to his latest mistress. Never one to avoid a scene or mask her feelings, Jessica raised her eyebrows as the ship's hostess approached her.

"Yes? Do I know you?" Jessica raised her eyebrows, a note of haughty boredom lacing her voice. She also glanced around surreptitiously to see if Lucian was on the floor yet. If this was an opportunity to chase off another gold-digging trollop, she didn't want him interfering. 


Bessie Dooley

Hostess
176
?Years Young
13 Posts

"Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy;
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me."


Jessica turned as Bessie said her name, her frown, raised eyebrow, and careless tone sending a warning flag and trumpet off in Bessie's mind. No, they didn't know each other. Not officially. Bessie wasn't sure whether to be glad or hurt that Lucian hadn't mentioned her to his half-sister yet.

"We don't know each other yet, but I'm fixing to remedy that." She gave Jessica a smile, hoping the younger woman would reciprocate. "I'm Bessie Dooley. I'm one of the hostesses here. You're Miss MacLeod, aren't you?"

She held out her hand for a handshake from Jessica, still smiling. It probably would have been better to address Jessica as Miss MacLeod from the very beginning, but Lucian had called her Jessica and that was what had come out of Bessie's mouth. She could only hope that Jessica would be understanding and not think her too presumptuous as to assume friendship between them when they hadn't even met.

Bessie figured that Jessica would want a table. After all, why would you come to Club Lorelei if not to eat or partake of the libation the ship offered? She glanced back inside the dining room, looking for a table that would offer Lucian's sister the best lighting and music she could get.

Bringing her attention back to Jessica and following her question up with another, she asked, "Will you be wanting a table?"

Once again, Jessica ignored any overture of friendliness from the other woman. She smiled, but there was no warmth in her expression or her eyes. "That makes you the latest gold-digger after my brother's assets?" Her voice was far sweeter than the words she uttered. "I thought he had better taste and more brains."

The smile fell from Bessie's face and she let her outstretched hand fall to her side. She had hoped to make friends with Jessica, but the other woman was not being friendly. "I'm not a gold-digger," she said softly. She didn't consider herself one, anyway. Yes, she had accepted Lucian's offer of a date because it might give her some extra money and security, but it wasn't as though she was spending his money left and right. She decided to let Jessica's comment on Lucian's taste and brains go.

"Then you'll quit trying to get in his bed to feather your own nest?" Jessica knew that she was being rude and awful. It was not normally her nature, but she remembered how badly Lucian had grieved over Laura Nightingale. It was way too soon for this woman to be trying to insinuate herself into his life. Besides, how could she not be a gold-digger? This Dooley woman had to know the lay of the land when it came to crawling into bed with an older wealthy man. It never occurred to Jessica to consider that Bessie was not that much younger than Lucian. After all, he was getting strands of gray in his hair!

Bessie's mouth dropped open and her cheeks flushed as she looked around, hoping no one else on the deck was listening. It would be so humiliating if this conversation was overheard. "Miss MacLeod!" she whispered desperately. "I ain't after Lucian's money! And we're only datin'!" Her grammar flew out the window when she was flustered, and she was definitely flustered. She and Lucian had only been on a few official dates over the past month and a half, and none of them had ended in the way Jessica was implying.

"Well," Jessica drawled derisively, "aren't you just dripping the corn pone?" Her eyes glinted, "Guess you have to deny it, though, don't you? After all, most whores don't announce, 'hey, I'm a whore,' do they?" Jessica's voice had gone up a notch or two. She did not care who heard her.

Bessie gasped, her mouth opening further, then reached out to slap Jessica hard across the cheek. It was a slap born out of anger and desperation to get Jessica to be quiet. "Stop it! I'm not a whore!" she cried, choking out the words.


Wow! 3

Jessica MacLeod

Heiress
56
?Years Young
11 Posts

The slap took Jessica by surprise and caused her to step backward, away from the enraged hostess. It had been hard enough to sting, and she found herself instinctively raising her hand to her cheek. Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened and closed as she tried to find the words to express her own anger. No one had ever laid a hand on Jessica in anger. True, she had suffered her share of spankings as a child, but never anything rougher than a swat or two on her backside. This physical assault left her stunned for several moments.

Then, Jessica's deep brown eyes darkened to near black as a new rush of anger filled her. She tensed and doubled her fist, fully intending to punch Bessie Dooley hard in the face. "How dare you! You two-bit whore!" This time her voice was quite strident, causing some of the Lorelei's guests to look toward the altercation occurring near the doors to the deck. "I will see that you are fired and will never work anywhere in Miami again...except maybe for where you belong...the street corner!"


Liked 1

Mark Carson

Federal Agent
114
?Years Young
33 Posts

"How can you hate someone if you don't know them."


Mark stepped in the Lorelei and began looking around.  He had just gotten off work and was dropping in to wish Lucian a happy birthday.  Liam had told him that it was today, so he had decided to test the waters and learn about his brother more.  Whether or not, his oldest brother was the type that welcomed warm wishes remained to be seen.

As he continued checking out the room, he saw Jessica speaking with another woman. They seemed to be having some sort of argument.  Not one to get involved in personal fights unless invited, Mark was about to head over to the bar when things went off.  From what he knew about Jess already was that she was not one to back down.  He noticed other patrons beginning to take an interest in what was going on.

Suddenly, the other woman slapped Jess on the face and her fist forming.  Knowing that it wouldn't be a good look to have the sister of the owners brawling in front of a large crowd, he started to go over.  As he made his way, he glanced over near the bar and could see the door to Lucian's office start to open.  This made it more important to grab Jess and get her out before Lucian came in.

When he reached the women, he smiled his biggest smile and stood in between them.  Grabbing Jess by the tops of her arms, he hugged her and then held her at arms length, "Jess, fancy seeing you here.  I didn't expect you until later."

Jessica's dark eyes widened as she recognized her older brother's voice and face. She stiffened and almost hissed, "Mark! I didn't expect you at all." She narrowed her eyes, "Now, let me go! That...that...tramp of Lucian's hit me!" Although Mark was the newest of her half-brothers, Jessica had grown used to meeting unexpected family members and simply enfolded them into her life. Hopefully, their relationship was new enough that Mark would back off.

Bessie had raised her arms to cover her face, expecting a return blow from Jessica. But there wasn't one. She lowered her arms and gaped at the back of the man who had stopped the fight. Mark, Jessica had called him. Whoever he was, she was glad he had come along. "I'm not a tramp!" She retorted from her position of relative safety.

Mark turned briefly to look at the woman and then back to his sister again. "Now, Jess, you know it's none of our business who Lucian chooses to associate with it. However, if you do wish to have words or whatever else you were planning to do with the lady, might I suggest that it would be better if it weren't within spitting distance of Lucian.  You know how he feels about these things."

Jessica speared Mark and Bessie with a glare, but looked around at the same time, noting with some relief that Lucian was not on the floor yet. She had never seen him visibly angry. He had never raised his voice around her, yet Lucian's displeasure could be apparent and withering when he chose to make it known. Additionally, there was J.D. Neither of her brothers tolerated scenes and disturbances in their club. These thoughts made Jessica relax slightly and give Mark a grudging nod, "You're right and it is Luce's birthday after all. But I will make sure he hears about this." Jessica glowered at Bessie.

Now that the fight had stopped, the reality of what she'd done hit Bessie hard, almost as hard as the slap she'd given Jessica. She had slapped Jessica MacLeod. And it was Lucian's birthday. She'd hit his sister and had neglected to wish him a happy birthday, even though she hadn't known it was his birthday. She swallowed. "It's Lucian's birthday?" She didn't know what to be most worried about: Lucian's birthday or Lucian hearing about what had happened from Jessica.

Once again Mark turned to glance at the woman behind him.  She seemed a bit concerned about something or was it worry?  He couldn't quite tell but one thing he did know was he had to get Jess away from her before Lucian turned up.  "Look, Miss...maybe you should go home and think about visiting Lucian at another time and place where you probably won't run into any interference."

"She works here," Jessica told Mark. Then her eyes widened. "Lucian!" Her voice was low and almost a hiss. Her brother had appeared as Mark spoke to that woman almost as if he had been somehow magically summoned.


Liked 1 Wow! 1

Lucian MacLeod

Club Owner, Coffee Importer
56
?Years Young
32 Posts

Here among my thoughts of you, I find a gentle longing to be free...


Lucian made slipped his arms into his dinner jacket and walked toward the club. As usual, he was clad in a tailored black suit and black silk shirt without a tie. It was slightly less formal than the attire worn by most of Club Lorelei's clientele, but it suited him, and he hated ties. He usually enjoyed mingling with the club's guests, but this evening could be a chore. It was his birthday, and while few people knew the significance of the date, word tended to get around. 

There was no strong reason for his avoidance of the whole birthday thing. Lucian was simply a very private man and preferred to not be the center of attention. Oh well, he would just have to make the best of it, the well-wishes, the pats on the back, and congratulations. 

Nothing really changed as he stepped out on the floor. The employees knew that Lucian and J.D. did not interfere in Gustav's running of the club unless a situation came up that he was not able to deal with. This time, it was the slender Cajun that stepped up to Lucian's side when he appeared on the club's floor. "We have had an incident near the hostess's station between Bessie Dooley and Miss MacLeod. I have not intervened because..."

"Because one of the people is my sister..." Lucian stated wryly, his eyes going to the front of the club where he could see Bessie, Jessica, and, to his surprise, his brother Mark who seemed to have gotten in the middle of whatever it was.

"And...because Mr. Carson intervened," Gustav continued smoothly with a smile.

"Once again, dear friends," Lucian murmured and began making his way toward the front of the club. Despite having to stop to greet people he knew, Lucian made it to where his three targets were standing in fairly short order. He stopped next to the club's hostess, saying in a pleasantly warm voice, "Good evening, Miss Dooley. Mark, Jessica, I was not aware that you intended dining with us tonight, or I would have added reservations for you." He had taken note of Jessica's low-voiced hissing of his name and the widening of her eyes. He simply chose to ignore it for the moment.

Mark was a bit surprised when Jess told him that the woman, Miss Dooley worked as a hostess here.  He was about to remark upon how unprofessional her behaviour was when Lucian appeared out of nowhere.  Smiling, he held out his hand, "I only dropped by to wish you a happy birthday when I saw Jess and decided to say hello to her. Isn't that right, Jess?"

Bessie was miserable now. Lucian was here now, standing right beside her, and now Jessica would tell him everything, probably painting her in a very bad light. Unless she could tell him first? She touched Lucian lightly on the arm and opened her mouth to speak, but Mark beat her to it, making it seem like nothing had happened between her and Jessica. She didn't know what to do now, so she closed her mouth and waited either for Jessica to contradict Mark or to agree.

"That's right," Jessica said brightly, "I was here for the same reason. So, happy birthday." She could not help the glare she shot in Bessie's direction although it was actually Mark that had derailed her plans. However, it was Bessie that was the intruder on Jessica's new-found familial relationships.

The look Jessica aimed at Bessie and her over-bright tone of voice were not lost on Lucian. He had also taken note of how tense Bessie seemed to be. "Gustav indicated that there was a problem up here?" His voice was smooth and still mild as he spoke. "Was the floor manager mistaken?"

"I guess the floor manager was just doing his job but as you can see everything is fine," Mark said lightheartedly.  He had only known Lucian a few months but he could already tell that he wasn't happy.  Maybe if he could get Jess to simmer down before she dug herself in any deeper, Lucian might forget about this.  "Hey, Jess now that we've wished our big brother a happy birthday, how about joining me for dinner...my treat."

 


Bessie Dooley

Hostess
176
?Years Young
13 Posts

"Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy;
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me."


Jessica sent another glare Bessie's way, even though she agreed with Mark. But the worst was over, hopefully, if Lucian didn't insist on getting to the bottom of things.

"Happy birthday, by the way," she said quickly to Lucian, smiling but still feeling badly for somehow not knowing it was his birthday.

"I maybe...perhaps there was a bit of confusion on my part. I assumed Miss MacLeod would want a table. I didn't know she was just dropping by." She looked back and forth between Lucian and his two (she assumed) half-siblings. "But if you meant dinner here..." she was addressing Mark now "...I can find you all a table now if you'd like."

Mark looked at the woman and briefly though about saying yes to the table but then thought better of it.  "That will depend on if Jess wants to stay here or not."

He turned to Jess, "Well, do we dine here or go elsewhere?"

Jessica sighed, sensing the battle was lost, she gave in with good grace. Perhaps going off in public, especially at her brother's establishment, hadn't been the best of all plans. There would be other occasions for cornering Lucian or the woman. She flashed the smile that she normally reserved for melting the hearts of would-be suitors at her older brothers, "We can eat here. Food is better than we can get anywhere else in South Beach," Jess said to Mark.

Lucian looked from one to the other. He was not about to be fooled. On the other hand, getting into a dust-up with his younger sister in public was not something he wanted to do either. He narrowed his dark eyes at Jessica and spared a glance for Mark as well. Lowering his voice, Lucian said softly, "This is not over, Jessica. I will find out what happened and I have no doubt you were behind it."

Giving Bessie's arm a subtle squeeze, Lucian added, "I will show them to a table so I can let the waitress know that I will comp their meals. And thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes. Perhaps I can join you after you have eaten?"

It was with some effort that Jessica managed to smile sweetly, the venom in her eyes barely disguised, "Of course, Lucian! But, you don't need to spring for my meal. I'm sure you have to do that often enough for...others...around here." Her tone was pure honey as she looked over at Bessie.

Mark rolled his eyes at Jessica's statement.  It seemed his little sister still had a lot to learn about being discrete and knowing when to be quiet.  Her sweet tone wouldn't be enough to disguise what she had said.  Seeing the need to get her away as quick as possible, Mark wrapped his arm around his sister's shoulders, "C'mon Jess, this will be the first time we've all eaten together.  We should get J.D. to join us as well and make it a real family celebration."

He turned to Bessie, "If you could be kind enough to ask J.D. to join us, it will be greatly appreciated."

Bessie gave Lucian another grateful smile. She did not want to be around Jessica any longer than she had to. But Jessica was able to get one more barbed comment in, and this one stung almost as much as her previous insults, since this time there was a slight ring of truth in it.

Bessie's lips tightened. "Others, Miss MacLeod, don't ask for free meals." That didn't mean she refused Lucian if he offered to share a meal with her or buy her dinner, though. She turned to Mark and nodded. "Of course, Mr...." She realized she didn't know his last name and didn't want to make a bigger mess of things. "I'll find him and send him your way, sir," she finished quickly.

She escaped from the MacLeod clan and made her way to find the wayward Jameson. "Mr. MacLeod, your siblings are havin' a dinner for Lucian if you'd like to join them," she said softly when she found him.