An Unnatural Influence 15
That Funny Feeling ...
The plane ride to San Francisco was pleasant. There were a couple of people that recognized Renée and remembered her mother. She smiled that more people remembered her mother than the fact that she had won a Pulitzer Prize. It was ok though. Every once in a while she would look over her shoulder.
“Why do you keep looking over your shoulder?” Katie asked curiously.
“Because I keep getting the feeling that I am not alone, I mean something I can’t explain. Here I am going to San Francisco to embrace the inheritance left by both my mother and Marme. How very ironic, that they would both become available at this time in my life?” Renée said.
“I think this is the best time of life to do it. All the crazy things that we did as kids are behind us! Here we are becoming 38 years old. You will be tomorrow and me next week.” Katie said.
“And who knows, maybe we will snag ourselves a couple of husbands at our age.” Renée giggled.
“You have always had someone for you. I think Lee would have asked if your Marme hadn’t become conveniently ill. Then she wouldn’t allow you to return. She knew that her condition would hold you fast in Bakersfield” Katie said.
“Marme would never talk about her illness!” Renée said.
“I wonder why?” Katie asked.
“Marme never told me and she would give me such a look whenever I broached the subject that it was another closed issue. She had so many.” Renée said.
“Amen to those comments; now let’s get some rest.” Katie said.
They sat back, closed their eyes and tried to get some rest. They knew that it would be hectic once they landed.
It was 4:00 pm when Renée and Katie landed at the airport. There was a limo complete with a different driver to pick them up.
“Lee really goes all out, doesn’t he?” Katie replied showing her obvious pleasure.
“Yes, he does have that old-world charm. It’s a tradition started by senior Mr. Vandermier. He is quite an old gentleman.” Renée.
“Yes, and from what I have heard, he was also quite a lady’s man in his day.” Katie smiled.
“Believe me; Vandermier junior had better not try to live up to his father’s reputation.” They laughed.
“I wonder will I be able to pick up the pieces?” Renée replied.
“You still love each other, right?” Katie shook her head.
“Yes we still love each other. I remember Marme once said that there were just too many nice Southern gentlemen to bother myself with a foreigner; even one as nice as Lee” Renée said.
“That woman was a real hypocrite underneath all that generosity wasn’t she?” Katie asked.
“That is the whole sad state of affairs. The majority of the homeless and cripple children of Bakersfield she serviced were also offspring of some of the wealthiest people there.” Renée said.
“And …why would she have a secret affair with a married man; she could have had a number of eligible bachelors.” Katie added.
“There had to have been something devastating in her life to turn her into such a paradox.” Katie said.
A Night Out on the Town ...
After getting settled in their hotel suite, they decide to give Lee a call so that they could do a little shopping. There was no hurry to get back to Bakersfield. This time there was no ill Marme that required her immediate return and she took full advantage of the situation.
“Where would you girls like to go first?” Lee asked.
“There is this shop on …!” was the reply in unison.
Renée and Katie visited the different shops; bought outfits that they would have shipped back to Bakersfield, in care of Renée’s lakefront apartment. Their packages could be waiting for them at the post office and there would be no Marme to intercept them.
Lee had invited both women to dinner that evening, and the legalities were to be handled the following morning. Katie made an excuse about being tired to give Renée some time alone with Lee. Renée identified the maneuver right away.
“You tired? Girl, please don’t give me that baloney! You have the stamina of a Timex Watch.” Renée chuckled.
“Go and enjoy yourself,” was all Katie replied. There was a movie on TV that night and she was armed with a bag of freshly popped corn.
Lee introduced Renée to an exquisite new Italian restaurant and there they dined on linguine in a rich tomato sauces with red wine for Lee and diet soda for Renée.
“Are you going to toast your 38th birthday with soda?” Lee asked.
“After all this time without drinking, I don’t see why I should start now. Besides Marme would hit the ceiling …” Renée paused realizing she was speaking of Sadie as though she still lived.
“It’s okay, Renée—that woman had a very strong influence on your life for a very long time.” Lee consoled.
“You mean she ruled my life with an iron hand, don’t you Lee?” said Renée. “I suppose in her own distorted way, she meant well.” Renée tried to defend her Marme. There seemed to be an irascible urge to do this.
“I can’t believe you are still defending her, after all she did to dominate your life.” Lee said.
“I can’t help it. I still feel her hands reaching out for me, even beyond the grave.” Renée said as a shiver went down her spine.
“Darling, maybe you need therapy?” Lee said.
To Be Continued ...
An Unnatural Influence 16
- An Unnatural Influence 16
Even in death it seemed that Sadie Bakersfield's grip was tight on Renee. After all, she had paid the ultimate price to possess the Blood-Red Ruby and to pass it on to Renee Latimoore. Death was but a door and the Ruby holds the key!
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© 2018 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS