Excerpt #2 Marissa's friend Bridgette sees Marissa's new apartment.
|Ah … my own apartment to myself again. No sooner had I picked up my Kindle and gotten back into my latest novel than my phone rang.
“Bridgette!” I answered happily. “Are you back?”
“What in the world, Marissa! What is this I’m hearing about you? I go out of town for two weeks and you let a building fall on you?”
“Hello Bridgette. Welcome back. Its nice to hear from you again,” I said, smiling. Bridgette had been my friend for over 20 years and we knew each other very well. She was a Manager in Women’s Wear for Macy’s and worked in the City – San Francisco. She had a fabulous townhouse in Hillsborough and had been in New York for the past two weeks, working with some suppliers and visiting stores in New York.
“Never mind all of that. I want to hear details. I’m coming over for dinner. I’ll be there by 6:30 if the traffic isn’t too bad.”
“Bridgette – I’m in a new apartment. You’ll have to park on the street and I’ll buzz you in from the front door.” There was silence on the other end.
“Oh boy girlie we have some catching up to do. Okay – give me the address. I’ll try to get there before 6:30.”
I hung up the phone, pleased and excited I could catch up with my good friend. I had missed her these past two weeks. I got up out of my comfy spot on the couch and hobbled over to the kitchen. I was sure I could put together something from what Margaret had left me.
2 hours later, dinner was finished, dishes were in the dishwasher, and both ladies were sitting on the couch with their stocking feet on the coffee table. They were both sipping decaf coffee. Bridgette was dressed in a fuchsia sheath dress with pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet. The shoes she had kicked off were pearl stilettos. She had shoulder length black hair that was always styled perfectly but right now was splayed around her head resting on the back of the couch. Marissa had always envied her girlfriend’s figure. Bridgette was as tall as her but at least 40 pounds slimmer. Her figure was part exercise routine and part high stress job. Bridgette was good at her job and she liked it, but it did take a toll on her.
“Well, I can almost totally believe in God to see you in this apartment, Marissa,” Bridgette said. Her friend had been a skeptic for years. “I don’t know how else to explain you landing a plum apartment in a plum location like this.”
“Believe me – I do believe it was all God. I don’t know why He did it, but I am enjoying the blessing that has been plopped in my lap.”
“Hey – why don’t I bring up my entry table for you? I was going to get a new one anyway and you need one. You can use it until you find one of your own.”
“Are you sure? Yes – I’d love it. I’ve always admired that table and I think it would fit perfectly in that space.”
The doorbell rang.
“Is that your doorbell?!” Bridgette exclaimed. “I love it! No – don’t get up I’ll get it. Are you expecting anyone?” she asked over her shoulder.
“Hello. Mr. Bell for Marissa Morgan.”
“Come on in, I’m here!” I called from my seat on the couch.
Lorenzo came in, followed by Michael with one of his flashing smiles. Lorenzo glanced around and looked at Michael, who nodded. Lorenzo gave a nod to Bridgette and I, and he left. Michael was wearing a long sleeved white crew neck t-shirt and jeans with boat shoes. Behind him Marissa could see Bridgette mouthing “Oh My God!”
“Well, you look relaxed!”
“Michael Bell, I want to introduce my good friend Bridgette Murphy. Bridgette, Michael.”
They shook hands, smiling. “Michael Bell the man Marissa fell on?” Bridgette said, sitting back down again.
“She didn’t fall on me, she tackled me from behind and covered me with her body. She’s very lucky she didn’t get more hurt, and I’m very lucky she was there to tackle me.” Michael sat down in the arm chair.
“Let’s not rehash the story – we all know it,” said Marissa, wanting to steer the conversation away from the accident. “Michael, can I get you something to drink?”
“No, thank you. I just dropped in to tell you that you’ll be getting a neighbor this weekend. There is another tenant moving into the other apartment on this floor.”
“Oh – okay. Thanks for letting me know. That’s good you are getting more tenants.”
“Yes, we have had a lot of interest lately. I hope to have the whole building rented in two months.” He turned to Bridgette. “So what do you do, Bridgette?”
“I’m a Manager for Macy’s. I work out of the flagship store in San Francisco. Though, my office is probably a disaster at this point. I’ve been in New York for two weeks.”
“Oh? I’m originally from New York. Were you in the city itself?”
“Yes, for the first week. Then I visited some of our vendors in New Jersey and Connecticut. I go to New York at least twice a year – I love it. Where did you used to live in New York?”
“My parents had a house in Queens, but my sister and I also spent a lot of time at my Uncle Sal’s place, in the Bronx.”
“Oh, I need to explore more. I have been to Queens and the Bronx, but there is so much to see and I just never seem to have enough time. Oh – that reminds me. I have some things for you Marissa and I think for you too, Michael.”
Bridgette jumped up and brought over two handfuls of large Macy’s bags. Marissa explained to Michael.
“Every time Bridgette goes to New York she always comes back with extras or cast offs from the designers. Designers give her gifts, or give her clothes or accessories in the hopes that Macy’s will use them as a vendor. She always brings me clothes or purses or shoes or just about any fashion accessory and I pick out what I like.”
Bridgette dug in one of the bags, rustling paper and plastic and partly pulling things out.
“Here – here it is. See if you like this Michael.” She handed him a long box, black with a turquoise ribbon.
“And this is one of the things I brought for you, Marissa.” She pulled out a beautiful dark brown leather purse. Marissa took it and ran her fingers over it. It was soft, with an outside pocket (big enough for her Kindle, she couldn’t help but notice), and there was metal hardware along the sides that enhanced the look of the purse rather than made it seem punk rock-ish or too industrial looking. The inside had a lighter brown liner, a zippered compartment on one side and a couple of pockets on the other side, one of them big enough to hold a phone. The strap was about 1” wide and long enough so she could wear the purse cross body.
“Oh! Bridgette! I love this!” Her friend smiled knowingly up at her while she continued to dig in the bags.
Michael had opened his box and had taken out two ties. They were both brightly colored but the colors blended so well that the effect was not overwhelming. One was more dark blue and the other was mostly burgundy.
“I love those colors in those ties.” I always noticed colors. “Do you like them?”
“Yes – these are terrific.”
“Good – you can keep them,” Bridgette told him. “Ah! Here it is! This is what I was looking for!” She pulled out a medium sized box that was white without any decoration and handed it to Marissa.
I set it down on the table and pulled the top off. I pushed the tissue aside and gasped. It was my favorite shade of blue – not too dark, not too light. It was sparkly. I held onto the shoulders and pulled it out of the box. Oh- it was a full-length gown! And it had three quarter sleeves! I held it up and turned it around.
“Oh – Bridgette! You outdid yourself! However did you find a dress in my favorite color? And look – it doesn’t have a plunging back or front! I can’t believe it! This is so beautiful!!” I didn’t know what other superlative to use on the beautiful designer dress I held. The fabric was something silky and smooth, and the dress was lined.
Brigette looked at her, hands on her hips and a smile on her face. “I knew that was the right color. When I saw it I just knew that was the dress for you.”
“Wow – what a beautiful dress. That color will look good on you Marissa,” commented Michael.
“I don’t know where I would ever wear something gorgeous like this, but I am so glad you got this for me. Oh, thank you Bridgette!” I gave my friend a hug.
“And look – earrings to match!” Bridgette held out another small box. I put the dress carefully back in the box and took the small box. Inside were nestled two drop earrings. Three diamonds (surely those weren’t real diamonds?) in a half circle and then a teardrop stone hanging from the middle that was the same color as the dress. I put the box on top of the dress and they did indeed match perfectly.
“Real diamonds?” Michael asked, bending over to admire the earrings with the dress.
“No, darn it. But they sure look like it, don’t they?”
Brigette brought out more treasures – jewelry and wallets and another couple of purses and some hair pins. She had a box of men’s button-front shirts and Michael pulled out two he liked, a light brown and a dark blue. She brought out a hat box and inside was nestled a small cap with a half veil, all done in black. White jewels (cubic zirconia?) sparkled on the veil and from accents on the side. The three of them exclaimed and examined and laughed and joked. There was another box with 3 dresses, all the same style but different colors. They were wrap-front with short sleeves in pink, yellow, and green. I chose the green. Michael thanked Bridgette for the ties and shirts again, and they shook hands. I pointed out the clean plate sitting on the counter and he took it with him when he left. I helped Bridgette put back the things she would take to the office.
“I like him, Marissa. He’s a gentleman and fun to be around.”
“He is, isn’t he? I thank God it was him I tackled – I feel like I made a new friend.”
“You could easily fall for someone that handsome, couldn’t you? And he’s a gentleman. And rich!”
“Now Bridgette. He’s way younger than I am. And someone like that would never be interested in someone like me.
“Don’t sell yourself short, my friend. Well, I have to be off.” She slipped her shoes back on and got her coat and purse. They hugged tightly by the front door.
“I’m so glad you’re back.”
“Me too. Love you.”
“Love you too. Drive safe home.”