Authors: Mary Martinez
Tags: #General Fiction
“I’m taking the subway. I have to conserve money from now on, who knows how long it will take for my practice to allow me to earn enough.”
A heavy sigh floated from the speaker. “Today is not the day to start.”
“A taxi will have to fight traffic to Centre Street. I figure it will be faster to take the train.” Cecelia stated with what she hoped was confidence.
Now that she thought about it, she remembered she’d never ridden on the subway. How in the hell did she get to be her age in New York and never do that?
“Do you even know how to get here?”
“Yes…” Did she? “No. What train?”
Another sigh, louder this time emitted from her friend. “The four, five or six, make sure it’s not the express or you’ll pass your stop.” There was a short pause. “You do know where the office is?”
Finally something she could actually answer truthfully. “Yes, I do.”
“See you soon. I’ll call Joy. Since you’re so gung-ho on saving money, buy a multiple pass.”
Multiple pass? Cecelia swallowed. “I better get a move on.” She reached down and pressed the off button before her friend could say more.
Worry radiated out from the pit of her stomach. How difficult could it be to find the station, buy a pass and get to her destination? People did it all the time. Even tourists who weren’t familiar with the area.
She shoved off the end of the bed where she’d been lounging since her mother left, and finished the last bit of her packing. Setting all of them in a pile at the door for Gordon, the last time she’d have help from the ‘help’. Chuckling at her bit of humor she threw one last glance at Bella, not sure why, but it felt natural. And left for her next adventure, there would be many more she hoped.
Several streets over, she glanced at her watch. Fanny would kill her if she didn’t hurry. But where the hell was the station? Someone had told her it was on Lexington, but either she turned in the wrong direction or something, it just wasn’t where she thought. About to give up, she swiveled around on her heel, and found the stairs leading to the stop she needed.
In her rush, she nearly tripped down the steps, then she jostled several people. If looks could kill or maim she’d be either dead or crippled.
Now where were these passes Fanny had said she needed? Skidding to a halt, the man behind her muttered a very rude word but she ignored him. She glanced around then spotted what looked like an ATM.
As she swiped the monthly pass through the turn stall, she felt a sense of accomplishment. This wasn’t so hard.
Her lucky day, here came the train with a green circle with a white six in the middle.
Like a seasoned pro, she followed the heard of humanity onto the train. As such reached up and grabbed a rail refusing to take the only seat away from the elderly lady who’d boarded with her.
The intercom wasn’t very clear, but she knew there would be several stops before hers. For a few streets, she didn’t pay attention.
Until she bent to see what the sign at the next destination would be. One hundred and sixteenth street, good God she was almost to Harlem.
She was going the wrong way.
The doors slid open, and she hustled off, Cecelia looked around warily. She was so out of her element, and the last thing she wanted was for the wolves to circle.
Doing the sensible thing, which she really should have done before boarding in the first place, she read the map on the wall.
Okay, go up and over to the entrance across the street to catch the train going toward where she
wanted to be.
Now that she knew she was going in the right direction, she found a seat and carefully watched each street name as it flashed by. Why wasn’t the train stopping at each?
She turned to the woman reading. “Excuse me?”
The woman ignored her. As annoyance gripped her, she noticed the earphone in the other woman’s ear. Raising her voice a fraction higher, she tried again.
She turned toward Cecelia with a questioning look, “Yes?”
“Do you know if we’re on an express train?”
“Yes, we are. Where do you need to be?”
“111 Centre Street.”
A blonde eyebrow rose. “Oh you’ll have a bit of a walk. It’s right between stops. You’ll need to get off at either Canal Street or City Hall.”
The woman gave her a brief once over. “Are you here on business?” Apparently assuming she was from out of town.
Cecelia decided technically it wasn’t lying to say, “Yes.” After all, they were conducting the business of changing her name legally.
There were papers to fill out.
“Good luck then.” Without another word she shoved the earpiece back in and opened her book. Cecelia successfully dismissed.
A few minutes later she climbed up the steps to encounter Canal Street and start the trek to Centre. Her watch told her she probably would receive a lecture when she met Fanny. It was almost ten thirty, an hour and a half late.
She was new at this subway stuff. She’d get the hang of it.
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Good thing she’d worn sensible shoes instead of her usual heels. She loved to walk, and she’d missed her morning workouts the past few days with all the preparations for her new life.
Looking up at the street sign, she frowned, Mulberry? Shouldn’t she have come to Centre? Raising her gaze she looked both ways up and down the street and realized she’d walked in the wrong direction. At least she’d figured it out on her own and hadn’t had to ask. Tack on another five minutes to her tardiness. Good grief, maybe today hadn’t been the day to try the subway. A taxi would have been faster.
Why hadn’t Fanny called to check on her? She stopped, and another person collided into her, his muttered word choice ringing in her ears.
Going to the Church
After Cecelia left on her first adventure to the subway, I stared at her bags, forlornly sitting by the door. I should be happy. This is the time when the bride is giddy with the knowledge that the next day she’d be married to her true love.
Not my bride, she’s off making plans to scrap the wedding. Truly, I am happy for Cecelia. She’ll have new life happenings.
And I would be sent back to Heidi, where I know I’ll be taken care of and loved.
Still I felt dejected, like the bags on the floor. I had such expectations the morning Heidi placed me center stage. My soul mate would see me, fall in love and we’d live happily ever-after.
I remember how disappointed and yes, I was angry. The ribbons along my lace burned in chagrin at the fact my bride picked me, the first dress she saw. She didn’t want me, Bella, she just wanted to go through the motions.
Now, I know she’s fallen in love with me. She cares for me as much as I care for her. After all, if she didn’t, she wouldn’t talk to me or dance me around the room. Nor would she promise to take me home.
I am very worried about her though. She had a lot to accomplish today, and the gadget that sounded like her friends voice still lay on the bed where she’d left it.
The darn thing kept playing that song. I would probably be able to hum the song forever. If I actually could hum.
The door swung open, causing a shiver to race along my satin. A man I’d never seen before stepped in. He glanced around didn’t seem to notice me. Then he spotted the bags by his feet and bent to pick them up.
He must be Gordon. I sure hope Cecie’s friend Joy picks them up and not Chandler. Then what would my bride do?
The door didn’t have time to shut before Carla arrived. I like her. She’s fun and she talks to me as if I’m her friend.
I thought she’d come to clean, but her intent was on me. She grabbed the plastic garment bag from the back of the chair. She laid the carrier on the bed to unzip. Then she returned for me.
The wedding wasn’t until tomorrow. Carla wouldn’t know to send me to Heidi’s yet.
Her hands were cool as she gently picked up my lace and satin, and reverently placed me in my bag. I listened as she softly spoke as she worked my ribbons in so they weren’t wrinkled.
I would miss Carla.
“Miss Bella, it is time for you to go to the church. Since Cecie will be dressing there in the morning, Mrs. Wilson thought it best to take you tonight. It’s the rehearsal dinner.” She shook her head and gave me a stern look. “This is not a happy occasion. Miss Cecelia deserves to have someone who loves her for her and not her daddy’s money and a position at the firm.”
I wanted to shout out in agreement, though I knew from Cecelia that the groom was in the same fix. Alas, again I chafed under the restraint of no way to communicate. Though Cecelia had noticed some of the ways I could manage to shift my folds a fraction, especially when the sunlight filtered through the curtains just at the right angle.
Carla didn’t know I was answering her and she continued. “I’m going to miss you. I wish I could afford a dress with such beautiful personality for my daughter.”
Oh, it is so cruel that Heidi cannot
work magic on her girls. Because I wanted to ask all kinds of questions, I hadn’t known the housekeeper had a daughter. Was she wishing for the future, or was her daughter getting married too?
“My little Jessie works so hard to please her soon to be mama-in-law. But no matter what my girl does she’s not good enough for their son.” Carla paused and straightened, planted her hands on her hips and looked down at me.
I could feel the warmth of her heated gaze run over my beads. I didn’t think she would continue, but she finally did.
“Phew!” she said in disgust.
I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but I gathered she didn’t think the mother-in-law was good enough for her daughter.
“Are you ready with the dress yet, Carla?” Cecelia’s mother stood in the doorway.
I hadn’t seen her sneak up. Now there would be no more talk about the lovely Jessie. I was just about to begin to devise ways to see if Heidi had woven any telepathic powers into my lace.
If I could meet Jessie, maybe we’d be soul mates. Wouldn’t that be something?
“I’ll have Gordon take it down to the car. I’ll hang it up very carefully in the bride’s room.” She came to stand over me, her gaze wistful. “Carla, you’ll be able to help my Cecie dress tomorrow?”
“Of course, I plan on it.” Carla patted the other woman on the shoulder. I could tell the two were friends, despite the fact one was the employer.
Mrs. Wilson cleared her throat, as if embarrassed. “Joy just left with Cecelia’s bags.” Mrs. Wilson started to turn, but then turned to look at me. I shivered in my bolero.
“Carla, my daughter will look beautiful in her designer dress. Don’t you think?” I wondered if she had a premonition because she asked as if she didn’t quite believe I would ever be worn.
Cecelia read over the papers in her hand for the third time. The document signed and now the process was in motion.
“It’s too late now to change your mind.” Fanny pushed her a bit from behind. “Come on, we’re meeting Joy at your new apartment to drop off the luggage, then lunch.”
“I don’t want to change my mind. I like my new name.”