Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chantal - Part one

Chantal was sweating as she stepped off stage. Her heart was pounding against her ribs. She'd been channelling her best Michael Buble. Totally nailed "Me and Mrs. Jones."

She sat down at the bar and ordered a glass of wine. "Great song," the bartender, Sam, placing her drink before her. "But, isn't that usually one the guys do?"

Chantal smiled and sipped her wine. "I felt inspired to do it. Probably because the girl who picked me up last week was such a big fan of his work. And that got me listening to it in the shower."

Sam grinned, clearly interested in the girl on girl, which made Chantal roll her eyes. Reasons not to sleep with the bartender at the club you sing at regularly. The singing part, she amended in her mind, she didn't sleep with Sam on a regular basis. Just that once. "Don't you have orders to fill or glasses to polish or something?"

Sam grinned wider, but walked away, since there were other people waiting.

Chantal watched as a woman in the three piece suit sat down beside her. She sat her drink down in front of her, something fancy and pink. "Hello," she said, her voice sounding as polished as her look. Her hair was short, spiky. Chantal could imagine her fingers buried in that hair, as the beautiful red lips were pressed between her thighs. "I am Mrs. Jones."

Chantal laughed softly. "Chantal." Mrs. Jones raised her hand and Chantal took it, cool, dry skin to skin. They shook lightly and then let go. A moment of regret flashed through Chantal's mind. She should have kissed the offered hand instead of informally shaking it. "Are you really?"

"Just until the divorce. The process doesn't go quickly however."

Chantal hummed, trying to decide if the situation was ironic or not. "Have you been here before? I've never seen you. I sing her on Fridays."

"No, a friend insisted I come out with her tonight. A change of scenery."

Mrs. Jones placed her hand over Chantal's on the wine glass. There was a spark in her eyes. Chantal glanced to the stage feeling pressured. The interim music was winding down. One more song before the next set began. Chantal bit her bottom lip, considering her own spark of interest.

Mrs. Jones smiled with compassion. "You are an amazing singer. The way you move your hips." She stood, holding her drink. "I'll see you next week." She leaned over and kissed Chantal's cheek and then returned to her table.

The following Friday, Chantal arrived thirty minutes before she needed to. She finalized her set list with the stage manager and then sat the bar anxiously. The mysterious Mrs. Jones hadn't arrived early. She probably wasn't coming at all, Chantal decided, trying to convince herself that it wasn't important to her.

She was in need of a stronger drink. She motioned to Sam. "Whiskey." Just one before the show.

"Hey, where's your smile?" Chantal turned towards the face she'd been unable to conjure all week. But, the face was more beautiful than she remembered. "Sorry, I'm late. My husband- ah, never mind."

Chantal's heart fell again. "I thought the divorce was final." Please let it be final. She gulped her whisky, concentrating on the burning feeling down her throat.

"There may have been some exaggeration. I blame your hips." Her gaze fell like a touch over Chantal. "I was going to flirt and then leave. IT was touching you." She put her hand on Chantal's knee. "My only thought after that was getting into your pants." Her eyes glanced over Chantal's dress. "Er, dress."

Chantal finished her drink and thought about a second. "You are getting divorced right?" The stage manager was motioning. Chantal stood. "I have to go. I'll be back between sets."

"I'll be right up front."

During the first break, Mrs. Jones replied to the question. "There's supposed to be a divorce. I"m still living with him." She closed her eyes, her hand clenching her glass. "He sorta seduced me before I left the house."

So didn't want to know, Chantal thought, staring at Monica or Monique, the waitress. She waved her hand and ordered that second whiskey. "You don't have to explain. We- you and I don't have anything."

"Sorry. I just needed to get that out."

They sat in silence for a while, until the waitress brought Chantal's drink. "You look amazing up there," Mrs. Jones said. "Really sexy in that dress. Like a real blues singer." Her hand was on Chantal's thigh.

After the show they'd still gotten no further than small talk. Chantal didn't change or take off her make up as she walked off stage. She sat down across from Mrs. Jones and looked her in the eye. "Two things, Mrs. Jones. Are you going to tell me your first name? And, your place or mine?" She leaned into the older woman, letting her fingers run over the shiny lips.
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