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Flamingos and Cokes, Part 3

The third part in a series, this short story continues with Sadie and Lana. Was Lana able to salvage Sadie's career after Sadie gave an art connoisseur a piece of her mind? And who exactly is Brady?

If you need a quick recap, read Parts 1 and 2 at the links below.

Sadie grabbed a mop, sighed, and went to erase the trail of gray-brown puddles Lana had left from the doorstep, through the living room, and down the hall. At least it wasn’t red clay, Sadie thought. If it was, the house would have looked like a crime scene.

After Sadie finished cleaning the destruction wrought, Lana emerged from the bedroom. Cleaned and dry, she was—well--she was presentable at least. Lana always looked like she stepped out of the latest issue of the leading fashion magazines. But Lana’s clothes were currently in a suitcase, in a trunk, in a car, in the ditch. She had to make do with Sadie’s clothes, and Sadie kept her chic clothes back at her apartment in New York City. Not in her rural Florida house, where they were both currently at.

“Lana, you don’t look half bad,” Sadie said grinning mischievously. “Maybe we should update your headshot.”

Now dressed in a loose pair of jeans and a pale blue cotton shirt Lana replied, “Very funny. Sadie, I would never connect you to the wardrobe in your closet here. It’s so…rugged.”

“Rugged like the ski instructor you couldn’t stop talking about last winter, or rugged like Nurse Helga that set your arm after you skied halfway into a tree?”

“Ok, maybe rugged wasn’t the right word. But it’s like seeing a whole new side of you.”

“You think? Coffee?” Sadie asked as she led Lana to the kitchen.

“Yes. With every fiber of my being, yes. To both questions.”

Sadie poured a cup of coffee for them both and placed the creamer and sugar canister on the kitchen table. “Lana I know why you’re here, and I’m not ready to go back. Something just clicked that night I left my show. Madeline Wray. The nerve of that woman. I mean, who does she think she is?”

“The self-appointed connoisseur of all things art in the five-borough area,” Lana smirked. “She’s difficult on her best days, I agree. But I managed to smooth things over somewhat.”

“Really?” Sadie said incredulously. “How’d you manage that?”

“I am not the highest regarded art agent for no reason. I may have put a bug in someone’s ear whose assets and social standing far exceeds that of Madeline’s. And that person may or may not extend an invitation to Madeline for the social event of the season. It’s contingent upon her best behavior, and should she not acquiesce, a juicy tidbit about her specifically being left off the invitation list will be leaked. Oh, and did I mention that your pieces will be the central focus AND theme for the event?”

“You didn’t!” Sadie said, her eyes widening in disbelief.

“I can tell you I most certainly did.”

“Oh Lana! I don’t even know what to say!” Sadie gushed.

“Well, you can start by telling me the history between you and that man. Brady, was it? Yes, there’s a story there. I know it. And don’t think I didn’t see that look in your eyes when you opened the door.”

“That look was the shock of seeing you dripping more water than a monsoon season.”

“Nice try deflecting.”

“It’s a long story.”

“By all means don’t keep me waiting. My calendar is pretty well clear at the present moment.”

“I don’t know. He and I. We. Well.”

“Take a breath Sadie. It’s not an inquisition. It’s just me.”

“We were never an item. Not really. I think it’s more that we could have been something and were on the cusp of that something more.”

“And…what happened?”

“Life? We had known each other almost our whole lives. We went to the same college, and for the first time actually got to know each other. We’d stay up late at night just talking. He’d wait to eat lunch until my classes got out so we could eat together. Everything was just starting to slide into place. But then not too far into our first year he gets word his Dad was not well. He wound up passing away a week later. I came back for the funeral and Brady was, I think lost is the only way to describe it. I tried to get him to talk but he wouldn’t. He shut me out and told me that he decided to enlist. It hit me like a gut punch. I left and threw myself into my art. We wrote a couple times while he was overseas. By the time he came back, I was long gone.”

“So this was the first time you’ve seen him since he enlisted all those years ago?”

“Not quite. I saw him oh, about a year ago. He wanted to talk, and I was not in the right mind space to hear it. There were a lot of things left unsaid. And it didn’t help that just prior to him wanting to talk, Miss My Daddy Owns the Town was stuck to him like glue.”

“Say no more. I think I have an idea of how well THAT may have went,” Lana said.

“I admit I’m never one to mince words or hold back.”

“This is your chance Sadie. You’re not seeing anyone right now. I’d love to know there was a higher purpose to me ruining my clothes and shoes—aside from saving your career. Hey, I almost hand-delivered him back to you.”

“I’m not sure that’s what you’d call it.”

“Close enough. When are you going to see him again?”

“Around six o’clock today. He’s going to swing by so he can help tow your car out of the ditch.”

“We have plenty of time. If I can one-up Madeline Wray in the space of an evening, this should be a piece of cake.”

Sadie took a sip of her coffee. Lana had good intuitions and was well-known for her execution. What type of plan would she come up with now? They were going to be pulling a car out of the ditch. A soggy, muddy ditch. This was not exactly the setting of a Hallmark movie.

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