Death would come to her, even claim her, within a matter of hours.
She went about her usual business, happy if not ecstatic to meet
up with the kids and enjoy their weekend together. In fact,
delight and excitement blushed through her as she began to primp. With
efficiency coated in fluid grace, she went on to select her outfit, careful
to match fabric, shoe color and jewelry.
She had such a pretty apartment, all done in blond and gold, with
splashes of color mixed with the Art Deco furnishings. An ardent
admirer had sent her an abundant bouquet of plum-pink roses, and she
had placed the vase with the fragrant blooms as the focal point of the
salon. She caught their scent now as she walked through the room,
memories sparked by their aroma and color. She hoped the gentleman
who had sent them would be at the party tonight. Besides his generosity
and thoughtfulness, he possessed a warm, witty personality which made
up for his lack of physical comeliness. It didn’t hurt that he was
fabulously rich either. Of course, Bertie was both rich and handsome,
but he never possessed that je ne sais quoi she found so irresistible in
other, older and more cultured men. Oh, she enjoyed the attention, even
though she rarely acted upon their affections. Nevertheless, it made her
feel special, worthy.
After switching on a lamp, she twirled about to catch her reflection
in the full-length vanity mirror. “Well now, how do I look?”
Princess Soraya, her Persian cat, reclined on the brocade armchair and
gave her owner a sleepy but contented approval with jade green eyes.
“I take it you agree with me that I look stunning.” Of course she did;
she always did when it came to night out with Sally, Muriel, Collette,
and certain members of the male persuasion who would inevitably tag
The sleeveless, champagne silk dress had precise pleats just below her
knees, a straight waist but scooped neckline. The long strand of pearls,
knotted in the middle, rested in the valley of her pert breasts. For
tonight, she eschewed the unyielding corset and wore a slip only, but
certainly added the pale stockings, garters and matching T-strap heels.
Because she had set the front strands of her blond hair into spit curls, she
dispensed with the cloche hat or her signature beaded headband with
Back in the bedroom, she gave each porcelain shoulder an extra pat of
powder, her dark topaz eyes a deeper flourish with the Kohl liner, her lips
a petal outline with the poppy red lipstick. Then, a dab of Chanel No. 5
on each side of her swan neck completed her ablutions. She loved Coco
Chanel and the perfume.— loose and simple, even boldly mannish —
certainly appealed to her unbridled passions; and she could now shed some
fabric and show some leg without censorship. According to Bertie, she had
the most appealing, shapely pair of gams around; and coming from him,
that meant the vibrant blond stood out in the crowd.
Of course, she remained quite aware of the effect she had on men,
even other women. She possessed a golden aura, a pluck, a dazzling
presence, a gregarious outlook that attracted others like fire flies. At the
moment, her irresistible flame burned with white-hot intensity; and
though she had been born simple, everyone knew her as Arabella, the
flapper, the party girl, the brightest, most sought after star of the Long
Unfortunately, before the weekend ended, she would be identified as
simply number fourteen on a toe tag. Her torch would ignite, soon
flicker, then slowly sputter and fade till it became extinguished forever.