Location: Santa Lucia, Spring 1958
Friday morning came and Daphne had nervous expectations for her afternoon appointment with Adonis. She had decided if he suggested it, she would definitely pose nude. After all, he’s an artiste – an appreciator of the human form and without a doubt would be professional about it, and done in a tasteful manner. She would not expect anything less. However, she was not going to tell anyone, no way. She didn’t want to be talked out of it. It was daring and bold, and so unexpected from her.
Lizzie, her seventeen year old sister came bounding into her bedroom without knocking as usual. Daphne was able to wrap her pale yellow silk dressing gown around her in just enough time. “What are you doing?” Lizzie asked with a note of disapproval, flopping on Daphne’s bed.
“How many times have I asked you to knock?”
“I dunno.” Lizzie wiped her nose, tilted her head and looked at her sister sideways. “What were you doing?”
“Nothing, just getting ready for work.” Daphne made sure her robe was cinched shut. She wasn’t sure what to wear for, well, disrobing later. If she wore something with quite a few buttons or fasteners, it would take her a while to get it off, which may annoy the artist. If she wore something with lots of seams, they may mark her flesh as would a girdle and most of her foundation garments. But if she didn’t wear a girdle, then she would look sloppy. What was she to do?
“Taking you a long time to figure out what you’re going to wear today,” Lizzie observed. “Got something important happening?”
“No, nothing much,” Daphne replied lightly. She could not imagine what her younger sister would make of what she was going to do. Or who she would tell. The last people she wanted to know about it were her parents, and that’s exactly who Lizzie would blab to first. She’d jump at the chance.
“So,” her sister lolled on her bed and slyly drawled out her word, then finished her sentence, matter of factly. “Your friend Margot’s a murderer.”
Daphne whipped around and faced her sister. “That’s not true! Who told you that?”
“No one, but I keep up on things. I read the story in the paper and I keep my ear to the ground, you know?” Lizzie snapped her gum, doing her best to act wise. “She’s like those dames in Prime Crime Magazine. They’ve got a past and will do anything to keep it quiet, you know the type.” Lizzie was constantly reading dime store detective novels and salacious ‘true crime’ rags. Their mother always had a fit when she came across them, but Lizzie’s fascination was not deterred.
“No, I don’t and neither do you. Not that it’s your business, but Margot is innocent of it all. If you don’t believe me, ask James. His father’s helping her in the case.” James Worth, a long-time friend of Lizzie’s, possibly boyfriend (who could tell with her these days – punching him in the arm one day, making cow eyes the next, all the while wearing lipstick) was Henry’s youngest son.
Lizzie was skeptical, rolling her eyes, then brightening up with a new theory. “Policeman Tom did it! Oh, a crime of passion!”
Daphne glared at the girl in response. “Lizzie, stop it. You know that’s not true and I would appreciate if you’d keep your overactive imagination to yourself.”
Lizzie got off the bed. “Okay, okay, I get it.” She looked at her sister, then herself in the dressing table mirror. She re-tucked the end of her blouse back into the waist of her circle skirt and tugged at her ponytail, which was straggling out of its elastic. She calmed down while she fixed her hair and continued talking in a more pleasant manner to her sister. “But what are you doing today?”
“Going to work, why do you ask?”
Lizzie shrugged. “You seemed kinda funny when I came in.”
“No,” Daphne demurred. “I just can’t figure out what I want to wear, that’s all.”
Lizzie had finished with her hair and stood up. “Nah, I don’t buy that.” She gave a flip with her hand. “Later, gator. I gotta fly.” Lizzie was gone with as much care and concern that she had come in with.
In the end, Daphne figured wearing the proper foundation garments were far more important than Adonis seeing the seam impressions on her body. He could always not paint them, couldn’t he? He was an artist, he’s bound to be looking for overall form rather than anything else. She did however choose a wraparound dress in pale turquoise that had a sweeping circle skirt that would be easy to remove with untying the one big sash bow on the side. It had an overall print of abstract florals that she thought he would find creatively interesting. Wouldn’t he?
You can read more about Daphne in A Nate To Remember, the third book in the “Poppy Cove” mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press. The first two books in the series are Strangled by Silk and Death of a Beauty Queen.
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Meet the author
Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff, both of whom reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Barbara Jean, however, is a resident of Santa Lucia, California (eerily similar to Santa Barbara), where she enjoys long lunches, cocktail parties, and fancy dinner dates with attractive and attentive gentlemen. Her interests include Alfred Hitchcock movies, reading Carolyn Keene, music by popular musicians, such Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, shopping for new dresses, attending society events and always looking fabulous in kitten heels. A Nate To Remember is her third novel in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series. For more information, visit their website at www.barbarajeancoast.com.