DISCLAIMER: Touchstone TV and ABC and misc. etc. own DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Which owners are hereafter referred to as Moloch (with branches in the Gran Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Hell). Hail be to Moloch. Moloch is mighty. Moloch is greedy. I am not. No money is involved in this fiction, and forgiveness is begged from Moloch. This story is mine under Berne Copyright Law. 2,500 words, February 2005.
SEQUEL/SERIES: This is the second story in the 'Rooftop' series and follows Rooftop: prelude.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
After we passed the third pair of men holding hands, I sidled up to Lynette and asked; "Is this restaurant what I think it is?"
Edie Brit overheard, and smiled as she hooked her arm through mine. I've seen few parking lots as well-lit as this one. We passed a Lilac bush and were faced with a flight of stairs.
"It's upstairs, girls," Edie sparkled, "so everyone watch your step." Not hard to do, lots of lights. Cheap carpeting well nailed to broad steps. Two pairs of men passed us on the way down. A single woman devoured us with her eyes as we went through the swinging doors.
Inside it was American Restaurant, variety 12-D. There were the usual hanging plants and booths. A big Mexican hat and two ornate embroidered serapes decorated the far walls. All intermixed with a draped South Vietnamese flag and a half-furled MIA flag. What was more, a few movable Chinese screens hid some tables, and a gold Buddha sat in an alcove behind the cash register. Décor piece de resistance was a large German-modern painting in a frame, obviously portraying an underwater mermaid holding a pearl. That accounted for the name, I suppose.
The walls were red textured cloth. No hamburgers here. I'd expected either cheap American, or expensive snobby. This place was neither, somehow.
It was, however, a real Restaurant, for there were breakable things everywhere. Nothing looked like it was made from steel-reinforced plastic and there weren't uniforms on anyone. Definitely not a kid-proof restaurant.
Gabriela sidled over and said: "Nice. Edie said this place was cheap, but it doesn't look cheap. Still if this were a date, the guy might be looking worried about now. Mentally counting his money."
Susan had heard, and added her two cents. "Maybe that means the salad won't be deep-fried and the fresh hot baked potatoes won't be chilled." Bless be, there wasn't a screaming child demanding to be murdered most foul anywhere to be seen.
Yelling children were the usual American alternative to quiet, peace, decorum and fifty-five dollar entrees.
A tall cute skinny black male took us to our table (which actually had a reserved sign on it) and left us menus. The bus boy was either pre-op male or an interesting appearing woman.
Gabriela opened her menu, and Edie jumped in with a reminder that it's half price with the coupon. Twenty-two dollar entrees and eight-dollar desserts weren't all that bad.
Susan chided Edie for taking us to a gay restaurant, but eventually she subsided as the appetizers (salads) came to us at the speed of light. Mine was the pasta salad.
No buffet in sight; a few enormous rag rugs on the floor, plus we had a young waitress who had eight rings in her left eyebrow and no slogan flashes on her blouse. No 'atmosphere'. I could enjoy it here.
They had black onion soup which I immediately ordered. I could have all the onions I wanted and no one would comment on their presence.
Drinks (which came with the dinner) were brought to us by an elderly oriental woman in a lavender chamsong. The surprise was the way Edie and her embraced afterwards. She was Hay, and she knew Edie from back when, wherever that was.
I should be mortified, but I was only mildly embarrassed. After all, I've always prided myself on being open minded and tolerant.
A plump older woman with thick glasses came over with an army of people and told us we were moving. Just like that. Informal.
The night was warm and quiet, and we were moving out to the roof.
The entire place was a rebuilt Fin de Sicale millionaire's palace, and there was now a patio out under the stars. We would eat our dinner on the roof. For a moment I found myself thinking that my husband would enjoy the ambience.
Was he part of my life anymore?
The view was lovely, and the breeze almost nonexistent, and I loosened the top button of my blouse to enjoy the air.
By now it was fun being here. I already knew I'd have a second drink (which I would pay for) and wallow in the lack of arguing family. No male suitors either. No tablecloths, and the napkins were paper and not linen, and the lighting was terrible even with the lights set on our table, but I instantly adored it.
The glass doors were slid all the way back and I drooled at a dish the nearest pair of women were having. I would have something I'd never had before and I hadn't cooked.
Susan and Edie shared a large deep-dish lamb pita pie of some kind, and Lynette had the sweet and sour pork, Gabby the stir-fried chicken, and I nibbled on lovely crisp tempura shrimp and tiny messy globules of spicy breaded beef over noodles. I had no desire to learn the recipe because I knew I'd never have the time to do it right, at home. Too many interruptions.
Besides, as the place was partially Vietnamese I didn't want to find out my delicious beef wasn't beef. It was delectable, and just spiced hot enough to make me finish my glass of water.
Everyone sampled the other person's food, of course. No one tried any of my tempura shrimp because I kept shifting it whenever it looked like someone was going to sample one.
There was another table to my back, and the gal nearest me suggested I try the lemon sauce with the beef balls.
At least they're beef.
In a second we had a conversation going, and it suddenly struck me where I was. This stranger was buttering me up for the obvious and usual reason. She wanted my body.
Well? Wasn't I back on the market again? Here I am folks. One slightly ragged-looking redhead with hourly anxiety attacks.
But not to another woman I wasn't on the shopping block.
I flashed my rings a few times at her and she ignored them. The plump blond she was having dinner with was looking threats of making me join the shrimp in being breaded and fried next.
Far be it for me to interfere in true love! But the gal in glasses was studiously ignoring the blond, and chatting me up. Me. She was rather cute, I guessed. Sincere smile, long face, sharp nose, long hair with lots of little curls in it. Sixty-ish style hair, I thought. She was wearing wedding rings also.
My new friend said she was Jill. I didn't ask where was Jack.
When was the last time anyone seriously tried to be nice to me? For whatever reason?
Well, there was the pharmacist, but did he count? I couldn't even bring myself to kiss him. A harmless little kiss. I shot him instead.
What would I do if that woman tried to kiss me? Become a suicide bomber?
Mentally I catalogued my good points, my best features. I told myself I was a fortyish over-the-hill almost-ex-wife with two almost-adult children and a husband who cheats on me.
Okay, that was depressing.
I took an opportunity to involve myself again with my usual neighbors, ignoring the glances Susan gave me and my new friend. Behind me I heard quiet voices acquire that tooth-gritting abrasive quality a good table saw emits when it's cutting thick hardwood.
They were fighting over me. I should feel flattered, I told myself. Instead I felt my ears turning red.
Gabriela took advantage of my confusion to snare my bowl of tempura shrimp and snatch a few of the golden brown delights. I told myself the fat was bad for my waistline anyways.
I suppose I should be furious over being amongst all these great sinners, but to tell the truth, I found ....
I found these women to be. What?
Something was nagging me and I was becoming increasingly agitated as time went on.
Just what I needed. An anxiety attack in public.
Gabriela asked Susan if she could feel with her feet. Susan looked blank, but then she smiled. She had such a lovely smile. I wished I could smile like that.
My life was falling apart. I was losing my husband. My son hardly spoke to me. My affair with the Pharmacist was a painful joke in bad taste. He couldn't even get me tranquilizers off prescription.
I'd gotten a traffic ticket for having my elbow out the window of my car. And being here made me feel terribly uncomfortable, and I wasn't at all sure why.
"They're playing MY kind of music, downstairs," Gabby chirped. Gabby was slinky more often than she was chirpy, but when she was chirpy the whole room made happy.
Such a nice kissable woman she was.
I, on the other hand, was an old witch, with 'Beware!' written on her forehead. A dried up old witch. I shoot men who try to kiss me. Or I feed them onions.
Gabriella took Susan by the hand, and they went to find a way to go downstairs. Gabby and Susan were going to dance Latin. That they would be surrounded by various perverts and debauchs mattered nothing to them. They could enjoy life. I, in contrast, got backaches from maintaining a rigid upright posture all the time. Standing or sitting straight was supposed to do the opposite. Relieve one from backache. Instead I got backaches. I couldn't even walk or sit right.
Everything I did turned out to be wrong. I couldn't even pretend any more that the Bible meant much to me. A nice guide. It made something immutable for me to raise my children with. Sorta. Gave me a son who hates me and the daughter who wishes I'd leave her alone. But was it an absolute system of do's and don'ts?
I went to church all the time. I never slept during the oratory. But it never seemed to tell me what to DO with my life.
"Let's dance, Bree." It was a standing Edie, and she was holding out her hands to me.
Maybe Susan and Gaby had it right.
Dance while you can. Don't think. Don't dig your nails into your palms or wonder if you remembered to turn off the stove. I called myself Mrs. Monk yesterday morning when I realized I was tracing the edges of the furniture.
Dance. What can I do wrong by dancing?
Out there, with a low sirrush of restaurant music to guide us, Edie took me in her arms and pulled me close.
I was dancing with a woman. That was okay. It felt nice. She let me lead; almost automatically she paused and let me lead. She fit herself to me, nothing obscene, but I was aware her breasts were against my breasts, and a female hand was in the small of my back. She smelled of "Justine", the new one from Rochas. There was a sniff packet in the Family magazine last week. I smelled of "Opium", and it was two years old besides.
I couldn't even wear the right sort of perfume.
The only thing I could do right was dance.
We barely coded the other as we danced. It was automatic, it was lovely, it let me close my eyes and enjoy. I didn't need to think. Not at all.
Edie had a hand almost on my backside, but even that failed to faze me. If I can't find solutions, at least I can still remember how to dance.
All those years at Mrs. Stella's and it all comes back.
I was on the verge of asking Edie if she wanted to try the Latin we could still hear beating away downstairs, when I heard a woman's voice in my ear.
"May I cut in?"
Sighing mentally, I released Edie, and opened my eyes. I'll trot on back to my breaded meat balls, or nibble on Gaby's chicken. When I'm eighty I'm going to weigh four hundred pounds.
A striking brunette woman glided into my arms.
"I'm Parker," she grinned. "Broots would always call me Miss Parker."
Long dark hair, my age (washed up)(over the hill), a truly wicked smile. She was all edges. Nothing round and soft to her. Somehow she wasn't polite or smooth like Edie had been. This woman seamlessly moved closer, like an Abrahms tank, and led.
Her hand was strong in my back, she danced like she'd spent eight years studying dance like I had, and she wasn't wearing a bra underneath her obviously expensive suit coat and blouse. The third time her nipples brushed against my breasts, I knew beyond doubt that they had become erect.
I didn't recognize her perfume, but it smelled somehow of veldts in Africa and exciting adventures.
Her eyes were a penetrating gray-blue, and she pulled me a little bit closer.
I was close to the sharp deadly edge she represented.
"I'm glad I came here tonight," she said. "I've been wanting to meet a woman like you for years. I won't tell you you're beautiful. You already know that."
Over the hill wives prone to anxiety attacks and major scars on her lower belly. Just what she ordered. Beautiful neurotics.
I waved my rings at her and she kissed them. That felt nice.
"The music is over," I tried.
"It'll start up again in a second," she returned.
"I've got to get back to my friends," I said.
"No you don't," she answered. I turned around. Even Lynette was gone somewhere. A lousy time for her bladder to fill up.
I could feel an anxiety attack coming on.
"You've got the most kissable lips I've ever seen. I'm going to kiss you and you're going to enjoy it."
She did and I did. But the anxiety attack was making my head buzz. She had a hand on my backside. I didn't enjoy her familiarity, but I didn't do anything about it. It felt too good.
She began to kiss my throat. When's the last time anyone kissed my throat? Well, there was that time when I had on the red underwear, but that moment in time didn't bear contemplation.
We danced some more, and she began licking all the places where my skin showed.
She had an automatic pistol in the small of her back.
A very large pistol. The perfectionist in me tried to identify the brand and type just from feeling it.
Probably 9mm I decided, purely from a guess.
"Do you always dance with a Beretta automatic?" I asked.
"It makes me hot," she answered. "Does it make you hot? I hope it makes you hot. I adore hot women."
When was the last time I giggled?
It felt comforting dancing close to an armed woman.
For some reason the anxiety attack never developed.
After a few more dances, Parker invited me downstairs to cavort. Lynette was twirling with Edie by this time, and she gave me the oddest look as Parker took me by the hand.
Parker got a long red rose from the display on the counter.
"I know the DJ," she supplied. "Do you tango?"
"My tango should have been on 'True Lies'," I laughed.
I was looking forward to dancing with a long rose in my mouth.
Continued in Rooftop Night
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