Tuesday Teaser 2/28/17 Victoria’s Cat Part 9
It’s the last day of February and I almost forgot to post the teaser. I am discombobulated. On Saturday I was informed that my rent was being raised a large amount. Like, way out of my budget. I had only until today to decide if I would sign a new lease or move. It was hard to decide, but I put my notice in today. Now I have 30 days to find somewhere else to live. That is so scary for me. I HATE to move. It’s so much work. And it’s expensive! But it is done. And I’m already tired, just thinking of of all the packing and cleaning ahead. This may upset my writing schedule for the next six weeks, so future teasers might be thin. I hope you’ll enjoy this one. Remember that this is unedited, and I haven’t even re-read it to make basic corrections. Be kind!
The next morning Victoria dressed in one of the four outfits she had brought to wear to the legislature meetings. It was conservative in that it was a jacket and slacks, but the color was electric blue. Since it had been custom made by Hannah & Lisa Designs for her, Victoria knew it top-quality and fit her perfectly. Her jewelry consisted of a fine gold chain around her neck with a teardrop shaped pearl pendant and matching pearl earrings. She applied a little makeup, and the bathroom mirror told her she looked her very best. She wanted to look her best. She was representing the Lakota Wolf Clan.
Marty and Ray were at a table near the back of the dining room. Eagle, Stone, and Sand where at a table near the front. Eagle was resplendent in his favorite navy blue wool breechcloth, heavy silver bead necklace and his two prized eagle feathers earned in battle. Stone and Sand wore plain white dress shirts and dark slacks. As she finished going through the buffet, Sand stood up and indicated the empty chair at his table. Victoria gave him a smile and a nod and walked to the Madisons.
“May I join you this morning?” she asked.
Marty and Ray stood up, and Marty pulled out a chair for her. He was devastatingly gorgeous in a suit of chocolate brown. His golden blond hair rested in thick waves over his shoulders.
She took the chair and smiled. “Are they coming after me?”
She didn’t need to explain who she meant. Marty looked past her toward the front of the room and shook his head. “Stone is smiling. Sand looks like someone just hit him with a brick, and your brother looks like he’s about to explode. But they are still at their table.”
Ray stabbed a fat sausage with his fork. “Are you declaring war?”
She shook her head. “No, not war. This is more like a declaration of independence.”
Marty’s eyes laughed at her. “You’re a rebel.”
What should she have first, the pancakes or scrambled eggs? She looked up with a shrug. “I don’t think I am. I love my family and I know they love me. But I am a grown up and I get to make the decisions about my life. They’ll learn to accept it eventually.”
Ray bent over his plate and murmured, “Lesson number one coming up.”
Glancing over her shoulder, Victoria saw Colby come into the dining room. Marty was gorgeous, but Colby was too. He wore his only suit. It was charcoal gray, double-breasted, and the cut emphasized his narrow waist and broad shoulders. His short black hair gleamed. Little Miss Summer was crazy if she didn’t give Colby a chance to court her.
Colby filled a plate and came to their table. “Good morning.”
“Hey, Colby,” said Ray.
Victoria whistled. “Looking good, Cole.”
He raised dark brown eyes to her like a hopeful puppy. “Do you think she’ll like it? The suit, I mean.”
“If you mean Miss Summer, I’m sure she’ll love it.”
He sat a little straighter. “Do you think so?”
“You look great.” She jabbed a fork toward his plate. “So does the food. Be sure not to drip any syrup on your clothes.”
She hid a smile when he declined to use any syrup at all. Over the next few minutes the dining room filled with the men who were staying at the house. All were dressed neatly, obviously preparing to attend the legislative session. Jon and Tanner looked ill at ease in their suits. An older man was with them. Victoria guessed he must be the leader of their commune. She studied this man for a while trying to find evidence of his evil, but he looked perfectly normal. Certainly pompous, but not evil. When he, Jon and Tanner stood up to leave the dining room she purposely turned her head away so she wouldn’t have to say good morning to him.
Marty pushed back from the table. “And I think it’s time we left. Miss Victoria, may we escort you?”
Her brother was suddenly there. His voice didn’t have the bite could have. “We’ll escort Victoria.” He nodded toward Stone and Sand. “You can walk along with us if you like.”
“Thanks.” Marty ran a gaze from the feathers in Eagle’s hair to the breastplate made of hair blowing and brass beads over his bare chest to the silver bells dangling from the outside seams of his leather leggings. “No one will overlook you in the assembly today,” he said cryptically. “We can leave anytime.”
The minibus was waiting just outside the back door. Victoria, wrapped in her sheepskin coat, balked at the noise. “I’d rather walk all the way back to the winter camp than ride that thing. Let’s walk.”
Sand and Quill walked together in the lead, and Rock, Colby, Eagle, Victoria, Marty, Ray, and Stone followed. Before they had gone two blocks, the minibus passed them in a cloud of stinking fumes. Victoria waved her hand vigorously in front of her face to dispel the stench.
Even walking, they made good time to the city center and arrived only a few minutes after the bus had delivered the last of its passengers. They passed it going in opposite directions just as they came in sight of the fountain in the city center. Victoria was surprised and a little disappointed when they were ushered into the assembly room on the top floor of the judicial building. She had expected it to be like the clan council, where everyone sat in a circle. This room had rows of wooden chairs all facing the same direction, and at the head of the room was low stage with a long table and chairs facing the rows of other chairs. On one edge of the stage was a small table and chair. There were names engraved on metal plaques at the seats at the table, including that of the mayor of Omaha.
There was a man inside the door who greeted them and told them where their assigned seats were. Marty was in the front row closest to the table, but Victoria was near the back. Quill, the delegate from the den was on one side of her, and Hawk, representing the Plane Women’s House Pack, sat on the other. Each wooden chair had a small table attached to it, like the desks she’d seen in schools. Good thing these were adult-sized, or she’d never have fit. Each desk had a folded paper tent with a name if he on it. The wooden chairs were crammed close together. They weren’t very comfortable either. She should have brought a fur to pad the seat.
She shifted her weight and studied the legislative chamber. The walls were paneled in wood. Wood floor, wood walls, wood ceilings, all the same dull brown color. The only color was from a faded flag tacked to the wall behind the table on the stage, and a gray metal square hung on the wall to the right. There were narrow windows running along the top of one wall. Victoria felt almost claustrophobic.
“It will get stuffy in here with all these people, I bet,” she murmured to Hawk.
Hawk sat still, arms folded over his chest. “Too many people,” he said with a grunt.
By craning her head, she could see Marty twelve rows ahead of her. In the same row sat Brother Saul. How did he get to be so important that he was seated in the front row? Maty represented one of the largest settlements in the region, and he had been for five or six years now, so it made sense that he would be in the first row. But why were she, Hawk, and Quill near the back?
Quill leaned over her. “I don’t know which of you is getting more attention, you, because you are a beautiful woman, or Eagle, because he’s in full wolf warrior regalia.”
It was true that a lot of the hundred or so men in the room were staring at her and whispering together. It wasn’t unusual for her to get a lot of attention, but she had a feeling this came from the fact that she was the only woman in the room. These stupid misogynists probably thought a woman shouldn’t be a delegate. She wanted to stand up and say something rude. As the Clan’s delegate, she kept her mouth shut and only privately fantasized about what she’d like to say to them.
The room was filling up fast. Even the standing room along the walls was overcrowded. Rock, Eagle, Sand, and Colby were against the back wall. Rock waved to get Hawk’s attention and said something, but over the rumble of voices and screeching of chairs on the bare wood floor, Victoria couldn’t hear it. Hawk could. He nodded, and the others left.
“They are going somewhere else for a few hours,” he murmured to her.
Quill, having wolf-sharp hearing, didn’t need his translation. Victoria hid a smile. Probably going to see Miss Summer. How would that go today?