Part II: Getting Things In Order
Starla sipped coffee from her favorite mug: strong, black, and with a shot of whiskey. The day will be filled with making sure Chloe is comfortable enough to take on her new role: Personal Assistant. Starla had to dig into her bag of tricks to provide a decent environment for her niece — the pressures of life are already more than enough to drown a teenager’s hopes and dreams but add to that the death of a parent, and what you could potentially have is a disaster. And Starla did not want that — not for her niece, not for her family.
“Chloe. Let’s see what we have for you today. Did you hear me? Come on down and let’s start this day anew with a list of things you will help me with for the shop.”
Chloe stared at herself in the mirror — her eyes sunken and darted with sadness. She buttoned her top, zipped up her jeans, and slid her pedicured feet into her sandals. Could this be the start of her new life? Or at least, a new day? She descended the stairs, hair bouncing with the weight of each step, her arms at her side, and lips pursed into a perfect position. She stood before her aunt, prepared for her personal appearance review.
“Well, look at you! You are a sight for sore eyes, Chloe. Thank you for meeting me this morning. Lemme start this day off by sayin’, I ain’t tryin’ to put anything on you that you don’t need, I am only tryin’ to keep you from breakin’ and livin’ in a world of pain. This — all of this, could be good for you.”
Starla pointed in the direction of both the flower shop and the B & B, watched the expression on her niece’s face, and began again with her speech.
“Since June passed, Davie Boy says he’s noticed some changes in you. Now, I ain’t gonna sit on no high horse cuz Lawd knows I’ve had my share of dippin’ and dabblin’ into things I shouldn’t have, but I also know where those things could have led me had my daddy not put his foot down when he did. You will help me out with the shop Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. We will always have a feast of a lunch at 12:00 pm until 12:30 pm. The B & B staff will see to that. When 3:00 pm hits the dot, do as you please, but within our rules and guidelines here. We will go over those later. Are we good so far?”
Chloe looked at her aunt, a feeling of trapped emotion dwarfed her. She heard every word and instantly felt the presence of her mother. Someone to direct her. Someone to guide her. Someone to give her options and make sure she makes good choices. She patted the thighs of her jeans and nodded in agreement.
“Good! Good! Now that we are on one accord, let’s have ourselves some breakfast.”
Davie Boy entered the dining room of the B & B looking for his sister and daughter. His eyes lit up when he spotted the two of them sitting at one of the tables talking.
“Mornin’, ladies. How goes it?”
“It goes, Davie Boy. Whatchu up to?”
“Not too much of anything right now, Starla. You gettin’ this one up-to-speed with how things go ‘round here?”
“I am and we don’t need no once-overs from you. I think Chloe’s gonna be just fine.”
Starla looked at her niece, gave her a wink, and nodded in approval. Davie Boy smiled his approval as well. To know he will have help raising his daughter once again took a heavy weight off his shoulders. He could already feel his breathing become easier to do.
“You listen to your Aunt Starla and I’ll be back to getcha ‘round 3:15 this afternoon.” He bowed his capped head in his daughter’s direction and blew her a kiss. “Starla, anything you need for the shop while I’m out?”
“I think we’re good for now, Davie Boy. If you find that brother of ours gallivantin’ ‘round town, let him know we’re still missing last week’s deposit. He ain’t pickin’ up his phone.”
“I sure will, Starla. I sure will.”
Starla and Chloe finished their breakfast and started off to begin a day’s work. The whiskey in Starla’s mug — now potent enough to kill a potted plant. Today is a new day.