Hello there! This is a little exercise I did for my book, Edifice. The intro is in the book, but the rest is not. It’s a little snippet of Lenci’s past. Thought you might enjoy it too. It’s only for fun so I won’t be revising, editing, or expanding on it. It’s rough and that’s alright. Have a read and let me know what you think!
“The 1920’s were an interesting time,” Lenci told him. “So much happened, so much changed.”
Beck laughed. “Looks interesting. Looks like you’re happy.” He ran his fingers over a picture of her and another woman. It was black and white and they were in tasseled dresses with curled hair, elegant headbands, and dark lips.
“I was happy. That’s Bridget, my Keeper before Fredrick. She stayed with me the longest out of all my Keepers. We snuck into a speakeasy even though we didn’t drink. The dancing was to die for!”
“How long was she your Keeper?”
“One hundred and five years. We were close.” Lenci’s face showed the fondness for her gone friend.
Lenci and Bridget: A short tale of a long friendship
The piano player tinkled away at the keys as everyone bopped around to his fast-paced tune. Lenci and Bridget made their way off the dance floor, beads of sweat starting to form along their perfectly manicured hairlines.
“Two waters, please,” Lenci requested at the bar. Bridget took a seat on the barstool next to her.
“How about I buy you a drink?” A surly man leaned around Bridget to ask her.
Bridget’s bubbly personality always led men to her and it never surprised Lenci when they approached her. Lenci apparently put out a ‘leave me alone vibe’ that kept most men away. But that was exactly how she wanted it.
“Sorry, sugar, not tonight.” Bridget flashed him a kind smile and turned back to Lenci, where their waters had been delivered. The man shrugged and resumed his search for company around the dance floor.
“You sure?” Lenci asked as she hastily gulped down some hydration. “It’s been a while since you went on a date. And you are allowed to drink even if I’m not.”
“I’m aware of the rules, Miss Lenci.” She gave her a criticizing glance. “But I haven’t had any hooch in all our thirty two years and I’m not going to start now! As for men, I think I’m taking a little break from gentlemen callers. It’s not like it can actually go anywhere. I would much rather dance the night away with my best doll!” She nudged Lenci’s shoulder.
“Alright, Bridge,” Lenci chuckled. She knew why Bridget wanted to take a break from dating. But now wasn’t the time to bring it up. Instead, she would take her mind off it for a few hours. “Then we better get hoppin’!” She grabbed Bridget’s hand and yanked her away.
They danced like they always did, like the best of friends that they were. Lenci held Bridget at arm’s length as they shimmied, wearing the soles of their lovely shoes and making the fringe on their dresses whip back and forth. Midnight came quickly and brought danger with it.
Lenci twirled and spun as she kept any men from trying to cut in with Bridget. Normally they would allow dance partners to join in on the fun. Not tonight. One particularly persistent man attempted to whisk Bridget away against her protest. Lenci rolled her eyes and followed as he whirled her off the dance floor and into the surrounding crowd.
“I said, let go,” Bridget’s stern voice came from a back room. Lenci headed that direction.
“Not until you give me what I want,” the man told Bridget.
Great, Lenci thought. One of those guys.
“And what I want is your demon,” he continued.
Not one of those guys. Lenci paused outside the door and listened. She heard Bridget laugh and couldn’t restrain a smile.
“You dizzy dewdropper,” Bridget said amusedly. “You took the wrong woman.”
“You’re not an Edifice?” He asked in confusion.
“Are you a Keeper?”
“Bring me to your Edifice,” he commanded.
“You think it’s that easy? This isn’t the Bible. Those who ask, don’t receive.”
Lenci peeked around the corner and smiled. Bridget looked completely bored. She didn’t need any help. She could easily take this guy and so felt no danger and looked relaxed as she stood in the middle of the room. She didn’t so much as flinch when the man put a hand around her neck to threaten her. But there was no way Lenci was going to let anyone treat her best friend like that.
“Give me your Edifice or I’ll—“ he grunted as Lenci threw her elbow into the back of his head.
His head lurched forward towards Bridget who grabbed his head, kneed him in the face, and threw him to the floor, unconscious.
“Time to find a new place?” Bridget stared down at the large man.
“Time to find a new place.”
They walked home together, confident that if anyone else did attack, they would be able to defend themselves. Bridget was Lenci’s second Keeper. She was a great conversationalist, wonderful to live across the hall from, and certainly knew how to handle herself in a fight. Lenci watched Bridget’s blonde curls sway around her headband.
“Was it that bad leaving him?” Lenci asked. “Is that why you’re taking a break?”
Bridget didn’t falter in her leisurely stride, but did loop her arm through Lenci’s before answering. “It was hard. But it was for the best.”
Lenci noticed Bridget wasn’t looking at her on purpose, keeping her eyes set straight ahead with her head held high. She knew if she could see her eyes there would be tears there. “You know, you could have married him. That’s not against the rules.”
“It is if you don’t want to be a Keeper any more. And I’m not ready to give this up yet.” Bridget finally turned to Lenci. She was right about the tears, which seemed to be passing quickly. Her red lips smiled as she patted Lenci’s arm.
“Good.” Lenci returned the smile. “I’m not ready to lose you yet.”
“Excuse me, ladies,” a man in the door of a building called out. “Would you like to have your photograph taken?”
“We would!” They both replied at the same time.