Deacon Stewart has taken the job as technical director at a small, privately owned theatre in Florida. After a drug and alcohol induced episode, he needed a break from his high pressure job in Manhattan. When the owner of the theatre, Dino, invites him to drive down to the Orlando airport to pick up the lighting designer, he doesn’t know what to expect.
Dino chuckled, enjoying Deacon’s frustration too much. “I guess it’s fine to tell you now. I was able to get Hillary K. Du Champs.”
The name was not unknown to Deacon, he had heard it often enough in theater circles up north.
“Hillary Du Champs? Sounds like a little, old French lady with a bad accent.”
Deacon went on in some detail watching Dino’s smile suddenly fade rapidly. Turning around, he saw a petite, auburn haired woman glaring up at him. She held three or four large bags which she dropped almost on Deacon’s feet.
Dino’s smile was artificial, his tan turned a few shades lighter. “Deacon Stewart, I’d like to introduce you to our lighting designer,” he gulped. “Hillary Du Champs.”
Deacon held out his hand, taking his cap off his head. “Pleased to meet you, Ms. Du Champs.”
She glared at him and didn’t take his proffered hand. “Don’t mind me,” she said with a strong Australian accent, “I’m just a little, old French lady with a bad accent!”
Deacon sighed, realizing he had put his foot in deeply this time. As penance, he picked up three of the bags, Ms. Du Champs snatched the smallest off the floor before he could touch it.
“Who’s the flunky?” she directed impolitely at Dino.
She walked ahead of Deacon, beside Dino who shortened his stride to compensate for her lack of stature. She couldn’t be much over five feet tall, Deacon thought. He’d never gotten along well with little women. They tended to be bossy and arrogant, with something to prove.
Deacon was around six foot three and lanky of build. His dark blond hair was curly, unruly and a constant source of aggravation to him. His blue eyes were rimmed with dark eyelashes, giving him a sleepy look. In high school, he’d been mistakenly accused of being stoned more often than he could count.
In an act of defiance of his military foster father, he’d gotten plugs in his ears and an eyebrow pierced. Several tattoos decorated his arms and another on his right buttock, a challenge from a college Jasper one night when they were too drunk to give a shit. He was sure he presented a bedraggled figure to the compact, attractive and well groomed woman ahead of him. Not quite the picture of a well qualified professional man.
He noted absently that she had a great figure and a nice, tight ass, which distracted him so much, he nearly ran into the door jam as the automatic door slid open. He set the bags down as they waited for the elevator and looked down at Hillary.
“I’m sorry about what I said. I didn’t realize you were there.”
“And that makes it all right to insult me, as I can’t hear you? You’re an uneducated buffoon, Mr. Whatever. I hope to have as little contact with you as possible. So just do your job, tote the bags and don’t talk to me!”
Deacon’s temper nearly got the better of him, but the elevator arrived giving them a few moments of struggle as they pulled her bags on board and hit the button for the parking garage.
Getting to the car, Dino opened the back and Deacon loaded the bags into the luggage space. He tried to open the door for Ms. Du Champs, but she walked pointedly away from him. He slid in the front seat himself, shutting the door in her face.
“Now see here,” she reprimanded him. “Since when does the flunky sit in the front seat and the professional woman sit in the back seat with the cooler?”
Deacon rolled his eyes in her direction, giving her a scathing look before lowering the brim of his cap over his eyes, resuming his relaxed travel position. “Since the flunky is the technical director of the theater and the professional woman is being a snooty bitch.” He said firmly, fastening his seat belt with an abrupt snap.
Dino started the car and took off in his usual cavalier style. Ms. Du Champs was silent for some time, just trying to stay in an upright position while Dino drove down the ramps at forty miles an hour. He cut into the outgoing traffic and sped into the night, zipping in and out of traffic seemingly at random.
“Really, Dino, do you have to drive so carelessly?” She was griping at him now, leaving Deacon off the hook for the time being.
“It’s better when you don’t look,” Deacon murmured, sliding lower into the seat.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
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