CHAPTER 9 – THE LADY
Miguel’s plan was to whisk Genevieve up the I-195 E to Surfside for the day. He knew a couple of secluded beaches where they could fool around. After their risqué encounter on the floor of Snippets the day they met, he figured she’d be up for some fun in the sun, but he soon realized his plan was not going to happen. Genevieve was now busy helping Liam out in the salon, even though it was her day off. Damn Irish, he thought. What does he have that I don’t?
“I made plans for us, you know,” Miguel said to Genevieve, as she helped Kathy to her chair. “It’s your day off, for crissakes. Don’t you want to get the hell out of this blasted heat and head to the beach?”
He was almost pleading, but her interest in him seemed lost. He couldn’t figure out what had happened between their lustful tryst and now. Mind you, they hadn’t seen each other since that day, but that wasn’t his fault, nor was it to his liking. He had called her every day, but talking on the phone just didn’t have the same effect as spending time together. He liked Genevieve – a lot. Not only was she drop dead gorgeous, she was smart, sassy, and he had to admit, part of the intrigue was the fact that she was unavailable to him. If they spoke regularly and got to know each other, he thought she’d realize he felt more for her than a passing fling. He wanted to be her boyfriend, but getting close seemed next to impossible.
Miguel had always found it far too easy to meet and hook up with beautiful women. Because of this, he had taken all of them for granted, enjoying brief liaisons that he would end when things began to heat up or get too emotional. So far this practice had worked for him. He was never lacking in companionship, dates, or great sex. It wasn’t that Miguel was a bad person. He treated all his women well when they were together, and ended things on a good note, which is why he had so many female friends. Sometimes he wondered if they might be waiting to see if he became available to them again, but then, that was just his narcissism talking. But Genevieve was different. This was the first time Miguel had to work at getting a woman’s attention, and keeping it. He wasn’t used to this kind of chase. If that day at the salon was a fraction of what the two of them were capable of, he wanted more. Genevieve’s indifference simply made her all the hotter, and made him devilishly interested and wildly horny.
Just then the front door opened and in walked Frances Del Monte. Genevieve looked up at her, unable to disguise her surprise.
“Wow. I guess you weren’t expecting me, were you, G?” called Frances, responding to Genevieve’s reaction. “Irish around?”
She nodded in the direction of the back room. “He’s mixing color.”
“Well, tell him I’m here, would you, sweetheart? I’ve got to get a quick bang trim…and see him about…another matter.”
“Sure,” answered Genevieve, playing it cool. “Just have a seat, Fran. You might have to wait till he applies the color on Kathy’s hair, but I’ll let him know you’re here.”
“Hey listen, don’t worry about me. I’ve got all the time in the world.” Fran let out a loud cackle and took a seat in the waiting area with a pile of People and Star magazines to thumb through.
Genevieve was dumbstruck. After just disclosing to Liam, in detail, all the new dirt about Mitch, and the pending sale of The Foxy Lady, she couldn’t believe their luck. Getting more information was going to be much easier than they expected.
Within minutes, Liam emerged and went straight to his chair where Kathy was patiently waiting. Genevieve moved aside to make room for him.
“Check out your new walk-in.” She gestured in the direction of the waiting area, where Fran had her nose in the Star. She didn’t even notice them looking at her. Liam smiled knowingly at Genevieve.
“How timely. Did you call her?”
“Nooo! She came in for a ‘bang trim’, but she says she has something to discuss with you.”
“I was just kidding, G. But I must say it is timely. I wonder what she wants to talk about?”
As he ran his skilled fingers through her hair to determine how to cut it after the color was processed, he peered over at Fran, trying to figure out what was so important for her to come in. Then he noticed Miguel, who seemed uncomfortable standing in the wings waiting for his date. Genevieve seemed in no hurry to get out of there.
“Hey buddy, if you’re going to hang around, you may as well make yourself useful.” Liam was trying to help out by including him, but Miguel seemed to take offense.
“I would, Liam, but I’ve made plans for G and me to go to the beach today.” He looked over at Genevieve, who had her head down while sterilizing some combs. “G, you almost ready?”
Genevieve looked up, first at Miguel, then at Liam, as if to get permission from one of them. They said nothing. She wanted to stick around to hear what Frances had to say. After all, she was the one who told Liam everything she had overheard at the club, and she was the one who could access more information, if and when necessary. After confiding in him, she was now confused, and annoyed, that Liam was not being more forthcoming about having her stick around the salon. Frustrated, and not knowing what else to do, Genevieve relented. She left the combs soaking in Barbicide and stormed off. Miguel triumphantly followed, without looking back. When she got to the door, she hollered, “If you need me, Irish, I have my cell with me.” Then, reluctantly, she closed the door.
“Aren’t they cute together?” said Kathy. Liam smiled uncomfortably as he watched then go out the door.
While Kathy’s bleach processed, Liam seated Fran in the seat by the window, out of earshot.
“So, Franny, need a bang trim do you?”
Fran sat down in breathless exasperation. “Oh, Irish. I don’t know what to do.”
Liam looked at Fran in the mirror as he draped a black cape around her shoulders and ran a comb through her hair. Her bangs seemed fine, but Liam knew that was only an excuse to come in for a chat, and if Fran came to talk, it was usually important.
“What’s going on, Fran?” Liam asked, in all seriousness. Fran did all she could to remain composed. She looked over at Kathy nervously. Then she whispered as softly as Fran could manage. “I think my Mitch is having an affair!”
Liam was shocked. This was not what he expected to hear and he didn’t have an easy fix for her like he so often did. He was speechless, Fran continued.
“I just never thought my Mitch would be the type, Irish. I mean, he’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, but is he really the type those sleaze-bag gold-diggers are looking for?”
Liam couldn’t help but smile at Fran’s way of framing the situation.
“Franny,” Liam said in a soothing voice. “What makes you so sure Mitch is having an affair?”
“Well…” Fran took a deep breath. “He’s been acting really strange the past few months. You know, we used to sit around after dinner and watch TV. The Bachelor Pad was one of his favorite shows, but don’t repeat that.” She winked. “Anyway, he’s started going out after dinner. Said he had,” and she mimed air quotes, “business to do, and that he’d be back soon, but really, he wouldn’t get home till one or two in the morning. That’s the oldest line in the book. What does he take me for, a dummy?”
It was a difficult situation. Was Fran ready to know the truth about her husband and his ‘business’ affairs? Could she handle the sordid truth? Which was worse, knowing her husband had invested in the underground club industry and was now dealing with thugs, or that he was having an affair? Liam took a chance.
“Franny, listen.” Liam took a moment to compose his thoughts. “Okay, well, you see Fran, you don’t know this about me, and you do know more than most people know about me, but,” Liam paused, again waiting to find the right words. “Fran, what people do in their spare time is nobody’s business. I mean, everybody has a personal life, and some of it may be just that – personal.” Liam was snipping her bangs as he spoke. Fran watched intently in the mirror, her face changing from inquisitive to nervous, to a bit concerned.
“You see, one of the things I enjoy in life, Fran, is women. I like women.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear that, Liam. Not that it would have mattered,” she added with a blush. Liam hardly noticed the blunder.
“So, something I do in my spare time, is I like to go for a few drinks after work. I sometimes go to the, to the…The Foxy Lady strip club.”
He took a deep breath and waited, scissors held in suspended animation. He glanced over at Kathy, busily flipping through her Elle magazine, and wondered if she overheard their conversation, or even funnier, whether she had ever stepped foot in The Foxy Lady before. He doubted it, but there were stranger things.
“Oh, I know all about The Foxy Lady. My father, bless his soul, gave The Lady to my husband, Mitch, after he passed. It was in his will. Father started that club, back in the forties. It was a happening joint, back in its heyday. Live jazz, classy burlesque. None of the cheap girls you see nowadays.” Fran gazed into the mirror deep in thought. “Yeah, those were the days I’d bet. But,” she sighed. “That was then, and this is now.”
Liam, hardly believing what he was hearing, pressed on.
“So, you know about it then, the business, The Foxy Lady?”
“Of course I do. What does this have to do with Mitch, and his affair?”
“Fran, Mitch isn’t having an affair. Mitch is trying to keep from being swindled out of The Foxy Lady by a bunch of low-life gangsters. He goes out to the club at night trying desperately to hang on to the business for your sake. That’s what your Mitch is doing.”
An eerie silence suddenly fell on the room. Fran turned a ghostly white, her newly cropped bangs falling in crooked angles across the top of her forehead.
“That’s ridiculous, Irish. Mitch sold The Lady five years ago, to some guy named Dominic.”
…Stay tuned…Chapter 10 of Salon Antics will be posted next Tuesday, September 20th…