Verra soon, like Hours. Dinna fash yersel! It’s almost D-Day.
…now back to our story.
So why not more fun with Zeke?
I recently pulled out the drafts for book 3 and 4 to re-acquaint myself with where the adventure was headed. What I found piqued my curiosity. I’ve been in the proverbial ‘trenches’ with Zeke for bout 14 years–off and on. Most of that time has been focused on her current state of being–roughly a year of her life. I got to wondering what my weary, struggling federal agent was like when she graduated from the FBI Academy. What was she like when she had bettered many of her classmates; survived ridicule and rigorous competition; earned honors and accolades?
At one time Zeke was an idealistic you woman filled with patriotism and passion. Where did she channel that passion? Hmmm.
Intrigued, I started a short story that may morph into another book. Who knows?
Here’s a bit of the very first rough story idea:
“Hey guys, I’m sorry I’m late traffic was unbelievable.” Zeke tossed her raincoat on the back of an empty chair and joined her three former classmates at a high-top table between the bar and the chic art deco lounge. “What’s everybody drinking?”
“Glad you made it, Special Agent Cabot. Tonight we’re celebrating vodka.” Dickinson signaled the waitress with one finger and pointed to Zeke. Ramirez and Schneiderman took turns shaking hands. Hard to believe it had been one year since they were all together at Quantico. Schneiderman was the oldest at 28. Ramirez and Dickinson were both 24 and Zeke was 25.
“It’s good to see you guys. And I guess congratulations are in order, Special Agent Ramirez.” A round of cheers went up.
“Thanks, Delia is 34 weeks and looks like she could go any day. We’re hoping it’ll be a girl.”
Dickinson jumped to his feet. “Hey! What kinda loyalty is that, amigo?”
“Oh, stow it you cranky misogynist.”
Schneiderman threw his arm around Zeke’s shoulders. “Hey, if it’s a girl, you could always name her… Zarathustra.”
Convulsive laughter followed, much to Zeke’s discomfort. “Still a bunch of junior high assholes, I thought when you weenies finally graduated you’d grow a pair.” Zeke took another swallow of her drink as her three classmates calmed to giggles and wiped their eyes.
“We’re sorry and have a wonderful way to make it up to you.” Dickinson glanced at the other two guys and said conspiratorially, “don’t turn around yet. We’re going to give you the supreme honor of inviting that spectacular red-head at the bar to join us.“
Zeke shook her head. “Honor?”
“Seriously. See that straw in front of you? We drew before you arrived to see who’d invite her. You lucked out.” They each held up a drink straw, all of which were longer than the one in front of her.
Zeke turned to look over her shoulder and knew instantly who their target was. She could hear Dickinson ordering another round but couldn’t take her eyes off the stunningly beautiful woman seated alone at the bar. Her dark red shoulder length hair shimmered like an aged cognac. She was posed on the high bar stool as though waiting for a photographer. Zeke couldn’t see her face but admired the gentle curves of her shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.
Her mouth felt dry and she knew her jaw hung open—but she couldn’t move.
Schneiderman nudged her with his elbow. “C’mon Cabot, fair is fair. Invite the lovely lady to meet some of Washington’s finest—except for Ramirez.”
It took a few more minutes of haggling and badgering, but Zeke had learned long ago, to be part of this fraternity meant going along with some of their ludicrous ideas. And besides, she couldn’t think of a better excuse to talk to the stunning beauty.
“Mind if I sit here?” Zeke said. Is my voice really that high?
The woman barely acknowledged her. “Not especially.” Then she waved to the bartender.
Zeke looked back over her shoulder at the three slavering wolves back at the table.
“I’m really embarrassed to have to do this, but…would you like to join my three adolescent classmates and me for a drink?”
The woman turned her head and Zeke thought she heard her heart flip over in her chest. The Emerald green eyes were the crown jewels in the most beautiful face she’d ever seen. A flawless creamy complexion highlighted with a faint pinkish blush surrounded a pair of elegant soft lips. Zeke swallowed audibly.
“Isn’t that a unique and irresistible invitation?” The exquisite lips morphed into a smile. The green eyes twinkled.
Zeke opened her mouth and a squeaky gibberish came out. She coughed. “I’m sorry. That did sound lame didn’t it?”
“Is that them over there? The three lads staring and giggling?”
Zeke followed her gaze. “I’m afraid so.”
“Please tell your friends that I appreciate the irresistible invitation,” she said reaching for a cocktail napkin, “as it happens, I’m waiting for client.” With her left hand she reached for a pen and scribbled a number on the napkin. She folded in half and placed it gently in Zeke’s palm. “However, I would like to see you again.”
Zeke stumbled back to the table and picked up fresh drink. After a healthy swallow, she put it down. “Gentlemen, the lady declined our invitation.”
A round of moans and curses followed. “Why?”
The whine stopped, as the beautiful woman in question walked past with a tall, aristocratic man with silver-gray hair and a mustache, who looked vaguely familiar.
Not surprisingly, the conversation fell back into the comfortable banter of former classmates. Zeke relaxed and listened to familiar stories from the guys she competed with for months. She had worked hard for five grueling months to obtain the best scores humanly possible in the four major categories required graduate from Quantico: academics, case studies, firearms training, and operational skills. Women were in the minority, women of color even fewer, and gay women of color—one.
Zeke endured gentle ribbing as well as verbal and physical harassment. In the end, she graduated in the top ten percent surprising nearly everyone. After a year, Dickinson, Schneiderman, and Ramirez had turned out to be loyal friends.
“Cabot, do you remember that FUBAR tactical in Hogan’s Alley?” Ramirez actually choked because he was laughing so hard. The
Dickinson puffed up. “I am sure I wasn’t the first guy to ruin a pair of perfectly good cargo pants.”
All four collapsed in gales of laughter.
Zeke wiped her eyes and glanced into the lounge. The breathtaking redhead was indeed flipping through a portfolio with animated gestures and dazzling smile. Schneiderman was pontificating—as usual. Zeke pushed her chair back and stood up. “Be right back.” She glanced around and remembered the ladies room was just off the lobby. As she neared the door, the redhead caught her eye.
Okay, thanks for stopping by, remember–“Defying Gravity” Available Thursday March 15th