Clarence Skunk, Cindy Lapine, Wanda the Vixen, Susan Felin, Debbye Squirrel, Chris Foxx, Rodney and Ellen Lapine, and Mark the Lemur are copyright Chris Yost. Martin Lupina, Nathan Fenicus, Clint Aardwulf, Nancy David, Pacidy Angelou, Vernon Procyon, Miranda Civet, Sal Simon, and most others not listed here are copyright Joe McCauley. Zig Zag is copyright Max Black Rabbit. Sabrina Mustelidae is copyright Eric W. Schwartz. James Sheppard, Rhonda Badger, Lilian Bartholomew, and Gypsy Coyote are copyright James Bruner. Marvin Badger is copyright James Bruner after a description by Chris Yost. Lee Evans is copyright Evan Mayerle. Joshua Fox is copyright Joshua Fox. Jake Mackelroy is copyright David S. Adrian. Jake Bunny is copyright Jake Rupert. Kittiara Seng and "Callahans" are copyright Kittiara.
This story is copyright © 2003-2010 by Joe McCauley. This story may not be sold or used for commercial profit in any form or fashion. This story may not be modified in any way. This story may not be posted on any Internet site, archive, or newsgroup without the written permission of the author. Permission is granted for readers to produce an individual copy in print, magnetic or optical media for personal use only.
Characters listed as copyright this author may not be used in other works without the written permission of the author. Permission to use characters that are copyright other individuals was obtained prior to the appearance of said characters.
This is an independent work of fiction that is not canonical with any other work occurring in the same setting or featuring the same characters.
Clarence was thankful he'd managed a better than usual night of sleep, for he had been told to be up an hour earlier than usual. Throughout the weekend, word had gotten around that this would be the longest and busiest day of filming, weather permitting. So far the weather was looking pretty good.
He was prepared to grab something and hurry on outside to catch a ride to the estate, but when he entered the breakfast lounge he was greeted by Zig Zag. "Good morning, Clarence." He looked over to see her sharing a table with James and Jennifer.
"M..morning, Zig Zag," he replied on his way over to the service counter to grab himself a bagel and some cream cheese.
"Don't you think Jennifer would make a good belle?" Zig Zag asked him after he sat down with them.
The mouse gave an exasperated sigh. "Zig Zag is trying to talk me into doing a cameo."
"You should! It'll give the trivia buffs something to chew on," Zig Zag replied.
"I don't have the figure for it," Jennifer shot back.
Zig Zag was undeterred. "Pacidy will have something to flatter you."
The two ladies went back and forth at some length, and Clarence couldn't get a word in edgewise. By the time he figured out how to respond to one thing they'd moved on to something else. He looked over at James, who simply gave him a knowing look and shrugged his shoulders.
* * *
For Clarence and Vernon, the first order of the day was to get the antique vehicles out of the carriage house and to their respective places on the horseshoe drive out front. More vehicles had arrived early that morning and all had to be positioned. Adjacent to the horseshoe drive, Clint was instructing several members of a private security agency who would be providing perimeter security for the day.
They had just finished getting the last of the vehicles in place when two charter buses arrived, carrying some sixty furs from a Macon talent agency who were appearing as extras in the film. "Things are going to be kind of crazy today," Clint had earlier announced to the regular crew. "We're going to have a lot of extra people around, and out of that many extras, there are bound to be some who are going to get curious or who think they know more than they do. Someone may even try to filch something. I need all of you to be alert, and make sure anyone who isn't part of our regular ZZ Studios crew doesn't try to mess with any of our equipment. The same goes for the antique cars out front. We have a responsibility to return those vehicles to their owners in the same condition they were when they were brought here. A member of the security team has been assigned to keep watch over them - we're even having Pacidy fit him with a period costume so we won't have to worry about catching him in some of the shots - but be aware of them anyhow."
Martin, Nancy, and Zig Zag were working out order of shooting scenes and how filming and camera angles would progress, Jennifer was helping Pacidy with set layout and costume design issues with some of the extras, and Aaron and Jason were directing other crew members in the setup of equipment. There was a lot of organized chaos in back of the estate house, while things were calmer up front once the vehicles were in place.
For the first scene of the day, a subset of the crew was out in front of the house. Nathan was once again in costume as Tyler and was behind the wheel of the same Model T he had been driving a few days before, waiting a short distance up the road for the signal. Mark and Aaron both nodded to Martin that they had their cameras ready, so the wolf stepped out in the road where Nathan could see him, looked toward the cameramen. "Ready?"
"Ready," they both replied.
He looked toward Nathan, and made a rotating gesture in the air with his paw. "Action," he called out as soon as the Model T started to roll forward, and he stepped back out of the way.
With cameras trained on him and the vehicle, 'Tyler' steered the Model T into the horseshoe driveway, looking around with an expression of wonderment as he brought the car to a stop behind one of the others. "Good Lord!" he exclaimed as he stepped out of the vehicle. "What in tarnation is goin' on here?"
Martin suddenly shouted, "Cut!" Everyone looked around to see what happened. A van bearing the logo of a local restaurant was pulling into the driveway.
"Looks like the caterers showed up early," Aaron remarked.
"Yep. Can't have out of period vehicles in the frame," chuckled Martin. "Clarence, do you think you could go work with them, show them where to get set up?"
Clarence blinked. "Well..." He had after all been the one who had most frequently taken orders and made lunch runs over the previous week. "I'll d..do my b..b..best."
"I have confidence in you. First, go show them where to park so we can get back to filming this shot. Then when you get a second, let Clint and Zig Zag know I've appointed you crew liaison with the catering company."
As he worked with the caterers as they set up, Clarence surprised himself with how often he was able to draw upon his week of experience working on the site and with the crew, knowing where things were kept, what places were off limits, what areas would and would not be visible in the background of the scenes being filmed. As such he was able to answer their questions and direct them where to set up, and only needed to consult with Clint a couple of times.
It didn't take very long for Martin and the rest of the crew in front to finish shooting Tyler's arrival. Moments later on the back patio, Martin was working with a caterer of a different sort. Martin had three of the male extras standing before him, all costumed as servers for the party guests. After looking at each of them for a long pause he addressed one of them. "What's your name, son?" he asked.
"Jake, sir," replied the rabbit.
"Jake, you don't need to call me sir. Just call me Martin, or Marty. Now, I need one of you to do a little something extra in one of our scenes. It seems you're going to have a little accident with Tyler," he said as he gestured toward Nathan. "First, a little background on the story. Rose and Malachi, played by Wanda and myself, have become betrothed and are having this big party to celebrate the occasion. Then Rose's high school sweetheart Tyler shows up unexpectedly. They haven't seen each other since then. Tyler shows up for a visit, hoping to rekindle the flame he once had with Rose, and it's only when he arrives that he finds out there's this big celebration going on. This leads to some awkward moments, and culminates in the 'accident' that we're about to rehearse."
Jake listened to the wolf and nodded. "Sounds intriguing."
Martin nodded, and went on to describe the 'accident'. "All right, let's go through some dry runs here so we can get the marks and the timing down just right. I want to get this one in as few takes as possible once the cameras are rolling."
* * *
"All is ready," said the head caterer.
"I'll let everyone know," Clarence replied. "It... smells great!"
The skunk saw Martin closest, on the back patio where he was still working with the extras on the scene. He was trying to decide how best to interrupt him to let him know lunch was ready, when Martin saved him the trouble. "Is lunch ready?" he asked the skunk.
"Yes, s... uh, Marty," he replied.
"All right, I'll spread the word out here. Go let Pacidy and the others inside know."
Clarence nodded to Marty before heading into the estate house. He already knew Pacidy was most likely in the costume shop.
Moments later, a long line was proceeding past the serving tables. Clarence was directing people which end of the table to start from and where to get in line. Clint finally ordered him to stop directing and start eating.
It was bliss for Clarence to finally get his fill of the food he had been too obedient to sample while he was helping them set up, especially seeing how smoothly the lunch service was going.
* * *
Extras from the talent agency were milling about. Most of them appeared to be socializing and enjoying an outdoor party on a summer afternoon as the southern upper class might be doing on a warm summer afternoon. Gentlemen were dressed in starched shirts and the ladies in their dresses carried parasols to block the afternoon sun. Not all were dressed as such. Some were maids or servers, their dress and manner indicating that they were of a lesser social class. And the cameras were rolling.
'Tyler' walked quietly and hesitantly around the side of the house, his large ears swiveling toward the sounds of the festivities taking place on the patio. Once the whole scene came into his view, he paused to take it in, even as it seemed no one noticed him.
"Tyler! Is that you?" came an excited voice.
Nathan turned toward Miranda. "Maggie?"
"My goodness, Tyler, I haven't seen you in ages," squealed 'Maggie'. "I didn't know you were invited!"
"Invited... I wasn't. I didn't know there was a party."
The smile on the civet's face took on an uncomfortable squint. "Well, it's still good to see you..."
'Tyler' shifted awkwardly on his feet. "You too, Maggie. You're lookin' great, just like you always did. You must get courted a lot, if you haven't already taken up with one of your suitors..."
'Maggie' measured him up with a look. "Still the flatterer I remember you bein'."
Gypsy, dressed as one of the maids, happened by at that moment. "Something to drink, sir?" she asked the fennec.
"Why, thank you very kindly, ma'am," he replied as he reached out his paw, and she handed him a glass from her tray. There was a twitch of Miranda's eyebrow at his use of the word 'ma'am'. He tilted the drink back against his muzzle, taking a long pull. "Very nice." He nodded again at Gypsy as she turned to pad away.
"Maggie! Where'd you get to?" came a shrill voice. They both turned to see a stunningly-dressed Wanda padding closer. "Are you over here socializing with the riff raff?" she joked with 'Maggie'. She then turned to give a curious look to this new arrival that didn't quite fit in with either the elite crowd nor the ones serving them, and her eyes went wide. "Tyler?"
"Rose, it's so good to see you," he said, taking a step toward the attractive vixen. "I been thinking more about you lately and decided it was time to come calling."
'Rose' got a crease in her brow. 'Maggie' didn't seem to notice. "So where have you been these last few years?"
'Tyler' took a turn for the boisterous as he began to reply. "After I got out of high school I took off in search of a dream. I wanted to make somethin' of myself so I'd be someone worth hookin' up with. So before long I ended up on Hilton Head Island, had me a job workin' on cars, but it didn't last long. Next thing ya' know I'm enlisted in the Army, just like all the other gentlemen my age. A few months later, and they're shipping me over to Europe to help fight the Great War. I count my blessings that I never saw any combat. Some of the guys I trained with didn't come home. There was quite a mess to clean up over there once the war ended. Finally after four years in uniform I got my discharge papers. So now I've gotten me a job at the new Ford dealership over yonder in Whitaker. I'm gonna be sellin' the Model T! And soon we'll... *ahem* ...you'll be, uh, able to..."
"Cut," said Martin from behind the camera.
"And next thing ya know," continued Nathan without breaking character, "We'll be sellin' minivans with automatic sliding doors and surround sound, and moms everywhere'll use 'em to drive their kids to soccer games and band practice. And they'll come with a 5 year 50,000 mile warranty, and you'll be able to get zero percent financing with no money down..."
Miranda started breaking up laughing, and Wanda cracked a smile. Martin just smirked and rolled his eyes. "Okay, let's try this again..."
* * *
"All right, let's give this a go," said Martin, in full costume himself. "Pivotal scene here, so give it your best shot." He looked around to see everyone in their places - actors, extras, cameramen, the sound tech - and they all gave him nods. "Action!"
'Rose' stepped into view, being closely trailed by a flustered 'Tyler' as she approached 'Malachi' and his 'father'. "What's the matter, Rose?" asked the fennec in an almost pleading voice. "You were never tongue-tied like this before. It's been ages since I saw you and..."
"Who is this?" interrupted 'Malachi'.
Both foxes stopped to look at him. 'Tyler' looked confused while 'Rose' had a resigned expression on her features. "Ummm, Malachi, this is Tyler, an old friend of mine from high school. Tyler, this is Malachi." 'Tyler' started to extend a paw for a handshake, but withdrew it when 'Malachi' didn't do likewise.
"Who invited him?" asked the 'father'.
"I wasn't," 'Tyler' replied. "I didn't know there was a party goin' on here. I just dropped by..."
'Malachi' fixed his gaze on the fennec with a piercing we-know-what-you're-here-for gaze. "Has anyone told you what this party's about?" The fennec's face dropped as he stammered a few incoherent mutterings, giving a slight shake of his head. "The occasion here today," 'Malachi' continued, "is to celebrate the betrothal of Rose and I." A slight pause, and his words were bold as he continued speaking. "She and I are engaged to be married."
'Rose' gave 'Tyler' an apologetic look. "I wanted to tell you. I tried to, but, well..."
'Tyler' had a stunned look on his face, and the 'father' interrupted again. "Well, son, it looks like you found out what you needed to know, and we've got more celebrating to do, so if you don't mind..."
'Tyler' finally found his voice. "My Mama always told me to follow my dreams, and that's what I came here for today." As he was speaking, the 'father' made a subtle look and a twitch of the ear to one side, noticing the rabbit approaching with the tray of desserts. He turned away from the rabbit, then just as the rabbit was at the closest point passing by, he turned to make an exaggerated step to the side in front of the rabbit, who suddenly had an alarmed expression.
"Hold!" said Nancy from behind the cameras, and everyone froze in their spots.
Everyone took in a breath as Martin broke character. "Good job, everyone. Sal, you're a rotten bastard. Keep it up! Nancy, did you see anything?"
"A couple of the extras over there were hamming it up a little too much," she said, gesturing toward them. "I'll go remind them to keep it low key."
Zig Zag, who had earlier put in her 'Hitchcock cameo' as a random party guest, was standing beside Clint a few steps away. "I'll handle it. You worry about getting set up for your next take."
A few takes later, Martin and Nancy were happy with the results. Zig Zag was watching from nearby, but only offered input when asked, letting the director and assistant run the show as they saw fit.
Martin spoke up once again. "Okay, next shot is only a few seconds, but either we get it right in one take or we waste a lot of time resetting. Mark and Aaron, get your positions..."
Pacidy had a tray of "real" desserts that she'd painstakingly prepared to look like the fake ones Jake had been carrying (after fending off Nancy's efforts to help, reminding the otter she was in costume). Sal, Nathan, and Jake were in their place. Nancy took the fake dessert tray from Jake, and Pacidy carefully handed him the one with the "real" desserts.
"Cameras rolling?" asked Martin. The lemur and the bobcat both nodded. "Action!"
Jake took a couple of steps forward with the tray, just as Sal's leg came out. There was a shocked expression on the bunny's face. Nathan turned his head in that instant, barely getting a chance to register a surprised look. Jake ran into the outstretched leg, stumbling forward a step as he extended one paw to break his fall. The dessert tray careened forward out of his grasp and right into Nathan, a couple of the desserts landing on one side of his face and neck and most of the rest elsewhere on him. Dishes shattered on the flagstones as the fennec's clothing became soiled with what appeared to be icing, strawberry glaze, whipped cream, and other ingredients.
Martin looked around at the cameramen, and at Nancy and Zig Zag behind the cameras, then smiled. "Got it in one!" he said.
There was more shooting to be done. Among these was a shot where Sal as Malachi's father uttered an indignant, "Get out of here and don't come back," to a thoroughly humiliated Tyler. Pacidy had a supply of the "fake dessert" ingredients to touch up Nathan as needed. The shooting took much longer than the couple of minutes they represented in the story timeline, and the fake whipped cream in particular didn't last long in the heat and had to be reapplied every few minutes.
The final shot of the day had Gypsy racing to intercept 'Tyler' before he disappeared around the side of the estate house. "Sir... Just a moment, sir..."
His ears swiveled and he turned to see the serving maid hurrying toward him, holding a couple of towels, and he paused. "Yes, ma'am?"
Gypsy had a very thoughtful look on her face as she studied the fennec. "Let's get some of that mess cleaned up. I'd hate for you to make a mess of your car."
"Why, thank you very kindly, ma'am," he replied as he turned to face her. "I don't think I'm wanted here."
Her ears twitched at the manner he addressed her, and she paused briefly before continuing to dab the worst of the mess off him. "That don't matter. I'm just helpin' out a gentleman who stopped by to call on Miss Rose." They exchanged looks, 'Tyler' curious about this lowly maid who was showing concern for him after he'd been practically kicked off the estate, and her look subtly suggested that she had her reasons.
A car horn blared in the background. Nathan and Gypsy had enough discipline to hold their expressions, having finished speaking their lines. "Cut," said a suddenly exasperated Martin. "What the hell is going on over there?" he asked aloud, looking toward the road out in front of the house.
Gypsy turned to Martin. "Another take?"
Zig Zag spoke up. "We can fix that in sound editing. You weren't speaking at the time."
Martin nodded. "Right. It was a good take otherwise. Wonderful body language, just the right signals without overdoing it."
"I think I can do better," said Gypsy.
"All right, let's do it," Martin replied.
Clint spoke up. "I'm going to find out what the hell's going on out front."
* * *
"It seems we may have attracted some unwanted interest," said Clint to the group in the living room turned office. He indicated the tiger beside him. "The extra security turned out to be a good investment. Ron tells me there were several instances throughout the day of cars nearly stopping. We expected some slow-down rubbernecking, but some of these people showed more interest than that, like they were scoping us out."
"Journalists?" asked Zig Zag.
"I don't think so," said Ron. "Call it a hunch, but these may have been protesters. We had to get pretty assertive with a couple of them about moving along. One vehicle came by at least three times, and the last time they stopped and wouldn't move on until I threatened to call the sheriff."
"Is that a good idea, getting the sheriff involved?" asked Clint.
"Sheriff Claiborne and I are on good terms," said Ron. "He knows I'll call on his team for backup if need be. Wouldn't surprise me if he already knows you're filming here."
Zig Zag sighed. "Do we know anything about these protesters?"
"Near as we can figure, it's some religious group."
The tiger-striped skunk rolled her eyes. "Wouldn't be the first time I've attracted that kind of attention. Ron, are your services available this week if this continues?"
The tiger nodded. "Of course."
Nancy spoke up. "Makes me wonder what these religious protesters have been watching if they recognize us."
Zig Zag grinned. "The addicts will watch anything they can get their paws on, but the dabblers look for the quality stuff."
* * *
"Honey, can you get started on dinner? I need to go check on ZZ Studios."
"Certainly," said Chris. "How about some of those sausages from the farmer's market?"
Sabrina paused and looked back at him. "That sounds wonderful."
"I'll go fire up the grill."
"And I'll go fire up the Amiga," the skunkette said quietly to herself. A few minutes later, Sabrina was checking some things on the website to make sure there were no new problems, no hacker attacks, and so forth. Once that was completed she began perusing the notes from others on staff, and she came to one from Zig Zag:
Are you being naughty with your foxy husband? If not, why not?
This is something that came from a fan letter to Wanda. I think it has some possibilities for movie taglines for Wild Southern Rose. Would you please look it over and see if anything reaches out and grabs you?
Sabrina rolled her eyes at the first part, but it was just Zig Zag being her typical self. She kept reading. It wasn't the first time she had received a request of this type. Developing promotional material that included catchphrases was part of what she did for ZZ Studios. When she had started out with them, the rough designs were simply handed to her and she whipped them into something more polished. Eventually she started replying with ideas of her own. Sometimes they got used, and before long she had developed a reputation as a good one to consult with about such things.
Sabrina began reading the attached poem, looking for the kinds of lines and themes that could be encapsulated into catchphrases or otherwise reworked. But about halfway through the poem, a look of puzzlement came over her features as a nagging realization forced its way to the front of her mind. She went back and reread the poem from the beginning. When she finished, she couldn't help smiling. "Nice one, Clarence."
It was an uneasy smile, however. If I know Clarence, he probably didn't expect this to be seen by anyone but Wanda. Does he know it's getting around? She frowned and leaned her head into her palm, grabbing a pawful of her own hair and letting out a heavy sigh. Zig Zag will be expecting some ideas from me. How am I going to handle this?
* * *
Zig Zag made a questioning glance in Miranda's general direction. "I thought you said you found us a good place to unwind."
"Hmm, I thought it was kinda nice," the civet replied.
Gypsy spoke up. "I doubt you'll find anything much better short of making a trip all the way into Macon."
Zig Zag looked up at the sign protruding from the building near the front door. "'Hoot 'N Annie's'?"
Jennifer stepped up behind her, placing a paw on her shoulder. "You got a problem with country music?" she asked with a wry grin.
There was a pause of several seconds, punctuated by the sound of several car doors slamming behind them as the occupants of other vehicles emerged. "I guess not," she finally replied. "Let's go check it out, shall we?" She put her arm around James and stepped forward toward the door.
By the time they were all seated inside they were taking up four tables, all pushed together. "It was a lot busier here on Friday," said Miranda, noting that the place currently had no more than half as many other customers as their group.
"Monday probably isn't one of their busier nights," Jennifer observed.
Clarence was seated at the far end of the table, looking around. The walls were painted in warm colors with some sections covered in wood paneling. The lighting was moderately low, accentuated by numerous neon beer signs. The decor included promotional items from various breweries, including some from ad campaigns he could remember from his early childhood, or older. The floor was painted concrete except for a section tiled with wood, the dance floor. A fireplace along one wall was cleaned out but showed signs of use other times of the year.
Garth Brooks was blaring out the speakers as the group ordered their first round of drinks, which were served surprisingly quickly. Clarence pulled a couple of drinks off his longneck as he became steadily more relaxed, making small talk with Jason and Clint. Looking down at the far end of the table he noticed Miranda and Jennifer rising from their seats at exactly the same time. How do women do that, getting up at the same time like that without talking?, he wondered, though admittedly he was too far away to know for certain that they weren't.
The pair wandered over to the jukebox. "A lot of country," Miranda observed, noting it held a lot of CDs by the likes of Travis Tritt, The Judds, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, and so forth.
"True, but I also see Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, and The Allman Brothers," Jennifer replied.
"Allman Brothers?" the civet exclaimed.
"They're from around here," the mouse replied. "Didn't you know that?"
Miranda shrugged. "At least they have a CD jukebox. Wouldn't surprise me if they had one with 45s in it."
"They do," Jennifer replied, gesturing to their left, though the other one wasn't turned on.
"Still works, too," said the voice of their waitress as she passed behind them. "We turn it on now and then."
Miranda stepped over for a closer look. "Everything here looks at least ten years old."
Eventually they selected a few songs and sat back down. Others, including James and Zig Zag, Vernon, Margo, Aaron, and Gypsy, each took their turns dropping in quarters and adding songs to the queue.
James turned to Zig Zag to offer his paw expectantly. She took it and they rose from their seats to proceed to the dance floor. Nathan and Wanda were close behind him, and by the end of the first refrain, half the crew was up moving their bodies in rhythm to the music.
Clarence was still in his seat. I wish Cindy were here, he thought, feeling quite uncertain about getting up himself. I'd love a dance with her right about now...
"Would you like to dance?" Clarence turned to see Margo beckoning toward him.
"Err... I'm n..not sure if..."
Nancy happened to be right there beside him, asking Clint for a dance. "Nonsense," she said to Clarence. "Just because we have lovers who aren't with us doesn't mean we can't have any fun. Haven't you ever heard of the cousin rule?"
The skunk shook his head. "The c..cousin rule?"
"Yep! It goes something like, 'If you could do something with your cousin and no one would think anything of it, then you're not cheating on your mate...'"
"Do you have any idea what some furs do with their cousins?" Gypsy chimed in from a couple of seats away.
Nancy tilted her head at Gypsy. "Most furs," she shot back. "Anyhow, just because Gary isn't with me isn't going to stop me from getting out on the dance floor and having a good time."
Clarence gave a long thoughtful look between her and Margo, then finally extended his paw to the rat. "All right, m..ma'am. I'd be hap...glad to dance with you."
The two of them chose a relatively vacant area of the dance floor. None of the club's other patrons were dancing so the movie crew had the dance floor to themselves, and it was relatively uncrowded so there was plenty of room for those who like to move around. Some took advantage of the opportunity to show that they were very good dancers, including most of the actors and actresses. That would make sense, thought Clarence. Being good with their bodies isn't usually limited to one type of activity.
The evening wore on, everyone taking several turns on the dance floor. Clarence was shy about approaching any of the ladies, but most of them weren't shy about approaching him. Wanda stood and glanced in the skunk's direction, and was just about to ask for a dance when another paw lighted on his shoulder. "Clarence, would you like to dance?" asked Gypsy with a tilt of her head and a bat of her eyelashes.
He smiled and nodded. "Y..yes, certainly," he replied as he stood up to dance. Wanda stopped short.
The vixen's next attempt came a couple of songs later, after Clarence had sat down following his dances with the coyote. This time it was Aaron who caught her up short. "Wanda, would you give me the honor of this dance?"
She turned to the bobcat, smiling at his gentlemanly manner and unable to turn him down. "Why of course, the honor is mine."
One more time she thought she had a chance to catch him before he left the dance floor, only the song turned out to be a line dance that had everyone switching partners every few bars. She managed to get her few seconds with Clarence, just barely. He was busy trying to pick up on the dance the whole time they were together before they were separated and paired with different partners.
It had been more than two hours since their arrival when Zig Zag, Miranda, and others caught each other's eyes, and somehow reached an unspoken consensus that the time had come to return to their hotel for the night so they could settle down and sleep off the drinks they'd been imbibing. Wanda made a brief sullen glance in the direction of Clarence as they rose from their seats. Some of the group left a few last tips for their waitress on the tables before filing out the door into the warm humid night air. Despite having had a good time overall, Wanda couldn't help feeling a nagging disappointment as they walked out to their cars. I never really got a chance to dance with Clarence.
On to Chapter 12
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