LJ Idol Exhibit B: Week 3: Oh, Lord, we're not talking about that girl again, are we?

My partner for this intersection is banyangirl1832, whose piece is here. :) I think they can be read in either order!


"What's good enough for Rosalie should be good enough for me!" Ella Mae Jessup protested, grinding her heel into her mother's newly-steamed carpets. Mrs. Jessup raised an eyebrow and gave her daughter the stink eye.

"Now jus' you wait a minute, Ella Mae. For the hundredth time, you are the first person in our family to go to a degree an' I will not have you wasting your time with that lazy moonshiner's daughter!" Her voice crept up an octave as she reached for the remote control on the coffee table. "If you would take your shoes off an' think for a minute you'd realize how much better off you're gonna be come graduation when that Rosalie ain't got nothin' but a fancy piano degree." Ella Mae felt her heart sink down to the toes of her shoes and a blush that crept across her face as she thought of Rosalie at that piano, or better yet, draped across it.

"Mama, I just want to learn an art! Jus' for the summer!" Mrs. Jessup stifled a laugh.

"Ella Mae, you an' I both know that's not what you want that shiny lib'ral art class for. Now I suggest you go upstairs an' work on your homework before your father gets home." The matter settled, Mrs. Jessup sank into the folds of her sofa and became engrossed in an episode of Duck Dynasty. Ella Mae crept up the stairs to her room, seething. She hated being home for the summer, hated that she had not seen Rosalie in years, and worst yet she saw how many friends Rosalie had over at Sewannee! She wanted to be the only one Rosalie thought of, the only one ...

It was later that evening when her mother informed her that, speak of the devil, "that Rosalie and her fool father are comin' over tonight for coffee!" Ecstatic, Ella Mae dug into the back of her closet, toward the very depth of the suitcases she kept there, ready for the leaves to turn brown so she could escape to a home where people understood her, at Belmont. Her sorority sisters understood her.

Ella Mae unfolded a tightly-wound slip of paper from the crease of her suitcase, hidden where no one but her could find it. She unfurled the paper and her gaze ran over the text, skimming the words, drinking them in.

"Now Ella Mae, don't you share a word of this with anyone!" Lisa Tucker had said, rubbing aloe on her shoulders where freckles and sunburn peppered her fair skin. "We just can't have someone blabbing the secrets of our sisterhood, it's better if no one knows." Ella Mae had nodded anxiously as Lisa leaned forward so her girlfriend, Ainsley, could daub some more aloe on the middle of her back. "There's a girl," Lisa said, slipping the paper to Ella Mae. "maybe your summer won't be so boring after all."

She recited the incantation to herself, over and over again, as she labored in the parlor and kitchen, getting rid of all signs that her family used to run moonshine, polishing the awards and the framed high school diploma. Rosalie had always been so much better than her, so much more talented, but maybe if she saw Ella Mae's accomplishments she'd realize it's not all about how pretty you sit. Her thoughts drifted back to Rosalie and the piano, and a shiver swept over Ella Mae's skin. Maybe it was about sitting pretty, precisely.

The Jessup's beaten-up truck crunched over the gravel into their yard, sending a starburst of scavenging squirrels and birds up from the grass to drift into the woods off to the side of the house. Ella Mae glimpsed Rosalie's tangle of red hair come up from the side of the house, and she squeezed her eyes shut as she murmured her incantation one last time.

"Ella Mae! Rosalie and her daddy are here!" her mother shouted from the foyer. Clearing her throat, Ella Mae descended the front stairs, pretty as a picture with her wiry brown hair pulled into an upknot. She reached over to Rosalie and drew her close to her, inhaling the scent of her skin and hair: blackberry wine and secrets.

"Long time," she whispered, "we'll have to catch up." Rosalie visibly shivered, but Ella Mae noticed her eyes twitching toward hers inexplicably, almost like she was trying to avoid eye contact, but was unable to.

"Y-yes," Rosalie said, her arms staying clutched around her friend. "perhaps we will." Ella Mae grasped Rosalie's hand and led her into the house, a wan smile creasing her face. There was a piano in their drawing room, and maybe Rosalie could teach her some tricks ...
  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Wow, so the bewitchment was literal?

Sounds like maybe it was what they'd both always wanted, though, and had never said.

Interesting how much Ella Mae's mother dislikes Rosalie's family. I wonder if it'd be so bad if she weren't trying so hard to distance her family from its own moonshining history.
I'm torn between "Awww, so cute!" and "No, I learned this from Buffy, you don't play with people's autonomy and free will like that!"
Uh oh. I got a fancy degree in piano. I'm thinking I wouldn't fare too well with Mrs. Jessup.

Still, I like this intersection piece.
Hmm, not what I was expecting after reading the pther part, but interesting nonetheless... :-)