Today we’re dipping into Beauforte’s mind a little. Beauforte is the best friend of McKenzie’s Aunt Cameron. The tension between Kenzie and Beauforte is there from the beginning of the novel and I’ve enjoyed playing with it. There’s an age difference between the two, just enough to add that friction of “am I too old for her” from Beauforte and is a definite part of their story. There’s also a second love interest for Kenzie – her aunt’s financial advisor Lynn O’dell, who is of an age with MacKenzie and not one to balk at pursuing her desires.
Feedback is always welcome – this scene might just make it into the novel – I enjoyed revealing a little of Beau’s struggle, her desire for Kenzie and her struggle with jealousy.
Beauforte leaned back in her leather office chair after sliding the last of the files into her finished box. Her shoulders relaxed as her email revealed no new issues to address and she wiggled her toes in her stockings, her flats long ago discarded under her wide desk. “That was one hell of a long day,” her legal secretary commented as she entered, her hands thankfully empty.
“It was indeed,” Beauforte responded and nodded towards the stack the other woman collected from her desk. “Nothing in there can’t wait until morning, Cecilia. Go on home and spend some time with your husband. Do I need to remind you, again, that there’s no need for you to remain past five?” Cecelia met her statement with a wry grin.
“Oh I know, Beauforte, but Wayne certainly is more appreciative of my time when it’s limited. Besides, I hate to think of you alone in the building for hours!” Cecelia arched an immaculately plucked blonde eyebrow over her reading glasses. “You are going to head home soon?”
With a wave Beauforte spun her chair around and gazed out the third story window. “Yes, yes, Cece, I’ll head out shortly. I just need to let my brain rest a moment before I get into the car. My brain is full of numbers from all of Mr. Dawson’s will preparations. I swear the man expects me to be legal counsel AND accountant.”
“If he sends another round of numbers I’ll refer him to Jenkins’ firm downstairs. There’s no need for you to be crunching all those figures, Beau. Seriously, it’s not like the man is on a budget!”
Beauforte laughed and glanced back, relieved to see her secretary was collecting her purse and keys. “Good plan. I’ll let you handle that then?”
With a laugh Cecelia waved over her shoulder and headed across the outer office. “Yes, yes, I’ll deal with the old curmudgeon. Good night, Beauforte.”
Beau rolled her head back to gaze out the window. The sun was still fingers above the horizon but low enough that the shadows were growing long and the light shone gold through the oaks along the street below. It truly had been a day fraught with all manner of tedium, making it a strange mishmash of ease and stress as different clients pressed at her to rush easy preparations. She disliked days that felt so wierdly crammed. Now she just wanted to relax. She propped her heels on her window sill and sighed.
When her phone rang she almost ignored it. It took a moment before her taxed brain recognized the ring as her cell versus her office phone. Without looking at the screen she lifted the phone to answer.
“Hey, um, Beau?”
Beauforte’s stomach took a tumble at the husky, hesitant sound of MacKenzie O’Dell’s voice. One part of her brain rushed to the assumption that something was wrong with Cam. But her heart just puttered away, thumping Kenzie Kenzie Kenzie. She took a deep breath. Closed her eyes. Squeezed her free hand around the curl of her chair arm.
“Kenzie, is something wrong?” She could hear how high and tight her voice sounded.
“Wrong?” A pause hung pregnant over the line. “Oh, no, no, I’m sorry Beau, Cam’s fine. Cranky, but fine.” The line hummed for a moment and in the silence Beau could hear seagulls, waves, the sussurus of palm fronds. “I…uh.” Now the silence stretched and Beau dropped her feet to the floor, her gaze focused out across rooftops and trees to the water that stretched across the horizon.
“Yeah. I’m here. Sorry. I’m not quite sure why I called, Beau. I’m just… Aunt Cam’s just cranky and.. I dunno. I guess I wanted to hear a friendly voice.” Beauforte closed her eyes, took a deep breath, steeled herself.
“Need me to stop over when I get home? I’m still at the office.”
“Um. Yeah, no, it’s ok. I can manage. Sorry to bother you, Beau.”
The line was dead before Beauforte could answer. Her gut and her heart tugged, no, yanked at her to fly out the door and make the drive home as fast as possible. Kenzie needed her.
The memory of Lynn Oglethorpe’s hand on Kenzie’s arm the night before, the easy way Kenzie received the other woman’s frank, admiring smile and Beauforte’s certainty that the young, ambitious, forward Lynn would get just what she wanted rang her spine like a gong. She couldn’t race home. She couldn’t see Kenzie, she couldn’t bear to. She’d go tomorrow. Or sometime over the weekend.