Sunday, May 13, 2018

I Fear it is Not Good

Cordelia, a voracious reader, had just sat down with her copy of the Afternoon Daily Register. The first thing she saw was the photograph of Dixie Quinton. 'Why would some one publish this in the paper, much less on the front page?' She asked herself. The paragraphs below the fold had to do with the merger of 2 banks in Mobile and a commentary on the stock market.

There was an article covering city council's open session concerning the razing of an old home so a new grocery store could be built on the location. The developers had touted how the quality of life in the area would be improved by the upscale organic grocer. The locals were protesting, stating that it was a historical  building that was to be razed. They admitted that it had never been granted 'Historical Status' but it was special to the area anyway. When pressed, no one could exactly give a good reason to support the historic relevance. However, nevertheless the group was determined that the home deserved the status and therefore the protection.

The article continued on page 2. When Cordelia turned the page, she did not look at page 2, the photographs on page 3 caught her eye. 'Oh, no', she said to herself as she read the accompanying article. 'I feared this would happen. I wonder if she is aware of this.' As she read the article, Pearl brought her a glass of ice tea.

"What in the world is wrong? Did someone die?" Pearl asked very seriously.

"No," Cordelia said as she folded the paper back and sat it on the table.

Pearl picked it up, looked at the pictures and read the captions. "Oh my, this is bad."

"Oh, it couldn't be worse."

"Why would someone do that? What do they have to gain?"

"I don't know, but I need to do what I can to mitigate any damage." With that, Cordelia got up from the table and walked over to the telephone.

She dialed a number. When someone answered, she cheerfully said, "Dear, this is Cordelia, how are you this morning?" Cordelia paused. "Wonderful. Are you busy?" She paused again. "Oh, that is wonderful." She paused, "Oh, no, I'll just drop by, I have some errands to run. We just haven't had a chance to talk in a while." "See you in a bit."

Cordelia looked at Pearl, "I dread doing this."

"She's lucky she has you there for support."

"I'll do whatever, I'm just not sure what that can be." Cordelia folded the 2 pages of the newspaper and put it in her purse. She told Pearl she had no idea when she would get back.

Cordelia knocked on the door and it opened. "Cordelia, it so nice to see you."

The 2 women exchanged air kisses. "Come in and have a seat, I just made some fresh ice tea."

"I think we need to talk first." They both took a seat on the sofa. "Obviously, you know nothing about why I am here."

"No, and I fear it is not good."

Cordelia opened her purse and handed over the newspaper. "It's not the photo of Dixie on the front. That was most unfortunate, but we all saw that."

She turned to the following page and just stopped, stunned as she saw the photographs and read the caption. "Oh, God, what do I tell Haynes?"

"Colleen, if Haynes loves you, you 2 will work through this. You knew this was going to happen."

"But, not like this. I never wanted to hurt Belva or Wells again. And, this is the worse way possible." Colleen just kept looking at the 2 pictures. The first one was of Culler McCord in a business suit. The second of Colleen and Haynes in an intimate moment at Kathleen and Jeb's reception. The article went into the details of Culler's life, his cross dressing and run in with the law. It went into the details of the divorce. 

The article then commented that it was as if Culler just dropped off the face of the world. That was until the reporter got a tip from an unidentified source. Then the article went into Colleen's life in Gallagher. To the reporter's credit, he did not make it a sleazy piece, it was more of the story of a transgender citizen making her way in society.

"What do I do?" Colleen asked, almost in tears. 

Cordelia moved across the sofa and put her arms around Colleen. "Look at it this way. It will now soon all be behind you." She paused. "First, I would call Belva and give her a heads up, if she doesn't already know about the piece. Next I would call Haynes."

Colleen just looked mortified. "And, I have been so happy with him. He is just such a gentleman. He did not deserve this."

"Don't sell him short." Cordelia stood up. "Okay, what can I do to help? I can stay here, which I am happy to do, or would you prefer I leave you alone and check on you later. But, you have to promise me, you will make those 2 calls."

"I'll be okay. Thank you so much for telling me. Only someone as kind and thoughtful as you would have done this. I guess, I need to move on. And, I really liked it here."

"Sweetheart, don't make any rash decisions. Call me."

"I will, thank you again."

Cordelia walked toward the front door with Colleen behind her. Before she reached the door it opened. The sound Cordelia heard come from Colleen was akin to all the air coming out of a balloon. Then she realized why - Haynes Dueise was standing in the doorway. Cordelia had to admit she had never seen him look like he did. The look on his face alone, was a bit scary. It was totally unlike Haynes. 

Cordelia turned to Colleen looking for some sign that she needed her to stay. But Haynes just said, "Cordelia, I think Colleen and I need to talk."

Cordelia smiled, turned to Colleen, and said, "I'll be in touch."

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