Dancing With Velvet

Dancing With Velvet by Judy Nickles

Book: Dancing With Velvet by Judy Nickles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Judy Nickles
Tags: General Fiction
dress waylaid her on her way out of the store.
    “I’m dying to know what happened to you in that dress.”
    “Nothing happened,” Celeste replied, resenting the intrusion into her private life. “I went dancing once or twice, that’s all.”
    “Only once or twice?”
    “I didn’t like it.”
    “Didn’t like it? Every girl likes to dance with a handsome man.”
    “Maybe there weren’t any handsome men,” Celeste said. “Excuse me, I’ve got to catch my ride.”
    All the way to the bank, she berated herself for her rudeness. If things had been different, she might have told the friendly clerk about Kent. But things weren’t different, and it hurt to remember how she thought they had been.
    ****
    At the end of August, Paula received word she’d won a scholarship to the design school in Dallas and would be leaving at Christmas to enroll for the second term. Veda asked Celeste if she wanted to share the room.
    “I can’t afford it on my own. If I can’t find a roommate, I’ll have to quit and go back home. Not that home’s a bad place, but there aren’t many jobs in a little place like Winters. Besides, I like San Angelo. I’m even thinking about taking a night class at the business college.”
    Celeste was tempted. I could manage half the rent, and Coralee would say I should do it. Then she thought of her own spacious room and how she’d have to fit into half the cramped one in the boarding house. Though she’d shared space happily with Coralee for years, she’d settled into her own way of doing things now that she had the room to herself. “I couldn’t leave my father to do for himself,” she fibbed. “He depends on me.”
    “Is he going to depend on you for the rest of his life?” Veda asked.
    Celeste shrugged. “If I left…well, I just can’t, that’s all. Not right now.”
    Coralee didn’t even try to hide her irritation when Celeste told her about turning down the offer. “You can stay with Daddy until the day he dies, and he’ll be the same as he is right now. What do you think is going to happen?”
    “It’s not Daddy. It’s leaving my room and all my pretty things. He might, well, get rid of them.”
    “Ben and I will go down and get your bedroom suite and anything you can’t take with you and store it at the ranch.”
    “Daddy wouldn’t let you.”
    “He owes me. He owes you , for that matter.”
    “I’m going to stay for now, Sister. Maybe one of these days I can have my own place.”
    “I think you’re making a big mistake. This is a golden opportunity.”
    “Then it’s my mistake,” Celeste snapped, instantly regretting her words. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”
    “I almost stayed home longer because of you. Ben understood. He really did. But I knew if I didn’t get out when I had the chance, I might not ever get out. Then, when Big Ben offered you a place here, I knew I’d made the right decision.”
    “But I didn’t go.”
    “No, you didn’t. Do you know what Daddy said when I told him Ben and I were getting married?”
    “I guess I don’t remember.”
    “Because you didn’t hear. I sent you across the street before I told him. He called me a name I won’t repeat and asked me if I was pregnant.”
    “Oh, Sister.”
    “Didn’t you ever wonder why he didn’t walk me down the aisle? It wasn’t just all that stuff about not letting you go with me.”
    “I guess I was having too much fun being a bridesmaid to wonder where he was.”
    “You didn’t care where he was. Neither did I. I really worried about leaving you there afterward.”
    “I’ve been all right.”
    “How long are you going to be all right, Cece? Nothing’s going to change.”
    Celeste sighed. “I’ll think about it again, Sister. I promise.” But they both knew she wouldn’t.
    ****
    September was muggy and wet. People talked about the flood of 1936 and wondered aloud if another one was due. Celeste packed a small bag and kept it under her desk in case she got

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