New Orleans, Louisiana
September 18, 2014
“You know, Selena, there’s a fine line between important to me, and dead to me. And you’re currently stomping all over it.”
Standing in the hallway, next to a stack of boxes, Selena Laurens laughed at her cousin’s surly tone. “That’s all right, Jo-Jo. Just remember with our Cajun-Romani blood, even if I’m dead to you, in either realm, you’ll still be able to hear me. I will haunt you forever.”
Josette Landry cringed at a childhood nickname that had always made her feel like a yappy Pomeranian. Normally, she’d correct Selena’s usage, but at this point, she was too tired and soul-sick to bother. “Look, the only thing I want to summon right now is a trip to Baskin-Robbins. So unless you’ve got a quart of creamy goodness in your purse, stop talking and start driving.” Jo gently tugged Selena toward the door and ignored the bells that jingled from the hem of Selena’s silver and purple broomstick skirt. A self-proclaimed fortune-teller, her cousin bought into the weirdness of their gypsy heritage lock, stock, and both flaming barrels.
Jo paused as she swept a glance from the top of Selena’s long, curly brown hair, white peasant blouse, and loud, statement moon necklace to her Birkenstock sandals.
Take that back. Selena didn’t buy into it, she rolled around in the bad stereotype like a happy piglet in a mud factory.
Selena snorted. “Drowning your problems in Rock ’n Pop Swirl sherbet isn’t going to solve anything.”
“Forget sherbet. This day calls for Strawberry Cheesecake with fudge sauce … triple scoops. Now mush!”
“You’ll hate yourself in the morning.”
“I hate myself right now. At least let me hate my life with the happy memory of yummy, frozen happiness in my bulging belly.”
“Fine,” Selena groused. “I’ll even pay for it.”
“Of course you will.” Jo pulled her tattered messenger bag over her shoulder. “I’m broke.”
Selena snorted again as she dug her huge, fluffy key ring out of her hippie wicker handbag. “You’re not right, are you?”
“I’m genetically linked to your branch of the family. Of course I’m not all right. I’ll never be all right.”
Shaking her head, Selena waited while Jo locked her apartment door, though why she bothered, she had no idea. The only thing of value was her three dogs. And if the burglars were toting Beggin’ Strips, they’d happily abandon her without a fight. Evil drooling canine snots.
Jo caught a glimpse of the boxes she’d been packing through the window and winced. If her lifelong run of bad luck didn’t change soon, she would be out on the street and she’d be forced to turn her beloved dogs over to a shelter.
Or worse, her older sister.
How could it have come to this? This was not supposed to be her life. She’d never been irresponsible. While other kids went out drinking a
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