Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Harlem’s Love Story…
For your reading enjoyment, find the ninth installment of “Harlem’s Awakening”…This is the “True Hollywood Story” (as it were) behind the love affair between Joe and Harlem that plays out in the cabaret, “Harlem’s Night” performed by the Brown Betties.

Chapter 10 – A Manor of Speaking

Harlem ran up the freshly-swept concrete stairs to her Brownstone. Before she could turn the key, the door flew open and there was little Tilda full of smiles and jumpin’ with excitement.

Tilda was tiny and looked much younger than her eighteen years. Her smooth coconut skin glistened as the sun kissed her forehead. Her fingers moved quickly as she tried to tell Harlem something.

“Slow down!” Harlem signed back to her. Tilda had been deaf since birth, but had just learned sign language only eight months ago when Harlem enrolled her in St. Augustine’s School for the Deaf.

Tilda said, “The new costumes have arrived!” Now it was Harlem’s turn to jump with excitement. She and Tilda had spent weeks designing the beaded bodices of the new corsets that would debut with the new numbers for the Brown Betties’ performances.

That reminded her. She had to come up with a plan, or a really good excuse that would not only explain to Cora how Harlem was the owner of a brownstone that took up half a block and was formerly known as Lady Magdalena’s Manor…and how she and Tilda were the outfit behind the sultry Brown Betties who were quickly becoming the hottest dancers outside The Cotton Club.

She and Tilda headed for the drawing room where she could see the corsets laid upon her long maple table surrounded by several high-backed chairs upholstered in dark purple satin – Harlem’s favorite color. Rich magenta curtains complemented the room in a way that always made Harlem smile. She was about to pour herself and Tilda a brandy and soda when the doorbell rang.

Both women looked at each other with hunched, questioning shoulders as neither of them was expecting a visitor this evening. They both walked to the great oak door; Harlem waited while Tilda swung it open. Both their mouths dropped as they stared into the hazel eyes belonging to Honey. She carried two suitcases, a baby, and announced oddly, “I’m home!”

(c)2007 Pen and Peppur LLC

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