By Jamie Burns
In a universe that seems vast and infinite, every once and awhile the stars align. When they do it fills you with a sense that maybe, just maybe, the galaxy isn't totally out to screw you. That’s how I felt when Clara and I found Lucinda.
Right up till the moment that Lucinda punched her little sister Clara in the face.
The people in the crowded bar looked at the commotion for a moment before quickly looking away. Almost like they didn’t want to be caught looking. No one made a move to stop the tussle. After Clara landed a backhanded slap across Lucinda’s face the fight digressed into that of school girls pushing each other and pulling hair. The three large men that had been surrounding Lucinda moved the crowd back. I was going to try and put a stop to it but one of the men's overwhelmingly large hands pulled me back from the two swinging blondes.
“Clara!” I yelled.
My voice seemed to bring her back from the edge she had gone over. Clara pulled herself back from Lucinda. They both huffed with heavy breaths. “Damn Lu.What in creation was that for?” Clara asked, rubbing her bruised jaw.
Lu’s voice was so similar to Clara’s they were almost interchangeable. The deep draw of each word pulling on the air. “Six years, you don’t contact me. You don’t want nothin’ to do with me? Then, I hear someone's looking for me, because they need a favor. That someone turns out to be you. How you think that makes me feel Clara Bell?” Lu said with a conviction that made even me feel bad.
“Don’t you lie to me Lu. You knew I was the one looking for you.” Clara retorted.
The large man, had released my shoulder and moved back toward Lu. I realized now the three men were obviously Lu’s bodyguards. I watched as the two sisters stared each other down. I had never imagined Clara with siblings. She had never mentioned a sister even though she had told me several stories of her parents and when she was younger. To find out now there was another Bell family member present in those tales changed the way I saw Clara. We were both the younger sister. But somehow Clara had cut Lu from her stories. It felt strange, I couldn’t think of a single memory from my childhood that didn’t involve Nathan in some way shape or form. He had always been there, my ever present big brother. Even if he was only a few minutes older than me. Was Lu that way for Clara in the beginning? Her best friend, her co-conspirator, her backup?
The women stayed a fair distance from each other. “I’m sorry it turned out like this.” Clara said and she really sounded like she meant it.
“So am I Clara bug.” The comment brought a hint of a smile into both the Bell women's faces. “Yes, I knew it was you. I have eyes and ears all over this rock. I knew you were here the second you stepped off that wind-up toy you call a ship.”
“What do you mean eyes and ears everywhere?” It was the first time I had spoken since breaking up the fight and I realized that Lucinda had no reason to know who I was. That fact didn’t faze her.
Lu smiled “Oh sister, you think I would come to a place like Exodus and I wouldn’t naturally take over?”
“Take over what?” Asked Clara.
“I’m the ‘Queen of Chems in six different quadrants.” Lu twisted her wrist in the air with a flourish.
“You’re a drug lord?!” Clara exclaimed.
“Oh Honey, don’t say it like that. But yes.”
I wasn't sure what Clara had expected to find when we went looking for her sister but I was sure a drug lord was not it. Clara was speechless with her mouth agape. I hated to interrupt the thought process that must have been running through Clara’s head but I needed to.
“Clara, we’re running out of time.” I said to her.
She composed herself again. “We need help Lu."
“And we need it in the next 3 and a half hours.” I added.
I wasn't sure what Clara said to Lu while they sat in Lu’s privet both in the back corner of the bar. The conversation took less than five minutes and I was elated. Clara and Lu returned, with Lu’s agreement to help us get Nathan back, as well as get the three of us back off Exodus. Now with Lu’s help and her unexpected resources my plan was looking more like a plan and less like a suicide mission.
Copyright 2016 JAMIE BURNS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED