Sadie threw her arms around me and buried her face in my shoulder. “I’m so grateful you’re here. Maybe it’s time for me to go out. I think Miss Fannie won’t mind as long as I’m with you. I could take you to Brackenridge Park. It’s supposed to be beautiful. It’s named after one of our citizens, George Brackenridge. You know, the waterworks magnate?”
George Brackenridge, Mary Eleanor’s brother.
“I can’t today, Sadie. I’m going to visit Aunt Amelia. Another time, perhaps?”
Sadie withdrew her hug and narrowed her eyes. “I thought you just saw her. Truly, Meta? A visit every day?”
Her sarcastic wrath unwarranted, I clenched my hands into fists. “She is the reason I came here, Sadie. Did you forget?”
Sadie took a step back and glared at me. “I’ve changed my mind about going downstairs. You don’t like me because I’m a prostitute. I know that now. You’re only here so you can play your precious piano.”
“Please, do go down without me.”
Veins pulsed in my neck. “And you are only using me to ameliorate your guilt. Your insouciance for others is heartless.”
“You realize, don’t you, that you rely on your big words to puff yourself up. It’s unbecoming.”
Thoughts of Uncle Dirk reappeared. Why? Because Sadie had spoken to me with arrogance and superiority? Because she questioned my intelligence? My stomach churned.
“Let me know if I should move into Etta’s room.” Bitterness dripped from my tongue. I felt happy to descend the stairs alone.
Excerpt from The Last Bordello