Finding Home - Chapter 6
by Siobhan Fallon, Army spouse
“I just got back from a three-day patrol, and I haven’t even taken a shower yet. Val, I needed to hear your voice.”
The Saturday night rush at Danse Macabre was insane, as always. Or at least as insane as it had been since Val started working at the new Decatur Street restaurant last month. She glanced at the black velvet walls studded with make-believe voodoo paraphernalia and skeleton string puppets, and the tables with their flickering red candles. On the sliding scale of fine dining, Danse Macabre wasn’t very high except in its notion of itself. The owner, Big T, had a drink special every night, scored the right kind of restaurant reviews, and hired handsome young waiters who looked like overgrown Justin Biebers—all the things that mattered to a clientele of young New Orleans hipsters with money to burn.
Val reached to pick up her tray of food just when her cell phone started to ring.
“Dammit,” she hissed, peering at the phone number. She spotted a waiter with his hands free. “Mark! You’ve got to bring this tray to table 20, please. I’ll owe you big time!”
Mark, the most Bieber-esque of them all with his glossy, blow-dried hair, looked at the jammed restaurant. “Are you serious?”
“It’s my husband,” Val said, already heading out the service door and into the alley.
“Hey, babe, glad I got you.” Billy’s voice sounded so close. For once the connection was crystal clear. Val closed her eyes and pretended he was whispering in her ear amid the dumpsters, but then she heard the kitchen door slam and her eyes snapped open.
“Valerie!” shouted Big T, who never missed a thing. “I don’t pay you to take telephone breaks!”
“Two minutes!” Val yelled back, holding up two fingers in a V. When Big T went back into the kitchen, she flipped her hand around and gave him the finger.
“Billy, baby, this is the second week you got me during the rush,” she said quickly. “You know I can’t talk.”
There was a long pause on the other end and for a moment she thought they had been disconnected. “I just got back from a three-day patrol, and I haven’t even taken a shower yet. Val, I needed to hear your voice.”
“I know, I’m sorry, Billy. Everything all right?”
“Same old crap, babe. Just missing you…”
That’s when Mark stuck his gravity-defying hair out the door. “Val, table 20 doesn’t want me, they want you. And they say their trout is overcooked.”
“Billy, I have to go. Please, please, please call me again when you can, just not on Saturdays. I e-mailed you my schedule for next week. I love you.”
“Yeah. You, too.” Val heard Billy sigh. He wasn’t happy, but she clicked the phone shut and took off running back into the kitchen.
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