Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Sunday Drive

Summary: As the mayor’s mansion is packed up, the First Lady of Squire’s Isle goes for one last drive.

The house seemed cavernous, the halls echoing with the sound of moving men carrying the last few boxes out to the car. Alicia stayed in the front hall, offering to help carry whatever boxes the moving men needed an extra hand with before returning to her post at the bottom of the stairs. Laura was in the kitchen supervising the packing of their china, so Alicia was content to wait as long as it took. It felt odd to see the mansion so gutted. All that remained were fixtures that belonged to whomever owned the house; couches, chairs, a few clocks hanging on the walls, and most of the bedroom furnishing.

It didn’t matter which candidate won the election on Tuesday. Whichever it was would inherit the mayor’s mansion, so Jameson Dugan and his wife had to vacate the premises. They didn’t technically have to be out by Election Day, but James wanted to get it done as soon as possible.

Laura’s arrival in the foyer was announced by the click of her shoes on the tile floor. Alicia turned and smiled as her employer’s wife entered the foyer. She wore an old sweatshirt and jeans instead of her usual finery, her hair pulled back into a lazy knot. To Alicia’s eyes, she was beautiful. Laura paused and rolled up her sleeves, then offered Alicia a tired smile.

“Thank you for waiting. I wouldn’t have been able to relax if I didn’t watch them with my own eyes.”

“I understand.”

Laura rubbed her hands together. “Supervising anything else would just make me sad. I think I’m ready for that drive I asked about earlier.”

“Of course, Mrs. Dugan.”

They walked out of the house together and Alicia opened the back door of the sedan. Laura thanked her with a dip of her chin, then bent down and slid into the car. Alicia shut the door, got behind the wheel, and took off her chauffeuse cap. She tossed it into the passenger seat but let her hair up as she guided the car down the circular driveway and toward the property’s front gate. She used a button on the sun visor to click the gate open, and it rolled away just in time for Alicia to pass through it.

“You’ve gotten pretty good at that.”

Alicia smiled. “I’ve had a lot of practice, ma’am. Where would you like me to take you today?”

Laura was gazing out the window. “For now, just drive north, please.”
“Yes, ma’am.”

She took the scenic route down Spring Street, turning left after they passed Coffee Table Books. After they passed the rows of tourist shops and the whaling museum, she took a side street and circled the high school before taking one of the small two-lane roads that led out of the small town. They were quickly surrounded on both sides by trees, arterial gravel roads branching off every now and again before disappearing into the darkness.

When they neared Sholeh Village, Alicia glanced in the rearview mirror. “Should I find a place to park?”

Laura looked away from the window, hesitated, then shook her head. “No. Drive on, please?”

“Of course, ma’am.”

Laura smiled. “We’re outside town limits, Alicia.”

“Right.” She smiled back at her. When they were in December Harbor, Alicia was the driver for the Dugan family. Outside of town and within the sanctity of the Dugan mansion, Alicia and Laura had been lovers for the past four years. Jameson Dugan was well aware of their relationship and approved of it. His marriage to Laura was one of convenience, a necessity to cover up the fact that he also was gay. It was the closest-kept secret on Squire’s Isle, and Alicia wondered if there was any relief that the administration was ending without it being leaked or exposed in some way.

She took a side road that took them near the northern tip of the island. Pleasure craft and whale watching boats zipped across the strait between Squire’s Isle and their neighbor, cutting across the still blue waters without making the narrow passage look crowded. It was easy to overlook the boats to focus on the natural beauty that surrounded them.

“Do you think I’m a gold-digger?”

Alicia was startled, both by the sudden question and the unexpectedness of Laura speaking. “Are you asking as my employer or my lover?”

“I would hope your answer is the same either way.”

“It is. I would just sugarcoat it a little more if I’m talking to my boss. As your lover, I’ll say definitely not. You and Mr. Dugan both used each other, but it was mutually beneficial. You both got what you wanted and no one was deceived.”


Alicia looked at Laura in the mirror. “Are you okay, Lo?”

“Yes. It’s just been a hectic few weeks.” She stroked her hair and looked at her watch. “Do you mind continuing further south?”

“Of course not.”

“Stay as near to the coastline as you can. I want to see the water.”

They continued south along the island’s western edge in silence. Alicia made a mental note when they passed the road that would have taken them back east toward December Harbor. Laura didn’t comment, so she continued on.

Where the road cut to the south, Laura began to scan on either side of the car until she spotted a rest area. “There. Pull in there.”

Alicia did as she was told. The parking lot was empty, since they were in the middle of the slow tourism season, so she took a central spot and climbed out of the car. Laura opened her own door and got out before Alicia could do it for her. She shivered in the cold, so Alicia slipped off her uniform jacket and draped it over her lover’s shoulders. It left her in a thin white dress shirt, but she could handle the cold.

Her black tie whipped in the breeze as they walked to one of the picnic tables that stood in a clearing with a view of the water. Laura sat on the bench, but Alicia perched on the table’s top. Laura scooted closer to her, using Alicia to block the wind, and put her head down on Alicia’s thigh. Alicia stroked Laura’s hair and looked out at the water, imagining she could see the cold air skimming the glassy surface with a threat of turning it to ice.

“Have you thought about what happens on Wednesday?”

“Nothing happens on Wednesday,” Alicia said. “Whoever is elected doesn’t take over until January, so that’s what I’ve been thinking about.”

“What have you come up with?”

Alicia curled one loose strand of Laura’s hair around her finger. “I want to go where you go. But if that’s… I mean, if it doesn’t work with your plans, I have other options.”

Laura sat up and turned to look at Alicia. “James and I are getting a divorce.”

It was hardly a surprise, but Alicia still hadn’t expected to hear it. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” She looked out at the water again. “It’s been a tough year for him. His family has only stood by his side because it would look bad if they completely cut him off, but they’re furious with him for giving up the mayor’s office. They still have the paper, the radio station… they have a lot of power in this town. They’re going to make it hell for him if he stays, so he’s decided to leave. I’m not going with him.”


“You said that already.”

“Are… a-are you staying for me?”

Laura looked at her again. “Is that okay? I don’t want to put pressure on you.”

Alicia cupped Laura’s face and bent down to kiss her. Laura stretched, putting her hand on the back of Alicia’s head to prolong the contact. Her tongue brushed over Alicia’s bottom lip and then into her mouth. Alicia held the kiss and then pulled back as far as she could, resting her forehead against Laura’s.

“I’m going to stay here. I’m going to drive a cab again.” She stroked Laura’s hair. “You’re sure you won’t be shell-shocked? Going from the most powerful woman on the island to dating a cabbie? I can’t buy you jewels or put you up in a mansion.”

“I only need one room as long as you’re in it. Give me a jail cell with a bunk bed and a hot plate, I’m happy. And don’t worry about the Dugans making life unbearable for me. James has agreed to play the outcast, so we can act like I’m siding with his family.”

Alicia looked out at the water. “Poor Mr. Dugan.”

“He accepted how it was going to be long before he backed Patricia. He thought it was more important to do what was right, rather than what was easy.”

“Where’s he going to go?”

“Spokane. The family has some cousins out there who can get him back on his feet. And moving to a new town, it’ll be easier for him to… to be himself.” She slipped her hand into Alicia’s and brought it to her lips, kissing the knuckles. “And I can be myself. I’m going to come out on Nadine Butler’s radio show. Not in the next few days or weeks, but when the dust from the election has settled. Then you and I can be together the way we should have been four years ago. If you’d like that.”

Alicia was grateful for the sharp wind blowing off the water. She blinked rapidly and nodded, then wrapped her arms around Laura.

“Yeah. I’d like that a lot.”

Laura nodded and wiped her cheeks with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. “Well. Good.” She settled against Alicia’s side and looked out to sea again. “And maybe once we’re settled, I can drive you all over town once in a while.”

“Hey, now. Don’t get crazy.” Alicia smiled and kissed the top of Laura’s head. “I love you, Lo.”

“I love you, too, Sha.”

“When do you want to head back?”

“When it gets too cold to stay.”

Alicia nodded and slid down to join Laura on the bench. They put their arms around each other and watched as the wind began pushing up waves and dropping the temperature. Some people might have argued it was already too cold, but body heat made a lot of difference. They were pressed tight against each other, shivering but not yet ready to give in, both silently deciding that they could bear the weather for just a few more minutes.

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