TITLE: Queen of the Crescent City
GENRE: Historical Fiction
Aimée had no warning that he was coming, but she should have. In her experience, such an event never remained secret for long, and that she had not been told was all the more hurtful. Perhaps the others were afraid that she would run away to the Bayou Saint-Jean or some similar place, and that they would be punished for her behavior. But even so, her sister Désirée certainly knew what was coming and did not choose to tell her, though she had ceased to confide in Aimée in several months.
She had been in the kitchen of the Legendre townhouse when Toussaint summoned her. Toussaint was Maître Dominic's valet, and he accompanied his master everywhere, always smartly dressed in the gay gold and royal blue Legendre livery. Aimée handed the knife she was using to Marthe, the old cook who struggled to hide her arthritis from Dominic's butler Lucien. The air was humid for January, and in the heat of the smoky, fly-infested kitchen Aimée had begun to perspire. Quickly she splashed water on her face, smoothed and retied the tignon over her hair and shook out her russet skirts. Then she quietly followed Toussaint upstairs and through the gallery to the townhouse's formal parlor.
There two men sat in exaggerated positions upon elaborately carved rosewood chairs lined by plush green velvet. Toussaint refilled their glasses with dark amber bourbon from a crystal decanter and retreated.