- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
"Okay, looks like I have two possibilities here," she murmured to herself as she canvassed the crowded eatery. Gabrielle wanted to sit and get the paperwork for Louie done, but with the lunch hour in full swing, only two seats were available. One was located across from a young man whose entire face was punched full of holes and adorned with a variety of hoops, rings, and studs. Her only other option was to sit at the table situated in a cramped little corner by the kitchen. The heavyset woman sitting there looked perfectly normal; it was just that Gabrielle was carrying her luggage, and the path was narrow and winding.
Slowly she made her way to the back, her progress punctuated by the steady screech of chairs sliding across the floor to accommodate her baggage. "May I?" Gabrielle asked, pointing to the empty seat with her right hand, revealing a thumb splinted and bandaged with white gauze.
Beatrice Braidburn smiled, indicating her approval. She watched as Gabrielle settled into her chair before pulling a pen and form of some sort from her leather-look handbag. After several attempts to put pen to paper, it was obvious to Beatrice that the girl was having trouble maneuvering the pen with her left hand.
"It looks like you could use some help," Beatrice offered. "Would you like me to fill that out for you?"
"Would you mind? I slammed my thumb in the bathroom door. It really hurts."
"Not at all. In fact, I used to be a pretty good secretary in my day. I just retired a few years ago. I'm Beatrice Braidburn. My friends call me Bea."
"I'm Gabrielle Donovan."
"Is that two L's or one?" she asked, jotting down Gabrielle's name on the application.
"Date of birth?"
"March eleventh, 1975."
"A Pisces. Happy belated birthday. My late sister, Helen, bless her soul, was a Pisces."
"My mom's name was Helen--well, really Helene."
"Where is your mother, dear?"
"She died recently," Gabrielle answered softly.
"Oh, I'm so sorry."
"Are you from New York?"
"No, I came here from Terre Haute, Indiana, after she died."
"What's your address, dear?" Bea asked, filling in the silence.
"I'm at the Hilton Hotel."
Beatrice gave Gabrielle a quick once-over. Judging from her neat but inexpensive attire and tattered bag, the New York Hilton Hotel seemed beyond her price range.
"Maybe we should list your room number," she suggested.
Gabrielle took a good look at the woman sitting across from her. She had a protective, grandmotherly presence about her. Maybe she should tell her the truth. Maybe Beatrice could help. Maybe Gabrielle had no other choice.
"I'm living in the bathroom on the third floor," she answered softly.
"We can't have that," Bea declared. For the next few minutes Gabrielle watched Beatrice complete the rest of the application without asking her a single question. "There you go," she said, smiling and very pleased with herself. "You have an address, phone number, and reference--mine. Now, gather your belongings. You're coming home with me."
"But you don't even know me."
"Sure I do. You're from Indiana, you're a Pisces, and you're alone. What more do I need to know?"
Nothing. But I can't keep this secret forever. If I move in with you, you're bound to find out. But what other option do I have? she asked herself as she reached for her bag.
"And this, my dear, is your room," Bea announced at the final stop of their tour.
Gabrielle stepped into the room and glanced around. It was sparsely furnished, with a twin bed covered in a yellow flowered spread and an old bureau taking up the majority of space. A table and stuffed chair sat in the corner. It was simple and small, but who cared? This morning she'd been living in a bathroom. This afternoon she had a home.
"I love it. Thank you. There's just one thing. I won't be able to pay you for a while, not until I start my job."
"Honey, don't you worry about that. This house is bought and paid for. When you can afford it, we'll talk. Now, you get settled in. I'm going downstairs to finish writing some letters. If you get hungry, help yourself to whatever is in the kitchen. Stephanie Bancroft, the girl that stays in the room next door, should be home soon. She's rather quirky, but she's okay."
It didn't take Gabrielle long to unpack. Besides her clothes, she'd brought few personal items. On top of the table she placed a picture of herself and Helene, taken on a merry-go-round when Gabrielle was four. Gabrielle placed a Raggedy Ann doll in the chair and threw her mom's favorite shawl across the back. She put the box containing the pieces to her favorite jigsaw puzzle--the New York skyline--in the bottom drawer of her dresser. The last thing she unwrapped was a cheap dime-store snow globe. She shook the globe and watched the plastic snow fall around the feet of the Wizard of Oz characters. She'd debated over bringing it. The memories it evoked were strong and painful. It reminded her of Tommy, and no matter how desperately she wanted to forget, he'd always be a part of her.
The rumbling in her stomach reminded Gabrielle that she hadn't eaten since this morning's muffin. She headed down to the kitchen for a late lunch. She hit pay dirt in the first cabinet she tried, pulling from it a small can of tuna. She opened the tin and spooned its contents into a bowl. Gabrielle looked into the refrigerator and located some mayonnaise and relish. Before she had a chance to mix the ingredients, the front door opened and a large cat darted into the kitchen, hopped up onto the counter, and began eating Gabrielle's lunch.
"I swear, that cat can smell an Amoré tuna dinner a block away," Stephanie informed her. "Who are you?"
"Gabrielle. I'm the new boarder," she explained weakly. Gabrielle felt like vomiting. She'd been making tuna salad out of cat food.
"Thanks for feeding Barclay. Usually I get stuck doing it," Stephanie said, curiously examining the condiments lined up on the counter. It looked as if the girl was making lunch. Nah, it couldn't be, Stephanie thought, dismissing the notion from her mind. She couldn't help staring at Gabrielle through skeptical eyes. The woman had a body like a centerfold and a face that could stop rush-hour traffic. And in all probability her eyes were truly blue. "By the way, his bowl is out by the back door."
"Ah, my cat . . . back home . . . ate tuna . . . the way we did," Gabrielle explained weakly.
Why aren't you here to help me? Gabrielle screamed in her head at her mother. You promised you'd always be here to take care of me. I almost ate cat food. There was no cat on the label, only words. How was I supposed to know? Why did you leave me?
"So, where did Beatrice find you?" Stephanie asked. "Hello. Gaby? Anybody home?"
"What?" She hadn't heard a word.
"I asked you where you met Beatrice."
"I--we-- I'm sorry," she cried as she ran out of the room.
"Oh, great," Stephanie said to the cat. "Beautiful and flaky."
Posted November 4, 2003
This book is sooo good that I couldn't put it down the first time I read it. I is so good that I went to go buy it and I read it over and over. I can't wait until the next book comes out.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2001
Posted December 1, 2000
Posted October 9, 2000
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and the characters developed nicely. It was refreshing to read a black author who didn't find it necessary to use slang, broken English and curse words to sell her book. I am looking forward to her next one. My only confusion while reading was keeping track of who was black and who was white. Maybe her goal was to not focus on the race aspect and let the book be a story about people.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2000
My bookclub picked this book. We found it to be a good read. Some felt that some of the people in the book were unbelievable. You just wanted to see the bad girl get what was coming to her, and that took about 50 pages too long in coming. A great first attempted at writing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2000
Reading this book was a real pleasure. I enjoyed all the characters and the good writing. It's definitely worth picking up.My only advice is don't read it on the bus. I got so into the story that I missed my stop.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 5, 2000
I only finished this book because I refuse to leave a title unread. The characters weren't memorable, much less endearing. The plot was slow and too unbelievable even for a fiction title. The only high point was addressing a social problem that needs attention, however the avenue was beyond boring. I like characters that seem real, the ones that the author brings to life. This author failed to do so. If the name dropping were omitted from the book, the plot would have been just the same, the outcome the same, and it would have saved me 200 unnecessary pages. The use of celebrity names not only dates the book, but would prevent it from becoming a title that could endure the test of time even if the rest of the book were worthy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 30, 2000
After I started reading the book 2/3 into it. I could not put it down. I had to know how it was going to end and I was pleasantly surprised. Very good book but you will need some tissue.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2000
If you are looking for a great read that's so much fun that you can't put it down, pick up Read Between the Lies. This is one of those books that you will finish with a smile on your face while you're wiping away a few tears. And a year from now when you're desperate to escape into a good book, you'll pick this out of your bookshelf and enjoy it all over again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.