Cousins Going Home

dreamstime_s_35789190   Lizzie

New York City, NY – March 19, 2011

Lizzie got off the bus and hurried toward home through the heavy, driving rain. The temperature felt like the rain could turn to sleet any second. Why did I ever want to leave California and come to New York? She bowed her head under her umbrella and held her portfolio close to her chest to keep the sketches inside dry. If anything happened to her hard work, she’d be madder than a wet hen.

Wham! She ran into something solid and sat down in a puddle.

A very feminine voice said, “Oh. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

Lizzie looked at the thick-soled, men’s boots and black jeans in front of her. They contrasted greatly with the voice. She raised her head and recognized the black, spiked hair of the woman looking down at her. I’ve seen her protesting around this area. She seems to be against almost everything.

“Here, let me help.” The woman held her hand down and helped Lizzie stand. She picked up Lizzie’s portfolio. “There, I think it’s okay. Are you alright? You’re not hurt?”

“I’m fine. Just a bit wet and shaken up.” Lizzie took the portfolio, thankful it hadn’t hit the puddle with her, but landed just beside it.

“Hey, if you have to sit in a puddle, why not in front of Starbucks?” The woman laughed softly. “Let me buy you a latte to make up for knocking you down.”

The only thing she was in a hurry to do was get out of the rain. Lizzie shrugged. “I could use a hot drink.”

Inside the store, the woman asked, “What would you like?”

“How about a Café Mocha?” It was her old standby. Lizzie wasn’t in the mood to try anything new.

“You got it. Find us a table, and I’ll get our drinks.” The woman gestured to the nearly empty store.

Lizzie sat at a table near the window, and soon the woman came back with steaming lattes and warm blueberry muffins. Even if she hated being out in it, there was something nice about sitting and watching the rain fall, even if it were cold out.

The woman smiled and said, “Hope you like blueberries.”

Lizzie noticed white, even teeth behind the dark lipstick and twinkling blue eyes. Except for the lipstick, her face was clear of any makeup. She never understood overly made-up women. She kept her own makeup to a minimum.

“Love blueberries,” she replied as she took one of the muffins.

“I’m Sara Davis.” The woman held out her hand. “I’ve seen you around. You always seem to be in a hurry.”

“Lizzie Johnson.” Lizzie took the offered hand. She was surprised at its softness. Sara didn’t look like someone who took pains with herself.

“Like in Lizzie Borden?” Sara’s eyes sparkled with laughter.

Lizzie screwed up her face. “Oh, come on. We aren’t in grade school. But no, it’s just that there are so many Elizabeths in my family. My grandmother’s Betty, and my aunt’s Betsy, and I got stuck with Lizzie. Sometimes I wish they’d decided on Beth.” It was the long old explanation, something she got really tired of giving. There were a lot more interesting things about her beyond her name.

“I can call you Beth if you’d like.” Sara started unwrapping her own muffin.

Shaking her head, Lizzie laughed. “I probably wouldn’t answer. I wouldn’t know who you were talking to.”

“So. Where are this grandmother and aunt?”

Lizzie lifted the muffin to her nose and breathed deep enjoying the rich, savory smell of it before she tore it in half to eat it easier. “Southern California with the rest of the family.”

“You’re from California?” Sara’s eyes widened. “Why on Earth did you come to this cursed city?” She pointed out the window to the driving rain. “I’d have stayed in the sunshine.”

Lizzie laughed. “I was just wondering that myself when I ran into you.”

“Ran into me is right.” Sara chuckled. “But, seriously, why New York?”

“I just wanted to get away from family. I’d never been alone since before I was born. I got tired of being ‘one of the twins’. And I wanted to get away from my ex-husband and his new wife.”

“You’re a twin and you’ve been married?” Sara grinned. “Is your twin as gorgeous as you are?”

Lizzie blushed and brushed her long blonde hair out of her face. “Well, most of my friends think Mike is pretty hot. I don’t see it. He’s just my brother.”

Sara laughed. “Okay. You got me on that one. Personally, I don’t think he’d do anything for me either.” She tilted her head and her dark eyes sparkled mischievously. “I’m sorry to be so personal, but is that your natural hair color?”

“Yes.” Lizzie laughed. “I’m a rarity in California, a native-born Californian with naturally blonde hair.” After the rain had dampened her spirits so much, the light relaxing conversation with Sara was really cheering her up and making her thankful she’d come to New York.

“It’s beautiful. Is Mike blond also?” Sara sipped her drink.

“No. He takes after our dad. I’m blonde like Mom.” Lizzie bit back her sigh as the muffin nearly melted in her mouth. It was almost perfect, like sitting there talking with Sara. They’d been passing each other in the streets for a while and Lizzie wondered why they’d never stopped to talk to each other, but then remembered that was the way of life in New York.

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