“Thank you sir, stay warm and have a blessed evening.” Elaine smiles and slips him a gift card to Click & Coffee.
The driver looks down at his hand and smiles for a brief moment then returns to a more serious countenance. “Yes ma’am. Thank you.”
The ladies follow Carmandi into a lavish and well decorated living room in warm autumn accents and brown. A maid and butler greet them and take their coats in a quiet rehearsed fashion.
Patronda walks over to Carmandi as soon as her coat is removed. Elaine and Kendalynn make brief eye contact as they remove their coats and hand them to the staff.
“Well thank you for coming, I’m glad you all could get away this evening. You can freshen up down the hall to the right and then we can eat. I’ve prepared the formal dining area for us.” Carmandi walks into the living room. She picks up a magazine and sits on the chaise lounge.
The ladies find their way down the hall and enter a double vanity bathroom where Elaine and Kendalynn wash their hands then return to the living room. Patronda closes the door when they leave then joins them three minutes later.
Carmandi places the magazine back on the table and stands. An eight person table has been set for four with two plates next to each other on opposite sides. Elaine walks to the far side and sits down across from Kendalynn. Patronda sits across from Carmandi.
“Let’s bless the food then the staff will bring the first course.” Carmandi takes Kendalynn and Patronda’s hand.
The ladies all bow their heads while holding hands.
“Lord bless this food, in Jesus name, amen.” Carmandi releases the ladies hands.
“I took the liberty of having my chef prepare a four course meal, I chose a chicken dish because I didn’t know if anyone had any food allergies.” Carmandi leans slightly as a server places a caesar salad with bacon in a serving bowl on the side in front of her.
Three other servers place food in front of the other ladies.
“Carmandi, this is so nice. I mean talk about raising the bar.” Patronda shakes her head and raises the fork of salad to her lips.
Elaine and Kendalynn make eye contact and shake their heads.
“Now I know what I’m going to do when you ladies come over for my meal.” Patronda smiles at Kendalynn and Elaine. “Hopefully you’ll like it.”
“Unless you’re planning on serving chitlins and hog maws I’m all in.” Kendalynn flips her hair over her shoulder.
Carmandi’s eyes open big as saucers. “Why would she do that?”
“It’s a joke, Carmandi. I’m surprised you even know what a chitlin is, wonders never cease.” Kendalynn chuckles.
“Well, I don’t, could someone enlighten me?” Elaine takes a sip of sparkling juice in a crystal flute.
“Boiled and cleaned pig intestines.” Patronda shakes her head.
“I see.” Elaine giggles as she picks up another forkful of salad. “Sounds, interesting.”
“No it sounds, smells and looks gross. Taste like heaven on earth if it’s done right with some hot sauce.” Kendalynn said. “So I’ve been told. My mother was not having it she says the smell won’t leave your fingers for days.”
“Really, I didn’t know that.” Carmandi tilts her head. “That is odd. I wonder why.”
“Who cares it’s gross.” Kendalynn smiles at the smirking server placing an appetizer of southwestern egg rolls in front of her.
“To each their own, is what I say.” Carmandi clears her throat.
A confused look crosses Kendalynn’s face as she picks up her eggroll. “Well, it’s gross to me.”
Innerview: Elaine Bright turns around in front of her purple laptop. She adjusts her lavender framed stylish thin glasses and smiles. With a quick glimpse back at her desk she straightens her shoulders.
“I have really enjoyed the dinners so far. I had the most fun at Kendalynn’s, it was relaxing and fun. I haven’t had taco salads in the longest. I’ve added it back to the menu at home. Not that I couldn’t appreciate what Carmandi tried to do by inviting us to her guest house. We were technically guests, some people might think that was impersonal and cold but I believe it was done with the purest intentions. She and Patronda just enjoy doing things in a formal way. I can respect that and if my parents hadn’t drilled such practical and giving principles into me I’m sure Randy and I would spend our money on material things and live lavishly, too. Like I said Kendalynn’s was way more fun, it was relaxing and I learned a lot from her. She is a really nifty person to me. Carmandi is nice too, very pretty…and elegant. I’ve never seen someone who looks so perfectly put together all the time but she was a supermodel so...”