Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell

Of Socialites and Prizefights by Arden Powell

Author:Arden Powell [Powell, Arden]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2024-02-07T00:00:00+00:00



The next morning, after Deepa had returned to her flat, she lay in bed against the pillows and stared up at the ceiling. Her sari, she bundled in both hands to hold over her heart, thin cotton warmed through with body heat so it almost felt like there was another person in bed with her. The ceiling was mottled, and in the watery morning light, she could pretend she was staring up into a sea of clouds.

She felt things for Roz she’d never felt for anyone, yet the continuation of her curse said it wasn’t love.

Despite her foray into the world of sapphic sex, she didn’t feel changed on any fundamental level, but then, she rarely felt fundamentally changed by anything. Her first kiss at twenty hadn’t much changed her; neither had her first tumble with the first of her many men. She was, at heart, a player and a con artist, and she’d long told herself that in order to achieve all she wanted, love would prove a frivolous commodity that she could ill afford.

As there was yet some distance between herself and her goals, love must, by necessity, be kept far from her heart and mind. She had so staunchly avoided any possibility of love that now, when her curse-breaking depended on it, love shied away, rebuffed too many times previously to indulge her.

But something fluttered in the pit of her stomach, something bright and tentative like a swallowtail butterfly yearning to flit its way up under her ribs to make a nest in her heart. Heat flared at the memory of Roz's touch, even though she was entirely alone. Squeezing her eyes shut, Deepa blocked out the fantasy of clouds and tamped down on both the butterfly and her rising warmth.

She and Roz had kissed, several times over now, and nothing had changed. Whether she wanted it to be love was irrelevant.

But maybe…maybe their next kiss would be the one to do it. Maybe next time, love would stop avoiding her and the curse would finally break.

“Get a hold of yourself, girl,” she muttered.

The remonstration didn’t work.


At noon, Roz arrived to meet Deepa’s mother. She was dressed in nice taupe linen trousers, a matching jacket, and a tucked-in blouse of the palest blush pink. Her hair had a little wave to it, like she’d put extra effort into making herself look presentable. When Deepa greeted her at the door, she swooped in for a quick kiss on the cheek, warm all over at the sight of her.

“My mother is already here. I hope you’re hungry; she's brought enough food to feed a dance hall.”

“I can always eat,” Roz promised. “I brought — well, you didn’t say whether she drinks, but I brought a bottle of white anyway, and flowers, in case she doesn’t.” She presented a bottle with a label Deepa knew, more expensive than she would have expected from Roz, and a bouquet of bright, speckled orange and yellow lilies, the paper wrapping the stems only slightly rumpled at the corners.


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