Queens are Wild

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

King Ballentine has dinner with two Margeaux Quigleys and things don't go very well.

Chapter 28 (v.1) - King Beats A Pair

Submitted: June 27, 2012

Reads: 101

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Submitted: June 27, 2012



Date: March 19, 2036
Place: Aboard the Rendezvous Two in the western Pacific Ocean
Victoria Kensington followed Howard Nelson into the elegant sky lounge dining room wearing a flowing black dress and her black hair down over her shoulders. She carried a black-and-gold clutch in her right hand that she had found in one of the dresser drawers and stood nearly 6 feet tall in black heels. With plenty of dark eye shadow and long, black eyelashes, Victoria arrived prepared for a stare-down with her would-be king: black vs. black.
Nelson seated Victoria at a triangular table with one chair to her left, no chair to her right and a spectacular view of the Pacific straight ahead. The carpet was all black in this dimly lit lounge. No chessboard pattern up here. I’m deep in enemy territory, Victoria thought as she glanced around warily. A red, three-candle centerpiece adorned the white table cloth as classical music played softly in the large room full of empty tables and chairs. She looked again at the lack of a chair to her right. This confirms it. The president is definitely coming to dinner and she must still be confined to a wheelchair.
“The others should be here shortly, Miss Kensington,” Nelson said with a cordial smile. He wore a black suit, silver tie and black shoes. “Can I get you some wine?”
“Yes, an Australian red would be perfect, Howard, thank you,” Victoria replied with a slight grin.
“Very well,” Nelson said before departing and heading through a door at the far end of the dining room.
Moments later, Victoria’s heart skipped two beats as the bodyguard who grabbed her on the first deck entered the dining room through the near door. He rolled the wheelchair-bound president toward her table and into the chair-less void to her right. The gray-haired woman with the sad blue eyes, matching blue gown and no jewels or makeup looked straight at her as Victoria froze in her chair. The bodyguard stared at Victoria as well, flashing a creepy, satisfied smile.
“Is this who you were looking for on the first deck, Miss Kensington?” the blond giant asked, verbally contorting her alias as if he knew 100 percent that it was bogus.
Victoria tried to collect herself and adapt to the tense, surreal situation. There were two Margeaux Quigleys at the same table and this badass bodyguard seemed hungry for a twin killing. Where’s Ventana and his team now when I really need them? Nowhere to be found, of course.
“Yes, I always wanted to meet the president,” Victoria said, tapping into whatever boldness she had left in her drained reserves. “I’ve been looking forward to this dinner since Howard told me there would be a special guest. I was hoping it would be her and my wish has come true.”
“Indeed. Some of my wishes appear to be coming true as well,” he sneered while unashamedly undressing her with his eyes again. Victoria quickly looked away and focused on President Quigley, who was studying her in quiet disbelief while she waited for the goon to leave them alone. Mercifully, he did.
“The king will be along shortly,” the guard growled before he walked toward the door, blatantly looking back at Victoria with malicious intent, and exited the dining room.
Finally, Victoria was alone with President Quigley. So this is how I’ll look when I get old -- let’s see if I can live past tonight first.
“Who are you?” the president asked, putting on her eyeglasses and leaning toward Victoria for a closer look. “That’s bizarre. You look exactly like me when I was a girl. Should I know you? What are you doing here?”
Victoria sipped her wine and smiled even though she was mostly at a loss for words. This is the woman I’ve been trying to find. Now I have no idea what to say, where to begin?
“I am in the contest to be King Ballentine’s queen and I’ve made the finals,” she said, figuring she was very likely being watched on a hidden camera as she spoke. “Have you seen the show, Madam President?”
Quigley scowled at the notion. “Certainly not,” she said. “I wouldn’t watch that egomaniac murderer and his rubbish. I only appeared in a TV interview with him because they literally stuck a gun to my head. You are from America, correct?”
“Yes, I’m Victoria Kensington from Newport, Rhode Island,” she said, smiling as she recalled a slogan Cyr had shared with her that the state used in the 1980s to advertise itself to potential tourists. “Rhode Island is the biggest little state in the union.”
“Hah, union,” Quigley scoffed. “What union? I’ve been forgotten out here in the middle of nowhere with no hope of rescue while the union has crumbled without a fight. Your so-called king has been allowed to rule in absentia from the high seas and frolic with foolish, treasonous tarts like yourself. You’re young enough to be his granddaughter, for crying out loud! Don’t you have any self-respect?” the president said, pounding the table with her right fist.
“Not enough apparently. How’s your leg?” Victoria asked, desperate to change the subject and tenor of the conversation.
“Better than I’m letting on,” the president said fearlessly while clutching her wheelchair with both hands.
“Um, they’re probably watching us right now,” Victoria said with alarmed eyes and a hushed tone.
“Of course they are,” the president replied, pointing up toward a tinted black ball anchored within a brass chandelier about 12 feet away to the left. “I don’t care. What else can they do to me? They’ve already killed my husband, shot me, kidnapped me and hijacked my entire country. Back in the day, thieves liked to pull off car-jackings. Today they’ve upped their game. They prefer country-jackings. What a wonderful world it has turned out to be.”
Victoria felt flustered as the president rambled through her harangue. I better just let her vent. She certainly has plenty to bitch about. But so do I. If she only knew what hell I’ve gone through to get here, and what hell is still to come if I don’t figure out something fast. I have to find a way to slip her the $100 bill I wrote my message to her on without them getting even more suspicious of me. There’s got to be a way. Think. think.
“Madam President, may I please have your autograph?” Victoria asked, pulling a silver pen and the $100 bill out of her clutch. She laid them flat on the table in front of Quigley.
“My autograph? What’s the point of that, you silly girl?” the president huffed, but she also watched as Victoria’s red-polished finger nail pointed to some small words written in black ink on the white periphery of the bill. Quigley leaned forward, read quickly and toned down her rant as the words sank in: “Your step son Bill sent me in an attempt to track me and find you -- what cabin are they keeping you in? Tell me a number as part of regular conversation. Bill loves you and misses you. I will find a way to rescue you.”
The president eyed Victoria in a whole different way, paused to think for a second and turned the bill over to sign it.
“There you go young lady -- my autograph -- for all its worth these days, probably 17 cents,” Quigley said smoothly.
Victoria nodded at the number while the president raised her eyes to alert her new ally to the enemy closing in from the door at the rear of the dining room. The teen quickly slid the pen back into the clutch, turned her body to the right to use her back as a shield, crumpled the $100 bill into a small wad, popped it into her mouth and swallowed it whole.
King Ballentine -- dressed all in black as usual with a crimson tie and platinum Rolex watch but no crown -- strolled to the table alongside a young male server.
“Your Australian red, Miss Kensington -- a clever suggestion,” Balls said, looking down at her with a smug smirk as the server poured the wine into Victoria’s glass and then into Ballentine’s glass. “Just water as usual for the former president, Ralph.”
“Thank you and good evening, King Ballentine,” Victoria said, not sure whether to stand up or kiss his hand. She did neither. Who’s wooing who here? I’m not sucking up to this creep anymore. Fortunately, he sat down to her left as the server filled all of their water glasses and then departed.
“Thank you, Ralph, and good evening, ladies,” Balls said, now displaying an almost-giddy smile as he leaned closer to them. “You both look fabulous tonight.”
“Thank you,” Victoria replied.
“Flattery will go nowhere with me -- I don’t know about this one,” the president said bitterly as she nodded toward Victoria.
The king remained visibly amused as he spent several seconds staring at each of them and comparing their faces in his twisted mind.
“Chef Willie has prepared some grilled steak and coconut shrimp with garlic-mashed potatoes and fresh spring asparagus for us this evening -- how does that sound, ladies? Any special requests?” Ballentine asked.
“My unconditional release,” the president said flatly, staring right at him.
Victoria had to smile at her willful spirit. The king also grinned and took a gulp of red wine.
“Into the Pacific?” he quipped. “What a waste of such a prized catch.”
When Ralph returned with a basket of rolls and three cups of lobster bisque to get the meal started, Victoria decided to send up a verbal weather balloon.
“So king, what are my chances against Georgia in the finale tomorrow?” she asked before sampling the bisque with her spoon.
“I’m so glad you asked, Miss Kensington. I’d say anywhere from zero to zero,” Ballentine said, closely gauging her reaction.
Victoria hesitated, the spoon practically lodging in her mouth for a second, but then she tried to act cool as she swallowed the hot bisque. She looked straight ahead toward the Pacific. Now I really wish I had thrown him overboard yesterday when I had the chance. Balls thoroughly enjoyed watching her flinch and mull her next move.
“Why zero? Does Georgia really do it for you?” Victoria asked with an edge to her voice Ballentine had never heard before.
The president abruptly stopped eating and clanged her spoon against the cup.
“Excuse me, but do I really need to be here? I don’t want to be the third wheel for this idiotic dog-and-pony show,” she interrupted as Ballentine and Victoria glared at each other. “The two of you can sort out your dirty laundry yourselves and leave me out of it.”
“No, former president, I really think you should stick around to hear this,” Balls said, putting his hand on Quigley’s shoulder, causing her to recoil in disgust. “Not to mention, Ralph has returned to bring us our splendid main course.”
The tall, lanky server dressed all in black knifed through the tension at the triangular table for a moment as he delivered three hot plates of sizzling rib-eye steak, jumbo coconut shrimp, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus as promised. Ballentine waited for Ralph to exit before he directed his attention back to Victoria. He wasn’t smiling anymore.
“At least Georgia is a real person,” the king said loudly, leaning toward Victoria with an angry face.
Stay calm, stay cool. Black, black, black -- be powerful, too, Victoria thought.
“And I’m not real as I sit here before you?” she countered sharply, her blue-and-black eyes boldly challenging him through flickering candlelight.
Ballentine didn’t reply. He looked down at his plate, slowly carved into his steak, took a big bite and then glared at her. He chewed for what seemed like an eternity while never taking his icy blue eyes off hers. Nervous as she was on the inside, Victoria stared right back, defiant as ever. The soothing sound of violins overhead did nothing to soften the harsh silence.
The president watched the confrontation with more interest now. She was impressed with the teenager’s strength, resolve and poise against such an imposing person. This girl is me, Quigley thought. How is this possible? I must be dreaming. And how the hell is she going to rescue me?
Ballentine interrupted the president’s thoughts when he finally broke the silent showdown with Victoria.
“I’m only going to say this one time and I want an honest answer. Who are you?” he asked the girl.
“I’m Victoria …,” she started to lie.
“No, you’re not!” Balls shouted, pounding his right fist on the table with the fork still in his hand and the big steak knife in his left hand. “Kensington, Victoria, is a place just down the road from where I grew up in Melbourne. You are a figment of someone’s imagination. Your fingerprints, which we lifted off your wine glass in the waterfall lounge last night, match the woman sitting to your right exactly. You’ve been trying to find the woman sitting to your right since you set foot on this ship. Well, mystery girl, here she is. We’ve called your bluff. Who are you and what do you want to do with the president? Or would you prefer to take your steak knife and stab me through the heart with it right now?”
Victoria sat stunned throughout Ballentine’s diatribe, but she didn’t flinch this time. She refused to give him the satisfaction. The president, meanwhile, put her overburdened head in her hands. Is this what passes for a rescue mission these days -- send a teenage girl with a horrible alias? My step son has sealed this poor girl’s fate and mine, she lamented.
Victoria took a sip of red wine and gathered her strength for a moment.
“Go fuck yourself asshole!” she finally erupted. “You’re only a king in your own fucked up mind!”
“That’s all you have to say -- no explanation, no more lies?” Balls asked with a crazed look.
“No, I was speaking the truth just then. There’s plenty more that I could say, but I won’t,” Victoria seethed.
Andre Belanger and another armed guard were approaching the dining room. Victoria sensed their presence before they even burst through the door. Let them win this battle, she ordered herself. There will be another chance. Tomorrow. During the finale show. Clearly, I won’t be in the show. Just stay alive until then -- somehow.
Ballentine sneered at Victoria as his guards now stood behind her chair.
“She just told me to go fuck myself, can you believe that, Andre?” Balls told his security chief with a snort. Belanger and his cohort laughed loudly behind her.
Then Balls leaned his wretched face so close to hers he almost touched her left cheek with his nose. His breath reeked.
“I could say the same to you, little girl, and you actually could go fuck yourself -- you and the president are one in the same, you lying punk!” he shouted, showering spittle onto her nose, lips and cheeks. Victoria froze in horror. Belanger and his cohort laughed again. Quigley closed her eyes and said a prayer.
Ballentine got up from the table and stepped back as the guards seized Victoria by the arms and stood her up. She left her clutch on her chair.
“This dinner is over and so are you,” the king commanded with a booming voice as he scowled at her. “Mystery girl, you have been disqualified from the queen contest for lying about your identity and posing as a threat to myself and the new United Kingdom of America. Lucy Sanchez will replace you in tomorrow’s finale. Andre and Walter will escort you to your new cabin on the first deck. I’ve heard you love to snoop around down there so now you get to rot down there. They will interrogate you all night tonight and all day tomorrow if they have to. If you provide them with truthful answers about yourself, who created you and who sent you, they may spare you some unpleasantries and, possibly, but not likely, spare your life. Are we clear?”
Her alias exposed but her courage still intact, young Margeaux Quigley stood tall in her black heels and kept her eyes fixed squarely on Ballentine’s angry face.
“We’ll see who spears who,” she said, burning with hatred for the black king.

© Copyright 2018 Jack Chaucer. All rights reserved.


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