Delphia knocked on the apartment door three times before Moira finally answered. She was wrapped in a silk robe and rubbing her eyes.
“Oh Delphia, it’s you! What time is it? I thought we weren’t meeting until later.” She held the door open for Delphia to squeeze in. The apartment was much larger than the room Delphia shared with her mother.
“It’s almost noon, Moira,” she said as she gazed at the vases of flowers wilting in the sitting room.
“Is it already?” Moira stretched. “Well, let’s get started.” She led Delphia into her bedroom and opened an armoire. She pulled out a few dresses. “Here try these on, I never wear them anymore.”
“You don’t? But they’re gorgeous,” Delphia sighed.
“Yes, I got them when I first started at the Cabaret, but now I have some of the most cutting edge in fashion,” Moira held out a stunning silver dress. Delphia reached out and touched the material. It felt like water through her fingers. Moira delicately hung it back up and sat on the bed. She picked up a fashion magazine and flipped though it. Delphia started to pull off her plain cotton dress to try on Moira’s.
“It’s almost strange to see you outside the dinner club, Delphia, but I like it,” Moira commented.
“I have more free time since my mother passed,” Delphia mumbled. Moira let out a little gasped.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It’s okay. It’s true, my mother took up a lot of time.” Delphia smiled at Moira. She pulled on the first dress and turned to look into Moira’s standing mirror.
“Why the sudden interest in my clothes? I know I have always offered you some, but you didn’t seem to want to take me up on it. Are you expecting to have more dates?” Delphia laughed and shook her head.
“I don’t know about more,” she said then she blushed. Moira sat up straighter.
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t have any dates set up, but you said I should be prepared and well…last time I wasn’t.”
Moira eyes shot open and she threw down her magazine. “What? You’ve been keeping secrets, Delphia!”
“No, I haven’t, but I didn’t want anyone else to know. I don’t even know what to think myself.” Delphia perched on the bed. Moira jabbed her in the arm.
“Tell me who he is,” she ordered. “How did you meet?”
“His name is Micky O’Kinney and it’s a long and very strange story of how we met.”
“You went on a date with Micky O? The Micky O?” Moira was in shock. Delphia nodded.
“Yes, we met at Libellule.”
“You have your hands full, girl. He’s a scoundrel.”
“Not the Micky O. I know,” Delphia shook her head. “He came by my apartment with his condolences when my mother died. I thought it was sweet.” Moira’s brow was furrowed as she listened. Delphia continued.
“We ended up going to the boardwalk and we had frankfurters, sodas and some whiskey.” She blushed again. She wasn’t comfortable telling the details.
“You went out drinking with one of Mr. Sicero’s biggest bootleggers?” Moira was in disbelief. “Then you must have had more than frankfurters, Delphia.”
“What?” the waitress gasped. “I didn’t! I swear!”
“I don’t believe you for a minute. Why wouldn’t you? That how you snag them! You have a lot of learning to do.”
“Oh,” Delphia replied glumly. She turned away from the showgirl.
“You turned him down? Did he get angry?”
“No, it wasn’t like that,” she fumbled with how to explain. “I fell asleep.”
“You fell asleep on the boardwalk?”
“No, at the hotel. The big white one with the balconies.” Moira kept staring at Delphia as the waitress spoke.
“The Cormorant? You went to his room and did nothing? Why? Now be honest, are you a virgin?”
“No, I’m not.” Delphia’s blush was getting darker, as she thought about the migrant corn detasseler in Iowa and the uncomfortable fumbling in the dark. “Just really…inexperienced. He had to go take a telephone call, then he was going to drive me home. I fell asleep while he was gone. I woke up when the maid arrived in the morning.”
Moira gave her a questioning look.
“I was still wearing my clothes. The maid said Micky was in the dining room. We ate breakfast and he took me home.”
“That is not the Micky O. I’ve seen at the Cabaret. He was exceptionally handsy. You couldn’t walk within four feet of him. It was like he hadn’t seen a woman in months. I think he got slapped three times by different girls, including Bea. That was until the manager told us he was an associate of Mr. Sicero’s and was to be entertained by any means necessary. I think Myrtle took care of him, of course there was a ten-dollar incentive…”
Moira kept talking, but her words became muffled as Delphia’s cheeks began to burn and she felt a little sick. Was this what jealousy felt like? Her date felt like a joke. Maybe he really wasn’t interested in her that way. She was just another poor girl to pity. She stood up and tore off the dress. She grabbed another to try on.
If he wasn’t that interested, then she would just have to find someone else. She was stupid to believe she would have been appealing to anyone in her old farm dress.
“Ooo! I like that one! That color looks good on you.” Moira said. She was oblivious to Delphia’s inner turmoil. “I should show you some cosmetics next. Maybe you’ll have extra pocket change without the doctor’s bills.” Delphia studied herself in the mirror.
“Yes, I’m still paying off some debts, but I will have a little extra. I don’t want to see the old me anymore.” Moira appeared at her shoulder.
“Now smile, the one you use at Libellule.”
Delphia forced her lips into her rosebud smile. Her dimples made their appearance on her cheeks. “Teach me, Moira. I don’t want to be a farm girl anymore.”
The showgirl grinned behind her with a nod.