Danny could see she had started chipping away at the ice queen's cool facade. Something akin to hatred blazed in the woman's eyes. Cassie, sensing her friend was now at a loss for words, continued the conversation.
"I absolutely love that dress. Who are you wearing?" Cassie inquired innocently.
"Alexander McQueen." Danny responded rolling her eyes. At this point she wasn't even trying to conceal her annoyance with the fifty questions.
"What about your shoes?" Tricia asked regaining her voice now that Cassie seemed to have her back.
"Christian Dior." Danny could feel that they were working as a tag team, but she had no idea where this attack was going.
"You must feel so lucky being engaged to a doctor." Tricia began. "He can buy you all those nice things. You're living in that beautiful mansion in Sheridan Hills. It must feel so good for a woman of your background to be able to afford the finer things in life."
Save for Tricia and Cassie, every mouth at the table was wide open in shock. Danielle pinned both the women down with a stare.
"I don't know what kind of ideas you have about me." She began, sipping from her glass of water. "But, I am nobody's kept woman. My dress, my shoes, everything I own is mine, paid for with my money, from my job. I'm not sitting around waiting for Gerard to hand me an allowance."
Cassie turned beet red while Tricia continued to glare. They were all saved by the ringing of a cellular phone. Everyone at the table checked their pockets or evening bags for the source of the ringing. Thankfully the phone was Danny's, which was strange since she didn't get many phone calls save for Stephania or Gerard. She scrunched her nose at the Washington Area code displayed on the caller ID.
"It's me." She said holding up the phone. Thank you, Jesus. "I'm sorry, but I really have to take this. It's probably WORK!" Excusing herself from the table, she talked to a waitress who pointed her in the direction of the ladies room.
The ladies restroom was truly elegant with a separate sitting room, complete with a loveseat and comfortable chairs plus makeup tables. Beyond the sitting area was the restroom. Danny checked the lavatory for occupancy, skipping over the one with the Out of Order sign. Satisfied that she was alone, she redialed the Washington DC phone number.
"Hello." A baritone, male voice answered. "This is Special Agent Stone."
"Agent Stone, this is Danielle Labouleaux. I received a call from you a few minutes ago." She responded, leaning against the marble bathroom sink.
"Yes." He returned in that late night radio host voice. "I'm working a cold case and I was told you could help."
"My help? Agent Stone, you must be mistaken. I've been gone from the Bureau for years."
"I understand that ma'am, but there is a murder I'm working on and Special Agent in Charge Lucius Johnson recommended that I contact you if I needed any help."
Danny was outraged. Lucius had a lot of nerve giving her number out to total strangers. "I'm sorry Agent Stone, but Lucius was mistaken. I'm no longer with the Bureau. I work as a consultant, but that's all. I won't be able to help you with your case." She disconnected the call, shaken that the Bureau would try to contact her after all these years. She didn't even realize that Tricia, Cassie, Sarah, and Melissa had joined her in the ladies room. It was true; wolves really do roam in packs Danny mused. She headed for the exit, but Sarah barred her way, folding her arms and staring her down.
"You think you are so smart. Just because you're fucking a rich, white doctor doesn't mean you've moved up in the world. You're still garbage you poor little gold digging nigger bitch." Cassie was blatantly all in Danny's face and invading her personal space.
Amused, Danny cocked her head to the side. "Oh, it's gonna be like that?"
Cassie and her comrades were participating in what grand mere used to call 'selling wolf tickets'. They were basically making a bunch of noise and racket, trying to scare a reaction out of her. Of course, Danny wasn't the least bit intimidated. She had gone toe to toe with some of the most vicious gang members in New Orleans. No way in hell was she the least bit afraid of these silicone-inflated bimbos.
"Yes, 'it's like that." Cassie imitated her slight southern accent. "You think you're so smart. Always having a smart answer for everything, trying to make us look stupid."
"You girls make it so easy." Danny quipped, providing them a curtsy.
"It's about time you learned your place." Tricia said. "The only thing you're fit for is cleaning toilets."
"Go back to the ghetto where you belong." Sarah added, more than likely trying to fit in with the queen bees.
"We're gonna teach your black ass a little lesson." Cassie threatened.
As if on cue, Tricia grabbed Danny's left arm and Melissa grabbed her right. Danielle had a premonition that things were going to end badly, and not for her. If the scene weren't so childish and ridiculous, it would be hilarious.
"Where's your smartass comments now, huh? You think you're better than us?" Cassie punctuated the question by pushing Danny in the middle of her forehead with her finger. "Just because you're sucking Gerard's dic....."
The former FBI consultant thrust her head forward, head butting Cassie across the forehead. As Cassie gripped her head in pain, the heel of Danny's shoe shot out like a blade, taking aim at Melissa's toes, which were unprotected by her sandals. Screaming, Melissa forgot all about the arm she was charged with holding. Her arm freed, Danny drew it back, sending her elbow right into Melissa's gut, dropping the woman like a sack of potatoes. Disbelief dawned on Tricia right before Danny grabbed her by her face and shoved her into the wall back first, sending the woman careening into the wall mounted paper towel dispenser and an innocent trash can. Before Cassie could regain her senses, Danny grappled with the woman, kicked open the door to the out of order bathroom stall and dunked her head in the filthy, clogged toilet.
Seconds later, Danny was back to her senses and virtually unscathed. She dragged Cassie out of the toilet by her hair, leaving the woman sobbing and sopping wet with filth on the bathroom floor. Surveying the damage she'd done, Danny went to the sink to wash her hands and used an alternate paper towel dispenser to dry them. Stunned, Sarah still stood, blocking the doorway. A sinister look from Danny was all it took to move her the hell out of the way.
"Lesson One, ladies." She said with her back turned in the doorway. "Danielle Labouleaux is not the one with whom to fuck."