If Scandal (Roja Dove 2007) is indeed a scandal, then it’s a rather lighthearted one I think…   One with lots of juicy chatter (as indicated by a flurry of vivid and vocal notes mid drydown) but very little pain.

Scandal is a predominantly  tuberose fragrance.  Very, very tuberose (with other noticeable, pretty but less assertive florals)…  And despite its suggestive title, I can’t say it’s particularly sexy in my estimation.  Rather, scandal is a lush, blossoming, lovely scent with a very flamboyant, sweet cheerfulness.

Top notes: bergamot and lavender.  Middle notes: tuberose, jasmine, freesia, rose, gardenia, lily-of-the-valley and orange blossom. Base notes: sandalwood, musk and orris root.

Up in Smoke: Part II of III

At eight-thirty Luke decided to go downstairs and see what everyone else was doing. Elizabeth needed to put on a different outfit so she lingered in their room for a moment or two longer.

From the stairs when she descended, Eliza could hear the sound of Joni Mitchell playing on Rich’s vintage record player.

“Is that Joni Mitchell you picked?” Sarah asks.

“Yeah.”  Luke can be heard responding.

“Oh my god!” Stacy shrieks loudly. “I love her too!”

“So do I.”  says Sarah more calmly.  “This record was an anniversary gift to me from Rich…”

“That’s right.  Oh my god!  Yeah.  You guys played this album at your wedding dance didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”  Sarah sounds nostalgic.

Then the sound of feet and then the absence of human sound.

Eliza enters the dining room only to find that nobody is there.  It’s just her and Joni Mitchell’s voice coming from the rich, crackling depths of the recording.  She hears the sound of people in the distance toward the back of the house and follows them.

..I’ve looked at clouds that way, but now they only block the sun...”

In the living room down the hall Eliza finds that the wooden framed windows have all been shoved wide open.  A chilled stream of air is misting through the windows, wafting from among the lilacs.  And on the other side rain is pouring on everything and everyone as Joni floats outdoors.

Off to the left, under the flimsy shelter of a tall Cottonwood tree, Pat rests gloomily in an old metal folding chair and it is not entirely clear if he is napping or watching.  His arms are thrown off to the sides as he sits in a reclining position.  His well tailored shirt rumpled from the rain, he looks resolute and manly but not particularly pleased.

Sarah and Rich gaze at each other and then begin dancing as their eyes meet and twirl.  Then Rich pulls her close and they are locked together.  Behind them Luke and Stacy awkwardly observe.

“I wanna dance to Joni too!”  Stacy glances at Luke, grabs him and swings him around.  The two start making up silly dance moves and teasing each other.

In the doorway Eliza finds herself wanting to fight it, but it’s unclear how to go about doing so.  Really, there was nothing to do but watch, so she just stood there feeling stupid.  She watched as Stacy and Sarah smiled.

But Eliza had not gone unnoticed.  Stacy, half seeing her out of the corner of her eye, secretly delighted in the misery she was inflicting on the young woman several years her junior.  And, she also realized how much of a risk she was currently taking with her own heart…  But, it had “just happened” or at least that’s what she had decided she would tell people.  Luke looked so lost, sad and uncomfortable just sitting there as Sarah and Rich fought in the truck so they started talking.  She felt lucky she had found them on the road back to the lake house from town.

Walking outside in the rain the drenched green grass felt mushy under Eliza’s bare feet, as if any second she would slide into it and completely humiliate herself.  And really, she couldn’t stand it.  Her mascara was running, her dress was now soaked and her husband was waltzing in the rain with another woman right in front of her.  And her feet were freezing.  She stopped and shivered.

Eliza was, in fact, totally finished with this scene.  Aside from some sort of vague, self pitying masochism if she stayed any longer, it was time to go.  So she left.  She walked back slowly, thought about saying goodbye to someone, like Luke, but the moment she opened her mouth she realized how pointless it was.

And, in fact, despite its inherent clumsiness she walked backwards almost the entire way to the house.   When she felt the handle of the door in her hands, wet and cold, she realized that this was it.  She was leaving after losing hope.  Loneliness was waiting.  Yet, upon entering inside, the warmth of the cozy house welcomed her.   At least she wasn’t cold anymore.

Finally, after making her way to the kitchen, with the white cupboards and black and white checkered floor, she felt a bit of peace.  This place felt ancient even though it wasn’t.  It felt safe.

And then there was the wine.  She grabbed it by the throat and poured herself a glass of red – a sweet Spanish wine.  It was a Crianza and it was delectable.

Leaning back on the counter tops she took a deep breath and looked around.  It suddenly occured to her that she wanted desperately to explore this rather grand old house.  Alone.  So, Eliza walked down the dim hallway toward the stairs and then up to the library.

It was an almost unseemly place.  It could be very eerie, especially at night, and it always smelled strongly of pipe tobacco.  But, it was charming…

Eliza noticed a set of old books about eagles near the fireplace.  The set was in near mint condition with a dark brown jacket.

She brushes them off lightly, noticing the smell of musty old book pages and dust.  Glass of wine still in hand she takes a sip, savors the cherry and plum and then sits it down adroitly to her right on the marble mantle.

Eliza hears a faint rustling in the background and she has the sense that there is someone behind her.  She half expects it to be Luke…

Perhaps he has come to apologize. And, what a feat that would be!  He might actually love her and have noticed when she went inside.  At this thought she imagines a scene of him telling Stacy or Sarah that he really loves Eliza and has to leave to check on her.  Her heart forms a small smile and takes a tiny leap at the thought of this very pleasant idea.

She turns around carefully, to give herself time to mentally prepare to see Luke and accept whatever he offers her.  But instead, she sees Pat.

He was rather remarkable actually…  While she had certainly noticed his masculine but gentle charm before, at this moment, his eyes looked so very blue and filled with light.  It was as if he had taken himself off the shelf and uncovered something rather rare and divine.

He dipped his frame into the room, showing a head of thick blond hair.  Then he turned around to the door, shut it quietly and walked over to the back of the sofa.  He leaned forward, resting his hands on the back of the dark green velvet and placed his weight there.  Then in the peaceful darkness of the library their eyes met firmly.

His face became electrified with an all consuming thought that set him a flight.  Luminous, staring with a belief of profound intention, he steadied himself toward her, finally reaching her, then enclosing her; moving together as two to become one until they reached the far wall by the window.

Eliza felt the coolness of the wall against her back as he finally kissed her lips with soft, beautifully desperate intensity.  Then he stopped and backed away and looked at her for a second. He was breathless.

“This isn’t alright is it?”

She shook her head back and forth in response before saying, “And I can’t get hurt again right now.”

“Of course not.  Neither can I.”

He grabbed her hand and pressed her against the wall, but then paused again and instead brought her to the sofa.  There they sat, staring at each other, neither of them sure what to do or say next.




















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