Fiction: Wives of the Main Line

This is a work of fiction. Saturdays are reserved for stretching creative muscles. This is my creative work; do not steal, do not repost without permission, do not reproduce.

Marah Miller called the meeting of the Main Line Wives to order at the Rosemont Country Club. The group was small and consisted primarily of four women: herself, Jazzlyn Follett, Patricia Langley, and Priya Karani. There were former members and other women who lobbied to become part of the exclusive, elite group of women who devoted themselves to social activities along Philadelphia metro’s posh Main Line suburban area. As president of the MLW, Marah was in charge of keeping up on social events for the ladies to attend and making sure the group performed stints at enough philanthropic events to appear as more than a high society club. But if Marah was really honest, they really were nothing more than a high society club putting on appearances. And these ladies weren’t just Main Line Country Club Wives—they were her inner circle of friends. Marah’s reason for exclusivity wasn’t simply a snobbish one, it was practical. Not everyone could be one of Marah’s close friends.

“All right, let’s get down to business. For now, at least.” Marah smiled and smoothed her wavy blond hair. She knew that these meetings could quickly evolve into gab sessions and she wanted to get the important stuff out of the way first. “First, we’ve got to decide the next event that we plan on attending.  There are three options for some time next week. The Devon Arboretum will be hosting a fundraising event on Tuesday—”

“No,” Priya interjected immediately.

“Why not?” Jazzlyn cocked her head to the side inquisitively. “I think it would be fun.”

Priya rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. “There are different kinds of members from the community that would be there. It’s not worth our time.”

Jazzlyn gave Priya a stern look. “I hardly think a fundraising event for the arboretum would be a waste of time.”

Priya ignored Jazzlyn and focused her attention back to Marah. “No.”

“What I believe Priya is trying to say,” Patricia began cautiously, “is that perhaps the Main Line Wives would be better received at another event.” Patricia hated to say out loud that Priya really meant the Devon Arboretum fundraiser would have people who were lower class than she was.

Jazzlyn shrugged. “I think it would be a great way to raise the arboretum’s profile by appearing there.”

“Of course you would,” Priya shot at her. “You’re a tree-hugging Democrat.”

Jazzlyn gave Priya a puzzled look but said nothing.

“Well, we could also attend a Sunday brunch for the Haverford Academy. It’s $25 per person,” Marah offered.

“Isn’t that essentially a fundraiser?” Jazzlyn asked.

“Shh!” Patricia said. “Haverford would never call it by something as low class as that.” Patricia burst into giggles.

Jazzlyn sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. How she ever made it into the Main Line Wives group was beyond her. She was so different from Priya and Marah. But thanks to her connection with Patricia, Jazzlyn had applied for membership to the group and after a grueling interview with Marah, successfully became a member after a spot opened up. She had only been a member for a month and was beginning to wonder if the spot that opened up was due to the previous wife realizing she wasn’t cut out for spending time with these women either.

“It’s a brunch, Jazzlyn,” Marah replied. “It’s a dignified affair. Haverford Academy takes their events very seriously and it helps the school to operate their budget. I’ve been to their brunches before and have always had the pleasure of having a marvelous time. They host the brunches quarterly.”

“What’s the final event, Marah?” Priya asked.

Marah grinned and she could feel her cheeks reddening before she spoke. “Brandon Pollock will be hosting a philanthropic event to raise money for ending hunger in Somalia.”

Priya nearly snorted. “Good luck with that.”

“Wait,” Jazzlyn said, registering Marah’s words. “The Brandon Pollock? The famous actor from the soap opera Earth’s Passions?”

Marah continued to grin and nodded. “That’s him!”

Patricia sat back and smiled. “Looks like we have our event then. Unless you disagree, Priya.”

“No, no. I think it would be good for us to appear in the People section of the Main Line Post alongside Brandon Pollock. You have an invite, Marah?”

Marah laughed. “Of course!” She waved the invitation in the air.

“Saving the best for last,” Patricia said. “How smart.”

“So it’s settled then. I’ll put in an RSVP for the four of us.”

Priya huffed but did not elaborate. Marah ignored her.

“So what other business is there to attend to?” Patricia asked.

“How much do we want to contribute to the fundraiser?”

“As little as possible,” Priya said sourly.

Jazzlyn gave her a cross look. “We don’t want to look cheap.”

Marah nodded. “Agreed. We can’t afford to look cheap. It would reflect badly upon our group. I think we should contribute $1250 each. That way, we’ll have $5,000 total from all us. Not bad for four people, I think.”

Priya glared at Jazzlyn. “Is $1250 out of your budget, Jazzlyn? Do we need to contribute more for you?”

Jazzlyn didn’t know why Priya had such a dislike for her every time they interacted. It’s not as if Jazzlyn had done anything to offend her. Except, maybe, for existing.

“Well, I was thinking $2,000 as a matter-of-fact.” There was no way Priya was going to make her look like the poorest one in the entire group.

Patricia nodded. “Two grand sounds good to me.”

Marah gave Priya an inquisitive look. “Two okay for you, Priya?”

Priya shrugged. “Two is fine.”

Marah jotted the amount on her agenda. “So that’ll be six thousand total from us. I think Mr. Pollock will be pleased with our contribution to combat hunger in Somalia.”

“So now, can we really get down to business?” Patricia asked. “Did you see what Mindy Sheppard was wearing last week at the Radnor Flower Show?”

Priya laughed. “I thought I’d never see such a horrible turquoise dress paired with bumblebee yellow pumps!”

Marah smiled. “The hair was the killer for me.”

“Oh my God, yes!” Priya agreed. “I swear, that was either a wig on her head or her blond extensions were something awful and cheap.”

“What did you think of Mindy’s outfit, Jazz?” Patricia asked.

Jazzlyn shrugged. “I’m not an expert on fashion.”

“Oh come on, now, you have to have some sort of opinion,” Patricia urged.

Jazzlyn shook her head. She also failed to realize when she joined the Main Line Wives that she wasn’t the gossiping type. The only things so far that made her qualified to be a part of the group was time to meet during the day, money to attend events, and her friendship with Patricia. She had become accustomed to silently sitting at these gossip sessions after Marah had finished discussed her agenda.

“You’re just insecure because your fashion sense isn’t the best either,” Priya pointed out. “But thank God it’s not as embarrassing as Mindy’s. I couldn’t stand it if she were a part of our group.”

Marah chuckled. “She’s applied. I told her there’s a waiting list of women who want to be a part of our group, but I haven’t let her know that I replaced Melissa with Jazzlyn.”

“What happened to the last Main Line wife?” Jazzlyn asked.

The other three fell silent. Priya stared at her finely polished manicure while Marah suddenly became interested in the lapel of her blazer. Finally, Patricia spoke.

“Melissa couldn’t maintain the status of a Main Line wife. Her husband got laid off from work and she had to go back to work full-time.”

“I can imagine how tough that must be for her.”

“I was sorry to see her go,” Priya added. “She was a great addition to our group.”

Jazzlyn gave Priya a puzzled look. “Don’t you keep in touch with her?”

“Why should I? We don’t have anything in common anymore. We can’t do anything together. She’s barely free on evenings and weekends, and she doesn’t have money to attend social events. It’s a shame, really.”

“Well, it could happen to any one of us,” Patricia added. “I mean, her husband was the head of a Fortune 500 company in Philly. When the economy took a turn for the worst, his head was the first on the chopping block.”

“That’s sad.”

“It’s a shame, but what can you do?” Priya rubbed her fingernails as if to give them additional shine.

“And how many people were on the list for an opening?”

Marah sighed. “Good grief. I don’t know. Probably about 50. I could open it up to more women but then we’d lose our exclusivity, you know?”

“Sounds like some of these women don’t have a shot.”

“Would you like to offer up your spot?” Priya sneered.

“No, I just think it’s sort of cruel to have women on a waiting list for something they may never be a part of.”

Marah smiled. “The waiting list is what makes us popular. Besides, I toy around every now and then with the idea of adding a fifth woman to the club.”

After discussing a few more events to attend, Marah dismissed the meeting.

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