In the late 1800’s Odara, a Creole girl in New Orleans, grew up wealthy and having the best of everything. She was taught the ways of plaçage: to be a wealthy man’s common-law wife. She didn’t want to follow the ways of plaçage as her mother had, until she met the man of her dreams, Henry Nicolas. He was handsome, charming and rich; perfect in every way until their first night of marriage when she saw his true malevolent side.
For twelve long years Odara endured abuse in the worst ways possible, taking her from a naive child to a scorned woman. A woman fueled with such revulsion towards Henry she would give anything for vengeance.
Through voodoo, Madame Lilly was born, but with it came consequences beyond even her comprehension.
Finally, after their first six months of marriage, he took her on a ride but wouldn’t tell her where they were going. Arriving at a house that was similar to hers but grander she figured they were finally attending one of the dinners he always talked about being given by his business partner.
A woman she had never met before stood on the steps, not looking pleased at their arrival. She was a homely, round woman who seemed old enough to be Henry’s mother. Henry introduced her to Odara as his wife, his legal white wife. Odara nearly fainted right there on the steps. Henry had never told her he had another wife. He was always around so she assumed she was the only one he loved.
She knew the Louisiana law but after all this time she thought she was the only one.
Did Papa know?
Henry smiled at Odara as if he hadn’t just dropped the weight of the world on her shoulders. His wife said nothing, only walked back inside. The house looked just like hers, down to the colors and paintings.
How could I have been so naive?
They were forced to have dinner together at the same table along with his two sons: five-year-old Jake and Thomas, aged three, of whom she also knew nothing. Throughout the dinner Odara received displeased glances from the wife as well as the servants.
As if sitting there wasn’t unbearable enough, he made her sit next to him so he could lean over and whisper disgusting things in her ear, smiling as if he spoke pleasantries.
He said things such as, “All three of us are going to engage in sexual activity later,” and “You better not get fat and disgusting like her.” Throughout the meal Odara could barely eat. All she really wanted to do was throw up. Never once during the dinner did he acknowledge the mother of his children.
Later that night he confessed to Odara that today was his and Mrs. Nicolas’ anniversary, their marriage was an arranged one and he had brought her there as a reminder to his legal wife that he had never loved her.
Odara was waiting for him to say something about never mentioning his legal wife before but he did not. She figured he didn’t love her either or he would never force her to play a part in such an activity. He only wanted to remind both women who was in charge.
The Saga So Far
Book Four Madame Lilly, Wicked is coming this Summer.