Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Two?
From Pampered to Death
Chapter Two Continued…
Paula laughed and waved a hand in my direction. “Ignore her.”
“Other than the evidently advanced yoga class we took, I really have
enjoyed the spa. I’ll have to come back sometime and try out your
facial and massage treatments.”
“Thank you. That means a lot to me,” Jane said. “This spa has been
a labor of love, but it seems to be paying off. We’re working on
“We saw that when we first got here,” Paula said, referring to the
construction we’d noticed toward the back of the lobby. “Are you
expanding into the building next door?”
“Yeah,” Jane said. “Currently it’s a nail salon. When we book mani‐
cures and pedicures, we leverage their staff and space. So we did the
most logical thing we could think of–merge.”
“Awesome! A one-stop shop for pampering,” Paula said.
“That’s the goal,” Jane said. “So what is it that you ladies do? I heard
you talking about … Speederman, was it?”
“That would be my oldest,” Paula said with a laugh. “He’s going
through a superhero phase right now. But I’m an interior designer by
Paula flashed me a look, both of us thinking the same thing—if she
could land the spa as a client, we’d have a lot of complimentary hot
tubbing in our future.
“Impressive,” Jane said.
“And Kate is a private investigator,” Paula said, throwing an arm
around my neck and pointing at me with her free hand. “And she’s
great! She’s fairly new to the business, but she’s already solved some
high profile cases. Cases, you know, that San Francisco’s finest had
“That’s really interesting,” Jane said. She turned to me and gave me
an appraising look. “How did you get into that?”
Before I could launch into the story of my brother-in-law’s bags
being recovered on the pier along with an unidentified body, shouts
from outside the spa’s doors silenced me.
We all turned toward the doors, as loud giggles followed by more
noise greeted us.
“Brace yourselves,” Jane said with a wink. “The bridal party has
arrived, and I’m pretty sure they ordered the deluxe package … which
comes with three bottles of champagne … plus I’m certain they had a
bit to drink before coming here too.”
“Should they be in the hot tub if they’ve been drinking?” Paula
“Not really,” Jane said. “But we have security cameras in here, and
someone is always monitoring them for safety. I’d hate to ruin a bach‐
elorette party by being a stickler. Though, if they don’t settle down
soon, they’ll be leaving.”
The doors flung open, and a drunken parade of giddy young girls
came wobbling in. One older and sober woman escorted the girls
through. The younger girls all dove into the hot tub beside us while
the older woman looked at us with desperate eyes.
“Would you like to squeeze in with us?” I asked.
The woman didn’t hesitate. “I’m the mother of the groom,” she
said, nodding toward the drunken bride in the other hot tub who was
wearing a plastic tiara.
Paula laughed. “How did you get stuck as the designated driver
The woman pinned her bright red hair back with a black rubber
and laughed. “I was kindly invited. I thought it was going to be a fun,
relaxing spa day. Now I’m pretty sure Kelly just wanted me to drive
I laughed quietly. “I’m Kate, by the way.”
The older lady smiled. “Julie Lozano.”
“Lozano?” the owner questioned. “Do I know you? The name
“It’s just a really common Italian last name,” the woman said.
“There’s a healthy population of Italians around in San Francisco. I’m
sure you’ve met a few Lozanos, with your business being located in
the heart of downtown.”
“Kelly, stop splashing!” the woman wearing the maid of honor sash
shouted at the bride.
Jane laughed. “I hate to do this to you, Mrs. Lozano, but those
ladies are owed one more bottle of champagne with their package. I
should probably make sure one of my employees fetches it for
Mrs. Lozano sighed. “Go ahead. I suppose my future daughter-in-law
and her friends do deserve a little fun before the big day, right?”
Jane stood and fetched her towel. She said her farewells to Paula
and me, and exited.
“Mrs. Lozano!” one of the girls shouted from the other hot tub.
“Are you hiding from us over there?”
“Maybe a little,” she said with a laugh.
“Hey, I know you!” the same woman shouted and pointed right at
me. “Your picture was in the paper a while ago, right?”
I blushed. “Yes, actually,” I said, almost forgetting I’d wound up in
the paper for one of the cases I solved.
“I’m Brittany, the maid of honor of this posse. This is Kelly, the
“Nice to meet you both,” Paula said, and we were introduced to
four more women, the last of whom had similar red hair to Mrs.
Lozano. Paula smiled at the last woman who was introduced as
Merida. “Are you two related?” she asked.
Merida laughed. “What, you see red hair, and you assume we’re
both Italian, right?”
Paula blushed. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I hope I didn’t offend you.”
“I’m just teasing,” Merida said. “Mine is from a bottle, but Mrs.
Lozano’s authentic! We’re no relation,” she slurred slightly. “Though, I
did date her son for a while.” She laughed a little too hard and looked
for a moment as if she might lose her bearings and take a face plant
into the hot tub.
“Don’t make it weird, Merida,” the maid of honor, Brittany,
“It’s not weird, Brittany,” Kelly, the bride, assured. “No one cares
that Merida used to date Ryan.”
Paula piped up, “And Ryan is …?”
“My son,” Mrs. Lozano said. “Kelly’s future husband. Merida and
he dated briefly before he met Kelly.”
“So … the ex-girlfriend is one of the bridesmaids?” Paula asked,
and I nudged her to let her know to stop prying.
“It’s not weird!” Kelly insisted.
Merida laughed and agreed. “Not at all. Ryan and I stayed friends
after we broke up, so Kelly and I became friends too. Right, Mrs.
“Right,” Mrs. Lozano said with an unsettled look.
One of the girls lifted herself out of the Jacuzzi and fanned her
face, and I suddenly smelled that awful cloying scent again.
My head spun and I felt like I was going to throw up.
I stood and grabbed the side of the hot tub. “Have any of you had
facials?” I asked.
One of the girls raised her hand as though we were in a classroom.
“What kind of face mask did they use?” I asked. “That smell is so
“I know, right?” the girl said. “But my skin is so soft!”
Jane returned with a tray of Champagne glasses in hand. “We have
two more facial appointments?” she asked, looking at the bride and
maid of honor.
“Save us some Champagne you greedy hoodlums!” Brittany cried,
hopping out of the tub and grabbing her towel.
The bride, Kelly, had trouble getting out of the tub, her pink tiara
spilling onto the floor.
Mrs. Lozano frowned. “Maybe you should have some coffee, dear.”
Brittany picked up the tiara and placed it askew on top of Kelly’s
head. “She’s fine.”
Jane glanced from Mrs. Lozano to the bride. “We have a great
caramel apple coffee blend that you’ll love.”
Kelly wobbled toward the door. “Maybe that’s a good idea. Do you
have Stevia?” she asked. “I have a tight white dress I need to fit in
soon. I can’t do sugar.”
Jane smiled. “We have Stevia.”
Kelly and Brittany opened the door to the hallway as Jane popped
the cork on the champagne.
“I think I’ll take a glass this time,” Mrs. Lozano said, and the
younger women cheered.
Brittany exited the hot tub room and held the door for Kelly to
follow her out.
As Kelly slipped out of the room, the tiara on her head took a
tragic dive onto the tile floor; cracking and splintering as the door
closed behind her.
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