Did you miss Chapter One?
- Figure out food for Babette’s bachelorette party.
- Call home.
- See Niagara Falls.
- Try not to miss Laurie and Jim too much.
- Does this hotel have a spa?
“Would you mind excusing me for a second?” I asked Valentine. “My feet are killing me.” I rubbed my protruding belly. Being six months pregnant with twins is no walk in the park.
“I think I have a few minutes before Babette gets here. Plus, I’m dying to call home,” I said.
“Of course,” Valentine said. “Don’t give it a second thought. I’ll put the cake on the table with the rest of the food.”
I nodded my thanks and wiggled my fingers at her, then turned and crossed the dank party room. Seriously, the hotel needed a little TLC.
What had Babette been thinking?
Maybe she didn’t know how rundown the hotel had become. My invitation had come from a Merry Wrath, whom I hadn’t met yet. Probably the party was a surprise to Babette.
But she’d smile and play along. Babette was a trouper.
I was excited to see her. We’d been friends since college, and I hadn’t seen her since my own bachelorette party, which my best friend Paula had arranged on a Napa Valley Wine Train tour. But my poor feet had swelled on the plane and I needed to get them propped up stat, or I’d be reduced to wearing the non-slip socks they’d given me during the flight.
I passed the fake fireplace and left the room. At the end of the hotel corridor, a heavy exit door was propped open. Mercifully, gales of crisp air streamed in. I gulped greedily, thankful to breathe air that was fresher than in the party room. I marched toward the elevator just as a harried woman reeking of cigarette smoke and screaming on her cell phone burst through the exit door and closed it.
“She’s no good! I keep telling ya that. Why don’t you listen for once in your life?” she shrieked into her mobile.
I pressed the elevator button and waited, trying not to eavesdrop.
“Listen, everyone wants their big break. They just don’t want to work for it.” She squinted over at me, her eyeliner and mascara so heavily applied it was hard to make out if she wore false eyelashes or if there was a bat stuck to her face. She had a mop of blonde curls gathered at the top of her head and bright red lipstick stuck to her teeth.
“Going up?” she screeched at me.
I refrained from notifying her that we were on the ground level and that up was the only way to go. Instead, I politely nodded.
“Good!” she barked.
The elevator pinged and the doors opened. As much as I was desperate to get to my room, I hesitated.
Do I really need to ride the elevator with this woman?
She stepped into the elevator and thrust a bangled arm out to hold the door for me. I obediently followed her in.
“Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” she cracked into the phone and abruptly hung up. She turned to me and demanded, “Floor?”
“Four,” I squeaked.
She whacked the number panel. “You here for the party?”
I nodded as the elevator lurched upward.
“How do you know Babette?”
My eyes widened. How could this woman possibly know Babette?
“College,” I mustered. “And you?”
The elevator pinged and the doors whooshed opened.
“I’m her talent agent, darling.”
Talent agent? Babette was a pharmaceutical salesperson. When had she landed a talent agent?
Before I could react, she strode out of the elevator, and a couple stepped in. The woman had a severe, striking look with dark wavy hair and wore a classic navy sheath dress suit. The man looked a bit disheveled. His hair was floppy in front and, although he wore a brown blazer, his blue dress shirt was unbuttoned almost to his navel.
“You’re making a mistake, Charlie,” the woman said. “That’s all I’m saying.”
Babette’s groom was named Charlie…could this be the groom-to-be?
The doors closed and the elevator jolted upward. The woman’s hand flew to the side railing. “Are we going up?”
Charlie flashed me a look. “Sorry. We didn’t check.”
“No problem,” I said. “Just popping up to my room before the party. Are you Charlie Miller?”
He straightened. “I am. And you are?”
The elevator pinged, having arrived on my floor. “I’m Kate Connolly, Babette’s friend.”
The woman’s face soured at the mention of Babette.
What was that about?
Charlie turned to the woman. “You head on down, Chelsea. Have a good time.” He held the elevator door for me and followed me out. As soon as the door closed, he sighed. “My sister is kind of high maintenance.”
Hmmm. Babette’s future sister-in-law was troublesome.
Why wasn’t she ecstatic to have Babette join their family?
Anyone with half a brain would be over the moon to welcome Babette into their family. Then I thought of my own troublesome sister-in-law. Family could be challenging, especially the extended-family kind.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” Charlie asked, looking pointedly at my protruding belly.
I didn’t know whether to be offended or relieved. At six months pregnant I wasn’t exactly an invalid, but flying cross-country had rendered me rather useless at the moment.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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