Something Read Something Dead | Chapter 7 of 35

Author: Eva Gates | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1475 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter Four

Dinner was not an enjoyable affair. The food was as excellent as always—Jake’s makes the best shrimp and grits on the Outer Banks, and that’s saying a lot—but I had no appetite. I wasn’t the only one. Aunt Ellen barely touched her flounder, and Josie consumed her steak with such sharp, angry bites she clearly wasn’t tasting it at all. Florence nibbled on her crab ravioli and avoided everyone’s eyes. Mary Anna asked Ellen if Amos was talking about retirement, which allowed my aunt to take a breath and begin discussing their plans. Only Gloria and Mirabelle seemed to be enjoying themselves. Gloria downed several Jack Daniels and pushed lettuce leaves around on her plate, while Mirabelle reduced her mussels to empty shells and flirted with Jake.

Wedding talk over, Jake also seemed to be enjoying the evening. Or the attentions of Cousin Mirabelle at least. He laughed at her jokes, accepted her compliments on the food, and flirted right back.

Josie seethed. I tried to give her an encouraging smile, but she ignored me.

At last the hideous evening approached its end. Coffee and dessert orders were taken. Mirabelle asked for the key lime ice cream, Gloria requested a brandy, and Jake had a coffee.

“The cake!” Mirabelle stabbed her spoon into her ice cream. “I can’t believe we’ve forgotten about the cake. Such an important part of a wedding, isn’t it, Flo?”

“It is,” Florence said. “Josie, have you ordered your cake yet?”

“Yes, we’re—”

“I hope you haven’t paid for it,” Mirabelle interrupted. “I … I mean we … can come up with something better. Right, Aunt Gloria?”

“Whatever it costs,” Gloria said.

Josie straightened in her chair. She folded her linen napkin neatly and placed it on the table beside her. Her mother and I braced ourselves.

“I am,” she said in clipped tones, “making my wedding cake myself.”

Mirabelle laughed.

Florence said, “Isn’t that maybe taking on too much?”

“I am a professional baker,” Josie said. “I’ve changed my mind, Lucy. I’ll be making my cake because I know exactly what I want.”

“That’s okay then,” Florence said softly.

Gloria glared at her.

“I guess,” Florence added.

“We’re going to have a cupcake tower,” Josie said.

“Cupcakes are sooooo passé,” Mirabelle said. “That would be okay if you had a retro theme, but you don’t. Do you? I hope you aren’t thinking of that. It can turn out so tacky. As for the cake, I’m thinking four layers of chocolate with a pistachio cream filling. A beach theme for decorations maybe, sand and water colors. Sea green will be a nice match to the pistachios.”

Josie pushed her chair back. “I am having a cupcake tower for my wedding cake and I am making it myself. I am buying my wedding dress in Nags Head and I am not, I repeat not, having purple flowers. Do. You. Understand. Me?”

“No need to get upset, dear,” Gloria said. “We only want what’s best for you.”

“Upset! You and your pack of interfering cousins are ruining my wedding. I’ll get upset if I want!”

Josie’s voice was rising. Heads of our fellow diners were turning, and the staff stopped what they were doing to stare.

Jake stood up and reached for her hand. “Calm down, babe.”

She snatched her hand away. “Calm down! Calm down!”

I’d never seen Josie—practical, down-to-earth Josie—like this. I started to rise, but Aunt Ellen caught my eye. She gave her head a shake and I sank back down.

“Cousin Mirabelle is only trying to be helpful,” Gloria said.

“Cousin Mirabelle is trying to steal my fiancé out from under my nose. And he doesn’t seem to mind one little bit. You can have your beach-themed cakes and sit-down dinners and purple flowers, but without me. The wedding is off!”

Josie burst into tears and ran out of the dining room. Diners and waiters watched her go. Jake stood frozen in place. I looked at Aunt Ellen. “Leave her be,” she mouthed to me.

“I didn’t …” Jake shook his head. He glanced around the table. “I didn’t …” He ran after Josie.

Mirabelle giggled. “Don’t worry about a thing, Aunt Ellen. Every woman turns into a bridezilla as the big day approaches.”

“Bridezilla!” I said. “If there’s anyone less like a bridezilla than Josie …”

“She’ll come around. We only want the best for her wedding, don’t we, Aunt Gloria?”

“Of course,” the matriarch said.

“You might be taking it too far this time, Mirabelle,” Florence said. “It is Josie’s wedding. Let her have what she wants. I think …”

“I don’t much care what you think,” Mirabelle snapped. “I’ll remind you whose money’s keeping your little business afloat. You agreed that we need to make a splash here …”

“Enough,” Aunt Ellen said. “Until further notice, all talk of wedding plans is canceled.”

“I agree with Ellen,” Mary Anna said. “I know you mean well, Mama, but Josie knows what she wants.”

Gloria bristled. “Weddings are tradition. They are family. They are history. I will see my only granddaughter married in a manner that suits the proud traditions of the O’Malley name.”

“Then maybe it should be held on a shrimp boat,” Aunt Ellen said. “And we can all wear waders and haul nets.”

Gloria’s eyes blazed enough fire to match her diamond rings. Mary Anna’s eyes opened in shock. Florence laughed.

“Weddings at sea can be great,” Mirabelle said. “Definitely great for photographs. But not in February. Are you thinking of delaying the wedding until summer, Aunt Ellen? That would give us time to plan something really great.”

Ellen stood up. “Good night, everyone. Gloria, we’re leaving.”

“That might be an idea,” I said. “Mirabelle, why don’t you look into that? You could check out the cost of yacht rentals to begin, and start thinking of a wedding dress to match being out at sea. And the food, of course. Fish, shrimp, Outer Banks clam chowder to start.”

Mirabelle gave me a huge grin. “Thanks, Lucy. I’m glad you’ve come around and you’re on my side.”

Ellen raised one eyebrow at me.

Gloria gripped her cane and rose to her feet in one smooth wave. “I knew we’d all come to an agreement. Yes, a summer wedding will be much nicer. Now, we can be on our way. Excellent dinner. I assume Jake is picking up the check.”

She tapped her way across the dining room floor.

“What are you talking about?” Aunt Ellen whispered to me. “We’re not having a summer wedding, never mind any other part of that plan.”

“Read The Busman’s Honeymoon,” I said, “and all will be revealed.”

Jake came back inside. He met Gloria and the others on their way out. His smile was stiff as they exchanged good-nights and brushed cheeks. He stepped out of range when Cousin Mirabelle tried to envelope him in an embrace.

“Call Josie in the morning,” Aunt Ellen said to me. “Give her some space tonight. Looks like she got away without making up with Jake.”

“Which reminds me,” I said. “I need a ride home.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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