Author’s Note: Thursday evening I will post a bonus chapter of Beth’s Diary. It doesn’t really move the wedding any closer but it is a fun peek at something that I hope you will enjoy!
July 3, 2008
We’ll be pulling in to the city in about an hour. Right now we are on a terminally boring stretch of highway between Boulder Dam and Kingston, Arizona. It truly is the most desolate piece of road I have ever been on; miles and miles of nothing but rocks and scrub vegetation. We’ll be going over the dam in about 15 minutes Josef’s GPS tells us and then we head straight for Vegas. AND, while we’re there we are staying at the Bellagio Hotel! I’m so excited; the bus has been great but I’m really looking forward to a bit of pampering at the spa there – Josef’s treat he says.
Believe it or not I have never been to Las Vegas! I’ve always meant to go, just never did. Now we’re really going in style, the BELLAGIO for heaven’s sake. Both Mick and Josef just grin at me when I go on and on about it. It’s probably old hat to them – I’d be willing to bet that those two have had a few adventures there and most of them I really wouldn’t want to hear about I’m sure.
We’ve been gone from home for almost 3 weeks now and I’m ready to get back home to our lives. Don’t get me wrong, this has been such a fantastic trip (not counting Simone’s exit) but I’m itching to get back to work. And Mick and I are going to try to have a baby and before we do that he says we’re going to get married. He really is such an old school guy about some things but in this case I don’t mind a bit; I’m ready to do this. I don’t want the whole production wedding that takes forever to plan; something fast is all I ask for. Sure, I’d love the white gown and stuff but I just want to be Mick’s wife.
I talked to Audrey who has been keeping an eye on Travis for me and she says he’s doing fine at Logan’s house. That had me concerned – mostly that Travis would disappear into the black hole of Logan’s basement and never be seen again. I really miss him; Audrey says he’s so sweet. I think she means Travis, but maybe she was talking about Logan too!
We haven’t talked to Simone or about her either. Later the night that she left the bus Josef got a text message from her saying that her flight had been delayed, several times in fact and she was really angry. I won’t repeat the things she said to him but I think it’s safe to say that those two will never get back together. I guess I’m feeling bad for Josef, but I think he’s okay about it. Maybe he knew that they were both sort of killing time, I don’t know. I don’t believe for a moment that it was a love match. Since she works for Kostan Industries I can’t help but wonder how this will affect her and her job.
Oh look! There’s Boulder Dam! This is fantastic!!!
Ten days prior…
“Beth and Mick are getting married!!!” Robbi all but screamed into the phone when Lani told her about the email from Mick.
“Yes they are; now can you take it down a notch or two Robbi? Wow, are my ears still functioning?” Lani quipped, shaking her head so that the buzzing would stop. Mick said he was sorry he didn’t send the info to you too but he didn’t have your email address and neither did Dorothy. He wants us to go to Vegas in 3 days to start making preparations. Can you go?”
“I will absolutely go; you couldn’t keep me from that wedding. So how long do we have and what do we have to do?”
“We’ll have about a week to get things ready, along with a wedding planner at the hotel.”
“The Bellagio.Should be nice. Josef said we can just put it all on his account there. He’s rented the whole penthouse floor for us to stay. In the meantime we need to notify the people we think Beth would want to come and when we get to Vegas we’ll pick out suitable dresses for us and see if we can find some that Beth can take a look at so she can pick one. So you, Dorothy and I are the advance party. I hope you can handle it!”
“Handle it? Of course I can handle it. But is seems like a lot to get done in only a week!”
“The planner has already made arrangements with the hotel catering services and florists to let them know that we’ll be making selections. It shouldn’t be that hard actually.”
“Do you think Beth will be upset that we made so many of her decisions for her?”
“Beth? Are you kidding, she’ll probably be relieved. You know she doesn’t like doing all this stuff.”
“Well neither do you!” Robbi laughed.
“That’s exactly why I have you and Dorothy!”
“Well, I’ll be,” Logan said as he read his email. “Mick and Beth are getting married, in Las Vegas, in 10 days time. Holy cow.” He looked over at Audrey who was brushing Travis as she sat on the couch. He was limp as a noodle and was making purring sounds of ecstasy with each stroke.
“That’s wonderful Logan. I knew when I first met them that they would end up married. So are you going to give your niece away per chance?”
“No, I would imagine Clark will do that. I’m going to be at the altar with Mick and Josef. He says I have to wear a tux!” He grimaced at the thought.
“I think you’ll look very handsome,” she told him and then quietly added, “And sexy.” She blushed as she said it; they hadn’t crossed that line yet but it was coming. She had never had sex before but she knew that she wanted that with Logan very much.
If Logan could have blushed he would have too. He didn’t realize how their thoughts mirrored one another’s. He’d never had sex either, well, not technically and if it were possible, he was even more nervous about it than she was. And the way she was looking at him right now made him think she wasn’t nervous about it at all. Just his luck to find the perfect girl but did she have to be more experienced in the sex subject than he was?
To move those thoughts out of his brain and focus on something else he said, “What do I do with Travis? I can’t take him with us.” Travis looked up at him when he heard his name. He flashed his eyes for a moment to let Logan know he’d heard it.
Logan stared at the cat. They had come to an uneasy truce between them but there was something not right with the cat. Logan couldn’t figure it out; he had fangs, big, sharp ones and his eyes occasionally silvered over. He would sometimes just stare at Logan and lick his lip; it was almost frightening. He was a devil cat as far as Logan was concerned but he did his best to take care of him for Beth. He and Mick needed to have a talk, a long talk.
Travis stood up and nuzzled his nose against Audrey, rubbing his cheek against her chest. At least he had good taste in women Logan admitted.
“He can stay at my place with Plato! They will have the kitty door so they can come in and out and we’ll leave plenty of food and water for them. Mrs. Murphy, my neighbor will check on them several times; she just loves Plato. We’ll only be gone a couple of days and I’ve left Plato alone for that long plenty of times.”
“Well, if you think it will be safe for them,” Logan answered hesitantly. He hoped the two of them would get along okay.
Carl walked into Ben’s office; he was reading a file and motioned Carl to take a seat. He finally closed it and sat looking at it for a moment, tapping his pen against it, his expression inscrutable. “Hey Carl, thanks for coming in; I’ve got something I want to show you.” He pushed the file towards Carl who picked it up and started looking at the list of names on it.
As he flipped through the pages he looked confused and when he got to the last page his eyes opened wider in surprise. He shut the file and took a cautious look at Ben; he wondered what he knew.
“Pretty strange,” he said, handing the file back to Ben. “So, what do you think it’s all about?”
“I don’t have a clue. I’ve had a couple of calls telling me that the file was for my eyes only and that more would be coming. Any ideas?”
“Yeah, ‘your eyes only’ and you’re sharing it with me? Should I be looking for shadows?”
Ben smiled for a moment and leaned forward and said, “Let me tell you, I have been. Some of those names make no sense; they’re either dead or historical or fictional characters.”
“Except for the last page…”
“Yes, except for that last page. Maybe some of the other names too, not sure. I’ve investigated a bit, but I’m not getting anywhere. Gut feeling?”
“Um, a hoax?”
“Maybe or just some nut case – maybe some perv sees names in the paper or online and puts them on the list. Who knows? I’m tempted to just ignore it all actually.” He watched Carl’s face as he spoke, trying to gauge his thoughts. He either knows or suspects something but what?
“Sounds like as good an idea as anything. So why me? Did you think I might know something Ben?”
“No, not any more than I know. Just a sounding board kind of thing really. It’s a puzzle and I don’t particularly like puzzles. Somehow I don’t think you do either.”
Carl smiled and thought carefully before he posed his next question. “What do you want to do about it? Investigate it further or let it drop?”
“Going to let it drop for now, or until I have somewhere to start with it. What else can I do?” he said with a shrug.
It was scary the things he could do Carl realized. For Carl though, that list gave him a few things to think about and check out.
And he would.
8 days prior…
Dorothy, Lani and Robbi walked down the steps of Josef’s jet at McCarran International’s private terminal and the heat immediately surged around them. It almost took their breath away and Lani kept telling herself that it was only because the tarmac was so hot. She was wrong of course, but she tried to believe it.
Inside the terminal the clock said 10:12 am and the temperature outside was 105 already. “Great. We’re going to die! I thought LA was bad earlier.”
Robbi, ever the optimist said, “Well, at least it’s a dry heat Lani!”
“Wonderful. We’ll roast instead of braise. Delightful.”
Dorothy laughed and said “Come on you two, let’s go get something to drink while we wait for our luggage, should only be a couple of minutes.” She pointed to the bar and headed there and asked for an orange juice. Robbie asked for the same and Lani cringed, wanting a stiff shot of something a bit more potent. She settled for OJ.
“Um, this is really good,” Robbi said taking a sip and looking around her with interest. “Look, there are slot machines over there!”
“Robbi, we’re in Vegas, they are everywhere,” Lani said, her voice tinged with a bit of ennui.
“Well, aren’t you just the voice of boredom. For heaven’s sake Lani, we’re in Las Vegas. To plan Beth’s wedding!”
Lani grinned at that thought. “Okay, maybe it won’t be so bad; I just hate this heat.”
Dorothy watched them both with a great deal of tolerance; in many ways they were like daughters for her too,especially Lani who had never had much of a home life. Left to herself from a very young age she spent a lot of time with Beth and that was okay with Dorothy. Lani could be exasperating, but she was also like a little sponge – she soaked up all the love and caring she could from the people who cared for her; she just didn’t want to admit that she did it. Well, as long as they weren’t men anyway – those she kept at arm’s length and never let into her heart. Dorothy always felt that Lani could give so much in a good relationship; she was brave and honest and a fighter. Maybe someday the right man will come along she thought with a sigh.
A few minutes later the bags were in and the ladies were told their limo was waiting.
“A limo? Oh my gosh,” Robbi squealed. “How exciting!”
“Nothing but the best for Kostan. I’ve got to give him that.”
“You don’t like Mr. Kostan?” Robbi asked.
“Well, I don’t know him much. He just always seems so smug, like he’s better than anyone else. It irritates me is all.”
“He evidently must like Mick and Beth though, he’s going to a lot of trouble and expense to throw this wedding for them,” Dorothy said as they walked outside. The heat immediately blasted them again and they climbed into the chilled air of the limo with a great deal of pleasure.
“Probably having some flunky take care of everything. He likes to sit back and think he’s king while the rest of us bow at his feet.”
“Lani, that’s a little harsh don’t you think?” Robbi stared at her in wonder that she would be so bitter about someone she said she didn’t know all that well.
“We’ll see I guess.” They looked out the windows as the limo pulled away from the terminal and followed the path out of the airport. A quick right turn on the strip took them past the huge hotels, and Robbi tried to take it all in, pointing out different things as they went.
“Oh my gosh, is that a roller coaster up there?” she asked pointing to New York, New York. “And the Statue of Liberty too. Holy cow, I can’t believe all this.”
Before long they pulled into the Bellagio Hotel and watched as the fountain show was going on. “It must be beautiful at night,” Dorothy said as she watched the graceful sway of the water.
“Yes, it is. I’ve seen it at night but I’ve never stayed here, so I am excited about it.”
“Well Lani, that’s a start!” Dorothy laughed. “Come on girls, adventure and pampering awaits us!”
After a brief time at the check-in counter they were whisked away to their suites. The bellhop told them, “To get to the penthouse floor you must scan you room key, otherwise the elevator will not go there.”
Each woman was shown to a different suite, filled with flowers and chilling champagne, baskets of fruits and nuts and every luxury they could imagine. Robbi’s suite had two bedrooms, one for Kevin and her and one for Brianna, although she doubted they would get Bri to stay in the strange room by herself. The bathroom was practically as big as their living quarters on the cutter and included a shower, tub and a Jacuzzi. It was decadent she thought as she threw herself onto the bed with a laugh.
Lani and Dorothy were all similarly impressed. They met in Dorothy’s room where the wedding planner was due at 11:30. They sat at the table and munched on fruit while they waited for her to arrive. While they chatted Dorothy pulled a box out of her suitcase and opened it up to show the girls.
“Oh my gosh!” Robbi said as she stared into the box.
“Dorothy, where did you find it?” she asked, grinning from ear-to-ear.
“After we moved into the new house I found a couple of boxes that had Beth’s things in them. I found it and had it cleaned and repaired; thought maybe it could be her ‘something old’. What do you think?”
“I think she will love it, that it will be a very happy memory for her,” Robbi told them, wiping tears from her cheeks. “Dorothy, she is going to be so happy.”
Dorothy nodded and wiped away a tear or two as well as she wrapped the precious item up and carefully stored it in the box. She had just put it away when there was a knock on the door and she opened it to find a young, very stylish woman standing in the hallway. Her clothes were undoubtedly designer, (Donna Karan Lani noted), she was tall and pencil thin, making all three women feel frumpy. Lani straightened her shoulders and met her eyes and soon realized they had nothing to feel bad about; Gia DiVolia was as down to earth as could be.
They listened to her as she told them about their appointments with catering services, photographer and florist and explained they had appointments at the bridal shop that the hotel often worked with. It would be a whirlwind week for them, working to get as much accomplished before Beth got here in 5 days.
“We will start with the clothing today, that way if we need alterations we can get them done. Tomorrow in the morning we meet with the caterer for food selections.”
Dorothy and Lani locked eyes for a moment and Lani spoke up, “We are thinking a buffet would be the best; that way people can eat when they are hungry. You know how people at weddings are, sort of busy going from table to table chatting.”
“Um yes, I’ve had instructions on that. I understand several people may have special nutritional needs. Rest assured that this hotel can meet those needs.”
Again another quick look between Lani and Dorothy, both of them surprised. “I see. Well that handles one issue then.” Dorothy said.
Robbi was puzzled but didn’t speak up; she realized someone must have a food allergy of some type.
“Let’s see,” Gia continued, “Tomorrow afternoon you will meet with the florist and music coordinator; we have special packages available you will probably find very accommodating. The same for the photographer; he is truly a master at what he does, I promise you. I understand the bride, groom and groomsmen will be here in 5 days? The tuxes have already been ordered for the gentlemen, so we’ll have to do what preparation we can for the bride. Do you have any idea what type of dress or style she would like?”
All three thought about it, mulling over different thoughts. Gia understood; this wasn’t the first time the hotel had hosted a wedding that was a surprise for the bride. “Let’s see, does she like simple things and elegant? Lots of ruffles or plain? That’s always a good place to start.”
Lani spoke up first. “Beth is definitely not a fru-fru girl, but she is feminine. She wouldn’t want something with ruffles or bows or things like that.”
“Yes, I agree but she does have a touch of elegance to her,” Dorothy added, thinking of Beth’s personal style. “Does that help at all?”
“I’m sure it does. Shall we get some lunch and then go the bridal shop?”
“Yes!” they all chorused.
After a lunch at one of the bistros in the hotel they headed to the bridal shop; the girls were whisked away to look at bridesmaids dresses and Dorothy for the mother of the bride dresses. After trying on several Dorothy found one she loved and went to find the girls for their opinion.
“Dorothy, that is perfect for you, the color and they style are both perfect. You look very beautiful,” Lani said, eyeing the lovely gown and how it fit Dorothy. Her practiced eye noted, “It needs taken in at the waist a bit and of course hemmed…”
“Yes,” the attendant said, getting her marking chalk and pins and making the necessary marks.
They girls were still looking at their choices. They had decided they wanted their dresses to match and that presented extra problems because of Robbi’s pregnancy. With Dorothy’s help they finally decided on three different dresses that would work for both of them and when they each tried the final one on they all knew that it was the dress. It helped to hide the baby bump a good deal and was flattering to both of them.
They talked to the attendant as she marked the necessary alterations, telling her about Beth and what they thought she might like. They pulled a dozen different dresses out that they thought might meet her approval and those were set aside for her later.
“If she doesn’t like any of them we can show her other’s, never fear.”
They all looked at one another and smiled; it had taken almost 4 hours but they were happy with their choices. They hoped that Beth would be too.
To be continued…