I was sitting on the front porch—fidgeting, worrying, hoping, dreaming—when the sightseeing caravan returned.
After changing into a colorful sundress, covered with bright yellow lemons against a white background and matching lemon yellow piping, my brain had calmed enough to realize the opportunities abounding. Not only would I be working in presumably close proximity to Ferrero, leading to many fabulous opportunities for great impressions wherein he might actually remember my name and think to promote me when Jawbreaker moves up, but my jewelry designs would be thrust center stage in the fashion world.
Accessorizing an entire collection on a prime runway during fashion week.
This was marketing no advertising dollars could buy.
An advantage the KYs could never hope to obtain and Jawbreaker could never hope to thwart. I would skyrocket up the ranks faster than they could blink.
Now all I had to do was convince Phelps to join in.
The shopping-weary sightseers climbed out of a trio of elegant black limos Jawbreaker had hired for the weekend. They were a ragged bunch, a sea of wrinkled polo shirts and sweat-smudged foundation—on both men and women.
Kelly and Gavin emerged first, arm in arm and smiling falsely at each other. A perfectly matched pair of fakes.
They slinked past me. Kelly didn't so much as throw me a sideways glance, which suited me just fine, but Gavin slid his gaze over me as they walked by. I scowled at him.
Three dozen or so other sightseers drifted into the house, worn out from an exhausting two hours of shopping and riding around in air-conditioned limos. Oh the trials and tribulations.
The chauffeurs closed the doors after the last of the passengers disembarked.
Where was Phelps?
I watched blankly as the three black vehicles pulled away and headed down the driveway.
Had he bailed on me? Found some cute young thing in town and decided to ditch me? I was going to kill him. I was going to kill Fiona. I was going to kill someone.
A faint buzzing sound rang in my ears.
I shook my head but it didn't go away. In fact, it got louder. And I realized it wasn't in my head at all. Squinting down the long drive, I saw a streak of bright yellow heading my direction.
I blinked, watching in horror as Phelps flew up the drive and skidded to a stop right in front of me on a Vespa.
"What," I bit out, carefully swallowing the squeaky voice threatening to burst forth, "is that?"
"Hey, it matches your dress."
"What," I repeated calmly despite the overwhelming urge to launch myself at him, fists swinging, "is that?"
He looked at me like I was stupid—like I was the one roaring around Southampton on a child's toy. "This is a scooter." He revved the tiny rubber band engine. "See, vvroom, vvroom. Wanna ride?"
"Come on," he goaded. "You know you want to."
"No, I don't." All I wanted to do was go up to my room—our room—and hide beneath the covers for the rest of the weekend.
Clearly he did not understand the meaning of the word decorum. His brain must have been absent the day they taught that in modeling school.
Or any school.