AMATEUR SLEUTH/CHICK LIT/
MURDER BY THE GLASS
"It's almost as good as watching Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie slinking on in," Nikki said. "That is, if they were still slinking together."
The patrons eating lunch at Grapes located in Yountville couldn't take their eyes off what could only be classified as the spectacle of Susan Jennings, soon to be Susan Waltman and her counterpart Pamela Leiland, a one time Victoria's Secret model.
Nikki had come by to eat lunch and more importantly, to check on Isabel, knowing that she'd be doing last minute preparations for tomorrow's big event. It looked like she'd made a wise decision. Isabel needed as much moral support as she could get because, as Nikki suspected, her friend was a wreck. Moments before the boobsy twins arrived, Isabel had gone into the kitchen to order a turkey burger with sweet and spicy jalapeño sauce for Nikki. To add to the support system, Nikki took it upon herself to call Andrés and insist he come down to the restaurant and comfort his younger sibling. He still hadn't arrived when Susan
and Pamela showed up.
The hostess seated the two women at a table on the patio. It didn't take long before Susan Jennings was requesting to speak with Isabel.
Nikki winked at her. "Don't let it or her get to you. Kristof Waltman doesn't deserve someone as sweet as you. Keep your boundaries up out there with her. She's a barracuda."
Isabel nodded, pulled her petite frame to its full stature of 5'2" and headed to the patio. Nikki spotted an open table close by between the open glass partition and the patio. She could easily move and probably overhear their conversation without them knowing. A protective urge for her friend took over. If, Isabel
needed some assistance, then, she'd have to jump in. Maybe scratch Susan's eyes out. This could get dangerous.
Nikki took her Diet Coke and moved to the table. Sure enough, as she expected, Susan's perfectly lined and painted lips were moving a mile a minute before Nikki even sat down.
"Here's the problem that you're not understanding, Isabel. Marty, Kristof's father, doesn't care for mushrooms. So, although I know the mushroom dumplings I sampled are absolutely divine, like all of your food, we just can't have them." Susan shook her head vehemently. "Can not, can not have them. Okay? Let's get on the same page here."
"Ms. Jennings, they are only one of several selections of appetizers. Not everyone care for the mushrooms, so that is why I suggest to you, the sampler plate you choose."
Nikki knew that when Isabel grew nervous she had a more difficult time than normal with the English language, and she could tell her friend was struggling.
"I understand that, but you see, my future father-in-law has generously put in quite a bit of money for this event, and it's important we do the right thing by him."
Nikki shifted in her chair. She'd met Marty Waltman and he didn't strike her as the pompous, finicky type. Did Susan know about Isabel and Kristof? Was this a power trip for her? Or was it simply her way, to be mean and abusive to people she obviously considered beneath her? Nikki cringed, because she knew exactly how it felt to be Isabel at that moment.
Susan carried on as the waiter set down Nikki's burger. "I'd like oysters of some type. I think they would be such a nice addition, considering it is a wedding, and you know oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac ."
Nikki choked on her burger, and took a swig of her soda.
Isabel visibly shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "Ms. Jennings, it would be impossible to find that many oysters for a wedding reception of five hundred people at a late hour such as this." She smiled sweetly at her.
Nikki felt for her, but she was doing a good job dealing with the bitch.
"We have no more than a day," Isabel continued. "I do not think that if I called all of my contacts in San Francisco they could do this. You must understand. Someone would have to package them and drive them the sixty miles out here, and then I would still have to make preparations for them. It would be quite a
difficult task." Isabel crossed her arms in front of her.
"Susan, she's right. Try to be reasonable," Pamela interrupted.
"Fine. Fine. So no oysters. But no mushrooms either." She wagged a finger at her. "Isabel, you need to come up with an alternative. Charge more, or whatever you need to do. Why don't you work something up for me and give me the price difference while we eat our lunches. Present it to me before we leave. And, we are in a bit of a hurry. I have to check with the florist still, and then get my nails and hair done for the rehearsal dinner and festivities. It's good that you're only doing the reception, and not tonight's dinner. I'm not sure you could handle them both."
Isabel remained cool and patient, keeping a smile on her face the entire time. Nikki knew her friend had to be boiling inside, because she was about to get up herself and go all prizefighter on Susan Jennings.