- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Emily climbed the gritty Metro steps, then slipped to the side of the packed Georgetown sidewalk and for the third time since leaving her apartment peeked into her magenta satin bag. Of course, everything was still there two short coils of soft, white rope, a black scarf and her phone. Along with the two lavender-coloured scarves tied around her waist, she had everything she needed.
Her ringtone hit the air just as she was about to tug the drawstring tight. She pulled her cell out, checking the display as she headed south towards the Potomac. "Hey, Jenn."
"Where are you?"
She held the phone close to her ear, doing her best to block out the rumble of traffic. "Georgetown."
"Duh. Are you at the party?"
Talking to her best friend meant she could tell the truth. "If I was there, I wouldn t have answered." Rushing forward to catch the crosswalk light, Emily added, "I m about six blocks from Gino s now."
"Then what s all that noise?"
"It s Friday night. What do you expect?"
"Oh my God you re on the street. You didn t take a cab?"
"Why would I take a cab?" she replied, hopping up the kerb.
"Are you wearing wearing "
"My costume?" Emily glanced down at the silky combination of lavender, yellow and pink. Tiny bells jangled from her slippers and her skin flashed in the golden rays of early evening autumn sun. "Sure, I m wearing it. It s DC, nothing is too scandalous."
Laughing, Emily imagined Jenn s expression. "It s no big deal."
"That top is so low and with that half corset on "
Emily glanced down. Jenn was right she knew because she d designed the outfit to show off what Emily had recently realised was the best she had to offer her double Ds and disguise what she still considered her fatal flaw her too curvy hips. The layers of long, sheer fabric floated around her legs, leaving everything to the imagination.
Looking like a sex slave had been the exact point of the outfit but she hadn t completely lost her mind. "I have the jacket buttoned for now." It was true, she did, but still she d noticed more than a few heads turn when she made her way down the sidewalk.
Emily grinned at Jenn s obvious relief. "Stop worrying about me." She turned off M and headed up a steep side street, garnering more glances as the bells jingled. "I have everything under control. I know what I m doing."
"So you keep saying. Over and over. Is it me or yourself you re trying to convince?"
Emily veered around a cluster of soccer kids, then paused next to a mailbox, adjusting one of her delicate shoes. "I ve got my mind made up. I m not backing out now."
"But what if "
"I ll never have a chance like this again. I ll get what I want and Randy will never know it was me. Nobody ends up hurt. See? It s perfect."
Nothing but silence came across the line, until Jenn finally conceded. "Okay, I guess. But be careful."
She would to a point, but it was probably being too careful that had been the problem all along. "I thought you creative types were supposed to be wild." Emily waited for a trio of moms with overloaded strollers to glide past then pushed away from the mailbox. "All I have to do is look for the sultan with the green and blue sash and obnoxious gold brocade-trimmed tunic."
"And call me first thing in the morning."
Emily agreed to give her friend most of the details, then clicked off and marched towards Gino s, tucking the ties of the pink and lavender veil that covered her slim mask behind her ears as she went. There was absolutely no going back now.
Randall Kentworth didn t stand a chance.