“You look fabulous,” Kitty murmured to her reflection in the vanity. The juicy tomato shade she had just slicked on her naturally puffy pout made her feel sassy. Party time! she said to herself. What time was it, anyway? She glanced down at her Ballon Bleu. Nine o’clock. Wayne would be picking her up any min–
Bzzz bzzz went her doorbell.
Speaking of the devil, she said to herself. She whipped her front door open.
“Hey, gorgeous,” Wayne said. He was dressed in a simple suit and while he looked dapper, his black necktie was askew and painfully tight looking.
“Hey, there, yourself.” Kitty adjusted his tie. “There, now you’re golden. Okay, you ready to hit this party?”
A half hour of traffic later, the two friends arrived at 360 East 88th Street. Olivia Vitolli Hanley fluttered around her condo in sky high heels, attending to her many guests. She threw her arms in the air upon seeing Kitty.
“Oh, my God. Kitty McClarren!” Olivia flung her arms around Kitty’s neck. “Am I glad to see you. It’s been….how long has it been?”
“Since your wedding,” Kitty smiled.
“That’s right! Seems longer than a few months, doesn’t it?” Olivia pushed a stray brunette lock out of her face. “You look hot, per usual. And you look thirsty. Here–” She grabbed a glass of wine off a nearby tray and shoved it in Kitty’s hand. “–Drink up. And Wayne, you still a whiskey man?”
“Old habits die hard,” Wayne said.
“Yeah, don’t I know it,” Olivia laughed. “With a splash of water, right?”
“Right. I’ll give me you a hand…” Wayne followed Olivia into the kitchen.
Kitty looked around the spacious digs. Olivia certainly knew how to pick ‘em; the view overlooking the park was incredible. I need to find my own Hugh Hanley, Kitty thought. Maybe Hugh has a single brother….
“Scuse me. This your scarf?”
Kitty turned around. A tall, sculpted man stared at her with a cashmere scarf in hand. Bobby Vitolli. She recognized that handsome face.
“Thanks,” said Kitty. “I must have dropped it.”
“I met you before. Kitty, right? You and my sister modeled together.”
“Mmm-hmm. You’re Bobby, if I remember correctly.”
“Guilty as charged.” He scaled her body. “Nice dress. You got good taste. Givenchy?”
Kitty’s eyes widened; she wasn’t used to straight men recognizing designer pieces. “Yeah. And you have a good eye.”
“I try. Hey, you got the time? Olivia’s got an allergy to clocks and I left my phone in the car.”
“Not even ten o’clock yet. Got a date or something?”
“Not a date, really. Gotta be some place in an hour.”
Kitty raised her brows. “But isn’t this party in your honor?”
“Technically, my birthday isn’t till Sunday, which is when I’m having an official get together–just family and a few friends. Olivia knows I got a place to be, though, and insisted on throwing a little shindig anyway. She loves any excuse to entertain, trust me. So what do you got going on later?”
“Umm, I don’t know. Maybe just go home,” Kitty said as a willowy blonde approached.
“Hey, Bobby,” said the blonde. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Happy birthday.”
Bobby smiled. “Thanks, babe.”
“Call me soon? It would be so great to catch up and have a drink or something. You know, just one on one.” Jen blinked her eyes slowly before sauntering off.
“Wow, she’s subtle,” Kitty cracked. She wondered how often Bobby got hit on and guessed it was a daily occurrence.
Bobby laughed. “Jen’s alright. I haven’t seen her in awhile, but she’s never dull. So why don’t you join me, Kitty? I’m going to a lounge my friend owns. Deuces. You heard of it?”
Kitty sipped her Merlot. “Of course I have. It’s only one of Manhattan’s hottest new clubs.”
Bobby took a step closer. His eyes bore deep into hers. “So you in?”
Kitty felt her cheeks grow red. Why am I blushing? “Okay, sure.”
“I like your attitude. Goes great with that sexy dress of yours.”
“You’re not so shabby yourself,” she purred.
“Hmm.” Bobby’s blue eyes flickered. “What do you say we bale early?”
“Problem with that?”
“No, but…I mean, it would be rude to just leave–”
“Says who?” Bobby buttoned his sports coat. “Everyone’s having a good time, drinking, socializing. Besides, they probably won’t even notice. Let’s go.”
“Okay.” Kitty set her glass down and followed him out. She found it difficult to refuse Signor Vitolli.
They hopped in his Ferrari and zoomed to Deuces, a ten minute car ride away. The night was young and the club was far from packed.
“Vitolli, what’s happenin’?” A rotund man stepped out of a corner booth.
“Hey, Pauly. This is Kitty,” Bobby said. “Kitty, meet my buddy, Paul.”
Paul smiled warmly. “Pleasure, Kitty. Please, get comfortable and order yourself a drink. Bobby and I got a little business to attend to in my office.”
“I’ll be out in a few, Kitty,” Bobby said with a wink. He and Paul disappeared.
Kitty plopped down in a sleek leather booth and admired her surroundings. Deuces was gorgeous, with intimate lighting and posh furnishings. But a glass of Veuve later and still no sign of Bobby. What is he doing? He invites me to a place and then disappears–
Kitty jumped. What the hell was that? she said to herself. It sounded like a gun shot. It definitely wasn’t the music pumping in the background.
“Ahhh!” came a man’s muffled scream.
Kitty looked around but couldn’t see where the racket was coming from. Neither the staff nor patrons seemed to notice anything was amiss. And yet she was positive she had just heard someone get shot.
“Hey, there.” Bobby had returned and slid next to her in the booth. “Sorry about that. You okay? You look a little pale.”
“Yeah,” Kitty said absently.
Bobby peeled off his coat. His biceps were apparent even under his tailored button-down. “What do you say we order a bite. I’m famished and this place has got the best Kobe beef.” He touched Kitty’s knee.
Kitty swallowed hard. She had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her tummy. And yet there was Bobby, dapper and delicious as ever, looking cool as a cucumber…