Vera couldn’t believe what they were headed to Rhode Island in.
“A limo?” she said.
“Owen Staley sent it for us.” The limo driver standing next to the vehicle opened the door for Cole and Vera. Inside, the limo had bottled water, Kashi snacks, and champagne, among other assorted foods.
“I thought he was supposed to be a jerk,” said Vera, as she cracked open a bottle of water. She sniffed the water before taking a sip.
“Well, we are working for him,” said Cole. “Maybe he felt the need to treat the hired help nicely.”
“I want you to play back what you just said.”
“Want to watch a movie?” Cole grabbed the remote to the TV in the limo and turned it on. “Look through those DVDs on the floor.”
Within a box was everything from Weekend at Bernie’s to Annie Hall.
“Pick one,” said Cole.
“I’ve never seen any of these.”
“I like to read. I find that movies lack an omniscient presence.”
“Let’s watch The Apartment. I think you’ll like it.”
“What’s it about?”
“In order to get ahead at his company, a guy offers his apartment as a way for his bosses to conduct affairs with women.”
“I promise you’ll like it.” Cole could sense the sarcasm in her voice.
Cole popped in the DVD and the sweeping opening credit music swelled as both he and Vera got comfortable in their limo seats.
“Is Jill okay with you being away this week?”
“Not really. I had to turn off my phone so she won’t constantly text me for updates. Like, I’m in a limo. What else can I tell her right now?”
“Want a blanket? I brought one.”
Vera opened a blanket from one of her bags and unfurled it for the both of them. Then, they looked at each other with knowing smiles, almost as if they were little kids that got to sit at the adult table at Thanksgiving dinner. This assignment already had its perks.
The door opened, allowing beautiful sunlight to pour through the limo. Vera discovered that The Apartment was on the main menu screen. She had fallen asleep before she could find out whether Fran Kubelik would recover from her suicide attempt. Vera also discovered that she was using Cole’s body as a pillow, as her head was nestled against his shoulder. She pulled away right before he woke up.
“What’s going on?” said Cole.
“I think we’re here.”
Vera climbed out of the limo, and Cole followed. They were welcomed by the stately Rosecliff Mansion looming over them, its white pillars standing tall like guards.
“This is where we’re staying?” said Cole.
“No,” said a voice.
Vera turned to see Owen Staley coming out from behind one of the tall green bushes.
“This is where the wedding is. Cole will be staying at the Cliffside Inn. But you—“ Owen grabbed Vera’s hand and kissed it. “You will be staying with me.”
“Owen,” said female voice. “Who’s your lady friend?”
Vera turned to see a strangely familiar face. It was the woman from Facebook—the one she thought was her mother! She was coming out of the mansion.
“Denise Lambert,” said Vera, putting out her hand.
“Betsey Burrows,” said the woman. As Vera shook Betsey’s hand, she couldn’t help but think, am I shaking my mother’s hand?
Betsey stopped to look her over. “Do I know you? You look familiar.”