Read Saved By The Belles Online

Authors: Beth Albright

Tags: #Contemporary Romance

Saved By The Belles (10 page)

“Okay. We already know what she looks like. I don’t get it.”

“Well it’s not just the photo of her; it’s where she is that makes the difference.”

“What? Is she in town?

“Oh, it looks like she’s in town I do believe. We’ll have to enhance the picture a bit but I’m pretty sure of where she is.”

“Where? And it better be someplace other than Krispy Kreme.”

“Blake, the picture is of Jessica coming out of that alleged brothel.”

 

CHAPTER 17

 

 

 

“We’re still waiting on lab results on that old guy I found slumped behind the wheel,” Sonny said, sipping his hotel coffee in a rush as he gathered his things to head out the door. “If we get a positive on foul play then my department can get more involved. Since, I’m homicide, I may have to assist on this with Vice if the old guy died of natural causes.”

I had informed him that Jessica may be here and doing something out at the trailer they’re watching. But he really couldn’t do much to help us with Harry. I knew that. Being homicide, Sonny would be limited, at least on a professional level, if Vice had to step in. I realized in that instant most of the work on the scandal with Harry would be done with me and my girl posse—Vivi and Dallas.

Sonny and I both had a lot to do today.

Our romantic getaway had ended too soon and we headed home, me following him as we drove. He helped me get my things inside.

“I’ll check in with you later,” I said tippy-toing up to kiss him goodbye. “No matter what comes up today, I'll have happy thoughts after our wonderful Valentine's night.”

He gave me a quick kiss and a hug. “Me too, baby—a night to remember forever,” he grinned. “What’s on tap for you today? I don’t want you to do too much.” He walked down the hallway to the front of the house to grab his coat.

“I’ll be checking in on Mother and Meridee. I need to talk to Dallas too.”

I followed him to see him out. My mind was already racing. If it were true that Jessica was in town, I wanted a word with her. I am still technically Harry’s wife and all the pictures splashed across every form of media of her lips on my husband made me mad for some reason. Not because I was jealous, but because if Harry was right and she was up to something, I wanted her to know she had met her match. Me.

My mind swirled with ideas of what we could do to catch her. Sonny kissed my forehead and I shut the door behind him. Time for a plan. In seconds I was on the phone with Vivi.

I thought as I drove. And all I could think of was to stake out that brothel myself. I had a really good Nikon camera with a telephoto lens. Vivi and I could sit and watch and take pictures of the comings and goings in the trailer. Maybe we could even get inside. I mean with me being eight months and all, we might be noticeable. But we had to do something. If Jessica was there, I was bound and determined to find her.

“Get up here little mama and tell me all about it,” Vivi motioned me inside the house from the gravel drive out front. “Tallulah’s napping and Misty’s on her way in case we need to leave. Dallas sent over the text of the girl leaving the trailer. She said she sent it to you too.”

“Yeah, I got it,” I said slipping off my red wool coat and white gloves. “It’s her, I’m sure. Lets upload it into your laptop and see if we can enhance it just so we get a good visual.”

Vivi grabbed her laptop from the dining room table and brought it with us into the kitchen. Tallulah was in her warm crib in her cozy spot at the butler’s pantry. We sat down and transferred the text to email and then uploaded it from there. Within minutes we had a clear shot.

“It is most definitely her.” I said. “Let’s call Dallas and see if they got the same image,” I suggested.

“Okay. I know the TV station is gonna be on this story like flies on shit today but I thought of an idea that may get us inside that trailer,” Vivi said.

I always loved Vivi’s metaphors. If nothing else, they were certainly to the point. The second she said she had an idea I got nervous. I had a few ideas too but I was anxious to hear Vivi’s plan first.

“Okay, before I call Dallas, let’s hear it,” I gulped. Vivi wiggled in her chair across the table from me. She leaned in toward me propping on the table and folded her hands together like she had a big secret.

“You know St. Catherine’s is havin’ that annual bake sale and clothin’ drive right now? They’re asking everybody to bring clothes and goodies to the church.”

“You’re not really suggesting we go sell cupcakes to the prostitutes and ask for them to donate their, uhm, used hooker clothes to the Catholic Church?” I paused for a second when she didn’t answer. “Are you?” The look on her face told me everything. Vivi thought this would be a wonderful idea.

“Blake,” she insisted, “hear me out.”

“Okay, but just cause I need to laugh.”

“Listen. We need to get inside. Us sittin’ out there takin’ pictures isn’t enough. We need to prove that our little intern is doin’ business. I mean my theory is that if she is an, uh, hmmm, employee of this establishment, someone who runs the place could have set her up—just like Harry’s been saying.”

“So you think if we offer cupcakes to all the hookers, they’ll all rat on her—like icing is a truth serum?” I was baffled but when hearing a plan from Vivi this was usually the norm.

“No silly, though that does work with you—we’ll go up to the door and knock and say we need clothes for the drive. We’ll offer cupcakes. Then you say I really need to use your bathroom. Being so pregnant of course they’ll understand and let you. We’ll both have our phones and do what we can to gather some evidence. Sonny did say they needed evidence to shut the thing down. We’ll be killin’ two birds with one stone—helpin’ Harry and helpin’ Sonny. I think it’s brilliant.” Vivi leaned back in her chair smiling, obviously very satisfied with herself. I had to admit, it did sound interesting. I thought about it for a minute.

“How does this help us nab Jessica?” I wondered. “And besides how do we know she’s behind the supposed set-up?”

“Well, that’s where you’re idea comes in. We sit and wait. When we see her go in, we go over and knock. We’ll figure it out as we go.”

“Okay, that’s the part I don’t like,” I quipped. “I like a set plan.”

“I know it Ms. Lawyer, but sometimes you gotta fly by the seat of your pants!”

“I think that is exactly how I landed myself into this little situation,” I said patting my pregnant tummy, insinuating my early escapades with Sonny before I was totally divorced. Vivi threw her red mop of frizz back as she laughed at me.

“Touché, my dear, touché.”

We had a plan in place. Vivi jumped up and threw a box recipe of cupcakes for us to sell in the oven. Whether this little sting would work or not we could only pray.

“I think we need to call Dallas and give her the tip that we’re gonna try to get inside.”

“Okay but we need to tell her to keep it quiet that it’s us. That way if somehow we’re able to pull this off we can just step aside and let Dallas and her microphone do what they do best.”

I took in a deep breath. Were we really gonna do this? I just wanted the truth out there. And maybe—just maybe this would work. I must have been clouded with wanting the truth, cause I sure didn’t see a problem at the time with going to a hooker house and asking for contributions to our fake Catholic clothing drive while we fed everybody cupcakes. But, I thought, here we go.

 

CHAPTER 18

 

 

 

Vivi called Misty to come in early and we got ready for our big steak-out. I left the Fru Fru’s working on the removal of the hideous Vegas mural with a prayer that when I got home it would all seem like a nightmare. The nudes of Sonny and me would be gone and in its place I would have a beautiful baby blue and butter yellow nursery. I left them the keys and told them I’d be late and to lock it up. Fingers crossed no more naked parents or mythical creatures.

“I’m gonna pack us some water and snacks,” Vivi announced. “Heaven only knows how long this is gonna take and we need to be prepared.” She scurried around the kitchen gathering up supplies and packing them into a canvas bag.

Misty arrived, along with her “ ‘sup girl” boyfriend, Dax. He was dressed in an army jacket and combat boots. I was absolutely certain he had never been part of a battalion of any kind. He had a sweet smile though and his earring was nice. Make that earrings. Both of them. His backwards baseball cap covered a mop of brown curly hair. Both of them were staring at their phones and not looking up at each other or us until Vivi greeted them.

“Hey Ms. Heart. Thanks for letting me bring Dax. He just loves Tallulah,” Misty offered. She was sweet, nicely dressed with pageant hair and lots of make-up. I couldn’t see how they belonged together. I guess she liked the bad boys. It made me think for a minute though. Suddenly I wasn’t sure how I could leave my new baby boy with anyone, especially all day long every day while I was at the office.

“Come on girlie, lets go,” Vivi said hurrying the two of us out the door. “I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be back, Misty. Arthur’s just outside at the Moonwinx down the hill on the side yard. He said he’s within earshot if you need him.”

“Okay, y’all, don’t worry ‘bout a thing. We got this,” Misty promised. Dax never spoke. I wasn’t sure he could.

Vivi and I jumped into my black BMW armed with our food supply and headed out to River Pines, the infamous trailer park. Myra Jean the psychic lived there. I knew she had never seen my car so I wasn’t worried she’d spot us. But I did begin to wonder if she had heard of any of the goings-on at this brothel.

We parked under a tree down near the river to set up watch over the cathouse. It was only ten o’clock in the morning. This was gonna be a long day. It was in the high forties but I was hot, having a hormonal tornado in my body. I took off my coat and gloves as Vivi and I sank down into our seats to be outta sight. Time crawled by. I drank an entire bottle of water and ate a whole bag of Doritos.

“I need to pee,” I announced. Yep, I knew it would happen, but somehow when we made this little plan I wasn’t thinking—I mean eight months pregnant, a water bottle and sitting in a car all afternoon might be kind of a bad plan.

“Well, we can’t go in
now
, Vivi explained. “It’ll blow our cover.”

“What do you propose I do, then? I can’t sit here in this condition.”

“I know what,” Vivi said with genuine excitement. “Why don’t you go in this?” She then pulled out a Big Slurpee cup, a 32 ouncer from the floorboard.

“Are you kiddin’ me? Do you recall that I am nearly at birth size for this baby? How in the world do you propose I position myself go in that little cup under my ass? In a car?”

“I know,” she chided. “Get under here, no one will see you.” Vivi reached over and grabbed a red fleece blanket I had folded in the backseat.

“Oh, so no one will notice a huge mound under a bright red blanket in the drivers seat of this car?”

“Well, you can’t get out,” she reasoned. It’s broad daylight and there’s only one tree out there. You’ll be seen for sure. And you can’t go inside the brothel. It’s too early. They’ll wonder why the pregnant lady is back sellin’ cupcakes after just bein’ there to pee. It will blow this whole plan. You sure don’t wanna run over to Myra Jean’s; she’ll try doing a reading on the new baby. Look, I’ll hold the blanket over you and when you’re done you can just pour it right out the door. It’s the only thing we can do for now.”

“Ugh! How do I get into these situations?” I ranted. “Fine! Just hold the blanket.” I gave in because if I didn’t Vivi and I would be floating out of the car any minute. I pushed the automatic button and slid the camel leather seat backwards until it could go no further. I scooched to the back of my seat and pulled my legs up underneath me, attempting a squat with the big plastic cup between my legs. I unfortunately had on pants but they were the stretchy pregnancy pants. However, they were no easier to slide down than jeans for a lady with child. Plus, it was pitch dark under the blanket so I couldn’t really tell what I was hitting when I put the cup in place. Not that I could see my crotch over my eight-month baby belly anyway. I prayed I was hitting the flimsy cup. Then,

“Oh No!” Vivi shouted. “Shit!”

Okay that is not what you wanna hear when your ass is hovering over a plastic cup mid-pee in the pitch dark while your pregnant.
 “What? What?” I shrieked in desperation from under the blanket.

“It’s Miss Myra—she sees us.”

“How do ya know?”

Hide quick! Slide down in the floor! She’s waving her hand wildly as she drives over here.” Vivi was frantic.

“No! No! No-- I’m not done. No! This is the embarrassment of my life!”

“Said the woman who was pregnant by another man while still married to our senator,” Vivi snarked.

“Ha ha, this is no time for reminders. Please-- you gotta get rid of her.”

“Okay,” Vivi agreed, “ but how do I explain this huge red blob in the front seat?”

“I don’t know. Get out and greet her while I finish up,” I urged. “Keep her from getting close to the car.”

“Okay but I have no idea what I’m gonna say when she asks what’s that huge red blanket covering—I’ll just tell her to guess—she’s the psychic.”

I heard the door open and slam shut. In faint voices I could barely make out the muffled sounds of Vivi. “Hey Miss Myra, How’re yew doin’?

“Hey there Miss Vivi,” Myra chirped, “What in the world are you doing sittin’ out here?”

“Oh, it was a lovely day so I brought me a picnic out here to the river,” Vivi shot.

Good thinking Vivi, keep her occupied
, I thought.

“All the way out here? I mean the trailer park is okay but wouldn’t the Riverwalk have been better?” Myra was gonna be trouble.

“Good Lord have mercy, what the hell did you bring to your little outing? That is one massive picnic basket, I’ll say. You must be really hungry or expecting an army.”

I knew she spotted me under the red cover. I could hear her voice getting louder. Oh, no! She was approaching the car. Oh Lord. I was finished with my business but now I was trapped under the red fleece throw squatting while holding 32 ounces of piss. I just knew I was gonna wake up any minute. This had to be a nightmare.

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