Hello. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. As fall approaches, I regret losing the warm, sunny, even hot days of summer, but for MJ and Paul, things are heating up nicely.
If you’ve been following my Tuesday Tales, I’m two-thirds through a contemporary romantic novel called Wedding Bell Blues. My heroine MJ has suffered one disaster after another in her quest for the perfect honeymoon, but her problems aren’t over yet.
Tuesday Tales are weekly peaks at the works in progress by myself and a few other bestselling authors. Each week, we post a snippet from our current work, the selection based on a word or image. This week, the word is CALL.
MJ awoke slowly, the sheets and blankets so tightly wound around her, she was suffocating. The pounding in her head, worse than any stampeding elephant migraine she’d ever suffered, nauseated her.
To puke or not to puke…
So this was the champagne hangover Paul had warned her about.
She opened her eyes, painfully dry and gritty thanks to her not having removed her contact lenses. The room was dark, except for the faint glow edging the curtains, giving the various objects in the room the shape of monsters. The nightlight in the bathroom beckoned, and admitting she needed to go in the worst way, MJ shoved the quilt off her and sat up, waiting none too patiently as the room stopped spinning.
It was obvious she was in the bed. Vaguely, she remembered Paul carrying her along the path, but then, she must’ve fallen asleep.
Be honest. You passed out.
Stifling a groan, she sat up. If she was in the bed, it must mean Paul had opted for the couch. Poor guy. He would have to curl up like a pretzel to fit, but as much as she should trade places with him, she felt like death warmed over. She would get up, undress, since her skirt was threatening to smother her, pee, and then put on the T-shirt she’d left in the bathroom. If she took some analgesics, she just might be able to survive the night.
Standing gingerly, swaying slightly, she accomplished her mission. Once in the bathroom, she gazed bleary-eyed at the mirror, and with great patience, if not accuracy and finesse, removed her daily-wear disposable contact lenses and tossed them in the trash. Peering closely at her reflection, she made a face. Raccoon eyes, but with the headache from hell, and the taste of the bottom of a taxi cab in her mouth, she just didn’t have the time, heart, or desire to remove her eye makeup. After using the toilet, she stripped down to her assless beige silk panties, wishing she’d actually brought a few pairs of the old standards with her instead of letting Carla’s, “if you feel sexy, you’ll act sexy” philosophy dictate what she’d finally packed. Consuming three glasses of water, two acetaminophen tablets, and a huge mouthful of mint-flavored mouthwash, she turned off the bathroom light, and now blind as a bat, made her way back to the bed, plopping down belly-first, burying herself in the pillow, and praying that wakeup call Paul had ordered was hours away.
Sometime later, still half asleep, MJ opened her eyes. The room was slightly brighter than it had been, but the headache was down to a steady throbbing. Reaching for the quilt, she turned onto her side and snuggled up to what must be the pillows and bolster that had been on the bed earlier. Warm and toasty, the scent of Paul’s aftershave tickling her senses, she drifted back to sleep, feeling safe and contented.
The sound of the phone’s ring, roused her from a deep sleep, but MJ didn’t want to move, cuddling more closely into the warm, hard body beside her, she sighed contently until the bells sounded again and her eyes flew open.
“What the hell?” She pushed away from Paul’s chest, as if it were one of the island’s iguanas, bounced across six-feet of bed, and jumped up.
Paul turned over, picked up the phone, and then hung up.
“What are you doing in my bed?” she demanded.
“I was sleeping,” Paul answered and yawned, not in the least bit contrite. “How are you feeling?”
“That’s beside the point,” she snapped back, both annoyed and embarrassed.
He chuckled. “Not a morning person I see.” His glance raked her up and down. “I see you got undressed during the night. So, if you got up, then you knew I was here, so the question would be, what are you doing in my bed?”
MJ scowled. Just like a man to turn the tables on her. First Mark and now Paul, but he was right. This was his bed.
“Let’s forget about it,” she said grudgingly, rubbing her temples to ease the slight throb still present. “It was obviously big enough and nothing happened—at least nothing she remembered and since she did remember most if not all of the evening… “What time is it?”
“Just after seven. I ordered breakfast for eight. We need to be in the manager’s office by nine. Our tour boat leaves at ten. Why don’t I shower first?”
“Fine, but I … you know…”
“Of course. Be my guest. He sat up and pulled the pillow up against the headboard. “Nice outfit, by the way.” His face shone with approval.
“This?” She frowned questioningly. “I know you like baseball, but…” Looking down at her oversized Yankees shirt, she almost died when she realized it was caught up in the band of her thong on one side, exposing half her ass.
“Damn you,” she shouted running into the bathroom and slamming the door. Paul’s laughter followed her.
After relieving herself, she took two more analgesics, and found her glasses. There was no way on earth she would be able to put contact lenses in them this morning.
Able to see once more, she stepped back into the room. Paul was up, dressed in a pair of shorts, waiting for the coffee machine to brew his coffee. In his hands, he held a sheet of paper. He didn’t look happy.
“What is that?” she asked.
“Tonight’s schedule of events.”
She chuckled. “A honeymoon resort with a ‘to-do’ list? Now that’s funny. I think most people know what to do.”
Expecting him to laugh, she was surprised when he didn’t, handing her the sheet of paper instead.
“Before you murder me, just remember I had nothing to do with this.”
Frowning, she reached for the document, realizing it must contain information about their responsibilities as the reigning couple.
“I know,” she admitted grudgingly, “and since Monsieur St. Louis says he didn’t do it, it has to be one of the staff. I doubt Lucette’s grandmother snuck in here and added it on the advice of her Quimbois gods. Last night wasn’t so bad.” She felt her cheeks heat. “I mean I had fun, and I think you did, too. If the whole point of this is to drive Mark crazy, this latest development, especially the loss of that bungalow, should do the job. He’ll be livid.” She chuckled at the thought of him his face as purple as the grapes in the basket on the counter in front of them. She wrinkled her nose. We’ll have to figure out how to explain that we’ll almost be the stars of the show to mama before it airs tomorrow.
“Tonight,” he said, his body tense, his chin indicating the page she held. “The main event gets underway with a noce civil at six, aired in a special episode of Louis James Live.”
“Damn,” she grumbled. “And the camera always adds ten pounds. The way I ate yesterday, I’ll look like a little tub of lard.”
“You’ll look great. In fact, I recommend the eyes. They give you that zombie look.”
She laughed and winced at the pain in her head. “Very funny. The makeup will come off when I shower. By the way, what’s a noce civil? I know what civil means, but noce?
He chewed his lip and ran his hand through his bed-messed hair.
“It’s a wedding, Marilyn, a civil ceremony like when people get married at city hall. In France and its colonies, it’s the second part of the marriage contract.”
“What?” she asked, feeling the room tilt and backing toward the bed.
“We’re getting married at six.”
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