One Secret Night, One Secret Baby(9)

By: Charlene Sands


Emma’s laughter filled his ears and made him smile again.

* * *

Late Wednesday afternoon, Emma hung up the phone with Mrs. Alma Montalvo, rested her arms on her office desk and hung her head. The client was delirious about details and had sapped Emma’s energy for two long hours. Yes, they’d found a local band to play fifties tunes. Yes, they’d rented a ’57 Chevy and it would be parked strategically at the top of their multitiered lawn for added effect. Yes, they’d have a photo booth decked out with leather jackets, poodle skirts and car club insignia for the guests to wear as they had their photos snapped. Yes, yes, yes.

Thank goodness the party was this Saturday night. After it was over, she and Brooke could take their big fat check from Mrs. Montalvo and say, Hasta la vista, baby. Parties-To-Go has come and gone.

The chime above the door rang out Leslie Gore’s classic song “It’s My Party” and Emma glanced up.

“Hey, I thought you were going home early today,” Brooke said, entering their Santa Monica office.

“I thought I was, too, but Mrs. Montalvo had other ideas.”

Brooke rolled her eyes. “We’ll impress the hell out of her, Emma. The party is going to be top-notch.”

“It better be. I’ve put in extra hours on this one.”

Brooke grinned and set down shopping bags on the desk adjacent to Emma’s. The office furnishings were an eclectic mix, all colorful and light to convey a party atmosphere for clients. The desks were clear Plexiglas, the walls were painted bright pastels and the chairs were relics that had been upholstered in floral materials. Photos of their parties and events adorned the walls from hoedowns on local ranch properties to rich, elaborate weddings with a few celebrity endorsements mixed in, thanks to Dylan.

They had two part-time employees who came in after school and on weekends to answer phones, do online research and work the parties whenever needed.

“Take a look at this,” Brooke said, pulling a mocha cocktail dress from a box in one of the bags. “Isn’t it...perfect? I got it at the little shop on Broadway.”

“Wow, it’s gorgeous. And not black. I bet it’s for the San Diego golf dinner, right?”

Brooke was shaking her head. “Nope, not at all. You’ll never guess.”

Emma’s thoughts ran through a list of upcoming events and couldn’t come up with anything. “Don’t make me, then. Tell me!”

Brooke put the dress up to her chin, hugged it to her waist and twirled around, just like when they used to play dress-up and pretend to be princesses ready to meet their special prince.

“I have a date.” Brooke sang out the words and stomped her feet.

It shouldn’t be that monumental, but Brooke seldom dated. After graduating from college, they’d both been focused on the business. And Brooke was picky when it came to men. So this was a big deal, judging by the megawatt, light-up-Sunset-Boulevard smile on her face. “The best part is, he doesn’t know who I am.”

Or rather, who her brother was. Most people, men and women alike, showed interest in Brooke once they found out that Dylan was her big brother. It sucked big-time and made Brooke wary of any friendliness coming her way. She was never sure if there was an ulterior motive.

“I mean, of course he knows my name is Brooke. We met at Adele’s Café. We were both waiting for our take-out lunch orders and it took forever. But once we got to talking, neither of us minded the long wait.”

“When was this?”

“Yesterday.”

“And you didn’t tell me!” Wasn’t that like breaking the BFF rule?

“I didn’t know if he’d call.” She hugged the dress one last time, before carefully stowing it back in the box. “But he did this morning and asked me out for the following weekend. And get this, he wanted to see me sooner but I told him about the event this weekend and he seemed really disappointed. We don’t have anything next weekend. Tell me we don’t. The golf tournament is in three weeks, right?”

Emma punched it up on her computer and glanced at their calendar. “Right, but you’re so excited, even if we had an event, I’d relieve you of your duties. I’ve never seen you so gaga. What’s his name?”

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