Kindred in Death:In Death 29

By: J. D. Robb

“Ice really sets off the dress. Pendant, bracelets,” Mavis continued.

“I don’t need all that stuff.”

“Trust Leonardo. He worked out the look. See for yourself.” Mavis circled her finger so Eve turned to look in the long mirror.

“Hmmm.” The dress was more female than her usual, with all the sheer layers shimmering down, but she had to admit it wasn’t fussy. And the diamonds, clear and clean, probably did add something. “Fine. Good.”

“Total,” Mavis corrected.

“You need to help Louise dress now,” Peabody told her.

“Why? She’s a big girl. She’s probably been dressing herself for years.”

“It’s tradition.”

Eve rolled her eyes. “Okay, okay.” She walked over to where Louise stood unbelting her robe. And cocked her eyebrows at the frilly white corset and blue garter. “That’ll make a statement.”

“It will later. Right now its job is to make the dress fit perfectly.” She winced. “There’s that perfect again.”

“Well, let’s see.” Eve started to remove the dress from its hanger. “Man, there’s a lot of it. No wonder you can’t do it yourself.”

“Oh God. I’m putting on my wedding dress.”

Eve looked over sharply. “Don’t start leaking! It’ll do something to your face, then Trina will start up again.”

“I’m waterproofed.” She turned her back so Eve could fasten the back of the dress.

“Your grandmother’s earrings.” Peabody handed Louise the delicate pearl drops. “Something old.”

“New, the dress, blue, the garter.” Louise put on the earrings. “And the necklace Leonardo picked from Dallas’s treasure box for something borrowed.” She glanced back at Eve before Peabody helped her fasten it. “Thanks.”

“No problem. Nearly done here. One more button. There, Jesus, there must be two dozen buttons.”

“No, don’t turn around yet! Don’t look yet!” Peabody ordered. “We have to attach the veil, then you can look.”

“You do it. I’ll mess up her hair, then Trina will kill me.” And Eve had to admit, the soft, loose curls were pretty, and well, perfect, she decided when Peabody hooked the veil to the tiny, sparkling tiara nestled in them.

Peabody sniffled, blinked, but tears spilled out anyway.

“Cut it out,” Eve ordered.

“I can’t help it.” She stepped back, where she and Mavis wrapped arms around each other’s waist and sniffled in accord.

Louise took a deep breath, turned.

“Well, holy shit.” Eve stared. “I think you went a couple clicks up from perfect.”

Romantic, Eve thought, but almost otherworldly with acres of white foamy, filmy, floating skirts, the sparkle of beads on the strapless bodice. The dress was a winner, no question, but the look on Louise’s face outshone even that.

“I look like a bride,” Louise murmured.

“Here.” Tears trickling, Trina offered Louise her bouquet of sweet-heart roses in shades of the palest pink to the deepest red. Then gave Eve and Peabody their smaller rounds. “Come on, Mavis, we’d better get down there.”

Mavis scooped up the baby. “Say bye, Bellarina. You’re all seriously beautiful.” She sighed and hurried out.

“Ready?” Eve asked Louise.

“Dallas.” She held out a hand, took Eve’s for a hard squeeze. “I’m so ready.”

The sun shone, and the quietest of breezes whispered under the music of flutes and violins. Masses of flowers sweetened the air. Peabody walked first down the white runner forming an aisle between the seated guests toward the arbor of white roses where Charles stood with Roarke and McNab.

Eve followed her. Her eyes met Roarke’s. And there, she thought, right there was the reason for this. The reason for the flowers and the pomp, the fuss and the formality.

There was love.

Only you, she remembered. She’d walked to him on a summer day once before, and he’d seen only her.

He smiled at her as he had when she’d walked down a white runner to an arbor of white roses toward him. As it had then, her heart gave one quick leap.

Sometimes, she thought as she took her place, turned, life could be pretty damn perfect.

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