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A month had passed.
“Darling,” grinned Olivia, “thank you so much for the party.”
They were standing outside the hotel lobby doors. Olivia kissed Carter firmly on the mouth. “I do believe I’ve had too much champagne,” she giggled. “Oh, here’s Bev.” Now Olivia threw her arms around her best friend forever. “I hear you had a hand in this surprise. I can’t thank you enough, both of you. Well, why don’t we all go back to the house and continue the party?”
“Lovely,” said Bev. “I’m waiting for my date. He’s gone to get the car. We’ll meet you at your place.”
A brief glance from Bev to Carter sizzled. But Olivia missed it.
“Wait, I forgot my scarf,” Olivia declared. “I’ll just run in and grab it — it’s my favourite. Be right back.” She walked quickly across the lobby of the high-end boutique hotel. She glanced back through the large windows and saw Carter move a few steps closer to Bev. The two of them were laughing.
Olivia dialed a number already programmed on her throwaway cell.
Gloria was sitting on a bar stool in the subdued lighting watching the street. Olivia passed the bar on her way to the party room, and looked in Gloria’s direction. Olivia nodded.
There was a shattering explosion, followed immediately by more bursts. Olivia jumped. A woman screamed and hotel staff went running to the street. In minutes an ambulance pulled up on Mercer Street.
There were three victims of the drive-by shooting that night. Two were pronounced dead at the scene and the third, a senior hotel clerk reporting for duty, was shot in the shoulder. He recovered fully in time. He retired and moved to Fort Lauderdale where he continued to get a big cheque every month. Who knew the hotel could be so generous?