Kizzy Macklin clutched the glass of champagne, now warm, and shifted rightwards at the head table, away from the drunken and leaning Peter Frederick Fordyce-Fisher III. Why her sister wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve, a day when the entire population had an excuse to behave badly, was baffling to her. You didn’t have to look any further than Freddie to realize the whole affair was one giant fiasco. But that was Carlie all over.
“Zhe looksh like an angel,” Freddie slurred, gazing in Carlie’s general direction, his eyes unfocused. Kizzy didn’t believe he could actually see Carlie, but he wasn’t wrong. Carlie did look beautiful in her simple white dress, her naked shoulders gleaming in the candlelight, and that giant diamond tiara blazing brighter than a lighthouse on top of her head. That thing was so big that if she stood outside, the refracted light would cause tanker ships to collide.
But that tiara might come in handy. Carlie could use that big stone in the center for weapon. Or maybe a drill bit. If she ever needed a drill bit. Had the Fordyces or even the Fordyce-Fishers made their fortunes in mining? Somehow, Kizzy thought not.
They were almost through with the speeches when Freddie lurched up from his seat.
“Shcuse me,” he blurted to the crowd with drunken politeness. “Mush pee.”
He fumbled with his zipper. Right there. At the head table.
Carlie, the groom, the grandmother, the parents—indeed, all the Fordyce-Fishers—swiveled their heads and looked at her. At her, Kizzy. Like this was her fault.
Carlie raised her chin at her. Do something, her sister said in actions louder than words. Like what did she expect? That Kizzy would undo the zipper for him?
“For god’s sake, Freddie, hit the head!” Kizzy hissed. She would never forgive her sister. First Carlie had blackmailed her to be the maid of honor, and then she got stuck paired off with Freddie, the man who’d never met an open bar he didn’t like.
“Wha?” Freddie asked.
Kizzy lifted her eyebrows at Carlie, letting her know in actions louder than words that some day, Carlie would pay for this moment. Because Kizzy hated this wedding and everything and everybody connected to it, and now she had to get up in front of everybody and take Freddie to the bathroom. Like he was a six-year-old. Like he was her job.
She grabbed his arm and half-dragged him out of the dining room. The men’s room wasn’t far, and she shoved him into it.
“Do your thing, Freddie,” she said. “Don’t rush.”
Then she slumped to the floor, crushing the flounces of her bridesmaid’s dress. She didn’t care. She thought maybe she’d just go home after this. Why go back to the ballroom? Her sister wouldn’t miss her. And who needed the Fordyce-Fishers, anyway? Carlie was welcome to them.
Leisurely footsteps approached. And then a guy appeared. He was wearing a tuxedo, so he was in the wedding party. No doubt another Fordyce-Fisher. She remembered meeting him earlier—hours earlier, but his name had escaped her. No doubt it was something like Something Something Fordyce-Fisher the Somethingth. That’s what all of them were named.
This one held two glasses of champagne and handed one to her.
“Thought you could use this,” he said, sitting on the floor next to her. “You weren’t drinking yours. Can’t let those other people drink it all.”
“This is the source of all the trouble,” Kizzy said.
“Freddie is probably still drunk from the bachelor party,” the stranger said. “Can’t blame the champagne on that.”
Kizzy scowled at the man who was in a mood to forgive the champagne.
“Who are you again?” she asked.
“Hugh Thorner,” he said. “We met earlier.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” she said. “Kizzy Macklin. Sister of the bride. Bathroom attendant.”
“Doesn’t sound like you’re enjoying the wedding much.”
“I’m ambivalent,” Kizzy said. “If not downright hostile. Thorner. That name’s not right. No hyphens. How do you know the Fordyce-Fishers?”
“College roommate of the groom,” he said. “I planned the honeymoon. Thorner Adventure Travel, that’s me.”
“Adventure travel?” Kizzy said. “I thought they were going to some big estate in Hawaii.”
“That, too,” Hugh said. “I didn’t plan that, though. No adventure there.”
“You never know,” Kizzy said. “Freddie’s finding adventure in the men’s room, I’d bet you any money.”
Hugh laughed. “He’ll be lucky if he can find his zipper again. In which case, I’ll take him home. You’ve done enough for one day.”
“You’re not getting out of here without me,” Kizzy said, and then stopped. Hugh smiled.
“Fine by me,” he said, holding her gaze.
A tremendous crash erupted from inside the men’s room. Freddie let out a terrible shriek.
“Run!” Hugh said, jumping to his feet. “It’s grizzlies!” He grabbed Kizzy’s hand and pulled her to her feet.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, brushing off her skirt. “There aren’t any grizzlies in the men’s room. We have to check on Freddie. Or you do, anyway.”
“Freddie, you alive in there?” Hugh yelled.
“I’m wet!” Freddie bellowed.
“He’s fine,” Hugh said.
“Then let’s go,” Kizzy said. “We don’t want those grizzlies to get us.”