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.”I squeezed his hand as the doors opened and the ushers escorted family members to the front.“Who are they?” Nick followed my gaze.“My guess would be the groom’s parents.” As a smiling older couple took a seat on the right-hand side, I added, “Yep.”“How do you know?”“Grandma Mae used to always say, ‘The groom insisted he was right, so the bride left,’ to help us remember which side was which at weddings.At least that’s the case with traditional Christian weddings.I think Jewish weddings are the opposite.”“The bride is always right?” Nick said.“Sounds like a safer plan.”“His parents look pretty happy.”“You had them on your suspect list?”“Briefly,” I said.“If for some reason they didn’t like Suzy, they’d have motive.But they weren’t staying at the Ashbury.In fact, I haven’t seen them around at all.”I turned to Liv, who was rubbernecking the crowd in the church.“Looking for suspects?” I asked.“That man,” she said.“Third row.” She pulled out her phone and flipped through the images of the people from Gary’s exposés.“Does he look like.?”I looked at the picture on the phone first.It was a grainy picture.“Who is this guy?”“Alderman.Took bribes.”I looked up at the third row.There was some resemblance in hair color and profile, but then she turned around.“Never mind,” Liv said as she snatched back her phone.No family was escorted to the bride’s side, probably because Suzy’s father would be walking her down the aisle, and he was a widower.The next person in the room was Marco, the cameraman.Nathan, covered in camera gear, looked like a foreign legion soldier who had just crossed the desert.Sweat beaded on his forehead and soaked through the back of his shirt.Brad also carried a camera, smaller, but more portable.And the sound guy had his boom mic.And when the cameras were set, Gigi and Henry Easton came in next, arm in arm.The cameras focused on them as they pointed and looked dreamily at the empty stage.I recalled watching the show and seeing Gary and Gigi commenting on how nice the wedding was turning out.But of course, with limited cameras, this was not taking place at the same time as the wedding, as the viewer was led to believe.All staged and scripted and edited to look like it was happening in real time.The music changed to “Canon in D” as Pastor Seymour, followed by the groom and the groomsmen all wearing their campanula boutonnieres, entered through a side door.The groom (Michael or Martin, or whatever his name was) strode to his marked spot at the front of the church.I could tell it was marked because he stopped, looked down, then shuffled three inches to the right.He sent a brief, nervous smile to his parents, then fixed his eyes on the back door, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down.The bridesmaids seemed to race down the aisle, wobbling a bit on their stiletto heels.As they did, I could have sworn I heard sleigh bells, their random tintinnabulation clashing with the clear tones of the bell choir.As the bridesmaids took their places at the front of the church, I began to figure out where all those tinkling sounds were coming from.Bell earrings.Bells woven into their hair ornaments.Bells on the sashes of their dresses.Bells on their shoes.Wasn’t that an old nursery rhyme—rings on her fingers and bells on her toes?And here I was worried that bellflowers would be too literal.When the bride and her father appeared in the doorway, the room hushed.Except for the bells.The bride was wearing the vintage bell-sleeved gown, but they had at least altered it to remove the high neck.The sleeves started just below her bare shoulders.They were fitted until they reached the elbow, then flared out into a fluttery bell shape that no longer quite reached the floor.Seed pearls sewn in bell shapes decorated the bodice and the train, and more seed pearls repeated the same pattern on the veil.The effect was striking.Nevena must not have slept in days.As the bell choir started the next tune, Suzy’s father rubbed his trimmed beard.Apparently Suzy failed in her bid to get him to shave it.She held her bouquet low, probably as Easton had directed her so that the camera could pick up the dress.The muted colors of the campanula mixed well with the white of the calla lilies, making the bouquet seem airy and light, as if it were in soft focus.And although you couldn’t see much of the bell design on the silver bouquet holder, I knew that Suzy knew it was there.And by the smile on her face, I imagined she was pleased.Max looked shell-shocked as he made his way past the cameras with Suzy tugging his arm as she half-walked, half-danced down the aisle to the bell choir playing a rocking tune.I checked the program.“‘You Can Ring My Bell’?” I whispered to Nick.“I think it’s an old disco tune,” he said with an amused smile.In fact, all of the uses were with us.Pastor Seymour looked a bit bemused at the bell choir.Most of the audience looked amused as the bride sashayed down the aisle to the beat of the music with her evidently confused father in tow.And my eye caught Bixby, standing near the back door leaning on the frame, the silhouette of his gun in its holster evident under his suit coat as he mused over the situation.Butterflies in my stomach discoed to the rocking processional tune.Would the wedding go on as planned? Or would the killer make one more attempt to stop it?I think I daydreamed through much of the rest of the wedding.Well, not quite daydreamed.When younger, I’d let my mind wander during weddings, thinking about the day I’d march down the aisle.I’d planned my dress, my flowers, and my cake.That seemed less likely to happen all the time, but those were the silly daydreams of a young girl.Today, however, my eyes darted back and forth among the various suspects.I could see why the Secret Service wear those dark glasses—it not only cuts down glare, but it hides the direction in which they’re looking.If anyone was looking at me that day, they probably thought I had some kind of spastic eye disease.When the groom began his vows, I breathed deeply and tried to focus [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]