Sitting on a barstool, watching Aster clean up the rest of the glass and absently pulling her long hair into a braid, a part of Peggy longed to be able to go back to the day she had originally planned. A very small part. A surprisingly small part, if she let herself think about it for too long. Which she didn’t, because most of her was trying to work the problem in front of her.
Nico leaned against the doorframe in his room, yawning and wiping the sleep out of his eyes. “Who is it?” he asked, knowing damn well there was only one person in the Biddies who would pound on his door at the ass-crack of dawn.
Vinnie nodded to a short, thin man wearing thick diamond and gold rings on his slim fingers as he passed through the front of the party car to the next. There were two bathrooms in the hall, just before the connecting doors, and Vinnie glanced behind him to make sure no one noticed he took neither. There was no badge reader or guard here, and Vinnie was about to say something about the door being locked. But with a simple touch of the handle the door slid open easily. Vinnie was in the connecting pass-through, and then he was in the next car.
Peggy was having a very nice dream where she was on a beach and that one actor whose name she could never remember but she never forgot his face, he was shirtless and he kept bringing her fresh glasses of Mai Tai, and it kept feeling like it might change to a sexy dream any second but even if it didn’t the Mai Tais were killer. And then her fucking phone started ringing.
In the Before Times (something he always called it in his head but never out loud, at least not since that one time he said it and Doc Wendy looked like she’d take his head off) Henry had never been an early riser. His parents, his bosses, his professors, his coaches, they had all tried all sorts of crazy things to get him somewhere on time before ten o’clock. Alarms that were loud enough to tear a hole in his eardrum. Alarms that required he solve a math problem or a puzzle before they shut up. Cold buckets of water. Nothing ever worked for long. Henry just loved his sleep.
Vinnie took another sip of his ginger ale and prayed to the train god that the ride would smooth out. “How do we get them back there?” he asked, his lips still on his glass. It was a murmur, so quiet without the tin ears Verna never would have heard even as she stood half a foot away.
Peggy watched Aster cross the parking lot toward the front door of the Thorny Crown and thought, well, at least they’ll blend in. As soon as they had gotten inside Peggy walked around the parking lot, cutting across the last bit to get to the back of the bar.
Spring had finally come to the Biddies, but only because Marietta had said it had.
She only went back to Dinah’s the next night because she knew Aster wasn’t supposed to be working, so of course Aster was standing directly in front of her before the door could even close.
The earpiece fit so snugly into Vinnie’s ear canal you couldn’t see it. At least, he hadn’t been able to see it no matter how he moved his head around in front of the mirror. Of course, there was still something jammed in his ear. It was like he had a particularly big piece of wax stuck and it was making his hearing lopsided.