Georgette escaped into the bathroom when Regan started sticking her nose around the party. I knew we were running into a streak of bad luck, she thought. This is not good.
Looking at herself in the mirror, she sighed. She unzipped her purse and took out her brush. As she fussed with her hair, she reviewed her options. By the time she was reapplying her lipstick, Georgette had decided that she couldn’t leave. It would look too suspicious. But after tonight, that’s it. Blaise and I will search for the diamonds in Nat’s apartment, and if we don’t find them, we’ll cut our losses and get out of town tomorrow. Who needs this aggravation?
When she came out of the bathroom, Blaise was standing there with a tray of drinks. “Keep cool,” he whispered. “We’re out of here soon.”
Georgette smiled, took a glass of champagne, and walked back into the living room. I’m not going to miss these parties, she thought. Having to make excuses to a bunch of losers, explaining why you don’t want to go to the movies. Give me a break. Uh oh. Here comes Regan Reilly, acting so fake friendly.
“Hello,” Georgette said. “Any luck so far?”
Regan shrugged. “The woman I just spoke to said she wasn’t even here last night.”
“I was talking to her. She’s a friend of Lydia’s from New Jersey. She called Lydia today and told her she was coming into the city, so Lydia told her to stop over. By the way, my name is Georgette.”
“Nice to meet you. Is there anything you can tell me about last night that might be helpful?”
Georgette tossed back her blond-streaked hair, shifted from foot to foot, and lowered her voice. “You know, Regan, the big mystery to me is why I come to these parties. The guy with the rug who was hitting on you asked me last night if I like to take walks on moonlit beaches.” Georgette chuckled into her glass. “Or lounge on sheepskin rugs in front of the fireplace.”
“Sheepskin rugs?” Regan asked.
“Can you believe that? My skin crawls just thinking about it.”
“Thinking about the rugs, or him?” Regan asked.
“Him! I’ve got nothing against sheep.”
Regan laughed. “So why do you come to these gatherings?”
Uh-oh again, Georgette thought. “I bought the package deal Lydia was offering. I figured I may as well use it up. And you never know, lightning might strike. Sometimes I think finding the right guy is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”
“What kind of guy are you looking for?”
“Someone who is kind and caring. Sense of humor. That’s really important to me. There are so many problems in life, you have to laugh, right, Regan?”
“That you do,” Regan agreed. “I love your perfume. What kind is it?”
Georgette laughed shyly. “It’s called Lethal Injection. My old boyfriend gave it to me.”
Regan smiled. “And what happened to him?”
Georgette waved her hand at Regan. “Another loser. He expected me to take care of him.”
One of the butlers accidentally bumped into Georgette. “Excuse me,” he said as he held out a tray of pigs in blankets.
“Thank you,” Regan said as she took one and dipped it in the mustard. “These are good.”
“At the end of the night there are never any of these left,” he replied, moving on when Georgette refused any.
“So you didn’t see anything unusual last night?” Regan asked.
“No. It was the exact same deal as this. The guy with the camera was out here. I think he’s spending tonight with the butlers in the kitchen.”
He certainly taped enough of the party scene last night, Regan thought. For the next hour she talked to the other guests. When she mentioned to Snoopy’s mom that one of the women with the heavy perfume hadn’t even been there last night, she just shrugged. “I get confused sometimes.”
Most of these women are heavy on the perfume-and makeup, Regan noted. After all, this party is a mating dance. People try to look their best.
“Are you having a good time?” Lydia asked as she pulled Regan aside.
“Lydia,” Regan said in a low voice, “I’d like to get the names and addresses of everyone here. I’d also like to know who was here last night who didn’t make it tonight. I’ll run a quick check on them. No one has to know.”
Lydia’s eyes narrowed. “It had better not leak, Regan. This is my livelihood.”
“It won’t,” Regan assured her. “Don’t forget. This is also for the sake of the Settlers’ Club. Now, I also need the names and addresses of the butlers.”
Lydia inhaled sharply. “Maldwin’s not going to like that.”
“If he and his students have nothing to hide, then it shouldn’t be a problem. This is standard procedure. I’m going down to see Thomas now.”
“I’ll put together the list and slip it under your door tonight,” Lydia promised.
“The sooner, the better,” Regan said. “I want to call everyone as soon as possible.”