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Chapter 1

You know how they say weddings always have some drama? Well, this one had an overdose. My name is Molly Pink, and the wedding in question was my friend Mason Field's daughter, Thursday's. Yes, that' really her name. I wasn't invited to the actual ceremony, which was for immediate family only, but I, along with 200 or so others, had been invited to the reception that was being held in Mason's tented backyard. When I tent, I'm not taking about some little open-on-the-sides thing. We're talking about a structure that took up the whole backyard. And it only looked like a tent from the outside - the interior was done up like an elegant ballroom. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I would have already been inside the tent, but just before I was to go in, my friend Barry Greenberg, who is an LAPD homicide detective, happened to come by and I stopped to chat. The title of friend was a step down from his previous title as boyfriend. Don't get me started on that. Boyfriend for a man in his fifties? C'mon. And I don't think his arrival was an accident. It was a last-ditch effort to talk me out of doing something. The friendship between me and Mason was supposed to move up a notch after the wedding. He and I were to go up north for a get-to-really-know-each-other few days, if you know what I mean. Barry didn't know that before he had even arrived, I had already changed my mind and had decided to keep Mason's and my relationship at the friends-with-no-benefits level.

Barry had looked relieved, almost happy, until we both heard screams coming from the tent. Then we double-timed it inside. It was easier for Barry since he was dressed in comfortable jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. But then he wasn't an invited guest and I was. The narrow bottom on my apricot ruffly dress didn't allow for a wide gait, and the heels - well, walking in them was a challenge, but running? Forget it.

When I got inside, it was as if the moment had frozen in time. Nobody seemed to be moving or talking. The only sound was the background music the DJ had put on.

I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but then I looked across the wooden dance floor that had been laid over the grass and saw a long table toward the end of the tent. I didn't mean to gasp, but it was an automatic response when I saw Jaimee Fields, the mother of the bride, sprawled on the wedding cake, holding a bloody knife.

Barry had gotten up close to the table, and now he flashed his badge and told her to drop the knife. It hit the floor with a loud thud. You didn't have to be a detective to know that a bloody knife meant somebody had been stabbed. I was right behind Barry when he went around to the other side of the table. I almost didn't see the tuxedo-clad man sprawled on the floor. My eye went right to the white dress splattered with red as Thursday Fields tried to help her new husband up. Thursday Fields or should I say, Thursday Fields Kingsley.

The DJ finally cut the music, and I heard a gasp go through the crowd. I turned and I saw that Mason Fields had just come in from the house. He had a happy smile and was carrying a wedding gift, oblivious to what he was walking into. When he caught a glimpse of the crowd, he seemed surprised. "What's going on?" His question was met with the sound of two hundred plus people sucking in their breath, and he seemed perplexed by the reaction. "I go into the house for a few minutes and the party dies?" Then he looked across the tent.

Mason was an attorney, and he mostly dealt with naughty celebrities who got themselves into sticky situations. But I doubt anything he'd ever seen equaled finding his ex-wife sitting in his daughter's wedding cake. And that was before he knew about the bloody knife.

Barry ordered everyone to stay put and leaned down to check the groom. Mason and a dark-haired man in a matching tuxedo ignored the command and came behind the cake table.

The dark-haired man pushed me out of the way and fell to his knees when he saw the figure on the ground. While Barry searched for a pulse, the man - who I now realized was Jackson Kingsley, father of the groom - cried out in grief and disbelief. Then his eyes fell on Jaimee, who was somehow still stuck in the cake.

"You stabbed my son," he bellowed in a deep voice.

Barry had already called it in and it only took a few minutes before the place was swarming with blue uniforms and paramedics. The paramedics checked Jonah Kingsley, but I saw them shaking their heads, clearly it was too late. They still got some business, though. A number of women grew faint as they were hustled to the tables that had been set up for dinner. As soon as the area was cleared, two cops stretched yellow tape across the whole end of the tent, and the area around the cake and Jonah Kingsley's body was being curtained off with tarps. Somebody had finally helped Jaimee out of the cake, and she was surrounded by uniforms. Jackson Kingsley was standing nearby on the dance floor with a much younger woman, who, judging by the ring on her finger, seemed to be his wife.

"What are you waiting for?" Kingsley said to the uniforms. "How much proof do you need? Arrest her." He pointed accusingly at Jaimee Fields. I got the feeling that Jackson Kingsley was used to being in charge and didn't like it when he wasn't listened to. And he had that kind of deep melodious voice that got your attention.

Thursday was with another cadre of uniforms, and Mason was rushing back and forth between the two groups.

All I could think was that poor Thursday had only been married for a few hours, and she was already a widow.

For Better or Worsted
by Betty Hechtman






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