She Who Must Not Be Named.
I love my mom. I do. But I don’t love what the wedding made her become.
We enter the private airport lounge, where a large, thin-screen television is bolted to the ceiling in one corner. When I was a little girl, Dad liked to bring me, Carol and Amy to the local small airport. The place had a diner in it, and we’d order French fries and strawberry milkshakes, spending an hour or two watching the planes land and take off. If we were lucky, a helicopter would come along.
Once, a really friendly pilot let us climb in his plane.
The place is nothing like that little airport. This is where millionaires and billionaires go to avoid the TSA.
The rich really do live different lives than the rest of us.
This lounge is all clean glass and smoky brown leather. If you told me that the same interior designer who decorated James McCormick’s office at Anterdec had done this job, I’d believe you.
It looks like Teddy Roosevelt came back from the dead and demanded his own airport.
The small bar chairs, dark brown and creased with the kind of patina and age that looks shabby on cheaper leather, but chic and old-world sophisticated among the wealthy, are filled with a smattering of men and women, most in their fifties on up.
All of the servers and bartenders are in their twenties, and not a single one has an extra ounce of fat on them. It’s like Crossfit decided to hold a bartender school.
As we walk into the lounge, every single pair of eyes swivels to take us in.
“Why are they staring at us?” I ask Declan, clutching his arm.
“Because you’re wearing a wedding dress and I look like something out of a BBC documentary?” he answers smoothly.
I look down at myself. Look over at him. Take in the kilt, the socks covering his calves, the laces on his special Scottish shoes.
One of the patrons, a man who is sitting next to a woman who looks like an adventurous traveler and not a mannequin on a rich man’s arm, points to the television, then back to us.
“You two on the run?”
Declan frowns and pulls me closer to the television.
Where someone is interviewing my mother.
“And the president just took my daughter and son-in-law away. We’re not sure why!” Mom says, eyes wild, her hairdo like something out of The Hunger Games. “Maybe it’s because Declan speaks Russian. Maybe he’s actually a double agent or something,” she mutters as Dad pulls her away from the camera, shaking his head.
In the background I see Jeffrey put his fingers in his mouth, stretch it into a grimace, and stick his tongue out, crossing his eyes. Tyler is reaching for the first layer of the nine-layer cake, eating it by the handful, a slow and steady behavior that is mesmerizing to watch, much like those videos of sloths eating that you find all over YouTube.
One of the dogs Amanda rescued from the pool is licking up every crumb Tyler misses. Then the dog starts licking Tyler’s hand, which makes him scream. Carol appears, her back turned to the camera, her butt covered with frosting.
“Shannon! I’m coming to find you!” Mom screams into the camera as poor, helpless Daddy tries to pull her away. “I’m never going to give you up!”
I stare in stunned silence at the television. No. No way. She didn’t just—
“Did your mother just rickroll you on national television?” Declan asks.
The announcer’s voice cuts in as Mom disappears from the screen. “You heard it here first, folks. The Boston wedding of the decade has become a presidential scandal as reports are pouring in from the bride’s family that the President of the United States himself landed and absconded with—”
The young reporter, who looks like he should be selling “fries with that” at a fast food counter rather than standing in front of a camera, reaches for his earpiece, frowns, blushes, and looks like he just peed his pants.
“Uh, this just in. Reports confirm that there has been no White House involvement in this wedding whatsoever. Repeat: the White House and United States federal government have played no role in any way, shape, or form.” The poor reporter’s eyes shift left and right, as if he thinks the Men in Black are about to drag him off.
“But the president stole my daughter!” Mom screams in the background, a disembodied voice. “We’re coming to rescue you in Vegas, honey!”
She really does know. Great.
The screen cuts instantly to four people back in the studio, all gaping at the viewing audience. They look like every single person in this airport lounge, except these people right here are gaping at us.
“Thanks, Obama,” I mumble.
I look to Declan, but Declan is alternating his attention between his smartphone and a quiet guy in one corner, who keeps looking at us, then his phone.
“We need to get out of here. Now,” Declan barks. He grabs my hand and pulls me through the lounge, toward a set of double doors that leads to the hangar. “She knows we’re going to Vegas. How in the hell did she figure that one out?”
“Where are we going?” I ask. He pushes the doors open and stops, craning his neck slightly to take one final look at the quiet guy inside.
“Andrew says the jet’s ready. They’re fueling now.” Declan’s frowning. “I wonder if Amanda told Marie.” His eyes shift back and forth between the tarmac and that guy.
“Why are you staring at that guy?”
“Because I know him. He’s friends with Jessica.” Declan narrows his eyes and looks around the asphalt-covered area surrounding the outside of the building, then puts his hand on the small of my back. “I couldn’t name him, but I’ve seen him at plenty of charity events, hanging on her like a leech.”