Home > Open Season(15)

Open Season(15)
Author: Linda Howard

“Gracious,” she whispered, eyeing the little container of color. How could it look so much darker on her face than it did in the container? Her cheeks looked sunburned, except sunburn never attained that exact shade of hot pink.

Grimly she applied the remaining items, the lip liner and lipstick, but she couldn’t tell if it helped the situation or made it worse. All she knew was that the end result was hideous; she looked like a cross between a rodeo clown and something from a horror movie.

She definitely needed help.

Grimly she went downstairs, where Wheel of Fortune still spun. Evelyn and Jo stared at her, eyes round and mouths agape, stricken into silence.

“Holy shit,” Aunt Jo finally blurted.

Daisy’s cheeks burned under the blusher, making the color even brighter. “There has to be a trick to it.”

“Don’t be upset,” her mother begged, getting up to put a comforting arm around her. “Most young girls learn by trial and error in their teens. You just never bothered, that’s all.”

“I don’t have time to learn by trial and error. I need to get this nailed down, now.”

“That’s why we suggested a beauty consultant. Think about it, honey; that’ll be the fastest way.”

“Beth could show me how,” Daisy said, inspired. Her younger sister didn’t slather on the makeup, but she knew how to make the most of her looks. Besides, Beth wouldn’t charge her anything.

“I don’t think so,” Evelyn said gently.

Daisy blinked. Big mistake. Prying her lashes apart, she said, “Why not?”

Evelyn hesitated, then sighed. “Honey, you’ve always been the smart one, so Beth staked out being pretty as her territory. I don’t think she’d handle it very well if you asked her to help you be pretty as well as smart. Not that you aren’t pretty,” Evelyn added hastily, in case she’d hurt Daisy’s feelings. “You are. You’ve just never learned how to show yourself to advantage.”

The idea that Beth might be even the teensiest bit jealous of her was so alien that Daisy couldn’t take it in. “But Beth always got good grades in school. She isn’t a dummy. She’s both smart and pretty, so why wouldn’t she help me?”

“Beth doesn’t feel as if she’s as intelligent as you. She finished high school, but you have a master’s degree.”

“She didn’t go to college because she married her high school sweetheart when she was eighteen and settled down to raising a beautiful family,” Daisy pointed out. In fact, Beth had what she herself had always wanted. “Not going was her choice.”

“But you always wonder about the choice you didn’t make,” Aunt Jo pointed out, underlining Daisy’s last thought. “Evelyn just means you shouldn’t put Beth in that position. She’ll feel bad if she turns you down, and if she helps you, it’ll be like wearing wool during the summer: miserable and itchy.”

So much for that idea. Luckily, she had another one. “I guess I could go to a department store in Chattanooga or Huntsville, and let them do my makeup.”

“Actually,” said Aunt Jo, “we thought of someone right here in Hillsboro.”

“Here?” Puzzled, Daisy tried to think of anyone in Hillsboro who even remotely qualified as a beauty consultant. “Who? Has someone new moved into town?”

“Well, no.” Aunt Jo cleared her throat. “We thought Todd Lawrence would do nicely.”

“Todd Lawrence?” Daisy gaped at them. “Aunt Jo, just because a man’s gay doesn’t mean he qualifies as a beauty consultant Besides, I don’t know if Todd is ‘out.’ I’d hate to upset him by asking, if he isn’t” Todd Lawrence was several years older than she, at least in his early forties, and a very dignified, reserved man. He had left Hillsboro when he was in his early twenties and, according to his doting widowed mother, did quite well for himself on Broadway, but since she never had any newspaper clippings or articles to show mentioning his name, everyone thought it was probably a mother’s fond bias that led her to think he was so successful. Todd had returned to Hillsboro some fifteen years later, to take care of his mother during her last year of life, and since her death had lived quietly and alone in the old Victorian house on the edge of town.

“Oh, he’s ‘out,’ ” Evelyn replied. “For goodness’ sake, he opened an antique and decorator store in Huntsville. And how many straight men know what color mauve is? At Easter, Todd told me how good I look in mauve; remember, that’s what color my dress was this year? And he said it in front of several people. So he’s out.”

“I don’t know,” Aunt Jo said doubtfully. “Mauve isn’t really a good test. What if a man’s wife has had him looking at paint chips? He might know what mauve is. Now, puce would be a real test. Ask Todd about puce.”

“I’m not asking him about puce!”

“Well, other than asking him outright if he’s out, I don’t see how else you’re going to do it.”

Daisy rubbed her forehead. “We’re getting off track. Even if Todd is gay—”

“He is,” both sisters said confidently.

“Okay, he is. That still doesn’t mean he knows anything about makeup!”

“He was on Broadway, of course he knows about makeup. Everyone in the shows wears makeup, gay or not. Besides, I’ve already called him,” Evelyn said.

Daisy groaned.

“Now, don’t take on,” her mother admonished. “He was as nice as he could be, and said of course he’d help you. Just give him a call when you’re ready.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Beautifully Broken series
» Falling series
Most Popular
» Fall (VIP #3)
» A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2)
» Dark Harmony (The Bargainer #3)
» Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2)
» Close to the Bone (Widow's Island #1)
» A Bone to Pick (Widow's Island #2)
» Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)
» Trailer Park Heart
» Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)
» Muffin Top (The Hartigans #2)