TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:
A blizzard raged outside, battering the cozy ski lodge. Merry skiers drank hot chocolate and hot toddies, excited about the fresh white powder they’d be conquering tomorrow. Smiling, she took another sip, her eyes briefly wandering from the man sitting before her, to a different gentleman across the room. He was sitting alone, and staring at…
(Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.)
Meredith Holt smiled languidly at the waiter as she lifted the elegant glass mug from his tray. “Thank you, garcon,” she purred. Such handsome college boys working here. She sipped the hot toddy (only number two but must keep count) and surveyed the lounge. The enormous room was packed. Row upon row of small round tables. Three walls were entirely glass, showcasing the drama of the blizzard outside. The fourth wall had four fireplaces and two arches that led to the lobby. Meredith was seated facing the first fireplace. Behind her stretched a long bar. Several bartenders served drinks as the snow swirled, dizzying, behind them.
This was her first trip to Aspen. Usually she wintered in Nice but she just didn’t want a long ocean voyage after the surgery. Everything had gone well, and she looked marvelous – Dr. Rennert really was the best – but after what had happened to Kitty Beaufort after HER facelift, she didn’t want to take the chance of being in the middle of the Atlantic and nothing but a ship’s doctor and stupid nurses on hand. And she hated long flights.
She had no desire to ski, so this blizzard was a godsend. Everyone who did want to ski was waiting for the great powder tomorrow but for now, they were here in the lounge. She could people-watch – and critique – to her heart’s content.
Aspen was certainly fashionable. Possibly too fashionable. Meredith uncrossed and recrossed her long, Pucci-clad legs. She looked around at all the finest people dressed in different designers but all with the same current style. Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein… and was Marguerite Valentine wearing a Balenciaga ski jacket? Who would have thought Balenciaga made skiwear? Meredith snorted and raised a finger for the waiter, jingling her Tiffany charm bracelet when he did not appear immediately.
“Finished already, dear?” Her very best friend, Miriam Taylor, leaned across the little round table they were sharing and whispered brightly (so that the tables around them could certainly hear), “DO be CAREful, darling!”
Meredith’s smile was tight. “Oh, Mim, you know I would never DREAM of trying to keep up with YOU,” she grated.
The waiter brought her another toddy. Three. No, four. Damn it. Meredith’s crimson nails ticked restlessly against the mug. She tilted the little spoon and tried to peek at her hair in the reflection. She wasn’t sure about the cut. She’d had long hair since she was a debutant, but her mother had always said a woman should cut her hair by the time she turned 35. So, she’d done it last week. When Derrick had said she was ten years too late, she’d nearly slapped him. Beast.
“Where’s Derrick anyway,” she asked Miriam.
“I don’t know. Drinking with Hank, probably. I am not my brother’s keeper.”
“I hate when you say that.”
“Well, are you my brother’s keeper?” Mim laughed.
“In sickness and in death.”
Mim threw her head back and roared. “Marvelous!”
The view of her friend’s silver molars was not appealing. Meredith looked away. Someone at the far end of the room pricked her attention. She wasn’t sure who… a flash of color… something had caught her eye. She squinted – she should really learn to wear contact lenses or get that surgery – but she couldn’t see the woman now.
She checked the little watch charm that Derrick had given her on their honeymoon. Three o’clock. She’d had, what, four? Only four? She could have another maybe. Just a small one. She’d wait, though. Mustn’t do anything to embarrass herself. Mim would be sure to talk about it. Anyway, there were so many people here that she knew from Los Angeles, she was sure any humiliation would spread like wildfire.
There was Deirdre Scott. SHE would probably know where Derrick was. Always cozying up to my husband. Pathetic, really.
Meredith saw that familiar flash of color again, at a table near the last fireplace. Ah, there. Very smart hair. Sharp colors. And she’s looking at me. Is that…wait. Pucci? Is she wearing MY Pucci slacks? That’s outrageous! How on earth had she gotten hold of those? That STUPID salesgirl SWORE those were only available at the ONE shop in LA, they’d JUST come in this week, and absolutely NO one else was to see them until next week. No one should even know about them. Why, the only person she’d told was that Babs Livingston who had been at the salon for a cut and color on the same day.
That MUST be Babs! Unbelievable! That snake copied my hairstyle, and then ran to Rodeo Drive and bought my slacks!
Outraged, Meredith put down her empty mug and stood up. Babs had seen her, and stood up, too. Meredith swayed a little, looked down at the table and steadied herself with her fingertips. She gathered her things as she looked over at Babs. Bitch has the same purse!
Meredith managed to draw some dignity about her and glided – with a little hop step around a chair or two – across the room. Babs seemed to have trouble getting around people’s seats, and Meredith was pleased to see that those she jostled looked up and snickered.
Without a clear idea of just what she would say, Meredith stalked toward Babs to give her a piece of her mind. She could not imagine what SHE could have done to provoke the look on Bab’s face, nor could she imagine how Babs could have the temerity to approach HER.
“What,” demanded Meredith as she closed the distance between them, “are you looking at!?”
And then she walked straight into the mirror.