Lucy paused at the steps leading up to the Dempsey mansion and caught the distant sounds of string music playing. Live music for a baby shower? They’d passed dozens of cars parked along the drive up to the house from the gate. “I think you may be right.”
They stepped inside the house together, taking the butler’s directions through the ornately decorated house to the ballroom. Lucy bit her tongue at the mention of a ballroom. Who, other than the house in the board game Clue, had an actual ballroom?
Apparently, the Dempseys.
They rounded a corner and were bombarded by the sound of a huge party in progress. Lucy was instantly aware that this was not the punch-and-cake gathering with cheesy baby shower games she was expecting. A string quartet was stationed in the corner on a riser. Round tables were scattered throughout the room with sterling gray linens and centerpieces filled with flowers in various shades of pink.
A serpentine table of food curved around the far corner of the space, flanked by a silver, three-tiered punch fountain on one end and an even taller cake on the other end. A mountain of gifts were piled onto tables in the opposite corner. There were easily a hundred people in the room milling around, and thankfully, most of them were dressed as nicely as she and Harper were.
Lucy breathed a sigh of relief for Harper’s fashion advice. At least for some of it. Harper had tried to get her to wear a piece of Alice’s jewelry—a large diamond cocktail ring that would’ve matched her dress splendidly, she said—but Lucy had refused. It wasn’t hers yet. She wasn’t touching a thing of Alice’s until the deal was done.
“I think Emma’s mother went a little overboard for this, don’t you?” Harper leaned in to whisper. “I guess since Emma and Jonah eloped in Hawaii, Pauline had to get her over-the-top party somehow.”
Lucy could only nod absently as she took in the crowd. Being friends with Emma, Harper and Violet in college had been easy because they’d all lived in their sorority house and their economic differences were less pronounced. After their years at Yale, they all returned to New York, struggling to start their careers and make names for themselves. It leveled the playing field for the friends. This was one of the few times she’d been painfully reminded that she came from a very different world than them. She tried to avoid those scenarios, but this was one party she couldn’t skip. Even with Alice’s fortune, she’d still be a nobody from a small town in Ohio that no one had ever heard of.
“I see someone I need to talk to. Are you okay by yourself for a while?” Harper asked. She was always good, as were all the girls, about making sure Lucy was comfortable in new settings that were second nature to them.
“Absolutely, go,” Lucy said with a smile.
As Harper melted into the crowd, Lucy decided to take her gift to the table flanked with security guards. There were apparently nicer gifts there than the pink onesies with matching hats she had picked out from the registry. One of them had a sterling silver Tiffany rattle tied to the package like a bow.
Without immediately spying anyone she knew, she decided to get a glass of punch. At least she would look like she was participating in the event.
“Lucy!” A woman’s voice shouted at her as she finished filling up her crystal punch glass. She turned around to see a very pregnant Emma with a less-pregnant Violet.
“You two are a pair,” Lucy said.
“I know,” Emma agreed with a groan as she stroked her belly. “Four weeks to go.”
“I wish I only had four weeks.” Violet sighed. “Instead I have four months.”
Just after Emma and Jonah announced their engagement and pregnancy to the world, Violet had piped up with a similar announcement. It had come as a surprise to everyone, including Violet, that she was expecting. She and her boyfriend had been on and off for a while, but finding out she was pregnant a few weeks after she’d been in a serious taxi accident had sealed the deal. Her boyfriend, Beau, insisted he wasn’t losing her again and they got engaged. The difference was that Violet wanted to set a date after the baby was born. She, unlike Emma, wanted the big wedding with the fancy dress and wasn’t about to do it with a less-than-perfect figure.
“Speaking of how far along you are,” Lucy said, “how did the ultrasound go?”
Violet’s cheeks blushed as she turned to Emma. “I’m not announcing anything because it’s Emma and Jonah’s night, but I’ll tell you both, and Harper when I see her. We’re having a boy.”
“Oh!” Emma squealed and wrapped her arms around Violet. “Our kids are going to get married,” she insisted.