4 Yip/Tuck

Free 4 Yip/Tuck by Sparkle Abbey

Book: 4 Yip/Tuck by Sparkle Abbey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sparkle Abbey
    Betty shrugged a fragile shoulder; her silk pajamas slid forward, showing off her extra-white skin. “He didn’t ask.”
    Darby elbowed me. I knew what she was saying. Close call. We joined Betty behind the counter and shoved our purses on the shelf.
    “Did you help that lady get her photo?” Betty asked.
    I pulled the frame out of my purse. I looked at it with a critical eye. It didn’t look like it was anything special. Gold, five-by-seven, a burgundy felt backside.
    “She left in a rush and forgot to take it with her.” Which meant I’d have an opportunity to talk to Tova again. Boy, did I have a lot of questions.
    Betty picked up the frame and smiled. “They look happy. My Tommy gave me a picture frame just like this many years ago. I miss him sometimes.” Her fingers traced the gold beveled edges.
    “I’m sorry, Betty. How long ago did he die?” Darby asked softly.
    “Ten years ago this Thanksgiving. Died of a heart attack at the family dinner table. Face plant in the mashed potatoes and gravy. Kplat! Never saw it coming.”
    “That’s awful.” Tenderhearted Darby patted Betty’s arm.
    “Once the family stopped laughing, we realized he was dead. The girls were devastated. We had some good times, me and my Tommy.” She handed the photo back to me.
    “You never remarried?” I asked.
    “I love an attractive man, but I don’t want to be hitched to another. Unless it’s for lovin’.” She wiggled her faded eyebrows. “Do you know any good men, cookie?”
    Darby’s lips pressed together, hiding a smile. I blinked rapidly, working hard to not picture Betty’s definition of lovin’. Too much information.
    “I’ll have to think on that,” I said.
    “Did you check the secret compartment on the backside?” Betty’s face softened. “My Tommy used to hide notes for me. He was a romantic.”
    A secret compartment? I flipped the frame over. A small tab, just big enough to hold between your thumb and index finger, stuck out, begging to be pulled. It wasn’t exactly a hiding place. It was how the back came off to insert the photo. But I could see how someone might hide a note behind it if they were so inclined.
    I pulled the tab. A newspaper clipping fluttered to the counter.
    “What’d I tell ya, cookie?” she cackled.
    I unfolded the paper. It was an advertisement for opening night for an entertainment show. The venue name was missing. I didn’t recognize either of the women in the picture. They weren’t exactly natural beauties with their enormous hair, sequined gowns, and a ton of eye glitter; they posed in a manner that was neither natural nor sexy. The headline read Jackie O and La—a. La—a? I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce her name. I decided to go with “La-ah”.
    Could one of them be the “other woman” we had heard about?
    “Let me see.” Betty tugged on my sleeve.
    I showed it to her and then Darby.
    Betty scrunched her lips disgusted. “Blondie needs a new hair stylist. Her hair is awful. It looks like a wig.”
    I chuckled. It did look like a wig. Exactly like the wig Tova carried off to God knows where. My pulse quickened. I blinked, making sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.
    “That dark-haired one looks familiar. I’ve seen her before.” Betty tapped her nose in concentration.
    “I don’t think Tova knows about this,” Darby stated.
    “You’re thinking what I am, aren’t you? That’s the wig Tova stole.”
    “I remember,” Betty shouted, her petite body vibrating with excitement. “They’re drag queens. I saw their show at the Kitty Kat Club. That blonde, Jackie O, she was bad. No timing, bad makeup. Came out in a pink suit and pillbox hat. Horrible. I got my money back.”
    I completely avoided the fact that Betty had been to a drag show. “You’re sure?” The blonde did have a strong jaw line.
    “I’m old, but I’m not on my deathbed. You girls need to get out more. Experience life. Those aren’t ugly ladies. They’re

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