It Happened One Wedding Page 81

Okay . . . still no clue. “To give me what, exactly?”

Ginny chuckled. “Apparently this is a surprise, then.” She reached into one of the shopping bags and pulled out a medium-sized box. “See for yourself.”

Sidney took the box and set it on her lap. She lifted the lid and unwrapped a layer of tissue paper. When she saw what was inside the box, at first she wasn’t sure she knew what she was looking at.

It couldn’t be.

Sidney looked up. “Is this . . . ?”

Ginny smiled. “Your mother’s wedding purse. Vaughn said you were trying to find something of hers to give Isabelle as her ‘something old.’ I know everything else was lost, but at least you have this.”

Feeling tears spring to her eyes, Sidney gently lifted the purse out of the box.

It was, undoubtedly, the most thoughtful thing anyone had ever done for her.

The purse was simple, made out of white satin that had aged a little and with a gold clasp and delicate gold strap. Sidney smoothed her hand over it and cleared her throat. “How did he know you had this? I didn’t even know you had it.”

“He didn’t know, exactly. But from what I understand, you and Vaughn were looking at your parents’ wedding albums, and you told him that your mother and I used to be best friends.”

Sidney nodded. “I can’t believe he remembered that.”

“I guess being an FBI agent comes in handy for things like this. He tracked down my home phone number and left a message explaining how all of your mother’s wedding things had been thrown away. He’d actually been hoping to locate your mother’s ‘something borrowed’—he’d asked whether she’d worn or carried something that belonged to me or one of the other bridesmaids that would’ve been returned to us. It was a good idea—except I have no clue what your mother’s ‘something borrowed’ was. Luckily, I was able to do him one better.”

Ginny pointed to the purse. “So here’s the story with that: your mother was the first among our friends to get married. That was the purse she carried at her wedding, and then when I got married next, she lent it to me. Then I lent it to another friend of ours, Carol, for her wedding, and then Carol lent it to our other friend, Sandra. So after I heard Vaughn’s message, I e-mailed Sandra, and we were in luck. She had the purse packed away in a box with the rest of her wedding things. I picked it up from her earlier this week, and now I happily deliver it to you.”

“I don’t know what to say, Ginny. Thank you.”

“It belongs with you and Isabelle. And truly, Vaughn deserves the credit here. On Sunday, when we talked the first time, I joked that he was taking his best man responsibilities awfully seriously, going to such efforts to track down a ‘something old’ for Isabelle.”

“What did he say?”

“That the FBI agent in him couldn’t resist the chance to crack a cold case.”

Sidney laughed. “That sounds like him.”

“But when I called back to tell him that I’d found the purse, his first response was, ‘She’ll be so happy to hear it.’” Ginny looked at Sidney pointedly. “Somehow, I don’t think he was referring to Isabelle.”

They talked for a few minutes longer, and then Ginny collected her bags to leave. She asked Sidney to pass along her best wishes to Isabelle, gave Sidney her business card, and suggested that they keep in touch.

After Ginny left, Sidney walked back over to the chair and picked up the purse. She peeked inside, saw it was empty, and then leaned against the front of her desk.

She didn’t know what to make of the fact that Vaughn had gone through such efforts for her. Part of her was tempted to call him right then, but she was confused and trying not to read too much into the situation, and feeling very uncertain about a lot of things. But Ginny’s visit definitely had made one thing clear, something Sidney could no longer deny, no matter how hard she tried.

She missed him.


THURSDAY EVENING, VAUGHN met with Huxley and the rest of his backup unit to run through the plan for his meeting later that night with Pritchett’s crew. He kept things short and sweet—this would be his fourth meeting with the cops, and everyone knew what to expect.

That is, until they got a call from the special operations team that was tailing the suspects.

“We have a situation,” said Agent Romero, the team leader of the SOG. “There’s a new guy joining the party.”

“What do we know?” Vaughn asked.

“He showed up at the cops’ rendezvous spot before they got in the vans to drive to Indianapolis. We ran his plate. Name is Mike Mahoney—Officer Mike Mahoney, brother of Officer James Mahoney. Just joined CPD last year.”

Two dirty cops in one family—how touching. “So James decided to cut his brother in on the action,” Vaughn said.

“Looks that way. Although it also looks as though he didn’t run that by Pritchett first,” Romero said. “There was some kind of argument between Pritchett and the brothers when they first showed up. From the way he got in Pritchett’s face, Mike Mahoney seems to be a bit of a hothead. Maybe Pritchett is worried he’s going to be bad for business.”

“What’s Mahoney carrying?”

“Just his pistol, like the others.”

“Did you alert Lyons yet?” Vaughn asked, referring to the undercover agent posing as his gun seller in Indianapolis.

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