Read 1 Hairspray and Homicide Online
Authors: Cindy Bell
Hairspray and Homicide
A Bekki the Beautician Cozy Mystery
Copyright © 2013 Cindy Bell
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and locations portrayed in this book and the names herein are fictitious. Any similarity to or identification with the locations, names, characters or history of any person, product or entity is entirely coincidental and unintentional. All trademarks and brands referred to in this book are for illustrative purposes only, are the property of their respective owners and not affiliated with this publication in any way. Any trademarks are being used without permission, and the publication of the trademark is not authorized by, associated with or sponsored by the trademark owner.
Table of Contents
The rear view mirror did not reflect as much as she wished it would. Bekki carefully brushed a fingertip along the slope of her perfectly groomed eyebrow. She blinked her long lashes twice, loosening the grip of the mascara that had become a little too dried out in the summer heat. She tilted her head to catch a glimpse of her lipstick which was equally dried out. She quickly freshened it and then tucked the tube back into her purse. The purse was one of her most treasured items; the latest fashion trend to sweep through the city was big bags. This came as a relief to her, as the tiny little clutches of the year before had made it nearly impossible for her to carry everything that she needed.
She sat back in the driver's seat of her navy blue Ford Focus and started the engine. She had just stopped off at a gas station to refuel her gas tank and refill her stomach. With a bag of chips beside her and a cheeseburger wrapper already on the floorboard she was ready to get back on the road. As she drove off she recalled the grimace of annoyance that the woman behind the counter had given her when she ordered the greasy food along with a genuine sugar filled soda. Bekki didn't always eat fast food, but when she did, she enjoyed every bite. When she had the time she enjoyed cooking sumptuous meals full of fresh vegetables and fruits, paired perfectly with the finest cuts of meat. Despite that, she was slender, with a petite frame. When her friends discussed what new diet they were on, to look even more perfect than they already were, Bekki only shrugged and ate what she pleased. She couldn't imagine having to curb her appetite, as she had a big one.
As a popular beautician she always tried to look her best, but it was not a competition to Bekki. That was why she loved her job. She believed that every woman was not just beautiful, but absolutely stunning. When the right features were accented, and she saw that burst of confidence rise in a customer's eyes, she felt just as thrilled.
"Women are born beautiful, and will always be beautiful," she would smile as she shared their joy in the reflection of the mirror. "That's what my mother has always told me."
But no amount of makeup or fine clothing could change what had just become very ugly in Bekki's life. A week before she had caught her boyfriend of two years in their bed, with another woman. It was so shocking to Bekki that she almost didn't believe it despite the fact that she had seen it. She tried to convince herself that maybe he had been drugged, maybe he was being blackmailed, maybe he had temporary amnesia. When he finally managed to get his pants on, and the busty blonde he was with brushed past her in a rush to get out the door, Trevor didn't offer any of those explanations. In fact he didn't offer any explanation at all. He just shrugged in that indifferent way he had, which she had once thought made him intriguing.
"I'm just not a one woman kind of guy Bekki," he said as if it should be simple to comprehend. That dismissive attitude, that casual demeanor had been one of the first reasons she was attracted to him, but now that he was turning that detachment on her, she realized how much it could hurt.
"But I thought..." she started to say, still so shocked that it felt as if her tongue and lips had gone numb.
"What? We were going to get married, have babies?" he asked with a laugh as he fished a pack of cigarettes out of the pocket of his jeans. "I'm not interested in that kind of life Bekki, this isn't Harroway."
No, it certainly isn't, Bekki thought to herself as she felt her heart tear into shreds. There was no truth to it breaking, at least not in her case, it felt more like a chainsaw had been taken to it.
That night as she wept over the man she had thought Trevor was, and her frustration with herself for not seeing the truth beyond the flash of his smile and the gleam of his eyes, she kept hearing his words. “This isn't Harroway.” Harroway was her home town. A tiny little place nestled in the middle of Connecticut. It still had quaint little shops, a town square, and even family owned businesses, one of which belonged to her family.
When Bekki moved to New York City she had been teased quite often by her friends about her small town heritage, especially by Trevor who considered himself the quintessential modern man at the forefront of fashion and technology. Bekki had been a little embarrassed by their comments, but in general she ignored them. She was very confident in herself, and could care less about anyone's criticism, but in that moment when Trevor acted as if she shouldn't even be surprised that he had been cheating on her, she felt like a small town fool. She decided it was time to go home to Harroway
Halfway through her journey there she felt the ache return. Bekki was very smart, she could advise her friends about their relationships, offering inspiring comments of inner strength and refusing to settle. But none of those words meant a thing to her as the image of Trevor's dismissive smirk kept returning to her mind. Her once unshakable confidence and determination were a little damaged, and she was eager to return to the comfort of her family. Bekki had grown up in her mother's hair and beauty salon, Harroway’s Hair & Beauty. It was the place to be for all of the women in the town, and so Bekki had in a way been raised by the entire community.
Everyone had an interest in her life and her future. Most of the women would show up with little gifts and trinkets for Bekki when she was little, and as she grew into a teenager they were all there to offer her their motherly advice about boys, college, and the big city. Bekki had missed that since she had been in New York City, but she hadn't missed everyone being in the middle of her business, and knowing everything about her. At least in New York she didn't have to worry about Mrs. Mueller bringing up that time she chopped her hair off to the scalp because she wanted a Mohawk.
The entire salon had been in uproar over that because they all marvelled over Bekki's thick, wavy, black hair. It paired well with her clear blue eyes, and accented her olive skin. She had cut it so short that in the end her mother gave in and gave her the Mohawk. She spent a gleeful summer as what she thought was the coolest kid in town.
She laughed a little as she remembered that and turned down the long highway that would take her to Harroway. She was leaving everything she had thought she wanted behind, but now that she was almost home, she couldn't help but wonder why she had ever left in the first place.
When she pulled into the driveway of her parents' house, she was stunned by how little it had changed. Of course she had been home to visit now and then, but she had expected it to seem smaller, or older, in some way. Instead it was the same off-white clapboard that it had been when she moved away. The front door swung open and her mother came rushing out. Her mother was a near reflection of Bekki, with the same thick, dark hair which she wore shorter, and the clear blue eyes that revealed every emotion that she felt. Bekki stepped out of the car and right into her mother's eager arms.
“Oh sweetie, I'm so glad you're home,” she gushed as she hugged her tightly, to the point that Bekki felt as if she might lose that cheeseburger.
“Okay, okay Ma,” she laughed as she hugged her back. “I'm glad I'm home too.”
Her mother pulled away and looked directly into her eyes. “Don't you dare let that dog of a man get under your skin, understand me young lady?”
Bekki felt a smile form on her lips in reaction to her mother's fierce words. “I know Mama,” she promised with a sigh. Her mother had never been Mom or Mommy, she had always been Mama. It seemed unnatural to Bekki to hear her friends call their mothers by different names, but that was the way it was, growing up. Their family had always been very close and protective of each other.
“I'm so excited about you taking over the salon,” her mother said swiftly to change the subject and ushered her inside to greet her father. Bekki's father was taking a tea kettle off a burner on the stove.
“Bekki,” he smiled as he turned to face her. “How did you get here? Did you take the highway or the back roads?”
Bekki laughed and hugged him gently. He always wanted to know what directions she used to get anywhere, she had never really understood why, but he was determined to find the best short cuts as well as the most scenic routes.
“The highway,” she replied with a smile. “I just couldn't wait to get here.”
“Well, how would you like to see where you'll be sleeping?” her father suggested.
“Oh, I just thought I'd crash in my old room until I find a place,” Bekki shrugged mildly.
“Hmm, I think we can do better than that,” her father winked lightly and held up a set of keys.
“What's this?” she asked with surprise as she took the keys.
“Let's go for a drive,” he suggested. “I want to check out your new wheels.”
“Okay,” Bekki replied, noticing the secretive smile he exchanged with her mother. She could tell he was up to something. She let her father drive the car and he headed straight for Rose Hill Drive.
“Oh I love this place,” she sighed as the fresh air drifted in through the rolled down window and brought with it memories of travelling the streets in her teenage years. It amazed her how easily she could be transported back through time, back to adolescence when everything was of the utmost importance and yet meant absolutely nothing at the same time. When he pulled the car into the driveway of a house she glanced up at him curiously.
“Visiting a friend?” she asked as he parked the car and stepped out onto the walkway that led to the small front porch of the house.
“Welcome home, Bekki,” he said as he turned back towards her and smiled.
“What do you mean?” she asked him with surprise.
“Your mother and I bought this house when the housing market crashed. It was just too good a deal to pass up. We were going to offer it to you as a...” he paused, catching himself before he finished his sentence.
“A wedding present,” Bekki said quietly. “But Dad, you can't afford this,” she said quickly.
“Bekki, you don't tell me what I can afford,” he chuckled and gestured for her to join him on the porch. “Come on, just take a look, I think you'll like it.”
“I love it,” Bekki admitted as she ran her fingers along the railing of the porch. “But still, it's too much.”
“Don't think of it that way,” he said firmly. “It's our way of making sure that you know you always have a place to come home to. I know you might want to move back to the city, and if you do, that's okay too, you can always sell it or keep it as an investment. But as long as you are here, I want you to have this house. Make your old man smile, hmm?” he grinned and gestured to the door.
Bekki unlocked the door with a trembling hand. She was so overwhelmed and touched at the same time that she flung herself into her father's arms. He held her close and the tension in his grasp let her know that he was struggling to contain his emotions.
“I'd kill him Bekki, if I had the chance,” he whispered beside her ear. “He has no idea what he's missed out on.”
Bekki let a few tears slip past onto her father's shoulder, before she wiped them away and forced a smile.
“Well, give me the tour!” she requested. He happily showed her all the intricate aspects of the small house. Her parents had brought her old bed and some old furniture over already so she had some furniture to get her through until she bought some stuff. Later that day she drove her father home and shared dinner with her parents. It felt good to be home.