Home > The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5)(10)

The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5)(10)
Meg Cabot

Only Tricky greets Cooper the way I believe he should be greeted . . . and would greet him myself if we weren’t surrounded by observers. The dog throws himself onto the couch, lays his paws upon Cooper’s chest, and enthusiastically begins lapping Cooper’s five o’clock shadow (even though it’s lunchtime) with his tongue.

“Whoa,” Cooper says, attempting unsuccessfully to fight off the dog’s advances. “I’m happy to see you too, Trix, but I can tell one of us didn’t brush his teeth this morning, and it wasn’t me.”

Mrs. Harris, still failing to notice my fiancé, says to me, “Kaileigh’s father is on his way over. He says for the money we’re paying—over fifty thousand dollars a year—Kaileigh should have a roommate who is serious about her studies.”

I raise my eyebrows. “Mrs. Harris, I already told you we don’t have any other rooms—”

“That’s why we want to speak to someone in charge.” She nods at Lisa’s closed office door. “Not Miss Wu. Her supervisor. The director of housing.”

“Mrs. Harris,” I say, in a tone I can’t keep from becoming sharp. “I’ll be happy to direct you to the Housing Office, where you can make an appointment with Dr. Stanley Jessup, the director of housing, but before I do, keep in mind that I’ll be calling his office myself to tell him that your daughter stood in front of me just five minutes ago and said she liked her room and her roommates and requested that you allow her to live her own life.”

Mrs. Harris’s face turns pink. I’ve called her bluff, and she knows it. Cooper, meanwhile, is smiling into Tricky’s fur. He loves it when I get bossy with the parents. He says it turns him on. I hope he can control himself until we get outside the building and into a taxi to the Plaza, where we’ll be meeting our extremely hard-to-get-an-appointment-with wedding planner.

“Kaileigh was admitted to New York College,” I go on, “one of the best colleges in the country”—“best” is a leap; but it’s certainly one of the most expensive—“because she’s clearly very intelligent. As a parent, you need to start trusting her to handle her own problems, and let her make her own decisions. I personally think they’ll be great ones, not only because she’s attending a fine school and at eighteen is now a legal adult, but because she was raised by a fantastic mom. You, Mrs. Harris. Kaileigh’s going to do great in college because she had you as a role model. You gave her the wings she needs to fly. Now, why don’t you let her spread them?”

At the end of this long speech—which, I have to admit, I got out of a greeting card and I’ve delivered approximately four times already this week—I give Mrs. Harris my most dazzling smile, the one that Cooper says knocks his socks off. I’ve noticed that it frequently knocks his pants off as well.

Unfortunately—or fortunately, since we’re in an office setting—this time it does neither. Mrs. Harris keeps both her pants and socks on as well.

But she does look touched.

“Oh,” she says, reaching into her purse and pulling out a tissue with which she dabs at the corners of her eyes. “That’s so nice of you to say. Her father and I have tried so hard with her. She has a younger brother, you know, and let’s just say we won’t be allowing him to go to Haiti to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, even though it’s such a worthy cause, because he simply hasn’t shown the same kind of responsibility that Kaileigh has. But then they say boys don’t mature as quickly as—”

Mercifully, my office phone rings before she can go on much longer. I see on the caller ID that it’s Sarah.

“I’m so sorry,” I say apologetically to Mrs. Harris. “I have to get this. Maybe we could talk another time?”

Mrs. Harris nods her understanding and mouths Thank you so much for everything as I pick up the receiver and say, “Hello, Fischer Hall director’s office, how may I help you?”

“I know you know it’s me,” Sarah says. Her voice sounds weirdly congested. “Is Kaileigh’s mom still sitting there?”

“Yes, this is Heather Wells,” I say, smiling brightly at Mrs. Harris as she waves from my office door on her way out.

“Oh, crap,” Sarah says. “I can’t believe she’s still there. It’s bad, Heather. Really, really bad.”

I keep the smile plastered on my face, but shift my glance to Cooper now that Mrs. Harris is finally gone. He’s scratching Tricky’s ears, but when he sees my expression, his fingers still, his gaze locking on mine.

“Really?” I ask. Even though Mrs. Harris is gone, I keep my tone businesslike. There are still people milling around outside the door. “How bad?”

“It’s not fair,” Sarah says. She’s crying now. “Classes haven’t even started yet, Heather. Classes haven’t even started yet.”

Behind me, I hear Lisa’s office door open. This time I don’t think it’s because of anything she’s overheard, because I’ve kept my end of the conversation so neutral.

I think my new boss might actually have some kind of extrasensory perception.

“Heather?” Lisa asks in a soft voice. “What is it? Is that Sarah?”

I nod, picking up a pen and lowering my gaze to the At-A-Glance calendar on my desk. Slowly, I begin to cross out Lunch w/ Coop and Perry. Lunch with the outrageously exclusive and expensive wedding planner is definitely canceled.

“Sarah,” I say into the phone. “Take a deep breath. Whatever it is, we’ll handle it—”

“I don’t understand it.” Sarah is babbling into the phone. “I just saw her at dinner last night. She was fine. We had falafel. We had freaking falafel together last night in the caf. How can she be dead?”

I knit my brows. Sarah isn’t making any sense. “You ate dinner with Kaileigh’s roommate Ameera last night in the cafeteria?”

“No!” Sarah cries with a sob. “Not Ameera! Ameera is fine, we checked on her, she’s fine, just hungover or something. I’m talking about Jasmine, the fourteenth-floor RA. You told me to look in on her, so when we knocked and she didn’t answer her door, we keyed into her room to make sure she was all right, because I could hear music playing. Why would she have left her music on if she wasn’t in the room? Well, she’s here, but she isn’t all right. She’s dead, Heather. She’s dead!”

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