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A week had once again flown by, not least because Christmas was now firmly on the Porter-Kennard radar. And there had been some very big news on that front: Alice was coming! Not for Christmas, but she was going to join Bette and Tina and all the gang for New Year’s Eve weekend at a mystery location, as guests of Peggy Peabody. Tina was, in a word, ecstatic. Bette was, in a word, braced.
‘Where’s she gonna sleep?’ she wondered on Saturday morning as Tina sat at the bottom of the stairs pulling on her trainers for a run.
‘She can have Angie’s room.’
‘What about Angie?’
‘She can stay at Nik’s.’
‘What, on Christmas?!’
‘No,’ Tina said, then stood up to do some stretches. ‘Because Alice won’t be here at Christmas, she’s arriving the night before we go away and when we get back Angie’ll be going back to school.’
‘But Kit and—’
‘We’ll work it out. Plenty of room at the inn. Okay, gotta run!’
Tina gave Bette one of her double-eyed winks, because she made the same joke every single time she went for a run, and then hurried out the door. Bette watched, her mind whirring over all the different ways she hated last-minute arrangements.
She turned to go back into the kitchen and saw Solly sitting in the doorway, his head on one side, big brown eyes blinking placidly.
‘And yes,’ Bette said to him, ‘I do consider three weeks to be “last minute”.’
When Tina got back from her run, Bette took Ben over to a friend’s house for a sleepover and Tina and Sasha went to choose a Christmas tree at the Union Square Greenmarket. While they were there, Bette texted her.
Just so we’re on the same page. Dress informal tonight.
This was slightly puzzling, as they were just having a normal date night at the Russian Tea Room, so it wasn’t as if Tina didn’t know how to dress for that. They were getting ready separately, though, because Bette was going uptown for a meeting at a gallery where she had been mentoring a young curator.
Tina frowned, then replied with a single question-mark.
Bette: Not evening wear.
Tina: cocktail dress?
Bette: That’s evening wear. I mean smart but not evening wear.