Makeup and Murder

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Chapter 28

A few months later, Paulina finally had her day in court. To Dixie’s relief, Paulina wasn’t going to get out of prison anytime soon. She would be serving a life sentence for killing Miss Holly. Additional years were added on for the attempted murder with the car bombing and the attempted murder of Roy Greenlea, which made Dixie happy. At least she would be able to sleep at night again, and Louie would be safe too.

Dixie finally felt like she could get on with her life. She had put it on hold while she waited for the outcome of the trial. It had been hard to concentrate on anything else, and her business had suffered.

Once the newspaper headlines announced Paulina’s fate, her business started to improve. One by one her old customers came back, and to her surprise, many new customers called her too. She felt blessed that her community was rallying behind her.

Angie, not to be outdone by her neighbors, stopped by Dixie’s house to place a Beauty Maven order too. She knocked on the door and was pleased to see Dixie looking bright eyed and bushy tailed once again.

“Hey girl, you look great!” Angie said, leaning in for a quick hug. “It does my heart good to see you looking happy again.”

Dixie showed her into the house and invited her to sit down in the kitchen. She offered her sweetened iced tea and sugar cookies, which made Angie smile.

“I never could say no to your sugar cookies. I have the same recipe, but my cookies never taste this good,” Angie said, nibbling on the edge of her cookie.

“You’re welcome to take some home for later,” Dixie offered. “I’ve got plenty!”

“I may just take you up on that offer,” Angie said, returning her attention to the cookies in front of her. “I hear business has picked up for you, and I wanted to place a makeup order. How would you feel about giving this old girl a makeover?”

“Now you know I’d give you a makeover just for fun,” Dixie said with a grin.

“Oh no, I’m going to pay for it. I’ve needed a new coat of paint for this old barn anyway. There is a wake on Friday, and I want to look my best. In fact, the other girls would like you to give them makeovers too, just in case,” Angie said.

“Just in case of what?” Dixie asked though she was pretty sure what Angie meant.

“In case they meet Mr. Right, of course!” Angie said, laughing.

“I see things are returning to normal with your little gang,” Dixie said, smiling. “I’d be happy to help the ladies out. When should we start?”

“Now is as good a time as ever,” Angie said, wiggling her eyebrows.

“Have a seat in the recliner, and I’ll give you a beauty scrub and mask. The mask has real chocolate in it, and you’re going to love it!” Dixie said, thinking that she could use one herself.

“Alright, just make sure I have my iced tea nearby. How about a splash of vodka in it?” Angie asked, winking.

“Hmmm, it is probably five o’clock somewhere in the world,” Dixie said, glancing at the clock on the wall. “Maybe just this once.”

Angie turned her head to greet Louie when she heard a “brrt” next to her but was surprised to see a Maine Coon instead.

“Dixie, who is this? What happened to Louie?” Angie asked.

“Oh, this is Horatio. I just adopted him from the shelter. He was Miss Holly’s cat, and I couldn’t bear to think of him wasting away in a cage. Besides, I think Louie needed a buddy after all he has been through,” Dixie replied.

“Two cats? Do they get along?” Angie asked, worried for Louie’s sake.

“Oddly enough, they seemed to hit it off right away. Louie still doesn’t like to share his treats or the counter, but Horatio seems to like the floor better anyway,” Dixie replied, stroking Horatio’s long, silky fur. He began to purr.

After the cats and Angie had been settled in comfortably, Dixie tended to her aunt and made sure that she enjoyed her spa day.

The women chatted throughout the afternoon, and the visit ended with Angie taking a rather large bag of bath, body and makeup items home with her. Dixie waved good-bye at the door and carefully locked it. It would be a long time before she felt secure enough to leave her doors unlocked again, if ever.

When Dixie finally called it a day and went to bed that night, she couldn’t fall asleep. She laid on her back and stared at the ceiling.

Over the past few months, her life had been turned upside down. Her business was recovering, but not everything was the way she wanted it to be. The relationship with Harlan had cooled, but he dropped by occasionally when he was on the job near her home.

It was hard to figure Harlan out. One moment he acted like he was interested, the next he didn’t act like there was anything between them. She didn’t know how to take him, or if she should even worry about it anymore.

A nearby streetlight streamed in between the blinds in her bedroom, casting eerie shadows on her furniture. “Louie, what do you think about Harlan?” she asked the sleepy cat lying next to her. She scratched him gently under the chin, which made him purr. “You probably don’t care as long as he gives you snacks.”

By the time she fell asleep, she had decided that she was going to reclaim her life, and with any luck, get her man too.

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