Makeup and Murder

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Chapter 3

After Detective Granger had left her house, Dixie spent the rest of her afternoon stamping the backs of her Beauty Maven brochures with her contact information and emailing her customers the latest coupon codes. When she completed that, she began stuffing little plastic bags with makeup samples and brochures.

Her mind kept wandering back to her encounter with Harlan Granger. She had to admit that he was one good-looking man. He seemed interested in her, but she decided it was better to play hard-to-get than to get burned again. His deep blue eyes and dark hair make her feel tingly all over, especially when his deep voice resonated in her small kitchen.

A knock at the door shook her out of her daydream. She walked to the door, looked through the window and saw her Aunt Angie standing there. She opened the door and let her in, bracing for the tornado that masqueraded as her aunt.

“So, who visited you? I hear that the police were around your place earlier. Did they pump you for information?” Angie asked in a rapid fire way.

Dixie rolled her eyes at the ceiling and went to the refrigerator for some iced tea. Any discussion with Angie would take a while, and she needed the caffeine to get her through this second interrogation of the day.

“Hi Auntie,” Dixie replied. “Yes, a detective was here to take my statement. I told him what I remembered, and that was about it.”

“Seriously? Don’t you remember anything exciting about yesterday? I mean, a murder in our small town is the most exciting thing to happen around these parts since Red Hershberger fell asleep drunk on the road during a snowstorm. A friend of his picked him up and put him on his porch because no one would answer the door in the middle of the night. He’s lucky all he lost was a toe or two,” Angie said.

“What? Who is Red Hershberger, and why didn’t I know about that?” Dixie asked.

“Oh, Red was an old timer. It had happened long before your mama and daddy were born. Something like that probably wouldn’t happen today, especially since everyone seems to have porch cameras and what-not to spy on each other.”

Dixie thought about that for a moment. She wished that she had a few cameras around when she had been dating her ex-boyfriend, Mike Lowell. He had a nasty habit of hitting her when no one was around to see it. If she had a camera, she probably could have made sure that he stayed in jail for a long time. Unfortunately, it was always her word against his. He was careful to hit her where the bruises wouldn’t show.

“Sounds like Red was a tough old bird, though,” Dixie said, setting a pitcher of sweetened iced tea and two glasses on the kitchen table in front of Angie. She went back to the counter and retrieved a tin of sugar cookies before sitting down across from Angie.

“So what was the name of the officer who came to see you?” Angie asked.

“It was Detective Granger,” Dixie replied.

“Harlan Granger? He is a good looking young man,” Angie said with a grin.

“Do you know him?’ Dixie asked.

“Oh yes. Harlan is the grandson of Caroline Granger. She used to be a lunch lady at your high school,” Angie replied.

“I don’t remember him from school,” Dixie said.

“You wouldn’t. The Grangers sent him to military school. He was a bit of a handful. Seems like he straightened out alright, though,” Angie said with a wink.

Dixie poured a glass of tea for each of them and opened the tin of cookies. She wondered where the conversation was going this time.

“You know, Harlan isn’t married. I’m pretty sure he isn’t seeing anyone right now either,” Angie said with a knowing look. She took a cookie and pointed it at Dixie. “You could do a lot worse.”

Angie took a bite out of her cookie and glanced nervously around the kitchen, wishing she could find a place to hide. Dixie sensed disapproval from Angie, and it made her uncomfortable. It was times like these that she wished that her mother was still alive. She had been a buffer when Angie was pushy.

“I have done a lot worse, as you are well aware. I’m not at all anxious to get into another relationship right now, even if Harlan is a good catch,” Dixie said a little more forcefully than she had intended.

Angie raised her right eyebrow and took a long draw of her tea. She stared at Dixie for a moment and then shook her head.

“You always were a stubborn one, even when you were just a baby. Your poor mama and daddy, God rest their souls, spent a lot of time worrying about your future. Promise me you won’t give up on finding a good man, okay?” Angie said.

“If it means that much to you, I promise,” Dixie said. She didn’t mean it at all, though. It was going to be a long time before she let anyone get close to her again, if ever.

“Good. Now we can move on to something else,” Angie said, sensing Dixie was about to shut down. “I need some new makeup, and you’re just the person to help me out. I’ve got a few functions to go to over the next few weeks, and I need to look better than the other ladies who will be there. It’s about time I got a new look so I can get a new man in my life,” Angie said.

“What happened to Larry? I thought he was your main squeeze,” Dixie asked.

“He was until I found out he was squeezing a few other girls on the side. I decided to cut him loose and look for someone who is a little better at monogamy. I want a one-woman man,” Angie said before plucking another cookie out of the tin.

“Sorry to hear that,” Dixie said. “How about a spa day and then a makeover? I bet that would make you feel better. I’ve got a new face mask that smells like chocolate that I think you’ll love!”

“Ooh, chocolate. That sounds yummy!” Angie said, a smile returning to her face. “A makeover AND chocolate. The perfect combination to help a lady get over a breakup.”

Dixie smiled for Angie’s benefit.

If only it were that easy to get over a bad relationship. Dixie knew it could be much more difficult than that. She had needed a restraining order and a Derringer.

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