“Of course not, Lila. I’ll reserve those the same time I call about the tents.”
“The tent company doesn’t carry silverware. That’s two different companies.”
“Yes, two different companies and I’ll call them both, just as soon as I—”
“I’m positive it’s two different companies. Tents are very different from dinnerware. I’m sure they need two entirely different kinds of storage—”
“Yes, Lila. I know. Two different companies. How about we wrap this up so I can contact them?”
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone and Mia wanted to kick herself. Why had she snapped at poor Lila White? That wasn’t kind, or good business.
“Well, if you have the time,” Lila said finally. “I know how busy you are.”
“Lila, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m worried about the tent rentals and dinnerware, too. I want your party to be the best party ever and I feel awful I haven’t taken care of those details yet.”
“You are taking a lot on, dear.” Lila’s voice softened. “I know you’re working hard.”
“It’s important to me to do this right. It’s important to me that you’re happy, Lila.”
“I’m sure I will be. I’ll get off the phone right now and you call those rental places up.”
“Thank you.” As soon as Mia hung up with Lila, she searched for the tent rental company and dialed the number, shimmying into her work clothes at the same time. “Hello? I need to book three large tents on May fifteenth.”
The woman who’d answered the phone hesitated only a second. “Sorry—we’re all booked that day. Would you like to try another date?”
Mia froze, one foot into the pair of slacks she intended to wear to work. “What do you mean you’re all booked?”
“Our large tents book up months in advance for the spring and summer. We have some weekdays left in May and June, but if you need a weekend it’ll be the end of July before we have anything available.”
“July?” Mia thought she might faint. “Are there any other rental companies you can recommend? I have to have three large tents for the fifteenth.”
The receptionist made a doubtful sound. “Here’s our competitor’s number.” She rattled off a number that Mia wrote down swiftly on a scrap of paper on her desk, one leg in her slacks, the other still out. “Good luck. Maybe you’ll catch a break.”
But Lady Luck wasn’t smiling on Mia; the other company’s tents were booked as well. Mia didn’t know what to do. Lila had been so nice to her, even after she’d slipped and been rude. How would the woman react when she found out Mia had botched her party?
“There have to be tents somewhere.” Mia did an Internet search and called every rental company between Billings and Bozeman. None of them had tents available for the occasion that were large enough. Only when her phone rang again did she realize how much time had passed. She was going to be late for work at the restaurant.
She shuffled the rest of the way into her pants, grabbed a shirt and shrugged it on over her bra. “Hello?”
“Mia? It’s Tracey. I’ve got a problem.”
Of course she did. Everyone had problems these days. “What is it?” Mia pattered down the stairs, swept her purse off the counter in the kitchen and headed for the door, only stopping to pop into her coat and shoes.
“My sister hates her bridesmaid dress. She says it makes her look like a barn!”
Mia sighed. “Did you tell her the wedding is about you, not her?”
“If I said that, she wouldn’t come. She has to come. She’s my maid of honor!”
Mia bit back the words she wanted to say—that her sister had no concept of what being a maid of honor entailed. “Can she ask a local seamstress to alter the gown to flatter her better?”
“She says she doesn’t have time!” Tracey’s voice was rising to a hysterical pitch that had become all too familiar to Mia. She had to nip this in the bud before Tracey lost control.
“Tell her to mail it back, then. And to take a photograph of her favorite dress. One from her own closet she really loves. We’ll figure out how to reproduce it in a color and fabric that works for the wedding.”
“That’s a terrific idea,” Tracey said. “Thank you, Mia.”
“You’re welcome. I have to run. Let’s chat later.” She clicked off the phone and checked the time again. Damn, she was really late now.
Fifteen minutes later, she barged into Fila’s Familia at a run, circled around the few people already lined up at the counter and skidded to a stop behind the till.
“Sorry,” she called to Camila, who had been running the till and was already hustling back into the kitchen. The silence in the back room seemed ominous. Usually the two cooks blared pop tunes and kept up a happy chatter as they worked. Today, Mia couldn’t hear a word.
The tension in her stomach ratcheted up a notch. Fila was still acting distant. Mia understood why she’d be mad at what Luke had done—heck, she was mad at Luke, too—but she didn’t understand why Fila was taking it out on her.
All she ever did was work, morning, noon and night. Mia couldn’t remember the last time she had any fun—except her brief meetings with Carl, and those were about business, too. She hadn’t had time to look at real estate, either. So much for finding a home before her baby was born. Time was running out.
As the morning progressed, Mia’s spirits drooped. She was tired, her feet hurt and she’d managed to ruin Lila White’s reunion before it even happened. During her break today she’d have to call other rental companies—ones farther away. If she had to drive to another state to secure those party tents, she’d do so.
“Mia? Are you okay?” Hannah faced her on the other side of the counter.
“Hi, Hannah. I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Busy with school and work. You look a little pale.”
“I’m really tired. And stressed. I made a pretty big mistake this week.”
“Here at the restaurant?” Hannah stepped closer and lowered her voice.
“No—with my event planning business. I was supposed to secure three party tents for Lila White’s family reunion and I guess I waited too long. They’re all booked up.”