Full Scoop(90)

By: Janet Evanovich

Zack checked his wristwatch. "Any minute now. Notice my new haircut?" he said, showing off his now trimmer hair.

Maggie laughed. "He's waiting with bated breath."

Abby came through the door holding a bag from her ice cream shop. She handed it to Maggie. "Your favorite," she said.

Maggie and Zack stepped back as the house began to fill with guests: Mike Henderson with the cute nurse he'd met at the pharmacy while buying more itch cream for his chicken pox; Lamar Tevis sans wading boots; and finally Destiny and Freddy, who'd flown in to pack up her apartment. It was hard to say what stunned the guests most—Freddy's new look or Destiny's gigantic engagement ring.

Once Vera stopped gaping at the groom-to-be, she studied the ring. Finally, she gave a grunt and looked at Destiny. "Won't this be husband number six for you?"

"Like they say, Vera. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince."

"I wish you hadn't said that," Vera told her. "I was just getting my sanity back."

Maggie's parents arrived, her father bearing something tall wrapped in aluminum foil.

"Jack!" the woman said, giving Zack a hug. "You look so handsome. You and Maggie are going to give us beautiful grandchildren."

"Oh, gross," Mel said, giving Travis an eye roll as Maggie kissed her father on the cheek.

"It's okay," Travis said. "My family embarrasses me too." They linked hands and walked out onto the front porch while Maggie's mother proudly displayed the chocolate fudge cake she'd baked in the shape of a pyramid.

Mel rushed through the front door a few minutes later. "Everybody quiet!" she said. "A limo just pulled up out front. Let's try to act natural so Miss Zahn doesn't think we're a bunch of nutcases."

"Paula Zahn!" Queenie cried, and raced through the door as the house emptied out behind her, women reaching into their purses for pads of paper to get Paula's autograph.

"Oh, gur-reat," Mel said. "We're going to look like a bunch of idiots."

"Well?" Maggie asked Zack, straightening his tie. "Aren't you going to greet our new guest?"

"Okay, but don't get jealous if she can't take her eyes off me," he said.

The group parted as Zack made his way toward the limo. The chauffeur opened the door, and a middle-aged woman with frizzy blond hair, an enormous nose, and clunky glasses stepped out. A man bearing a camera joined her.

Abby nudged Vera. "Get a load of that, would you? That Paula Zahn doesn't look a bit like she does on TV. Goes to show you what make up artists and good lighting can do for a person."

Zack gaped at the woman. "Who are you?" he said. "Where is Miss Zahn?"

"Paula couldn't make it," the woman said. "She's interviewing Oprah today."

"Oprah," Queenie said with a heartfelt sigh.

"I'm her assistant, Pam, and you must be Jack. I don't have a lot of time so if we could just get started. You'll need some sort of disguise, since you worked undercover. Maybe a hat and sunglasses," she added.

"I've got just the hat," Zack said.

In the background, Mel moaned aloud.

* * * * *

Zack saw the last of the guests off, including Queenie, who was driving Mel and Travis to the putt-putt course. "Maggie?" he called out.

He walked down the hall, tapped on her door and opened it. He arched both brows at the sight of his fiancee lying on her side, naked, across the bed. One arm was curled around a half gallon of Better than Sex chocolate ice cream.

Zack looked long and hard at her slim body as she spooned a large scoop of ice cream into her mouth and closed her eyes. "I should have guessed," he said.

She smiled and held up a second spoon.

"Oh, babe." Zack grinned and joined her on the bed.

* * *