The Million Dollar Bride

Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper

Photo of a woman with a valuable necklace and ear rings.

Beverly Hills, California – 1991

LA is like no other place on earth. Notoriety is like a tornado in that town. If its force shifts your way, you’re in for a mighty big wind.

I’m sorry, Ms. Harper, they’re not quite ready for you. Would you follow me, please?” The receptionist had a raspy, little girl voice, and her pigtails were in on the charade. She was in great shape for a gal whose face looked like she was pushing sixty. I couldn’t keep up with her as she jogged down the hall.

Only in Hollywood, I thought, and made a run for it.

She stopped at a door. “Here you are.” She smiled, posed—a la Vanna White then disappeared. Who knew how long I’d be waiting while the HR manager figured out what to do with a new temp?

The small room had an overstuffed red leather chair that had seen better days with a dusty table beside it. Oh good, something to read while I wait, I thought, as I scooped up the copy of The Beverly Hills Courier.

Life can change on a dime or, in this case, Page Nine. The headline read, FRED Joaillier to Give Away a Wedding! My boyfriend, Irwin, and I had discussed marriage so I read on. “World renowned jeweler, FRED, is giving away a wedding to the couple who has the most romantic story. Write it and send it in.”

That night I wrote a poignant piece about our renewed romance after thirteen years apart. Several days later the phone rang.

“ ’ello.” The man had a thick Spanish accent. “This is Sergio from FRED. We got your story. We like it very much, but we would like to ask you some questions. Can you come to the salon?”

Thirty minutes later, Sergio asked, “Do you really want to marry?” Apparently, they had had a few insincere candidates in their quest for THE couple.

Oh yes!” I gushed while Irwin blushed, smiled and nodded.

A moment later Sergio shouted, “Congratulations, you will be married on October 27!” It was already late September, which meant we had to make all the wedding decisions within one month!

At the rehearsal Sergio’s shadow, Cynthia, pulled me aside. “Let me show you what you’ll be wearing tomorrow.” She led me over to a huge glass case and pointed to a necklace with matching earrings.

These are 24 caret gold with diamonds, rubies and drop pearls. How do you like them?”

With my head swimming at the sight, I protested, “Elizabeth Taylor wears these things. I don’t. If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll just stick with the tiny pearls I have, but thanks.”

As I started to walk away, Cynthia grabbed my arm and pulled me behind a partition. “It’s not the same! Obviously you do not understand. FRED has arranged this event. Translation? We have PAID for it! You are going to have a perfectly lovely wedding. Reporters will be here, and they will write about you—The Million Dollar Bride, because, those little gems in there are worth a million dollars. So, you see, you don’t have a choice. You will be wearing that necklace and those earrings. Are we clear?”

The next day the reporters arrived to find me in Liz’ jewels while Armando, a handsome, eagle-eyed bodyguard, followed my every move.

 Publicity stunt or not, it was a splendid wedding. And as we made our getaway in a white stretch limousine, our family and friends pelted us with gourmet bird seed courtesy of Ark, the designer pet store across the street. Only in Beverly Hills!

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