'I knew coming to this hotel was a good idea.' Lindsay gave a blissful sigh as she turned sideways to admire herself in the long gilt-framed mirror. The dress fitted her perfectly, skimming over her slender figure. No one would guess it hadn't been made specially for her.
Outside, beyond the marble balcony, the sea sparkled and winked. A breeze fluttered the gauze draping the French windows and ruffled her long fair hair.
'If only life could always be like this,' she went on. 'Staying in a top hotel where people come to get married and spend their honeymoon. It's so romantic.'
'Just you enjoy it while you can,' said Crystal. She edged Lindsay away from the mirror and tugged at her own dress, settling it more comfortably around her waist. 'Hmm,' she said, staring at herself critically. 'I must have put on a pound or two.'
'Nonsense,' said Lindsay. 'You look fantastic.'
'And so do you, Linz.'
The girls hugged briefly then turned to look at themselves again in the mirror. Lindsay was tall and willowy in the silver satin wedding dress. Crystal was shorter and darker, her bronzed skin showing off the pearl pink bridesmaid's dress perfectly. They both sighed as they gazed at their reflections. Tears glittered in their eyes.
'We'll look like a couple of pandas if we carry on like this,' sniffed Crystal, breaking the mood. 'I knew I should have brought the waterproof mascara.'
Lindsay laughed. 'Come on, Crystal. Let's have a glass of champagne while we do our hair. There's plenty of time yet.'
The cork popped and the champagne frothed into the elegant tulip-shaped glasses. 'Here's to a wonderful time at Honeymoon Hideaway,' said Crystal. 'You're right, Linz, picking this place was the best idea you've ever had.' She sipped at the pale golden fizz then placed the glass on the dressing table. 'Now for your hair. Up or down?'
'Up, please.' Lindsay sipped her own champagne, her blue eyes sparkling like the sea. 'Is the door locked?' she said suddenly, glancing over her shoulder. ‘We don't want someone coming in unexpectedly. That would ruin everything.'
'I turned the key myself,' Crystal said, running a comb through her friend's pale blonde locks. 'We won't be disturbed. There's ages yet.'
She piled Lindsay's hair on top of her head, pinning it in an artful tumble but leaving sinuous tendrils snaking over her temples and the nape of her neck. When the diamanté tiara was slotted carefully into the woven strands of hair, Lindsay stood up and gave a gleeful twirl.
'Very stylish, thanks Crystal. I feel like a princess.'
Crystal took Lindsay's place on the carved gilt stool in front of the dressing table mirror. Her own short hair needed only a slick of gel and the careful placement of a matching diamanté clip and she was done.
'Perfect!' Lindsay checked her watch. 'Now let's relax for a while before we have to leave.'
They went out onto the balcony, champagne glasses in their hands. 'It's so beautiful here,' Lindsay said. 'Oh, it's going to be such fun.'
Sitting primly on the white metal chairs, careful not to crease their dresses, the girls gazed at the scene before them: golden beaches, palm trees and a dark blue sea with white surf curling on the shore.
'Paradise,' said Crystal. She turned to Lindsay for confirmation and was shocked at the expression on her friend's face. 'What's up, Linz?'
'There. Look!' Lindsay banged the champagne glass down on the table and pointed down into the curved driveway of the hotel. Two women were getting out of a taxi, patting their newly done hair and raising their professionally made-up faces to the sun. 'They're back early.'
'Quick,' said Crystal. 'We'd better get this place tidied up fast.'
With sigh, Lindsay scurried back into the hotel room and slipped out of the wedding dress. Grabbing her chambermaid's outfit from the brocade armchair where she'd flung it, she hurriedly put it on. 'I would have thought a sauna and facial, along with a full makeover and hair styling, would have taken longer than that,' she gasped.
Crystal struggled with the zip of the bridesmaid's dress. 'Help me off with this, Linz,' she panted, 'then you run on down to the kitchen and send up some more champagne. I'll pretend I'm still making the beds.'
For a second they looked at each other, stifling the urge to giggle. 'And don't worry,' Crystal went on, finally stepping out of her dress. 'There's another wedding party arriving tomorrow and one the day after that. We've got a whole summer of dressing up to look forward to.'
'Yes,' Lindsay smiled. 'And you can be the bride tomorrow.'