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Baby Spice Forever
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really, want …
“I want to add a little spice to my life.”
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I’m starving. Literally starving. I didn’t have time to eat before the Blackthorn concert and now I’m beyond hangry. I’m spiraling into meltdown mode. I am thoroughly aware that it’s universally not cute to fall apart over the need of a snack, but I’m not exactly concerned about some rando in Dublin thinking I’m sexy. Especially not on St. Paddy’s day. Being hit on by a drunken Irishman isn’t on my priority list.
Unless that Irishman has a bag of tortilla chips and a vat of queso. Then I’m in. All in.
The taxi drops me off at the castle where I have a room waiting for me. I graduated from college two years ago. I was a member of the Mi Alpha Alpha sorority, and my roommate Janie reserved rooms this March for lots of the girls we knew from school. Which is crazy sweet of her. I didn’t even have time to set foot on the property, which is just outside the city, before the show. So I just couriered my luggage to the estate and headed to the Dublin Arena.
The show was great — if you like that kind of thing. Not that I have anything against dreamy rock stars who grace the covers of magazines worldwide. But I’m all about the old-school, girl power. Spice Girls over Nsync. TLC over Backstreet Boys.
When the concert ended, Janie went off to after parties, and I hightailed it out of there, in need of three things. Food, a bath, and wine. In that particular order. After a day of travel from Bulgaria I’m beyond exhausted.
Did I mention I was hungry?
I pay the driver and head to the front entrance. If the kitchen is closed I’m not above picking the lock and finding what I need. Not that I can cook — ironic for a food writer. Just because I can appreciate food doesn’t mean I can prepare it.
The castle is quiet, but a gray haired woman sits behind a desk and there’s a small lamp on that illuminates her welcoming face. I step toward her, forcing myself to sound pleasant. Normal. Nice even.
“Hi, I’m Bridget Bower. I have a reservation?”
The woman’s face brightens. “Of course, dearie. I’m Tabitha. You know, Ms. Locke was so pleased that her dear friends would be staying here. Busy woman, managing that famous band and all, my word!”
“Yes. Janie is impressive,” I say, knowing Janie has made an incredible life for herself as Blackthorn’s Manager. Me? Well, I’m living my best life too, but it’s not quite five star accommodations yet. I’m a travel food blogger, and I work for myself. Which means I hustle day and night. A little R&R in Dublin, paid for by my old roommate, is a decadent treat.
“I must say, I’m surprised to see you here so early.” Tabitha laughs gently. “I thought all you kids would be out till the wee hours of the mornin’. It’s St. Paddy’s day, after all.”
“Yeah, I’m not exactly a party girl,” I say with an overwrought smile pasted on my face.
“In that case, Bridget, I’ll let you get to bed. Your luggage is in your room, and here’s your key, dear.” She hands me a key for room 212. Just how many rooms are in this castle? “Now, is there anything you need before retiring?”
“Is there a restaurant still open?”
Tabitha clucks her tongue, looking at her gold wristwatch. “Oh, dearie, that kitchen just closed at eleven.”
I exhale, trying to keep my cool. To keep my level of hangry from showing. “Is there a vending machine? Somewhere I can get a bag of chips or something?” I say a bag, but I’m really thinking about how much change I have, how many coins I can insert to get the most bang for my buck.
“We don’t have anything like that on the estate, but you can pop over to the kitchen, Beckett’s still there and I’m sure he can scrounge you up a leftover piece of corned beef.”
“Perfect,” I tell her. “Seriously, I owe you.”
“Don’t mention it, dearie. Beckett isn’t the friendliest man; don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“That bad?” I ask, putting the room key in my purse.
“He’s grumpy. Forgot the charming bit of being Irish.”
“As long as he can cook, I’ll be able to handle him.”
Tabitha smiles. “Cook he can.”
I walk down the dimly lit hallway, taking in the regal portraits lining the wall, the chandeliers above my head, aware of the way the heels of my boots echo down the hall. I turn left, per Tabitha’s instructions, and find myself in a massive dining room. There are rows of big oak tables and sturdy benches, candelabras. It’s like I’m a student at Hogwarts, not a blogger who is dying for one of Hagrid’s Rock Cakes and a pint of butter beer. My stomach growls. Loudly.