Coastal Cottage Calamity - Abby L. Vandiver

Bed & Breakfast Bedlam © 2015 Shondra C. Longino

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Bed & Breakfast Bedlam is a work of fiction. Any references or similarities to actual events, organizations, real people - living, or dead, or to real locales are intended to give the novel a sense of reality. All other events and characters portrayed are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

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Chapter One

Yasamee, Georgia

It stopped me at the door and sent chills up my spine.

It was a cacophony of screaming, weeping and wailing that was almost blood curdling. I stood still in the foyer of the Maypop Bed & Breakfast, right at the front door I’d just come through. Brie Pennywell sat behind the oak registration desk - her loosely fitted crocheted sweater draped around her shoulders reminiscent of a librarian, her glasses perched on the end of her nose. With one hand, she was drumming her fingers lightly on the counter, seemingly not registering the shouting match going on in the next room. With her other hand, she flipped through the pages of a magazine.

How could she not hear that?

There was a wall between me and the dining room where the voices emanated. I couldn’t decide if I should venture on to the archway that separated the rooms and see what all the commotion was about. Or, turn around and head back out of the door, and like Brie, ignore the whole thing.

Then a slow, nasty growl sprung from deep inside someone’s throat, “I. Will. Kill. You.” And then boom! Something crashed. Hit a wall, I assumed. A communal shudder echoed through the room.

Brie jerked her head up and swung it toward the dining room then turned to me, our eyes, large as saucers, locked.

“I will kill him, too,” the woman hissed. “No one does this to me.” She snarled. She barked. The distraught voice continued her murderous rant. “Nobody!”

That got us both moving. Brie came from behind the counter and I took enough steps to get past the wall and look into the dining area.

Three woman were circled around Renmar as she tried to play referee. Pushing. Shoving. Arms flailing, bodies bumping up against each other. I just knew at any moment fists were going to start flying. All of their faces tinged with a bright crimson coloring, they had anger in their eyes.

Other diners in the room acted as if they were ancient Roman spectators at the Coliseum – encouraging, and shouting and yelling right along with the blonde combatants.

“You won’t be able to kill him,” the white-blonde haired woman yelled. “Because I’ll kill him first.”

I looked over at Brie, my mouth opened. “What is going on?”

“Oliver,” she whispered. “I think he’s told all three of them he’d marry them.”

“Oliver” was Oliver Gibbons, resident Casanova of Yasamee, a little coastal city in Central Georgia. Population five-hundred and eighty three. Why he thought he could date as many women as he wanted in such a small town had always been a mystery to me.

We watched as Renmar Colquett, proprietor of the Maypop, got pushed and shoved. Her short, bobbed hair bounced up and down every time one of the woman pushed into her. Renmar, the Southern belle that she was, looked as if she’d burst. Her usual white, porcelain-like face was blotched with patches of red and dotted with beads of sweat. Her cheeks puffed, she was using her body as a shield to keep the woman from tearing their claws into each other. And into her.

Hazel Cobb, the only black resident in Yasamee besides me, and best friend and cousin by marriage to Renmar, was circling around the woman trying to pull them apart. Her dyed reddish brown hair was standing on end, her huffing and puffing matching Renmar’s whose name she kept saying in between her pleads for peace. “Renmar,” she’d say, then, “Please. Calm down. Can’t we just calm down?” She’d beg the women. Then again with “Renmar!”

She couldn’t control them either.

And then I saw Miss Vivee. She walked out from the back of the house and appeared in the archway at the other end of the room. Standing in her knee high rubber boots, a thin cornflower blue coat, her long silver gray braid hanging over