For Benjamin Many thanks to Beth Adler, Ingo Arndt, Jennifer Brown, John Henry Dreyfuss, Benjamin Egnatz, Carrie, Feron, Michele Jaffe, Laura Langlie, and Greg and Sophia Travis
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BY MEG CABOT
CREDITS COPYRIGHT ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Travel Diary of
Holly Caputo and
Mark Levine On Their Elopement Composed by Jane
Harris, Witness aka Maid of Honor aka Holly‘s best friend since first grade and roommate since freshman year at Parsons School of Design
Dear Holly and Mark,
I know neither one of you would bother to keep a record of your elopement, so I‘ve decided to do it for you! This way, when you‘re approaching your twentieth anniversary and your oldest kid has just wrecked the Volvo and your youngest has just come home from her cushy Westchester private school with head lice and the dog‘s thrown up all over the living room rug and, Holly, you‘re asking yourself why you ever moved out of the righteous East Village pad we shared for so long, and, Mark, you‘re
wishing you‘d stayed in resident housing down at St. Vincents, you can open this diary and go, ―Oh, so THAT‘s why we got married.‖
Because you two are the grooviest couple I know, and totally belong together, and I think eloping to Italy is a BRILLIANT idea, even if you did steal it from Kate Mackenzie in Human Resources.
The eloping part, I mean. Not the Italy part.
But she HAD to elope. I mean, with in-laws like hers? What CHOICE did she have?
But you two are doing it for the pure romance of the thing—not because you HAVE to, because both your families are perfectly respectable.
Well, I guess there is that teensy religion thing with your moms.
But whatever! They‘ll get over it.
Anyway, that‘s what makes your elopement so special.
And I plan to record every detail of that special-ness, starting now, before we even get on the plane. Before I even meet you guys at the gate. Which, by the way, where ARE you, anyway? I mean, we were supposed to get here three hours before our departure time. You know that, don‘t you? I mean, it says that right on the ticket. For international travel, please arrive no later than three hours prior to departure time.
So. Where are you guys?
I suppose I could email you on my new
BLACKBERRY, but as you keep reminding me, Holly,
it‘s for WORK PURPOSES ONLY, which is the only
reason the IT guys let you have them (thanks for mine,
by the way. I mean, it‘s nice of Tim and those guys to
think of me, even though I don‘t exactly work there
God, I hope nothing happened to you. I mean, on the way. People drive like maniacs on the expressway.
Wait—you didn‘t change your minds, did you? About getting married? You can‘t. That would be awful! Just AWFUL! I mean, you two are so perfect for each other…
not to mention, it would be totally unfair to cancel on me. My first trip to Europe, and my travel companions ditch me? As it is, I can‘t even believe I‘m really doing it. Why did I wait so long? Who turns thirty without having been outside the continental United States at least once in her life? No Paris with French class in the 11th grade. No ―Cabo‖ for Spring Break in college. What‘s wrong with me, anyway? Why am I such a non-transcontinental flying freak?
And okay, seriously, what is with the guy with the cell phone over there? I mean, he‘s cute and everything. But why is he yelling? We‘re going to Italy, dude. Italy! So chill.
Okay, ignore the guy on the cell phone. IGNORE THE GUY ON THE CELL PHONE. I can‘t believe I‘m wasting the first pages of your travel diary on him. Who cares about him? I‘M GOING TO EUROPE!
I mean, WE‘RE going to Europe.
I think. If you two aren‘t lying in the twisted wreckage of your taxi to the airport on the Long Island Expressway.
Let‘s just assume you were running a little late this
morning and that you aren‘t dead.
Thank God you two are making me do this. You and Mark, I mean, Holly. I‘m finally crossing the Atlantic, and for what better REASON? God, it‘s so romantic—
(Oh, wait, that‘s the same guy who was in front of me
at the duty free! The one who was rolling his eyes because I bought all those bottles of Aquafina. Obviously he hasn‘t read this month‘s Shape. They say air travel is very dehydrating, and that you should drink half your body weight in water during the course of your flight if you want to avoid jet lag.)
And okay, they have water on the plane and all, but is it good water? I mean, as good as Aquafina? Probably not. I saw this thing on Ask Asa on Channel 4 where they sent the water from a plane to a lab and it was filled with all these microbes! And okay, it was the water from the tap in the plane bathroom, and no one would really drink that, but still.
Not that MY mom and dad wouldn‘t kill me if I did what you‘re doing, Holly. Elope, I mean. And to ITALY, of
But it‘s just so totally you, Holly. God, you‘re lucky. Mark is so… grounded. And Mark, I know I give you a hard time about being such a sci-fi geek and all, but seriously, if I could meet a guy as—
(Oh my God! Cell Phone Guy just practically threw his phone at one of those little carts with the old people in it! The one taking them to their gate! And just because the guy driving it made that backing-up-truck sound to warn him he
was in the way. God, what‘s got his panties in such a bunch?
Although he hardly looks like a panty-wearing type of guy. Jockeys, more likely. Or maybe boxers.
Oh, no. How can I give this diary to Holly and Mark if it‘s full of musings about some random guy‘s
NOW what am I going to give them? I can‘t give them
candlesticks or something. This is HOLLY. It has to be something SPECIAL.
Okay, well, one mention of underwear. You guys don‘t mind, do you? I mean, it‘s just underwear.)
Where was I? Oh yeah. Mark. So cute, in spite of the Star Trek Next Generation marathons he makes you watch, Holl. So responsible, with the whole
doctor-and-health-column thing. Which reminds me, I need to ask him about this mole on my elbow. God, Holly‘s so lucky, she can get her moles checked for free anytime she wants. Why can‘t I find a boyfriend with a useful skill like that? All Malcolm can do is beat me at Vice City. And what good is that? Can a high score on Vice City save you from a life-threatening carcinoma? No.
Okay, now I totally can‘t give this to Holly and Mark.
What is wrong with me?
Cell Phone Guy just hung up on whoever it was he was talking to. I just heard him go, ―That is inexcusable,‖ but that was all I could get because they‘ve got CNN turned up so loud in here. Now he‘s got out his Blackberry. He‘s typing into it furiously. I will never be able to type that fast into mine.
But maybe that‘s a good thing. Cell Phone Guy is a classic example of a Type A personality, as illustrated in lastmonth‘s Shape. I can practically SEE his blood pressure going up. I hope he doesn‘t stroke out on the plane.
Although I wouldn‘t mind giving him CPR.
Oh my God, I can‘t believe I just wrote that.
But he is kind of cute. I mean, if you like the tall, rugged, sandy-haired,
Okay. Now I definitely won‘t be able to give this to Holly and Mark as a wedding present.
Oh, wait, I can just rip out the pages with Cell Phone
Guy comments. Or black them out with a Sharpie.
Or maybe I should just get Holly and Mark a nice silver frame from Tiffany‘s instead. But that seems like kind of a lame present to get for someone who has held your hair back while you were throwing up tequila shooters as many times as Holly has for me.
Although of course I‘ve done it for her often enough,
most recently Friday night when the entire art department took her out for a bachelorette party. For two people who are supposed to be eloping, Mark and Holly told an AWFUL lot of people beforehand.
!!!! On CNN it says a plane is being held at the San Francisco airport under suspicion that a passenger aboard it has a highly contagious virus that they‘re worried will spread worldwide!!!!
You know what this means:
I need more snacks for the plane.
Seriously, those people have been on board that plane for TWO HOURS with no food service. If I go two hours without eating, I get that weird thing where I can‘t see out of one eye. And Toblerone won‘t do it. I need something with protein. Like smoked almonds. And maybe some cheese popcorn. Which I bet they don‘t even have in Italy. I better go back to the duty free and stock up, just in case….
To: Tara Samuels
Where is everybody? I‘ve been calling for the past half hour, and nobody there is picking up. Does Travel get half days on Fridays through September, or something, while the rest of us slobs have to give them up on Labor Day?
I asked you guys to book this ticket a month ago, but I‘m at
the airport now and they claim I‘m in coach, not business class.
In a middle seat. For a seven-hour flight.
Freaking Frodo wouldn‘t last for six hours in a seat that small. How is a six-foot-four, two-hundred-pound man supposed to do it?
Someone had better pull some strings or you‘re going to have one very unhappy journalist on your hands. C. Langdon
To: Dolly Vargas
Let‘s just keep things casual for now, and see how things go. Okay? I‘m off to some podunk part of Italy no one‘s ever heard of because Levine has some idiot idea he‘s going to get married there, but I‘ll be in touch when I get back in a week.
To: Cal Langdon
I‘m SO sorry, Mr. Langdon, we were in a budget meeting,
which is why no one picked up. I‘ve been calling the airline ever since I got back, and they‘re booked solid. I could get you in business class on another flight… but not until tomorrow. Would that be all right?
Again, I‘m so sorry about the misunderstanding. I can‘t imagine how you ended up in coach. We ALWAYS book you in business class, as you know. Except of course when the plane you‘re taking is so small, there isn‘t a business
class. Which isn‘t the case here. I can‘t apologize enough,
really. Could we upgrade you to a suite when you get to your hotel?
To: Cal Langdon
There you are! I‘ve only left ten messages on your cell
phone. How COULD you have snuck out like that this morning, without even leaving a note?
And Peter and I aren‘t married, sweetie. We have an
understanding—the same one you and I have.
And of course I wasn‘t asking you to move in permanently. Just offering you the spare guest room until you find a place of your own. I know how brutal the New York real-estate market can be.
Not that you‘ll have any problems, the way sales are going for Sweeping Sands. In fact, the penthouse across from mine just went up for sale, a steal at two million. Interested? I could speak to the co-op board on your behalf….
In any case, darling, call me when you get back from Mark‘s little elopement.
Travel Diary of
Holly Caputo and Mark Levine
OK, I asked Cell Phone Guy to watch my stuff for a minute while I ran to buy snacks, and he was TOTALLY rude about it. He said, in this very snarky way, ―I highly doubt anyone is going to steal your water, miss.‖
Which wasn‘t even what I was asking him to watch.
My water, I mean. Clearly, I meant my BAG. I mean, the last thing I need is for the airport to blow up my stuff because I left it unattended.
Whatever. It‘s just like Malcolm says. Some people just suck, and there‘s nothing you can do about it. I should
have known Cell Phone Guy was one of them. Especially the way he keeps banging at the keyboard of that Blackberry. He‘s still at it. How can someone so anal retentive look so good in a pair of jeans? I don‘t get it. I mean, evolutionarily speaking, his kind should have been wiped out a long time ago. Because who‘d want to mate with someone with THAT kind of attitude?
OOOOOOH, I see Holly!!!! Holly and Mark are here, at last! YAY!
I wonder where Mark‘s friend Cal is. The best man, I mean. We were all supposed to meet at the gate….
To: Mark Levine
I‘m at the gate. I don‘t see you. You didn‘t take my advice and cancel the thing at the last minute, did you? Forget it, you‘re not the leave-em-at-the-altar type.
So. Nervous yet? I‘ve got the flask, don‘t worry. We‘re going to need it, too, there‘s a real nut job on this
flight. Apparently she thinks there‘s a possibility we might crash land in the Sahara.
Hurry up and get here, I want to kiss the bride—
Oh, there you are.
Travel Diary of
Holly Caputo and Mark Levine
Oh my God.
Cell Phone Guy is Cal. Cal Langdon, Mark‘s best buddy since elementary school, the one who‘s been traveling all around the world for the Journal, writing about social unrest and economic instability for the past ten years. The one with the new book that‘s just out—the one he
supposedly got this huge advance for.
I wish I were on that plane that‘s stuck in the San
Francisco airport instead of on this one. I would rather have a deadly virus than have to spend a minute more in the company of Cal Langdon, aka Cell Phone Guy, aka Mark Levine‘s Best Friend.
Oh, but guess what? HE‘S SITTING RIGHT NEXT
TO ME. That‘s what he was so mad about before. He was calling Travel Services at the Journal, trying to get them to change his seat so he could sit in business class, or at least on the aisle, and not in the middle, like he is now.
Ha ha. Ha ha, Cal In the Middle. Hope you like bumping your elbow into mine every five seconds, Mr. I-Highly-Doubt-Anyone-Is-Going-To-Steal-Your-Water,-Miss. Because I am SO not giving up my aisle seat. No way.
And don‘t expect me to share my water with you, either. OR my Toblerone. Or my cheese popcorn. I don‘t
care how long we‘re stuck on this runway, or what kind of virus might get into the ventilation system. You‘re getting nada from me, mister.
I‘m not telling Holly how much I hate her husband‘s best man, though. I don‘t want to spoil this special time for