Chapter 14: Nothing to Wear

“I have absolutely nothing to wear!” I exclaimed like a spoiled teenager as I stood in front of my closet. I somehow managed to balance Lily on my hip and keep the towel I had wrapped around me on.

I had already ransacked my mother’s closet and my own and found nothing interesting or spectacular enough to wear.

My mother appeared in the doorway to my bedroom, drying her hands on a tea towel. She reached out for Lily and I gratefully passed her over.

“Mom, I’ve got nothing to wear!” I sighed.

She drew in a deep breath. “There’s a dress shop two streets over… Take my car, I can call and see if they’ll stay open for a couple of extra minutes for you”

I nodded. “Thanks…”

She left me alone to get dressed, and I quickly threw on the nearest pair of sweat pants and an old sweatshirt. I grabbed the car keys and quickly kissed Lily just as my mother was settling her into her high chair to give her dinner.

“Thank you so much, mom!” I hugged her tightly.

“Hurry, they’ll only stay open for another twenty minutes!”

“I’ll be quick!” I muttered, and flew down the stairs to the car.

The dress shop was closer than I expected, and I screeched the car to a stop just outside the front door. I was immediately scanning the racks for something affordable but glamorous to wear.

The owner of the store, a short older woman with deep lines aged into her face was turning off the “Open” sign as I fumbled clumsily through the racks.

“Can I help you find something?” She asked, obviously eager to get me out of the store so she could close.

“I need anything that is reasonably priced, but good enough to wear to a very important date tonight. Something formal but not…. Like wedding-gown-ish.” I babbled, keeping my eyes on the dresses in front of me.

“How about this?” The owner held up a green dress, which appeared frumpy and frilly, even on the rack.

“Umm…. Maybe something else.” I muttered, quickly looking away from the awful thing.

“How about this?” The owner tried again, holding up a bright pink dress, which looked more or less like a t-shirt with a frilly skirt on the bottom.

“I’m not crazy about pink.” I replied, turning to skim through a second rack.

It was then I found it. Hidden between two black strapless dresses of differing sizes was a beautiful vintage ivory colored dress. It had thin dresses with lace fringe around the top and straps. It was empire waisted with a black bow in the front. The body of the dress hung in three lacy tiers, and looked phenomenal. I checked the size immediately, already planning in my head which handbag and shoes I had to go with it. Luckily it was in my size.

“Sold!” I proclaimed holding up the dress for the owner to see.

“Perfect, I’ll wrap it up for you…” The owner now smiled.

“Just ring it through.” I said. “I’ll be putting it on right away.” I glanced around, “But speaking of, do you have a wrap? Something I can put around my shoulders if I get cold?”

The owner smiled. “I’ve got the perfect item. I haven’t even put it out yet.” She was already crossing the store toward the cash register.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I was counting on Isaac to be late, since I couldn’t find the other shoe to match the one I had already secured to my left foot. I was already on my hands and knees searching frantically under the bed for the other shoe, and trying desperately not to tear my stockings.

I could hear the doorbell ring, and I groaned in frustration, and racked my brain trying to think of where the other shoe might be.

“Here,” My mother came into the room holding the shoe I was looking for.

“Where was it?!” I demanded.

“It was in my closet. Do you want me to stall him?” She asked as the doorbell rang again.

“No, no. I’ll get it.” I was already jerking on the shoe and grabbing my wrap and clutch.

Lily was already asleep, so I ran to the front door and stumbled down the stairs.

I pulled open the door to find Isaac standing on the front stoop.

Isaac always looked amazing, always so well put together. But tonight was no exception. He had on a simple black suit, paired with a black vest and a sleek black tie.

He grinned broadly. “You look amazing.” He bent and softly kissed my cheek.

“Thank you.” I smiled. “So do you…”

He winked at my mother who was standing behind me on the main level of the house.

I considered this suspicious, but let it slide and followed Isaac out the front door.

He held open the door for me, and I smiled as I slipped into passenger seat of his SUV.

He climbed into the driver’s side and started the car.

“This is really sweet of you, thank you for taking me out.” I smiled.

He shrugged with a smile. “It’s the least I could do.”

“But you’ve already done so much…” I began.

“I have some tricks up my sleeves.” He chuckled softly.

“Where are we going for dinner?” I asked curiously, trying to make conversation.

“I know a little place.” He teased.

I remained silent and tried to consider what he might possibly be planning.

Eventually, he pulled the car into a small parking lot and as I climbed out, a smile spread across my face. He had brought us back to the Garden Palace where we had our first date.

I loosely wrapped my shawl around my shoulders and followed him toward the restaurant. He reached out and gently took my hand, like a nervous teenager on his first date. I smiled wider.

“Reservation for Hanson?” He announced to the maitre ‘d.

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