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The proposition, p.8
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       The Proposition, p.8

           Jessica Schlafer

  Chapter 7

  I took a shower in my room and got dressed. Sometimes, when I was at Paul’s house, I felt like a prisoner. I couldn’t go out and wander around the city because there weren’t any buses or trains nearby and I certainly didn’t drive. I found a book to read so I made myself comfortable in the living room to read. I wasn’t even sure Paul was home because I hadn’t seen him yet.

  I woke up, still on the couch, to raised voices. I could hear Paul speaking, but I only heard one side. I sneaked to the living room door to try to hear better. I suddenly heard something slam and Paul stomping in my direction. I dove for the couch and tried to look like I was just waking up.


  “Paul, why are you shouting?”

  “You’re going to Seattle tomorrow with Merritt, you remember that?”


  “Yeah, how could I forget?”

  “I don’t have time for sass, Abby. Nick will be going with you because I can’t. Are you okay with that?”


  “Do you have a gown?”

  “A gown?”

  “Yeah, for a formal dinner. Do you have one?”


  “Shit. I’ll have to have one of the guards take you out to get a gown. Go get your things and wait here.”

  I ran up the stairs and grabbed my purse and threw my sneakers on. I ran back downstairs and sat in the living room for about five minutes before Paul and one of the guards came back in.

  “Abby, this is Diego. He'll take you out to find a dress for tomorrow.”

  “Nice to meet you,” I said to the mountain of a man standing in front of me.

  He grunted.

  Fucking great.

  Paul handed me his credit card and a few hundred dollars in cash, reminding me, once again, that I needed a gown. Diego drove an SUV to a boutique in downtown Portland and parked outside. He got out and stood beside the vehicle while I went inside.

  “Can I help you?” asked a woman’s voice, almost immediately after I walked in the door.

  “Um, yes, I’m looking for a gown to wear to a formal dinner in Seattle tomorrow night,” I answered, looking around and still not seeing anyone.

  “Hmm, let me take a look at you,” a middle aged, blonde woman fell out of a rack of clothes m almost directly beside me.

  I screeched, “Oh, I didn’t see you there.”

  The woman smiled, “I’m sorry, sweetie. My name is Betty, this is my shop.”

  “Hi Betty, I’m Abby.”

  “Abby, this is going to be a lot of fun. You are stunning!”

  I blushed, not many people said that to me. “Thank you, Betty.”

  “Do you model at all?”

  “No Ma’am.”


  “Please, just Betty. Let me take a look at you,” she said as she walked around me, suddenly producing a small notebook and pencil. “I think I have a few things you might like. You said you had a dinner tomorrow?”

  “Yes, I’m going for my boyfriend’s business. I didn’t know about it until today.”

  “Oh goodness! We’d better get to work, then. You’ll have to get your hair and nails done, too.”

  I thought about that for a minute, “You know, Betty, you’re absolutely right about that.”

  Betty walked around the shop and pulled out a few dresses. She set up a dressing room for me and had me go in to try them on. I tried three dresses until I found the one I wanted. I stepped out of the dressing room and smiled. “Oh Betty, this is perfect. You’re good!’

  “Sweetheart, as soon as I saw you, I knew that would be the perfect dress. With your long legs, it’s amazing on you.”

  The dress was fire engine red, sweetheart cut in the front and low cut in the back; there was a slit almost the entire length of my right leg. There were jewels in the back that attached the straps and hung down my back. The material was a silky-satin that felt amazing on my skin.

  “I even have the perfect shoes, try them,” Betty handed me a box with shoes that were the perfect size.

  I put on the silver, jeweled shoes and again was in love. The heels were small, but went perfectly with the dress.

  “Oh, Betty,” I breathed.

  “The color is amazing with your skin tone. You’re gonna break some hearts, my dear.”

  “Obviously I’ll take it,” I said, laughing. “And the shoes.”

  “Of course,” Betty said, knowingly. “Let me just grab a couple more things.”

  She walked away and came back with a jewelry box that contained a necklace and earrings to go with the dress.

  “They’re white sapphires and they sparkle like crazy. Some women like them more than diamonds,” Betty smiled, fastening the necklace around my neck.

  It was a ‘Y’ shaped necklace that hung in a very provocative manner, while the earrings were long and dangled just above my shoulders.

  “You are really good, Betty,” I sighed, tears in my eyes.

  “I’ve been doing it a very long time, Abby.” She smiled at me in the mirror. “Now, go inside and get changed. I’ll bag it up and get you rung up at the register.”

  I did as I was told and met Betty at the register. After I paid for the dress, shoes, and jewelry, I couldn’t help myself, and I gave her a hug.

  “I hope I get to meet you again, Betty.”

  “Me, too, sweetie. I’d love to have you come in some time to model for me. You would bring a lot of people into the store.”

  “I’d do it for you, Betty.”

  She handed me a card and asked me to call her when I came back to town. She also gave me the name and address of a spa where I could go get my hair and nails done. She even called ahead for me.

  Just as I thought, Diego was standing outside the car, in the same place he was when I went inside. I loaded my new things into the car and informed him of where I was going next. He grunted and drove to the next stop.

  After hours at the spa, having a massage, a facial, my hair washed, cut, highlighted, conditioned, and curled, and a manicure and pedicure, I was beyond relaxed. I remembered, though, that I still needed a purse and make up to carry to the event, since mine had been lost with my luggage.

  I had Diego stop at the mall and I went into the Macy’s to get a purse and make up. I was beyond happy when I returned to Paul’s house with all my new purchases.

  “Hey, Paul,” I said, waltzing into the house. “What time do I leave for Seattle tomorrow?”

  “Hey, Abbs, I see you had a good day. I think you’re leaving around six or seven. I’m not sure.”

  “In the morning?”

  Paul laughed, “No, in the evening. You’re going straight to the fund raiser.”

  “It’s a fund raiser?”

  “Yes, for a local children’s hospital, I believe.” He looked at my packages. “I see you had luck in finding a dress.”

  “Oh yes! I found the most perfect dress! It’s to die for!”

  “What else did you find?”

  “Shoes, a purse, jewelry, underwear, and make up.”

  Paul laughed, “And I see you’ve been to the spa. Remind me to call Betty and have a chat with her!”

  “You know Betty?”

  “Oh, yeah, she and Mary have lunch together once a week. I told her you were coming.”

  “Oooh, well that takes some of the magic out of it. I thought she was amazing.”

  “Oh, she is. She can find a dress for anyone. I just called to tell her I was sending my Goddaughter down to get a dress.”

  “She found a perfect dress for me.’

  “Well, I’m glad she did, sweetie. Why don’t you go put it away and we’ll go out and have some dinner. I think Nick’ll be back and I’ll have him join us.”


  “Of course, I’ll be just a minute.”

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