Monday, 6 March 2017

Paradise Lost Chap 7

"You guys, seriously, you don't have to buy me anything," I protested as Kiran gathered up a few
flowing garments in her arms. The shop they had brought me to that day was small and sunlit with
floor-to -ceiling open-air windows and racks of designer clothes arranged in the center of the creaky
but clean wooden floor. On the walls were displays of sunglasses, hats, and bags--all straw and
thatch and woven with leather details. Upscale resort wear all the way.
After yesterday's unsuccessful shopping excursion--unsuccessful because I had refused to let them
spend their money on me--Noelle, Kiran, and Taylor had insisted we go out again. And this time they
were not taking no for an answer. It was consumer warfare. "Yes, we do," Kiran said seriously.
"Especially that dress." I turned around and looked at myself in the slim mirror on the dressing room
wall. The dress was lovely. Just under the bandeau top, it was tapered at the sides to show off the
curve of my midriff, and then it flowed out into a floaty ankle-length skirt. It was made out of a
beautiful green-andblue silk print that perfectly evoked the ocean outside the shop's windows. I
couldn't help but wonder what Upton would think of it.
Not that I was going there.
"She's right. It's perfect. Sexy, but not slutty," Noelle said as she shoved aside hanger after hanger on
the round rack in the center of the store.
"Kind of like you!" Taylor added, earning a laugh from Noelle and Kiran. She handed me a little
black dress with brown beading along the hem.
I glanced at the price tag on the garment and grimaced. "Honestly. I'm really not comfortable with
"Well, I'm not comfortable being seen with you in Old Navy all week, so just do it for me," Kiran
"Ouch," I said, not really offended.
"I say these things with love," she told me. Then she took a look at my face and rolled her eyes.
"Would it help if I told you I was charging it all to my agency?"
"How are you doing that?" I asked.
"I got an expense account when I landed the cosmetics gig," she said with a oneshouldered shrug. "I
could be photographed at any moment, so I always have to look runway-worthy. How are they going
to know these clothes are for you and not for me?" I hesitated for a second, fingering the smooth
fabric of the black dress. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure," she said. Then she forcibly turned me around and shoved me back into the dressing room
with an armful of clothes. "Try the red. You look good in red." She snatched the colorful curtain
closed in front of my face.
I took a deep breath and looked at my own eyes in the mirror. Sometimes when Noelle and the others
insisted on buying me things, I felt like such a charity case. And I wasn't. I didn't need these things to
survive. But I did need them to hang out with these girls. At least, that was how I felt sometimes. Like
when Kiran said as much to my face, part of me wanted to walk out and just hand over all this stuff
and say no. But then again, if Kiran wanted to use her expense account on me, who was I to stop her?
"Reed! Are you having a wardrobe malfunction?" Kiran called. "We want to see the next dress."
"I'll be right out," I replied. I changed into the red dress and stepped out of the dressing room.
Kiran's eyes widened, and she whistled. "Damn. Okay, not that one. You look hotter than me in that."
"Really?" I asked.
"Which is why she's definitely getting it!" Noelle put in, shoving me back inside to change again.
Fifteen minutes later, we had decided on three dresses and one top-and-skirt combo. Kiran took it all
up to the register without even checking the price tags. I wondered if she had ever thought about the
cost of anything in her life. Or if any of these girls had. Most likely not.
I joined Noelle and Taylor on the other side of the small boutique, where they were trying on widebrimmed
straw hats and checking themselves out in the countertop mirrors. I came up behind them and
slung a gaudy pink-and-yellow scarf around my neck for fun.
"You should wear the green-and-blue to the party tonight," Taylor said, donning a pair of rhinestonerimmed
"Didn't we just have a party last night?" I asked.
Noelle and Taylor exchanged a look in the mirror and laughed. "Yes, but this is the first party at the
Simon Hotel," Noelle said, shedding a white hat and reaching for a black one.
"Tonight, we party the way we were meant to party."
"Like rock stars?" I joked.
"Well, of course," Taylor replied, pursing her lips and tipping back her head. Then her eyes lit up.
"Oh, and you'll finally get to meet Poppy!"
"Taylor loves Poppy," Noelle said, laying aside the hat and running her fingers through her hair.
"What's not to love? Poppy is the coolest," Taylor said enthusiastically. "We all love her." I glanced at
Noelle, who shrugged. "She's right. We do."
"Okay. That's done," Kiran said, joining us and handing me a big paper shopping bag.
"Now all we need to do is find you a dress for Casino Night."
"Yeah, but there's nothing formal enough here," Noelle said, glancing around.
"More shopping?" I asked.
Kiran put her arm around my shoulders. "You say that as if it's a bad thing. If there's one thing I can
teach you in this life, Reed, it's this: You can never have too much shopping."
"Hear, hear!" Taylor cheered.
"Ah, the wisdom of Kiran Hayes," Noelle joked. "You really should write a self-help book." We
laughed and were about to walk out onto the sunlit sidewalk when I saw Sawyer and Graham across
the street.
"Hey, there are your friends," I said.
I noticed then that they were arguing. Sawyer's body language was very aggressive, while it was clear
that Graham was trying to chill him out.
"What's that about?" I asked, curious.
I could have sworn that Noelle's brow creased for a moment in concern, but just as quickly the
expression was gone. "Those two," she said fondly. "Always arguing about something." Then she
grabbed my arm and tugged, forcing me to look away from the window. "Come on. You need shoes."
I rolled my eyes, but I smiled. She was right. I did need shoes. Heels. Nice three-inch heels that
would bring me eye to eye with Upton.
Not that I was going there. Really. I wasn't.

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Terima kasih sebab sudi menerjah ke ruangan saya kali ini.
Anda diwajibkan untuk komen. Amaran keras!
*ceh tipu je HAHA =P*