“I was looking for something for a friend of mine.” I replied glancing around the high end store.
“A boyfriend perhaps?” He suggested rounding the counter and walking towards me, “A wallet might do the trick?”
“A wallet? No, I was looking at these messenger bags. He’s a teacher, so I want to get him something a bit more professional.” I responded nodding over my shoulder.
“Those are rather pricey.” He commented raising an eyebrow before sticking his foot completely in his mouth, “Your parents won’t be too happy you spent all your allowance on your…little crush.”
“I don’t see why my parents would care what I do with my hard earned money and I’m figuring by that “crush” statement you’re assuming that I’m talking about my teacher not the fact he is a teacher?” I snapped as I tried to remain calm.
His eyes widened, “I am sorry Ma’am— you just look very young.”
“Then I can’t wait for a few wrinkles,” I mumbled through gritted teeth.
“Yes, a messenger bag, a very good gift for a boyfriend who’s a teacher!” He began, laughing nervously, “Were you interested in the very professional black, or the more hip faded brown—more relaxed but just as nice?”
“I think the brown fits him best.” I replied and he handed it to me to feel, “Yes, this is perfect.”
“He’ll be very happy with it indeed. I hope he gets you something nice, like a ring?” He suggested with a chuckle.
“Oh, I don’t think I’ll be getting that type of ring sir, but it’s a nice thought.” I replied with a blush.
He winked at me, “A pretty woman like you, with flawless skin I doubt he can wait to give one to you!”
Now he was sucking up. Great.
“You’re far too kind. Yes, I’ll go with this one.” I said handing him the bag to ring up.
“Would you like to know the price?”
“I love it too much to put it down anyways.” I responded pulling out my Coach wallet.
He flipped the price tag and expected my mouth to drop at the two hundred dollar price tag. It didn’t, I knew very well what these things cost. That was why we couldn’t keep them for more than five seconds in Kirsten’s shop.
“This should cover it with tax, right?” I asked as I pulled the fifties out of purse.
“Oh, yes…now is there anything else I can help you with?” He asked taking the money and placing it in the drawer.
“Do you gift wrap here?”
“Yes, indeed free of course with these prices!” He chuckled as he handed me my change.
My editor wrote this in the side column “Sorry, but I really don’t like this. You need to look at it and do something with it.” It was her way of saying this needs to go, and after reading it about three times more I started to see why. There were just SO many issues with it. First, it’s pretty well known that Tad thought Vera was older than she was, so that must mean she doesn’t look exceedingly young. Then there was the issue of this annoying dude openly demeaning her, while I have been at the end of such a situation, it’s not a usual one, and it’s doubtful it would happen at such a high end store. And last, why would she buy the bag there if she could have bought it at Kirsten’s for half the price, and oh, the fact that the blurb for the books says “struggling with adult responsibilities to like paying the rent”. Someone who pops out a few Benjamins isn’t concerned about that sort of thing. Yeah, that’s right, I’ve just admitted that this scene sucked. What really makes it suck is what I turned it into, which ended up not only adding to the suspense but nixing all the issues that I saw and maybe didn’t see.
As I walked into the store the man behind the counter looked over the rim of his glasses with a hopeful glance.
“Looking for anything in particular, Miss?” he asked.
“I was just browsing for something for a friend of mine,” I replied, glancing around the high end store.
“Well, take your time. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask.”
I lifted one of the messenger bags of the hook and ran my hands over the faded brown leather. It was certainly miles above anything that Tad would ever buy himself. I put it back on the hook and ran my hands over the black one. It was much more professional than the faded brown, but it reminded me more of Bill than of Tad. I was deep in thought over the selection when I heard the salesman greet another customer coming into the store. I didn’t pay any attention as I moved over to a rack of less expensive stylish messenger bags in cloth.
“Hey, Vera!” Lily’s voice burst into my mind, and I grabbed at the bag in surprise.
“Oh…hi…Lily,” I replied, as I tried to slow my pulse to normal.
“Did I scare you?” she asked too cheerfully.
“Well, sorry—so who are you shopping for? I saw you looking at the leather ones.” She nodded over her head with a smirk that made my insides twist. “They are really nice…do you have a secret lover that none of us know about?”
I froze at the way she said secret.
“Lover?” I attempted to scoff, but it came out as a choke.
“Who do you know that you would spend that much money on?”
“My Godfather is a lawyer. I thought he might like to be a little less…ummm…lawerish with the, uh, briefcase!” I stumbled to explain myself, and then I saw the girl with the mermaid hair on the other side of the store, facing the wall.
“Oh, that’s my friend—great hair, huh?” Lily commented as she noticed my interest.
It took a lot out of me to not raise my eyebrows in cynicism.
“It’s original…so, who is she?” I asked, my curiosity getting the best of me. I was glad to change the subject to something other than an expensive messenger bag that was none of her damn business. “Does she go to our school?” I pried, watching as she flipped a lock of flame-like hair.
“Faye? Oh, no, she’s a bit older than us,” Lily bragged with a broad smile. “So, how’s your vacation going?”
“And anything good for Christmas?”
My mind drifted to the dress, but I shook my head. I was starting to realize that this was Lily I was talking to; the Lily that hated me every other second of the day.
“Oh, well, that stinks. I got an awesome Coach purse—so cute!” Lily replied, looking over her shoulder. The mermaid shook her head and Lily’s face turned red. “I should get going. Faye looks like she’s getting anxious.”
“See you after vacation!” Lily began to walk away, and I turned back to the clothe messenger bags. I couldn’t resist purchasing the faded brown leather messenger for Tad, but I couldn’t do it with Lily spying on me. When I glanced over my shoulder the store was empty with the exception of the store clerk who was, from the sound of it, playing Angry Birds on his iPhone.
I knew there was something odd about what had just happened. I questioned why the red-head hadn’t come to talk to me with Lily, and why Lily had followed me in the first place. I knew after I embarrassed her in Knightley’s class that she had it out for me, but had no ammo. Maybe that’s what she was looking for.
So, what do you think?
- Deleted December: Scene 1 (cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com)