Home > Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic #7)(5)

Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic #7)(5)
Author: Sophie Kinsella

Clearance fashion floor? No one mentioned a clearance fashion floor. Why didn’t I know about the clearance fashion floor?

“Weird.” He peers at his computer screen. “Your heart rate just spiked, and we didn’t even start the intense activity yet. Oh well.” He shrugs. “Let’s get going.”

The treadmill starts to move along more briskly, and I up my walking pace to match. But I’m distracted by the rack of clothes, because an assistant is putting sale signs on every garment! I spot a 90% OFF sign and crane my neck to see what it’s attached to. Is that a T-shirt? Or a minidress? Or—

Oh my God, look at that cardigan. I can’t help gasping aloud. That is stunning. It’s longline, in what seems to be gray cashmere, with an oversize neon-pink zipper, all the way up the front and the back. It’s gorgeous.

“So now we’ll rest for a moment.…” Kai is concentrating on his screen. “You’re doing great so far.”

The treadmill slows, but I barely notice. I’m feeling stabs of alarm. A pair of passing girls has seen the rail and fallen on it in delight. I can hear them exclaiming with glee, showing clothes to each other and dumping them in their baskets. They’re taking everything! I don’t believe it. The sale of the century is going on ten yards away, and I’m stuck on this stupid treadmill. As long as they don’t see the cardigan. I will them silently: Don’t look at the cardigan.…

“OK, this is strange.” Kai is frowning at his screen again. “Let’s pause the test.”

“Actually, I need to leave,” I say breathlessly, grabbing my handbag and shopping basket. “Thanks. If I need a heart monitor I’ll definitely get this one, but I must go—”

“Rebecca, have you ever been diagnosed with arrhythmia? Heart disorder? Anything like that?”

“No.” I’m stopped in my tracks. “Why? Have you picked something up?”

Is he joking? No. His face is serious. He isn’t joking. I’m gripped with fright. What have I got? Oh my God, I’ll be in the Daily Mail health pages. “My one-in-a-million heart condition was picked up in a simple exercise store test. Shopping saved my life,” says Rebecca Brandon—

“Your heart response wasn’t typical. It spiked, but not at the moments I was expecting. For example, it spiked just now when you were resting.”

“Oh,” I say anxiously. “Is that bad?”

“Not necessarily. It would depend on a lot of things. Your general heart health, your cardio fitness …”

As he’s talking, my eye wanders over to the sale rack again, and to my horror I see that one of the girls has picked up my cardigan. No! Noooo! Put it down!

“It’s happened again!” says Kai in sudden animation, and points at the screen. “Do you see? Your heart rate rocketed!”

I look at Kai, and at the screen, and then at the cardigan with the neon-pink zip, and it all falls into place. Oh God, is that why my heart rate zoomed up?

This is so embarrassing. Stupid dumb heart. I can feel myself blushing bright red, and I hastily look away from Kai.

“Well!” I say in flustered tones. “I have no idea why that happened. None! Just one of those mysteries. Mysteries of the heart. Ha-ha!”

“Oh. OK.” Kai’s face snaps as though in recognition. “Ooo-kay. I think I get it. I’ve seen this a couple times.”

“Seen what?”

“OK, this is a little awkward.…” He flashes me a perfect smile. “It was physical attraction to me, right? You don’t need to be uncomfortable. It’s normal. It’s why I had to give up personal training. The clients became … I don’t know, would you say ‘infatuated’?” He glances complacently at himself in the mirror. “You looked at me and your response was beyond your control. Am I right?”

“Not really,” I say honestly.

“Rebecca.” Kai sighs. “I know it’s embarrassing to admit, but believe me, you’re not the only lady to become attracted to me—”

“But I wasn’t looking at you,” I explain. “I was looking at a cardigan.”

“A cardigan?” Kai plucks at his T-shirt, confused. “I’m not wearing one.”

“I know. It’s over there. It’s on sale.” I point it out. “That’s what I was looking at, not you. I’ll show you.” I take the opportunity to dash over and grab the cardigan, which, thank God, the girl has replaced on the rack. It’s super-soft to the touch and the zip is amazing, and it’s reduced by 70 percent! I’m sure my heart is racing again, just from holding it.

“Isn’t it gorgeous?” I enthuse, heading back toward Kai. “Isn’t it fab?” Suddenly I realize I’m not being very tactful. “I mean, you’re very good-looking too,” I add encouragingly. “I’m sure I’d be attracted to you if it weren’t for the cardigan.”

There’s a pause. Kai looks slightly stunned, to be honest. Even his turquoise contact lenses seem a bit less sparkly.

“You’d be attracted to me ‘if it weren’t for the cardigan,’ ” he echoes at last.

“Of course!” I say reassuringly. “I’d probably get infatuated, just like those clients of yours. Unless there were any other amazing clothes to compete with,” I add, for honesty’s sake. “I mean, like a Chanel suit on ninety-nine percent sale. I don’t think any man could beat that!” I give a little laugh, but Kai’s face has gone a bit rigid.

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