Home > Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic #7)(8)

Shopaholic to the Stars (Shopaholic #7)(8)
Author: Sophie Kinsella

But of course I didn’t. I’d made a promise. Besides which, they’d never believe me. On the video you can’t see her face at all.

Then we watched the footage as I chased her out of the shop. All I can say is, I am never buying an Athletic Shaping All-in-One again. I wanted to die when I saw my bottom bulging through the shiny fabric.

Anyway. On the plus side, everyone was really impressed by what I did, even if they were more interested in arguing about whether the socks should have been fitted with security tags. My story was that the “mystery girl” dropped the socks as I chased her down the street and that I couldn’t catch up with her. I didn’t know what to do about the fifty-dollar note, so in the end I pretended that I’d found it on the floor and handed it over. I left my name in case the police need a statement, then hurried back to our hotel, where I finally cut that awful Athletic All-in-One off myself. (I bought a pair of shorts and a tank top from Gap instead.)

Lois Kellerton. I mean, Lois Kellerton. People would die if they knew! (Well, Suze would.) But I haven’t told anybody. When Luke and I finally met up for supper last night, he wanted to hear all about the rental houses I’d looked at, and I didn’t want to admit I’d spent quite so much time on Rodeo Drive … and besides which, I made a promise. I said I’d keep it a secret and I have. Today it feels as though the whole event was a weird little dream.

I blink and shake my head to dislodge it. I have other things to think about this morning. I’m standing outside Dalawear, which is on Beverly Boulevard and has a window display of mannequins in “easy-wear” dresses and pantsuits taking tea on a fake lawn.

I’m not meeting Danny for another twenty minutes, but I wanted to get here early and remind myself of the store and its layout. As I wander in, there’s a lovely smell of roses in the air, and Frank Sinatra is playing over the sound system. It’s a very pleasant store, Dalawear, even if all the jackets seem to be one style, just with different buttons.

I’ve gone through separates, shoes, and underwear when I come to the evening-wear section. Most of the dresses are full-length and heavily corseted, in bright colors like periwinkle blue and raspberry. There are lots of big rosettes at the shoulder or waist, and beading, and lace-up bodices, and built-in “slimming” undergarments. Just looking at them makes me feel exhausted, especially after my Athletic Shaping All-In-One experience. Some clothes just aren’t worth the hassle of trying to get them on and off.

I’m about to take out my phone to text Danny when there’s a rustling sound, and a girl of about fifteen appears out of the dressing room to stand in front of the full-length mirror. She’s not the most together-looking girl. Her dark-red hair is in a fuzzy kind of bob, and her nails are bitten and her eyebrows could do with a bit of a tweeze. But, worst of all, she’s wearing a jade-green strapless, swooshy gown that totally swamps her, complete with a rather revolting chiffon stole. She looks uncertainly at herself and hitches the bodice over her bust, where it really doesn’t fit. Oh God, I can’t bear it. What is she doing here? This shop isn’t for teens.

“Hi!” I approach her hurriedly. “Wow! You look … um, lovely. That’s a very … formal dress.”

“It’s for my end-of-year prom,” mutters the girl.

“Right. Fantastic!” I let a pause fall before I add, “They have some pretty dresses in Urban Outfitters, you know. I mean, Dalawear is a brilliant choice, obviously, but for someone your age …”

“I have to shop here.” She shoots me a miserable look. “My mom had some gift cards. She said I could only get a dress if it didn’t cost her anything.”

“Oh, I see.”

“The saleslady said green would set off my hair,” she adds hopelessly. “She went to find me some shoes to match.”

“The green is … lovely.” I cross my fingers behind my back. “Very striking.”

“It’s OK, you don’t have to lie. I know I look terrible.” Her shoulders slump.

“No!” I say quickly. “You just … it’s a tiny bit full for you … perhaps a bit fussy.…” I tug at the layers of chiffon, wanting to trim them all off with a pair of scissors. I mean, when you’re fifteen, you don’t want to be dressed up like a Christmas cracker. You want to be in something simple and beautiful, like—

And then it hits me.

“Wait here,” I say, and hurry back to the underwear section. It takes me about twenty seconds to grab a selection of silk slips, lace slips, “shaping” slips, and a “luxury satin slip with boned bodice,” all in black.

“Where did you get those?” The girl’s eyes light up as I arrive back in the evening-wear section.

“They were in another section,” I say vaguely. “Have a go! They’re all in small. I’m Becky, by the way.”

“Anita.” She smiles, revealing train-track braces.

While she’s rustling around behind the curtain, I search for accessories and find a black beaded sash plus a simple clutch bag in dark pink.

“What do you think?” Anita emerges shyly from the changing room, utterly transformed. She’s in a strappy lace slip that makes her look about three sizes smaller and shows off her long legs. Her milky skin looks amazing against the black lace, and her short, stubby hair seems to make more sense too.

“Amazing! Just let me do your hair.…” There’s a basket of complimentary water bottles on the counter, and, quickly opening one, I wet my hands. I smooth down her hair until it looks sleek and gamine, cinch her waist in with the beaded sash, and give her the pink clutch to hold.

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