Keep It In The Family – Episode 31

“What do you think?”Alice swept the changing-room curtain aside and did a twirl, loving the way the soft fabric swirled about her legs. She had phoned Rosie first thing to suggest the shopping trip as a treat to cheer them both up and to take their minds off their respective problems. Knowing Rosie would say she didn’t have time, that the business needed her, she had even enlisted Joyce’s help, and Joyce was now sitting at the big office desk, manning the phone, and loving feeling so useful.“So?” Alice did another twirl for Rosie’s benefit.“It’s the best yet, even though I loved the last one. That blue is just gorgeous on you. How does it make you feel?”Alice was dancing back and forth in front of the long mirror, trying to catch herself unawares.“I love it. I think this is the one. Just what I was looking for.” She caught the assistant’s eye and gave her a pleased nod. “This is it! You can put the rest back.”Then she turned to Rosie.“OK, now it’s your turn.”“Me? I don’t need a new dress!” Rosie protested, but Alice quirked an eyebrow.“A girl always needs a new dress! Hold on, I saw one over by the window that had your name on it.”When she brought back three, Rosie shook her head, but Alice was insistent.“Go on! Try them on at least. You know you want to. And how often are the changing-rooms here this empty?” The store’s dress department seemed to be having a very quiet day so that they virtually had the place to themselves. “Let’s make the most of it. You need some fun after all the goings-on in the business.”“True. But I’m not here to talk about Willson’s. I need a break from it, and I really want to hear how you’re doing. Any word from Rob?” Rosie asked as she disappeared behind the curtain, so she didn’t see the sadness cross her friend’s face.“Nope, not so much as a phone call. So it looks like it’s over for good because I’m determined that I’m not going to phone him. He was like a mixed-up teenager and I grew out of that stage a long time ago.”“Good for you. Can you zip me up?”Alice reached in and pulled up the long back zip, then stood with her head on one side considering Rosie’s reflection in the mirror.Their eyes met and they both screwed up their noses.“No, it’s not you. Try the green one.” Alice tugged the zip down again then stepped out of the changing-room, her eyes scanning the rails for more possibilities.“Anyway,” she went on, her tone deliberately casual, “I have a date with another guy tonight.”Rosie’s head snapped round the curtain, her eyes wide.“You what? Who? Tell all!”“His name’s Trevor and I met him through work the other week; he’s something to do with the golf club do I’m catering next weekend.”“What’s he like?” Rosie’s voice was muffled as she tugged another dress over her head. “This one isn’t even worth showing you. Looks like I’m going to need a few more.”“Coming right up,” Alice called, plucking hangers from a rail nearby. “He’s nice,” she said, returning to the subject of Trevor. “Early fifties, pretty fit. Nice face. Works in accounts at an office in town. I forget where.”As she passed another three dresses into the changing-room, Rosie caught her eye.“But ?”Alice sighed.“You know me too well. Like I said, he’s nice, but there’s no real spark. Not like there was with Rob.”“Oh, love,” Rosie consoled her.“But I’ll put on my new dress and go and have dinner with him and I’m sure we’ll have a very pleasant evening, and you never know, maybe it’ll be a slow-burn romance that’ll turn into grand passion!” she finished with a brave smile.“Atta girl. Now, what do you think of this one?” The moment Rosie stepped out, Alice started nodding.“That’s it. That’s the one. That colour of red is just perfect for you. OK, let’s get them paid for and go and look for shoes.”


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