A Dress to Die For

Free A Dress to Die For by Christine DeMaio-Rice

Book: A Dress to Die For by Christine DeMaio-Rice Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christine DeMaio-Rice
smiling her way through people slashing and pinning what she wore, and maintaining a fantastic attitude, all while going to graduate school for accounting.
    “We don’t have a next model, Kelly. Stop worrying about the scan.”
    “It’s just… I pay for school with the money, and if I lose it...” She drifted off while slipping on the jacket again. The next day, she had an appointment to stand in a box and have lasers shine on her body. A computer would take her measurements, and the form factory would use the computer model to create a perfect mannequin of her perfect body. “Jeremy St. James, Inc.” would be stamped across the hips, with KELLY underneath it. Forever young, an exclusive shape and form. Scans struck terror into younger fit models with years of work ahead of them. Older ones took the bonus money and ran.
    “It’s just for the China office,” Laura said.
    “We had them at T&C,” Ruby added. “And we still had to travel with the model twice a year, so don’t even worry.”
    Kelly seemed satisfied for the moment, and Laura pinned the rest of the cap without incident.
    “Okay,” Laura said. “Can you get the Baltimore shorts on? And I’ll leave your shoulders alone for a few.”
    Kelly went into the changing room. Laura handed Heidi the jacket and sent her back to her desk.
    “What the hell is wrong with you?” Ruby asked. “You’re late, you look like someone wrung you out, and now you’re sticking Kelly.”
    “This gown thing is bothering me.”
    “Oh, it’s the gown, huh?” Ruby crossed her arms. “Just admit you want to see Dad.”
    “No, I don’t. He left Mom for some redheaded guy named Samuel from Brunico. Dad probably got dumped or deported, and now guess what? He’s back. Well, too bad.”
    “Redhead, huh?”
    “Cute, too. Not drop dead, but not bad. Smoker.” She wrinkled her nose.
    Kelly came out in the Baltimore shorts, yanking at the waist and crotch, and Laura forgot about Dad for a minute as she fixed the unfixable and fit the unwearable.
    **
    Laura dropped her stuff on her desk and sighed.
    Jeremy tapped at his computer. “Where are you staying when I’m away?” he asked, still clicking at his keyboard.
    “Home?”
    “You’ll be handling a lot. That commute’s going to be rough.”
    “It’s not like I can rent a place now, JJ.”
    She heard the clink of metal on metal and caught the keys midair. They were two new silver house keys on a metal ring, and she knew they were for his place.
    “Just don’t turn off the air system,” he said.
    “Jeremy?”
    “Yes?”
    “Isn’t it soon for this?”
    “Are we on a schedule? I didn’t see anything on the calendar.”
    It was the second time she’d questioned his timing. The first had been about six weeks previous, on her birthday, which she didn’t make a big deal about or even mention to anyone. At eleven o’clock, when they had gone out for dinner after work, she thought she’d gotten away with it. One more hour, and she’d be past the birthday zone.
    But once the waiter left with their order, Jeremy put a little box on the table and pushed it toward her. “Happy birthday.”
    “Who told you?”
    “You did, about three years ago. I never forgot anything you told me about yourself.”
    “This is a small blue box.”
    “Yes, it is.”
    She glanced up at him, his face scruffy late in the day. They were both tired from a brutal conference call with the Hong Kong office over grade rules and staffing.
    “Jeremy, I didn’t say anything about my birthday because I knew you’d try to make some kind of grand gesture, and it’s too soon for small things from 57th Street.”
    He leaned forward, and the table suddenly seemed too big because she couldn’t reach his lips with hers. “If we’re on some sort of timetable,” he said, “you need to get it on a spreadsheet and review it with me first.”
    “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to scare me away?”
    He considered for a second, then put his

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