I took the dress and with a deep breath, stepped back behind the curtain. I hung it on a hook in the wall and proceeded to undress. I reached out and ran my fingers over the fine fabric. It had held up well over the years. It had been designed special for me, and was still in perfect shape after ten years of neglect. Even the beading still looked brand new.
Carefully, I slid the dress off the hanger. I held it tight to my body and inhaled deeply, trying to calm my nerves. I shook my head, what was I doing? It was just a dress for heaven’s sake!
I held it out in front of me and stared at it for a moment longer. Then, taking a deep breath, I slipped it on over my head. There was a mirror on the wall and I turned to look at my reflection.
The dress was either too big, or I was too small, it was hard to tell which. I didn’t even have to bother with the zipper. I knew I had lost a lot of weight over the years, but I never really noticed how much until now.
Luckily, no matter how much weight I lost, my hair remained the same. It was chestnut brown, thick, and long, just past my shoulder blades. I could do almost anything with it. I pulled it up into a little twist in the back of my head and then the dress straps fell off my shoulders.
“Miss March? You okay?” Mr. Woo asked.
I took one last look in the mirror, smiling at my reflection, glad my green eyes had regained a little of their old sparkle. I stepped out of the dressing room and walked over to Mr. Woo, holding the skirt up a little as I walked, bare footed, across the room. “Where do you want me?” I asked, my voice sounded strained and I had to clear it twice to sound normal again.
Mr. Woo gestured toward the wooden pedestal and I walked over and carefully stepped up. He immediately began adjusting and pinning the dress around my waist and breast. He pinned the sleeves and then pulled at the skirt a little. “What shoes you wear?”
“I have a pair of heels.” I said, looking down to him.
I held my thumb and index finger a space apart. “Two inches I think?”
He nodded and went back to work. If there was one thing I liked about Mr. Woo, it was that he was dependable. The second was that he was fast. No more than fifteen minutes had passed when he asked me to carefully take off the dress. “Watch for pins, Miss March!”
I slid out of the dress, and hung it back on the hanger. I turned my back to it, not ready to see what alterations were needed, and then quickly got dressed. I parted the curtain and handed the dress to Mr. Woo.
“When do you think I can pick it up?”
“Five o’clock,” he said. “I lock door at five, so be here five minute till.”I smiled. I owed him, big time. Trevor would kill me if he knew I had been putting this off for so long.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Woo.”
He led me out, back through the curtain. “I see you tonight,” he said with a curt nod.
Across the room, Amy stood up. “You done?” She asked.
I smiled. “Yeah. Let’s go.” We stepped outside and I looked up and down the deserted street for a minute before asking, “Where’s your car?”
“Jim dropped me off. His car’s in the shop and he had some errands to run.”
I dug around in my purse until I found my keys. I pressed a button, unlocking the door and brushed a loose strand of hair out of my face. “In that case... you hungry?”
I laughed. “Let’s get out of here.”
Moe’s café was the greatest restaurant I’d ever been to, but Trevor wasn’t a fan. He always said there was something “unclean” about the place. He didn’t like me going there, but I figured, what Trevor didn’t know, wouldn’t hurt him. As I parked my SUV, I smiled as the sign, in bright neon lettering, told me to “Eat at Moe’s.”
They had recently replaced the old sign, which had just been carved and then painted into a chunk of wood. I liked the old one more, but what could I say, things change.
We went inside and headed for a booth toward the back. The booths were this obnoxious color of teal, and the floors were tiled black and white. The waitresses all wore pink uniforms and it even had an old-fashioned looking juke box.
I carelessly tossed my purse on the seat before sliding in. Amy sat down and gave me one of those concerned motherly looks.
“What’s up?” I asked, knowing that look. It was the look she got when there was something on her mind.
Amy sat her purse down. “What’s going on with you?”
I raised my arm into the air to get the waitress’s attention. I was hungry and a bit hung over still, no thanks to Amy. The last thing I needed was a lecture, and I knew that was what she had in mind.
As the waitress started toward our table I looked back at Amy. I put on my “I don’t know what you’re talking about” face and asked, “What do you mean?”
She frowned as the waitress stopped at our table. I think she knew my game by now, and if she didn’t then she clearly wasn’t paying enough attention. I didn’t want to talk about it. Not with her anyway.
I ordered a cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake. Amy looked down at the menu in her hands and then, handed it back to the waitress. “Just a salad.”
The waitress took our menus, but before she could walk away I stopped her. “Just a second.” I looked at Amy, “You can’t have just a salad. Come on, I’m buying.”
Amy gave me a look with pursed lips that clearly said “no,” but I didn’t care. “Bring her a chicken sandwich, too. Light on the mayo.”
Amy sat silent until the waitress was out of earshot, and then gave me that annoyed motherly tone she had been perfecting the past couple of years. “I have to fit into my dress tomorrow. So do you... Why’d you order so much?”
I shrugged. “I dunno, maybe because I wanted to?”
“Don’t you care about fitting into your dress tomorrow?”
Here we go. I hesitated, the reason I didn’t want to talk to her; one of the reasons anyway. “It’ll fit,” I whispered.
She sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. She glared at me, and I couldn’t help but fidget in my seat. “What’s going on with you, Cate? You act like you don’t care about all this, about your wedding...”
I sat upright again, pressing my finger to my lips. “Shh! People will hear you!”
“What does that matter?” She asked, not bothering to lower her voice. Then she half shouted, half whispered, “People can tell by how you’re acting.”
I leaned back and lowered my head. I let out a deep breath I didn’t realize I was holding then slowly raised my eyes to meet hers. “You think Trevor knows?” I asked; my voice unusually soft and calm.
Amy frowned, then nodded her head. “He asked Jim if he knew if something was going on. Jim asked me and I told him it was just normal pre-wedding jitters. But it’s not, is it...?”
I shrugged. I had never been married before, but I had been close – really close. “Remember John?”
Amy reached across the table and took my hand. “Is that what this is all about?”
I smiled, “I still remember the day I met him. It was Halloween and we were at that haunted house...”