It had been almost two weeks since the breakup between Ned Nickerson and Nancy Drew. Ned had married another girl immediately afterward, further crushing the heart of the girl that he truly loved. He had rashly packed all of his things and moved to California with the girl.
Nancy has been surrounded by her four amazing friends and motherly housekeeper for the time following. Everyone did their best to give her a happy time, and slowly, very slowly, she began to heal. It would be quite some time before she completely healed, but the process had begun. Miraculously, she stopped seeing his handsome face every night when she lay down to sleep. She no longer relived that dreadful night randomly in the middle of the day. Nancy Drew began to laugh and smile genuinely again. She allowed herself to have fun and enjoy the company of the Hardy brothers. Their stay, unfortunately, was coming to an end. They were due to leave in three days time.
Presently, Nancy was walking down town with Bess. Bess had conned Nancy into coming with her for the opening of the town's new mall. It was a far more efficient and well stocked center than the one that it had just replaced. Deirdre Shannon had talked her dad into financing it, and the little princess got everything she asked for.
"Oh, Nancy, this is so exciting! I can't believe that we have our own super-center mall now!" Bess bubbled with the excitement. Nancy personally hadn't thought that the celebration was all that interesting. Deirdre just blabbed her speech, drawing attention to herself as usual. They had rushed to Bess's house to get her purse- how she forgot it Nancy still didn't understand. Now the two were on their way back to the mall. Bess had insisted that they walk because she wanted to burn enough calories to fit into a new dress.
Once they got there, Nancy noticed that the ice princess herself was still greeting anyone she could catch in her sticky paws on the way in. Nancy grabbed Bess's arm and swiftly guided her in through a side door. Bess did little to protest, for she liked the girl even less so than Nancy. Finally, they were inside the mall. Bess squealed in delight. She left Nancy's side and rushed to the dress section.
When Nancy caught up to her, Bess was cooing over a mannequin that wore a stunning red dress. The left shoulder was bare and the right one was about four fingers in width. The dress was a deep, fun red. It was a slim dress that ended just under the knees. There were silver sparkles that covered the shoulder completely and spread across the dress, thinning out the further away from the shoulder they spread. It was a simple dress, but it was very attractive. The vibrant color of it played with Bess's eyes. She looked up to see Nancy coming toward her, "Oh, Nancy, isn't it gorgeous!"
"It is," she smiled at her friend. Bess could buy any dress that she set her eyes on if she liked it well enough.
Bess called to the nearest attendant. She asked for help finding the red dress in her size. Turning to Nancy she whispered, "I got my allowance today, and Dad gave me some extra money because he knew the mall opened today. He said it was a gift from my papa to his angel! He's the sweetest! Mama just shook her head and smiled."
"You are such a Daddy's girl," Nancy teased. The attendant handed Bess a box and walked away without even a smile. "Not very friendly, probably one of Deirdre's 'friends'," Nancy chuckled.
"I'm going to go try it on. Stay there, I'll be right back," she turned to go, but seemed to change her mind. She turned toward Nancy, concern in her eyes, "You should look around…see if there's anything you like."
"Aw, Bess, you know how I am," Nancy started to protest, but her friend held up her hand.
"I want you to find a dress and try it on. Find one that you're absolutely in love with. I'm buying," with that she turned to leave.
"Bess," Nancy called after her, shouldering her purse.
"You deserve a new dress, Nancy, no buts!" she called over her shoulder. Nancy sighed, There's going to be no talking her out of it. I'll just look around…
Bess came out of the changing room. She spun in a small circle to present herself. Nancy smiled and admired the blonde beauty. The dress was form-fitting and it was truly an impressive dress. It became even more so when Bess's joyful air brought it to life.
"That does it!" Bess spun around again, "I'm buying it! I'll go change out of it." She hurried off, "Oh, now I need to get matching shoes, something silver, I think…"
Nancy shook her head. She looked some more at the dresses surrounding her. There was one that she did like. She touched it again. It felt so soft and smooth. It was a navy blue, spaghetti-strapped, knee length dress. There two glittery butterflies close to the hem, and one at the waist. A single silver line made of the same material as the butterflies dropped in a swirl from the butterfly at the waist to the others. It looked almost as if the wind was blowing it away. A thin shower of sparkles lined the top of the dress and stretched out toward the waist almost like stars in the night sky.
"You like that one?" Nancy jumped when she heard Bess's voice.
"It's alright, I guess," she lied. She didn't want Bess to get her a new dress.
"Find one in your size and go try it on," Bess urged, "Just see how it feels."
"Bess, I'm over him!" Nancy clamped a hand on her mouth. She hadn't meant to say that. Bess looked surprised, but she didn't say anything. She thought it best to let Nancy's emotions work their own way out. "I…I didn't know I had that in me," Nancy laughed. She suddenly felt like a huge weight lifted off her shoulders.
"It's okay," Bess felt the tension in her friend's shoulders release, and saw her face relax. She hadn't seen Nancy look so relieved in nearly two weeks.
"Really, I don't need the dress," Nancy said after a pause, "I don't need all the ice cream in the grocery, and I don't need-"
"I'm not buying the dress as another 'girl gift', Nancy. The day after tomorrow there's a dance in the high school gym. I'm forcing you and George to go, and I wanted to get you a new dress for it."
"Well, why didn't you just say that?" Nancy laughed. She stopped suddenly, though, remembering something, "That's the last night that Frank and Joe will be here. Are they coming to the dance?"
"Of course, silly!" Bess giggled, "It's going to be sort of their goodbye party."
"How did you manage that?"
"I didn't," Bess grinned, "That's just how I'm choosing to look at it." She pulled the blue dress off the rack and pushed Nancy toward the changing rooms.