Chloe had supposed not to tell anyone about her woken up on Draven’s bed five days ago. Although even if Chloe would not have any intention to tell anyone, she had blurted it out.
Rainie admitted that she had created that mistake at first place. Telling Chloe. Though, she realized that the girls could have guessed. Surely it must be obvious from my face, Rainie immersed while zipping the dress in the changing room.
“Rainie, you done?” Chloe called her impatiently followed by rapping the door.
“In the minute!” Rainie voiced out in agitation. “I’m still struggling to zip the dress!”
“Well hurry up.” Chloe commanded through the closed door.
“Fine...” Rainie said with a slight sigh.
A moment later without an encouragement of looking herself in the mirror she opened the door and came out from the changing room to see her friends’ reactions, comments or even their critics.
“So what do you think?” Rainie asked her friends as she did a twirl.
“You look amazing. Completely fab!” Pace replied, taking a step closer to her.
“Do you think so?” Rainie hesitated and as she pirouetted in front the mirror, she was aghast. “Do you think this is so pink?”
Chloe brushed Rainie’s objection aside. “No it’s not.”
“The dress is perfect on you.” Whitney chimed in, admiringly.
Rainie looked once again closely at her reflection. Surely the dress might be, however a brief glance at the label whilst in the changing room had shown Rainie that the price was also perfect too. It was perfect for bankrupting her!
She should have known her friends would want to go to a designer shop for their own outfit. Surprisingly the objection had not even once come from Chloe’s lips knowing how cheap sometimes she could be. In fact her best friend had already picked out a very beautiful gown. It was a dark green sheath that perfectly matched the color of her diamond earring, Nathan had purchased for her.
And as for her dress, the girls had persuaded her to try on was the palest pink gown. Its material was pure grape silk, with a backless style model.
“And you must sweep your dark hair like Jason’s engagement party and put some kohl around your eyes.” Paige enthused. “You’ll look exotic.”
Well, it was indeed and it was also more glamorous than anything had ever worn before. However dared she buy it? She had spent quarter of her salary over a dress couples days ago and should not buy one more dress for another function, was not necessary anymore? And it was not the wedding party yet. Plus She had lost Jason anyway.
“Draven is going to bowl over when he sees you in this.” Chloe added encouragingly.
Oh, that has to wait, she thought. She was not sure she wanted Draven ‘bowl over’ when he saw her. Where could any relationship between the two of them ever go? Nowhere, came the resounding answer. Yet a part of her wanted the dress, only to see if she could bowl Draven over.
“Why do I care about his opinion?” She asked, giving a guilty jump. “Just because I went out with him, dance with him and was sent back to my apartment, it doesn’t mean his opinion matter. He’s just a guy that I went out for one night stand!” She shrieked to hear her supply of information. “I mean for one night date!” She amended quickly, hoping they missed the last part of her sentences.
“Right.” Paige said, looking a bit bemused. “That’s lovely.”
Oh God. She was losing it. What made she think, her friends had missed every single syllable of her words. Everyone knew this was how criminals got caught. They added too many details and tripped themselves up.
Rainie cleared her throat, forcing her self for looking a little bit less guilty. “I know it’s gorgeous.” She said, deliberately steering the topic of conversation into a new direction. “But do you think it’s worthy?” She shrugged discouragingly. “The previous dress has cost me a bomb and now...”
“Don’t worry about it.” Whitney interrupted her doubt. “I’ll take care of that.”
“Excuse me?!” Rainie asked only to make sure that she heard her right. She felt her eyes almost bulge out from its socket.
What did she mean about she would take care of that?
“I’ll settle the bill.” Winnie told her for clarification in her questions.
It made Rainie wonder if her friends had become physic could read her mind or what she was thinking.
“But...” Rainie wanted to protest.
“No buts!” This time Chloe warned her quite forcefully. “You’ll look good on that.”
“Chloe, you don’t think that it looked a little bit slutty?” Rainie asked eagerly, hoping they would leave her out off the hook.
“I don’t think so.” Chloe replied defiantly as she sat down on the beige-colored sofa. “This isn’t slutty type.” She sat back to add gravitas to her announcement. “It suits you, entirely.”
Rainie shook her head, disagreeing with her friends opinions. “It’s too revealing!”
“Quit with your non-senses.” Whitney reprimanded, not really wanted to hear any of her plea or complaint. “Now, change the dress and give it to me.” She ordered and practically shoved her inside the fitting room cubicle.
“I still think it makes me feel like a slut!” Rainie protested one more try to get rid of their persistency. She felt like she was a doll being dressed by three grown up women!
“Shut up.” Paige said, pushing her. “Just change.” She added instructing her one last time before closed the door.
Rainie sighed, defeated. She turned around and faced herself on the mirror. She knew the gown was looking superb on her but it did not mean she would let Whitney to buy it for her. It just seemed not right. However, she thought in dismay, she could never win against them. Within minutes, she had changed into her black trouser and her dark blue blouse, typical her working outfit. And as soon as she opened the cubicle of the fitting room, swiftly Whitney took the delicate garment Rainie was still holding.
“Whit...” Rainie called after her while she started to walk towards the cashier. “You can’t possibly take care of that!”
“Why not?” Paige’s voice sounded ominously clipped.
“Because...” Rainie hunted for the proper word to deny Whitney’s offer. “Umm...” She searched her eyes on Chloe, however her best friend was the least rescuer she could hope. Please God, how could she become a slow thinker? She cast about for something likely. “I’d stick to my little black dress. After all this would be one night function. What’s the point to waste the money like this?”
The three women did not answer her question immediately. They exchanged glances as if gave to each other a mental messages.
“Did I miss something?” Rainie asked suspiciously watching all them with her skeptical eyes. She smelt something fishy around them and she did not like it. She did not understand why she always was the last to know. “Paige?” She asked the girl at the far end. For as long as she had known Paige, she was the quietest amongst the three of them and that was the people said about still waters running deep, eh? However she did not say a word.
Paige perplexedly looked at Chloe then to Whitney while Rainie kept her a quizzical face.
“Whitney?” Now Rainie darted her eyes and her question the girl in the middle. She was paying attention on the garment as if it was the most fascinating clothes she had ever seen.
Rainie could not remember being so mad for a long time. “If none of you’re going to tell me, I’m leaving.” She said grimly. “What’s so secret about it that you don’t want to tell me anyway?”
“It’s not a secret.” Paige said to her while her eyes inquisitively on the girls. “We’ll tell you about it... Soon.” She added the last word almost a whisper.
For the first time since she had been a little girl, Rainie found herself stamping the foot. Within the little warm circle of her third foster parents she had the nickname Tappy because of her tendency to stamp up and down in temper. The brief lack of control was like a dash of icy water on the fire of her anger. Taking a deep breath she shook her head. “What friends you are.” Then she started to sail pass the three of them.
“Rain, please wait...” Whitney managed to pace her steps. “We’ll tell you about it.”
Rainie halted and swung to face her. “About what?”
“Why we keep you in dark side, temporary.” Paige this time was the one who answered on behalf the three of them. She pulled the last button of her yellow top outfit nervously.
“Well, then spill out.” Rainie instructed dryly.
Paige virtually gritted her teeth in exasperation, she prevaricated slowly. “The party is...”
Rainie almost stamped again. She was so impatient and infuriated with all her friends right this minute. “You’re unbelievable.” She retorted curtly then began to walk again.
Finally Chloe leapt into action, motivated to bonhomie by the missing part. She cleared her throat before she began. “We’re all going to stay over the weekend at the resort.”
“What?!” Rainie shouted disbelief. How could her best friend have had the audacity to pretend forgetting about something important like that? Or at least that was how she interpreted it and it made her blood boil. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“I did tell you.” Chloe replied, assuming a demeanor of injured innocence.
Rainie raised a brow. “No you didn’t.” Chloe as she noted at least had avoided the eye contact, however when she opened her mouth to reply, Rainie forestalled her. “Don’t bother to deny it. I know very well that you miss that part.”
“Well...” Chloe said frostily. “What makes you...”
“Oh all right. I admit I didn’t tell you that part.” She threw up her hands and came closer to her. “I didn’t tell you because I knew, you wouldn’t agree. Spending time with Jason and his fiancé or his family, most of all with Draven. I...” She glared defiantly. “Have done only what’s right!”
“Rainie, come on, what Chloe did was right.” Whitney concurred. “We knew how hard it’d be for you but without you it seems that it won’t be as fun as it’ll be.”
“Look, Rain.” Paige tapped her shoulders. “We’re sorry to keep you this until now, but…”
“We just want you to be happy.” Chloe finished the sentences. “And probably it’ll happen with Draven. He might be interested in you.”
As Chloe dimpled at her, Paige and Whitney gathered so that Rainie found herself edged further back into the wall. Another minute and she would be the wall itself!
“Bottom line is we want you to be the old you, we used to know.” Whitney said in pleading finality.
Rainie looked at her best friends incredulously. The thought was there even though she told herself she was being utterly unreasonable, not to mention contradictory. She had not wanted Draven to be interested in her, had she? She had been telling herself that since her fate had stumbled onto his polished shoes. Draven did not over her anything. He had only offered her nothing except those blazing kisses they had shared and empty words of seductions.
Becoming aware the girls were waiting for her reply, she stitched a grimace on her face that just about passed for a smile. “I don’t know what to say, girls....”
“Just say that you’ll come and just enjoy the time there with us.” Paige replied sagely.
Slowly Rainie brought her eyes to her friends’ faces one by one. She realized that they were genuinely concerned about her wellbeing. They cared about her.
She inhaled deeply and released the breath in a slow, thoughtful sigh. “Fine I’ll come.”
“Great!” Chloe exclaimed excitedly. Her breathing became faster and faster. “Oh... It’s so great!”
Damned! Chloe was hyperventilating.
“Chloe, don’t exaggerate too much.” Rainie intoned
“What do you mean I exaggerate too much?” She retorted. “I’m just so happy that you’re coming and with Draven.”
“Chloe, there’s nothing between me and him.” Rainie replied irritated.
“But if there’s something happen between you and him, you won’t deny the fact, will you?” Chloe joined her perfect eyebrows, her habit when she was annoyed or thinking hard or both.
“What will be going on between me and him?” Rainie’s suspicion went deeper at Chloe’s remark.
“I don’t know.” Chloe shrugged nonchalantly.
“Chloe!” Rainie called out her name again in aggravation. “There’s something up all of your sleeves, isn’t it?” She asked accusingly glaring at Chloe first before averted to Paige and Whitney.
“God, why are you becoming paranoid like this.” Chloe snapped, folding her arms and tapping her foot. “I just want you to consider about Draven or another man. It doesn’t have to be Draven.”
Oh, bloody hell! The post-mortem of breaking up had made her become a grumpy woman. She hated to admit that Chloe could be right about considering Draven or any man for the rebound.
Paige glanced at Rainie’s stricken face. “We knew you just have a hard time in relationship.” She said encouragingly. “That’s why we want you to be just have a little bit fun.”
Rainie stared at Paige, feeling a few tiny qualms. “But why should be Draven?” She asked. “I mean I’m really thankful what you’re doing but I prefer do it on my own.”
“To do what on your own?” Chloe asked with annoyance. “I know you’re hurting and I think it’s the best you do the revenge...”
“I don’t want to revenge!” Rainie shot a glance to Chloe. “It’s not healthy. I just want to heal my wound and move on.”
“Sure...” Chloe nodded mockingly. “Shall I tell you another word for revenge?” She rejoined, as though pulling the handkerchief out of the palm. “Closure!”
“Chloe, I think there’s the different between closure and revenge.” Whitney interjected.
“Not in my dictionary.” Chloe gave Rainie an impressive look. “You’re my best friend. If you think I’m going to just sit and watch you suffer, you’re mistaken. I don’t want you to become sober, and grumpy and moody just because you allow yourself to be mistreated by that bastard. Jason doesn’t deserve your tears, let alone your grumpiness are thrown to us. You’ve to get it out from your system. So stop your fucking suspicious mind towards everything including to us.”
“Then what’s your suggestion?” Rainie wailed.
“Oh I’ve a lot suggestion.” Chloe replied. “I’m not going to stand and see you suffer. It’s called the sisterhood.”
Oh, Gee. Suddenly Rainie had many visions about Chloe did something to Jason. One of them was, she rooted through Jason’s storage bin in her sleek black Prada suit or scarped his car with nail files, or even ruined his party at the resort.
“Chloe...” Rainie called her in alarm. “Please don’t do something stupid.”
“Chill out.” Chloe assured her. “I’m not going something stupid. I just want you not to do something stupid.” She pointed her finger on one of Rainie’s shoulder.
“What do you mean, stupid?” Rainie emphasized the word stupid.
“What she means, is that you shouldn’t allow yourself being degraded.” Whitney answered on Chloe’s behalf. “Didn’t you see the way Jason looked at you that night?” She asked before she briefly announced to her. “He looked defeated.”
“Really?” Rainie tilted her head to her friend who was a statuesque of all of woman in the world; Tall, elegant, beautiful and well-mannered.
“Yes, come on I mean you brought Draven to the party.” Paige chimed in. “And he’s better than Jason. I think even Jason realized it also.”
“Fine, fine.” Rainie gave in as she nodded at her acquiescence and hoped all her friends had the good judgment. “I’ll go and have fun.”
“Good.” Chloe said satisfied while Paige showed her grin and Whitney immediately gave the gown to the cashier.
“It doesn’t mean that you buy me this gown, Whitney.” Rainie chastised her.
“I’ll take care of it.” Whitney assured her and flashed her platinum credit card she was holding in between two of her fingers. “And don’t protest.” She said anticipating her demurral. “Let’s just say a reward for you to come with us.”
“Nuh-uh!” Whitney held out her index finger and shook it gently in front of Rainie. “No buts. I told you already. Just think as a treat, how do you say?” She asked smiling at her.
Rainie once again was faced without any choice but gave in. She looked at Whitney and nodded half-heartedly. “Fine. Thank you.” She said. “But only this time.” She warned her as she saw her friends smile triumphantly.
“Scout boy promise.” Whitney grinned impishly.
“Alright, now I think we’d better go to Allesandro’s soon.” Chloe clapped the hands, her laughter melting away. “Nathan is on the way there.”
“Nathan?” Rainie stared at her while she was receiving the shopping bag from Whitney.
“Yes.” Chloe said over her shoulder as she started walking to the glass revolving door.
“So are Victor and Seth.” Paige added the information before catching up her treading with Whitney and Chloe. “I spoke to him just now and they’re on the way to catch up with us there.”
Rainie took slower steps when she heard it. Great. That was all she needed. Being the third wheel or perhaps the seventh wheel among them.
“Girls...” She called them out before they reached the door.
The three of them halted abruptly and swung their heels to face her with the same puzzling look.
Rainie took a deep silent breath and prayed for the right words. “I think I just skip it for now.” She said her lie.
“Why?” Chloe asked. Her tone was grim.
Rainie took refuge in the universal get-out clause. “I got a headache...I mean I’ve a migraine.”
“A migraine?” Chloe parroted frowning. “Since when you have a migraine?’ Chloe being Chloe, she shot her the question. It was obvious she didn’t believe her excuse.
“I think I do have it now.” Rainie grimaced at her. How did she always know when she was lying? Like she was a human lie detector or something.
“Do you need an Aspirin?” Whitney retreated her steps towards her. “Paracetamol?”
“No.” Rainie shook her head too quickly as she stared at them beseechingly, trying to convey to them that she just wanted to sleep and disappear, that basically she only wanted to being alone and not be jealous of her more fortunate friends. “I just go back home.”
“But...” Whitney’s objection was interrupted.
“I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.” She promised them impatiently. Honestly. Being alone was hard enough as it was, without her friends subjecting her wellbeing to the third degree. “I just need a little bit more rest. That’s all.”
“That’s bullshit!” Chloe said vehemently. “I know you don’t have a migraine.”
“Don’t blame me for being sick.” Rainie grumbled, her face tight. She had the impulse to stick out her tongue and make a rude face.
“I don’t blame your migraine.” Chloe counterattacked. “I blame your weakness and your lie.”
“Rain...” Whitney called out her name, making her to turn her glance at the other of her friends. “I think I’ve an aspirin.” She informed her before she fished her big brown bag to get the medicine.
“Girls, I only want...” Rainie ran out of words to express what she meant.
“We know what you want.” Whitney pressed. “But isn’t good sulking and be lonely.”
“I’m not sulking.” Rainie replied flatly. “I just want to chill at home and clear my room later on.”
“Clear your room?” Chloe shook her head, her long-straight jet-black hair was swinging disapprovingly. “You haven’t cleared your clothes since the last century!”
“Wha...” Rainie shot at Chloe, baffled. “At least I’m cleaning my room more often than you are!”
“Hey, girls, come on.” Whitney interrupted, standing in between the tense Rainie and Chloe before she turned her head to Rainie. “It’s just a dinner before all of us go back and preparing for the trip tomorrow.” She decreed pragmatically.
Rainie felt leaden. She hated when all of her friends were right. She detested herself to be so easily read like an opened-book
She took the air and breathed out heavily. “Okay, I’ll go.” She said with a little shrug. After all what else could she say? But inside, her whole body was pulsing in frustration, bordering on ominous. Trying to keep calm, she came towards them. “Just give me that stupid medicine.”
“Later at The Allesandro’s.” Chloe said with finality before virtually dragging her out of the boutique and headed the small café that was few blocks away”