The old woman’s eyes scanned me up and down before looking back at the long pink dress with polka dots that she picked out from the showcased wardrobe of the store. She had a satisfied smile on her face and she adjusted her vintage cat eye glasses and muttered quite audibly “I think she would like this one. It’s pink and feminine,” and I could hear it perfectly well for, I was standing right next to her trying to search for a dress for a party.
As I heard that, I looked back at the dress that she was holding and I assumed she might be buying it for her granddaughter or someone she knew but clearly, she was having problems selecting an appropriate dress and it was why she looked in a state of dilemma.
For the second time, she looked back at me through her glasses and back at the dress and I assumed perhaps I had the same height and figure for which she had been trying to imagine the dress fitting well on the girl for whom she was buying it.
Her state of confusion made me want to help her and it was what I did. Without even thinking if I was being noisy or not, I opened my mouth as I turned towards her “Do you think I can help you with something?”
“Um. Yes, if you don’t have any problem,” she smiled and I nodded at her.
“What’s the occasion?” I asked as my eyes fell on that pink polka dots dress. I cringed internally when the dress reminded me of my prom night.
A few years ago, when I was sleeping peacefully at night having sweet dreams of having a great time with my date on the prom night, I was disturbed by the constant ringing of my phone and groggily I woke up and licking the braces on my tooth, I searched for the phone in the dark irritated but when I read the name on the caller ID I was literally shaken up to the core.
The ID displayed Regina Jones.
I was stunned and excited to the core to see that the school’s most popular girl was calling me, a nerd with whom no one ever wanted to hang out. Neither was I attractive nor was I good at anything except studies. It was even a shock when this guy asked me out to be his date for the prom night.
It was like a dream come true.
“He-Hello?” I heard my own excited voice as I picked up her call.
“Alvis?” I heard her melodic feminine voice and I found myself pinching my arms making sure it wasn’t a dream.
Regina was the school’s most popular girl as everyone in the school knew her for being a star kid. We had heard that she was the daughter of some famous theatre actress and that what made her even more popular in the school even though she was also the leader of her cheerleading group. She was a Queen and we all... especially girls like me were nonexistent in the school.
Everybody liked her, every guy wanted her and every girl was jealous of her for she was not only beautiful but she was supposed to be a star in the new future all thanks to her mom, whom we never saw.
I had never imagined her single call would make my dreams burn into ashes because the girl whom I admired the most and wanted to befriend, turned out to be the one who ruined my childhood.
I was a subject of jokes and everyone laughed at me whenever they saw me. It was Skipper for whom I managed to embarrass my date and it was why he chose to abandon me and go back home while I sat there alone in the hall watching all other couples dancing and laughing, especially looking at me.
Regina managed to trick me into wearing a vintage gown when the theme was clearly a modern one. I was too naive to believe her when she called in the middle of the night to tell me that the theme was changed and being super excited that I was even talking to her, I believed her, and even though there was only one day left for the prom I searched for a vintage dress and wore it to the prom, gradually surprising my date and even myself when I found I was the only odd one out, not even pleasantly cause I looked like a clown.
The embarrassment I felt that day was still fresh in my memories and no matter how much I tried I could never forget it.
Currently, the pink polka dress reminded me of my yellow polka dots dress that I wore to my embarrassment for the prom.
“Is it for her prom night?” I asked and the old lady nodded.
“I see...” I heaved a sigh as I took the dress from her and put it back in the hanger.
“I think...she would like this one,” I picked up a wine red off-shoulder tulle dress from the same section of the dresses “more than that one,” I said indicating the previous dress.
“Oh, my!” she gasped as she took it from my hand “How did I miss this lovely?” she beamed with happiness, and watching her smile, made me smile feeling contended that she liked my choice.
“If I don’t sound noisy, why is she not here to chose?” I looked back at her and she shrugged smiling at me. “She says, she trusts my choice and she is not good at choosing.”
“Sums it up!” I smiled back at the lady and it was my time to leave.
As I walked out of the shop, I sighed as I looked at the amount of shopping I had done just to prepare myself for the night. But then my eyes fell on the old lady who walked out happily with the dress that I chose for her in her hand, towards the exit.
I could never forget that name. She was the reason why I tried my best to forget my school days because every time I thought about it, my mood always turns down. It was only because of her why I stopped trusting people blindly and somehow some of her mischievous acts influenced me to chose Law over medicines as my career.
But then this decision of mine was like a blessing for my father who wanted me to join his law firm after him. Not wanting to disappoint him, I focussed on my career more than dating and it was the sole reason why I found myself alone, in this stage of life.
“Yes, Dad!” I answered once I reached my dorm room and kept the shopping bags on the floor.
“Sweetie, please make sure to be on time okay?” he said and I giggled as I fell back on my back on the bed.
“Dad! I’m always on time,” I said as I checked the time on my watch to read it four in the evening.
“I know. But you know they want to meet you, not me. It is why I’m making sure you reach on time, my little bear,” he chuckled at the end which made me groan at him.
“Dad! Please! Don’t call me that!” I hid my face in the pillow as I heard him laugh at the other end of the phone.
“By the way, I have heard that Miss. Leila Devlin is also going to make her presence in the event. She is specially flying down all the way from Toronto just to meet you,” my father’s words surprised me as I found myself attentive all of a sudden.
“What? Really? You mean the company’s owner THE LEILA DEVLIN is coming just to meet me? Me?” my voice raised up in the end and in response, I heard him laughing.
“Yes, she is,” he replied.
“But why would she bother?” I muttered but as if he heard me he replied in a duh tone “Because you, my lovely daughter, helped me solving the most complicated case of the Devlin’s construction company, and being the thirty-one percent owner of the company she wants to meet the one who saved her company from going in loss.”
“Big deal dad! I just helped you in your case, why does everyone want to meet me now?” I huffed in the end.
“Exactly my baby Baboon, you are only in the second year of your Law, yet you managed to point out the keyhole in this case which no one noticed and it was why my law firm was awarded a prominent place in Devlin Corporation. It was all because of you. So Thank you, I forgot I never thanked you,” he laughed at the end.
“Dad seriously? Baby Baboon?” I scoffed at the endearment name that he used for me.
“Out of all the things I told you, you heard the thing that you wanted to hear. Didn’t you?” he asked and I rolled my eyes as I turned around on my bed staring at the roof.
“So, when she heard about this she was keen on meeting the one and it was you. She is keen on meeting you,” dad continued while I hummed in response.
“I don’t know why but I have this gut feeling that I am about to face something terrible, like something terrible is going to happen to me. Do you understand what I mean?” I said and heard him sigh.
“Why do you need to make things sound so complicated? Always?” he said in an accusatory tone.
“Dad, please! The inner future lawyer in me is kicking in. It’s her feeling, not mine,” I complained.
“Okay! Fine! I give up, my little Buffalo,” his endearments made me scream in annoyance.
“Everything is going to be alright. Okay? Don’t worry just make sure you be on time. My clients are here... I gotta go. Bye my pumpkin...” he said and disconnected the call before I could throw a fit on him.
This was my dad.
He had thousands of names ready for me every time we talked and as long as I remember, they are the worst endearments I had ever heard. Let’s not forget about the time when he called me names like ‘Baby Vulture, Peahen, and Joey’ out in public.
But this was it. I got off the bed to get ready for the evening as I had to drive an hour or more long road to reach the venue.
So better be early than late...
Little did I ever imagined that this meet-up would turn out on getting a marriage proposal for none other than the mysterious Mr. Keith Devlin.
If I had known I would’ve never shown up in the first place.
Watching my life’s big decision being taken up by my dad had me shattered for a minute because he wished me to have an arranged marriage with the nowhere to be found Mr. Keith Devlin, Miss Leila Devlin’s only younger brother about whom we had only heard in the news or only by his sister claiming him to take over the company after her.
“See? I told you. I am having a bad feeling about all this from the beginning but you never believed me!” I found myself annoyed at the situation as I barked like an angry dog into the phone.
“But look at the bright side! You will be engaged to the most powerful family in the country, Vienna and it will be a big deal for our firm too!” Dad replied from the other end.
“And moreover I don’t want to upset Aaron. You know he is my childhood friend and he wants the same thing as his daughter, Leila. He wants you to at least meet his son before taking a decision. We are not forcing y-”
“Wait a minute! We? What do you mean by we?” I said but then realization hit me “Oh my god! Dad, I can’t believe you! So you all had this from the beginning? You tricked me!” I huffed at him.
“No, I didn’t my baby Rottweiler!”
“Dad!” I yelled.
“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry. Listen, baby, please at least give this a thought. I know you are not seeing anyone and this is why I agreed on this when they put this proposal before me. I just want you to meet the guy. I promise, if you don’t like him, I will end this on my own. But please, at least meet him for once, hmm?” he asked and even though I wanted to argue more, I gave up when I heard him inhale deeply. He was having problems breathing.
“Dad! Take your Inhaler!” I cried out and he coughed.
“Don’t worry sweet cake. I have it with me,” he replied and that made me sigh in annoyance.
“Why do you not take of yourself, dad? It’s time for you to stop thinking about me,”
“No, you are actually wrong at this point! It’s actually the right time for me to start thinking about my baby girl,” he replied and I knew it was pointless to argue any further.
“Okay fine! I will meet him!” I told him and I heard him gasp but before he could speak I chose to intervene as I continued “But you have to promise me that if I don’t like him...it’s the end of discussion. We will never have the same topic ever again. Promise?”
Without even thinking he replied beaming with happiness” I promise, my green Grasshopper,”