I’ve been pushing thoughts of Maximus out of my head all day. Yes, the dates are going well but how much do they offer about living and raising a child with a mafia man?
Walking up to a mannequin I call Desimond. “Do you mind helping me?”
Desimond came over holding the mannequin down while I slipped a dress over it. The silk material dropped over easily letting the red dress be shown off perfectly.
Desimond whistled. “That’s one hot dress.”
I nodded at my most recent design. Classy but steamy. The red silk gown would hug who ever wore it, the silk giving it a timeless look and the tightness with two slit for the legs would make whoever wore it silence an entire room.
The bell over the door sounded along with a gasp, turning I find two women walking into the store. The one who gasped came right to the red dress, her hair down in waves and a red ruby pendent around her neck. The other women with ink black hair and a pale face hung back silently looking around the room.
“I need this.” The ruby necklace woman said turning to me.
Chuckling I put my hand out to introduce myself. “Then it’s all yours, I’m Stella would you like to have it fitted.”
She placed her hand in mine shaking it. “Esperenza.” She waited a second for me to say anything but I didn’t. If I know her from somewhere, I can’t remember. “And the faster you can fit me into this dress the better.”
She let go of my hand and I motioned to the fitting room. “Right this way please.”
Desimond slipped the dress off the mannequin and passed me it. Taking the dress in my arms I walked Esperenza to the fitting room, looking her over I knew that with her body and skin tone she will look amazing in the dress.
Closing the door to the room I smile at the woman. “Without sounding forward, would remove your clothing but you may leave your underwear and bra on. I’ll help put the dress on for you.”
She took off her clothing and when she was ready I stepped forward to help Esperenza in the dress. My hands carefully pulling the dress up her body and zip up the back.
It already hugged her perfectly.
Standing back, I picked up my pin pad making notes of where they need to go. “How does it feel, is there anything you want emphasized?”
Her hands ran down the dress, my eyes looking at the silver snake bracelet that curled up her wrist. She could walk out of the store right now and stop traffic. “It feels perfect, I just need to be able to hide a tight strap around my thigh.”
Raising my brow, I smirk at her comment and took a step forward to get started. “Garter?”
She smirked. “Something like that.”
Chuckling I began to start pinning the material, letting the room go silent besides the soft music that was playing.
“Tell me about yourself.” She said breaking the silence.
Shrugging I put a pin through the dress for the future adjustment. “Not much to say. This is basically all I do.”
“Come on, you are pressing all over my body I should know something about you.” She toyed and I took a pin, placing in to the material.
Taking my time, I shook my head. “Oh, my life isn’t that exciting.”
Understatement of the century.
“Man problems?” She asked making me laugh.
Stepping back to plan, I shook my head. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
She winked at me through the mirror. “Now you have to tell me, promise I won’t tell.”
“Short or long version?” I relented unable to stop myself.
Esperenza tilted her head with hum. “Short.”
Giving a dry chuckle I continued with the alterations, I know I can’t say much about my ‘love life’ but I need to talk to someone normal and Anthony is busy with a new case.
“Well I have a classic cliché story when girl meet boy, boy is all tall, dark mysterious. She knows she should walk away but can’t so she keeps it physical to get him out of his system. Flash forward a few months later and she is knocked up.” She let out a high whistle making me groan. “Sorry it was totally unprofessional to have said all that.”
“Please, don’t worry about it. I hate conventional blocks of how to act, say what you need to Chica, get it out. So what else?”
Chuckling lightly, I keep my eyes on making sure this dress will fit her like a glove. “Nothing else to tell, my life is an unconventional mess trying to learn the man I’m having a child with. You may not like conventional but it would be great in the love life, though I am not going to marry him because I’m pregnant.”
She hummed. “You are unconventional. Do what makes sense for you. Have you met his family?”
I groaned moving in front of her placing pins in her breast area. “Nope and dreading it, I mean I would love to, he talks about them all the time but no not yet. Honestly may run from it as long as I can.”
“Coward.” She teased making me laugh taking a step back to check that the dress is coming together. “It won’t that bad.”
I couldn’t help the snort I released. “Well you get knocked up from a complicated man and then tell me if you are worried about being called a hussy or gold digger.”
She puckered her lips before looking at the mirror. “Fair enough. So, what do you want?” She asked making me stop, my face black. “Oh, shit has no one asked you?”
“No people have asked but it’s a complicated answer.” I whispered pinning the dress. “I guess my main goal is to try and see where it goes. See where we go. If it doesn’t work between us it doesn’t work, we can raise our child together but he would be free to find someone who is right to love him the way he needs.”
“You care for him.” Esperenza stated slowly.
I smiled. “Of course.”
“And do you love him?”
“Oh, I’m not in…” I couldn’t finish that sentence.
Love. Max. Every time I see him my heart stops, the way he is with me always makes me melt like a school girl, anytime I think about the future he is there.
I know that I deeply care about him, but falling in love has always been something that I’ve been scared to do. There have been so many people who have walked in and out of my life, so many who said they loved me and then were gone the second the divorce papers were signed.
I know that my mother’s multiple husbands are not the same thing as being in love with Max, but that pain I felt every time I was left is something I never want to feel again.
“Want some unwanted advice?” Esperenza asked.
Sighing I continued my work. “Sure.”
She laughed. “Which means no but I’m still going to give it. Don’t pick a man who will be there when things are calm. Choose someone for when the seas are rough, choose him based on if you are in trouble you know he will come.”
My movements stopped.
Maximus already saved me when Carnellio took me even though he didn’t owe me anything. Would he always be there for me when I need him?
A knock on the door made me turn finding Desimond slip into the room. “Excuse me, a delivery is up front needing a signature.”
I took a step back laying the pins on the table. “Thanks Hun. Well I’m done for now, if it is alright Desimond will help take off the dress without removing any pins.”
Esperenza nodded. “Thank you and sorry if my advice brought up unwanted memories.”
My head snapped back at her comment. Did my face flash into something when I thought of Max coming to me?
Walking out of the back room I headed to my desk up front where a delivery man was waiting. “You need me to sign?”
The man passed me a sheet and placed a cooler on the table, the second I signed he left. Picking up the box I open it on my desk, a laugh coming out when I see a roasted chicken sandwich.
I picked up a note that was attached and reading it I began to laugh.
Got to feed my girls
-Your private chef
My heart warmed at his thoughts but I had to push it away when the woman who came with Esperenzaappeared at the desk and handed me a deck of cards. “Shuffle.”
Surprised at the woman’s Russian accent I reached over and shuffled the tarot deck she passed me. Once. Twice. Thrice. “How many times?”
She didn’t say anything, only stared.
I passed them back to her after the sixth time. She shuffled the deck once before sliding them onto my desk. Their backs facing me in a row looking the same with black backgrounds, a skull and a Raven standing on top of it, the bird’s talons cracking the bone.
“Put your hand over ze cards.” Her light Russian accent had me complying. “Now remember your past and choose a card.”
Slowly nodding, I look at the cards and move to pick one, her hand slapping mine. “Ow! You told me to pick one.”
“I said ‘choose’ not pick. Choose ze card that speaks to you of your past.” The woman waved her hand for me to do.
“Please?” I muttered looking at the different cards, my gaze kept returning to the one at the far end, my hand picking it up.
Before I could flip it over, the woman took it. “Now think of your present. Your wishes, hopes, fears.”
I tried to picture myself now; Max, my child. A card to the far left called out for me to pick up.
“Let me guess, future?” I muttered watching her take the card again not showing me what I picked up.
“Reach out thinking of your life that has yet to come.” She replied.
Taking a close breath, I tried to do what she asked, my hand picking a card in the middle.
The woman took the card from me and put it with others I chose; her deck quickly picked up and then she walked away with a word or explanation.
“Bye?” I called out still confused.
Esperenza came to the desk taking out her purse letting me slowly look to her confused at what her friend did. “Uh… do you know what those cards mean?”
She chuckled glancing over to her Russian friend then back to me, her hand passing me her card. “Nope, tried to learn but couldn’t get it down. Sorry, she tends to read someone and not explain it.”
Giving a nod I shook away the weird interaction with the woman and rang Esperenza up for her dress. “I will call you when the dress is ready for the final fitting.”
“I look forward to it.” She ran her eyes over me with a soft smile. “It was nice to meet you Stella.”
With that she left the store with her friend.
Desimond glanced over. “Is it me or were they a little… odd?”
My hips bumped into hers. “No judging.”
She put her hands up, “Wasn’t judging, simply saying they had a vibe.”
My attention went back to my delivery, needing a break I pick up the food and take it to my office. Taking a seat, I dug into the heavenly sandwich Max made for me and my thoughts drifted back to what Esperenza mentioned.
Meeting Max’s family.
I know that I have to meet them but how do you to prepare for that?