Chapter 5 ~~Shopping for new clothes~~
Kia didn’t take long to use the restroom and tried not to over think what was happening as she checked that her makeup was still alright then she grabbed up her purse and headed back downstairs.
When she arrived on the ground floor, everyone was waiting for her in the foyer. She followed them out to an SUV that was parked in the circular driveway. She finally got a look at the outside of the house and was shocked when she saw how big it was. It was the size of a small hotel but still looked like a home. She could see smaller houses staggered around the property beyond the massive lawn.
As they drove down the long driveway, Kia could see the men she had noticed training before still at it. There appeared to be several wings to the main house that stretched out behind it. Beyond that was a building that resembled an old fashioned school house and there were children out playing on swings, jungle gyms, seesaws and other playground equipment.
“Is that a school?” Kia asked.
“Yes. We have several teachers on staff that teach the little ones there. Most of the older children attend classes in another part of the house.” Angela told her.
“So they don’t go to school in town?” Kia asked in amazement.
“No. It’s quite a ways into town and they would have to leave so early in the morning and would be home so late in the day that it isn’t practical to bus them back and forth every day.” Angela said.
“Oh, then my staying here until school is out is going to be a problem.” Kia said more to herself than anyone else.
“Don’t worry. We’ll work it out. You said that all you really have to do is to turn in your books and the senior ball so it shouldn’t be a problem if you actually leave a few days early would it?” Angela asked.
“No, I guess not. I just want to walk with my class for graduation since I’ve been in that school the longest of any of the ones I’ve ever been to and I’m hoping I get one of the scholarships available. My counselor said I have a good chance for at least one.” Kia said.
After that, the ride got rather quiet for a while and Kia began to realize why going back and forth to school every day will be an issue. She didn’t realize they were this far out of town. Maybe she should have brought her duffel bag with her and insisted that Ethan take her to the YWCA for the rest of the weekend.
She would just have to go back to the group home until after graduation but then what? Would they even allow her to stay there after Monday? Kia’s mind was going a mile a minute as they drove into town.
Ethan could tell that Kia’s mind was racing with all of her options but he hadn’t told her of his plans for her yet. He knew that graduating was very important to her and he couldn’t argue with that. He himself had graduated with top honors in his class and had been valedictorian. He had gone to two years of college for business management and then his father got sick and he had to come home to take over as Alpha.
Marcus’s blood pressure had been out of control with all of the pressures of being the leader of a large pack and the doctor told him that if he didn’t slow down, he was headed for a major heart attack or worse yet a stroke so Ethan had come home and taken over as Alpha and had never regretted it. He had been training for it his whole life and he learned more of what he needed to know about running a large pack from his parents and the other older members of the pack than he ever would have been able to learn at college.
Marcus was still somewhat involved in the running of the pack and every one held the highest regard for him but it was accepted by all that Ethan was the new pack Alpha and he had been doing well so far. The only thing that had been missing was his mate, who would be the pack Luna.
A little over an hour after they left the house, they entered the city limits and following her directions, Ethan drove straight to the pet store. He parked in front of the store and Lily spotted a baby store a few doors down. It was agreed that Angela and Lily were going baby shopping while Kia talked to her boss. Ethan was going to wait with Kia, using the excuse that he wanted to see where she worked and what she did, he followed her into the shop.
“Hey, Kia. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to show up today.” Lydia said and then noticed Ethan. “Oh, who is this? Did you finally find yourself a boyfriend?”
Kia blushed bright red and couldn’t look at Ethan as she answered, “Hi Lydia. Sorry I’m a little late. Lots has happened since I was here the other day. This is my friend Ethan. He rescued me when Doug tried to rape me last night.”
“He what? That scum bag! Well, very nice to meet you Ethan and thank you for rescuing Kia. She is a very special person and definitely deserves to be treated better than to have some pervert forcing himself on her.” Lydia said indignantly.
Lydia had met Kia last spring. Kia had come into Lydia’s shop with a puppy that she said she had found in the alley. He was bone skinny and had the beginnings of mange on his hind end.
Kia had asked for help and had told Lydia that she couldn’t keep the puppy, even as much as she would have liked to but didn’t have the heart to just leave the poor thing defenseless and starving in the alley.
They had spent most of the afternoon taking care of the puppy and talking. Lydia had offered her a part time job on the spot. Lydia had learned a lot about Kia from stories she had told her over the past year.
Ever since then, Lydia had always wished she could do more for Kia but she was just barely managing to keep a roof over her own head and there was no way she could take on a kid, even one as helpful and nice as Kia.
In fact, she hated that she was going to have to let her go. After Kia’s check had cleared the bank yesterday and knowing what her bills had totaled, her bank account barely had enough in it to keep it open. Hearing about this was going to make what she had to say that much harder but she just didn’t know what else to do.
“It was my pleasure, believe me.” Ethan said. He could tell that Lydia was worried about something as her heart rate had picked up and she had seemed like she was hesitating about something.
“Kia, I hate that all of that has happened to you and I hate even more what I have to tell you but I just don’t have any other choice. Business has been so slow this year that I’m barely managing to keep the doors open and in fact, I may not be able to much longer. I’m sorry but I can’t afford to pay you to work anymore. I’m so sorry.” Lydia rushed through it, praying that Kia would understand and not get upset.
Kia, of course, was disappointed but she had had a feeling this was going to happen. She had just been hoping that Lydia would be able to hold on a bit longer. “I understand. You’ve done everything you can and I do appreciate that you’ve kept me on as long as you have. I know it’s been hard to keep the shop going with the big box stores taking away so much of your business. Well, I’m glad I came anyway and I do wish you luck. Thanks for everything, Lydia.” Kia said as she gave her former boss and friend a hug as she tried not to cry.
“Thanks. Do keep in touch with me. I would like to hear how you are getting on. You’ve only got a week or so until graduation, don’t you?” Lydia asked.
“Yes, it’s a week from Tuesday at 6 in the evening at the high school gym.” Kia said.
“Well, good luck on the scholarship and do let me know if you got it or not.” Lydia said. Just then the bell on the shop door rang and Lydia excused herself to go help the customer.
Kia and Ethan left the shop and Ethan dropped his arm around Kia’s shoulders. “I’m sorry.” He whispered. He could tell she was just barely hanging on, trying not to cry.
“Yeah, me too. But oh well. I had a feeling it was coming. Poor Lydia has been hanging on to the store for a long time but it’s hard to compete with Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club and the other chain pet stores when they can bring in larger orders of supplies and sell for cheaper than she can.
Lydia only carries the high quality stuff which is priced higher anyway. Some of the stuff they sell at the big box stores is full of fillers and all kinds of chemicals that are actually bad for animals.” Kia said as they walked down the sidewalk towards the baby store.
“What am I going to do now? There’s still 10 days until graduation. I haven’t bought my outfit for that yet and now I’m going to have to use my savings, when I had been hoping to have one more paycheck to spend on it. I guess my last check was just that and believe me, it wasn’t much.”
“Don’t worry about clothes or shoes. I already know my mom is going to take you shopping and you just get whatever you want and please, let her do this. She doesn’t have a daughter to spoil and this will give her as much pleasure as it will you.” Ethan said, hopefully stopping her objections before she could voice them.
“Oh but Ethan, that should be your girlfriend or wife. I’m just some homeless waif that you found freezing on a bus stop bench. I do appreciate all of you’ve done for me so far but I really don’t expect you to spend your hard earned money on me.” Kia said.
Ethan stopped her right there on the street. He put his hand under her chin and lifted her face so that he could see her eyes. “You are not just some homeless waif to me. You are a very special person. I’m more than happy to spend my money on you if it gives you what you want and need.” Ethan said.
He wanted to scream that she was his mate and he would spend every dime he had on her if it made her happy. He was dying to wrap his arms around her, to hold her and comfort her and to kiss her senseless but the sidewalk on a very public street was not the right place, so he just put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close for a hug of reassurance as he allowed himself to inhale her wonderful scent.
Kia wrapped her arm around his waist and breathed in his scent. She had never felt so safe, at least not since her parents had died. She wished he would hold her like this forever.
She was so tempted to turn her face up, to pull his head down and kiss him but she wasn’t sure if his feelings for her were going in the same direction or if he was just a nice man trying to help a homeless girl he had found on the street. She felt a warmth growing low in her stomach and spreading downwards that she had never felt before and Tia seemed very aroused.
Ethan knew that if he held her much longer, she was going to become aware of how much she was turning him on as his pants began to get tight in the front, so after a few moments and it seemed like much too soon to Kia, he released her and they walked down to the baby store and found Lily going slightly crazy while Angela stood on the side and smiled.
Lily was the closest thing she currently had to a daughter and had been ecstatic when Lily and Jared had announced that she was expecting their first. Jared, Chris, Josh and Ethan had grown up together and were as close as brothers but most especially Jared and Ethan. Ethan knew that he could trust Jared with his life and vice versa.
When Jared had met Lily, who was from a neighboring pack, they had built a house on the edge of the property but when she got pregnant, they had moved back into the pack house.
Jared didn’t want to take any chances with her being alone during the day since they had been having reports of rogues causing trouble with some of the neighboring packs, not to mention that this pregnancy had been rough for Lily so far.
Some days were better than others. Today was a good day but most of her pregnancy she had been sick a lot and not gaining weight the way the doctor said she should and it had them all worried. Thankfully everyone had been very understanding and allowed Jared to spend as much time as he could with her.
Kia and Ethan entered the baby shop and Angela was surprised to see them so soon.
“What’s up? I figured it would be after lunch time before you got off work.” Angela asked.
“Lydia had to let me go. She’s barely managing to keep the shop open and just can’t afford to pay for help anymore. I don’t know how long she’s going to be able to hang on but I had a feeling this was coming.” Kia said, obviously upset that she was now not only homeless but jobless as well.
“Oh, that’s too bad but at least you won’t have to worry about having to go back and forth from home to here anymore once school is over.” Angela said, trying to see the upside of the situation.
Lily came over and said “Angie, you had better stop me now or I’m going to empty the pack bank account.” She had a large bundle of clothes, blankets and the cutest little stuffed dog that she carried to the counter to be rung up.
Kia’s eyes opened wide when she saw the total but never said a word. The total came up to more money than she had ever spent on clothes for over 10 years. As they left the shop Lily said “I never should have gone in there. Specialty shops like that are always more expensive but they have such cute things and the quality is much better than the cheaper stuff you find at Walmart.”
“I think this shirt is the only thing I’ve ever owned besides my underwear that was bought brand new. I usually do my shopping at thrift stores or the goodwill box at the group home.” Kia admitted.
“What? I didn’t know women like you existed. Mom and Lily and most of the other women in the pack do weekly trips into town just so they can shop for clothes!” Ethan laughed. He knew that it was more because they didn’t strip to shift when they were in mixed company or their clothes got destroyed when they had to shift in a hurry.
Next they went to the mall and Angela insisted that Kia pick out several outfits for everyday wear as well as an outfit for graduation and an evening gown for the senior ball.
Kia also ended up with several new nightgowns, a new house coat, bras and underwear. She couldn’t even look when the cashier rang up the purchases at each store they went to especially when they bought the evening gown but the look on Ethan’s face when she came out of the dressing room to model it for them had told her that it was the one.
She had to admit that the deep blue satin gown she had selected showed her figure off to perfection. The tank top style was sleeveless and had sequins covering the deep cut sweetheart bodice to just under her breast and then the soft satin clung to her body all the way down to her hips where it flared so that it appeared to look like an upside down tulip. The hem stopped just above her knees in the front and just barely skimmed the ground in the back. Angela told her, “Oh Kia! You look absolutely stunning in that one. You have got to get it! You need some nylons and while fishnet stockings would look oh so sexy, I think clear ones would actually look more classy and appropriate for a senior ball. You have a wonderful skin tone.” Kia blushed and nodded then saw Ethan shift on his chair, trying to hide the fact that he had gotten hard when she had walked out looking like something out of a dream and her face turned about 5 more shades of red.
“Now on to shoes!” Angela said when Kia came back out dressed in her street clothes.
All of the women shopped for shoes and Kia came out with several bags. Angela had insisted she get not only new sneakers but sandals to go with a couple of the outfits she had insisted on as well as heels to match her gown and a pair of black pumps she could wear for her graduation. Kia figured they would come in very handy when she began job hunting.
Ethan finally called a halt to it all when his stomach told him it was getting close to dinner time. “Dad is going to be worried if we don’t show up soon and we’ve still got an hour worth of driving before we get home. Besides, I’m hungry!”
The women chattered all the way home and Ethan was so glad that Kia was finally acting like she felt at ease with them. He was hoping to be able to take her for a walk under the stars tonight and finally have a chance to talk to her in private.
An hour later, they pulled up in front of the house and Jared came out to help them unload. “Wow, is there anything left in the stores?” he laughed at the number of packages they kept passing out of the SUV.
“It was a good thing we took this vehicle or we would have had to tie someone to the hood to get all of this home.” Ethan teased the women.
“Well, at least Kia has some clothes to wear that actually fit that cute figure of hers. By the way, Kia, I want to burn those pants when you take them off.” Angela teased.
“Actually now I’ll be able to put all of my old clothes back in the goodwill bin at the group home. Thank you for buying all of this for me, Angela.” Kia said.
“You’re welcome dear. Today was fun! We’ll have to do it again some time.” Angela said.