“Which tie should I wear tonight?” Eric’s deep voice asked.
He stood in front of his office doorway, his crisp white shirt fitted against his chiseled frame, tucked in charcoal-grey trousers, his black hair styled to perfection as usual. He held up one dark red tie in one hand and one navy blue patterned tie in the other. Weighing it up.
Lately Eric has been doing this a lot lately. If it wasn’t personal attire, he asked advice for, it was collecting his laundry or asking my opinion about what food to order.
I scrunched my nose thinking.
“The dark red one, it will go nicely with your white shirt.” I advised.
His black eyebrows creased as he looked at the red tie and then the navy one. “Nah, I think the I’ll take the navy one.” And held it up. “Thanks anyway.” He stepped back into his office.
“Why ask me then?” I mumbled as I returned to my computer’s keyboard.
Eric popped up again, standing against his door frame with his arms folded. That wicked smile returned. “Get the filing systems and the correspondence done by 3pm. We have an appointment to meet this afternoon.
My eyebrows raised slightly as I nodded my head.
Smooth jazz music cascaded throughout the Mercedes-Benz. The luxury vehicle drove smooth and effortless. The new car smell filled my nostrils as my fingertips rubbed the tanned leather seats.
Eric sat in the driver’s seat, his one hand on the steering wheel while the other relaxed against the window frame. His expensive cologne slowly filled up the car. I smiled softly looking ahead on the freeway, noticing he had worn the dark red tie.
“What you’re grinning about?” He asked, his deep voice doing something to be belly.
I shook my head. “Just wondering where we’re going?” I lied. “Are we visiting a client again?”
He looked like a naughty schoolboy, His teasing smirk turned into a grin. “In due time Harper, in due time.” He said. “Let’s just say we’ll turn frumpy to fabulous in one afternoon.”
I sighed, frowning at his riddles.
After ten minutes we parked in front of an upmarket shopping complex.
“What are we doing here?” I asked.
I was met with silence, just a gloating Eric.
“Follow me?” He finally instructed.
My brows creased from confusion, but obeyed. We got out the vehicle and Eric and I walked to the prestige complex. My eyes scanned at the array of stores side by side. Designer labels sketched the secluded street. Versace. Gucci. Chanel. Puma. Nike. You name it. Jeez, where the hell were we? I repositioned my spectacles by habit.
Eric glanced back at me and waved me towards him. I hurried quickly, still scanning the area. Women flashed their designer clothes parading in heels strode passed. I gave way to them as they bounced by. A few turned their heads in Eric’s direction, smiling a little to flirtatious. I rolled my eyes. But I couldn’t blame them, his tall and muscular built attracted red-blooded females to him.
He slowed down so I could catch up with his long strides.
“Rule no. 2,” he grinned. “Dress to impress.” He said, as he gave me side glance.
I scrunched my nose, and his smile grew wider. “What does that mean?” I asked.
“In order to hook, line and sinker, you need bait Harper.” He said smoothly. “You might have the personality to keep dates, but you need a little push to attract them.”
“You going to dress me?” I frowned. As I looked down at my shirt, jersey and skirt, with pumps.
He followed my eyes and trailed my body attire too. His brow raised. “I’m not going to dress you.” He said and we stopped in front of an entrance. “They are, and they going to do so much more.”
Eric pointed his hand to a high-end beauty salon, called Auburn Studio. Two stylish women dressed in black uniforms came out to greet him.
My frown deepened, confused as hell.
“Ladies... Here’s our candidate as discussed.” Eric took me by my shoulders and ushered me slowly inside.
“I trust you’ll do her justice?” He said in a business like voice.
The two women giggled. The blonde one with the bun smiled. “Of course, Mr. Bolton. We’ll take good care of her.” She said and took my hand.
“I-I-I...” I stuttered and turned back to Eric.
But he waved and gave a side-smile. “I’ll see you in two hours Harper, after I’m done with some business. I expect to be surprised.”
He casually walked out the salon’s door.
The two women walked beside me. “Let’s see what we got here.” The braided haired woman scanned me up and down. Turning me around a full 360 degrees and touched my hair.
I gulped hard. Sugar!
I knew I’d agreed to follow the rules, but wasn’t this a bit too much?
The blonde hairdresser sat me down on a chair. The salon was empty with just a few hairdressers cutting and blowing clients hairs. The two women standing behind had their full attention on me. I looked at their reflections in the mirror. Their focus on my loosened bun, while the blonde woman stroked my thick hair, feeling its length.
“You got a good set of hair. You want to keep the length and color?” She asked me as I looked at her through the mirror.
I nodded instantly, “Yes, please!” I couldn’t bare to cut my hair.
They spoke silently to each other in discussion, the braided-haired woman, touched me on my tensed shoulder, “We’ll have you looking like a million bucks.” She said smiling and gave a wink. She left us and bolted out the doors.
“Relax hun, I’ll give your hair a wash, cut and blow.” The blonde hairdresser assured. “I’m Tracy by the way. I’ll be doing your hair. Keshia will be doing your makeup and styling.” Tracy informed, nodding her head in the direction of the braided-haired woman.
I nodded again, breathing a sigh of relief. It didn’t sound that bad and was happy for it. It’s might as well I’ll enjoy the pampering for some time, since I hardly did it for myself.
After shampooing, cut and the blow out. My hair was styled in no time. Tracy didn’t allow me to see her creation in the mirror. At that moment, Keshia clambered into the salon with shopping bags in her hands and waved them at me.
“Compliments of Mr. Bolton.” She bragged.
She approached me and scanned my clothes with a frown. “That’s gotta go. A brown skirt and black pumps with a pink shirt. It makes you look kinda old. You need to get more chic clothing. You still young.”
She handed me a bag, filled with clothes I had to wear for today. The other bags were filled with few more items to take home with me.
My eyes popped. I’ve never received this kind of treatment before. But hey, I wasn’t complaining. What woman would? I felt like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’, minus the prostitution and sleeping with the guy part.
They ushered me into a small room and instructed me to slip on the new clothes bought. The room was cozy, with just a chair. I was disappointed there wasn’t any mirror, I would’ve liked to see the look of my hair.
I took out the summer dress and new pair of nude heels. I slipped on the dress that clung to my body comfortably. It was purple, my favorite color, with a hint of floral. It flowed out at my knees. I suddenly became excited. It was a really pretty dress.
I folded my old clothes neatly, it suddenly looked old and frumpy next to the new clothes. I frowned. I couldn’t have looked that outdated, could’ve I? I shook the disappointing thought away. I just had other matters to attend to than myself, that’s all, I reassured myself.
I walked out the tiny room and met Keshia walking up to me as I approached.
“C’mon girl, we don’t have time to waste. I got only 30 minutes to do your makeup before Mr. Bolton comes back.
She squeezed me into a highchair. Her eye shadow palettes, ranges of lipsticks and foundation neatly stacked beside her on a table.
“Can I take these off for a while.” She asked reaching for my spectacles.
I nodded, “Sure, its reading glasses anyway, I’m not even supposed to be wearing it the whole day.”
“Why do you then?”
I shrugged. “It’s just easier, so I don’t forget it?” I answered, knowing I did it out of habit.
She nodded. “You should try contacts then.” Keshia suggested. “Let’s get to work.”
After 30 minutes Keshia touched up my cheeks with a golden shimmer. She gave me some pointers too, on how to do a natural look and suggested tutorials I can view from YouTube. I listened intently all the way.
Tracy walked up to us from across the up-scaled salon, after she was done finishing up a client. The salon picked up business, with more clients dotted around the place.
Tracy gave a thumbs up and Keshia smiled. “All done.” She said. “Take a look and see if you like it.”
I got up, took a deep breath, and walked to the long length mirror.
At first, I shut my eyes, but gradually opened them. I looked in the mirror, a small gasp escaped my pink shaded lips.
My dark brown hair looked full as it dropped around my shoulders, reaching behind my back and against my face in soft waves. Keshia’s make up was light and natural, accentuating my features, with rosy and copper brown tones. I looked completely different without my glasses and could see perfectly at the reflection looking back.
That was me.
My fingers touched my pink glossed lips and then my blushing cheeks, the reflection in the mirror catching me off guard. I have never looked like this before. I looked... Pretty.
Tracy and Keshia smiled at my reaction. I returned their smiles warmly.
“Thanks guys.” Is all I could manage.
My eyes returned to the girl in the mirror. Completely stunned that it rendered me speechless.
Looking at my new reflection, my eyes caught someone else’s standing in the background. I turned to see Eric. My pulse quickened and my stomach fluttered as he stared at me, his face expressionless. His jade-green eyes roamed my body from head to toe.