“All right we’ll try something black, but I’m not taking that red dress back. It was made for you. One day you will realize that.”
I nodded numbly.
Anna and her assistant stayed for nearly two hours. At the end of it I had more clothes than I had at home. I kept saying I didn’t need that many, but Anna just kept reminding me that she had been hired to dress me for a month and she had to earn her keep. They had also brought velvet covered boxes of jewelry. I stared at my reflection in a daze as they fussed about with my appearance.
Finally, they left. For a while I stared bemused at the shoes, the jewelry, and two racks of designer clothes that was now all mine. I was the girl who shopped at Target. Once this month was up I wouldn’t even know where to wear these fine clothes.
Then I snapped out of my stupor and quickly changed into a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a thick sweater. I pulled on knee-length, flat-heeled, black boots, and shrugged into a gorgeously soft cream coat.
It was nearly time to visit my dad.Chapter 14SkyeA dark green BMW waited for me at the bottom of the entrance steps. The engine was running and a man with black hair and a very hard face was sitting in the driver’s seat. When he saw me appear at the top of the steps he jumped out of the car and held the passenger door open for me. He made no greeting and his face was unsmiling. But I was used to it by now. Except for Mary Jane it seemed to be the popular expression across the staff I’d met so far. She was a much needed dose of fresh air in that house.
After I got into the car, he closed the door, and got in himself. To my surprise I noticed that my father’s address was already keyed into the GPS system inside the car, which meant Luca must have given it. I didn’t want to think about how Luca knew it. Without a word to me the sullen driver put the car in motion, and we were on the way to my father’s home in Beacon Hill.
I turned my head towards the window and thought about my father. Two years ago he beat colon cancer and was declared to be cancer free. Five months ago I was devastated when I found out it had come back, and the doctors needed to remove the metastasized cancer in his left lung.
I had exhausted all my savings with treatments and surgery with his first bout of the disease. Everything was gone. The bank turned me down on the spot. I even contacted a loan shark who laughed at my naivety when I told him I was a waitress and would pay with my wages. And then my boss told me about Salvatore. He gave me the money for the initial treatment, but he had already made it clear there would be no more for further testing and treatments.
Then Luca walked into my life…
My gaze lowered to my fidgety hands and upon pulling them apart, I regretted not stopping by my apartment and dressing in my own clothes. My father probably would not notice my lavish clothes, but my stepmother might.
I couldn’t bring myself to completely lie to either of them so I prayed the issue would not come up. With a sigh I leaned my head against the cold window. What did it honestly take for one to get out of poverty so that their life didn’t keep getting chipped away day after day? No doubt that was a question millions of people across the world asked each day, and they too had never found the answer.
Trees and empty landscapes became suburbs, and they melted into the city scenery. The car turned into the poorer areas, and finally we arrived at our destination.
“Could you park and wait here for me, please,” I said, when we were about two houses away from my father’s bungalow.
The driver frowned, but he did as I asked.
I debated leaving the coat in the car, but that would be even more suspicious. Snow crunched under my new black boots as I approached the red scuffed door I had grown up seeing. I walked up the old wooden steps and rang the bell.
A few minutes later, Laura, my stepmother answered the call. I always liked Laura. Sometimes I pitied her, because she was such a good woman, and she didn’t deserve being married to a man who was still in love with his dead wife. But she had hung in there, steadfast, loyal, and never once wavering in her love or devotion to my dad. She was wearing her apron and had a carrot in hand and was still finishing a sentence to someone, most probably my dad as she had opened the door.