“But Bill…” Rachel protested when he insisted she go and enjoy a girls day.
“No buts, Rae-baby,” he replied, cooing at their daughter in his arms. “You have been working hard all year, and you’re still a newish mom. How many new moms do you know who get to go and spend the day with friends?”
“Well…” Rachel could see he had a point.
She thought about all the work she needed to get done. She had taken a few days away from the office to celebrate the harvest. Yesterday Bill had taken Rachel and Hope to the fall festival downtown. Rachel had been texting her boss, and taking phone calls from other members of the city council while Bill was off picking pumpkins with his baby girl. He had finally convinced her to set the phone down, and wander through the haunted house with him.
Lolly watched the baby, and the couple went into the haunted house. Bill had taken the opportunity for some grab-action. Rachel thoroughly enjoyed his electric touch as he slammed her up against a wall in one of the dark hallways and proceeded to kiss her neck and nibble her ears. She made him chase her all through the house, trying to stay just out of reach of his groping fingers. She enjoyed the challenge. They were eventually kicked out by the teenager overseeing the attraction when Bill’s fingers accidentally snagged the left breast of one of the oldest Twinbrook residents – Anna-Liza Riddle. The mystery author was less than pleased as she shrieked.
Today Rachel intended to work on her homeless initiative from home, but Bill had spoiled all her plans. He first let her oversleep her alarm, something she never did, and then he brought her an omelet in bed. She tried to read the newspaper, but he tossed it away, and fed her toast with apple butter. They fooled around in bed for almost an hour. Hope cried from the other room, letting them know she was awake. Rachel went into the nursery to bottle feed her while Bill promised to look over her notes on the laptop. When she returned to the bedroom, she found him perusing the Twinbrook Tell-All site.
“Bill…” she had whined. “You were supposed to look at my notes.”
He yawned and stretched, his hairy chest peeping out a little more from his red and black robe. “But this news about the Castors is infinitely more interesting.”
“What news about the Castors?” she mimicked his yawn and crawled back on the bed, surprised at how tired she felt.
“The nauseatingly perfect couple,” Bill said in disgust. “She wins every baking contest and he keeps getting promoted at work and they always seem so happy in public.”
“Bill, we were happy in public yesterday,” she reminded him.
“We’re different,” he protested. “We are… well, you’re hot…” he licked his lips thinking about their morning’s sexual escapades.
“Down tiger,” she grinned, and tossed a pillow at her husband.
“Absolutely, ma’am,” he replied, jokingly saluting her.
“So what about them?” she flopped on her stomach and hugged the pillow she had just thrown.
“Well, there’s some sex tape leaked on the site… apparently, they like to get a little freaky…” Bill explained.
“Whaaaaat?” Rachel exclaimed, sitting up.
“Yeah… wanna see?” Bill said, a little too excitedly. “Apparently, Beverly is quite flexible.”
“You’re disgusting,” Rachel made a face, and tossed the pillow again, this time hitting him in the shoulder.
“Oh well… I can peruse your notes while you’re gone,” Bill shut the laptop.
“While I’m gone?” Rachel frowned. “Are you trying to get rid of me so you can whack off while you watch the Castors?”
“Ouch! That hurts,” Bill grunted. “Seriously, Rae-baby, you need to chill. I just found it funny somehow the video got uploaded to the site, but no, I plan to spend the day with our daughter. And you have plans with Gala.”
“I do?” Rachel’s eyes widened.
“Yeah, she arranged everything… said you two could use a makeover,” he smiled. “I talked with her on the phone last Wednesday.”
“You didn’t?” Rachel gave her husband a skeptical look. “What’s wrong with the way I look?”
“You said yourself last week about how you didn’t know the last time you went for a facial or to get your makeup done or to get a haircut.”
“You were listening?”
“Surprise! Surprise! Yeah, I figured Gala would know better than me.”
“You’re the best… you know that?”
“Sure,” he rolled his shoulders and she dropped back on her stomach so she could look up at his eyes before she kissed him.
That had been this morning. Now Rachel was feeling nervous about her supposed makeover.
“You’ll be fine. I’m sure you’ll come back beautiful,” Bill reassured her.
“Okay, I guess,” she slid into her car. “See you later.”
“Later…” he waved.
Rachel met her best friend at Drea’s Salon. Gala stood outside the brick building, pushing her fingers idly through her hair. She broke into a smile once she saw Rachel.
“Hey girl, are you surprised?”
“Am I surprised?” Rachel sighed. “Yes, I am. And nervous. Bill really arranged for all this?”
“He gave me carte blanche,” Gala confirmed, bobbing her head up and down enthusiastically. “He said spare nothing… so you’re getting the full workover. First, the hair and makeup, and then the clothes.”
“The clothes?” Rachel looked down and rubbed her wrist nervously.
“Yes, shopping spree!” Gala squealed.
“Okay…” Rachel nodded. “Let’s do this.”
An hour later, she and Gala stood in front of the mirror at Drea’s Salon and admired their new hairdos. Drea had done a beautiful job, better than Rachel expected. She absently touched her short red locks and smiled. She looked modern… and sexy. She hoped Bill would like it.
“He’ll love it,” Gala gushed. “What do you think of mine?”
“It’s gorgeous… very fitting…” Rachel nodded in approval.
“Alright, girl, you ready to hit the shops?” Gala grinned as she paid the hair dresser.
“Yes, lead the way,” Rachel linked arms with her friend.
They stopped at the consignment boutique first. Even if Bill had told Gala to spare no expense, Rachel still wanted to be thrifty if possible. She was pleasantly surprised with the selection.
She modeled a new business dress.
“That’s really nice,” Gala smiled. “But girl, we’re here for pretty stuff… you know… something fancy and flirty and fun.”
“Yes, but I need new work clothes,” Rachel turned from side to side, admiring the pale-blue full-skirted dress with a pretty gold pin. “And this is fun.”
“Oh,” Gala sighed. “You look very school-marm-y.”
Rachel smiled, padding the sides of the outfit she was wearing. She particularly liked the practicality of hidden pockets. “Okay, I’m getting this.”
“It’s your choice,” Gala shrugged.
Rachel bit her lower lip. She hoped Gala was having fun. Am I having fun? Did I return that email yesterday? I hope I did.
“I’m going to try on something with leather and fringe,” Gala remarked as she spied a piece on the rack.
“What about this outfit?” Rachel inquired.
“Better… you’re showing a little more skin…” Gala replied.
“These heels are awesome and look at the necklace… it’s stunning!” Rachel cooed.
“Yes, but you’re not shopping for work,” Gala reminded.
Okay, okay… I’ll go try on something sexy…” Rachel sighed.
“And slinky…” Gala grinned.
Gala’s piece was fitting – her signature red. Rachel tried on a few dresses before she found one that she was absolutely in love with, the dress to blow everyone away. She imagined herself making an entrance on the grand staircase of the Racket mansion. Oh! How she could picture Bill practically drooling when he saw her.
Gala made her try on some sexy lingerie too. Rachel gave a small smile. Bill would like this piece, she decided.
When Gala wasn’t looking, Rachel picked out some practical, yet pretty sleepwear too.
Rachel even managed to find a new winter blouse, dress slacks, and new black ankle boots.
By the time she and Gala finished their shopping, she was thoroughly fatigued and starving. Gala suggested dinner at the bistro, and Rachel hastily agreed. The ladies found themselves seated outside on the patio within record time. Rachel was grateful. Her feet hurt from trying on so many different pairs of shoes. She rubbed her ankles while Gala perused the menus and ordered them both glasses of wine. The gals munched on the bread basket while they waited for their meals and gabbed about life and work.
“I’m thinking about throwing a masquerade for Spooky Day,” Gala shared.
“That sounds like a fantastic idea,” Rachel replied. “And a great way for me to mingle with the townspeople before the election.”
“All you can think about is work,” Gala pouted. “Seriously, Rae, I just want to have a party, not a political mixer.”
“You’re right. Sorry,” Rachel apologized. “Always thinking like a politician.”
“Yeah, well, it’s understandable, you don’t want to lose your job,” Gala remarked. “Of course, my company will cater.”
Rachel nodded. Gala’s parents had died when she was barely nineteen. She had come home from university to mourn and bury them. After three months, instead of returning to school, Gala took her inheritance and opened her own catering company. Now she was taking classes at the local business college.
In a way, Rachel envied her friend. Gala had found her way at a young age and figured out what she wanted in life. Rachel was nearly thirty years old and still bopping around from one political job to the next. Was she making a difference, really?
Gala changed the world every day with her culinary delights, filling bellies and warming hearts. Rachel, on the other hand, worked all hours of the day and night and she still felt defeated. Bill was right. She needed this vacation from work desperately.
“All the best autumn treats and my famous pumpkin cheesecake,” Gala was saying.
“Ooo…” Rachel’s mouth watered and she rubbed her stomach. “I am gaining pounds just thinking about it.”
“Stop it!” Gala teased. “Oh and I was thinking about entertainment… what do you think about DeAndre Wolfe?”
“The washed-up rock star?” Rachel frowned as the chef set their meals in front of them. She picked up her silverware and began to eat. “What makes you think he’ll let you hire him?”
“I know he hasn’t done any shows in a decade but he’s active on the social media sites, and I think the guy is lonely,” Gala remarked.
“Lonely?” Rachel smirked. “Sure… since he left his partying days behind, the girls aren’t quite fawning over him like in his youth.”
“Rachel, that’s uncalled for,” Gala said, unusually defensive. “He’s a nice guy. I’ve bumped into him a time or two in the market, and once at the Patriotic Day fireworks show. He didn’t have a lawn chair and I loaned him one. And I brought him a pot of my chicken soup in Simtember when he had sinus cold.”
“How’d you know he was sick?”
“He was wandering around the Grocery Grab sniffling and coughing and sneezing. Poor guy sounded so awful. He was trying to get a prescription and his maid was off for the week.”
“Well, that was nice of you.”
“Yeah, well, I think he’d appreciate the invitation… even if he doesn’t perform.”
“It’s your party.”
Gala took that as approval and immediately clapped her hands in delight. “Then I’ll ask him.”
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