Home > Shopping for Love(4)

Shopping for Love(4)
Author: Renee Carlino


She doesn’t move from her spot outside the store. “But people have already worn this stuff, right?”

“Just come on.” I pull her by the hand.

Inside the store, her eyes light up at a pair of knee-high, red vinyl boots on display.

“Do you like those?”

“No,” she says firmly.

Okay, then.

“Let’s look over here.” I move toward an accessory rack. “This leather purse is a steal. I think it’d be nice to add some brown leather to your black palette. And this belt is fantastic. Your fair skin and red hair would look amazing with a splash of color,” I say, pointing out its turquoise buckle. “We can edge it up with some distressed denim.”

She starts to see where I’m going with everything. I grab a few pieces and throw them into a shopping basket, and then take her to the front counter where there are sunglasses on display.

“Oh, I like those,” she says.

“Very Audrey Hepburn. Glamorous. You should get them.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely. See? You do have it in you.”

In less than an hour, her demeanor has already changed. “Where to now?” she asks with a smile.

“Let’s go to American Apparel.”

“Isn’t that place full of cheap stuff?”

“It’s made in Los Angeles. It’s a great company. You can get some basics for your closet, some cute bodysuits and denim jackets. And then we can wrap it up at Madewell in Buckhead.”

She looks away, embarrassed, and mumbles. “I don’t even know what that is.”

“Oh, it’s kind of like a J.Crew. Where do you normally shop?”

“Bloomingdale’s.”

Just what I thought. “Well, Caroline, we are going to broaden your horizons today.”

She laughs. “You’re funny, Hayden. And I love your style, the leather jacket with the floral scarf. I would never think to put that together.”

“It’s all about taking risks.”

We clear out American Apparel with Diana Crompton’s AMEX. Because when we called Diana earlier to ask how much was okay to spend, she told us, “Ladies…the possibilities are endless.” Amen to that.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

By five o’clock, we’ve built up quite an appetite, so we head to Vortex Bar and Grill. On the way, Caroline asks if we can pop into Criminal Records. When we walk in, it looks like she’s died and gone to heaven.

“Have you ever been in a place like this?”

“No. I get all my music online. My father forbids me from playing music at work so it’s my escape when I get home. Blake is really into music, too,” she says as she flips through a box of records. “Working for my dad actually puts a lot of stress on me.”

My clients usually vent like this during our shopping trips. I think they feel close to me because I’ve picked out their clothes. It’s that closeness that makes me enjoy my job the most.

“How is it stressful?”

“My dad is just really controlling. He talked me into getting a business degree and working for him. He said I’d get to choose my own hours but I’m practically running the company now. I’ve gotten fifteen e-mails since I left the house this morning, and it’s a Saturday.”

“Why don’t you get a job you’d like more and tell your dad that finance isn’t your thing?”

Caroline looks shocked. “I couldn’t do that.”

“Why not? I did. I dropped out of college my senior year because I felt like my soul was dying. I mean what would you want to do, if you had the choice?”

“Work in a place like this, maybe.”

“This place? A record store?”

Quietly, she says, “Yeah…sort of.”

“Then go ask for an application.”

She looks over at the tall, long-haired guy working the counter. “Nah. I could never afford my condo on this kind of salary. Plus, my dad would disown me.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Caroline, but your condo is kind of depressing. I have a loft one-eighth the size of your condo, and I’m really happy there. But that’s beside the point. Just go ask for an application. Even if you don’t apply, at least you had the courage to ask.”

She rolls her eyes, revealing the snootiness I thought I might have detected earlier. “I’m slightly overqualified for this job, don’t you think?”

“All right, rule number one if I’m going to be your stylist: You’ve got to drop the Entitled Miss Thing act. There is no such thing as being overqualified if it’s something you want to do.”

She doesn’t laugh or smile. She seems to think about what I said. “Yeah. I guess. I’m sorry. The way I was brought up makes me think that way.”

“So go. Ask for an application.”

“I can’t. Look at me. No one would ever hire me here. I am deeply uncool.”

“No, you’re not. Ask, seriously.”

She squints her eyes at me and scowls. “I don’t think Auntie Diana’s paying you to needle me into doing something I don’t want to do.”

I shrug as though I don’t have an answer for her. Because the truth is probably yes, this is exactly what Auntie is paying for. To make her do all the things she doesn’t want to do, to push her to grow and find herself.

She meets my eyes with a resolute expression and marches over to the front counter. She says, “Hey…are you hiring? I have an extensive knowledge of music and eight thousand records at my house. I’d love to find out if there are any job opportunities here for someone like me.”

Why did she have to say “someone like me”?

I walk up to her and whisper, “Just ask for an application.”

“May I please have an application?”

The clerk’s eyes flit up and down her body. I watch Caroline cower a bit. “Yeah, sure,” he says. “The manager is here Monday through Friday from open to close. That’s the best time to drop it off.” Then he smiles.

She grabs the paper from his hand and says, “Thank you very much.”

I follow her as she scurries toward the exit. “Geez, it looked like you were auditioning to be the leading lady in a Brad Pitt film, you looked so scared out of your wits!”

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