Isn't She Lovely Page 25

“Aren’t you hot?” I ask, glaring at her baggy black pants as I hold the door open for her.

She ignores me as she steps into Bergdorf’s. “I’m surprised they don’t charge an admission fee,” she says, staring around at the admittedly opulent decor.

Something in my chest tightens briefly, and even though I wasn’t totally paying attention to those stupid movies, the similarities aren’t lost on me. Her overwhelmed expression isn’t unlike Eliza Doolittle’s or that of the Pretty Woman hooker. She’s out of her league and she knows it. And doesn’t like it.

“Think of it as screenplay fodder,” I say, putting a hand on her back and guiding her toward the escalators. “Angry goth girl discovers Fifth Avenue.”

“I’ve been on Fifth Avenue before, fool,” she snaps.

She’s so lovely.

We arrive in the beauty department, or whatever, and for a second I’m paralyzed. There are so many f**king options.

“Scary, isn’t it?” Stephanie whispers, looking enormously pleased that she’s not the only one out of her comfort zone.

I drag her toward one of the counters where a logo looks vaguely familiar, and I smile at the icy blond salesperson.

“My sister needs a new look,” I say, showing her all of my teeth.

“So it’s sister now, is it?” Stephanie mutters.

“Just until you look presentable,” I say under my breath.

Her head jerks just a little, like maybe I’ve hurt her, but she rolls her shoulders and smiles tentatively at the salesperson.

Good girl. Do your part.

Not that she’s doing it for noble reasons. She knows full well that she doesn’t get keys or even directions to my place until this day is over and she looks, well … Price worthy.

The thought is so fundamentally dickhead that I hate myself for a second before reminding myself that it’s all part of the game. A game she’s agreed to.

“Are we thinking just a new pop of color on the lips, or maybe a little bronzer, or …?” The salesperson is looking between the two of us.

I’ve gone Christmas shopping with my parents enough to know what comes next, and I pull my wallet out of my pocket and slide out a credit card.

“Everything,” I say firmly. “Whole new look. Something girlish and sweet. Less … dark.”

“Is that what you want, hon?” the woman asks Stephanie.

“Oh, yes. Girlish and sweet is just what I’ve always wanted.”

But the salesperson is too enamored with the sight of my credit card and the promise of a full makeover to catch Stephanie’s sarcasm, and she’s already rummaging around in all of these tiny little drawers pulling out dozens of minuscule containers.

“So, um, Kendrick …,” I say tentatively.

“Go,” she says on a sigh. “But not so long this time.”

I’m already sliding away, wondering if it’s too early in the day to grab a beer somewhere to get me through the rest of the day.

“By the way, you’re a horrible Pygmalion!” she calls after me.

What does she expect, that I’m going to weigh in on eye shadow colors? And besides, the guy in Pretty Woman just handed over a fat roll of cash for the transformation and told the girl to go shopping. My way is simply the updated version.

I do one better than finding a beer. I find a sports bar that is actually open before noon, and get lost in some European soccer match that I don’t care much about, but which beats watching a makeup application.

My phone buzzes, and I pull it out of my pocket without taking my eyes off the television. I glance down at the text and wince.

Stephanie has been done for five minutes and wants to know, quote, “where the f**k your f**king ass is.” Obviously I’m not the only one who needs a beer. I text her the location of the bar and ask the bartender for a food menu. Women always shop better when they’re fed, and we haven’t even gotten to the hard part yet: clothes.

Stephanie agreed to the hair and makeup adventure but drew the line at allowing me to buy her clothes—a line I’m about to erase.

A few minutes later I recognize a familiar smell of oranges, and am dismayed to realize that apparently I’ve come to recognize Stephanie’s scent. I know it’s her even before I turn my head.

And then I do turn my head, and feel like someone has socked me in the stomach.

The edgy, goth crone is long gone. But Stephanie isn’t pretty.

She’s beautiful.

Which is a good thing for my plan—this girl will absolutely get my mom’s stamp of approval. At least after we get rid of the earrings and the clothes.

But the transformation isn’t so good for me. Because there’s absolutely no room in this plan for lust.

And my dick definitely is into the new Stephanie.

“So?” she asks, sliding onto the barstool next to me and reaching for my beer. “Do I pass?”

I turn back to the TV, ignoring the fact that my pulse is a little jumpier than it was a minute ago. “You’ll do.”

She snickers. “Please. I totally look the part. Did you know this boring beige eye shadow is actually called Gentle?”

“Any chance of that seeping into your personality?” I ask, gesturing for another beer since she’s commandeered mine. We seem to have quickly adopted a habit of helping ourselves to each other’s drinks. It’s oddly comfortable, yet weird because it’s comfortable. I’ve only known the girl for, what, a couple of weeks?

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies