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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
“Get in here!” I demanded.
Within seconds, I heard her footsteps hurrying along the creaky old floorboards. When she burst through the door, she stared quizzically at me. “What the hell is the matter?”
I couldn’t find the words, so I pointed to the dress. Cassie crossed her arms over her chest. “Don’t tell me you don’t like it?”
Reaching my hand out, I lightly touched the silky material. “No, it’s not that. The dress is gorgeous.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
I didn’t know quite how to articulate that the little black dress was in fact an extremely tiny black dress. I took it in my hands and held it up to my body. “Don’t you think it’s a kinda…” I wrinkled my nose. “Slutty?”
Cassie threw her head back and laughed. “Well, duh, of course it is. After all, it came from Paris.”
As I eyed the bottom of the dress, I couldn’t help thinking the slits and tears in the fabric made it look like it had been caught in a paper shredder. I loved fashion, but at the moment, I was not digging the designer’s approach.
“You’re going to be a f**king knock-out in that dress. I predict that several guys will come in their pants at the mere sight of you.”
“Eww,” I muttered with a laugh.
With a knowing look, she said, “Would it be gross if it were Rhys blowing his load just looking at you?”
“Must you be so vulgar?” I said, mimicking the haughty tone I’d heard her mother use at Cassie’s antics.
Cassie grinned. “Why yes, darling, I must. And don’t try to change the subject from Rhys.”
Feeling warmth flooding my cheeks, I laid the dress back down on the bed. “I need to hop in the shower.”
“There you go avoiding it again. I know how you feel about him, Allison.”
“But he doesn’t know.”
“But he should. You need to tell him. Hell, if you can’t say the words, then you should show him with your actions.” When I opened my mouth to protest, Cassie shook her head. “I know what I saw the other night. The man may be in denial, but he is totally and completely into you.”
More than anything in the world, I wanted to believe what Cassie was saying was the truth. While I’d never had the chance to be alone much with Rhys, I couldn’t help but see how differently he had treated me yesterday, not to mention that he called me sexy and beautiful. Surely someone who just considered you their little sister wouldn’t say that. But at the same time, there was still far too much unsaid between us to believe that we had really turned a corner.
I shook my head at Cassie. “You don’t understand. What happens between us…it has to be all or nothing. If things were to go wrong, it would affect so many others besides us.”
“But you won’t ever know if it’s going to work or not if you don’t try.”
“Look, I know you’re right, but I just have to take things slow, okay?”
Cassie scowled. “Just how much slower do you plan on going? You’re already moving at glacial speed now.”
With a sigh, I held up my hand. “Can we finish this discussion later when I’m not running horribly late?”
“Fine, fine. Go shower the tomato and beer smell off you.”
I threw my arms around Cassie and squeezed tight. “Thanks for the dress, but most of all, thanks for caring about what happens between me and Rhys.”
She squeezed me back. “I just want you to be happy, Sonny.”
After I pulled away, she smiled. “Now hurry up. You don’t want to make Prince Charming wait too long.”
“Exactly,” I replied, before hustling into the bathroom.
Once I was undressed, I hopped into the steamy shower. I managed to wash my hair, shave my legs, and bathe all in record time. After I dried my hair, I wrapped a towel around me to run out to get my dress off the bed. As I came out of the bathroom, I skidded to a stop. Cassie was no longer alone on the bed with my dress. Instead, she was making out with some woman I’d never seen before. “What the hell?” I couldn’t help saying.
Cassie pulled away and shot me a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Sonny. We got a little bored waiting on you to get out of the shower.”
Tightening my towel around me, I mumbled, “Please don’t let me interrupt you,” before starting to back up into the bathroom.
“Whoa, whoa, don’t go anywhere.” She motioned to the blonde waifish girl next to her. “This is Shelly. She’s going to do your hair and makeup.”
I glanced between Cassie and Shelley. “She is?”
Shelly smiled. “I own a salon just up the street.”
Cassie nodded. “She was coming over tonight anyway, so I thought she could help you out. You know, make you absolutely drop-dead gorgeous for Rhys.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” I asked Shelly.
“Of course not.” With a wink, she added, “I’m happy to do anything in the name of love.”
I laughed. “Okay, if you insist, I would love for you to make me beautiful.”
“You’ve already got that in spades, love. I’m just going to enhance what you have.”
Glancing down at my lacking cle**age, I asked, “Can you enhance this, too?”
Shelly grinned. “I’m not a miracle worker. I’m pretty sure that dress is going to help cinch you up and push you out. Go on and put it on, and then I’ll do your hair and makeup.”