“Maybe this will be the place,” I said with a bit of forced optimism as I walked into the latest bridal boutique with my parents, Alison, Aunt Hadley, and Theresa.
“You can’t rush it,” Aunt Hadley smiled. “When Shirley and I were shopping for my dress when I married Carter, it took us several stores before I found the dress.”
“She can rush it a little,” Alison teased as the consultant led us over to the stage.
My eyes widened as I took in the space. There was definitely no question about who the focus was on here. “Wow.”
“Impressive,” Mama agreed, sitting down next to Mom.
“More dresses!” Theresa bounced in her seat, grinning.
I laughed. “I guess I better listen to her. She is the flower girl, after all.” I let the consultant show me to a room. And then the barrage of dresses began.
As soon as I put the first dress on, I knew it wasn’t right. I felt like I was going to fall out of it, to be honest. Still, I walked out with a smile on my face to show everyone.
“The back is very nice,” Aunt Hadley said, meeting my eyes in the mirror.
“It’s a little…chesty,” Alison said wryly.
I snorted softly. “A little?”
The next dress…oh, wow. We might have a contender here.
When I walked out onto the runway, I actually did a little spin. “I do love this one.”
“You look absolutely stunning,” Mom said, smiling at me. “Is this the one?”
I turned to look in the mirror and smoothed my hands down the lace. I loved it…but I wasn’t sure if I loved it. “I need to keep trying.”
It became a whirlwind of trying on dresses. Some I liked quite a lot.
Some were even so close to being “the” dress.
Some, on the other hand, I decidedly did not.
“I can’t believe they put you in that,” Alison cackled.
I shot her a glare. “It’s not that bad.” It was. It really was.
In another dress, I came out and Aunt Hadley scrunched up her face. “Modesty is nice, but you’re not eighty.”
It felt like something was missing. I was beginning to think we’d have to resort to going to another store when Theresa said, “Get something sparkly.”
“I didn’t really want to be ostentatious…” I frowned into the mirror at the gown I had on.
Mama smiled. “Listen to her! Try on something different.”
The next gown I came out in had a beaded bodice. I looked over at Theresa and smiled. “Is this what you wanted?” I had to admit…I really liked the detail of the bodice. Maybe I did need something with some sparkle? I just wished the price tag was a little lower. I knew my parents were paying for it, but, after really learning to spend more wisely, it felt awfully extravagant.
“You’re so pretty!” She gushed.
I stroked my hands over the skirt. That part I didn’t really love. “This one isn’t it,” I said, much to everyone’s disappointment.
In the dressing room, I knew before the dress was even on my body. I walked out to my family and couldn’t even try to control my smile.
I didn’t even get to say anything when I walked out. As soon as she saw me, Theresa burst out, “You look like a princess!”
I beamed into the mirror. This dress was perfect. It didn’t show too much, yet it hugged my curves. It had a touch of sparkle that just made the dress pop. I could see myself saying my vows to Tommy in this dress.
I dabbed happy tears out of my eyes. “This is it. This is my dress.”
The shopping didn’t end with the dress, of course. We had to find accessories to match it, new lipstick and eye liner, wedding shoes – the whole shebang. It was several more hours before I finally walked into the house.
Tommy burst up from the chair as soon as I walked inside and swept me into his arms. “I have the best news!”
I laughed, wrapping my arms around him. “So do I.”
He grinned. “You go first.”
“I found my dress!”
“Really? That’s fantastic.” He smiled and kissed me. “Don’t tell me anything about it. But my news is even better.”
“It’s going to be awfully hard to top that,” I teased.
“I got my detective’s shield, Loralee.” He swung me around in his arms. “I’m officially a detective!”
My eyes widened. “Oh, my Watcher, Tommy! That’s amazing!” He’d taken the test for it a while back, but neither of us had truly thought he’d get his shield; nobody his age had been. I kissed him again. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Loralee.” He smiled against my lips, crushing me against him. “Now let’s celebrate.”