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Signed, Sealed, Delivered (SYTYCW winner)

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CHAPTER FIVE

Surely the green dress Erica - or was it Sarah - had just thrown over the fitting room wall was the only remaining untried outfit in the metropolis.

But apparently not. Because two other dresses, a skirt, and a satin top followed in quick succession.

Lane sighed. She was sooooo over this girly shopping trip, which had lasted three hours so far, with a black cocktail dress she didn't need the only thing to show for it. (As if she'd be going to a cocktail party with Adam Quinn!)

"I can't take much more of this," Lane called out to the girls, who answered her by lobbing a red leather jacket into the room.

Dispiritedly, Lane slipped the green sheath dress over her head and wiggled it into place. She looked at herself in the mirror and a groan escaped her. Awful.

It shouldn't be this difficult. She was tall and thin like a model - so why did every outfit look silly on her? She cast a last disgusted look at herself in the mirror. She looked like a green bean with breasts.

She put the red leather jacket over the top - a green bean with breasts at Christmas - and came out of the fitting room.

Erica's hastily bitten lip did not suggest anything good. "Maybe take off the jacket," Erica suggested.

Lane took off the jacket.

"The colour's nice," Sarah said.

Lane raised her eyebrows.

"Well, it is," Sarah insisted.

"We're making a mistake with the too-tight sheaths," Erica said thoughtfully. "You've got the boobs for them but the leanness everywhere else isn't screaming sex at me. Try the pale pink. It's kind of floaty and romantic - and if you cinch it with this-" she handed over a thick, dark gold belt, "-we might be onto something."

"Pink?" Lane asked doubtfully. "With carrot hair?"

Erica shook a finger at her. "I keep telling you, it's not carrot - it's scarlet. And you will be very surprised at how lovely pale pink will look with it. Now - in!"

Lane narrowed her eyes at her. "Just as long as you realize that this isn't about looking good for Adam, right?"

Erica gave her a push. "In, Lane.'

"All right, but if I buy it, can I go home?" Lane asked hopefully.

"Noooo. But if you buy it, we can go and drink margaritas. Deal?"

"Okay, I can live with that. I'm going in."

Oddly enough, when Lane, dressed and cinched, looked in the mirror, she wasn't too revolted. She came cautiously out, did a slow turn.

Sarah and Erica smiled at each other, like proud parents.

Erica came up behind her, ripped out her hair elastic and turned her to the larger mirror. She smoothed the straight fall of Lane's hair. "Darling, if you wear this with my chocolate suede high-heeled sandals, I'm going to want to shag you," she said. "If only I could be there tonight to see the look on his face at the transformation. Ah well, it's not to be. Go. Change. Pay. Margaritas."

*****

Erica ordered a second round, then fixed Lane with a gimlet eye. "If you say one more time that you're not dressing yourself to please Adam, I am going to cut up every white shirt in your wardrobe."

"Well I'm not dressing myself to please Adam," Lane said.

"Hide the scissors tonight, Lane!" Erica sing-songed.

"You should be dressing to please him," Sarah put in.

"It's a contract, Sarah. I don't have to look good."

"I didn't mean Adam per se," Sarah said. "I meant, Adam as in 'man to experiment on'."

Erica licked a patch of salt off the rim of her glass. "Sarah's right. Because you do want to look irresistible for the legendary David Bennett, don't you Laney?"

Lane frowned. "Yes, but-"

"So practise dressing up and seeing the effect. On Sarah's brother. Practise, practise, practise. That's what he's for, isn't he?"

"Hell yeah!" Sarah agreed.

"And since you don't care what Adam thinks of you, it's no big deal." Another gimlet eyed look over the cocktail glass. "You don't care what he thinks, do you Lane?"

Lane took a big gulp of margarita. "No, of course I don't care." She slanted a look at Adam's sister. "Sorry Sarah."

"God, Lane, I hope not!" Sarah said. "You must never, ever, fall for him. He's a total, unrelenting tart and not for you. Couldn't stay faithful to Mila Kunis!"

"Oh I know that - I mean, not that he wouldn't be faithful to Mila, just that he'd never be interested in me," Lane said, and took another quick gulp.

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