Chapter 82 - The Cinderella Effect

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Lucius was complaining that he had to go to various functions where he needed to dress a certain, more casual way and didn't feel at all comfortable about it (he meant in the new Muggle style he had to put on in her world and had been browbeaten into adopting in certain company within his own). He complained too, about the stylists that his son had "inflicted" upon him, feeling certain the clothes they left made him look like an idiot. (Secretly he was also worried his attire wasn't quite right when he came to see Valentina.)

"I can go with you shopping – if you want," said Valentina as she held out the nails for Lucius to hammer in.

Lucius hadn't considered the obvious answer of asking a Muggle.

"Would you do that?"

"Of course I would. I would love to go with you."

"Well, you aren't going to make me look outlandish are you, because I could call back the stylists if--"

"Don't be so cheeky! Would I make you look outlandish? Anyway that would be difficult; you're so beautiful. And you're beautiful the way you dress now. Why do you have to look trendy?"

"I know. I know," he said jokingly in an overdone, polished version of his own polished accent and flicked his hair back. "Fitting in with the common people Darling, uhhpp--'AngelCake'? he corrected himself, chuckling.

"You're so funny," she beamed at him.

"Hmmm. You may be the only one who thinks so."

Valentina was smiling, but it continued to be slightly disconcerting how much his mannerisms reminded her of Rex at times.

She said it again! She said he was "beautiful". And this time wasn't drunk on potion. It was true that she didn't seem to have very commendable tastes in the male gender, but it was still wonderful to hear.There was something in the assured way that she said it and the fact that she didn't have any ulterior motives (or any knowledge of the person behind Lucian Isholmborg) that almost made him feel like there could be some truth in it.

By the next day Lucius decided he didn't feel up to going on the shopping excursion and called Valentina to tell her not to bother. He gave the excuse that something was wrong with his car, to which Valentina replied that they could take her car. Being a bad liar, he stumbled around for another reason why he couldn't go, settling on the excuse that his wrist felt sprained from work on the house. Knowing what he was up to, Valentina said that she would drive – reminding him again that she would not make him look like a "feck".

When Lucius arrived at Valentina's he had a surprise waiting for him: She looked... DIFFERENT... WOMANLY. (SEXY!) She had on a small, black, lace top, with pale-flesh coloured lining that had a provocatively low, scooped neckline which was gathered under the breasts and tied with a narrow, velvet ribbon; tight, low, boot-cut perfectly fitted blue jeans (the only nice pair that she owned); and high heals that were also constructed out of a black lace material, showing the flesh underneath. Her hair was down and she had managed to tame its normal bird's nesty frizziness, so that it fell into smoother and slightly less rebellious waves down her back, nearly to her waist (not as pretty as the Elves had made it look when she was recovering in Lucius's bed, but nicer than usual). She had made an effort with her make-up too and her skin seemed rather more glowing and radiant than usual. To finish the look, she wore the only piece of jewellery she hadn't sold: a wide and very extravagant looking crystal diamanté cuff, which had been Mimi's and she thought balanced out the casualness of the jeans nicely.

Lucius wasn't expecting the womanly transformation and was completely thrown by it. Luckily he more than compensated for his poor lying ability with his immense skills of masking his feelings; however under the strange circumstance, he still found it difficult to know where to place his eyes. He decided to keep them focused just over her left ear, or at her knees for the time being. (Valentina noticed there was a change in his behaviour and guessing rightly that it was because he was pleasantly taken back, was exceedingly pleased with herself.)

"You better not make fun of my driving."

"As if I would do such a thing," he said in mock astonishment. He was just happy she didn't expect HIM to drive!

chapter music selection: "MAS QUE NADA" - SERGIO MENDES + BRAZIL 66

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