Chapter 8 - It's the Columns

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Richard fluttered his eyes open as his phone vibrated inside the front pocket of his jeans. He realized that he had fallen asleep, for a mere five minutes, while Mia tried on dresses in the fitting room in front of him.

The boutique was of utmost exclusivity — a bit too posh for Mia's taste. It hadn't occurred to her before that she'd need something formal to wear on her trip; she had only packed corporate attire, some jeans, and a few blouses for the week, but having dinner at an elaborate restaurant hadn't been on her agenda.

Well, seeing Richard hadn't been a bullet on the list as well, but she couldn't refuse after he had made some calls.

It was going to be a date, with friends.

Richard checked his notifications and opened a message from his sister. She had asked him something odd. He replied promptly, completely perplexed. He had no idea what she meant.

Today 2:34 PM


Dunno what you mean... ?
Read 2:35 PM

Richard was hesitant to lock his phone, waiting for Lauren to reply. But she left him in the dust to see if he'd figure it out on his own, making him a bit anxious. He stared at the screen worriedly before letting it go after two minutes of nothingness.

"What's wrong?"

Mia stood in front of him, leaning against the door of the small fitting room. A champagne-colored silk dress hugged her body effortlessly; it ended just below her knee, with a short slit that ran up her left leg, stopping midway at her thigh. The paper thin straps snaked over her shoulders as the neckline draped down towards the bust, creating an illusion that the fabric was simply hanging onto her with ease.

But Mia knew that her waist wasn't as thin as she wanted it to be, and definitely not as small as it was when she was in her twenties; so she felt misplaced. She felt that the dress wasn't for her, and she was ready to ask for the next size, or something different with sleeves and without a slit.

She tilted her head, letting it rest on the pink, wooden door. "Hmm? Anything the matter?" She had noticed him staring at his phone in discomfort, for more than just a few seconds. He appeared bothered.

Richard wasn't, not anymore. He forgot about the text when Mia stood in front of him, and it took a while for him to speak. "Wow," he breathed as his phone slipped out of his hand, landing on the leathered cushion next to him. "You look great."

She shrugged, turning around to face herself in the mirror. "I dunno. I think I liked the black one from the shop across the street more." The black tiled floor was cold beneath her bare feet, prompting her to stand on the tips of her toes, which helped her imagine the shoes she'd packed.

She faced him again. "Are you okay, though? Is there a problem?"

Richard shook his head immediately. "No, no. None at all." I think, he wanted to add. "You should uh, you should get that."

"I don't think I pull it off that well. Maybe I should—"

He rolled his eyes. "Mia! You've always been so indecisive. Just. Get. It."

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