Charisse dropped back into her chair. She had to go back out and face everybody, but she thought she might faint if she tried. After several minutes, Mei came into the room and said, “There’s some deliveries for you up front. Want to come and see them?”
Not really, but sorting a delivery would at least give her something to do while Tanya’s dye set. Charisse stepped out, saw Tanya under the dryer and went over to apologize.
Tanya lifted the dryer and said, “Oh don’t be silly. Family happens.”
Mei wouldn’t let her talk long and tugged her towards the reception desk. As they walked, she noticed a bouquet of white roses at all the stations except hers. Oh, God. She must’ve done something to anger him again.
But when she saw the desk, she recognized the vase from Conor’s apartment with fresh gladiolas arranged in it. Her first instinct was that he was trying to apologize, but then she smirked and crossed her arms under her breasts. It was more likely that he sent it in appreciation for the good blowjob.
“Is there a note?” she asked.
Mei gaped at her, obviously disappointed she wasn’t ooohing and ahhhing. “No, but that vase has to be worth as much as a couple months’ rent,” she said.
“I’m sure it’s not mine to keep. It’s just to decorate the salon. Put it on the coffee table.”
“There’s a dress bag and a jewelry box too,” said Mei with a grin, lifting up a small rectangular Tiffany blue box. An envelope on it read, “Charisse.”
Charisse opened the envelope. “All the whispers will be envious. I expect you to be ready and waiting in the living room at 6. –Conor.”
She really was going to the banquet with him.
“Come on Charisse, don’t leave us hanging!” said Mei. “Open them!”
Charisse realized for the first time that the customers were turned to face her and all her lady luvs had curious and hopeful looks on their faces. She couldn’t muster a smile, but she prevented herself from sighing.
She reached for the white and gold dress bag, and surprise for the first time colored her words as she read the name. “Oh wow, it’s…”
“Versace!” Mei squealed. She held the bag up by the hanger so Charisse could unzip it.
Charisse reached in and felt soft material. She pulled out a brushed silk emerald dress with a plunging neckline and even higher slit up the leg. Everyone in the salon exclaimed approval.
“You’re gonna look gorgeous in that,” said Letti. “Open the box.”
Charisse had always wanted to wear a one of a kind dress by Versace, but the gift was hollow. He was enjoying dressing her up like a Barbie and not giving it as a romantic gesture. That ship had sailed. She dropped the dress, pulled the white ribbon from the blue box and opened it. A necklace with tear dropped emeralds and diamonds in between glittered back at her.
Murmurs spread through the salon. Women with half-dried hair and others with towels wrapped around their heads had all gathered to watch. Charisse knew she was expected to say something.
“I’m sorry everyone, I have to go. I need to be ready for the banquet by six. Mei, can you rearrange my appointments? I’ll finish Tanya…”
“I can finish Tanya,” said Letti.
“Of course,” said Tanya. “I wish my husband had such good taste.”
She sighed. Might as well say everything else. “Conor wants me to attend some business seminars next week. Letti, you’ll be in charge. I’m sorry I’ve been such a flake recently. I promise I’ll make it up to you in a few weeks.”
Her lady luvs told her not to worry about it. She received excited hugs like she was sure to return to them engaged to a billionaire.
Letti grabbed Charisse’s purse while Mei shoved the gifts into Charisse’s arms. Letti pushed her towards the door and said, “Conor’s driver is waiting for you. You have a great time tonight. Live a little. Enjoy the dress.”
Charisse managed a smile for Letti but didn’t have one for Raul when he nodded and opened the car door.