As the snow piles up and the temperatures drop, I thought I’d share a little excerpt from Dictatorship of the Dress. It’s a story of second chances, missed flights, and a woman ruled by her mother’s wedding dress. You can read more about it HERE!
Laney and Noah have just had the first class flight from hell, and would like nothing better than to go their separate ways. But Mother Nature has other plans…
Think warm thoughts. Think toes in the hot sand. I plunged myself into the revolving doorway to the outside world. A blast of frigid air bitch-slapped me within the vacuum and I lost my nerve, twirling back through the revolving doors a second time. On my third time around, I saw Noah standing inside and shaking his head. The garment bag and I pushed back into the airport.
“Are you done playing merry-go-round in the doorway? Because some of us would like to get on that shuttle.”
“I thought you left hours ago. What happened?” I asked.
“Sitting on the runway for three hours happened.” He did not look happy. “You?”
“Same shit, different plane. Although I never made it down the gangway.”
“Lucky us, we get to try it all over again tomorrow. In the meantime . . .” Noah turned, making toward the revolving door. “What are you waiting for? That shuttle is filling up.” He paused, looked me up and down, and rolled his eyes. “You couldn’t wait till you got to Hawaii to show off the pedicure? It’s still winter in most of the country, you know.”
“Long story. I’ve got other shoes in my checked luggage.” Which may or may not be on its way to Hawaii without me, I realized.
“Of course you do.” He glanced once more at the door and then back down to my stupid flip-flops. Was he considering carrying me across the threshold and onto the shuttle? The preposterous thought struck me, and a giggle burst out. I covered my mouth to feign a cough, but I couldn’t contain my grin. “Sit,” he commanded.
I sat. Noah kneeled down beside me and thrust his hard-shell case open. He tossed me a pair of socks in a neat roll and pulled out a pair of red Converse high-tops.
“Thanks.” Even with the thick white socks, his sneakers were Bozo-the-Clown big on me, but at least they protected me from the elements. Noah went to work tying them tight to my feet, like I was a kindergartner on the first day of school. I tilted my head and watched him make perfect double knots. He didn’t seem like a Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars kind of guy, in his matchy-match suit and Italian loafers. So put together, and so not my type. He had added a gray wool overcoat to his getup. Very Fifty Shades of Blah. There was a tiny crepe-paper poppy fastened to the buttonhole of the coat’s lapel, giving his monochrome ensemble a small pop of color the same hue as the red Chucks.
“So why are you traveling alone,” I asked, picking up on our lunch conversation, “to a bachelor party? In a suit?”
“Meeting my friends there.” He snapped the case shut. “Mostly college friends, from the Pacific Northwest. I had an early meeting. Hence, the suit. It’s been a really long day.” Hence, shut up, his look conveyed.
We boarded the bus and were met with glum looks; our fellow passengers were clearly ready to get the show on the road and didn’t take kindly to newcomers pushing on with more luggage. The driver moved to take my garment bag to hang, but I waved him away. “I’ll hold it on my lap, thanks.”
One seat remained in the very last row of five across. It was big enough to fit half my ass, so I perched, garment bag unable to be contained within my personal space. The mother sitting next to me shielded the eyes of the child on her lap, as if the hanger was going to reach over and poke his eye out. It’s only a dress, I felt like saying. But it was more than a dress. It was my mother, personified. Ready to jump down my throat for poor choices, unfortunate mistakes.
Noah stood in the aisle, his stance wide as the bus lurched and lumbered up the highway ramp. With his computer bag slung from his shoulder and one hand on the bar above his head, he looked like a typical New York straphanger on his subway commute home: grumpy yet unflappable. His expression was impassive, but his stare intense as he zeroed in on a spot overhead, slightly to my left. I wondered what he was thinking about; what warranted such a strong jut of that chiseled jaw.
The snow had a way of insulating everything. Everyone was silent as the bus crawled along the highway. No horns honking; there was no frantic pace outside the windows. All traffic had agreed to play nice and inch along. The trip may have been thirty miles, or it may have been three; it was hard to tell. But my legs were pins and needles by the time we finally arrived. I tripped down the bus steps in Noah’s clown shoes and into the warm, bright lobby of the Regency.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek – look for DICTATORSHIP OF THE DRESS, online and in stores 1/6/15!