“Naturally I ran in there to stop you. I pushed the door open and went past the sales lady and the people she was dealing with. I went straight up to you and tried to get you to put your clothes back on. But you wouldn’t listen to me, you kept stripping everything off. Finally, I managed to get you to go back to one of the changing booths and finish inside there. I pushed you in the booth just as you were taking off your bra and the sales lady was turning to look at us. I apologized and told them you were a friend of mine and wanted to try on some clothes. Another clerk came up from the basement, saw me and stopped to help.”
Hell, yes he’d stop to help you, I thought. The second clerk smelled money when he took one look at you and thought I was your conquest for the evening. I’m surprised he didn’t sell you the entire store. Those village sales clerks have money radar if they’re any good at all and the reason I never got the job at the place is because I wasn’t any good at selling. I ‘d met the owner, a woman in her thirties who seemed to be multi-tasking nonstop when I visited her, and all she cared about was how much money I’d made at the last retail job I where I had been. She could hire pretty little college girls all day long.
“I told the clerk that he was going to have to help you try on some clothes as I didn’t feel comfortable being in there with you unless I had someone who knew how to fit you. He told me he would be glad to help and asked when you were going to come out of the booth. I told him you would be coming out in just a minute you were having some trouble getting changed into another outfit. Of course, this made me look like an absolute fool when you strolled out of the booth stark naked.”
“I did what?” was all I could say.
“As the day you were born,” he continued. “Nice choice tattoo, by-the-way.”
I dropped my head and turned red. The humming-bird and seemed like a fun idea two years ago on spring break. Now it seemed like the pinnacle of stupidity. Not even my mother knew about that tattoo on my backside.
“So then what happened?” I asked him.
“Needless to say, the clerk was speechless. Other than the other couple, there were no patrons in the store. I heard a slap and looked back, the man down on the dog leash had leaned over to get a better look and the woman he was with didn’t like him doing it. She was paying for her order and pulled him up to her level. The last I saw of them was her pushing him out the door telling him he would have to stay locked up for another month. I still don’t know what she was talking about and I don’t want to know.”
“I took one look at you and asked the clerk if he could find you some panties to put on, I didn’t care what the cost, these are the ones you are now wearing.”
Well that explained them. I knew I couldn’t have possibly afforded them on my budget.
“While you were struggling to get them on, the other clerk came over to help you. You kept saying you wanted something on your legs, so they found you the fishnets. Edward had shown up by then and was trying his hardest to watch door and keep a running track record of what you were buying. He’s got a good memory, which is one of the reasons I employ him. Then you said your legs were cold and liked the way the boots looked. So I had them find you a pair that fit.”
“It took both clerks to find a corset to fit you. For some reason you were obsessed with getting into one and I was worried you would get sick being laced into the thing. But they found one that would fit on you and laced you into it. It took them a half hour, but you were starting to get coherent by that time.”
“We had another problem because you were starting to attract a crowd in the storefront window. We had you laced up and fit into the corset and you kept going to the window to check your reflection in it. This caused twenty or thirty men to stop and stare back until Edward walked up to the window and stared at them. They got the message and moved away.”
“While you were looking at everything else in the store, I hastened to the counter and paid the bill with my credit card. I tipped them nicely just for all the help they had been. Just as I was leaving the man slid up to me and warned me about taking the corset off you too quick, he said the sudden blood rush into your lower body might not be a good idea if you were going to be active later. I told him thank you but I did not plan on getting active with you I needed to get you to a doctor.”
“Edward gathered up the clothes you had worn in and brought them out to the car. I managed to get your coat around you and walked you alongside him. We were starting to get a little bit worried by that time and I phoned Dr. Miriam. She was just getting stepping out of a call on another patient, but once I described your condition she told us to get you to her immediately. I told Edward the doctor would see you right away and he floored the car.”
“Dr. Miriam met us at the hospital as we pulled up into the emergency room parking lot. She took one look at you and rushed you into the examination room. I stayed outside in the lobby with Edward while we waited to hear back from her. The hospital had all kinds of forms to fill out and of course we had no clue who you were. Then Edward remembered the clothes you wore out that evening were in one of the shopping bags. We went through it and finally found your wallet. From there we were able to figure out who you were from you driver’s license.”
“By that time, Dr. Miriam had come out into the lobby and told us she had identified the drug used on you at the club. It was some new designer molecule designed to put the user into a hypnotic state. This accounted for your actions. She brought you back out, but you still had on the clothes you wanted me to buy for you at the boutique. By now you were crying your eyes out for some reason, but the doctor told us it might have to do with the drug you had been given. She told me the best thing to do would be to take you someplace where you could sleep it off and let your body metabolize it. She told us to keep her number ready in case you had another bad reaction and released you into our custody. So I took you here where I had a spare room to keep you safe until morning.”
So the whole reason I was here was because I took a sip of something laced with a date drug and I happened to be near a two knights in shining armor. I tried to fold my legs up under me again and hide the fishnet stockings. I needed to get back into my clothes from last night.
“Uhm,” I tried to say, “where are the clothes I had on last night when you first saw me?”
“At the laundry,” he said. “I had some suits which needed to go in today and they took them too. We’ll have you back into them in by this afternoon.”
Which meant I was stuck looking like a showgirl until then unless I took everything off under the robe and that wasn’t going to happen. So there I was looking like something out of the Sands Casino and stuck in a skyscraper that resembled a set from The Wild Wild West. All I need was Artie Gordon to come waltzing out at any minute. With my luck I’d be the lady who always tried to knife him in the credits.
“Have you had a chance to see what it looks like out on the balcony?” he asked me. “Are you feeling well enough to go out and get some air?”
I was feeling a lot better than I had when I woke up, but the fishnets were killing my legs. I told him to please look the other direction and pulled them off. With the garter belt attachments it’s a lot easier to do than simple thigh highs, but I didn’t want to give him any ideas. I laid the stockings on the table in front of us and told him it was okay to look. He turned his face back in my direction, looked at the stockings and them my legs. Think God I’d had enough sense to get them waxed yesterday and it was guaranteed to last for a few days.
I put my bare feet down on the marble floor and told him I was ready to go outside and see what the Big Apple looked like from this height. I stood up when he did and he offered me his arm, escorting me to the balcony and closed the door behind us.
From all those stories up, you can see a lot more than just Manhattan. I looked across the river to New Jersey and over into Brooklyn. Stanton Island was just behind us and Long Island ahead. In the far distance you could see the mountains. It was a clear day and so much was visible from up there. Then I felt his hand in mine. I turned and looked, but he wasn’t looking at me at all, just the scenery.
“It’s such a responsibility,” he told me, letting out a sigh. “Being responsible for so much of what you see here. Some days I wish I could just give it up. Go somewhere and forget I was ever born to all that damn money.”
“I like you,” he continued. “You are a good person, princess.”
Where the hell was this “princess” nonsense coming from? The only person who had ever called me that was my father and only when I was in some big trouble. But I still held onto his hand like a high school kid on a date to the museum.
“Would you like to spend some time here?” he asked me. “Perhaps stay a few days? I know your parents are coming up soon and they’ve been informed where you are.”
The parents? They knew about all this. Oh, Christ was I ever going to get a lecture from my mom.
“But…” I tried to say. “Why do you want me here with you? Mr. Rico, you can have any woman on this planet spend some time with you. Why me? Isn’t there enough Russian ballerinas to keep you occupied?”
“Because you’re real,” he said to me. “The rest only want me because of all the wealth I have. And I won’t lie to you, it is a lot, but I’ve earned every dime. I may have started out on a good foot, but I could have easily lost it all.”
And then he took me by surprise by leaning over and giving me a kiss on the cheek.