The Twelve Dollar Vera Wang — Part 2

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[Author’s Note: A little early this week, because I’m on the road. At a wedding! Part 3 of 3 next Friday.]

Eva was there at ten sharp, too bored with her own four walls to linger over breakfast. Half an hour later, they were at Janey’s self-proclaimed new favorite shopping spot.

“This place?” Eva said, eying the sign over the door.

“Sure. You can find some real bargains if you know where to look.”

Eva gave an if-you-say-so shrug and followed Janey through the door. The thrift shop was cluttered and smelled of dust. A wild profusion of skirts, blouses, dresses and pants, in various colors and styles and states of repair, were crammed onto round aluminum racks that took up nearly every inch of space. An alcove labeled “Dressing Rooms” in the far left corner sported three archways covered by handmade floor-length curtains of a headache-inducing plaid that likely came from the remnants section of the fabric store down the street. “What have you let me in for?” she muttered in Janey’s ear as her friend led her toward a rack with a cardboard sign that read Evening Clothes.

“Don’t be such a skeptic.” Janey started sorting through the items on the rack: a dark green wool cocktail dress, a pink silk brocade suit, a caftan-style sweep of glittery silver cloth with bronze beading at the neck. “Size eight… size fourteen… Size two…” she muttered, and kept going.

As Eva eyed her section of rack, she felt what little enthusiasm she’d had for this expedition fading. Dulled purple taffeta, a teal-blue number that might have been acceptable if it hit her lower than mid-thigh, three horrendous fashion faux pas that could have doubled as slipcovers circa 1963… In spite of herself, she chuckled. “Imagine people actually wearing these things,” she said to Janey, holding out the sleeve of a silk dress printed in magenta-and-orange paisley. “Someone bought this new. Before that, someone designed it. What were they thinking?”

“This looks good.” Janey held up a sky-blue dress, heavy silk, classic off-the-shoulder style with a matching jacket. Tasteful, elegant, the perfect shade to set off Eva’s Irish-pale skin and dark curls. She gave a little sigh, a bare puff of regret. It was a nice dress, much nicer than anything she’d seen so far. Something she might actually wear if she’d found it first.

“Here,” Janey said, and draped it over Eva’s arm.

Eva blinked, then found her voice. “It won’t fit,” she said. “Or it’ll cost too much. Even for here. Or there’s something wrong with it, or—”

“Evie?” Janie said, grinning.

“What?”

She nodded toward the plaid curtains. “Shut up and take a chance.”

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