Red Hot Valentine:Falling for Cupid

By: Christin Lovell

Chapter One

October 24th


My feet were barking in my shoes. They were going to hate me by the end of the day. Truth be told, high heels were made for the skinnies of the world, but I couldn’t resist how they elongated and slimmed my short, extra plump legs, particularly in the light wash, ripped and rugged skinny jeans I wore. The high heeled, grey suede booties I donned, with the V-shaped top, looked identical to a high-end pair I dreamed about but could never afford. A forgiving hot pink tank top beneath a hunter green military style blazer with a long, elegant silver necklace layered atop blended several styles in my one ensemble.

But that’s what I enjoyed. I didn’t box myself in. My clients knew me as a trend-defying master. I mixed and matched Bohemian with Hampton chic, vintage glam with rocker, retro with trendy every day. I believed no one should confine to one label but rather use many labels to define themselves. What you’re wearing is always the first impression you make, and I enjoyed surprising others. After all, the last thing my size two millionaire nightmare was expecting this morning was a size twenty-two fashionista claiming to be her new personal shopper and temporary stylist. Apparently she’d expected another size two with a toned down outfit, although she conceded, “I suppose you don’t have to look good so long as you make me look good, but I cannot in good taste offer you referrals as you are.”

Yup. That was how I started my morning. I then spent the next five hours combing two out of her three closets as she sipped imported water from a plush chair an assistant relocated to each closet, so she could ensure I didn’t steal or damage anything. At noon she consumed a small salad with no dressing and at two I excused myself, promising to return and go through her third closet, which she claimed was the largest. God help me.

It was common practice to get a sense of their style, learn their sizes with different brands, and to avoid purchasing something they already owned. What was taking me so long was she wanted an entire outfit that was unlike anything she currently owned. There could be no similarities, which was going to be a challenge given all she had…

It felt good to sit down in my car after standing so long without a break. My arms ached from sliding hangers, holding out items and reaching for accessories all day, and it was far from over. My legs and feet practically sang their gratitude for the reprieve the entire drive to the coffee shop in downtown. All too quickly I found street parking and was back on my feet walking towards the shop.

The air was crisp and cool despite the sun’s efforts. Living in a high end, small sized Florida beach town had its ups and downs. Ups? It was sunny year round, which meant it was busy and booming with tourists and potential clients year round. I had a steady stream of corporate wives and small time celebrities seeking me out for charity functions, golf tournaments and vacation chic ensembles upon arrival. I enjoyed shopping and making my clients look amazing, no matter their budget.

Downs? My own budget was far smaller than theirs, which meant I shopped boutiques for them and bargains for myself. On occasion, Paleo, a local designer extraordinaire, gave me a generous discount for bringing him more customers. Too bad I could only use it for accessories, for he only designed up to a size ten, and incessantly pestering him to expand his line hadn’t helped over the years. He claimed, “Not all fat women are as fabulous as you, my dear. I would not want my name tarnished with elastic waistlines.” I tried not to be offended for all the plus size women around the world at that moment, but it was difficult.

The bottom line was I lived far below the standards of most of my clients. Yes I lived on the beach, but I lived in a studio apartment with an ocean view you had to crook your neck for.

Also, as much as I loved the sun, I hated being a big girl in July. I broke more fat girl rules during summer than any other time of year. You couldn’t pay me to wear pants or even capris in Florida during summer. I got many a disappointing glare, but I couldn’t care less. I rocked soft, yet structured black shorts that barely grazed mid-thigh with a loose grey cotton tank, a necklace to glam it up and open-toed neon yellow pumps for edge. I would never apologize for my size or for dressing it as I would a size two. I ensured it was flattering and most of my unflattering-to-the-masses bits were covered.

I cringed as I rounded the corner to the coffee shop. Brad stood outside the door, clearly waiting for me with his arm around Lisa.

Brad and I had been best friends for as long as I could remember. It seemed like any time off I had was spent with him, or him and Lisa. We had this amazing bond everyone claimed jealousy over. So when we both turned thirty and were still single, we took the plunge and got married, fulfilling our long ago pact.

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