I laughed at her as she showed me the way to the tailors and got distracted by shoes in a big window display.
Eventually we got in and the store assistant made a very bad joke about Layla wearing the weirdest suit he had ever seen as she was still cloaked in my jacket even though we were no longer cold it looked cute on her so I did not ask for it back.
I had picked up a nice three piece, old fashioned but smart, when it occurred to me I had no idea what size Morgan was. Layla thrust a skirt and jacket set into my hands. “They will fit her perfectly, and I may not know much about testing but I know about style.” She blushed.
“Did the skirt shrink in the wash?” I asked stunned at the knee length skirt.
“You really haven’t been back for a while have you? Look at my skirt it looks perfectly acceptable and it’s about the same length.”
I looked down at her skirt for about the hundredth time today.
“Well yes and it looks very attractive but this is my daughter, she shouldn’t be looking attractive at her age!”
Layla laughed. “Over-protective Dad syndrome.” She taunted me.
“I’m not over-protective!”
“Then let her have the skirt, I promise you it will look perfect on her.” She grinned.
Another shop assistant chimed in. “She’s right you know. That one looks great on everyone.”
“Fine! You women generally know what you’re doing but if there are any men eyeing her I blame you!” I gave in.
“Your daughter is sure to love it.” The assistant said to Layla.
“She’s not ours.” We both chimed in unison as I walked towards the till.
I couldn’t help watching her as I waited in the queue. She was staring out of the shop window looking very much like a model for the suits. I knew a lot about her from our conversations over coffee but I still had a strange desire to know more.
“She will need some nice shoes you know.” Layla suddenly spoke as I approached her, she looked like she had been in a completely different world so It surprised me a little. I realised this was just her cunning ploy to get into a shoe shop but every girl needs their simple pleasures so I didn’t say anything.
As I picked out a pair of sensible black shoes with small heels for Morgan, Layla wandered over to me with two bags filled with shoe boxes.
“I haven’t been shopping since Tom died. Fashion is one of my passions.” She grinned ecstatic at her new purchases.
The light was now gone and Serena and I rode back to her town. She smiled as she stood in the doorway with her bags.
“We need to do this again.” She thanked me. “Today really helped.”
“Are you going to be ok tonight?” I genuinely asked out of worry, not out of hope to stay the night like I would have otherwise done.
“I’ll be ok. I guess I’ll see you when the kids get back.”
“Goodnight.” I smiled and kicked up my revs.
She watched from the doorway as I rode off into the distance with Morgan’s suit and shoes ready for the meeting.
As I rode back towards Reeds ranch I noticed the small stalls from the market all packing away. I suddenly slammed down the break almost throwing myself off the bike and making several villagers look around. The necklace Layla had been looking at was still out, it wasn’t expensive and I wasn’t sure when I would ever give it to her, but I knew I wanted to. It would hang just low enough to be eye-catching and would match her nature perfectly.
“Who is she then?”
I jumped as Kain appeared in the doorway behind me as I quickly made some toast before sneaking up to bed. Latina wouldn’t be happy that she had prepared a meal which I didn’t turn up for.
“Who?” I tried to ask innocently.
“Well unless there’s something you want to tell me Mike?” He held up the necklace and the shoes laughing at me.
“You’ve never had a problem going through my things have you!” I snapped grabbing them both off him. “The shoes are Morgan’s actually!”
“Well the necklace isn’t. I’ve seen the one she wears, she clutches it without noticing.”
“This is for a friend.” I tried to go up the stairs before Kain forced me to explain any further.
“Ahh another ‘friend’ is it Mike. You don’t normally buy them jewellery though.”
“Well I’ve changed.”
“Or she’s different to the rest. Didn’t you buy Serena a necklace when you first met her?”
I made no attempt to reply and just went upstairs with my toast. It took a while to get to sleep, memories of the day kept flashing past me.
I fell asleep telling myself she was just a good friend. A really beautiful good friend I was possibly slightly attracted to. I don’t fall in love, not anymore, I always said I wouldn’t, but fire is my element and its heat ensues not only the ability for powerful anger but powerful love and courage. It was now giving me the feeling it had been restrained from love for too long.