Twenty SixMature

I was sat outside the fitting rooms, waiting for Zoe to come out and show me another dress. She'd tried on a white one that would get completely blood-stained and a black one that she thought made her look fat. She pushed the curtain aside and put her hand on her hip.

"What do you think?" she asked, looking nervous.

I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. She was so beautiful. It was a strapless red dress that gathered on the floor. There was slight decoration on the dress. It made it look like white plants were wrapped around the bodice. The plants ended at a slit in the fabric that showed her leg from the mid-thigh down.

"You look..."


"Gorgeous," I corrected her.

She smiled shyly. "Don't lie."

"I'm not lying. You look amazing. Is that the one you want?"

She nodded and closed the curtain to take it off. She came back out a minute or two later with the dresses over her arm. She handed the two she didn't like to the assistant and gave me the one she did. I put it in the basket she was forcing me to carry around.

"While we're here, is there anything else you need or want?"

"I could do with some more normal clothes, and some new bras."

I raised an eyebrow at her. "I hope you don't expect me to go with you to the lingerie..."

"Oh please, I won't know what I look silly in."

I was going to say something but my phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket and glanced at the caller ID. It was Markus.

"News?" I said into it quietly.

"Lots actually," he said. "But first things first, why didn't you pick up this morning?! I rang you five times at about 1 this morning. It's now nearly 3 in the afternoon! You had me so worried that I got a plane to Indiana. Now where the hell are you?"

"I'm shopping."

"That's not overly useful."

"Okay, where are you then?" I asked him. Zoe was looking at me, her head tipped to the side.

"I'm in the highstreet, walking past the shops."

"Really? One second." I covered the phone with my hand for a minute and said to Zoe, "I'll be right back."

She frowned but nodded, taking the basket from me. I put the phone back to my ear and started towards the front of the shop. As I came out, I bumped into someone. Well, he bumped into me.

"Oh sorry," he said.

I looked at who it was. It was Markus, how fortunate.

"Markus?" I said.

"Ace. God, it still surprises me that you haven't changed at all," he said to me.

I smiled. "Sorry I didn't pick up this morning; I was asleep."

"You know, not sleeping doesn't mean you put off the nightmare. It just means you have it for longer another day."

"I know. So, what's the news?"

Markus looked around, his greying hair shaking slightly. I took him into the store and we walked around aimlessly, talking in low voices.

"Emma did have a daughter when she was 17 but she didn't tell anyone. She didn't tell anyone who the father was but she did say he wasn't around. So it's very possible you could have a daughter. Either that or she cheated on you - and that's not the sort of thing Emma would do. As I said on the phone, everything about you completely disappeared so there's no conclusive evidence that it was your daughter."

I thought about what he said for a minute. "Remember that dance we had at school. Emma came back to mine after that. My parents were out of town and Alistair was staying at Jack's house. So... it's possible."

The End

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