Meet My Imaginary Friends: Lacey Mulhearn
“Sir?” A light tap on the door was followed by the maid from the previous evening poking her head inside.
“Is everything all right?” he asked. Following their visit to one more dress shop to find a suitable evening dress, he had brought Lacey back to the hotel and arranged for another bath. If his future wife was going to indulge in an extravagance, he figured loving baths was as pleasant a vice as a husband could hope for. When they got back home he would see about purchasing the most luxurious bathtub he could afford for her.
“I helped the young lady to dress,” the maid said, “and did her hair for her. She looks lovely but I think you need to talk to her.”
Paddy pulled on his jacket and followed the maid down the hall.
“What’s the problem?”
“I’ll let her tell you.” The maid walked along beside him. In a soft voice she added, “She’s a very determined young lady.”
Paddy snorted and couldn’t help but chuckle.
Since Lacey had shown no interest in the shop they went to, he selected an evening dress of sky blue taffeta with a modest bustle and a sweetheart neckline that left her shoulders bare. He had thought the color would be perfect with her eyes and he was correct. Lacey stood in the center of her room and he caught his breath in wonder at her beauty. Her fiery red hair had been done up, showing off her lovely neck and shoulders, and the dress fit perfectly giving her slender figure the appearance of more curves than he had imagined.
“You look absolutely gorgeous,” he said, barely able to speak.
“I can’t go out like this!” Lacey glared at him.
“What do you mean?” He studied her as he walked around her nearly dumbstruck at her beauty. “You look wonderful. You look like a fine lady.”
“My Mam would take my hide off if she saw me.” She folded her hands over the modest swell of her breasts above the neckline. “Showin’ my boozies like this.” She blushed and the soft rose in her cheeks made her even more lovely.
“Lacey.” It took him a minute to realize what she was talking about. “Lacey, you look beautiful. Almost all ladies wear dresses like this in the evening.”
“All whores, you mean. I’d die before flauntin’ myself like this.”
Paddy stared at her then glanced at the maid who stood with her hands clasped in front of her, eyes downcast, and an expression that told him she had already tried all these arguments.
“I have an idea. I’ll be right back.” Paddy strode down to his room and fetched the silk shawl hanging folded on the back of a chair. He shook it out as he returned to her room and draped it over her shoulders. “There,” he said. “How’s that?”
She pulled the shawl tightly covering herself up to her neck. “I’m not taking it off,” she said.
Paddy sighed. “Fine,” he said.