Sparrow held out a hanger and looked at the confusing thing hanging from it. As far as she could tell it was either some kind of dress or some large scarf. Glimpsing at the price tag, her brows shot up. Whatever it was, it was made from baby panthers or something, because that was the only way the price made any sense.
Carefully, she placed the hanger back in the rack as though she were diffusing a bomb.
“Can I help you find anything?” A slim and angular looking woman walked up to her. She had a pitch black bob haircut with bangs and every single strand of hair was in place. She looked like a piece of art in her black turtleneck dress and the nose like a raven’s beak.
Never had she felt more out-of-place. Clearing her throat, Sparrow shook her head. “Um, no thank you. I am just waiting for someone.” She gestured to the dressing room.
The woman’s eyes widened slightly. “Mrs. King?” She asked.
If someone had told her this morning while she was eating her cereal that she would be talked into going shopping, she would have laughed in disbelief. If that same person had told her they would end up splitting up and she would be stuck spending the day with Meredith while the boys shopped elsewhere, she would have died.
Forcing a smile, she nodded. “Yes.”
As the woman grinned at her, she slowly made her way closer to the dressing room feeling it was safer to pretend not to hear Meredith talking to her as she changed than to chat with the woman who was now looking at her as though she were a meal.
“How is everything going in there, Meredith?” She asked, hoping she would be told she was almost done.
“This place used to have so much more to offer.” She sighed, shoving another article of clothing out from behind the curtain. The saleswoman quickly scurried over to take it and disappeared. “Did you see anything you like?”
The question completely appalled Sparrow. “Oh no. I would never buy anything here.”
Poking her head out, she looked at Sparrow. “And why is that?”
“It’s very expensive here.” Sparrow figured to go with that, not wanting to offend Meredith’s tastes.
Throwing back her head, Meredith laughed and went back to trying things on. “Vincent can afford the prices.” She told her.
Sparrows brow creased. “I’m sure he could, but I am not Vincent.”
“Yes, but Vincent has legally adopted you… after your mother…” she paused. “Therefore you can afford it.”
Her heart beat hard in her chest for a moment at the mention of her mother. The time after her passing had been so confusing. Everything was changing and changing quickly. She could only vaguely recall the conversation she had with Vincent a week later. How he had explained her mother had written a letter when she had first gone into the hospital to let people know what she wanted to happen to Sparrow should anything happen during treatment. Her father had come forward and met with Vincent. She had been expected to make a decision.
Her father, or Vincent.
At the time, she had felt like a burden either way and told Vincent to do whatever he wanted. She had expected him to wipe his hands of her then, finally free of the obligation.
Instead he had fought her father for custody… and won. Later, he legally adopted her.
She knew her adoption meant her father hadn’t fought that hard. He had probably accepted some amount of money to leave her be, sign away his rights. She didn’t realize it was exactly what she had wanted until it was already done.
Her father had left her at a time when her life was hardest, to go back to him now would mean she forgave him. And she couldn’t. Not when she had struggled so hard to keep her mom from sinking, not when she had failed at that and lost her mother in the end.
Vincent had been her Saving Grace.
“I couldn’t shop with Vincent money. He has already done so much for me, I would never take advantage like that.”
Poking her head out again, Meredith raised her eyebrow. “You know, if you came to me with Paris, you wouldn’t want for anything. I have always wanted a daughter to spoil, and there are so many luxuries that go to waste having a son.” Sighing, she pulled her head back in the curtains. “You should come back with me, at least try it for a couple of weeks and see how you like it.”
Sparrow frowned. “You want me to come to Paris with you?” She was confused. Her relationship with Meredith had always been rocky. At first she had thought Sparrow was a toy, a plaything Vincent had gotten to trick Harrison into staying in Toronto. Then she had accepted her but resented her, making sure to put her in her place whenever she thought possible. Then she had silently wished her the worst, her eyes would burn into her but she never said anything, knowing full well Harrison wouldn’t speak to her if she didn’t behave herself.
Now she was offering to bring her to Paris so she could spoil her? Buy her things with equally ridiculous price tags hanging off them.
Something was going on.
“You don’t have to worry about being alone. I’m sure if you ever did decide to come along to Paris with me, Harrison would come along. He has made you that promise to take care of you, and it seems he refuses to sway.”
And there it was. Meredith’s new plan to get Harrison back. Suddenly the suggestion to break off, gals and guys, so we could find things we needed. Girls could get bras and guys could get… rid of the girls or something.
“I never asked Harrison to take care of me. I never asked either of them to do anything for me.” She dropped her face in her hands and tried to rub the feeling of being annoyed from her forehead.
Meredith stepped out of the dressing room and pulled Sparrow to her feet. “I know the two of you are still young, but we could definitely begin getting the two of you ready. We all know you’ll be married one day.” She wrapped my arm around her own. “If you asked him, or if I hinted you were interested, it would definitely be something he would do.”
Nudging me slightly as we left the store, she waved at Vincent and Harrison when we saw them on the other side of the street. “Think about it dear. Honestly, could you ask for a better husband than my Harrison?”