Marianna looked up when a dark-tinted, gray Bentley slowed down to a stop in front of young receptionist of Sanderson Designs. Almost immediately, a chauffeur dressed in a black suit stepped out to open a passenger door to reveal an elegantly dressed, stiletto-heeled woman. She was soon followed by a much younger woman who closely resembled her. Anyone seeing them would assume they were mother and daughter. It was hard not to stare as the two women stood at the curb, looking up at the sign. Both ladies were tall, had dark blonde hair, the palest eyes, and dressed in perfectly coutured white linen suits. Their fair skin seemed to glow under the heat of the sun but showed no signs of wrinkles or sweat.
She continued her quiet observation from behind her receptionist’s desk, the taller than average women entered. There was something otherworldly in their beauty and many passersby stopped to openly stare at the two. The women took no notice of their observers–instead they walked through the shop doors their chauffeur had reached out to open for them. Nodding at him, the older woman continued on into the shop. Pasting a polite smile on her lips, she approached the women and in a quiet voice, introduced herself.
“Good morning, welcome to Sanderson Designs. My name is Marianna, I’ll be here to assist you should you require me,” Marianna said before she took a step back, not waiting for a response.
The older woman didn’t say a word, merely dipped her head in her direction before moving deeper into the display room. Marianna stood quietly observing for that perfect moment when her assistance would be required. She never attempted to approach her clients when they walked around to look over the merchandise, allowing clients the pleasure of touching or looking into John Sanderson’s designs undisturbed, until such time as they needed her assistance.
Marianna watched the older woman raise an elegant, gloved hand to touch a corded black lace and Taffeta gown modeled on a mannequin. On the other side of the room, the younger woman walked around the display area, lifting a handkerchief here and a glove there. A draped column gown seemed to have caught her attention and she walked up to it to peer up at the gown. Marianna loved that particular design. Made of Chantilly lace, and at least three layers of Charmeuse along its skirt, it was one of the shop’s more exclusive designs. Each custom-designed gown was handmade and unique, not run-of-the-mill ready-to-wear retail rags.
When the older woman raised her head to look in Marianna’s direction, she acknowledged her with a slight nod of her head. A minute later, the younger woman stepped up and spoke something in the older woman’s who nodded silently in response before turning to Marianna.
“Have you found something that might interest you, ma’am?” Marianna said in a polite voice, hands clasped behind her.
“Yes, your designs are very interesting,” the woman said. “My daughter is getting married in a few weeks and we are looking for something special. She says she likes the designs here, but she cannot find what she’s looking for.”
Marianna’s breath locked in her throat. The sound of the woman’s voice sent ripples of fear and pleasure up and down her body, making her shiver in anticipation. Licking her suddenly dry lower lip, she bit down on it slightly to ground herself not to react visibly so as to distract the potential customers.
Marianna nodded in understanding. “Sanderson Designs are the works of John Sanderson. He takes pride in the uniqueness of his works focusing on bridal and bridesmaids gowns. However, he also does evening wear should his clients wish it. What specific designs are you looking for or would you like to look at?”
The older woman turned to her daughter, “Elizabeth?”
When Elizabeth stepped closer to, a waft of scent reached Marianna’s nose and it was all she could do not to react. She clenched her fists and held her breath. Elizabeth was even more stunning up close. Skin like milk, smooth as a petal, the rosy glow on her cheeks lent her a breathless quality Marianna had never seen before on a woman. She must have been close to six two tall in her stilettos and Marianna could smell a delicious fragrance wafting off from her. The scent hinted of sweet magnolia making Marianna suddenly felt a little light headed. An unexpected warmth flooded her cheeks as a wave of desire washed over her, threatening her tightly held composure. She felt out of control, much like when she’d been a young fifteen years old and had allowed her first boyfriend to touch her breasts. She shook the feeling away and forced herself to focus on the business at hand barely hearing the older woman introduce herself as Annabeth Hall.
“Elizabeth, can you please tell Marianna here what it is that you want for your gown?” Annabeth said.
“Yes, I’m thinking lace, tulle, elegant, sensuous, Victorian. I love the designs here, but they are not exactly what I had in mind.” She looked around the shop before walking over to a stand where lace gloves were on display. Picking up a white glove, she returned to their side. “See here? I love the lace on this, but I don’t see it anywhere on any of the gowns on display. Can I have something like this?”
Marianna looked at the glove lying on Elizabeth’s hand. They’d used the very expensive fabric sparingly. Made from a lace pattern designed by John himself, if one looked close enough, they would see the barely perceptible monogram of a stout tree with a lightning bolt shooting through its branches cleverly woven into the pattern.
Mariana smiled. “No, we do not have the designs you have in mind, but would you consider speaking with the designer? He’ll be here around ten and it is nearing that time.”
She watched as mother and daughter looked at each other before nodding in agreement and turned back to look at her. “I’ll just give him a call and find out the exact time he is coming in,” Marianna continued. “In the meantime, would you like some tea, coffee, juice or water?”
“Tea would be lovely. Thank you, Marianna,” Annabeth said.
At the words, Marianna bit back her surprise. There was something very different with how the woman thanked her–it simply was not a common occurrence. She’d catered to the old and nouveau riche for a long time, ever since she’d been a teenager in fact while working in her mother’s shop. She’d met her fair share of snobs who thought the world owed them something. This pair, they were different. Quiet, polite, and gracious were words that came to mind and yet, they were obviously wealthy if she were to judge their custom tailored clothes.
“If you’ll excuse me, please have a seat here in the waiting area and you can both go over John’s design catalogs?” She led the two women to an elegant Victorian settee and love seat was in the corner of the shop. After the women sat down, Marianna picked up a stack of catalogs from the coffee table for them to look over. Bells rang out from the front and when Marianna looked, she saw that the receptionist had arrived. She turned back to the Halls.
“If you have a question or need something clarified, please feel free to call me or Leila, our receptionist. I’ll have your refreshments ready in no time.”
Hastening back to the front of where the reception stood, she instructed her to give their boss a call. “Leila, tell him to get here as quickly as he can. They’re not the type to wait long,” she said in a hurried whisper.
Leila made a quick nod before picking up her cell phone. Marianna hurried to the kitchenette at the back of the shop where she prepared the tea and catered sandwiches. When she came back, she saw that both Elizabeth and her mother were looking at her and she stopped. Hands suddenly trembling, Marianna slowly approached to place the tray she was holding on to a side table. A warm, soft, silky hand lightly cupped the back of her leg and slid up her thigh. Under normal circumstances, Marianna would have slapped the hand away, but the fragrance coming off from the two women made her head spin. She bit on her lip, holding back a moan when Elizabeth cocked her head toward her. As though from afar, she watched Elizabeth raise her hand, and with a sigh, ran the tip of her long, tapering finger down Marianna’s temple, following the curve of her cheek, and down the side of her neck.
“You are lovely, my dear,” Annabeth said in a low, sultry voice.
Pools of liquid heat collected between Marianna’s legs. She threw a glance toward Leila, but the girl was busy filing her nails as she talked on her cell phone. The hand beneath her skirt crept between her thighs, making her bite her lower lip to keep from panting out. As the hand continued to slowly and gently caress between her thighs, the scent wafting off the two women became stronger. Marianna began to feel dizzy, and at the same time, she wanted to rip her clothes off and let the two women do whatever they wanted with her.
“John said he’s coming right over, Marianna!”
Leila’s voice jerked Marianna out of the fugue she’d sunk into and she straightened abruptly. The scent faded and for a moment, Marianna didn’t know what had happened. When she turned back to her clients, she saw the two women were engrossed with a catalog full of wedding gowns.
“If you’ll excuse me, please, I’ll go make sure what time John gets here so you’re not kept waiting.”
At her words, Elizabeth looked up and gave her a swift smile before looking down at the designs again. Feeling curiously disappointed, Marianna walked over to Leila. As she took a step, she realized with sudden horror that her panties were damp and she jerked to a stop. Leila looked up and smiled at her before going back to whatever she was doing, which appeared to be peering into a nail she was filing. Marianna looked around consciously, running damp hands down the sides of her skirt. She walked as casually as she could without betraying her shock when she felt a slow trickle between her thighs. Once she turned the corner to the ladies room, she hurried inside and locked the door behind her.
“What the hell?” Marianna said under her breath when she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror and saw the red flush of cheeks. Taking a deep breath, she toed off her shoes, pulled several paper towels and proceeded to clean herself up.