The next morning, Jim got up earlier than usual. He had decided to leave for work much earlier to catch up on the work that he missed the previous afternoon.
He left a note for Cillay to tell her that he would call her later, to let her know about the job. He suggested that she take a break from the job hunting and just relax around the house. Maybe soak in the jacuzzi.
Cillay did just as he suggested and fell asleep in the jacuzzi. Then Richard’s babysitter, Jason, came and woke her up., saying, ” Ms. Rockwell, Mr. Benedict is on the phone asking for you.”
“Thanks Jason.,” she said. “I’ll be right in.” She went into the house and answered the phone.
“Hi, Jim!”, she said.
“Good Morning, Cillay.,” he answered. Cillay’s pulse starting racing at the sound of his voice. Her reaction shocked her. Before she could dwell on it, he started back speaking.
“I spoke with personnel, and they would be glad to have you join us. If you can come in with me in the morning then you can fill out all of the necessary forms and start work on Thursday. Your work hours will be from 9:00 to 2:30.,” he told her.
“That’s wonderful, Jim. Thank you so much.,” she said.
“It’s nothing. I was glad to help.,” he paused. “I do have a favor to ask you.”
“What is it?,” she asked.
“The mayor is giving a reception tonight for the governor. I was wondering if you would like to attend with me tonight as my date. It’s always awkward going to these things alone. It’s like wearing a bulls eye that says,’ single guy’!”, he told her.
Cillay was silent for a few moments. He was doing so much for her and this was such a small thing to ask, but she had nothing appropriate to wear.
“This is a formal event isn’t it?”, she asked him.
” Yes it is, and I know that you didn’t bring any formal clothes with you. I’ve already taken care of that. If you go to Lynne’s Boutique on Route 66, I have arranged a line of credit for you. You can consider it as a welcome to Mesa Valley gift from me, or if you insist, you can consider it a loan.”
“Alright, of course I’ll be glad to go with you, Jim. What time should I be ready?,” she asked him.
“The party starts at 7:00. So I guess we should leave around 6:30.”, Jim told her. “Take my car. There are spare keys in the desk in the study. Thank you Cillay! I’ll talk with you later.”
Cillay went upstairs and got dressed, then she told Richard’s babysitter that she was going out. She kissed Richard goodbye and then left the house.
The boutique was very nice and looked very expensive. When a salesgirl approached her, Cillay explained who she was.
” Hello. I’m Cillay Rockwell. Jim Benedict sent me here.”, she told her.
“Oh, Ms. Rockwell, we’ve been expecting you. Mr. Benedict gave us your approximate measurements and what you’ll need, and we’ve prepared several outfits for your selection.”, she told her gushing. “You’re a very lucky girl. Mr. Benedict must think the world of you.”, she told Cillay.
Cillay blushed remembering what Jim had said about everyone knowing everyone elses business. She hoped that she was not causing Jim to be the subject of a lot of gossip because she was staying with him. She would ask him later. In his position appearances were very important.
The salesgirl led Cillay to a fitting room and brought in the first outfit. It was a pretty fuschia and black flowered wrap style dress. It was fine for everyday or even going out to dinner, but it was not appropriate for a formal occasion.
“This dress is very pretty,” she told the young lady,” but it’s not a formal dress.”
“Mr. Benedict instructed us to put a wardrobe together for you including undergarments and accessories for each outfit.”, she told Cillay, looking at her curiously. “He said that we were not to take no for an answer.”
Cillay looked at her in surprise. She did not want to cause a scene and decided to cooperate until she could talk with Jim in private. She wished she had her cell phone, but she had left it in Sunset Valley so that Tony could not trace her using it.
Cillay tried on the first outfit. She liked it very much. The salesgirl, Dena, agreed that it really suited her coloring and her figure. She set the dress, shoes and accessories aside for Cillay to take with her.
Next there were several outfits for everyday, and they selected the ones that Cillay liked the best. Then Dena brought in a selection of nightwear and swimsuits. Cillay chose what she needed from those as well.
Lastly, Dena brought out some formal gowns. Cillay selected a lovely pink gown. Dena tried to get her to select more than one, but Cillay told her she would come back if necessary. When she had what she needed, Cillay signed the bill determined that she would pay Jim back as soon as she could.
“Thank you for all of your help.,” she told Dena.
“It was my pleasure, Ms. Rockwell.”, Dena told her and surprising to herself, she really meant it. “If I can ever help you with anything else please let me know.,” she told Cillay.
“I will and thanks again.,”Cillay said on her way out the door. As soon as Cillay left, the other salesgirls gathered around Dena pumping her for information about Cillay.
“She is really gorgeous. What was she like?,”they asked her.
“She was really very sweet. Not at all stuck up like some of the other customers. I really liked her.”, she told them.
When Cillay got home, Jim was in the nursery playing with Richard. It was 4:30 and she really wanted to look nice for Jim. She rushed upstairs to her room and put away her purchases. She decided to take a shower and wash her hair.
It was after 6:00 when she headed down the stairs. Jim had just come out of the kitchen, and when he saw her on the stairs he froze, watching her descend the stairs. She was so beautiful that she took his breath away.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, Jim gently took her hand and kissed her palm.
He looked into her eyes and said,” You are lovely.”
She looked away embarassed and confused by her quickening pulse.
“Thank you , Jim”, she said removing her hand from his.
Jim sighed, he had forgotten his decision not to rush her and make her feel uncomfortable with him.
“I really appreciate all of the clothes too. You didn’t have to do that.”, she went on.
“I wanted to, Cillay. You deserve nice things. It was my pleasure to give them to you.”, he told her.
“Well, I’m going to pay you back as soon as I can.,” she said.”
Her back was to him and so she missed the swift look of pain that crossed his face at her words.
“Alright, Cillay. If that will make you feel better.,” he told her.
They left for the party soon after. To her dismay, Cillay was very popular at the party. She received numerous requests for a dance.
Even the governor was quite taken with her. “Where have you been hiding this lovely young woman?”, he asked Jim.
Jim just laughed and skillfully swept Cillay into his arms for a dance.
It was the first opportunity he had been given to dance with her all evening.
“Thanks for rescuing me.”, she told him. “I was beginning to think I’d never get a chance to dance with you.”
He looked at her in surprise.
“You really wanted to dance with me?,” he asked.
“Of course.”, she told him giving him a warm smile. I only danced with the others because I didn’t want to embarass you. I know that most of them are your co-workers.”
Jim suddenly began to feel better and enjoy the night. There was something special about the smile that Cillay had given him. Maybe she was beginning to have special feelings for him too.
Although it was private, a member of the paparazzi had infiltrated the party. He had taken pictures of Cillay with the governor and other dignitaries. His final picture was of Cillay and Jim dancing together. He intended to do an article featuring Cillay as the mysterious bell of the ball.
Jim could see that Cillay was getting tired. She was not used to all of the attention and the dancing. When he felt that they had remained long enough to be polite, he grabbed Cillay’s hand and they said their good-byes.
It took just a few minutes for them to get home. Jim paid the babysitter, and then talked with Cillay.
“Cillay, I really appreciate you going with me to the party. You really made a great impression on everyone.,” he told her.
“I’m glad I was able to help.,” she told him. “I especially enjoyed being with you!,” she said. When she realized what she had said, she flushed bright red, and looked confused. “Good night.,” she told him quickly and rushed upstairs.
Jim stood for a few moments looking after her. A smile of pure bliss spread across his face when he recognized that Cillay cared for him too, whether she realized it or not.
He whistled softly to himself as he checked on Richard and double checked the alarm. Then he undressed and went to bed.