A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings #2)(10) by Debbie Macomber

“Rocco,” I said before their argument escalated further. To help him to look my way I laid my hand over his forearm.

His gaze jerked toward me and then down at my hand on his arm as if my touch had burned him. I dropped my hand and stepped back.

“Do you realize how awful it would be for me if one of my friends found out my father went shopping with me?”

His gaze reverted back to Kaylene. “I don’t care what your friends think. If you want to go to that dance, then…”

“Rocco,” I said again, louder than before. This time I placed my hand in the middle of his chest before he turned to look at me.

“What?” he snapped, diverting his eyes away from his daughter.

“Do you trust me to find an appropriate dress for your daughter?” I asked, because if he didn’t, he shouldn’t have asked for my help. Otherwise, all I’d be doing was mediating between father and daughter.

He didn’t answer.

“Do you?” I asked forcefully.

“I guess.” His lack of confidence was almost comical.

“Leave,” I said.

At first I thought he was going to make a fuss, but then he snapped his mouth closed and slowly nodded. “How long do you think this will take?”

“Give us a couple of hours.”

He glanced at his watch. “Okay, fine,” he said, none too graciously. “I’ll meet you back here at six-thirty.”

I checked my own watch. “We’ll call if we’re going to be any later than that.”

“Later? You might need more than two hours?” He all but rolled his eyes as if he thought I was being ridiculous.

I gently patted his forearm. “These matters take time. Relax, Kaylene’s in good hands.”

Rocco plowed his fingers through his hair as if he was second-guessing his decision to ask for my help. I gestured with my head for Kaylene to follow me. We’d gone only a few steps when she whispered a heartfelt “Thanks.”

“No problem. I would have hated it if my father went shopping with me.”

“He wants me to dress like someone’s grandmother.”

I remember thinking the same thing when I was her age, only it’d been my mother. It took me a moment to recall my conversation with Rocco over coffee when he’d dropped off my cell and asked for my help.

“Where would you like to start?” I asked.

“I get to choose?” Kaylene sounded surprised. “You’re not going to drag me into any of those old-lady stores?”

I hated to think of which stores she considered “old lady” stores. I probably should have asked, but I was afraid she might mention the very department stores I frequented.

For the next hour and a half we flitted from one dressing room to another until we found an outfit we both felt was perfect. I was confident it would make Rocco happy, and Kaylene looked lovely in it. To sweeten the deal, the dress was on sale, marked down fifty percent. That gave us enough left over in the budget to find matching shoes.

“We have one more stop,” I said, glancing at my watch, noticing it was six-twenty-five.

“Dad doesn’t like to wait.”

“Tough. This is important.”

Kaylene looked confused. “I thought we had everything.”

“We’re going to Victoria’s Secret.”

Surprise showed on her face, followed by a huge smile. “Are you going to tell my dad?”

I shrugged. “Why should I? You can if you want. He gave us a budget and we stayed within that amount. The proper underwear is all part of the outfit.”

“Let’s go,” she said, giggling like the schoolgirl she was.

“Give me your phone and I’ll text your father and tell him to give us an extra fifteen.” She handed it to me and I did a quick text. When I finished, I found Kaylene inside the store, sorting through bras, searching out ones that were far too big for her. I looked at her and raised my eyebrows.

“A girl can dream, can’t she?”

We both laughed. We hadn’t gotten off to a great start. Kaylene resented the fact that I’d been asked to help. I can’t say I blamed her. When we first started shopping, she didn’t want me picking out the dresses. I gave her free rein, letting her make her own selections. I could quickly see that her father had a point.

My chance came while she was in the dressing room. I removed the rejects and brought in fresh outfits I felt were a good compromise. Once she saw that my choices were relatively close to her own, the first barrier went down. She quickly lost the attitude, and for the rest of the time it’d been fun.

With a bit of power shopping, we found what we needed at Victoria’s Secret: lace panties and a matching bra. Kaylene had to add a few dollars of her own money, but she did so willingly. We buried the recognizable bag in the one for the shoes and then rushed to the meeting spot. At that we were still five minutes late.

Rocco was there, pacing impatiently when we strolled up to him.

“So,” he said, looking between Kaylene and me. “How’d it go?”

“We found a compromise dress,” I said, not wanting to appear overly pleased. Kaylene had her pride and I was determined not to stomp over it.

“Nichole did a good job, Dad. I wouldn’t mind shopping with her again.”

Now, that was high praise.

Rocco caught my eye and arched his brows. “I have the final say.”

“Dad.”

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