Martha and Thomas Proctor did not say a word, they just stared at their daughter and tried to process the phrases that she had just uttered. They each took another drink of wine and when they realized their glasses were about empty, Thomas got up and went for another bottle out of the wine chest.
As he came back to the table with the bottle and the corkscrew, he cleared his throat and began to speak, “Daisy, I’m sorry but I think my hearing is going out, at my age, that sort of thing happens you know. I swear I thought I heard you say you met one of the stars of the movie, spent time with him and are now dating him. Is that what I heard you say?”
A grin spread across her face as she prepared to say the words again, “Yes, that is, in fact, what you heard me say. I met Chris Evans because he sat next to me at the movie premiere. Then I talked to him and had a few drinks with him at the party following the movie and we hit it off. The next day he went to Disney with me and brought his brother along, we had a great time and went to dinner. And we have decided to start dating.”
“Chris Evans? Which one is he?” Her mom asked.
Before she could respond her dad was answering on her behalf, “Martha, that is the boy who plays Captain America. The one you said was so handsome ripping that log in half in the Avengers movie.”
Martha sat quietly for a moment as if she was mentally cataloging the movie and the scene, suddenly it hit her, “OH! Oh my goodness, Daisy you are dating that boy? Oh, he is so handsome,” then it hit her as to what she had just said, “Wait, Daisy, you cannot date a boy like that.”
“Why can’t I date a boy like that? He is a great guy and you can’t discount that because he’s an actor.”
“Well, you’re you, Daisy. You aren’t Hollywood material, darling. You don’t fit in with all those people, you just own a silly little bridal store in the middle of nowhere. You are just not what he is looking for. And besides, how can you date when you are here and he is not? I mean he isn’t here, right?”
Daisy took a deep breath and tried not to let her mother’s words get to her. All she could try to think of was not to engage in a battle of wits with her, it would do no good. So, she decided to let the harsh things she said go and just move past it, “No, mom, he’s on an international press tour right now and he’s not in town. We text and call each other several times a day, though.”
“Well, that is not dating. You kids today have no concept of dating, Daisy. I just don’t see how you expect to date a movie star?” Her mother was finding every way possible to not be supportive or encouraging and she was not going to let it get to her.
“Yes, it is unconventional and a little unbelievable. But Chris and I are happy with one another right now and this relationship, whatever it might be, is worth giving a shot. So, we are trying it and keeping it under wraps from the press and from some of our friends. I don’t expect you to completely understand because I don’t completely understand, but at least, let me give it a chance.”
Her dad stood up and walked over to her and pulled her out of her seat so he could give her a hug. “Your mother and I are worried about you, that is all. We will be as encouraging as we can be but we would like to meet him. I want to know he is good to my girl.”
Daisy explained how she is keeping it from her friends; she asked that they not tell anyone. Her mother scoffed at the notion and indicated no one would believe her anyway so there would be no use telling the story. Everyone would think it was fantasy. She tried to enjoy the rest of the evening but it was difficult. Having her mom be hyper-critical of her made it hard for her to have someone to confide in. She knew she had Melody to talk to but once in a while a girl needs her mom.
Daisy finally told her parents good night and began the drive back to her house. She had hands-free calling in the car and figured what better way to waste twenty minutes than to talk to Chris. She dialed his number and he answered almost immediately, although his voice was groggy.
“Hey beautiful, are you home?” His deep voice echoed through her car and made her squirm in her seat.
“No, I just left my parents house, I’m in the car driving home.”
“How did your parents take your announcement? Or did you not tell them?”
“I told them and my dad wants to meet you,” she was quiet for just a second to gather her thoughts, “Of course, my mom was not encouraging and says we are not dating since you are not here and are a movie star and all. She did all she could to tear me down but that’s just what she does. All I could think about was getting out of there and calling you.”
“Babe, I’m sorry. It’s their job to worry though and I can understand their concerns. I would probably freak out if my daughter went to California and came back with an actor as a souvenir. I hope to meet them and put their fears to rest and I’m happy you called because I missed you and I needed to hear your voice. I just want this tour to be over so I can come back and see you.”
“How many days are left? I’ve lost count.”
“Four days until London’s premiere and then I can come home. Can you wait four days?”
“No, can you?
“NO! But I have no choice, it isn’t like I can get you on a plane and get you over here,” he stopped abruptly for a moment and then asked, “I can’t get you on a plane can I?”
“No, I can’t do that and besides, if I came to London I can guarantee you would not make it to the premiere of your movie.”
“Oh really? Daisy that sounds as if you might have some impure thoughts going through your mind right now.”
“Tell me, Evans, are your thoughts pure when it comes to me?”
“Hell no and they haven’t been for more than a week. How much longer until you are home?”
“I’m pulling into my driveway right now. Why? Do you want to talk dirty to me?”
Chris began to laugh at how innocent and sweet she sounded with her loaded question, “I would say yes but you need to sleep and I can’t risk you dozing off in the middle.”
“Do you honestly think if you were talking all sexy to me that I would fall asleep? You are an idiot Evans,” she laughed as she fought with the lock on her front door.
“I’m your idiot so there! Hey, is there any chance you can take off the weekend I get back?”
“That’s next weekend? I’ve got to check the calendar, I might have a bridal fitting.”
“Don’t you have someone that works in your store with you? Please??”
“I’ll check the calendar in the morning when I go in to do the books and let you know. I do have someone who works for me occasionally and I can see if she is available. What do you have in mind?”
“If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise!”
Daisy and Chris said their goodnights and disconnected their call. She was keyed up from talking to him and wasn’t quite ready to go to sleep. She puttered around the house and decided that maybe snuggling in bed with a book might be the best thing to relax. It worked until she drifted off to sleep and had dreams of being with Chris and what it would be like to see him again.
~ * ~
Daisy had checked her calendar and found she had two bridal appointments on Saturday, the weekend Chris wanted her to take off of work. This would throw a serious monkey wrench in her plans if she couldn’t find someone to work for her. She reached out to Kimberly, a friend of hers who worked in the store in the past, to see if she might be available. To her surprise, she was available and loved the idea of coming in and working for a few days. Kimberly explained that she had been so busy with school, she was getting her Master’s Degree, that she needed a break and the timing was perfect because she had some time off from classes.
Daisy told her that she was waiting to hear from Chris as to the schedule, she left out the particulars like his last name and what he does. She was anticipating that she would need her on Friday and Saturday only; if she was going to be out of town on Thursday, the shop could be closed because it was always a slow day. She told Kimberly about the fittings and explained that based on her conversations with the brides, she already had dresses pulled and ready for them. None of this was new for Kimberly so it was just to make Daisy feel better knowing she covered it all.
Daisy was working on a new display when her cell phone began to ring on the counter in the back of the store. She took off in an all-out sprint to get it. Out of breath, she answered, “Hello!”
“Do I even want to know what you are doing?” He teased as he heard her breathless greeting on the other end of the line.
“Get your mind out of the gutter, I had to run to answer the phone. I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon, isn’t it about red carpet time?”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m calling. We are doing the carpet and a small reception before the movie and then I’m leaving; I’ve now watched this movie so many times I am tired of it. I wanted to call you before I left to let you know that Amanda is going to call you with your flight information. You are flying out tomorrow afternoon and I will meet up with you, don’t ignore her call.”
“You aren’t coming here?”
“No, I’m whisking you away to someplace fun. Do you have any dresses in your shop that aren’t wedding dresses?”
“I have bridesmaid dresses, will that work?”
“Just bring a dress, cocktail length, nothing formal because we will have a nice dinner out and you will need it. Oh, and pack enough clothes because you will leave on Sunday. I’ll talk to you later, can’t wait to see you,” and with that, he hung up the phone.
Daisy was instantly excited and nervous. She quickly called Kimberly, “I know I said I would close on Thursday but is there any chance you could work half a day for me? I am supposed to fly out in the afternoon and I just found this out. I haven’t had time to make the other arrangements I need…”
“Breathe,” Kimberly interrupted, “Yeah, it’s fine. I have no plans and I can come in. Would 11 am work?”
“Seriously? Oh, I will owe you so much if you would do that. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Daisy hung up the phone and immediately began to flutter around the shop to look for a dress that she might have on hand that would fit the criteria that Chris had specified. She finally found a dress that fit what she needed in the section of non-traditional wedding dresses. The dress was an A-line cocktail dress in pearl pink, not a color that Daisy would generally wear either. The dress was knee-length chiffon and was sleeveless with a jeweled belt around the waist. It was a beautiful dress and would not look like she was getting married if she wore it to go out on the town with Chris.
Once the dress was picked out, she went searching for the perfect earrings and bracelet to wear with it. The high neckline and the pleated top of the dress meant she did not need to wear a necklace. Her only concern would be finding the right pair of shoes, but she wasn’t worried since the store carried a decent stock as well. She was still trying to reconcile that she was going to wear pink when the phone call from Amanda came.
Amanda’s information was vague, be at the airport for a flight that would leave at 2:20 pm. She would be on American Airlines and she would need to go to the kiosk and enter her name and birthdate and it would spit out her boarding pass. Amanda would not tell her where she was going or any of the details about where she would be staying once she got there. The only thing she would tell her was that Chris had made all of the arrangements and that everything was covered.