“I know,” I acknowledged. Jett had never made me feel like less than because I needed help. “But I’ve always had a difficult time taking anything from him.”
“Because you’re a good person,” Pete observed. “But let him take care of you right now while you’re fragile. You can give back later, once you have everything together. I’m personally involved with helping some homeless projects with fundraising and volunteer work.”
“Can I help?” I asked, eager to help others who were still in my former position.
He beamed at me. “Not now. But I’d welcome your help in the future. You have to look to yourself first. You can’t help somebody else unless you can take care of yourself first.”
“In that case, can you help me find an inexpensive place to buy a dress? Jett is taking me out to eat on the waterfront tonight. And I’d like to not look like a vagabond,” I joked.
He winked at me. “I know a place. I’m one of the few people who actually grew up in this city. I have lots of connections.”
I laughed, feeling better than I had since the day Jett had rescued me.
Pete was right. I did need to get myself together, and that needed to be my focus for now. I was progressing slowly with counseling. I had an appointment to get my driver’s license and my GED so I could decide what I wanted to do in the future.
Because of Jett, I was going to succeed.
If nothing else, I was going to let him know that I’d been worth saving.
“I look…okay,” I whispered to myself uncertainly as I stood in front of the mirror in my bedroom suite.
I hadn’t seen Jett yet, but he’d bellowed out from his office that our reservation was at seven p.m. as I’d come back into the penthouse.
I was ready, and it was barely six fifteen. But I knew traffic was probably going to be crazy.
As I peered into the mirror again, I finally saw the woman I could be if I was able to take care of myself.
The stylist had taken off a considerable amount of length from my dark hair to shape it into a healthier style. It barely brushed my shoulders now, but the big fat curls she’d put into my normally straight hair made me look older, and more sophisticated. And the reddish-brown highlighting made my hair shine.
My skin was glowing from the makeup the makeover artist had used sparingly by my request.
I didn’t want to change my appearance; I wanted to enhance what was already there.
She’d highlighted my dark eyes with a smoky-colored shadow that made my boring, brown eyes a little more mysterious.
Pete had taken me to the store where his wife worked, and I’d chosen a dress that had been on clearance because summer was coming to an end. It was the first days of fall, but the weather was still warm enough to wear a summer outfit, so I’d purchased the beautiful dress, knowing I could always wear it next year if the weather got chilly soon.
I’d fallen in love with the simplicity of the little black dress almost immediately. It was strapless, which was going to take some getting used to, but I loved the slightly asymmetrical look. The front, which ended just above the knee, was slightly shorter than the back, and that small difference made the silky material fall around my body in an unusual and elegant shape.
I twirled around, loving the way the skirt fell right back into place when I stopped.
Maybe the dress would be nothing special to most women, but it was special to me because it was the first dress I’d ever chosen myself.
A sharp rap on the door brought me out of my fantasy. “Hey, Cinderella. You ready?” Jett called through the door.
“On my way,” I answered as I slipped my feet into a pair of sandals. I’d picked up a black pair with low heels so I didn’t make a fool out of myself by tripping over stilettos.
I picked up my purse, and frowned. I knew it wasn’t exactly a dress purse. It was the same small, black, cross-body that I used every day, but it would have to work.
I took a deep breath, and left my room, making my way to the living room downstairs where I knew Jett would be waiting.
He was seated on the couch with his phone, apparently answering text messages, judging by the way he was typing furiously with his head down.