"Ripped Jeans"

"Ta-da!"

Erik looked up from where he'd been staring at his feet and twiddling his thumbs to look at his young fiancée.

"What do you think?" asked a gushing Christine, newly-emerged from the tiny dressing room. She did a couple of twirls on tip-toe, sending her vibrant brown curls flying in all directions.

"You look lovely, Christine," he said. And he meant it, too…

"Really?" she asked again, more skeptically.

Erik sighed. "Have I ever lied to you?"

She paused, thinking his question over for a moment. "Well, there was that whole deal with the 'Angel—"

"About stuff like this, then?" he amended.

"No…" she said. She turned abruptly to examine her slim dancer's figure in a nearby mirror.

Erik sighed, sneaking a peak at his watch…and then tapping the face a few times. Surely the battery must be dying, giving a last spurt of energy before it fizzled out altogether? But no…apparently, it really had been three hours. I should never have agreed to this, he thought, kicking himself mentally for letting Christine talk him into taking her shopping.

"It's kind of expensive," she was saying, examining the price tags hanging from the new clothes.

"How much are they asking?"

His eyes widened considerably as she read off the prices. He sat forward in the overly-stuffed chair and reconsidered the ensemble in question. "The shirt is nice…" he began.

She turned away from the mirror to look at him. "Yes…"

"Oh, Christine, you shouldn't get those pants…there's a huge rip on the knee, look."

Startled, she looked down, then met his eyes again, grinning. "But, Erik…it's supposed to be there."

"What a bunch of rubbish," he retorted. "Who in their right mind would pay for pants that have a great gaping hole in them already? Much less wear them in public."

She laughed, then came over and sat in his lap. "Oh, Erik, you're so old-fashioned sometimes," she said, then kissed him full on the lips, right there in the middle of the store.

He blushed under his mask and watched with wonder as she stood again, amazed at the fact that such a beautiful girl would choose willingly to associate with the likes of him. She looked at him expectantly and he said, "Sorry…what were we talking about?"

"I was saying that these clothes were nice, but they're pretty expensive…we can go someplace else, I'm sure I'll find something cheaper—"

"Nonsense," he said, coming to his feet. "If you like it, then the price doesn't matter, Christine."

She smiled, an expression much akin to mischievousness crossing her features for a split second. "Thank you, Erik. Hang on, I'll be right back, I need to change…"

-----

It was only after he dropped her off at her apartment and discovered that she left her receipt in his car that he realized he had really just paid that much for a pair of fashionably-destroyed blue jeans.