I cringe at the shrill tone coming from the phone. It had gone straight to my ear.
"What is it Becky?" I say after pressing to the side of my face again. "Is something wrong?"
"Wrong? Oh no!" she exclaims from the other end. "In fact, something wonderful has happened!"
I sigh. "Is Gucci having a sale?"
I hear her tut. "Well, no, it wasn't that, but now that you mention it...they are!" She pauses for a moment. "Luke, are you... psychic?"
I can't keep the side of my mouth from twitching. "Actually, I've been sitting on my desk Googling the latest designer sales for this month." I'm pretty sure that's what she has been doing.
"How did you know that?" I hear a sharp intake of breath.
"Irrelevant," I mumble. "What was it you were saying earlier?"
"Right, I almost forgot. Eric approved my idea. We're having an office dinner, a proper one, for Collin!" Her voice has gotten a little higher. "It's on Friday, and I was wondering if-"
"Let me guess, I have to take you shopping for an outfit?" I predict.
"Oh Luke, you really are psychic!"
I quickly calculate whether I had enough money at the moment for a shopping spree that could get out of hand.
"But this isn't just some date, Luke, we're on official business too, we have to get you an outfit as well! I want you to look absolutely dashing in front of Collin..."
I feel my jaw tighten. "I don't need another outfit, Becky. You know that. We just shopped for a suit three months ago."
"Three months!" She starts to mumble but abruptly stops. I can tell that she's considering the talk we had about money after the company crisis. "Oh, alright."
"We have to do it today, am I right?" I say. "What time do I pick you up from there?"
"After the store closes," she says, animation returning to her voice. "Thanks Luke, you're the best. Love you!"
"I love you."
I walk into The Look thirty minutes after closing time. "Hello, Vern," I say to the security guard as he opens the door for me.
"Becky's upstairs," Vern says, smiling. "Date night?"
"You can call it that," I reply with a grin.
I take the elevator to the offices and in less than five minutes, I was outside the shoppers' office.
"You look amazing."
I pause, hearing a male voice from inside.
"Thank you Collin!"
That was Becky.
I open the door anyway.
A guy of about my age looks up and glances at me. Becky turns around. She's in a shiny black dress which I'm certain she wasn't wearing this morning.
"Luke!" she says, striding to me and kissing me on the cheek. "You're..."
"Late?" I scratch my chin, realizing that I had unknowingly clenched my teeth. "I'm sorry, Becky, I had to finish up at the office."
"It's perfectly alright!" Becky says, smiling. She turns to the man behind her. "This is Collin Vanderbilt, I've been telling you about him. Collin, this is my husband Luke."
Collin gives me a big smile and holds out his hand. "Luke Brandon! At last."
I take his hand and he clutches mine before releasing quickly.
"Pleasure," I say, nodding. I turn to Becky. "So... You've gone shopping already." Without me.
Becky shakes her head. "Oh no, actually, I was just finishing up with Mrs. Donnelly when Collin here surprised me." Mrs. Donnelly is Becky's oldest customer. "I turned around and there he was, with a hamper carrying the most gorgeous black dress on it!"
I believe this is the nineteenth most gorgeous black dress that Becky has seen ever since we met.
"And it's Gucci, Luke!" she exclaims. "Gucci!"
I give her a curt, knowing nod at the little inside joke.
"I saw it on the New Arrivals rack in the third floor," he explains. "I thought... this would make Becky's skin glow." He takes a long look at Becky.
"You're right," I agree.
"I just had to buy it," he says in the dreamy, fanatical tone Becky uses for the purchases she gets infatuated with. "For her."
I stare at him for a while. He's surveying Becky with another adoring look. "The dress is fantastic on her, isn't it?"
Again, I agree. Then I turn to Becky.
"He insists that I wear it to the dinner on Friday night," Becky says. "So now we can buy you an outfit!"
"That really won't be necessary," I tell Becky, making it a point to give her a firm look.
"I guess you're right," she murmurs, "But we'll see if you change your mind."
I shake my head, smiling. "Right... shall we go home now? The nanny wants to go home and Minnie..."
"Gosh!" Becky turns to Collin. "We really must go! Francine will have a major freak!" She takes Collin's hand and clutches it. "Oh Collin... Thank you. Thank you so much. I can never thank you enough..."
Collin makes a sweeping gesture with his hand. "Don't be silly, it's a gift for you." He kisses her on the cheek.
"It was nice meeting you," I say to Collin.
"Of course," Collin says.
I open my mouth and close it again. "We really must go now."
"Then we'll see you on Friday, alright?" Collin asks with a smile.
I give a small nod.
As we walk out of the store and into the car, one thing is certain in my mind.
"So what did you think of Collin?" Becky says, brushing imaginary lint from her new frock.
I reply with the assumption that I have been strengthening with evidence during the whole encounter.
"The man is gay."