Sorry this chapter too so long. I will try to keep all my stories updated as much as possible.

Ch 6

It had been a week since Veronica's father agreed to the Ireland trip, and he was noticing differences in his little girl. He did want her to grow up and out of her snobbish self, but she would always be his little girl. "Maybe this Brian fellow will help her become less of a brat and more of a woman." He said out loud to himself while smoking a pipe in his den.

Downstairs, he knew Veronica was getting ready for her shopping trip with Kristy. He had given her an amount of money that she could spend. She was not to go over that amount but, come as close to it as she could. They were still trying to watch their finances.

Veronica was on the phone with her best friend. "We have to tell her Kristy. I'll help you. You have to tell your mother that it isn't just me and you going on this trip. She will find out sooner or later. It has to come from us."

Kristy was pacing her bedroom while worrying about what to tell her mother. She lied to go on this trip and now she needed to come clean. There was only a week left until the trip was set to take place. Looking out her window she saw her mother's vehicle pull into the driveway. "Veronica, she's here. I'll see you soon." With that she bounded down the stairs to her mother's side.

The ride to Veronica's was quiet. Kristy wanted to tell her mother, but she didn't want to ruin the shopping trip.

Once they pulled into Veronica's driveway, Kristy unbuckled her belt and waited for the car to slow to a stop. Once stopped, Kristy leaped out and sprinted to the door. Veronica was on the other side and her only chance of help.

They walked side by side and were huddled close together whispering about the situation at hand and the best way to deal with it.

When the two girls entered the car, both in the backseat, Kristy's mother looked over her shoulder and asked, "Why so secretive today, girls?"

Veronica was the first to speak up. "We actually have something we need to discuss with you. I kind of invited my boyfriend and the boyfriends of the other girls along on the trip too. I was just telling Kristy that I know you agreed to let her go, and this may change your mind, but I thought it would be a fun experience for all of us to go as a team since we are part of a team. This happened just two days ago, so its not like we were keeping it from you. You know I consider you to be like a mother to me and I wouldn't want you to be left in the dark about what was going on while we were in a foreign country."

Kristy chimed in, "Mom, please can I still go? I want to see Ireland, and I feel like the others would want us all to be together. Please?"

Kristy's mother pulled into a parking stall at the crowded mall and turned off the vehicle. She turned in her seat and looked at the two girls. "I am not going to let you girls off here and I will go into work for a while. When you are finished, please give me a call. By then I will have an answer for you. Veronica, why you felt the need to invite everyone is beyond me. They will only slow you two down, but like I said, I will give my answer when I pick you up. Behave like ladies, and do not spend too much. You're only going to be away for a little bit, you do not need an entire new wardrobe. Just a few warmer things like coats and pants, and maybe some jewelry. Think lightly, you do not want to travel with a million bags that weigh too much either. Go, enjoy your shopping."

The two best friends exchanged glances and did as they were told. They got out of the vehicle and began walking to the entrance of the mall.

"I can't believe you lied to my mother too." Kristy said to Veronica when they were in the mall.

"I didn't lie. I only stretched the truth, Kristy. She wouldn't let us go if we lied to her. We need to focus on shopping." Veronica knew that she had lied to Kristy's mother and needed to get it off her mind. "Let's check out the coats! I hear they are to die for this time of year." Veronica headed towards the food court to get to the coats she had mentioned earlier.

Veronica and Kristy perused the coats on clearance once they got to the store, only slightly looking through the racks. More focused on whether Kristy's mother was going to let her daughter go to Ireland.

"What about this on?" Kristy held up a light blue coat.

"It looks nice, Kristy. You should try it on." Veronica grabbed a brown and red colored coat and went back to the dressing room with Kristy.

The two girls tried on their selection of coats, praised each other's choices and bought them.

Veronica's phone rang as they walked to the food court to find something to nibble on while shopping.

"Its Scooter." Veronica found a table, sat down and began conversing with her boyfriend.

Kristy rolled her eyes at her best friend and went to grab some drinks.

Kristy stood in line at her favorite snack area and left when she saw Carole, Lisa, and Stevie walk into the mall. She jogged over to the trio and invited them to sit at the table with her and Veronica and even shop while they were still able to.

"Kristy, that sounds…" Stevie started, wary of her new friend's intentions.

"Great!" Lisa finished for her.

"Yes, it sounds fantastic." Stevie smiled at Kristy. "Sorry, guess old habits die hard. So, what first?"

Kristy explained the situation at hand. That they had until her mother got off work, that Veronica and her had a limited budget to shop for their new ensembles, and that they had no idea if she was going to be able to come with them on this trip. "But I so desperately want to."

By this time they had reached Veronica at the square table. She was turned away from them, still talking with Scooter.

"Its Scooter." Kristy confirmed what everyone was thinking.

"Bye." Veronica turned and about jumped out of her seat seeing the company. "My goodness! Hello, everyone. I trust that Kristy has invited you over?" She looked over at Kristy

"Yes." Carole spoke up. "We want to go to the shoe store after this break. We're looking for appropriate shoes for the trip."

"Riding boots just won't do!" Lisa spoke up.

"Veronica, thank you, for inviting us to come along with you. Not just shopping, but to Ireland." Stevie said.

This made Veronica blush, after all, she was not used to such flattery from former enemies. "It's no problem, we're all friends now."

Kristy got up, stretched and headed towards the store directly across from their little table. Turning around she gave them all a questioning look. "Are we shoe shopping, or sitting around all day?"

With a smile, everyone got up and joined her.

Two hours later, the girls were still chattering happily as if they had been friends forever. With a large amount of bags in hand, they walked into the very last store.

This was not a normal store for the mall. It was more than Stevie or Carole could have dreamed of. This store was a formal wear store. One where pricing may be more than a year of monthly allowances saved up.

"Wow." Stevie stepped in and felt like a princess.

"Welcome, Miss DiAngelo. How may I be of help today?" A young lady appeared before them. She was sharply dressed in a black skirt that landed slightly below her knees, a white blouse, with a blue suit jacket. Her shoes were silver flats, and she had her hair pulled into a tight bun at the top of her head.

"Thank you, Mary. My friends and I are just looking today." Veronica motioned to the girls behind her.

"Very well, if you need help with anything, we are more than welcome to assist." With an bow, she was off in a sea of dresses.

"Did she bow to us?" Carole asked.

"Yes, most employees here do. They are to treat us as royalty. Its their motto. Mom once got three free dresses when she was talked down to from one of the ladies. She no longer works here of course." Veronica swiftly moved to a back room where she lay her belongings. She motioned for the girls to do the same.

"This will be the fun part of the day." Kristy bounced up and down with excitement.

"I don't know how I am going to afford another article of clothing!" Lisa cried out laughing.

"Don't worry, most of these dresses are marked down to fit any price range." Kristy explained.

"Wow." Stevie was breathless.

"Its where we shop for prom, weddings, funerals, the lot." Veronica was off with not another word to the group.

"Well, it cant hurt to look." Stevie said with a mischievous grin on her face.

"Why not?" Carole shrugged and followed her out the door.

Lisa trailed shortly behind the two.

"Excuse me, Mary?" Lisa asked.

"Yes?" Mary replied.

"We were looking for maybe a clearance rack, or the lowest price range you have available. Can you point us in that direction?" Lisa shifted her weight feeling uncomfortable and waiting for a laugh as response. None came.

"Of course I can. If you just follow me to the side of the store here…" Her voice was cut off as the three girls followed the maiden.

Stevie found a light blue strapless dress that hugged her and flared out at the knees. There were sparkles on the skirt.

Carole found a purple strapless dress that went to the knees and had a flower on the side.

Lisa grabbed a light green ball gown. It had spaghetti straps and a large skirt that was almost a different shade of green all together.

Looking at each other they laughed. Never would they have thought that they would be in such a place.

The three girls took their selections back to the small room Veronica showed them. There were four dressing rooms in the small room.

"Veronica must come here a lot." Stevie commented.

"Not too often, just when I need a new formal dress." Veronica's response was polite, not snide or cruel like it would have been in the past.

"Why don't you three go first, and Kristy and I can help. Then you three can help us." Veronica suggested.

"Sounds good." Lisa replied and walked into a dressing room.

When the three girls stepped out, Veronica and Kristy were speechless.

"Wow. You guys look so good." Kristy remarked.

"Lisa, you should try on Carole's dress. Purple would look great with your brown hair. And Carole, you should wear green to bring out your eyes." Veronica suggested.

The two girls looked at each other, shrugged and decided to try it.

When in the dressing room, Carole tossed the dress over the top of the stall to Kristy, who took it and gave it to Lisa. Veronica took Lisa's dress and gave it to Carole, offering to help her zip it up.

When Lisa and Carole emerged once more, the girls looked at each other.

"Veronica was right, guys, you look so great!" Stevie had changed from her dress and was waiting to see the girls.

"I like it." Lisa whispered.

"Me too." Carole looked at herself in the mirror. She was enjoying the way the dress made her feel.

Kristy butted in on her admiration. "Guys, I am going to have to hop out. I have to call my mother."

"Please stay and show us your dress." Lisa begged.

"Okay. I guess she can wait a bit more." Kristy put her cell phone back in her purse.

Veronica stepped out of the dressing room with a red strapless dress on. There were black velvet swirls on the bodice and the skirt was accented where it picked up with diamonds.

The girls were breathless.

"Wow Veronica. That is so beautiful." Carole managed.

Kristy stepped out wearing an orange gown, floor length. A diamond of diamonds accented her cleavage.

"I don't know if I like that on you, Kristy." Stevie offered.

"It does look a little bit wrong on you, Kristy." Veronica stopped playing with her hair and looked at her best friend.

"I think you guys are right. It looked so cute on the hanger. But not so cute on me." Kristy turned to go back into the dressing room.

Lisa was the next to speak. "I did see a dress that looked like Stevie's in orange, would you like me to go find it, Kristy?"

Kristy smiled at the thought. "I did like that dress. Yes, that would be great, Lisa. Thank you."

Veronica changed out of her dress and sat Carole and Stevie and waited for Lisa to return.

Lisa came back with the dress and handed it in to Kristy. "Try this one on. It is different, but I figured that you may enjoy it."

Kristy put on the dress and stepped out for the gang to see.

This dress was a darker orange in color. It hugged Kristy closely. It was strapless mermaid design and had a low back. There were crisscrossing straps on the back to keep it together. At the calf, the dress opened to bright orange tulle skirt. The front of the dress had diamonds across the hem and at the waistline.

"I think this is it, Kristy. Its beautiful." Stevie said.

"Agreed!" Carole pitched in.

"I like it, but do you, Kristy?" Veronica asked.

"I do." Kristy faced herself in the mirror and smiled. "It is perfect. Thank you, Lisa!"

The girls purchased their dresses, grabbed their bags and went back to the food court.

Kristy dialed her mother's cell phone number nervously.

"It will be fine. Your mother can't say no to a field trip to a different culture!" Lisa commented.

"Yes she can, and that worries me." Kristy said. "Mom? Hi, we're done shopping. Yes we can be out front waiting. See you soon."

Kristy's mother pulled up in front of the mall shortly after the phone call.

"Bye guys! This was great fun. Let's do it again sometime. Like before riding classes start up again." Kristy suggested.

"Agreed." Veronica said, waving and stepping into the car.

Once they buckled their seatbelts, Kristy prepared for the worst.

"Kristy, who was the boy who kissed you?" her mother asked

"His name is Red. He works at the stables and he helps teach lessons. Max treats him like a son. Why?" Kristy answered.

Veronica looked at her best friend. She recognized the terror and fear on her face. She reached over and took a hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

"I was curious. You never mentioned it again after it happened. You also haven't mentioned him. Or that the boys would be going on this trip as well." Kristy's mother looked stern. Her jaw was set solid.

"Mom, I didn't want you to say I couldn't go. I know that the girls are going. Of course Scooter is going, its his house! Stevie is bringing her boyfriend, and I want mine to come too. He is invited after all. I cant control who Scooter invites. He may want guys around while the girls and I swoon over the landscape. I don't know." Kristy practically yelled at her mother and Veronica winced at the harshness of the voice of her best friend.

"So you are dating him, this, Red?"

"Yes, mom. I am." Kristy held her head high and a silent tear fell down her face.

"I don't want any horseplay. I know that when you are young, things seem so great. Things seem fantastic, and you think you are in love. But that is what makes us weak, makes us vulnerable to hurt. While there, please exercise caution."

"Are you saying I can go?" Kristy smiled and squeezed Veronica's hand back.

"I am. Just stay close to the girls, and please, Kristy, please, do not become too involved with this boy." Kristy's mother looked at the two girls in the back seat through the rearview mirror.

Clearly it was an emotional day for everyone.

Veronica stomped through her seemingly large house.

"Something wrong, sweetheart?"

"Daddy, I want to know if Kristy's mother has contacted you." Veronica didn't mean to be ugly to her father, but she was not happy about what happened in the car. This was her best friend, and even though she was allowed to go, somehow the boys had been brought into this.

"But of course sweet. She called me from her office."

Veronica let out a loud sigh of exasperation. She just wanted to have a long talk with her father, but her bed was calling her name.

"Daddy, I stayed in the budget." She smiled, proud of herself, and walked to her room.