A/N I'd like to thank LittleFairyMaiden for being my collaborator and beta for this story...This is the first Hairspray story that we've done together...I hope that you will enjoy reading it...
Disclaimer: We own none of the characters/real life/historical persons that are recognizable and we don't own the documentary that is mentioned in this chapter either...
Do You Take This Person?
A warm summer breeze blew past Tracy Turnblad as she opened Baltimore Bridal, a store she had opened a year earlier. She was a little over five feet tall with brown shoulder length hair which she wore in a low ponytail and deep brown eyes. She was born in Baltimore and adored the way the city bustled during the week but quieted down on the weekends.
The store was a small shop residing in an older white building next to a Starbucks. The shop had a showroom in the front with a large mirror sitting in the middle of the room. Rows of dresses lined one side of the store while mannequins wearing different dresses were placed at various intervals, including the front window.
Her assistant, Shelby, a twenty-six year old redheaded girl five years Tracy's junior walked through the door a moment later, two white Starbucks cups in hand. She had short red hair and green eyes; eyes that stood out with the help of her jade blouse. A black skirt and pumps rounded out her ensemble.
Tracy and Shelby met three years prior at a wedding convention in New York. Tracy was there looking at dresses for her former job as a buyer, Shelby was there helping a friend look for her wedding dress. They had bumped into each other while grabbing the same dress. In the end, Tracy let Shelby's friend take the dress, finding more suitable ones for the store.
"Morning, Boss. I got Caramel Macchiato, your favorite," Shelby greeted, handing Tracy one of the cups.
Tracy took if from her and drank, savoring the taste. "Thanks, Shel." She looked at the cup and gave Shelby a mischievous grin. "Who's Jack?"
Shelby grabbed the cup, trying to hide a smile. "He's just the new guy who took the coffee orders," she answered quickly.
Tracy knew that he must have been more than "a guy" since he left his phone number on the cup and Shelby had answered so quickly. "Are you going to call him?"
"I don't know, anyways its nine, time to officially open for the day."
"Nice way of avoiding the question," Tracy smirked as she headed into her office to grab a list of the day's appointments, leaving Shelby to flip the sign on the door to "OPEN".
The front door opened as she returned. A young blonde haired woman with short, elfin features walked in followed by a tall, lanky man. Her pink pant suit was a stark contrast to his laid back dark jeans and blue button down shirt. He appeared to be older than the young woman; she seemed like she was in her early twenties and he his thirties. He had blue eyes and black hair. Tracy saw dimples as he smiled when the woman spoke to him. The way he smiled at the woman sent a pang of jealousy through Tracy. It was so tender that Tracy could tell that he loved her just by watching them.
Tracy smoothed out her sapphire blouse and black skirt in attempt to mask her attraction to the man. She felt like a school girl again with her cheeks flaming. It wasn't as if she had never had a boyfriend before, but trying to set up then run her own business left little time to date. She was glad when Shelby went over to greet them. She looked down at the appointments list in her hand as a way to distract herself from staring at the man, envious at the woman beside him.
Shelby held out her hand to the woman. "Welcome to Baltimore Bridal, my name is Shelby."
"My name is Abbey it's nice to meet you," the woman answered, shaking her hand. Her voice was filled with confidence and Tracy could tell that Abbey was a person who knew what she wanted.
Shelby smiled at the man behind Abbey. "And is this your fiancé? There had been a few prior occasions where brides-to-be brought in their fiancés with them to get their opinion on the dress, but Shelby was brought up to adhere to traditional values such as not letting the groom see the wedding dress before the ceremony. "You know it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding day," she added.
Abbey laughed. "No, this is my brother, Link."
Tracy silently sighed in relief at hearing Abbey's words; her jealousy quickly fading away.
Shelby colored slightly. Their appearances were so different that on just meeting them, she never thought that they could be related in any way. "I apologize."
"No need for apologies. We don't look all that much alike so it was an easy mistake," Abbey said calmly. She sounded like Link had been mistaken for her fiancé before.
"I'm here to help," Link stated nonchalantly.
"Well, welcome, Link. You can have a seat in one of the chairs." Shelby motioned to two golden colored Victorian style chairs adjacent to the mirror.
Link smiled and thanked her before claiming the chair closest to him.
Shelby nodded her head in response to him then turned back to Abbey. "Do you know what kind of dress you would like?"
"I don't want to be a traditional bride. I would like a short skirt…"
"Not too short," Link interjected.
"Knee length," Abbey amended. She gazed at Link, who nodded approvingly. "And I like some beading but not a lot."
Shelby stood there a moment placing her index finger to her lips in thought. "I think I have some dresses that you may like," she said a minute later.
She led Abbey over to the rack of dresses and pulled out two. Taking the dresses, Shelby headed to the dressing rooms in the back with Abbey following. There were two with light blue walls. Abbey was shown into the first room and Shelby helped her into the first dress, a strapless white knee length Galina gown with subtle beading on the bodice and skirt. An off white belt rested along the waist.
Tracy looked up from where she was putting some new dresses on the rack as Abbey emerged with Shelby following. She went to the mirror so both she and Link could properly look at the gown.
Abbey twirled around so she could see every inch of the dress exclaiming, "It's beautiful!" She stopped in front of her brother and watched him for his reaction. "What do you think, Link?"
He was silent as he assessed the dress. When he broke his silence he answered, "Isn't the dress supposed to be white? It looks brown almost."
Abbey faced the mirror again and glanced down at the dress and sighed. "You're right as always." She sounded annoyed like he had noticed other things before.
Shelby stood in front of her "Do you mind?" she asked, seeking permission to touch the dress. Abbey nodded and Shelby handled the material between her fingers. "Tracy, can you come here for a moment?" she inquired a minute later.
Tracy was in the front window fixing the mannequins dress. She stood and walked over to Shelby and Abbey. She stuck out her hand to Abbey and introduced herself before saying, "What's the matter?" to Shelby.
"The dress is not white. Didn't we order it asking for white?" Shelby answered, standing so that Tracy could get a closer look.
"If you want this dress we can order a new one with your measurements and ask for it to be white," she told Abbey.
Abbey frowned, giving Link a dirty look. "You just had to find something didn't you?" she told him.
"I was just asking a question," he said, defending himself.
"He didn't make the dress," Shelby pointed out.
"She likes to blame me anyways," Link said. All three women looked to him.
Tracy noticed a hint of recognition flash through Link's eyes when she was able to properly see him. She didn't think she had ever met him before; his blue eyes and dimpled smile were something she'd remember.
"I think we met before," he said to her, voicing a shared thought.
Tracy shook her head, uncertain. "I don't believe we have."
"You went to Patterson Park High School, didn't you?" he pressed.
"I graduated thirteen years ago," she told him.
"Link, that's when you graduated too," Abbey said, incredulously.
He nodded at his sister. "I was a nerd back in high school…"
"You're still a nerd," Abbey murmured before he could finish.
Link ignored her. "And Tracy was in the popular crowd, so I'm not surprised you don't remember me."
Tracy was dumbfounded. She had no memory of ever meeting Link. Sure, she had been part of the popular crowd in high school but she was never totally comfortable being part of that group on account of her shyness. That shyness prevented her from befriending others in the other cliques.
"Plus, it was a while ago that we last saw each other," Link added, seeing Tracy stand in place, speechless.
"So how have you've been?" Tracy asked, breaking the awkward moment between them.
Link smiled again and Tracy drew in air. It disappeared a moment later upon seeing her reaction. Link wasn't sure what to make of Tracy. "I've been good. I'm a historian."
"A brilliant historian," Abbey told her.
Tracy remembered that she and Link weren't the only ones in the room. "I'm sorry for neglecting you," she said hurriedly.
Abbey grinned. "It's not everyday that I meet one of my brothers old school mates, and I get to meet a lot of people."
"Oh?" Tracy and Shelby said in tandem.
"I'm a flight attendant. That's how I met Tom, my fiancé."
Tracy watched Link to see if any disapproval showed when Abbey said Tom's name, but there was none; his face softened as he listened to Abbey. He seemed generally happy for his sister's upcoming nuptials.
"Our wedding is on July thirty-first of next year, is that enough time for the dress to be ready?" Abbey inquired, bringing Tracy's gaze from Link to her.
"Plenty of time," Tracy assured her. "So is this the dress you want?"
Abbey nodded. "Yes, it's simple yet elegant." To Shelby she added, "Thank you."
"You're welcome. I'll go get the forms so you can purchase this dress and it can be altered," Shelby told her.
While Shelby got the forms, Tracy found out that Tom was a businessman traveling to a two day conference when Abbey met him and that it was love at first sight. When Shelby returned she was told the same story about how Abbey and Tom met while Abbey filled out the paperwork. They also scheduled an appointment for the first fitting. When everything was done, Tracy shook hands with both Abbey and Link, telling them that she'd see them again at the first fitting. When Tracy's skin touched Links she couldn't help but feel a shock of warmth go up her arm at his touch. As soon as they has bid goodbye to Shelby and were gone, Tracy studied her hand, wondering what caused the shock, finding her hand to look normal, as if nothing happened.
Three weeks later, Link escorted Abbey into the store for her fitting. Tracy greeted them as Shelby was busy with another customer. Her attraction to Link had not faded any during the absence from each other. His handsome features still took her breath away as he came in wearing brown slacks and a white button down shirt. Abbey wore a pink tank top and jeans. Tracy was surprised, at first that Link had come to Abbey's appointment again but she thought that since he saw the dress before alterations, he wanted to make sure that the dress was the correct color.
Shelby came over and brought Abbey to the dressing rooms to try on the dress again, leaving Tracy and Link in the showroom together.
"Why don't you sit?" he asked her motioning to the chairs.
Tracy didn't usually sit with customers thinking that it seemed unprofessional but on this occasion she couldn't think of any specific reason to refuse him, so she sat. He joined her, sitting in the same chair as he had previously. Tracy noticed that he was wearing black framed glasses.
"You have glasses," she spurted out unthinking. She was about to apologize when Link held up his hand to stop her and told her, "I usually wear contacts but I had a long meeting today and I didn't have time to put my contacts in."
"A meeting about what?" She was genuinely curious. All he mentioned previously was that he was a historian; he didn't elaborate on what subjects he was interested in.
"A diary from Martha Washington was found by a couple in Virginia. My boss had me pay them a visit and ask them if I could borrow the diary to see if it was authentic."
"Was it authentic?"
"Yes, Martha kept details about her days while her husband was off fighting the British during the American Revolution. There were even a few letters that George Washington sent to her." His voice was animated as he spoke, Tracy could tell that he was very interested in what he was discussing.
"Did he write of the war?"
"He did, but he also mentioned how he missed her."
"So you are an American Revolution historian?" she asked when he paused from his description of what he found.
He nodded. "There was a television documentary named The American Revolution with Cliff Robertson as George Washington. After watching it, I went to the library and checked out every book on the revolution that they had."
Tracy didn't recall too much of what they were taught about the revolution in history class or ever seeing the documentary but what she did remember was that there were a lot of deaths and husbands were away for years at a time. She voiced her opinion on those two memories to Link. "I don't approve of the killing but while the men were away the women had to run their entire household. It's amazing what how strong women like Martha Washington were."
His eyes sparkled. "Women back then were amazing…I'm sorry. I know how this can sound utterly boring."
"It's okay. It's sort of interesting," Tracy told him. "Please, continue."
He did as they continued talking about Revolutionary times, including fashions of that time period.
"Women wore these long dresses and corsets back in the eighteenth century, not at all practical for the jobs they did in the household."
He was amused at the turn in topic. "You do like clothes, don't you?"
Tracy shrugged. "What girl doesn't?"
Abbey and Shelby emerged from the back before Link could answer her. Abbey stopped in front of the mirror. A walk in came into the store and Shelby went over to tend to her, leaving Tracy in charge of Abbey's appointment.
Tracy stood and went over to her. "It looks beautiful," she said.
Abbey smiled. "It's the right shade of white."
The smile quickly turned to a frown as she moved from side to side.
Tracy could tell that Abbey could see something so she decided to stop her and ask, "What's wrong?"
"The hem's not straight." She sounded really disappointed that the dress wasn't perfect.
Tracy got a measuring tape from her pocket and kneeled in front of Abbey. She measured the hem and stood, placing the measuring tape back in her pocket. "The left side is an inch longer," she concurred.
Abbey looked to Tracy. "Can it be easily fixed?"
Tracy had seen this type of problem before and knew that with a few moves on the sewing machine, it was easily remedied. "Yes, they just have to adjust the measurements and sew."
"Too bad you don't have a Betty Ross here at the store," Link mentioned.
"Betty Ross sewed the American flag," Tracy said, chuckling.
Link was swift with his reply. "I'm sure she also made dresses."
Tracy pondered that statement for a moment. "True, she probably did. Many women made their own attire in the eighteenth century."
Abbey watched Tracy and Link with amusement. "I see Link has been talking about the American Revolution again."
"I didn't mind," Tracy told her.
Link shrugged. "She kept me company while you were getting dressed."
Abbey had to leave so Tracy told her that she'd call when the hem was fixed and they could set up another time for her next fitting.
"Most brides have more than one fitting before the dress is absolutely ready," Tracy told her as she and her brother were getting ready to leave. Link was holding the door for her.
Abbey paused before she reached the door. "Really?"
"And the problems are usually easily fixable, just like yours," Tracy continued.
"Thanks, Tracy. I'll be waiting to hear from you."
"I'll be in touch as soon as it's ready," Tracy assured her.
Abbey walked out. Link gave Tracy a grin before following her. Tracy didn't know if she'd see Link again, but she hoped that she would.
At the end of the next fitting the dress was ready for the wedding. Link had accompanied Abbey again. Tracy was happy to see him and they spent the time while Abbey tried on the dress talking again. They discussed how she decided to become an entrepreneur. At the end of the appointment she'd asked Tracy if she could buy bridesmaids dresses from her. Tracy answered affirmatively and questioning, "What style of dress and color were you thinking?"
"Red and yellow. I read that they symbolize love and friendship," Abbey answered.
In working with brides, Tracy had found that friendship as well as love had been a key component to making the relationship work and she told Abbey so. Abbey ordered four bridesmaid dresses, two yellow, two red when she came in with Link and her four bridesmaids for the initial measurements.
At the last fitting Link lingered behind as Abbey and her bridal party left the shop. Tracy was happy to see that he didn't seem to want to leave since she didn't want the fittings to end so she could see him each time Abbey came in, but she knew that the dresses didn't need any more alterations.
Tracy studied him curiously. "Is there anything I can do for you, Link?"
"I hope so," he said softly, his hands twisting nervously.
Tracy waited, wondering if she should speak or if Link would continue. He did a moment later. "When Abbey first asked me to come with her to look at dresses, I thought she was kidding, but then she told me that she really wanted my opinion. I wasn't too keen on spending my day looking at wedding dresses but when I saw you that changed."
Tracy fidgeted a bit wondering where he was going with his speech. She was glad that Abbey had asked him to come with her and the times that they talked. She was brought out of her thoughts when he asked, "Tracy, will you go out with me?"