The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(41) by Lynsay Sands
“Well, sure, if you have enough money, then—”
“How much is enough?” he asked with amusement. “Because I know many wealthy mortals who have millions, and instead of relaxing and enjoying it, waste their short lives on acquiring more millions,” he said wryly, and then added, “Do not get me wrong, the wealth I have allows me to do things I could not otherwise do. I could not visit my daughter here in Canada when I wish, I could not help bankroll the Enforcers and so on. But it was not the money I have that kept me alive all these centuries, it was the love of my family and children.
“Money is not the secret to happiness,” he assured her. “And it is not as important as the present culture claims it is. Unfortunately, those who are without money and unhappy think that money will fix all their woes, and those who do have a bit of money and are unhappy, think more money will make the difference. But their thinking is wrong,” he said solemnly, cupping her shoulders. “And I know this because with all the money I possess, in all the millennia I’ve lived, I have not been truly completely happy except for twice in my life . . . when I was with my Acantha, and since meeting you.”
Sherry stared at him, wide-eyed. They’d known each other a little less than two days . . . and she didn’t have a clue how to respond to that, so was actually grateful when Victor called out, “Sorry, bro.”
She and Basil glanced around to see him walking toward them, his arm around Elvi.
“I should have given you the keys to the car so you weren’t left standing around waiting for us,” Victor said, and raised his key fob to push the button to unlock the car doors. “Hop in. Time to shop.”
Nodding, Basil urged Sherry to the car and opened the door for her. She slid in without protest and then busied herself doing up her seat belt as the others got in. Much to her relief, Elvi began chattering away about her restaurant, saving Sherry from responding to Basil’s words, which was a relief since she still didn’t have a clue what to say.
It turned out that the entrance to Masonville Mall was just across the street from the restaurant where they’d had lunch. Inside, it took about two and a half minutes for Sherry to notice that most of the stores were geared toward the younger crowd, and that the shoppers milling around them were mostly young too.
“This mall is close to the university,” Elvi explained as they paused to look in a store window. “It’s where most of the university students shop.”
“Ah,” Sherry said with a nod. “So, why are we shopping here?”
“Because it has good stores and lots of selection . . . it also has a Rocky Mountain chocolate store, which I love,” the other woman added with a grin.
Sherry chuckled at the admission.
“You’d look good in that,” Elvi commented, eyeing a mannequin in a store window that wore a cropped burgundy sweater and ripped jeans.
“It’s kind of casual,” Sherry said uncertainly, and then asked, “Don’t you think it’s a little young for me?”
“You’re on vacation, casual is what you need. You’re also thirty-two and single, not sixty-two and a granny,” Elvi said with amusement. “Come on. You need to at least try it on.”
Sherry shook her head, but allowed the woman to drag her into the store, aware that the men were following docilely along. Ten minutes later Sherry found herself in a changing room with scads of totally inappropriate clothing hanging on the rods all around her. Short skirts, cropped tops, tight jeans . . . There wasn’t a thing there that she would normally wear. She was a businesswoman, she wore business clothes . . . always. But then she was always working and had been doing so for a long time. She had spent years working overtime and skimping and saving to start her own store, and since opening it she’d worked just as long and hard to get it up and profitable.
Come to think of it, she led a pretty boring life, Sherry acknowledged with a frown. Or had before this anyway.
“I don’t hear any sound coming from in there,” Elvi said from the other side of the door. “Have you even started to undress?”
“No,” Sherry admitted.
“Well, get to it. Start with that short leather skirt and the cropped sweater while I go grab those snakeskin pants we passed on the way here. I’ll be right back.”
“Snakeskin?” Sherry muttered, and shook her head. She was thirty-two years old. Responsible, hardworking . . . boring. She did not wear snakeskin anything.
“What the hell,” she muttered to herself. She wasn’t paying for these clothes, so it wouldn’t matter if she never wore them again. Why not wear some of these things while she was here? It would certainly be a new experience. She had been a jeans and T-shirt girl with her nose stuck in books in university and then graduated directly to business suits. She’d sort of bypassed the whole experiment with the slutty clothes stage.
“I’ve lost my mind,” she told her reflection in the mirror, and began to strip.
The brown leather skirt and cropped burgundy sweater looked kind of cute together. Or would if her muffin top wasn’t showing between where the cropped sweater ended and the skirt started, she thought with a grimace. She really needed to work out or something. Diet too. She was probably killing herself with all the takeout she ate and the hours she spent sitting at her desk hunched over the books. She was certainly killing anything approaching a figure.
“Muffin tops and saddlebags,” she breathed with a sigh as she peered at herself. “Nice.” And was she getting a double chin? Ugh!
Well, at least the skirt hid the saddlebags, she noted, turning a bit from side to side. She had okay legs too. Her thighs were a bit chunky, but you couldn’t see that under the skirt either.
“Well?” Elvi asked, outside the door.
Sherry reached for the doorknob to the changing room and then hesitated. “Are the men out there?”
“Then I’m not coming out,” Sherry said, letting her hand drop from the doorknob.
Elvi clucked with exasperation and then said, “Basil, go see if there’s anything you’d like to see her in. Victor, go with him.”
Sherry heard the men’s voices rumble and then silence.
“Okay, they’re gone,” Elvi announced.
Sherry opened the door and stepped out. All she said was, “Muffin top.”
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