The White Dress: Part I

      He sent the train tickets in advance and paid me a substantial deposit for my time, so I traveled to meet him.  It was one of my first independent pro-sub sessions.  I also didn’t screen him, because I didn’t yet know how.

      I got off at the train station and took a cab to his house (he’d offered to send a driver, but I didn’t feel safe about that, which is rather ironic).  I was almost totally unfamiliar with South New Jersey outside of Trenton, and this place was most assuredly not Trenton.  It was the suburbs right before the geography becomes bucolic.  Big houses set back from the street, with rolling green lawns.  The house the cab arrived at had a privacy fence made out of hedges.  

     I tipped the driver an extra $25 and asked him to wait for me for an extra 15 minutes.  I didn’t give him an explanation, but I was afraid that Bluebeard or The Headless Horseman was going to answer the door and I was going to have to run, shrieking, back to the cab.  

     The walkpath to his front door seemed approximately as long as the Appalachian trail.  I was wearing sensible low heels that clicked on the stone.  I looked back over my shoulder to see if the cab driver was still there, and he was.  He waved at me.

      I couldn’t find the bell, so I had to use the knocker.  

      The first thing that struck me about him was that I had to turn my face up to see him.  I almost never have to do that to look into a man’s face.  He’d described himself in our email exchanges, but he’d omitted the fact that he was at least 6’4″ tall (I might have inferred it, though, since he’d told me that he played Rugby in college.  Why do clients feel the need to tell me, in their opening greetings, about the sports they played 40 fucking years ago, before I was even born?  But I did not know what Rugby was, except that it involved a ball and meatheads). 

      Aside from his unusual size, he looked like a perfectly average white guy pushing 60.  His hair was balding and he’d cut it Bruce Willis-short.  He was wearing a gray tweed jacket.  Wasn’t ugly, wasn’t handsome.

       “Well, you must be Margo!”  He gave me the old up-and-down, which is pretty standard, and then invited me inside.

       The house was cool and utterly quiet and I knew instinctively that we were the only people home, but he did have two friendly Husky dogs, and petting them relaxed me significantly.  We made small talk about the train ride.  Then he brought me a bottle of water and asked me if I’d like to use the restroom.

        In the bathroom were two boxes and an envelope.  The envelope contained the remainder of my fee.  The boxes contained some clothes that he wanted me to wear when we went for a walk around town.

        In the emails I’d asked him, What sort of clothes are we talking about here?  I’m not into any sort of exhibitionism and I prefer to be discreet in public.

        He’d assured me that the clothes would not attract attention.

        I was hoping that the dress would either be a really nice sundress or a cocktail dress, or even something that I could wear to the office, something I normally couldn’t afford to buy myself.

       The dress in the box was a nice dress (I guess…I mean, it looked well-made), but it was not something that I would have purchased for myself.  I picked it up and shook it out, trying to make sense of it.

      It was white cotton (but soft, not stiff) with a high neck and a peter pan collar.  The sleeves were short and slightly puffed, and it had an empire waist.  The length was odd, because it was unfashionable for ladieswear that year.  It came down below the knee, almost to the shin, and there was a little ruffle on the hem.

      It looked like a very feminine sundress.  But there was something weird about it.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, other than that it looked a little bit old-fashioned, or maybe demure would be the right word.

       I put it on.  It was a little tight under the arms, but otherwise, it fit fine (I’d given him my clothing sizes).

       I looked at myself in the mirror.  It was pretty.

      In the other box was a pair of new shoes.  I was hoping that they wouldn’t be heels, because I didn’t want to have to teeter around town in stilettos.

     They were brown lace-up loafers.  I had a pair almost exactly like them at home.  Mine were Dexters.  I didn’t recognize this brand.

       “That’s very nice!” he said when I came out, and made a little turning move with his hand so that I should turn and he could see the back.

      The happy Huskies ran over to me and I extended my hands to rub their ears.

       “Don’t get dog hair on that dress,” he snapped.

       It startled me and I pulled my hand back.

       “Oh, sorry,” I said.

       “No problem!” He jingled his car keys in his hand.  “Ready to go into town?”

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