Shrugging, she suddenly wanted to not speak anymore and was glad at the same time, he was pulling behind a large building. She easily avoided answering the question by asking, “Where are we?”
“A friend’s place of business.”
“What is it?”
“A spa and salon.”
Suddenly it felt like the whole world was caving in on her and she couldn’t take enough air. “I-I..”
Parker was prepared for this. “It’s fine.”
“They’ll – They’ll touch me.”
“No, they won’t.” He turned off the car and turned toward her. “I’ll be there the whole time. Just trust me.”
The tone was almost like her father’s voice and she couldn’t help but pay attention to him.
“I know about your condition and the staff is going out of their way for you. Now take deep slow breaths, Charisse, and calm down.”
“They won’t touch?”
“No. Actually you’re going to do everything yourself.”
A warm sense of calmness filled her and she didn’t know why she should trust him,
but for some reason she felt she needed to.
‘You need him. You need his sympathy,’ she reminded herself. She held her arms tight around her waist forcing the anxiety away that was slowly building internally. “I’m not going in.”
“It’s your birthday,” he cajoled. “I figured you needed to do something nice for yourself on your birthday.”
“Who cares if it’s my birthday? I haven’t celebrated it in…” She didn’t want
to think about that. The daymares would return if she ever thought about the past.
He got out of the car and came around to her side, opening her door, while reassuring her, “They aren’t going to touch you. I know about your condition and I made them aware.”
“So, how are they going to do anything? I never go to these.”
Leaning down in the car to her, he said, “I can tell. Now let’s go.”
That fatherly tone came again and something in the back of her mind made her get out of the car even though her conscious was telling her to stay where she was.
Parker was surprised she did get out even though her face said something different. He didn’t wait around to question as to why she had obeyed, but hurried to the door to use the private entrance into the business. It was a key code that only special clients could get which lead down into the basement of the building. It was a crème colored room and long hallway in which a tall lithe elegant black woman with short hair walked down wearing a crème colored dress and crème colored heels.
“Good morning, Mr. Mills. You look great as usual.”
“Sophie, I’d like you to meet my sister in law I’ve told you about, Ms.
Sheridan,” Parker introduced the frightened looking Charisse.
The woman almost extended her hand, but stopped herself and smiled warmly. “Come with me, Ms. Sheridan, while I prepare you for your day.”
Terrified Charisse didn’t move.
“Charisse, it’s okay,” Parker said. “Sophie’s one of the best stylist and masseuse in the Metro Detroit area,” Parker assured her. “She’s understanding to your condition and she’ll help you out.”
“She’ll touch me?” Charisse asked, gripping her chest and needing assurance.
“I promise,” Sophie said. “I won’t. I’m going to instruct you to do it yourself. You look as if you’re a fast learner.”
The compliment warmed Charisse a little and she took steps forward toward Sophie, who led her away from Parker. Looking back at him, she saw Parker smiling. That look of happiness was in his eyes.
The thought that she had made him happy made her present anxiety dissipate. Quickly she looked away and forced her eyes on the ground as she walked beside Sophia.
“When was the last time you been to a salon?” Sophie asked.
“Never,” Charisse said.
With a bright smile as if she was eagerly looking forward to it, Sophie said, “It’s going to be a long day.”
His Substitute Wife … My Sister Chapter 2.3 (c) 2008 Sylvia Hubbard