Eliza was heard laughing, but it was hard to tell which question amused her the most. She pushed the curtain back at last, looking like the Liza she'd been when they'd arrived again. She stepped out, the dress carefully folded over one arm. "Your turn, darling. I can't wait to see the new Ellie!"
"Are you going to select all my accessories, too?" Eleanor asked, reluctantly taking the dress from the assistant. She knew when she was outnumbered - if Eliza had convinced the staff to help, she wasn't getting out of here un-flappered.
"Tit for tat, love," Eliza replied with a grin, which was answer enough to the other woman's question. She waved a hand in the direction of the dressing room, shooing her inside. "Go on now. Quit stalling!"
"All right, all right!" Laughing, Ellie disappeared into the dressing room, acutely aware she was going to have to get her stockings and garter belt out of her trunk later in order to wear this dress anyway. Jay had convinced her to buy socks for herself in England.
Or she could just buy them anew, since they were shopping anyway, but Eliza was too unaware of the situation to suggest it. "What made you decide to start wearing pants?" she asked as she looked over the accessories, picking out a beaded necklace and matching earrings.
"Convenience in the jungle, mainly," Ellie called back, slipping from her coat, shirt, and pants as she talked. "And, well, they are remarkably comfortable once you get used to them. People do keep staring at me, though. Anyone would think they had never seen a woman's legs before!" As she spoke, the sales assistant gently took the Dior dress from Eliza's arm and began to wrap it, along with everything else Eleanor had picked out for her sister-in-law, into several parcels.
"Perhaps you'll start a new fashion trend!" Eliza remarked, as she finished picking out accessories and went to the stall to stick a hand past the curtain to hand them to Ellie. "See if you like any of these."
"Mmm ..." As she took the little bundle, Ellie set it to one side to continue dressing. "You know, I may have to go bra-less in this dress," she considered. "I'm becoming scandalous!"
Eliza laughed. Hadn't they just been talking about brassieres a short while ago? "I'm sure you'll find something that will hold it all up," she said. If nothing else, it was an excuse to visit a lingerie shop.
"I am not overly endowed in that area," Ellie admitted, pushing the curtain back and stepping out in her bare feet to find the mirror. "What do you think?"
Liza's attention strayed from the collection of jewelry she was perusing to look over at her sister-in-law as she emerged from the dressing room. "Oh!" she exclaimed, looking Ellie over from head to toe. "You look lovely, Ellie," she said, with a warm smile. "My brother is a very lucky man."
Ellie considered herself in the mirror, knowing she was already lost when it came to this purchase. "You are a very mischievous woman, Eliza Marshall," she informed her sister-in-law with a fond smile. "All right, I give in. I do need to get some stockings, though." She nodded to the clerk, slipping back into the dressing room to change back.
"When you see the look on my brother's face when he sees you in that, you will want to thank me," Liza replied with a grin. She'd seen the way her brother looked at his new wife and knew he was smitten. In her opinion, she was really doing them both a favor. Maybe they'd name their firstborn after her, she thought with a giggle. Of course, no one knew just what she was giggling about, but her.
"If you are right, we may be late for dinner," Ellie pointed out with a low laugh, far quicker to get back into her pants than she had been to get out of them. She stepped back out within minutes, gently handing the dress and accessories to the clerk. "Where would you recommend we go for lingerie, Liza?"
"Hmm, I'm not sure," Liza replied, turning to the clerk for advice. There was a smattering of French exchanged between them, before it seemed they'd agreed on a little shoppe known simply as Fifi's. Liza thanked the women for her advice, smiling over at Ellie, assuming she had followed most of what had been said between them. "Voila! There is your answer, cherie."
"Merci, mademoiselle." Smiling, Ellie rolled her eyes at Liza in amusement. "You are utterly incorrigible," she informed the other woman, withdrawing her chequebook from her purse to pay for the now wrapped parcels being placed into two separate bags for them.
"I have been called worse!" Liza said with a cheeky wink and a grin. She didn't want to think about how much this was costing the other woman or how hard it was going to be to repay her.
Of course, Liza didn't know that this was barely a drop in the ocean to Ellie, and nor would she, unless she gathered the courage to take up her sister-in-law's offer to share her bank balance. Taking the bags, Ellie handed one to Liza with a smile. "Well now, shall we find Fifi's and embarrass me further with French intimates?"
"Absolument!" Liza declared affirmatively in French, taking the bag in one hand and linking her free arm with Ellie as she lead her from the store. Fifi's was only a short walk away, and there was a cafe nearby, too, where they could get coffee and pastries.
Their visit to Fifi's was every bit as embarrassing as Ellie had expected, but did yield some lingerie that she couldn't help thinking Jay would certainly approve of. Still, she was in desperate need of that cup of coffee when they finally sat down in the cafe, still blushing as she giggled. "I have no idea if I have the courage to wear that ... basque thing this evening."
"It will be covered by your dress, Ellie," Liza reminded her, as she took a sip of her cafe. "You will thank me later," she added, with a mischievous gleam in her eyes. Or James would.
"Well, I feel sure that you and Alex are going to hit it off," Ellie replied sweetly, finally feeling her blush fade. It did not take much imagination to guess how Jay was going to react to this evening's attire. "He responds well to cheeky good humor."
"Oh, I don't know," Liza said with a frown, as she drew a finger around the rim of her cup. She didn't seem overly anxious to meet Alex or any other man, for that matter, but she had not yet said why.
Ellie considered her for a moment, and decided to take the plunge with a guess. "He also doesn't assume that every woman he meets is his for the taking," she said carefully. "He's not the sort to ... press his suit without sincere encouragement."
"We'll see, I suppose," Liza said, with a noncommittal shrug of her shoulders. She had nothing against Alex or any other man, but she'd obviously been burned once before and had no intentions of being burned again.
Ellie watched her from the corner of her eye for a long moment, turning her gaze down to her cup as she stirred in half a spoon of sugar. "What was his name?" she asked nonchalantly.