"I don't want to go," said Mitzi.
"And just why not?" asked Courtney.
"Because I don't have a dress for starters," said Mitzi.
Mitzi Kramer and Courtney Wells had been in several dress shops looking for an evening gown for the New Year's Eve party they were invited to. Courtney was tall, slender, with long, straight, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and curves in all the right places. Mitzi was short, slightly chubby, with curly blonde hair, blue eyes, and plenty of curves. Every dress shop had at least one dress that fit Courtney perfectly, but nothing that even looked remotely good on Mitzi. Either the fit was wrong, the color was hideous, or the store had nothing in her size.
"You mean you haven't found one yet," said Courtney, in a reassuring voice.
"Easy for you to say, you've got several beautiful dresses on hold at all the other stores we've been in."
Courtney put a comforting arm around Mitzi. "We'll find you a dress worthy of you Mitzi. Trust me."
Mitzi scoffed. "Is this party really that important to you?"
"Yes, it is. I've been trying for years to get this invite and then when I get it, it's because of you."
Mitzi smiled. Courtney was right, their invitation to this exclusive party was because of her. Mitzi, a data entry clerk, had gone on a coffee run for the girls in her department during her break at work. It was Mitzi's turn for the daily run of hot coffee and sweet treats. An older woman at the counter just ahead of her, discovered her wallet was missing. The woman frantically searched her purse then looked around on the floor, only to find nothing.
Mitzi offered to pay for her drink figuring it was her good deed for the day. Even though Mitzi said it was fine, the woman insisted on getting her name. Mitzi gave her one of her many business cards that her boss gave her, though she rarely used, thinking this would be the last she'd ever see the woman again. To Mitzi, it was more important to pay it forward, than to be paid back.
A few hours later, the woman appeared at her desk with a big smile. She introduced herself as Mrs. Donna Patterson, the wife of Robert Patterson, multi-millionaire and owner of Mitzi's company. It seems that Mrs. Patterson would on occasion pretend to lose her wallet to see if someone would step up and help. Mitzi was the first person to volunteer to help out without being asked, and was even willing to accept no reward, but had to be forced to give up her information. Not only did she get the money for the coffee back, she was invited to the Patterson's annual New Year's Eve party, the biggest social event of the year, and told she could bring either a date or a friend. Since Mitzi was single, she knew exactly who to bring, her roommate Courtney.
When Mitzi shared the story with Courtney, who wrote for a media blog website, Courtney posted Mitzi's story on her blog, getting lots of hits and several freelance writing jobs. After a few phone calls, she received permission to write about the New Year's Eve party on her blog under the condition she not use anyone's real name without their written permission. Courtney agreed without hesitation as this would be the first time any reporter had been given access and permission to write about the party.
"Mitzi," said Courtney, snapping her out of her memories, "this party could make or break my writing career. Please, I need this party."
"Fine," sighed Mitzi, "I'll keep looking."
"Trust me," said Courtney, hugging Mitzi, "this party will be worth it for both of us. You'll see."
They entered the small dress shop and a bubbly salesgirl stepped up and said, "Good afternoon ladies. What can I help you find?"
"My friend and I need a dress for a big New Year's Eve party," said Courtney.
"Okay," said the salesgirl. "My name is Lizzy, and I will be happy help you both. Now, so you both know, we do have a sale right now. All clearance dresses are half off their lowest ticket price. All non-clearance dresses are twenty-five percent off."
"Good to know," said Courtney.
Mitzi sighed. Sale or no sale, she knew finding a dress to fit would be a challenge. "Something wrong?" asked Lizzy.
"Um, I just haven't had any luck finding a dress," said Mitzi.
"Well I hope I can change that," said Lizzy, smiling.
Mitzi smiled but didn't get her hopes up. It only took a few minutes for Courtney to find several that she liked and would look amazing on her. Mitzi was having the same poor luck as so many times before, but Lizzy wasn't giving up. She insisted on checking the stock in the back to see if maybe one of the newer dresses might work. All the dresses Courtney picked fit her perfectly and there was one black one that looked the best.
Lizzy returned a few minutes later with several dresses, including a blue one that caught Mitzi's eye. It wasn't as bright as most royal blues, nor as dark as a navy, but it was in her opinion, the perfect dress. She selected it and two others, saving the blue one for last. The first two did fit, but she wasn't happy and neither was Courtney. Then Mitzi put on the blue dress, and stepped out.
"Holy fuck!" exclaimed Courtney.
"What?" asked Mitzi.
"You look ... amazing!"
"Your friend's right," said Lizzy, "you do look amazing."
Mitzi was sure they were both trying to make her feel better, especially Courtney, whom she was sure was sick of shopping. "Come on Courtney, don't shovel the bullshit. I'm not wearing my boots," said Mitzi, showing off her bare feet.
"Come into the mirrors and see for yourself," said Lizzy.
Mitzi moved onto the small platform where three mirrors stood allowing her to see herself from multiple angles. The dress hugged her curves in a flattering way, the color made her blue eyes pop, and the dress was everything Mitzi had hoped for, and more. She gasped as she moved to see the dress shimmer and shine, then saw the $700 price tag.
"What's wrong?" asked Courtney.
"I can't afford this dress," whispered Mitzi.
"I can," assured Courtney.
"No!" said Mitzi.
"Something wrong?" asked Lizzy.
"My friend is worried about how much the dress costs," said Courtney, in a matter-of-fact way.
"Courtney!" hissed Mitzi.
"Would you like me to check and see what it will be on sale?" asked Lizzy.
"Yes!" exclaimed Courtney.
As Lizzy walked away, Mitzi said softly, "I can't afford it and I won't let you pay for it."
"It's the first dress you've liked and we are getting it," explained Courtney. "The only question is who's paying for it?"
Lizzy returned with a pricing gun and scanned the barcode on the tag. It beeped and she looked confused. "What's wrong?" asked Mitzi.
"I think this machine is broke, let me get the other one."
Lizzy quickly dashed off and returned with another pricing gun. As before, she scanned the barcode and had the same confused look on her face. "Okay, what's the deal?" asked Courtney.
"Um ... I need my manager," said Lizzy.
"Isn't the dress for sale?" asked Mitzi, with a clear tone of concern in her voice.
"I think so," said Lizzy.
"What do you mean you think so?" questioned Courtney rather loudly.
An older woman in a tailored suit stepped up and introduced herself as the store's manager. It turned out the dress Lizzy had found in the back was supposed to be on the clearance rack and the $700 dress was now marked down to $35 with the half-price sale discount Lizzy had mentioned. Courtney chose to buy the black dress as well, since it was a better price than she realized. From there, they bought the necessary undergarments, shoes, and accessories that were also on sale. By the end of the day, Mitzi had spent less than $100 for her New Year's Eve outfit.
New Year's Eve day, Mitzi and Courtney got their hair styled and make-up done professionally. Mitzi slipped on the undergarments, stepped into her dress, slipped on her shoes, put her jewelry on, and stood in front of her mirror. She no longer looked like a data entry clerk, but a high society gal.
Mitzi grabbed her purse with her wallet and cell phone and stepped out. Courtney was dressed and pacing around their living room. "It's about damn ... wow!"
"What?" asked Mitzi.
"I was about to say you took long enough but now I see why. You look amazing Mitzi."
"Thanks. You look great too."
Mitzi drove them to the address on the invitation. It was a large home in the hills, somewhat secluded and rather busy with cars. The security guard at the gate was checking invitations and occasionally turning cars away. Mitzi grew nervous as they got closer and closer, but when she handed the guard her invitation he checked off their names and waved them in. A handsome young valet opened her door and took her keys giving her a claim ticket. Mitzi felt her old Ford Escape looked out of place in the sea of limousines and expensive cars, but knew she and Courtney were invited by the hostess herself.
Mitzi and Courtney entered a large entryway and were led to a large ballroom within the house. There they saw a room full of people wearing an assortment of tuxedos and evening gowns. Women dripping with expensive jewelry and gowns that cost more than Mitzi made in a month, and men in tuxedos with names she knew from magazines and television shows. Moments later, Mrs. Patterson appeared.
"Mitzi! You made it!" exclaimed Mrs. Patterson as she hugged Mitzi.
Mitzi smiled nervously, hugged her back, then said, "Good evening Mrs. Patterson."
"Donna please! And this must be your roommate Courtney, the journalist."
.... There is more of this story ...