This story stands alone, but to get the full flavor of this series you might want to consider reading the three earlier stories first—or not.
Julie's plane touched down at Atlanta International Airport just after ten the that morning. As she debarked from the plane, and entered the terminal she saw a Chauffer holding up a sign with her name on it. Next to him stood a refined, smartly dressed older woman with a silvery head of perfectly coiffed hair.
As Julie came up to them she said, "Hello. I'm Julie Detwiller. Are you Mrs. Wysong?"
"Yes, I am. And... from the description Craig sent me, you... , must be Julie," the older lady said, trying to be discreet as she appraised the attractive young woman standing before her.
In case you'd like to be less formal—my friends call me Claire," the older lady said, smiling at Julie.
Wow! She must have been a beauty when she was younger, Julie thought, as the two women proceeded to look each other over. She still looks younger than I thought she would.
"Alfred, would you please get Julie's bag?"
A moment later, they exited the Airport Terminal. A black limo was parked at the curb in the No Parking Zone. "Here we are," Mrs. Wysong said, as Alfred opened the back door.
Julie was trying not to appear to be in awe. "Mrs. Wysong, I must say, you really do travel in style," she said, with a little laugh.
Mrs. Wysong seemed especially pleased at Julie almost impertinent little remark. She laughed.
"I like you already, Julie Detwiller. "Leave it to my friend, Craig Lane to find a girl with spirit and the good looks to match," she said, reaching over and patting Julie's hand.
"Julie, you and I are going to be great friends. We're going to get along just fine."
Julie thought to herself. If all of Craig's friends are this nice, I can't wait to meet them.
"I know you've no doubt been wondering how I happened to know Craig," Mrs. Wysong said, reading Julie's exact thoughts.
"Well, the short story is—a number of years ago the Company my late husband and I owned encountered a Corporate Raider who was determined to gain control of it.
"Craig had been our friend for only about a year; but, when he heard what was happening to us, he moved in and quickly bought up a large block of our available stock. Between his stock holdings and ours, together we managed to avert disaster.
"Six months later, our stock had soared to almost double what Craig had initially paid. He could have made a killing in the market; but instead, Craig insisted on selling it all back to us—for the same price he had paid."
"So Julie," she said, "the short version is—I would do just about anything for Craig Lane. I'm still able to afford all of this because of that guy you'll be getting married to in a few weeks."
"I know... ," Julie said. "Truthfully, Claire I've never been able to figure out why he decided to marry me. I know he loves me... , and my girls—but Craig could have any woman he wants."
"Trust me, Julie," Mrs. Wysong laughed, "Craig is one of the rare ones. He's sort of, what I call a pure at heart type of guy. Just so you know—he actually thinks of himself as the lucky one," she said.
"You know, you people in love really do crack me up!" she said, grinning at Julie in a playful manner.
"We do, huh?" Julie laughed, teasing her right back. "Clair, you still have a young outlook. I would think you, of all people, would understand how it is with people in love," Julie said, stealing a sideward glance at the older woman.
"What I understand is, I have only this week to take you shopping for a new wardrobe—and fill you in on what to expect from all of us dreadful society types," she said, with a glint of merriment in her blue eyes.
"Did you come armed?" she asked.
"Armed? What do you mean?" Julie said, somewhat confused.
"Credit Cards... !" Mrs. Wysong laughed. "You'll need to get lots of rest tonight. Tomorrow we shop 'til we drop.
"Craig said you would know the sort of clothes I should buy—that I was to defer to your judgment," Julie said.
"Does that bother you... , that I'm supposed to be guiding you in what direction you should go—in the clothes buying department—and for that matter in other things, as well?"
"Claire... , No it doesn't" Julie said. "It really doesn't. I trust Craig implicitly in all things. He is the most amazing man I've ever met. If he feels I need help—then I do," Julie said. "Besides, I think it will be fun!"
"That's the spirit, Honey," Mrs. Wysong laughed. "Oh, and one more thing—I have orders from Craig—I'm not to let you see any price tags until after you've made your purchase."
"Oh, so you and he have been scheming behind my back," Julie teased, giving her a mock look of reproach."
"That's right, honey," Mrs. Wysong said, "We been scheming behind your back—but in a good way!"
Julie goes shopping...
Despite her determination not to look like she was impressed and in awe, Julie couldn't help herself. She was in awe—and she was definitely impressed.
Julie had never been in such stores as the ones in downtown Atlanta. Even the smell of them intrigued her. I am so glad Claire insisted I wear one of her dresses, Julie thought, as she looked around at all the well-dressed women.
Mrs. Wysong watching the younger woman's fascination with her surroundings could not help but reminisce about her own entrance into society so many years ago. Julie, she thought, you could be me, thirty years ago.
That was why she had suggested earlier that Julie might like to wear one of her dresses. As she had said to Julie, "After all, we are about the same size."
Julie, impressed and grateful, offered no resistance to Claire's generous offer.
After a few hours of going in and out of the stores, Claire seemed to take special delight in steering Julie to a lovely little café where they both ordered Lobster.
"Wow! This is scrumptious!" Julie said, adding, "Excuse me for talking with my mouth full. It's just so good... !"
Just watching her eat, Mrs. Wysong thought to herself, makes this whole day worthwhile.
Once back home at Mrs. Wysong's, Julie looked at all her new clothes in wonder. Mrs. Wysong had thought of everything. Julie was now outfitted with clothes for every occasion—even with lacy slips, panties and bras.
"Julie, the clothes we had them ship from the store should be waiting for you by the time you get home. There may be other things you may wish to buy, but what you have here will get you started," Claire said.
"Craig wanted me to buy both Aimee and Lacy a complete new wardrobe also," Julie said. "Do you know anything about buying for children?"
"Sure," Mrs. Wysong grinned. "Didn't anyone ever tell you, Julie, that little girls are really just little women-to-be," she said. "We can take care of that tomorrow. I know the perfect place to shop for those beautiful little girls of yours."
"Maybe you'd like to take a bath," Mrs. Wysong said. "Then we can spend a naughty little evening telling each other all our dark intimate secrets," Claire said, giving Julie a mischievous little wink.
"Oh, good," Julie teased, "I can't wait to hear all about your sex life." she giggled. Adding insult to injury, she said. "You'll probably be wanting me to advise you in that department... ?" she said, with a cute little smirk.
"Hey! Young lady!" Claire laughed. "I thought I was supposed to be advising you."
Both laughed. "Go take your bath and hurry back. This girl talk should be a lot of fun," Mrs. Wysong said.
An evening of intimate exchanges...
Within a half hour, Julie was back downstairs. Both women were dressed in their bathrobes. "You look really sexy in that chic new bathrobe," Claire laughed. "Too bad Craig isn't here."
"Julie, here is a List I have typed up— things that will help you deal with the Country Club types you're likely to encounter," Claire said.
"The main things to remember is to be your own sweet self. When you are introduced to people, or you find yourself in a group of new people, try to identify who the Movers and Shakers are. Identify the people everyone else is deferring to?"
.... There is more of this story ...