(2018-11-26) Dress Shopping
Katya drags Xavier to the mall to help her shop for a new dress

It was COLD. Katya was seriously debating on high tailing it back to Texas, but glanced at her phone and sighed. Xavier would be there soon. She was sitting near the fountain in the center of the open air court. She was in her typical fair of flannels and jeans, though she did add a pair of wool gloves and a scarf that had seen better days. She looked ever so slightly apprehensive, christmas tree eyes darting here and there, spying out signs with shop names -trying to decide which might have what she's looking for. Even if she had no idea what she was looking for.

A luxury sedan with a rental sticker pulls out in the parking lot, and Xavier gets out to come inside. Like always, the man looks like he's expecting some high end men's fashion magazine to jump out from behind a Christmas tree and demand a photo shoot and interview right this second. This time, he's in a silver grey suit with black waistcoat, scarf, and gloves. He pauses inside the door to take off his hat, and smooth out the hat hair, before making his way towards the fountain. "Katya," he says, as he approaches. Then stops and looks harder at her, his smile faltering for a moment. "Good lord. That's disturbing. But in a very jolly sort of way."

Katya couldn't help a bit of a grin as Xavier does his double take. "Ain't it though? I'm gettin' a kick outta it." She laughed and shifted so she could stand up. "Thank you again…for this." She waved her hand a bit around the area they were in. "I've got no clue where ta even start. Probably just a bad idea to even try I mean, what if-" She could tell she was going to start rambling again and shook her head. "Anyway…did your girl like her gifts? Or have you not given them yet?" Wanting to change the immediate subject.

"I believe she did. I decided against the jewelry for the moment - I'm told it's not nice to overwhelm someone," Xavier says, with a grin. "But no need to thank me. You can owe me a favor." He looks around the mall with a thoughtful expression. "So, tell me about this date. Where are you going, what will you be doing? A hiking trip to the woods calls for different clothing than dinner and a show, or a nightclub." A pause. "Does Calaveras even /have/ nightclubs?"

"Good call. I'm glad she liked 'em." Katya smiled and then chuckled a bit. "Sure, I owe ya one. Why not." She shrugged, looking around. "Of course they do. Well I mean…there's a couple strip clubs? Practically the same thing…ain't it?" She quirked a brow and then sighed. "Well like I said…details are still kinda up in the air but…pretty sure we're going ta go to some kind a steakhouse? Based on our last conversation." She offered up,pushing a hand through her hair and sighed again. "Somethin nice but like…that I could wear for multiple occassions would be nice? And maybe somethin' that'll go with my cowboy boots. I got a black pair and a dark brown pair."

Every part of this conversation, except the bit about owing him a favor, seems to be causing Xavier physical pain. "I…I see." He sighs. "Well, at least that's an order that we can probably fill. If you were ambitious, we'd have to rent a helicopter to Denver or somewhere else civilized." He smiles, then and gestures. "I believe I saw a women's clothing boutique not far down this way. Dress? No dress? And what's your aim for the end of the evening? A kiss on the cheek, breakfast, or something in between?"

"Sorry." And Katya did look sorry. "like I said, I don't know what I'm doing." She sighed and then laughed at the idea of renting a helicopter. "Yeah let's start there." She moved to follow him. "Dress I think. Or just nice pants and a nicer shirt than what I currently own." There's a bit of a blush to her cheeks as he brings up breakfast for some reason. "I mean, a kiss I guess. Like on the lips. At the very least." She felt like an awkward teenager and hated every minute of it. "…Maybe breakfast…maybe."

Xavier has a natural stride like he's in a hurry and just expects everyone to make way for him, but after a couple of steps, he slows to pull even with her and gives her a more reassuring smile. "Do you know the true secret about clothing? It's about how it makes you feel. What it represents to you. Oh, I'm not saying color and style is unimportant, but if /you/ are uncomfortable in your clothes, then it'll show. In bad ways. So," he raises a hand in an 'I swear' pose, "I promise not to try to stick you in anything you'll hate, but you have to be honest with how whatever it is makes you feel, right? If you can't picture yourself wearing it in public and feeling good about it, it goes back on the rack." He stops and gestures at a store: It's an upscale boutique clothing store, one of those whose name is meant to be more evocative and poetic than informative. In this case, it's called 'Prairie Skies'. The mannequins in the window show elegant poses, draped in chic sportswear to a slinky evening dress. "Shall we?"

Katya looked up at him as he spoke and managed a smile, nodding. "Right. It goes back on the rack." She agreed and looked skeptical to say the least when they stopped in front of Prairie Skies. It already felt out of her price range and too 'nose up in the air' for her. However, she nodded. "Can't judge a book by its cover. Right?" She looked at the mannequins and then started heading into the store. "And I'm trying really hard not to right now with this place."She mused,finally taking off her gloves and stuffing them into the pocket of her flannel overshirt. "I like…darker colors I think? Blues and greens? Those are usually nice,right?"

"Give it a chance; if you don't find anything you like, we'll go elsewhere," Xavier says. In contrast with the stereotypes, he's looking around with a keen interest. "How does your date usually dress? And were you serious about the cowboy boots? A floral dress is a good look with boots, if you're going for that upscale bohemian look." He gestures at a saleswoman with all the arrogance of a man who is used to salespeople just /appearing/ at his whim, and glances over to her. "Let's be honest, Katya: What is it that you want your date to think the moment he sees you? Or she sees you. I don't mean to presume."

Katya nodded, suppressing another chuckle as he gestured to the saleswoman, but then focused on the questions Xavier was asking with a sigh. "Well…he kinda dresses like me? Jeans, flannels, boots…he's a cowboy through and through." She exhaled slowly and then smiled a bit more, obviously whomever this date was with - she liked them. "Let's see…I want him - it's gonna sound real fuckin' sappy - but I want him ta think that I'm the only woman in the world for 'im…something like that." She ran a hand over her face. "That sounds so stupid. But I just…like him."

Xavier shrugs. "It doesn't sound stupid, Katya. It sounds like you're prepped to have a good time. We'll stay away from anything too flashy, then - you don't want to be dressed too far above him," he muses, as much to himself as to her. When the saleswoman appears, he offers her a charming smile, and says, "Could we perhaps see your women's dresses - blue or green, or black with blue and green accents - maybe something that can go with a nice jacket. Do you have any soft leather?" As he talks, he gestures for Katya to follow him towards the dressing rooms. He clearly expects the saleswoman to do the tedious work of fetching the clothing, and after a moment, and a hard look at his clothes, she falls in to line. Katya's given a thoughtful once over. Then a twice over, when she sees the eyes. She's good at her job, and it only throws her for a moment or two, before she asks Katya, "What's your size, dear? And will you be wearing heels or not?"

She relaxed a little and finally shed her flannel button down to reveal the black tank top underneath. She lets Xavier do the talking because that's all above her head, though she eyes the dresses they walk by, seeing if anything jumps out. She looks to the saleswoman finally, managing a smile. Clearly out of her element even though she's relaxed a bit. "Size? Uhm, shit. I'm sorry. I have no idea." She admitted, glancing to Xavier and then back to the woman. "And no heels. Cowboy boots. They kinda got heels? But not like, those kinda heels." She pointed to the shoes that woman was wearing. If the saleswoman went about sizing her before looking for dresses, she would find that Katya was roughly a size 4 or 5. Katya was already being reminded of why she didn't like shopping, and she hadn't even tried anything on yet. "Is this how you do all your shopping?" Her voice was a conspiratorial whisper to Xavier once the woman had left them. "People just…waiting on you and gettin' you the clothes an' stuff?"

The woman looks startled at Katya not knowing her size, but she grabs a tape measure and efficiently sizes her while hardly missing a beat at the profanity. Then she's off. Xavier leans against a nearby wall, his arms casually crossed over his chest. He smiles lazily at Katya. "For the last decade or so, yes. I vastly prefer to the boring way where you do all the legwork yourself," he adds, with a wink. A couple of other women walk by with their clothing, and give Katya's jeans and Xavier's suit a long look. They share a glance and a sniff of disdain before going to their dressing rooms. Xavier watches them with amusement, his attention shifting back to Katya after a moment, unperturbed.

The saleswoman soon returns with three or four dresses slung over one arm, and a skirt-and-blouse combination on the other. She smiles at Katya. "I saw these, and thought you might like them. Why don't you try them on?" She points at a nearby dressing room.

"I can tell, must get borin' just waitin' for them to come back." She chuckled. If Xavier wasn't standing right next to her, Katya may have given the women that passed by some smartass remark. However, she felt like Westin was doing her a solid and didn't want to embarrass him or anything. However, she does give them a distasteful look of her own, not phased by them. She had plenty of self confidence. She just lacked fashion sense. "All of those?" She asked the woman, dreading it, but then straightened up again and smiled - remembering her manners. "Thank you." She took the clothes and moved towards the room. Glancing back at Xavier. "…If I think I like it, I'll come out and get your opinion. If I immediately hate it, I'm just going to move on to the next one." Then disappeared into the room!

"As you like," Xavier says. "This is your rodeo, Katya. I'm just the director." He pauses. "Do rodeos have directors? I confess I have no idea of their organizational structure." And then she's gone into the room, and it's probably for the best, before he decides he wants to own a rodeo. He passes the time engaging in small talk with the saleswoman, along with a little shameless but light flirting.

"Come to the Charity rodeo and you'll learn somethin'." She called back to him. There is some mumbled Russian to go along with the sounds of rustling clothing. One dress is very clearly a no, but Katya soldiers on. The first dress she comes out in falls to about mid-thigh, is forest green and had a laced overlay on the skirt portion of it. In reality, Katya cleans up pretty well. She just feels like its too much effort. "Yes, no? I think I might freeze my ass off…" She blushes a bit, trying to keep her mouth in check in this particular store.

"I very well might," Xavier says, agreeably. "I've never really understood the point of rodeos, but I'm told I should go to one, and Kate has agreed to accompany me and explain things." He falls silent then, chuckling under his breath at the mumbling from the room. When she comes out, though, he cocks his head to one side and gives her an intense, thoughtful look. "That looks very nice on you. It /will/ be cold, but we could get a nice leather jacket for the top. The legs…well, just don't linger outside," he admits, with a grin. "How does it make you feel, Katya? Can you see yourself knocking out your chosen target with a sway of your hip and a come hither look?" It's teasing, but there's a bit of seriousness behind the question, and he watches her carefully for her answer.

Katya leans against the doorway lightly, contemplating. Looking down at herself, then peeking over her shoulder in the mirror. "Maybe. I mean, yes but…I dunno. I kinda get the feeling that he'd think I looked great just in my regular clothes. Not like in a bad way. Like…in the…oh nevermind." Katya sighed, not really sure how to express the point she was trying to get across. She straightened a bit and tugged at the dress. "I like this one…but maybe not for this date. Let me try on the other one." She disappeared back into the dressing room after a moment.
Xavier smiles. "He asked you out - or said yes when you asked him out - in your regular clothes, so I think we can take that as read. I hope so, anyway." He watches her tug. "It's not really about how he feels. Clothing is never about the other person, Katya. It's about the impression you want to make, and about what you want to project. People, by and large, are easily swayed - if you commit to a type of presence, most people will go along with it, unless you contradict yourself. So it's all about…being the you that you truly want to be." He shrugs. "Or so I have found."

"Yeah, that. And I know…easier said than done. Ugh. It was easier when I just kept to myself." But she smiled again, despite her inner turmoils, as Xavier continued on. "Like, you in your fancy suits. If you were all awkward and shy - people wouldn't be real confident in ya. Right?" Back in the dressing room, she peered over her other options and then opened the door to peek around it, at the saleswoman. "Ya don't have anything in plaid, do ya?"

"No plaid." So much for 'wear what you like, it's how you feel that counts'. Xavier gives her an exasperated look. "Plaid is for schoolgirl costumes, and I doubt /that/ is the impression you want to give. But…yes," he admits, to the other. "I remember catching the train down to the Waterfront when I was a kid, so I could watch the rich people. How they walked, how they talked, how they held themselves. They all looked exactly like they knew where they were going - I wanted to feel that way." He snorts. "Of course, it was all lies, but they're good, /useful/ lies, so I don't regret it."

"But…" Katya starts, giving Xavier a look and a frown. "fine. No plaid." She closed the door and continued on to the next dress. This one was black with dark blue accents. "Useful lies? But ain't it important ta be honest with yourself?" She arched a brow as she opened the door. The dress fell to about where her boots would begin - so at least her legs wouldn't be cold. She was pretty sure the saleswoman was just a fan of lace, because the top of this one had lace on it now. The top was in a halter style and had a touch of sparkle to it. "I think I look good in this one. It doesn't feel like I'm completely exposed to the world."

"Honesty is a tool, Katya. To be used when it's useful, and discarded for other tools when it's not. A little healthy lying to oneself often helps one get through the travails of life," Xavier says, very practically. His eyebrows go up at the dress. "That is /lovely/. I'd recommend blue eyes with it, myself. It'd go together nicely. And skin isn't as important as…intrigue. That dress has intrigue in spades," is his appreciative opinion. "Pair it with a denim of leather jacket if you want to tone down the lace a bit and tie it in with the boots, but…yeah. If you feel good about that one, it has my seal of approval."

"Yeah, I guess I get that. I mean, I'm not totally honest with myself all the time. That'd be a nightmare." She mused, looking a touch relieved at his approval nonetheless. "Yes. I like it and I can wear it for other things than this date. So…it'll get use." She shifted a bit to grab the price tag, trying and failing to cover up a bit of a shocked noise with a cough. Did people really pay that much for dresses? She recomposed herself. "Yeah. Yes. This is the one. Be right back. " She disappeared back to get changed into her original clothes, slipping her flannel back on and hanging the dress over her arm as she stepped out. Her fingers lightly playing over the lace. "You may not be a fashionista or anything, but I think ya got a good eye." A light little tease to Xavier as she stepped back beside him.

Xavier's eyebrows twitch at the muffled cough, but he doesn't remark on it, just nods with satisfaction when she proclaims it The One. He offers her an elegant, if slightly melodramatic, bow when she returns in her regular clothes. "I have been told that a time or two, but thank you. It's always nice to hear it again." He winks, completely without shame or humility. The saleswoman is looking expectantly at him, clearly awaiting him to pull out what must be a nice fat wallet and pay for the dress. When he fails to, his tumbling in her estimation can actually be /seen/, and she keeps giving him offended looks throughout. He seems oblivious. "At any rate, it's an excellent choice, Katya, and everyone should have at least one 'good outfit' so that if an opportunity appears, you never fail to grasp it just because you don't have the right clothes. A suit was the first thing I bought for myself, other than food."

As much as Katya, inwardly, would love a miracle where Xavier whipped out his wallet - she also didn't feel right about wearing a dress he paid for to her date with someone who wasn't one of his biggest fans. Helping someone pick out a dress and paying for it were very different. Very different. She dug out her wallet, pulling out a mix of cash and card. Though second guesses and takes a couple of the bills back. She really shouldn't leave herself completely empty. "S'my only good one now." She mused. "But yeah it'll be good to have." She looked sheepishly to the lady. Then exhaled and attempted to project some kind of confidence. "Just put the rest on the card." Looking back to Xavier. "Speaking of the right clothes…" A mischievous little smirk crossed her lips, but then she just chuckled. "Wear something casual to the rodeo. You'll get to see me in all my glory. I'm ridin in it. Which means our bet's almost comin' due."

The saleslady seems to give Xavier one last chance to man up and do the thing the script in her head says he should be doing. Xavier ignores the hesitation, so eventually her mouth purses, and she takes the card and cash to run things through. Her look to Katya is warm, though. "You look amazing in it, I promise! Just make sure you don't waste a look like that on anyone who isn't a /gentleman/ and who doesn't know how to treat a woman right." Another offended look Xavier's way. It bounces off the same as the others, and she hands the bag over. Meanwhile, Xavier seems to be trying to work out the meaning of that foreign word she used: 'casual'. "Hmm. /How/ casual? I do have a pair of jeans. I think." He frowns. "Somewhere."

Katya just chuckles to the saleswoman. "Thank you. I don't dress up often and don't worry. The guy this is for is one a the nicest I've ever had the pleasure of knowing." She assured her. She had to give Xavier some credit at least, for either truly being that thickheaded, or just an expert at ignoring looks thrown his way that were anything but positive. Then her eyes widen. "Oh dear. Nope. Come on. It's your turn." She gave the woman a bright smile as she picked up her dress, "Thank you!" Then grabbed Xavier's lower arm to all but drag him out of the store. "No flannel, but you're getting yourself a pair of jeans. At the very least."

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