While she was pleased to find him avidly searching the racks upon racks of clothing, she found his choices a bit drab. Especially with her vibrant assortment of clothes. So far he had picked up a black turtleneck, black slacks, and even a pair of dreadful black leather gloves. He said he was going for a sophisticated style.
It looked more like something a serial killer would wear.
Plus, she was pretty sure she had seen that exact get up, minus the gloves, before. In fact, she was pretty sure he was wearing it now, though she would never point it out to him. No, she was far too happy watching him, concentrated, as he shuffled through rack after rack of black on black clothes.
But there were only so many racks of black, and every once in a while she caught him wiping at his forehead – nervous sweating. It was time to move on to something a little more out of his comfort zone.
Not wanting to spook him anymore than he already was, she cleared her throat as she approached. Even so, he spun around to face her, dropping all of his treasures to the floor in a heap. Shiori winced, watching as his face crumpled and reddened in embarrassment. She quickly knelt down and began collecting his lost wardrobe, trying her best to move on.
“You’ve gotten a good bit here, but,” and she held up the gloves for emphasis, wagging them in Suga’s direction, “how about I show you a few tricks?”
Suga was still blushing, but a smile did eventually find its way to his lips.
Shiori felt a slight tug at the corner of her lips, an involuntary reaction. It felt good, whatever this was. It felt good to smile with Suga again.
Once his sad pile had been collected and left on a display table, Shiori was coaxing him toward a much more colorful section of the men’s department. But there he remained, staring forlorn at his smudge of a wardrobe.
She held out her hand toward him, grumbling to get his attention. It wasn’t until he met her eyes that she spoke.
“Come on. You need some color.”
He swallowed and shifted his gaze to the world of color behind Shiori. He dabbed at his forehead again, then met her gaze once more.
“Alright… but none of that.” He motioned toward a particularly bright rack with different hues and shades of coral.
Shiori couldn’t hold back a snort as she tugged a shirt off the rack. She held it up as if it might be something she was considering.
“I don’t know. Salmon would probably be a good fit, too.”
Just as quickly as the words left her mouth, all the color drained from Suga’s face.
Another snort tore from her throat before she had a chance to cover her mouth. She hung the shirt back up and shook her head.
“You’re too gullible Suga. It’s just a joke.”
Suga deflated with a sigh, wiping at his forehead one more time before following Shiori into a world of color and “fashion.”
She started with blues, offering him option after option, though all being met with a wrinkled grimace or blank indifference. Positive. Just had to stay positive.
She plucked a turtleneck off the rack, a deep royal blue, the closest to black she could find, and held it up to him. He looked at it, tilted his head to the left, then tilted his head to the right – physically and mentally mulling it over, before smiling.
“I think I can handle color.”
Success. It took everything she had not to dance. Sure, what he chose wasn’t necessarily the most dynamic, but it was different. It showed change, and she would take any little bit she could get.
So, she thrust the article into his hands, demanding, “Change. Now.”
Before he maybe-possibly changed his mind. In the meantime she got him a pair of jeans. No more slacks. Yes, they were more professional, but she really needed him to focus on personable first. If he could prove to be personable, then that would prove he could host the museum. She had a plan, and this was all part of it.
Suga found the nearest fitting room, and when came out, Shiori couldn’t help the purr of approval which left her throat.
The blue sweater, while not an extremely diverse choice, gave him a little more color in his cheeks – something that was always washed out. The jeans, though, made the biggest difference. They were a black wash, putting him in his comfort zone, but the fit was so much better than the standard slacks he always wore that he actually had a figure. A lean, relaxed one, one which anybody would want.
He looked so much more casual. Even his mannerisms, once stiff and awkward, were much more natural and calm. He ran a hand through his hair, eyes trained on Shiori, watching her reaction.
“Well… what do you think?”
What did she think? There were many things she wanted to say. She wanted to tell him he was handsome, that she couldn’t wait to show him off, but all she could manage was light blush with a thumbs up.
The way Suga brightened, someone else might have thought that little motion meant the world to him. Maybe it did, but Shiori would never know, as Suga was already heading toward the counter to purchase his outfit before she had the chance to ask.
Shiori followed close behind, already putting together the next part of her plan.
Once the outfit had been paid for, Shiori and Suga were heading out the door and back toward the smaller shops and restaurants. They were almost back at the mansion by the time Shiori stopped, Suga stumbling to stop beside her.
She peered at the entrance of the Mountain Bar and Tavern. During the day it was a quiet restaurant for all the passerby, but once evening arrived, it lit up with the locals getting off work and the young people ready to drink and party. It was the closest thing to a club this little village had.
Suga’s face scrunched up in obvious distaste.
“What are we doing here?”
Shiori looked up to study his face, a smug grin already finding its way across hers, just as the neon lights of the bar came to life.
“We’re going to find you a date, Suga.”
To be continued…
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