Secrets of the Lottery Winner

Secrets of the Lottery Winner


After Gari had dropped her at her apartment and she’d watched his Jag disappear around the corner, Loretta found a cab and asked the driver to drop her on Rodeo. First stop was Chanel. She needed a new cocktail dress, for she’d decided to surprise Gari by appearing in glorious new form at his big Hollywood party. She hoped to rekindle his interest, which had seemed wandering and vague at the Getty. She also hoped to further her acting career. Admittedly, it wasn’t much of a career, not something she could really, honestly call a career; it was more a desire, a future in the making, though time certainly was running out, Hollywood being a place that cherished and required youth in woman; a new attitude about woman and a new attitude expressed by women might appear on the screen, but among those who made decisions about movies it was business as usual. She wasn’t getting younger and at this party she might just meet a mover, or someone who knew a mover.

She wasn’t alone with her thoughts for more than a minute when a saleswoman sidled next to her offering assistance. That was the thing about upscale salons like Chanel: Salespeople who looked like anything but fawned over you. The woman at Loretta’s elbow appeared to be around forty, though she as easily could have been fifty or sixty. The woman was tall, slim, fit, with amazing snow-white hair—not natural but boldly dyed!—piled on her head. She wore a classic Chanel suit in red, Loretta’s color.

Loretta asked the woman to show her cocktail dresses. The woman whisked her to a small, tasteful sitting area, proffered a drink, and showed several dresses. As these dresses paraded by her in blues, greens, reds, purples, and black, she invariably stopped to examine the red. She tried on two red cocktail dresses and both were dynamite, so said the woman, who was simply stating the obvious. It was Loretta’s color.

This day, she wasn’t in the mood for business as usual, and neither was Gari, she reasoned. She needed to be different, to shake things up, to rivet his attention, and hold it, and hold it. He’d seen enough red, probably too much red.

And then it drifted by her, an earthquake of a dress. It was such a trembler because the color was so unlike her. When she wasn’t wearing red, she was wearing another strong color: full strength blue, deep green, rich brown, black black. These worked for her and imparted her with the sense she could seduce any man who came her way, young or old, single or married. So it shocked her, nearly elicited a squeak of disbelieve from her, when she asked for the dress, and held it close to herself and observed herself in the mirror in a color she never imagined she’d wear—pink in a shade so pale it might be mistaken for white.

She stood before a mirror and turned right and left. The salesperson encouraged her, chiming that the subtle pink suited her, contrasted alluringly with her lightly tanned skin, while complementing her blond hair. The three bows down the front, embroidered with small flowers and vines, were darling, pronounced the woman, especially on Loretta. Loretta took the dress into a changing room and slipped into it. She returned to the mirror and studied herself. The salesperson fussed over her, the dress, and the bows, tugging here and there, and pulling up Loretta’s hair to demonstrate the elegance she could achieve.

All well and good, but the true test for Loretta was answering the question: Did it supercharge her sexual appeal? Was she now like a tantalizingly wrapped sweet, the variety a man would obsess over tasting? With the right strap heels, pale pink or white she thought, bare legs, and beached hair—ratted and maybe tipped or stripped white (the sales woman had been inspiring)—because it would contrast against the elegance of the dress and boost her sexy quotient; yes, the dress would work beautifully.

She delighted the woman and elicited layers of compliments from her. For what she paid, Loretta was tempted to linger and wallow in the praise.

But she couldn’t wait. She had to stop at Ferragamo for the perfect strap shoes—cream with pink insoles, where it would show tantalizingly as she walked. They were perfection and cost nearly a week’s wages. Well, she couldn’t scrimp on shoes, as Gari was a shoe man, a shoe expert, someone who appreciated strap leather. Naturally, for the price, another upscale saleswoman, who may have been the sister of the lady—there was no other way to describe her but lady—who had sold her the dress so closely did they resemble each other, presented her with her cream dreamboats. Three-inch heels that raised and lengthened her legs, caused her rear to protrude in a deliciously suggestive manner, and prettied her feet.

Then she was off to her hairdresser, who she’d called ahead. The proprietor, who was straight, gushed it was never too late for Loretta. In this case, it was Sunday and she’d summoned him from his home, which was a nicely minimalist condo in West Hollywood. Sensual beauty paid dividends and Loretta tried to catch as many as she could. The expression glibly tossed around in offices and at parties was: Leave no money on the table. She worked hard collecting everything, including the pennies. She kept the hairdresser attentive and pliable with flitting and hope and generous tips. He listened to her intention at the party and her idea for her hair and he raved over the white tips. It would be a simultaneously bold and subtle statement, a reminder to the man at which it was aimed that she was a woman of many facets, a lover who would be perpetually intriguing. No boring life with Loretta Heavencrest. She nodded and he got to work.

Back at her place, she hung her dress and stored her shoes. Loretta had discovered long ago underwear worn for sexual stimulation was glorious. But under sexy clothing, it was simply a nuisance. Naked was best, and, besides, she’d been naked under her clothing when she first met Gari.

She napped for an hour. She bathed and applied makeup for another hour, cleverly making it appear she was wearing no makeup. Naked skin, her favorite theme. She donned her dress and shoes in five minutes.

After a last check, she left her place, hailed a cab, and directed the driver to the Beverly Hills Hotel. The driver had a digital clock on his dash. It read 10:30. Right on time, she thought.


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