As I stood there in my ever deepening embarrassment, the saleswoman gave a little laugh and put a hand on my arm.
"Sorry," she said around a giggle, "I couldn't resist. The look on your face."
"I can imagine," I tried to smile back. Apparently I failed because she began to laugh anew.
"My name's Felicia. How can I help you," she asked as she regained her composure with a Cheshire grin. I was about to answer but my brain turned to jelly as it let my eyes take in her outfit.
She was wearing a very snug bodice that fit her petite frame and curves. Over that she wore a mostly see-through sash that clung lightly from her shoulders to her waist. Her lower extremities were covered in a very tight pair of jeans, or maybe they were jeggings. These days I can't tell anymore. Her auburn hair flowed in tight curls that hung to her hips. She had mocha skin and wild green eyes that made the smile she wore all the more alluring.
"See something you like," she purred as she cocked a hip and planted a fist on it. That pulled my mind from the gutter, but only just barely.
"I'm sorry," I stammered, "but I'm not here to shop or browse."
"You seem to be doing a good job of the latter," she said with a wicked smirk. "If you're not here to shop, may I ask what you are here for then?"
"I'm a detective," I could feel the heat of another blush rush over my cheeks. "I was following a... well... a person and I didn't want to be spotted."
"Oh," her eyebrows rose a bit as she moved closer and leaned against me to peek out the window. "Who's your mark?"
"Well," I was having a lot of trouble concentrating as her perfume flowed over me. It smelled like lavender and honey. "The... um... the mark... well, I'm not really working a case. It was more of a curiosity thing."
"Ah," she said as she continued to gaze out the window, "you're a stalker then. So who's the lucky lady?"
"Well," I had to focus on my words as they were painting a very bad picture at the moment, "she's not a lady, per se..."
"Oh," she leaned a little further and grabbed my arm to keep balance. "Who's the lucky fellah then?"
"Wait," that was the bucket of ice I needed to clear my mind. "No, it's not a guy either. She's a ghost." Felicia stepped back from the window but didn't move away from me. She just gazed up at me with a quizzical look.
"Come again, string bean," she said with that adorable smirk.
"She's a ghost," I was starting to get lost in those eyes again but gave myself a mental shake to keep my thoughts straight. "She's my partner."
"And you're following her because," she raised an eyebrow.
"Because," I sighed, "she's infuriatingly vague about her personal time and I wanted to see what was so important."
"Oh," she nodded, "so when you said partner, you meant you two were a couple."
"What," I asked a bit shocked. "No. She's my business partner with the agency. She helps me with cases. We're just friends."
"That doesn't sound like something a friend would do, if you ask me," she grimaced.
Nor I, said a sharp and icy voice from over my shoulder. Shit. She caught me.
"Hey Gladys," I said as I spun to face her, "fancy seeing you here."
"HA!" Felicia barked out the laugh and followed it with a tiny snort. "Busted."
And I was.
I turned back to Felicia.
"Sorry to browse and run," I wasn't blushing anymore, in fact I was quite certain I had gone quite pale. "Rain check?"
She let out a full throated laugh, patted me on the shoulder, and walked into the lacy store, laughing all the way.
Jackson, I could feel the icy glare of Gladys boring into my back. I think we need to talk. She floated out the door and up the street towards the office.