Title: A Change of Grace
Chapter: 22 of 41
Summary: Taylor ends up traveling back in time to New York in the 19th century. There he meets Kathryn, Benjamin, Joshua and Grace among many others. The story follows both Taylor’s adventures in the past and Isaac and Zachary’s search for him in present (1997/1998) time.
“What are you, nuts?”
Taylor eyed the dress the clerk held up as if it were a week old dead fish.
“Look at that dress, and then look at her. You put that color on her she’ll look like an overripe banana.”
“Taylor!” “What! Well it’s true. That thing is the color of dried up mustard, you can’t wear that.” He sighed in frustration, moving to the hooks of dresses. They were pretty enough, but Grace found reasons to balk at all of them. This one was too short, and that one was too low in the neckline, and that other one was entirely to “floozy” like… “She’s worse than shopping with my mother…” To make matters worse, years of listening to his own stylist had given him an eye. He understood what looked good and what didn’t, and realized that good on the wall wasn’t necessarily good on the person. Too bad Grace and this idiot clerk didn’t realize that. He eyed her critically, wondering if he could get away with just TELLING them what to do. “What the hell…” He pulled Grace toward the large mirror on the wall. “Look Grace, look at your eyes, and your hair. Look at your color, you want to find something to set that off. Look…” He held up the yellowish dress. “See what happens to your face?” She looked, frowned, made a face. “Yes, I look as if I have the Grippe.” “Whatever…” He handed the dress back to the clerk. “You want something to bring out…” “Taylor, how do you know this?” “What?” “How do you know what I would need to wear? I mean… look at what YOU are wearing.” He glanced down at the baggy trousers and off-white shirt. Nothing inspired there, that was for sure. “Grace, I’m not getting dressed up to go out.” “Well are you going to?” “What?” “If you’re making me dress like a strumpet the least you can do is dress as well.” “Fine, I’ll find something. You are NOT going to look like a… what did you say?” “Strumpet…” She laughed, shaking her head. He didn’t even know what the word meant. “You never answered me, how DO you know so much about ladies fashion?” He shook his head, brushing her off. “I just do. Listen, what else do you have?” He turned his attention back to the clerk, leaving Grace nodding in satisfaction. Her suspicions were just about confirmed. Taylor, unaware of Grace’s train of thought, mentally blessed his stylist. A year ago he’d have thrown Grace at the first dress that looked like it might fit, and called it great. Now, thanks to all her harping at him about his own clothes, he was going to make sure Grace was dressed to kill. If he could just find something that would look good, that she’d actually put on and go out in. She was too hung up for words. “Sir, what about this?” Taylor looked up, less than hopeful, and his eyes widened in surprised pleasure. The dress the clerk held up was beautiful. Deep rose, heart shaped neckline not too deep, trimmed in faceted crystal beads… it just might work. “Gracie c’mere.” “Gracie?” She smiled a little, thinking he’d make a good girlfriend. “Here, what about this?” He saw her eyes light up, knew she liked it, and went for the bullrush before she could talk herself out of it. “Go on, go put it on, go, go, go!” He hustled her into the fitting room, almost shoving the clerk in with her, and made himself go sit down.
The temptation to throw his body in front of the door, and not let them out until she was permanently in the dress was almost too much for him.
“What!” He didn’t like her tone, drifting over the door of the fitting room. “I can’t possibly go out in this, it’s much too low cut!”
“It is not!”
“It is! You haven’t even seen it!”
“Then come out and let me see it!”
“Taylor, it shows my bosom!”
“So?! If you’ve got it flaunt it!” He nearly bit his tongue off as the combined voices of Grace, and the clerk, floated over the door.
“If I had a chest like that I wouldn’t hesitate to show it off, now put the dress on and come out here!” “Taylor, for mercy sake!” “Just put it on, Grace…” He sighed, shaking his head. She was hopeless. Grace gazed at her reflection, as the clerk tightened the laces up the back of the dress. It really was quite lovely… but there was no way she could go out showing this much of her bosoms! Oh, she’d show the dress to Taylor, she was readily convinced that he didn’t care one way or the other about her chest. Her suspicions about him totally confirmed, she would have easily strode out in her undergarments. Still, the rest of the world wasn’t Taylor, and this dress showed off not only her chest, but her bare arms! “Are there no gloves to go with this?” The clerk smiled, and shook her head. “No miss, but you could purchase some. And really, the neckline is quite modest.” “Modest!” “Truly miss, they’re coming a lot lower than this… he’s right, your friend. It could have been made for you…” She stepped back, tying the final lace, and smiled in satisfaction. Grace was truly a picture. “Go show him, see how he likes it. I think this is the one…” “It’s not too low?” “No miss, not at all.” Grace squared her shoulders, really looking at her reflection, and her eyes grew dreamy. The dress was exquisite. A deep rose, the neckline was cut deeper than anything she’d ever worn, showing off the tops of her bosoms, and just a hint of cleavage. Scandalized, yet wickedly excited, she smoothed her hands over the soft pliant velvet that molded itself to her shape. Her cheeks were flushed with pleasure, her blue eyes shaded lavender by the soft color of the dress. The heart shaped bodice, edged with creamy lace, sparkling with crystals, positively glowed, the glow reflecting up into her hair and face, lending her a breathtaking blush, showing off her slender neck to perfection. A burgundy ribbon wove it’s way along her tiny waist, accenting the slightness of her form, and tying in a bow behind her. Nearly forgetting to breath, astounded that she could look so lovely, she smiled back at the clerk. “He was right, wasn’t he?” “Yes miss, he was…”
Sighing, bracing herself, Grace opened the door and stepped from the room.
“Well, what about this then?” Gracefully, she walked over to Taylor, holding the skirt delicately in one hand. Spinning around, she posed and postured before him, comfortable showing him what the neckline exposed. “He won’t care. Not him.”
Far from not caring, Taylor’s head was spinning. Slowly, he rose out of the chair he’d been sitting in, waiting for her to change, astonished at the transformation. He’d known she was pretty. He hadn’t known HOW pretty. Hoping he could control his body’s natural reaction, the thought “Oh God, she’s HOT!” running infuriatingly in his mind, he gazed at her. Used to the blatant exposure of female bodies in his time, he’d never realized how sensual it was to use his imagination, to look at soft material clinging to a woman’s body, wondering what was underneath. He looked her up and down, knowing she wasn’t dressed like this for him, but wishing, in some deep part of his heart, that she could be. His eyes met hers… and her world stood still. The way he looked at her, the heat in his eyes, Grace instinctively knew that this was the way a man looked at a desirable woman. “My goodness, that look belongs only in the privacy of a bedroom, between husband and wife!” She flushed a deeper red, her cheeks almost glowing from the searing gaze directed at her. “Taylor…” She stopped, as he took a step towards her, his hands reaching for her waist. His breathing had noticeably quickened, and the reaction frightened her. “NO! Don’t look at me that way!” Her hand flashed out, slapping him hard across the face, before she was even aware she was moving, confused and shaking with the reaction caused by his heated eyes on her bosom, and his quickened breath. She spun around, hands to her cheeks, fully knowing now that this boy, this strange boy who knew so much that only women knew, was completely aware of her. Aware of her beauty, aware of her desirability, aware of her as a woman. Taylor touched his cheek, panting slightly, not knowing why she’d slapped him, barely aware that she had. She was so breathtakingly beautiful, she filled his entire being. Taking her by the waist, he turned her to face him, and pulled her close. Her eyes wide, Grace attempted to push back, hands on his chest. Her thoughts in turmoil, part of her mind marveling at the strength he possessed, the heat radiating from his body, the way he nudged her arms around his neck. The proper, ladylike part of her mind shut down completely, as she surrendered to the strength of his will, yet again. He bent his head, touching her lips lightly with his own, then pulling back. Raising his eyes from her mouth, he looked into her confused eyes, setting them aflame, like his. He groaned, and closed his eyes, as his lips settled on hers yet again. Holding her tighter, her arms around his neck, her hands in his hair, he moved his lips hotly against her trembling mouth. The world could have ended at that time, neither would have noticed. Lost in sensation, Grace was aware only of Taylor’s mouth, the sensuous movements of his lips, the tingles of pleasure racing through her body, parts of her body she’d never been so aware of. The hard strength of his arms was all that held her upright, as she gave herself up to pure and simple sensation. She sank into in his arms, trusting him to hold her, as she, in her innocence, lost all sense of self.
Feeling her slump into him, his arms automatically holding her tighter, Taylor felt a jolt of reality hit him. “Oh God! This is Grace… Josh’s Grace. What the hell am I doing… Ok, stop now, you moron…” He slowly pulled back, reluctantly detaching himself, pulling her arms from his neck gently. He caught his breath, looking at her closed eyes, soft lips trembling, her body shaking slightly beneath his hands at her waist. He set her away from him, seeing the blush that surfaced as she opened her eyes. “Now, *that*, Grace, was a reason to slap me.” He turned to the glass case behind him, looking at the lace displayed there, getting his breathing under control, and hearing Grace sputter at his comment.
“Why… you… you…” Unable to complete a sentence, Grace indignantly slapped at Taylor’s shoulder. He turned, and winked at her, outrageously and elaborately closing one eye. “Grace, you are a beautiful and sexy woman. Josh is a very lucky man. Now, get that dress off you and wrapped up. We have other shopping to do.” He sat in the chair, “Move it, Gracie, let’s go!!”
Laughing helplessly, the sexual tension defused, Grace moved towards the dressing room. “If I provoked that reaction in Taylor, what will Josh do?” Her mind went over the kiss, putting Josh in Taylor’s place, and a shiver went through her body. Never once considering how improper the whole scene had been, Grace changed into her walking dress. This was going to be a very interesting evening.