A Change of Grace: Chapter 23

Title: A Change of Grace
Chapter: 23 of 41
Author: Sheryl
Rating: PG-13
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.

Chapter 23

“No, Grace, you are not buying gloves. You don’t need gloves. You look
perfectly respectable just as you are. What do you want gloves for?” Taylor was losing patience quickly. Shortly after the purchase of the dress, Grace had stubborned up, fighting with him over the smallest of details. It didn’t seem to matter what the issue, she was going to argue with him. It had started with the hair ribbons. She’d hated the pale rose, faintly sparkly, that he’d chosen, instead insisting on a deep burgundy that would be lost in her hair in an instant. It had moved from there to lipstick, or “paint” as she seemed to want to call it. He was all for it, she wanted no part of it, muttering sourly about the painted faces of waterside wenches.
He had won both battles however, simply by overrunning her objections with “Stop. I know, and you know it.”
She had admitted he was right, but still she had to make an objection. “I swear she
thrives on being snotty, honest to God.” Lip paint was not going to take her to perdition, although the way she was carrying on, you’d think he was sending her to hell in a handcart. Now it was the gloves. He could just see her yanking some heavy, ugly wool things on, all the way to her shoulders… no way. She had pretty hands, she should show them off. He hauled her away from the counter, ignoring her protests.
“Ok, that’s it for this store. We have the dress, your ribbons, your paint. What else do we need?” Taylor thought for a moment, and a faint blush came over his face. “Um, Grace, do you… um… need any special… you know… stuff… to wear under that dress?” The look of sudden outrage on her face was comical, and he snorted in amused frustration. “For God’s sake, I’m not taking you to Victoria’s Secret! Do you or don’t you?” “Taylor Hanson, first of all, I have no idea who Victoria is, or what her secret may be. Secondly, you are NOT buying undergarments for me. No, we are not going to even talk about it.” She flushed deeply, remembering her misconceptions about Taylor. No, she was NOT going to look at corsets or bustiers with this boy. Although, a new garter belt was needed, and she’d heard about this new type of undergarment… NO! She was not going to that store with Taylor. “That’s everything I think. I have jewelry at home that would be suitable. And my heavy shawl will do.”
“No, it will not. You are not covering that dress with some heavy old wool shawl. You’d wrap up in it, and hide from everyone. We’ll find something else.” He pulled her arm, forcing her to walk down the sidewalk with him. He was really getting into this shopping gig, having fun spending money on someone else in spite of her obstinance. He suspected it was all for show anyway. Her eyes ratted her out nearly every time. He spotted a sign advertising lace work, and he dragged her in.
“We need a shawl. Something off white, creamy colored, delicate. Maybe some sparkles on it. Something she can’t pull over her head and hide under.” He laughed at the peeved look on her face. “What’d’ya got?”
He scanned the store, searching out what he wanted. He had a picture in his head, he’d know the shawl when he saw it. The shopkeeper nodded his head. “I know what you want. One moment, please.” Grace was standing by the display case, eyeing the delicate lacy gloves. “Taylor, these ones, may we get these gloves? They’re not long, just wrist length. Please, they’re so pretty…”
Standing beside her, Taylor looked at the longing in her face. She had so few really pretty things, unpractical things. These gloves looked like they’d fall apart just putting them on. Faintly iridescent, they’d look great with the dress. “Yeah, I guess so. So long as they’re not something you can pull up to your chin…” She gave him a sweet smile,
and the pleasure in her eyes made him smile back. “You’re like a kid in a candy store, Grace, don’t deny it. You’re loving every minute of this, aren’t you?” He nudged her gently, she nudged back not so softly. “Oh stop, Taylor. This is all so improper, but yes, it’s fun. I just can’t believe…” She trailed off as the shopkeeper came over to them with the most beautiful shawl she’d ever seen. A creamy homemade lace, it had a delicate fringe, and a pattern of beading strewn over it. It matched the lace on the dress as though they’d been made together. They looked at each other, and nodded
firmly. “We’ll take it. Wrap it up please. And those gloves.” Grace went with the man, to point out the gloves, and Taylor dug out his wallet. His concept of expensive was completely different from Grace’s. This day had cost him next to nothing, when compared to his usual expenses, back in his time. It occurred to him that he was overextravigant by nature, and that his spending was pretty impressive, but hey… you only lived once. May as well make the most of it…
“Here, Taylor. Take this box, please?” He was jolted from his reverie by the addition of another box to the stack he was already balancing. “Man, I wish we had some plastic bags, these boxes are awkward.” “Plastic? Pardon me?” “Forget it.” He shifted the boxes a little and peered over them at her. “Are we done now? Is there anything we’ve forgotten, or can we get this stuff back to your house?” Grace looked at him, astonished. “Taylor, I can’t take all this back to my house!”
“Well where you gonna take it then?”
“I don’t know! But I cant bring this home, how would I ever explain it? I… I’ll have to get ready at your apartment.” She flushed deeply at the thought, and Taylor laughed. Poor Grace was really pushing some limits today. He hated to do it, but he had to add one more. “Grace, what’re you going to tell your mom and dad you’re going? I get the idea you don’t go out much at night…”
“Oh dear.” Grace’s honest sensibilities were beginning to cause her actual twinges of pain. She hated to lie, lying was wrong, a sin… but she had to see Josh now. After all this, the thought of him NOT seeing her in such finery was unbearable. “Taylor, this is becoming very complicated. They certainly won’t let me out if I tell them I’m going to a tavern to hear Josh’s group. I’ll make some excuse, I’ll have to.”
“Think you can? Maybe you could say I’m taking you out?” She shot him a look that almost melted his skin off.
“You’re joking, aren’t you… you don’t think they’d let me go anywhere with someone as outrageous as you are? I’ll think of something, and come back to your place after supper. Between the two of us, we can get my hair done, and maybe your Kathryn can help me get dressed?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess. I didn’t think about that.” Taylor thought for a moment.
“Ok, I’ll get you home, by cab, and then I’ll go home. Don’t eat too much, though, we’ll go out for something to eat before the show. As long as you don’t take too much time primping and fussing.” He winked at her again, and Grace snorted. “Me? It’s you that’ll take a long time, doing something with YOUR hair, and getting respectable looking. I’m not going to go to a show with a bum, Taylor. You and that odd Ben had best get you something suitable to wear.” Taylor rolled his eyes, he’d hoped he was done with shopping. Maybe, he thought, Ben might have something back at the apartment.
“I won’t embarrass you Grace, honest. Besides, once we get there I don’t think it’s me you’ll be with. You’ll be with Josh.”
“I’m going with you…”
“I know, I know… c’mon, before my arms break…”

“Do you really want me to wear this?” Taylor eyes his reflection dubiously. He’d gotten fairly used to the look of the street clothes of the time, but this… He winced, taking in the overall effect.
“Ben, I look… I don’t know…”
“It’s right, Taylor. Right for the time.”
“Do I have to wear the tie? It’s not a tie kind of place…”
“Up to you. You don’t have to wear any of it. You said you wanted to dress, you are dressed.” Ben shrugged, having come to the conclusion long ago that Taylor was out to sabotage the whole affair with his rebelliousness. If he chose to go naked, Ben would do nothing to stop him. He’d washed his hands of worrying about it. That he was getting the job done seemed almost incidental in Benjamin’s mind.
“Where can we go to eat, Ben?”
“It’s New York, there are plenty of places.”
“Yes Ben…” His tone took on a patronizing quality.
“It’s New York. New York, 1883. If it were 99 I would go to the Hard Rock… but I have no idea where to take her, Ben, so would you help me?”
“Ask the lady where she would like to go. She’s at the door now.” Benjamin reached out, turned Taylor’s collar a bit, and nodded. “You’ll be fine.” He left the room silently, expression unreadable, and Taylor felt vague stirrings of guilt. He’d been pretty snotty to him. “Why am I like that?” He sighed in frustration with himself as he moved to answer the door that so far, nobody had knocked on. If Ben said she was here, she was here.

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This fictional story is hosted at The Gifted Ones,
with permission from the author, Sheryl.

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