Dahlia Montaray was the proud owner of “Little Bit More”, an elegant dress shop catering primarily to graduation but included evening, mother of the bride, dinner and ballroom gowns. A variety of colours and styles enticingly displayed from long to short, form-fitting to floating, elegant to sassy – an eye-catching array designed to appeal to any woman or girl of any age.

She’d recently begun carrying high-end costume jewelry that could be worn in the hair, clipped onto a dress or suit, worn on wrists ankles or even shoes. The popularity of these pieces had taken her by surprise and she’d recently begun doubling her order to ensure a steady supply for the increasing stream of customers showing up for those specific items for special occasions as well. Admittedly it was a relief since she’d invested heavily in the endeavour and was gratified to have found another avenue of interest ensuring customers and sales.

Dahlia watched with amusement as the pretty teenager flashed a shocked look at her parents followed by a look of disbelief thrown her way before turning to flounce out the door and down the mall to the entrance, in an obvious huff. Her parents hadn’t actually refused to buy her the $500.00 dress she’d decided she had to have for graduation but had encouraged her to entertain another less expensive dress instead with a couple of pieces of jewelry for added sparkle. Although Dahlia could have pushed the issue knowing that without much effort on her part, she could sway the parents into buying the dress, she chose not to. The parents gaze followed their daughter, their expressions aggrieved anxious and embarrassed.

“Listen,” she said, “if you can come back in a week, I’ll give you the dress at a substantially reduced price. I would do it today, but she needs a cooling-off period and to know she can’t have everything she wants when she wants it. Instant gratification, my grandmother would have called it. She’ll get the dress she wants, and you’ll get a reduced price that makes the dress affordable.” Dahlia paused again, “Your dears, both of you. Promise me you’ll let her stew about it for a few days before surprising her by returning for the dress? We’ll do a final fitting then.”

“You’d do that?” the astounded mother asked.

“Yes, yes I will.”

The father walked toward Dahlia and nodded before taking her hand and pumping it. “Thank you. It’s difficult sometimes, not only because of the cost of things but because as all parents we want better for her and she catches a lot of how you say it, flack, for being different…well us being different,” he admitted before standing straighter and taller.

“She’ll get over it. She’s not a bad kid. Believe me, I’ve seen worse. She loves you and it’s written all over her. When others would have thrown an all-out tantrum screaming and yelling, she simply trotted off in a huff. She’s a good kid.”

They left holding hands, whispering as they went. She’d meant what she said, she would give them the deal. She gave one customer a deal every year because there was always someone in a position where they weren’t able to afford the extravagant prices. Not that she jacked her prices up, they were minimal in comparison to others but with mall prices and overhead continually rising, she had no choice but to raise her prices accordingly to stay profitable and in business. She smiled. It always felt really good though to offer assistance to someone and these two, in her eyes, deserved it.

As she replaced the plastic cover over the stunning red halter dress, with its added layers of tule that floated around the bottom of the dress, she had to admit it was perfect on the young woman. She was five-six with a tiny waist which the dress accentuated along with her beautiful complexion, rich black hair and deep sparkling brown eyes, she could obviously become a model. Yet she’d chosen as Dahlia had learned through their discussions during the process, to become a doctor. The parents mentioned she wasn’t satisfied with anything less than an A and spent her time studying to ensure good grades instead of partying. She was surrounded by supportive friends which was also a bonus. That was the impetus in offering them the reduced price. Their obvious support of their daughter’s endeavours as well as her dedication had taken it over the top.

A week later, a subdued and respectful teenager walked through the door accompanied by a smiling mom. The young woman approached her and quietly held out a hand. “I want to apologize for earlier. It isn’t like me and I behaved badly.”

“Listen, I understand the pressure of graduation, the desire to look your best for this very special occasion. It’s important. Let’s try the dress on again, and we’ll make any alterations necessary, ok?”

Dahlia went into the back room where she’d placed the dress and brought it out to the young woman who looked longingly at it. “It’s really very beautiful, isn’t it?” she asked.

Dahlia smiled in return, “Yes, yes it is. But not as beautiful as the wearer in this case. Go ahead, take it to the dressing room and we’ll join you shortly.”

With delight, she captured the dress and pulled it to her body and held on. It was obvious that this dress held more than just style and design for the young woman. It spoke to her on levels that went beyond. It was the culmination of years of hard work and study of dedication and determination and was a moment that said I’ve done it, done well. It brought a glisten of tears to her eyes. This young woman was going places.

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