“My clothes are starting not to fit,” Rensa announced to Mirren. “Do I have a budget for maternity clothes?”
“Of course you do.” Mirren’s pregnancy wasn’t that much more advanced than Rensa’s but she looked further along. “Mind you, once I started shopping for my own maternity clothes I had them double it.”
“They’re more expensive than ordinary clothes?” Rensa thought for a moment. “Well, they do need more fabric.”
“I think it’s more that they see you coming when they either think you’re desperate or floating in a la-la land of happy hormones,” was Mirren’s tart response. “I think we should start with the people you brought from last time and then expand from there.”
Everyday clothes and underwear for pregnant women were relatively easy to get although pricier than clothes for the not-pregnant.
The store that had reminded Rensa of her sex education lessons provided two made-to-measure coatdresses with frankly military styling. The tailoring, as always, suited Rensa and the pleats below the high bust line allowed for her expanding belly. The other stores she’d purchased from before didn’t have maternity clothes but they were prepared to suggest things and modify designs.
Rensa almost had everything she needed when they decided to try one of the stores that hadn’t let them in the door when they’d first been buying her clothes. At this time of year it apparently didn’t need a security guard or a doorman. Inside there were a few artistically arranged racks of clothing, two shop assistants and a woman with garishly dyed, multi-coloured hair who could only be described as difficult.
“Why are you offering me that size? I’m obviously a 14, not an 18!” Her hands telegraphed her indignation as loudly as her voice.
“Madam, you tried on the 16 in the green and it was that fraction too small,” the darker haired girl reminded her.
“That was a very tight cut,” the woman harrumphed, “and sewn even tighter. It should have been relabelled as a 12 or something. Get me a 14!”
“As you wish.” The dark haired girl put the garment she was holding back on the rack and pulled out an identical but smaller one. She turned to the lighter haired girl and asked, “Hellen, could you please see to the ladies who’ve just come in?”
Hellen turned but the customer grabbed her arm. “No you don’t, I need both of you. I’ll have a word with them while you get me that pink thing and in a 14 mind you!”
The woman walked over to Rensa and Mirren, oblivious to the fact that the shop assistants were following her with worried expressions. Both young women looked bemused when they flicked their eyes over the two security men who had taken up stations inside the shop’s doors. “I’m sorry,” the customer told Rensa and Mirren, “but the staff will be busy with me for some time. You and your husbands should go get coffee or something, then come back. If you think this store would have anything for someone in your condition.”
“I have found people to be very accommodating about our current condition.” Rensa looked the woman up and down. She could see how the other customer’s hair style had been inspired by her own but those colours had no place in nature. “They’re not our husbands and who are you to chase other paying customers out of this shop?”
The other woman returned the up and down treatment. “You look vaguely familiar, perhaps you were some minor hanger-on at one of my parties? Don’t you know who I am?” The blue, pink and green hair on her head practically bristled.
“No. Why should I?” Rensa was calm.
“Majesty,” Hirroc, one of her security detail, was deploying his ‘early warning system’, “is this woman annoying you? Do you wish her removed?”
Rensa and Mirren thought the other customer might be about to faint.