“These are the jeans?” Frederic asked. “Can you put them on?”
One after another Mike put on his jeans while Frederic watched. Finally, he shook his head. He said something in French and Max came over.
“He wants to know if we can get you some other jeans,” Max said to Mike. “Where did you get these?”
Mike shrugged. “What’s wrong with them?”
“They’re too small,” Max said.
“They fit the waist,” Mike said. “I just deal with the leg thing.”
“That’s why they rip right here.” Max pointed to rips near the crotch of Mike’s jeans. “I’ll keep a list. We already have undergarments. Jeans are easy. Levis?”
“Yeah. But they can’t be too big. They fall off me.”
Speaking very slowly, Max said, “Frederic will tailor them. That’s what he does.”
“Oh,” Mike said. “Sorry, this is all …”
Mike stopped talking when Valerie turned around in the gown. He put his hand over his heart certain it had stopped beating. Valerie caught his look and smiled.
Max tapped his arm.
“Frederic brought a tux for you. He had to guess at the size. He thinks it’s too small. Do you have a tux you wear when you drive?”
Mike nodded. Frederic made a motion with his hand.
“We’d go back there, but you were …” He said a word in French.
“Frightened,” Max translated.
“Oh, come on,” he said.
One by one, Mike tried on his clothing while Frederic shook his head and spoke in French to Max. To Mike’s surprise, Frederic liked some of his favorite shirts and pants. Before he could figure a pattern, they had exhausted his closet.
When they returned to the living room, Valerie wore a pant suit. Claire spoke in very rapid French while Alex translated. Valerie looked over at him in desperation. He slipped his arm over her shoulder.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“Claire just asked Val to be her exclusive media representative,” Alex said.
“Exclusive … What?” Mike asked.
“That’s spokesmodel to you! I think Val’s a little overwhelmed. She looks great in the clothing. But there’s a Ramon …?”
“You look so much better than in anything he’s put you in,” Mike said. “Let’s ask Jen. She’s still in town right?”
Valerie nodded, “She’s setting up Oprah.”
“Oprah?” Claire said. She nodded. “That would be very good for us. This line is not expensive but well made. For the everyday woman who wants to look …”
“Classy,” Alex finished Claire’s sentence. “Where’s Jill? Claire thought Jill would be perfect too, but she disappeared.”
“She went back upstairs,” Mike said. “She’s painting and wanted to finish the trim before Mass.”
Alex and Claire spoke in rapid-fire French for a moment.
“Can you get Jill, Mike? We think she would look great, too.”
At the mention of Jill, Valerie lit up.
“We could both be spokesmodels?” Valerie asked.
“Two exclusive media representatives?” Alex frowned.
“Oui,” Claire said as if it was obvious.
While Valerie hesitated to hurt someone’s feelings, in this case Ramon’s tender designer feelings, she loved to spread good fortune. And Valerie loved Jill. Mike smiled at the change in her and kissed her nose.
“Call Jen, and I’ll get Jill.”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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