Replay - Amy Daws

“How’s that gown fitting?” an American accent calls through the thick curtain of my dressing room.

“Erm…I’m still naked,” I reply as I pull the dress off the hanger.

“Sorry, I’m just really excited,” the person that I can now identify as Leslie Clarke answers back. “You’re Freya’s sister-in-law, which means you’re a VIP and have to look gorgeous for this charity gala on Friday.”

I cringe and try to shake away my guilt over Freya’s friend’s generosity. “You really didn’t have to go to all this trouble. I could have just popped over to Primark and found something cheap and easy,” I add as I struggle to slip the dress on.

“Blasphemy!” Leslie squeals back. “Sloan! Tilly Logan is speaking blasphemy in our shop.”

Sloan Harris’ voice cuts through the fabric curtain next, also another American. “Your brother is excited to show you off to his football friends, so you need to feel gorgeous.”

My nose twitches with nerves because this event will be my first proper night out since arriving in London three weeks ago. I’m here indefinitely helping my brother, Mac, and his wife, Freya, because Freya was restricted to bed rest with her pregnancy midway through her second trimester. It’s an ordeal as she’s right in the middle of selling her trendy line of pet clothing to a major department store and can’t exactly delay the negotiations.

Thankfully, I have a master’s in business retail and a fair bit of experience from my time working in London over five years ago. I was a buyer at Fortnum and Mason and climbing the corporate ladder before…well…before I decided to move back home to Scotland. But now I’m back and here to help Freya in any way she needs me. And that apparently includes taking her place at a football charity gala this Friday. Therefore, I needed a dress, and Freya’s best mates who own this fabulous high-end boutique in east London were all too willing to whisk me away for a makeover.

“Just pretend you’re Cinderella, and we’re your fairy godmothers!” Leslie adds excitedly, pulling me out of my inner musings.

My nose wrinkles at that remark. I actually hate the whole concept of a fairy godmother. The fairy tale should have been Cinderella freeing herself, making her own damn dress, and walking her arse to the ball all on her own.

Perhaps that’s the Scottish in me. We tend to solve our own problems and find our own way. Though if a friend in need asked me for help, I’d drop everything in a heartbeat. Hence, why I moved here from Scotland to help out my brother and his wife.

Sloan’s voice interrupts my thoughts. “Even with all the celebrities we’ve styled in here, there is still nothing better than styling a friend of the family.”

“It helps when that friend of the family is six feet tall with the body of a model.” Leslie laughs. “Come on, Tilly. We’re dying out here!”

“I’m coming!” I push back the curtain and find a brunette and a redhead gawking at me. Though Leslie’s hair is that lush auburn colour. Far more gorgeous than my shade of red.

“Good God, we’re geniuses,” Leslie states with her lips parted.

“You’re a genius…I only helped a little,” Sloan volleys back, and the two high-five each other.

“Is it good?” I ask nervously. “I can’t believe you guys don’t have mirrors in your changing rooms.”

“Because we want you to see yourself in the best lighting.” Leslie grabs my hand and escorts me over to a round pedestal centred between three-way mirrors. “Reality is ninety percent lighting and ten percent camera angles.”

“Is that a good thing?” I inquire, stepping up onto the platform. My eyes shift to the mirror and I gasp in astonishment.

If this is some kind of trick lighting, then God bless it because I look dead brilliant.

The dress is a long, metallic mermaid gown that hugs every inch of my body. I usually don’t love silver as it can sometimes wash out my fair complexion and make my strawberry blond hair look redder than it is, but this gown is way too gorgeous to give a shit about that. And it magically manages to accentuate my very minimal curves, which is a feat in and of itself. I’ve always been the tall and gangly type. My granddad used to call me Spider when I was wee because I was all arms and legs. I’ve filled out a bit in my hips now that I’ve hit my thirties, but am still flat-chested compared to the two beautiful