When Tanaga saw Kazuma had left, he turned his attention the other employees. With a stern-looking face, he shouted loud enough to wake the dead.
“Close the boutique. No customers are allowed today. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Sir!” Everyone said together.
“Good! Who is the assistant manager?”
“It’s me, Sir!” A man raised his arm.
“What is your name?”
“Ishito, Sir!” replied the assistant manager standing with spine straight as if he was in the army responding to a General.
“Alright, Ishito. Make sure to create a miracle. If you need to pray to any saints or gods, do it. I will be back to pick her up, and she’d be ready by then. Do you understand?”
“Sir, if you don’t mind, what occasion are you attending? We want to dress her up fitting the theme.”
Tanaga glanced at Ashley, and his face turned sour to see her sitting with her chin propped on her palm, perusing a magazine. Hence, he shouted, “Ask my WIFE!” in Nihongo, believing she didn’t know the language.
That’s why his eyes became a big letter O’ when Ashley reacted and spoke in Tagalog. “I’m just curious, when did you become my husband? As far as I could remember, I was never married to anyone since birth.
“You’ve been yelling I’m your wife ever since we arrived. Do you think I can’t understand your language? I know we’re about to get married, but it doesn’t mean I’m already your wife,” she said curtly and turned her back on him without waiting for his reply.
Her words undoubtedly struck Tanaga’s pride and left him rooted on the floor. He couldn’t believe what he heard. ‘What audacity. Do you think I also want you to become my wife? Of course not.’ Tanaga said to himself and walked out slamming the door
Right after Tanaga left, Ishito began asking Ashley. “Ma’am, I need to know the theme and occasion,” he said amiably while other employees served sweets and juice.
Ashley had a headache whether to reveal to them the truth or not. While she was silent, the employees thought she couldn’t understand the question and told Ishito to repeat it in English. As he was about to speak, Ashley answered with a blush, “It’s a wedding.”
“Oh, lovely. What is your role in the wedding? Maid of honor or maybe a bridesmaid?”
“It’s like this… You see, I’m not the maid of honor…” She couldn’t continue speaking for she hadn’t come to terms yet to call herself a bride because this marriage was nothing but a written contract with no love.
“Oh, so you’re the bridesmaid?” The assistant manager interrupted halfway her sentence.
Asley bit her lower lip and thought this was no good. They would never finish if she stayed this way. “No! Ah, because… What the heck?” She stammered and decided to admit the truth in English so they would understand well, thinking her Nihongo sounded different in their ears.
“The truth of the matter is… We are the one getting married. There! I said it. I’m the bride, not the maid of honor nor the bridesmaid. Do you understand what I’m talking about?” Ashley flared in annoyance to admit it and said in one breath, causing her to gasp for air from speaking in haste.
This was totally a surprise for the employees, but as a result, they went into a frenzy out of excitement to learn this was an opportunity to show off their skills.
Hence, they planned to make her the prettiest bride ever to please their boss and who knew? Tanaga might… just a glimpse of hope… that he would give them a bonus or a salary raise.
For this reason, “Really? OMG! I got it now, Ma’am.” Ishito gave his instructions to the other workers in a hurry and faced Ashley with his fanciest smile. “We have all the best here for you, Ma’am. Please, follow me.” Ishito brought her to a separate room.
Upon entering, Ashley’s body stood frozen to see grand and elegant wedding gowns brought to her one by one. Her lips split into a wide grin, watching the beautifully and intricately embroidered white or cream-colored expensive clothes. Some had diamonds studs, or gems, or gold thread designed around the dress.
This was the first her eyes laid on such wealth. One of these could pay for their family’s needs for years, she thought.
Then her face grew sullen despite knowing she would wear one of these today. ‘If only I’m getting married for real out of love, I would be excited to choose but… I think I don’t need to wear any of these.’
Ishito saw her lost her smile, making the alarm bells rung in his brain. “Ma’am! Are these not pleasing to you?
“No, no, no! These are all very beautiful. In fact, so beautiful for me to wear. But I prefer something simple but nice,” she said with a smile to ease Ishito’s nervousness. She understood their fears if their boss was not pleased.
“Hmmm, simple?” Ishito bit a pen’s tip with furrowed brows, thinking there’s no such thing as simple in there. “Ma’am, I wish you can tell us what you mean by simple. Anyway, we still have more clothes for you to choose from. I leave the choice to you. Please, come this way.” On that note, Ishito brought her to another room.
Thank goodness, Ashley had found what she liked, relieving Ishito and the employees tensed hearts. Next was the shoes, pieces of jewelry, and other accessories found in separate rooms. At last, it was make-over time inside a well-lighted place with a massive mirror in front of her.
“Ma’am, I’m sure, after this make-over, Boss Jones will be head over heels in love with you and would never let you out of his sight,” Ishito said with pride.
She doubted the assistant manager’s words but dared not to burst their bubbling expectations like a pricked balloon. Thus, she acted happy and thankful to the dazzled eyed employees.
“Really? That will be wonderful. Thank you! I hope you’ll really make a miracle.” And feigned a laugh with no joy inside her heart.
Ishito didn’t notice her fakeness and went on arranging her hair while others manicured her fingernails.
“Don’t you worry, Ma’am. I don’t need to pray to any gods for a miracle because I only need to enhance your natural beauty with a slight touch of make-up. And we’ll make you into a striking beauty queen that will mesmerize CEO Jones.” Ishito proudly announces while his chip was sticking up.