Page 5 of Suited for Love

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I blink. "What do you mean?"

She purses her lips. "Everything you said is correct. And the dress is beautiful…but it's not Chrysalis. You have to learn to look past the clothes to the bigger picture." She points to the designer's mission statement. "The designer prides herself on designing for women of all shapes and sizes. She has a very strong brand focused on unity and inclusivity.”

My eyebrows pull together. "Isn't that a good thing?"

Briony leans back in her chair. "Tell me, Margo, does Boutique Chrysalis sell plus-size clothes?"

Frowning, I shake my head. I wear a size fourteen and the only things I can purchase at our stores are casual shirts, skirts with elastic waistbands, and accessories. Cara can't shop at Chrysalis, either. Every penny of her modeling income is spent elsewhere. "Not currently, but…"

Briony raises a sculpted eyebrow. "But you'd like to change that?"

"There are so many designers who are designing for curvy women now. We can expand the sizing at Boutique Chrysalis to…"

She holds up a hand. "Why would we do that?"

Why?Why not?"The average woman in the United States has a double-digit dress size. It's a huge market for Boutique Chrysalis to tap into. And with all the emerging designers, it's an exciting time for…"

"Women like you?" she interrupts.

"I was going to sayfashion." I fight to maintain my composure despite the sour taste in my mouth. "But yes, as a plus-size woman, it's wonderful to see designers and stores carrying beautiful and stylish clothes in larger sizes."

Briony sighs dramatically. "Be that as it may, it doesn't fit the Chrysalis brand. We sell clothes to theChrysalis woman. She's smart, sophisticated, and stylish. Yet she's always working to improve herself, dissatisfied with anything short of perfection."

My eyebrows draw together in confusion. What does any of that have to do with the size of a woman’s clothes?

She pushes the binder toward me. "To put it simply, we’re not here to dress the caterpillars."

Heat rushes to my cheeks. Briony Kelly just told me in no uncertain terms that not only am Inota Chrysalis woman, I’m a lowly caterpillar.

Maybe she's right. I certainly feel as small as an inchworm right now.

After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, I force my eyes to meet hers. "I'm not being promoted."

"Your eye for sellable clothes is impeccable. But until you understand our brand, I can't promote you. The truth is, I don’t think Boutique Chrysalis is a good fit for you.”

It's not a good fit because you refuse to carry my size!Then I process the subtext of her words. My eyes snap to hers. "Are you firing me?"

"You're welcome to stay on as a junior buyer indefinitely. But I don't think there's any room left for you to grow. If you'd rather move on, I'm prepared to give you a glowing recommendation and a generous severance package."

Feeling completely blindsided, I close my eyes a moment to gather my composure. Angry tears threaten to fall, but I choke them back. "I'll take a look at the severance package."

In my purse, my phone vibrates.

Chapter 4


I'vebeenwhite-knucklingthesteering wheel so long that my fingers are numb. After thirteen hours in the car, I think I have a small taste of Cara's job as a hand model. Her hands always ache after a grueling day on the set.

Wiggling my fingers to get the blood moving again, I tap a button beside the steering wheel. "Call Cara."

"Calling Cara," the robotic voice responds.

She answers on the first ring. "Caught me during a prop change. Only have a minute. There yet?" Her words are rushed, but I can hear the concern in her voice.

I glance out the window at a stand of palm trees. "I'm in the home stretch." Acommon expression, but as I say the words, it feels like a challenge. I can almost hear the palm trees laughing.Home? That's a stretch…

Truth is I'm as out of place here as a palm tree in New York.