When they arrived, the shopping center Gabriel was taking her too looked like something Alyssa saw in books referred to as a mall. There were so many shops, but Gabriel insisted that they do his store first. He told her it would take the person at the pharmacy a while to fill out their order, and that time would be used to let her shop for things for herself and Diane. As they walked up to the window, the man who was in the white coat almost shit himself when he saw Gabriel.
"Gabriel?" the man said, as his voice so low he was whispering.
"Franklin," Gabriel said, as he handed him a note. "I have an order for you. I don't care what the cost is. Put it on my tab and even tip yourself well."
"You don't need this," the pharmacist said, looking as the order.
"It's not for me," Gabriel said, gesturing to Alyssa who was looking at something in another part of the store. "It's for her."
"Oh," Franklin said, sighing. "That makes sense."
"Franklin," Gabriel said, as he was sensing something. "What's wrong?"
"Where is she from?" the man asked.
"A small town south of here," Gabriel answered, "Why do you ask?"
"I'm thought she might be from Denver," Franklin said, looking nervous.
Gabriel reached over the desk and grabbed Franklin by the coat and pulled him closer. "What the hell do you know about Denver?"
"The city knows about Denver," Franklin told him. "Every wolf found out a few nights ago. The high priest even had to release a statement to settle everyone down. The town was buzzing so much you would have thought the full moon was near."
"Why did you ask if she was from Denver?" Gabriel inquired, giving the man a look that told him not to screw around.
"Some people escaped," the man explained, "And rumor was a vampire helped them out. Your building was on lockdown last night. Only access was through the roof if someone wanted to show up."
"How do they know a vampire helped them escape?" Gabriel asked.
"The roadblock," Franklin replied, "They were supposed to check in every five minutes, and only a vampire can move that fast."
"Don't sell yourselves short," Gabriel countered. "A pack can move that fast too."
"That's right, we could." Franklin replied, "But we don't change when then moon isn't full. That's blasphemy unless the high priest allows it."
"Good point," Gabriel said, relaxing. "I'm not here to cause trouble, and you know I pay well. How soon can you get this order filled?"
Franklin looked at the list. "Give me a few hours."
"I'll check back in three." Gabriel said, "Don't close until you're finished."
"We don't close," Franklin corrected him.
"Oh, good to know." Gabriel said, as he started to walk away. He waved over to Alyssa to get her attention.
"What's up?" Alyssa asked.
"We've got a couple of hours to kill," Gabriel called back, "So let's hit a few shops and buy something nice."
They browsed a few stores, but there was one above the others that Alyssa couldn't help but bolt into the moment she saw it. Gabriel didn't know what was so exciting about this particular shop, as it looked no different than the rest of them. Yet she looked back at him with an excited look on her face as she looked at this specific product, and he found it interesting.
"It's just a dress," Gabriel said, sounding insensitive. "I've seen women over the ages go nuts for a dress, but never so excitedly as you are."
"I'm sorry," Alyssa said, looking back.
"You don't have to apologize," he corrected her. "I find your excitement inspiring. It's something I haven't seen in a very, very long time. I'm unsure why but I am enjoying it. It was not my intent to demean your enthusiasm."
"I've never owned a dress," Alyssa told him, "I mean we make dresses at the town, but nothing near this quality. I've never even seen something so beautiful that I could wear before."
"That makes sense," Gabriel said, as he understood. Alyssa was born during the zombie apocalypse and good fashion took a backseat at least half a decade before she was even born. He hadn't shopped for dresses in over a century, and the feeling was foreign to him again. It was not something he wanted to forget but just did while trying to keep everyone alive, even himself.
"So let's buy one then," Gabriel told her. "Just one as I can't carry a whole wardrobe back with me. Well, I could but there'd be too many questions."
"Are you sure?" Alyssa asked, feeling bad about it. "They're all so expensive."
"I can afford it," Gabriel assured her, "Trust me. I've got a lot stashed away from the work I've been doing. So don't worry about it; we have plenty of time so there's no need to rush either."
"Okay," Alyssa said, as a wide grin formed on her cute face. She jogged off to the sales person so she could ask questions. Gabriel had a smile on his face, as he played the boyfriend role that Pablo had set him up for. He remembered what it was like to watch as a lady went shopping with his money, and a part of him missed that as he thought back about those days long past. Even in the undead apocalypse, it was fun to see that materialism hadn't completed died. It was back from the dead just like the zombies that plagued the Earth.
She had retreated to the change room to try some of the dresses on, and Gabriel found a seat and waited patiently as she took her time trying them out. Moments later when she found something that she liked, Alyssa emerged from the change room wearing her preferred dress to see what everyone waiting for her thought about it. When she emerged from the room, Alyssa was wearing a red dress that showed her bare shoulders and looked more like a cocktail dress out of a romance movie than a ball gown. The way her hair fell down around her neck made Alyssa look stunning, and it was the first time Gabriel looked at her with the eyes of a man rather than a creature that needed her to feed. It had been a long time since he felt that was just looking at someone and the dress really brought it out of him too. He was used to seeing Alyssa wear something so elegant, so it was hard for him to picture or think of her that way. The elegant dress what changing that for him, to the point where it felt like Gabriel's jaw was on the floor.
"So you like it?" Alyssa asked, noticing the look on his face.
"It's stunning." Gabriel honestly answered, "I haven't seen work that magnificent in a very long time."
"I agree," the sales woman said, trying to use his face to sell it. "Do you like it too, dear?"
"I do, but it is expensive." Alyssa said, as she noticed the price tag on it. She could buy a ton of food for the town with the money this dress demanded. She felt back even thinking about taking it.
"I don't care," Gabriel said, standing up to look at it from another angle.
The more he examined the dress, the more he liked it. Especially with how it made the person wearing it too, something he didn't anticipate.
"We'll take it," He told the sales lady.
"We will?" Alyssa repeated.
"Yes," Gabriel said, smiling. "Change back into your clothes and we'll pack it up in a nice box for purchase."
"Alright," Alyssa said, looking surprised. "Thank you!"
"You're very welcome," Gabriel said, as he was pleased as well. "Don't take too long and we'll try to find some shoes that match."
"There's a nice shop down the hall to your left." The sales lady replied, "They have a lot of nice stuff that nicely compliment our dresses. If it's for an important event, a match purse might be quite appropriate as well."
"Duly noted," Gabriel replied, amused that sales-people were still as annoying as they were before the end of the world.
After they purchased the dress, Gabriel noticed there was a skip in her step as Alyssa walked away from the shop. He didn't say anything and preferred to pretend he didn't see it while secretly enjoying it. His amusement was short lived as something caught his attention as they were strolling around the small mall. Several men dressed in the same body armor as the guards at the Vampire building were walking through the hallways, and a man in a suit was leading them. It took a few seconds to realize that the man was walking towards them.
"Alyssa, we need to stop." Gabriel said.
"What's wrong?" Alyssa asked as she stopped and turned around. When she saw the armored troops walking over she slowly got behind Gabriel as she didn't like the look of them marching over.
"Mr. Vladimirescu," the man in the suit called out to Gabriel.
"Gabriel will suffice," he corrected the man, "Can I help you?"
"We need to speak to you and the human," the man in the suit replied, "We have some pressing questions that cannot wait. The authority of New Lycan wishes to speak with you both regarding urgent matters."
"Of course," Gabriel said, taking Alyssa's hand. "We will cooperate."
"Thank you, Sir." The man in the suit replied, "Come this way."