Only after does she realize she has no fancy party dress and no money until pay day to even purchase or rent one. But when the strange old woman who runs a shop called Madame Malone’s offers her the perfect dress with no down payment, merely requesting Marianne stop by at midnight after her party so she can see how it looks on her, Marianne agrees.
She is bound by her promise, but what will Marianne be bound by when she loses track of time and the party runs late?
Marianne has always been a determined woman, not caring about money or attention, simply wanting to do right by her work, which is why when the VP of her company actually pays her a compliment she is more than just flustered. Told she did so good on a recent account, one no one else wanted and she essentially was forced to tackle, Lance tells her that he hopes she will be at the office summer party over the weekend, that he’d like to personally walk her around and introduce her to the board.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for Marianne, having never seen herself as cutthroat enough to succeed in her career, finding herself with the opportunity to actually succeed on her merits alone, and with the VP’s personal help doing so. There’s really only one problem Marianne could see causing trouble for this all to go as perfectly as it seems it just might. The office summer party is being held at the Palace Hotel downtown, one of the nicest and fanciest buildings around. A place like that and an opportunity like this requires more than drab business suits or clothing no one will blink an eye at.
Marianne has worked hard, but not hard enough to afford last minute clothing for a fancy party. Having never attended one, she wasn’t exactly prepared and accepted the invitation without thinking… but now she has a predicament. Where can she possibly find the perfect party dress in less than 24 hours with pretty much zero budget for it?
Pacing nervously in the office breakroom, trying to think of any possible solution for her problems, Marianne happens to spot a crumpled up newspaper in the trash and on that page there happens to be an ad for a place called Madame Malone’s, a place that seems to offer payment plans. But when she asks a nearby coworker about Madame Malones, the woman’s reaction is to nearly spit out her coffee, definitely seeming unnerved by even the suggestion of visiting a place like that.
According to the coworker, Marianne does not want to be in debt to Madame Malone, an old creepy woman that is rumored to either be a gypsy, witch, or voodoo priestess of some kind.
Still, when left to a choice of wearing drab dull office clothes or having the perfect dress to meet the board at the party, Marianne knows she needs to explore all options. That’s how she finds herself the day before the party at Madame Malone’s.
It’s definitely an odd place, and Madame Malone is certainly a bit unsettling, but she’s just an old lady. Besides, there’s the most perfect dress ever, a very flattering but respectful looking red dress that would look great on her for the party.
When Madame Malone offers the dress with zero down payment, saying that she can see honesty and innocence in Marianne’s eyes, it seems too good to be true. The only thing Madame Malone asks is that Marianne stop by her shop at midnight after the party, to let an old woman see what she looks like wearing the beautiful red dress. She can pay for it later.
Agreeing, the night of the big office summer party arrives… but just what will happen when Marianne loses track of time and the office party rolls past midnight? She always strived to learn the ropes in business, but will she find all new ropes restraining her, bound by more than just her broken promise, literally bound in place with drunken men from the office assuming the worst of Marianne and truly giving her more than just friendly greetings?
Readers Choice Month reminds readers to always keep your word… or else you may be Bound and Determined to pay a truly perverse price forever.
Koming next… That hair colour is something else…