Early Access: The Taste Of A Smile Part 23 ‘Dress to impress’ Excerpt


Hello, wonderful romantics!

How have you been? I missed our usual time together on Saturday! I guess it’ll take some time to get used to this new frequency. Luckily, today there’s an excerpt. And on Saturday, I can share the latest full episode with you.

First, let’s find if Mary is ready for her date with Lex!



Mary turned around and looked over her shoulder.

“Okay, these don’t look that bad,” she thought, inspecting her reflection in the mirror.

She brushed some lint off of her thigh. She spun around, facing the mirror again, and adjusted her top for no particular reason. The soft, dark blue fabric fit her perfectly.

Mary stepped closer and studied her face. She had decided to go very light on the make-up. That decision alone had taken a whole hour of her Saturday morning. She had spent three hours trying outfits before settling on this one.

Mary wanted to look perfect for her date with Lex. The problem was, she had no idea what the appropriate attire was for an opera rehearsal. She knew most people dressed up big time for a real concert.

But what about a rehearsal on a Saturday afternoon? Jeans and a shirt certainly would be far too casual. Plus, there were other things to take into consideration. Like looking her best for Lex.

Mary took in a deep breath and inspected her appearance one more time. Pants, check. Top, check. Hair, check. Make-up … Shit, maybe she should put on some eye shadow after all?

A sudden knock on the door made her jump. She grabbed her phone from a small table by the mirror and checked the time. It was 11.30 AM. She knew there was only one person who could be knocking at this hour.

Mary tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and opened the door.

“Hey grandma,” she said, stepping back to let Elza in.

“There you are,” Elza smiled. “I was starting to wonder if you were stuck in Washington.”

Mary lowered her gaze. “Sorry, I should have come up and said hi last night. I was just so tired.”

That wasn’t true and Mary immediately felt terrible for lying to her grandmother. The truth was that she had been bursting with energy and had purposefully stayed in her own apartment because of it.

She had been on such a high after Lex had asked her out on a date. And not just any date! She would see Mildred North perform! Mary had had a grin plastered on her face all night. And she hadn’t wanted her grandma to ask questions about it.

Elza looked her up and down with raised eyebrows. She was in an old, faded tracksuit this morning.” You look lovely,” she said.

Mary stuck her hands in her pockets. “Thank you.”

“I wanted to ask if you can help me move some plants, but it looks like I came at a bad moment,” Elza said.

“What plants?” Mary asked, eager to shift the focus away from herself.

Elza pointed to the front of the house. “The big ones by the window. I want to create a sitting area in the sunlight. I need more vitamin D.”

Mary didn’t even blink at her grandma’s latest, odd project. She quickly considered the pros and cons of helping her out before leaving. She felt guilty about avoiding her grandma, but also didn’t want to ruin her outfit.

“Where are you going?” Elza asked, stepping into Mary’s living room.

Mary hurried after her. Several of the outfits she had tried on were thrown onto the couch.

“Eh, the Met,” she said.

Elza picked up a pair of black jeans and folded them over her arm. “The neighborhood?”

“No,” Mary replied, gathering her other clothes. “I’m going to an opera rehearsal.”

“Really?” Elza asked, her expression as surprised as her tone.

Mary felt her cheeks starting to heat up. She hurried into her bedroom. “You know I like classical music.”

“Yes,” Elza said, following Mary. “But aren’t rehearsals open to patrons only?”

Mary threw her clothes onto the unmade bed. In the corner of the room, her suitcase lay open, with the tumble of clothes she had taken to Washington DC on full display.

“You’ve made a mess today,” Elza chuckled. “If you’re not careful, you’ll end up just like me.”

Mary couldn’t stop the wide smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Mom sure would hate that.”

Elza placed the pants she had picked up on the bed. “Yes, she would. She’s much like her father that way. Always tidying up.”

“I’m not sure I would have gotten along with grandpa,” Mary commented, picking up a pair of socks from the floor.

Elza folded her hands in front of her belly. “You would have. Your grandpa and I rarely fought about my mess.”

Mary stared at her boots. She had picked a pair without heels so she could walk to the Met.

“Mom and I fight,” she said.

Elza smiled. “That’s because you’re both stubborn.”

“So are you,” Mary snorted.

“It runs in the family, I guess,” Elza said, her eyes twinkling.

“I guess so,” Mary replied, grateful for this moment with her grandma.

Elza gestured for them to go back to the small living room. “So how did you get into that rehearsal?”

Mary closed the bedroom door behind them. “My boss had some tickets.”

“And she offered them to you? That’s very thoughtful,” Elza said.

“Not exactly,” Mary admitted, “She gave them to Lex and Lex asked me if I wanted to go.”

Elza crossed her arms. “Lex?”

Mary quickly walked to the hallway and grabbed her coat. “Yeah, the new store manager?”

“The one you thought was absolutely awful?” Elza asked. She didn’t bother hiding her amusement.

Mary literally felt herself blush from the tips of her ears all the way down to her chest. “I was wrong about that.”

She put her arms through the sleeves of the coat clumsily. Elza had her gaze fixed on her granddaughter.

“Well, have fun, my dear,” she finally said with what could only be described as a knowing smile.

“Thanks! I might be home late,” Mary said, pulling her zipper up too fast, catching some of the skin of her chin. “Shit.”

Elza stroked Mary’s chin affectionately. “Don’t worry. I won’t wait up for you,” she teased.


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