‘The Finest Milled Cotton’ by Katherine Hill
Four days after Alissa dropped out of college, she snagged a job at the preppy clothing retailer that made sumptuous cashmere in a rainbow of farmer’s market hues. Persimmon. Morel. Sage. A friend’s brother had worked there the previous summer and he put her in touch with the manager, Mark, a hair-geller in herringbone who sat her down in the chairs normally reserved for customers trying on loafers to ask her a few questions about herself.
“That’s a good school,” he said, looking at the resume she’d printed on a piece of her mother’s linen paper. Light from the mall-front window filtered through the sheet, illuminating a watermark that vaguely resembled an anchor, tilted rakishly on its end. Or maybe it was a crab. Either way, it was the sort of thing this company might embroider on a pair of green chino pants, so she figured she was set.
“I’m taking some time off,” she told him, hoping he wouldn’t need a reason.
He leaned forward in the chair and looked her over, resting his eyes an extra moment on her thigh. “When can you start?”