We were always doomed from the beginning you see; it wasn't either of our faults...
Ah hell, who am I kidding? It was his entire fault, if he wasn't so worried about holding up his image and looking like an ice prince -when he wasn't- then we could have been a happy, loving couple who stayed home on Friday nights, curled up in front of the T.V while eating some Chinese and bantering playfully.
I sighed as I waited for Julian Stanton to get home, my supposed boyfriend. I was at his finely furnished condo -we hadn't moved in together yet, no, that would be too conspicuous since the paparazzi was always on his back- and had everything I needed to make this as smooth as possible. I didn't need, nor want, unnecessary hiccups. He was going to get here at 8:00 PM sharp, I was going to tell him we were over and then be out of here by 8:15 PM at the latest. This was going to be easy and breezy.
Looking at my watch I realized that I had ten minutes left so took a deep breath and sat on his thousand dollar leather couch. Jules was rich, I mean, he came from Old Money and he owned an empire, which was part of the reason he wouldn't acknowledge me in front of other people- that and the fact his parents wanted him to marry into Old Money, to carry on traditions and thus making sure he was financially secure for the rest of forever. They didn't voice it or anything but people knew that was what was expected of him.
I had just been so astounded that he had even noticed me, a lowly worker, so I had looked past the times he pretended he didn't know me or ignored me or humiliated me in front of people. But now I had had enough, you know it's bad when the only other person on the planet who knows about our relationship -my best friend- says it's time to go, and she's practically in love with the mans looks. An afternoon about a week back just broke the camels back.
I had gone up to him in his office, ignoring the vital rule of no contact at the work place and asked him about that nights date that we had planned together. We were alone but his dark blue eyes insisted he didn't know what I was talking about. I remember it so clearly, even now I have to think of my Nana and her Donald duck tattoo to stop the blush of embarrassment.
"Jules" I entered his office with a pile of paperwork I had offered to take up to his office on the top floor in hand. I didn't know what it was but because of his icy demeanor even workers were reluctant to come up here "More paperwork"
"I am Mr. Stanton to you ms. Drage" he replied like he normally would. I fought the urge to roll my eyes.
"No one's here Jules"
"Mr. Stanton" he corrected, his eyes taking an icy glaze that I wasn't normally on the receiving side of, I actually winced. They were heavy and if looks could kill...well, I would have been dead long ago...and so would more then half the people Julian Stanton has met in his lifetime.
"Okay Mr. Stanton" I fought the urge to roll my eyes again "I was just checking up on our date tonight"
"What date?" his eyes narrowed "I think you are totally out of line ms. Drage. That's a warning"
"Jules" I did roll my eyes this time "We have a date tonight at six at your place" I insisted "You're cooking dinner"
He stood, eyes blank and uncaring "Ms. Drage, that is out of line. We do not have a date tonight and I am certainly not cooking for you"
"What?" an obnoxious voice laughed coming into the room. I had conveniently forgotten to shut the door "You're going to go on a date with...with..." Sheila Franks, slut of my floor walked in, boobs and hair perky and bouncing "With that?" Sheila let out a shriek of laughter as she motioned to all of me.
I grew red in response and looked to Jules, waiting for him to come to my rescue. But he didn't, he let her laugh at me and shrugged in an uncaring mood again "I don't know what she's talking about. I've never and will never be on a date with Mischa Drage" the look he gave me was a look of finality.
I nodded, fighting back tears as Sheila unashamedly laughed at my face again and went to tell everyone around the whole building. By the end of the day I had been the laughing stock of everywhere.
The front door opened, yanking me out of my thoughts and Julian Stanton came in, throwing his jacket onto the floor and running a hand through his light brown hair. He was truly beautiful, someone ten thousand times out of my league; of course I would never be good enough for him, I mean, I live in a red brick studio that has a kitchen, lounge area and a dining area as one whole room. He had two living areas just on the bottom level of his condo.
I marveled at his looks for what I knew would be the last time. His dark blue eyes were always empty and cold looking but they were stunning and could leave you breathless. He had the finest form I had ever seen (better then Cristiano Ronaldo. I know). The silkiest hair, softest lips and the most stunning grin I had seen in my entire life.
He turned and saw me, surprise filling his blank eyes "Mischa?" he smiled slowly, warmly which almost broke my resolve. Almost. "Mischa" he said, in a semi-relieved voice.
I held my finger to my lips, determined not to talk, otherwise I would cry and crying was not okay. He looked at me in an amused way, knowing my love of games and began to read as I held up the pieces of cardboardthat I had written on and memorized.
JULIAN STANTON the first one said
I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE BEEN WITH A MORE BEAUTIFUL PERSON THEN I HAVE WITH YOU the grin on his face was still present but his features started to take on a more confused look as I put the second behind the third.
HONEST he grinned his beautiful grin again
AND I KNOW I DON'T DESERVE YOU JULIAN, HONEST, I DO
AND I WANT TO KEEP YOU AND PRETEND LIKE YOU PRETENDING THAT YOU DON'T KNOW ME DOESN'T HURT… I took a deep breath
BUT IT DOES deep confusion crossed his face and he dropped the grin, glancing at me. I would miss his beautiful face, waking up in the morning before him, watching the sunlight dance across his features as he slept like an angel…but I knew this was for the better, for both of us.
SO I'M DOING US BOTH A FAVOR WHEN I DO THIS
JULIAN, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH ME ANYMORE. I trembled, remembering what I had put on that board and bit my cheek hard so I wouldn't cry. The worst thing was? He didn't even look like he cared anymore, the blank icy look had crossed his features and stayed.
GO AND GET A WIFE WORTHY OF YOU, YOUR PARENTS AND THE REST OF THE WORLD
BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO GO OUT IN PUBLIC WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND AND SHOW HER OFF
AND NOT BE ASHAMED OF WHO SHE IS
MY RESIGNATION IS ON THE TABLE
IT'S FOR THE BEST
With that I gave him one last glance, not long enough so I would start crying but long enough to remember his face. And then, before he could do or say anything I put down the boards, walked past him trying not to cry or realize I was inhaling his scent like a mad-woman and went.
As soon as I was out of the building I rang Chels, my best friend. "It's done" I whispered.
"I know it hurts now baby" she cooed "But think of all the ice cream you can eat now that you have an excuse" she reasoned. She had a good point.
"I like ice cream" I muttered, running a hand through my fake raven black hair. I died it when I first came here to make myself look more smarter. It had gotten me more places then being a blond.
"Mason's coming to pick you up" she said before hanging up, probably to get ready for my melt-down to come. Mason was a good guy; he was Chelsea's boyfriend, a major league baseball player and was as protective over Chelsea and I as an older brother would be. Frankly, I just felt sorry for his daughter.
I heard someone roll up beside me and looked up to see Mason sitting there with a soft, concerned smile on his face. He was in his dad's black Chevrolet so I easily slid in and hugged up against him. He cradled me next to him like a big brother would which I was grateful for, you could always rely on Mason, even though the rest of the male population sucked.
"I love you" he began to sing after pulling away from the curb and into traffic "You love me" I laughed and elbowed his side playfully as he broke out into a grin, driving toward his and Chelsea's apartment. Mason and I went way back, and I mean, he knew me when I was in the womb. You see, my older brother and him are best friends, always have been, always will be and for the first seven years of my life I grew up believing he was actually my brother from another mother –Owen, my blood related, loving brother taught me that.
Actually, a lot of people always thought it was going to be Mase and I together but it was too…weird. Too much like dating your brother…from another mother.
After a few minutes of driving in silence he kissed my head almost like a father "You're dead quiet. It's worrying"
I smiled at him. He didn't know about what Julian did but he did know I just broke up with a guy. "Just…processing things" I smiled weakly at him "I'm fantastic, really" I had learnt to stop using the word 'fine' around Mason since I turned eleven and broke up with my first 'boyfriend'…yeah, I was a little slut back then.
"Okay" he eyed me for another second wondering if I was just pretending and then turned back to face the road. I must have obviously passed the test. I watched Downtown New-York as it flew by. It was always busy, all the time. And right now, I was thankful for that because if I wasn't getting lost in the chaos I'd be in a lot of trouble with my thoughts.
We soon got to the apartment and I wasted no time to ditch Mason for Chelsea's ready open arms, complete with a bucket of Ben and Jerry's. Those were the only two men I would ever need to spend the night with, they were good enough and flexible to my needs.
Chelsea squeezed me once and then pulled back to hand me a spoon. She knew me in and out that girl, we had both been new to New-York a few years ago and had shared and apartment (before the red brick studio) but then she moved in with Mase when I introduced them and I moved into a two bedroom apartment (red crick studio) where I didn't need someone else to pay the rent. Chelsea had fire red hair that went with her Artist/Fashionista personality, dark brown eyes and was about three inches shorter then me.
I took off my heels, adjusted my pencil skirt (I still hadn't changed from work) and plopped in front of the TV.
"Nightmare on Elm street or He's Just Not That Into You" Chelsea asked, holding up the two DVD's.
I took one look at the last one and burst out crying. How humiliating, Mason was still in the room for goodness sakes! Chelsea thought over the last twenty seconds quickly as horror dawned in her eyes "Oh shit! Sweetie, no, shh baby" she crawled over to me and held me in her arms. And it was a baby cry too, not a silent grieving cry but a Toni Hart from Sonny With A Chance cry.
After awhile I got control of my tear ducts long enough to decide Freddie would be good for me and I would like some caramel popcorn to go with the movie.
"This is the funny bit" I said bitterly, awhile later, stuffing a popcorn piece into my mouth "Freddie kills him because he's a rich jerk" I stuffed another one into my mouth almost violently. We were onto the third movie and I had gone through most of the junk food that Chelsea's apartment had to offer.
"Okay, I think that's enough for one day" Chels heaved me up despite my protests and started to hustle me towards the empty room on the first floor "You need to save your energy for job hunting tomorrow" she stated.
I suddenly found myself too tired to tell her that I already had a job. I was working for a photography company now as someone taking the shots. At Julian's company, I had been behind a desk as one of his many secretaries and had decided to stay when we got into our 'relationship'. But finally I could do what I came to New-York to do. And it would get better.
"Tarina, was that your name? Tarina, would you kindly stop posing, just walk and act natural" I suggested, trying to not let the frustration ebb into my voice. This girl was really peeving me off, I mean, she was supposed to be natural as she walked into the leaves and she's pouting at the camera…Again.
"Tarina sweet, just look straight ahead thanks" I sighed in an annoyed manner, however, in my defense I had every single right to, we had been at this for almost two hours. Dillon, the guy in charge of the shoot suddenly clapped his hands together to get the attention of everyone. He knew from the first time I snapped at a model to stop me whilst we're ahead.
"Okay, I think we'll just use what we've got and edit the rest, that's a wrap people" all at once the crew started to pack up. The model was whisked off by her agent, the fans were disassembled and Dillon handed me a coffee.
"Breathe Mischa" he laughed "You'll go through worse"
I groaned, rubbing my head that was sure enough developing into a head ache "Thanks for the encouragement" Dillon and I had become close during the month I had started working with him. And heck, if he wasn't married I'd go straight for him but he was a devoted man who loved his wife very much. He also had a little boy on the way which he was very, very proud of.
I mean, he was so proud to the point where I was proud for him.
"Hey, loosen up. I have to go to this charity event and I was going to go with Kirsten-" his wife "But she felt sick this morning so she can't come tonight" I shook my head immediately "Oh, come on! I'll introduce you to some people who will probably hate you the moment they see you" he said in a mock-persuasive tone.
"Well when you say it like that" I replied sarcastically, rolling my eyes and looking over some of the photos on the laptop as we waited for the crew to finish packing up.
"Great, meet me at my house at seven" he grinned and then scurried off towards…somewhere.
"Wait…I thought a date was supposed to pick up the girl!"
"Not when I'm married" he yelled over his shoulder.
I groaned in response and got out my phone, ringing Chelsea. She had been good to me over these past two weeks. She always invited me over, always checked up on me and never ceased to ask how I was. Even though it was bordering annoying I loved her for it.
"Hey Chels, keen for lunch?" I asked, shutting off the laptop and sliding it into my bag. It was sunny out today and I had nothing to do for another hour and a half while everyone reassembled back at the office and, well, it wasn't very packed today anyway.
"Yeah, come over here and pick me up" she hung up as I laughed. She sounded stressed and needy for fresh air. She had an office job like I use to have, except she worked three floors below where I used to and was locked inside an office all day. The office was nice though, she had decorated it and it had good music coming from it all day, every day.
I got into my car and drove towards the big skyscraper I used to drive to every morning. I used the front entrance instead of the car park entrance which felt good because that was a change and for once whilst entering this building I was wearing casual clothes; tight jeans, blue high heels, tank top and a leather hoodie instead of a pencil skirt, uncomfortable blouse and three inch black heels.
I got into the elevator and hit floor 14, tapping my foot to the elevator music playing. Surprisingly, the elevator didn't stop for anyone so I was by myself as I went to Chelsea's floor. I avoided everyone's eye contact and pretended not to know them. I had died my hair back to it's natural colour; blond and I had my nails painted black unlike the French manicure.
"Hey Chels" I greeted, opening the door. From outside the door looked like this door led to a store closet or something –if it wasn't for the plaque with her name on it plastered to the front I might have missed her office. Inside however, the windows were open letting the sounds of the city fill the room, posters were on the wall, she had managed to fit a fold out couch in here, she had a small fridge next to the couch, a TV on the wall opposite it and a DVD player underneath that.
She looked up from behind her desk and grimaced at me. "What are you doing here? Didn't you get my message?" Today she was wearing dark blue stockings, black pumps, a short black skirt and a white short sleeved top tucked into the skirt.
My eyebrows furrowed and I took out my phone to look at it. Indeed, it had a message from Chels telling me she got dumped with a work load and couldn't come to lunch but to make up for it Mason was picking me up in front of this building instead "Oh" I said.
"Yeah, oh. My bosses are out to get me, love" she sighed, rubbing her head slightly as I advanced towards her to look at what she had got dumped with "If I don't come home tonight before ten that means my boss has killed me or I've killed him and am in hiding" Looking at her work I could understand, it was just repetitive paperwork; the worst kind.
"I'll remember that" I nodded, grinning at her "I probably won't see you tonight since Dillon's pulling me along to a dinner thing but ring me and I'll catch up with you tomorrow?"
"Okay, see you later then" I smiled at her once more before shutting the door behind me. Ignoring the stares again, I got onto the first elevator that opened and got in, making it shut quickly, behind me.
I guess it served me right that the elevator went up instead of down so I just sighed and stuck close to the corner, leaning against the wall in a bored manner. When the doors opened again, I didn't bother to look up, just sink more into my hood as someone stepped onto the elevator.
"No…I don't care mother" I froze at the sound of that painfully familiar voice. Of course he would be here, why wouldn't he be here? He owned the frickin building! "I told you before, I don't care" his voice was just as icy as before, maybe even more so then usual "Yes, I'll be come tonight good-bye" he hung up, silently fuming. I could see no difference about him; he was still as gorgeous as ever, he just looked more tired…but still so damn gorgeous.
I groaned silently to myself and sunk even deeper into my hood, cursing myself, my lack of phone reception, him, Chelsea, Mason and Fate for thinking this was funny. I mean, why was this elevator taking so damn long?!
All of a sudden Julian whirled around, boring his eyes into me. Probably saw me through the mirrors on the sides of the elevators. Damn elevator mirrors. "Mischa?! You look...What are you doing here" he deadpanned, his shocked look gone as fast as it had come, he was now, again, staring at me with a cold indifference.
"Ah…You know…" the elevator stopped and opened, the wind from the air-con on this floor knocking my hood back so he could fully see me and my newly blond hair "This is my stop. Bye" I quickly said, rushing past him and the people waiting for the elevator.
Who needed elevators anyway? When I could go down the stairs, I mean, I needed a work out anyway, really I wasn't running from Julian, I wasn't, really, I was giving myself a much needed workout. Yeah…
I came out onto the lobby, breathing hard from running down three floors of steps in high heels. I didn't even bother to look around as I went towards the front of the building, looking for Mason and his car. After what felt like forever I saw his dad's Chevy and jumped in. It was almost funny seeing it in a whole mass of BMW's and Chryslers.
"Hey" he grinned as I slid next to him, breathing harder then normal. He shot me a look at my state "Do I want to know?"
I shook my head in response and motioned for him to go and he did without question after kissing my forehead with a small grin, just, you know, the occasional 'WTF' glance every now and then as well. "Marino's sound good?" he asked, glancing at me again.
I nodded. Marino's was a place where only pasta dishes were sold, it was like a cafe and I had fallen in love with it when I first moved here because it was in training distance of work, was cheap so I could afford to go there and the owner, Marino, loved me. He had said so himself; 'If I wasn't married to Anya…' and then winked.
Too bad he was almost sixty.
He parked and we got out of the car, Mason walked next to me, hand on the middle of my back and held the door for me. Mase was a real gentleman and if he wasn't my brother from another mother and if I didn't know all of his dirty secrets then maybe…nah, not even then.
"Ah, Mischa! Where have you been?" Marino sung out to me, opening his arms for a hug. I gladly accepted, breaking out into a grin. It had been too long since I had come here for food and I missed him and his wife. "Come sit, come sit!" he ushered us to a table by the window in the sun "The usual?" he asked in his thick Italian accent.
"Thanks Marino" I smiled at him before he walked away, yelling out in Italian.
"Well aren't you just the regular here" Mase teased playfully. Mase wasn't much of a pasta fan, he was more of a steak house sort of guy.
"Yeah, they love me here" I grinned, running a hand through my hair, sighing.
"So how's work? Despite you practically living in my apartment, I haven't spoken to you" Mase said, yawning a little.
"It's okay. I wish the models weren't so stupid but other then that it's been amazing. And there's practically no paper work" I laughed, thrilled. When I was working…at my old job all I had had was paper work, now it was just some forms and reviews I had to fill out and that was it.
"Ah, living the dream" he sighed happily with me. He had never had to do paper work since he had always been a baseball player but sometimes from the state Chelsea had come home at night he hated the thought of it and relished in the fact he had none to do except for contracts and autographs.
We both laughed again as a worked set food down in front of us. Mason had had morning practice and hadn't eaten so when food had been set down in front of him a primitive look crossed his eyes "Food" he growled under his breath and attacked it.
No, I'm not lying.
"Ah, slow down there tiger" I cautioned him, laughing a little. He didn't even respond. So, we ate in silence for the most part. until he was done and had sat up straight again and shrugged at my appalled look; it had only been three minutes.
"I haven't eaten this morning and Chels cooked last night" he barely concealed a shudder. I understood immediately. Now, I love Chels but her cooking is beyond horrible, it's like, if you could choose between eating her stuff and road kill that has been driven over a thousand times you'd choose the road kill. Yeah, that's how bad.
"Oh, you want some of mine?" I offered, feeling in a generous mood today.
"Have I told you how much I love you today?" he didn't wait for an answer as he dug into my food and I nibbled on the other side. We could always order some more anyway.
When he finally finished he sat back with a satisfactory grunt and sighed slowly, looking out the window. "I…I…don't know how to say this…properly" he didn't look at me as we talked, clearing his throat nervously "But, you know…because…well, Chels doesn't…well-"
"If you don't finish your sentence soon I'm going to flick you" I warned him casually as I sipped the complementary water on the table and played with the straw that came with it too. Add a straw to anything and it becomes magical. Because I was so engrossed with the cup I didn't see Mase pull out the ring box and tap it nervous-like.
"Can I marry Chels?" he blurted out finally, going a little pink.
I looked up at him, my mouth dangerously close to falling off I just stared, a million thoughts racing through my head. Him? Chelsea? Together? Forever? And ever and ever and ever and ever… I knew why he asked me though, Chels had no family except for us, and because I was like her sister I was going to be giving her away, she had asked me one drunken night and I had accepted.
"YES!" I stood him up and hugged the life out of him, grinning like an idiot. I then started to jump up and down with him –except I was the only one doing the jumping up and down– and felt like it was me that was getting married, I was so, so, so happy for Chels. She wanted this and now I knew and- ugh! I was too happy for words. Lucky there were no other customers in right now, which was weird because this place was usually bursting with life but…
"You're going to hurt yourself soon" Mason laughed, sitting me back down but I wouldn't do it, as soon as he sat down I plopped into his lap. He laughed, hugging me close as I laughed again and settled so I was sitting comfortably.
"I can't believe you're going to be getting married" I said dreamily.
"Well, what if she says no?" he asked, fear evident in his voice.
I turned around "Are you kidding me?" I asked, looking at him weirdly "Did you seriously just ask that question?" my eyebrows furrowed as I thought of the possibility of him being rejected by Chels, but I couldn't see it.
"Well…I don't know, it's a possibility, I mean…like, you know, if she- you never know…" he trailed off, his hand nervously raking through his hair and resting on the back of his neck.
I didn't say anything for a while, thinking about what he was saying. It obviously unnerved him as he waited for my response but contrary to his belief I wasn't crediting his thought I was trying to comprehend how he could be as stupid as to think that Chels would reject him. "I never noticed how stupid you are" I said thoughtfully, fingering the ring box that was under his hand.
He looked at me hopefully.
"Can I see the ring?" I asked, motioning to the box.
"Oh, yeah" he grinned out of pure joy for my casual dismiss of his topic like he was stupid meaning he thought that I thought he had a good chance of being a husband soon. He took the ring out of the box and showed it to me. It was obvious he hadn't held back on the ring; it was silver with small diamonds sprinkled on the top of it with a bigger one in the middle. Frankly, it was perfect.
"Oh my gosh..." I murmured, slightly in awe "This is beautiful Mase" I smiled at him, turning around slightly to smile "I'm so proud of you" I leant forward and hugged him again "You two are going to be so cute together" I gushed almost motherly.
He laughed and returned the hug. "I'm happy that you think that. I'm going to propose tonight"
I nodded "I'm going to be at a dinner tonight so that's me out of your way and she's going to call me tomorrow too" I grinned at him. I was just so, so, so happy for him!
The rest of the lunch went in a blast as we both started talking about what sort of stuff he wanted at his wedding, where he was thinking it could be at and who was coming. The afternoon actually passed in a blur until I found myself in Dillon's lounge, talking with Kirsten and waiting for Dillon to finish getting ready.
He took longer then I did.
"You're so lucky" I groaned, blowing hair out of my face. My fringe was pinned back, my hair to the side in a ponytail, a simple white strapless bubble dress, some black gladiator heels and a clutch for cab money because I wasn't planning on staying long.
"Yeah" she grinned "I'm going to be pigging out on twinkies and ice cream and meatballs and you'll be attending a formal dinner where they give out small crab cake things" she grinned "You don't even like crab" she side noted with a little more joy in her voice.
"…Thanks Kirsten. Way to make me even more enthusiastic then before"
She waved away the notion, standing up with me as we heard Dillon start to come down the stairs. "Anytime" she let out a chuckle "It's no biggie" she was going to say more when Dillon interrupted us by sliding his arms around his wife's stomach and humming happily into her ear.
"How's my baby mama doing?" he asked, kissing her ear. I awkwardly tuned out, feeling like the fourth wheel and when he turned to me tuned back in again "How about we go?" he poked my bare arm "You've held us up enough"
I turned towards Kirsten "Good luck with this one"
She laughed, shaking her head a little "I'll do my best" we both shared a laugh as she showed us to the door. Dillon shook his head, giving his wife a peck on the cheek and whispering 'I love you' before going to the car. I smiled at Kristen and hugged her tightly. "Make sure he doesn't drink too much" she joked from the door as I walked to the car. So much for going home early...
"Of course" I laughed, getting into the car then sighed almost sadly "How long do we have to be?" it came out as a begrudging tone to Dillon who was pulling out of his driveway. He actually lived a long way from the city, with his dog and wife and unborn baby, all the way out in the country bit where there were actually grass and fields and stuff. It was beautiful in the morning - well, it was beautiful in the movies anyway.
"At least an hour or two" he answered, running a hand through his hair.
I answered with a groan and settled into the seat more comfortably "Fine" I grunted, already half asleep; I needed to work up my energy for all those conniving, greedy, fake people I was going to meet soon "Wake me when we get there" and with that I was easily lolled to sleep by the purr of the car and the light classical music coming from the stereo. I supposed it was for Kirsten who put it there for the baby and he couldn't be bothered to take it out but was too far deep to confirm my suspicions.
"Mischa, Mischa we're here" Dillon shook my shoulder lightly.
"Wha-?" was my disorientated answer as I opened my eyes and looked around. We were outside a large hall like place, no doubt the home of the hosts of the party and got out, the valet easily giving us a ticket and slipping in behind the wheel. It was like being on a mini red carpet, photographers snapping and people shouting names and trying to get interviews. I guess there was going to be a few big names here.
I groaned internally at the thought.
Dillon sighed and wrapped a hand around my waist, ushering me quickly inside and away from the glare of the flashes. Even though they weren't trying to snap us the flashes coming from everywhere were blinding. When we finally got inside, without stopping we went straight towards our boss, Mrs. Jane to tell her that we had showed our faces.
She was a tall, skinny woman who was about the size of a stick and had no curves at all. I had suspected she was anorexic but after she sat down with us and ate the majority of the Donut Box someone had brought for the late night haul one time my suspicions changed to Bulimic. You just couldn't be that skinny and eat that much.
"Hello Mrs. Jane" I smiled, giving her a small, feminine handshake.
"Mischa" she answered with a small smile then turned to Dillon, her eyes raking his body "Dillon" I bit back a laugh at the tone of her husky seductive voice. Mrs. Jane knew he was married and had -apparently- tried to sway him a thousand times before I had come to work for her.
"Mrs. Jane" Dillon replied in an off-handed manner, trying to get away as quickly as possible "You look err...lovely?" he squeaked off into a question, downing a drink of champagne "You know what? I think I see Tarina our model and need to ask her something..." he didn't even wait for a reply from either of us as he almost ran over to a model who looked nothing like Tarina. It was a lame excuse at that, the overheads didn't need to check with models for anything.
I bit back another laugh and turned fully to Mrs Jane who was frowning in his direction. "Well then, I guess it's us two of us" Mrs. Jane smiled almost with a predatory gaze in her direction. I had to fight a shiver as well "I must introduce you to the Hostess of the party, Mrs Stanton-"
There was things said after 'Mrs. Stanton' but I didn't hear them. Stanton meant Julian which had to be his mother which meant he would be here because his parents were hosting this...thing. No wonder there was a whole bunch of paparazzi at the front of this place. The Stanton's were well known in the business and modeling world. Mrs. Stanton being a former model and Mr. Stanton being born into the family business.
"Mischa...Mischa darling, are you with me?" I wouldn't have responded but she grabbed my waist, dangerously close to my butt and pulled me closer. To say I freaked out in my head is an understatement. She smiled at me and touched my ass lightly.
I jumped away from her touch and smiled "I'm fine" I said quickly, looking around for that traitor I called Dillon. He was going to get a smack across the head for leaving me with our bisexual, perverted boss.
"Good, because the Stanton's are coming this way" she said, giving me a Champagne, letting her hands linger on mine.
I snatched my hands back -politely of course- and smiled shakily "Actually, I think I remember something about Dillon telling me that...he needed me..." I lied weakly.
"Nonsense" she saw right through my 'act' "Mrs. Stanton loves your work, she would love to meet you. Tarina, the model you were working with today is a close friend of hers daughter and she's loves what you've done with the shots" she smiled almost flirtatiously with me.
My eyebrows furrowed. I hadn't let out any work of mine and hadn't chosen any finishes that were supposed to go into any portfolio "But I didn't-"
"Shh" Mrs. Jane held a finger to my lips and licked her own. I think she was trying to be seductive but I was too scared to even notice that "It'll be our little secret" she winked and turned around "Ah Felicia, my good friend" she air kissed Mrs. Stanton as I whirled around to down my Champagne and find another one.
"And this, is a new worker of ours, Mischa Drage. She's the one that shot Tarina" Mrs. Jane smiled, turning me around, hand lingering on my waist. I stepped forward, possessively holding my Champagne and avoiding Mrs. Jane's lingering hands that were around my waist just about on my ass. Again.
"Hello Mrs. Stanton; Mischa" I smiled taking a hold of her hand and shaking it.
"You did very good work, my compliments" she smiled at me. Even though people made her out to be very nasty she had a nice aura about her, it was warm...i guess.
"Mr. Stanton" I smiled shakily at him, also giving him a hand shake. I stepped back and smiled at the couple. He was a tall, intimidating looking man and she a caring soul. Some would say a match made in heaven, her to calm him down and him to stand up for her.
"Julian, Julian, you must meet the photographer who shot Tarina" Mrs. Stanton called, to Julian who was a little bit away. I actually didn't know since I refused to look at him.
"No really, it's no big deal. No need to tell everyone, anyone actually"
"Nonsense" she waved the notion off, waving her son over "It's a big deal since that was her first shoot"
"Of course it was" I muttered, blowing a couple of strands of hair out of my face and grabbing another Champagne. Of all the models I had to get, it was Julian's cousin or friend or whatever.
"Yes, she's very modest this one" Mrs. Jane flashed her pearly white teeth at the two Stanton's "She's actually one of the up and coming photographers in the industry, after what she did with Danielle" that's the first girl I did who I yelled at "People have been begging for her- Oh, hello there Julian" Mrs. Jane held her hand out for Julian. I looked away, biting my lip.
"Mrs. Jane, it's been awhile" he kissed her hand and probably turned to me because he breathed out a surprised "Mischa?"
"Julian? How do you know this young woman? I haven't even told you about Tarina yet." Mrs. Stanton said, in a wondering tone.
"I, ah, used to be an employee of his." I glanced at him to see his eyes fixed on me, a weird emotion on his face "But I, ah, decided to quit awhile ago and do what I came to New York to do" I smiled at Mrs. Stanton and Mr. Stanton and avoided Julian's gaze. I think he noticed because he frowned.
"Oh, what a small world" Mrs. Stanton let out a shocked chuckle.
"Indeed" Mr. Stanton agreed, his hand on the back of Mrs. Stanton's back.
"I think it's wonderful that Julian took the time to get to know his employee's" Mrs. Jane smiled in his direction. Knowing Mrs. Jane she would have thrown a wink or two in there too.
"Yeah, he sure does" I muttered, glass up to my mouth.
"Pardon?" Mrs. Jane directed the attention over to me.
"Nothing" I smiled reassuringly at her. I spotted Dillon in the corner of my eye and almost sighed in relief "Well, it was lovely to meet you. I'm sure you have to talk to the rest of your guests" I sent them all a smile. "Mrs. Jane, Mrs. Stanton, Mr. Stanton" my throat closed up for a millisecond but I forced it back open and seemed to choke over the word "Julian"
I made the mistake of looking up one last time to see him staring back at me; eyes soft and hair slicked back. He looked so, so tired as I looked at him right up close, but he even made dark under eyed circles look good. I scurried off and found Dillon by himself, to the corner, drinking his own Champagne.
"You" I growled, deciding not to smack him so I wouldn't look like a psychotic chick to the people still watching me.
"You" he grinned, flicking my forehead. I battered his hand away, and gave him an angry look "Okay" he sighed "I'm sorry"
I crossed my arms over my chest "The next time Mrs. Jane corners you I'm doing nothing to stop her" I warned, dead serious. I had been sexually harassed in the last five minutes to last the rest of my life.
His amused look dropped "Hey now, come on, that's just plain mean. It can't have been that bad" he sighed.
"She touched my ass. Twice. And tried at least four times" I gave him the evil eye and stood next to him, grabbing another Champagne glass.
"I'm sorry you had to go through that" he smiled " And for compensation I'll buy you some ice cream when we get out of here. You like ice cream right? I need to get some for Kristen anyway whether you want some or not" he shrugged.
"Which means we're leaving?" my eyes brightened considerately at the thought.
"No" he sighed "We still-"
"Dillon! I still have to talk to you about a shoot you promised" came a voice from behind. I sighed and grabbed another Champagne, this was going to be a long night.
"And then" a small fake chuckle building up to the punch line "She got the wrong size" laughter from the whole table "Isn't that funny Mischa?" someone asked from the table. According to Dillon I had to be nice to these people since they wanted to hire me to shoot for their company.
"Yeah. Hahaha" So much fake-ness I almost choked. Instead, I took another sip of my Champagne. We were sitting at a table and already had had dinner but of course, you weren't allowed to eat all of it because that just made you a pig. I was tired, my feet hurt and I wanted ice cream. Now.
"I'm sorry, I'm going to have to steal Ms. Drage away from you" came a familiar voice from behind me.
I cringed as someone said "Sure Julian, we were just going to get up anyway" where the Hell was Dillon when you needed him?!
A cold hand closed around my arm and dragged me towards the empty balcony. At this point I was content with Mrs. Jane interrupting, as long as I didn't have to go out onto the balcony. Alone. With Julian.
He whipped me around so I was facing him, looking at me madly. "We've been over maybe a month and someone's already proposed to you? What? Did he make you change your hair too?" he exclaimed angrily, fingering a loose tendril "I mean, why the-"
"Actually" I cut in, starting to count off on my fingers "First of all, I'm naturally blonde so take that and shove it up your ass. Secondly,this is the first I've heard of anyone proposing to me and thirdly" I used all three fingers to poke his chest "What the Hell do you even get off on?" I pushed his chest with both of my hands, showing my frustration.
"What are you talking about, I saw him propose to you" his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
"And now you're into stalking? What the Hell Julian" I shook my head "It doesn't even matter if someone proposed"
He gave me a incredulously cold look "We were together for a year and it's only been a month. Of course it matters." he grabbed my hand, holding it firmly in his and holding my gaze "We mattered"
"Excuse me" I spluttered, ripping my hand out of his "Don't you dare start up with the whole 'We mattered' thing, because obviously we didn't matter that much if you didn't want anyone to know anything about 'us'." I completed the sentence with air quotes "So don't even go there"
A hurt expression covered his face, and if I was being honest with myself I would have said it pulled on my heart strings. But I wasn't, so it didn't. I just kept my mouth into a firm line and tried not to look sympathetic and sorry. He was the one that was in the wrong; not me. Slowly it ebbed away to a look of anger "So, you just got a boyfriend who proposed to you after a month? Smart guy" he let out a bitter laugh.
"What are you- Look" I shook my head "Not that it is in any way your business but no one has proposed to me. But please, if you know a guy do tell" I rolled my eyes.
"That guy you were having lunch with just today Mischa, geez, you would think you would remember something like that" he said, a hint of irritation in his tone.
"Mason?" I felt as surprised as I sounded "He was asking if it was alright to marry my best friend. If you paid better attention while we were in our 'relationship' then you would have known that Mason is like a brother to me. And that my best friend and him have been in a relationship since before we met"
He looked a little sorry at that, but...dare I say, hopeful. "So, he didn't propose to you?" he asked.
"No, Julian" I sighed, trying to get rid of the emotion in my voice "Look, we both decided to be over so let's just leave it alone" I bit my lip, still trying to expel emotion.
"No actually, you decided it would be good to be over with. Not me." he stated factually. Like it mattered.
I looked up at him, mad again. How could he just- did he not know what he did?! How he shunned me, pretended I didn't exist and now he was pretending like everything did matter? I had wanted to stop what we were before I had gotten too deep with him but right now, at this moment, I clicked to just how far deep I had gotten with Julian. I was in love with him. I had fallen in love with impossibility. My anger melted away as I realized this and he too seemed to realize something had just happened to me.
"But it doesn't matter. You might as well have" I sighed in a defeated voice, not meeting his eyes. This was disastrous, I didn't know what I was going to do now. Julian had me, and he didn't even know it.
"What are you talking about? I didn't want our parents to know about it? Is that it? I wasn't ashamed, I promise"
I laughed bitterly and looked up at him "But that's the thing Julian. You were" I turned away from him, my heart dangerously close to breaking. I usually laughed at people like this but now I understood, it was painful. I turned to go, hurting like a mother, but was held back as Julian latched onto my hand.
I turned to tell him off but the expression on his face just tore me apart and I was speechless. He had such an agonized look I couldn't help but feel a tad bit guilty. He opened his mouth to speak but shut it with an audible snap but then found his voice "You think you were the only one that cared? If I didn't care then why can't I eat or sleep properly hmm? Why am I constantly thinking about you? Why does everything remind me of you? Why am I firing people left right and center because they're not you" he stepped closer and murmured "They're not you" he rubbed circles on my cheekbone whilst looking deep, deep into my eyes.
To say it was distracting would have been an understatement.
"I miss you" he whispered huskily, back in his normal tone of voice "And I want you back. In my bed. With me" his jaw clenched as he watched emotions pass over my face. I was going to open my mouth to answer but nothing came out which scared me. "I do not take no for an answer Mischa. Keep that in mind"
I licked my lips. He wanted me; he finally wanted me. That's all I had wanted, all I had wanted was for him to acknowledge me and show his love to me in front of his family and friends and he was willing to do that now, he wanted me. "Mischa, I lo-"
"Mischa, we're- Ah, am I disrupting something?" Dillon's shocked look became accused looking as he crossed his arms over his chest "Mr. Stanton" he nodded at Julian once in an almost curt manner.
"Ah, n-no...no" I stuttered, licking my lips "Ah, yeah, bye Julian" I walked away from him, albeit slowly, so he could run towards me and declare his love and everything that he had just said not be a waste of words. I don't know what was worse; the fact that he didn't do anything or that when I walked in everyone's eyes seemed to gravitate towards the door like they knew he had just rejected me.
I determinedly set my jaw and walked through the crowd that wouldn't not glance at me, Dillon right by my side. He put a friendly hand on the middle of my back and lead me through the crowd, calling the valet when we got out. It was cold and my coat was doing very little to keep it out so I huddled into it as Dillon huddled next to me, quietly. I almost groaned; quietly wasn't a word he understood.
"Don't" I sighed "It was nothing okay" I looked at him and smiled almost weakly "It was nothing" this time it sounded as if I was trying to convince myself rather then him. And he knew it.
He sighed but nodded and changed the topic "So Mrs. Jane left me alone for the rest of the night" he grinned "She was flirting with a high corporal board member from the Stanton empire" we both laughed at that. The poor guy wouldn't have had a chance in the world.
The valet pulled up and opened the door, waiting for Dillon and I to get in as he waited for us. But all of a sudden I didn't want Ice Cream, I just wanted to go home and bury my face in something so I could forget everything that was going on. He said that no was not an answer but he was taking 'no' and was taking it in stride. "Coming?" Dillon asked, supporting himself on the side of the car, one foot in the drivers side.
"Nah, I'm a little tired" I gave a fake yawn and smiled in a tired way "I think I'm just going to head home and get some sleep"
Dillon's brow furrowed disbelievingly; I was never one to turn down ice cream. "Well then, I'll drop you off" he stood straighter. For once I was glad he lived far away from the city and in the opposite direction from here to my apartment.
"Are you kidding me" I let out a small semi-relieved chuckle "You live that way" I jabbed my thumb towards the high way "And I, live that way" I turned my thumb so it was pointing into the heart of the city "I can catch a cab fine"
He sighed and looked at me "Fine...Just...Just..." he sighed "I'll see you on Monday" he threw a kind smile my way once more and got into the car, honking the horn as he went. I sighed myself and went out onto the main road, hoping to catch a cab. Not long after that, I was in my apartment kicking off my shoes and running a hand through my hair.
I really needed to get a cat.
I slipped off my dress and sighed as I took bobby-pins out of my hair. I then did a half-assed job of wiping off my make-up so only my eye liner was on and put on a big t-shirt to sleep in so I could crawl into bed, huddle in the corner. These were the times I wished sometimes that my bed was pushed up on the wall or smaller; it was just another thing that reminded me that I was a loner.
Surprisingly though, it was much easier to fall asleep then I thought it would be.
My alarm blared but I blindly shut it off with a hard hit. I was too tired to worry if it was damaged so I turned over in my bed and attempted to get back to sleep. Key word there, of course, is attempted. I had had a bad night and even though I was usually a deep sleeper I managed to keep turning over in the bed and not get a good sleep. It was like being only half asleep for the whole night.
When my body decided that I couldn't get back to sleep I agreed and got up, scratching my head slightly. That and the phone wouldn't stop ringing.
"Hello?" I asked, slipping on my comfy grandpa slippers and going into the kitchen to find something to eat. Frankly I was surprised that I could eat seeing everything that happened yesterday...And there's the cloud.
"I'M GETTING MARRIED!!..." there was a whole lot of other unintelligible talk after but I didn't understand any of it so I waited patiently as Chels got out all that she had to say. I think it was at least ten minutes until she slowed down and sighed "So yeah, I'm getting married"
I laughed "I know. Now give me the details"
"It was so romantic!" she gushed. I couldn't help but smile, it was almost like a maternal instinct - my girl was getting married. I smirked and sniggered to myself as I thought of wearing a pants suit as I walked her down the aisle but thought against it because I knew she would most probably kill me. I 'ooh-ed' and 'aw-ed' at the right moments as she told me about the romantic dinner and about how Mase got angry and almost ripped the ring off her finger only to put it on again because he hadn't done so the first time.
"It was just...beautiful" Chels breathed, going on about the proposal "I've already started thinking about a dress; I think it might be a Vera Wang, and I already know I'm having my wedding at The Plaza and-" that was when my door bell went. I lazily wondered who would be at my door at 9:53 in the morning and interrupted Chels.
"Hey Chels? I'll ring you back, someone's here" I said, ditching my toast and making my way over to my front door.
"Okay" she said "Let's catch up for lunch. We have a lot of work to do"
I laughed, feeling bad for Mase but then realized I was maid of honor and immediately felt bad for me too "Okay then, bye love" I quickly killed the conversation and opened the door.
To my immense surprise, none other but Julian Stanton was standing there with a breakfast bag in one hand and two coffee's in the other. He was looking his usual cool self and he was looking casual with some khaki shorts and a t-shirt that seemed to show all of his muscle.
I couldn't believe it.
He came into the apartment, setting breakfast down on my small side table I kept near the door for my keys and came in, his eyes going over my body once more. That was about the time I became very, very, very aware that I was only wearing an old shirt, a bra and a pair of boy shorts, my hair was messy and I still had my eye liner on from last night.
And then, he kissed me.
It took a moment but I responded with gusto. Oh how I missed this! He was gentle as his lips sucked at my own and the warmth spread all the way to my fingertips. We had had hard, fast and rough plenty of times before, now it was time for gentle and caring. His tongue pushed it's way through my lips but I let it and started to caress mine with soft strokes. I responded, loving the way he managed to warm me up. I don't know how long we kissed but finally he pulled away and rested his forehead on mine, panting slowly.
"You never answered me yesterday" he said slowly "And I said no wasn't an answer" he opened his eyes and looked into mine "So I'm taking it that you want me. Like I want you" he swallowed audibly "I love you Mischa Drage"
The silence was stunning but I couldn't help but smile. I grabbed him around the neck and attacked his lips "I love you too Julian Stanton" I murmured against his lips then went right back to kissing him. However, I was soon interrupted when something flashed in my eyes. I looked up, surprised as Hell to see a few random people with camera's clicking away at my door that hadn't been shut and bursting with questions.
Julian grinned and put an arm around me, showing me off, despite my state. "This, is my fiancée, Mischa Drage, soon to be Stanton" he then slammed the door and turned to me and kissed me senseless.
And I was too happy to do anything but comply.
Boy, you don't even want to know how long this took! *wipes brow* Almost 10,600 words! I almost gave up on this because it was so long and I lost it a bit at the end but :) here you go.
AND WATCH THIS SPACE; you never know, I may make this one-shot a two-shot and do Julian's POV, do not hold your breath though. You may die.