"What is this?"
I turned to look at what Tye was holding in his hand. Blue topaz gleamed against his fingertips.
" Cuff links", I answered expecting him to know the answer to his own question. " Why do you not know what those are either?"
Snickering I had to ask, " What rock did you grow up under?"
" Plymouth", Tye responded sarcastically. " This model thing is new to me. This fashion thing. It’s just all new. Don't make me feel weird about it."
I walked over to where he was standing and put my hand on his collar, folding it under and smoothing it out, ensuring he looked neat and dapper for the runway, the cameras, and everyone who would be interested in this aboriginal beauty the Gods had somewhat dropped into my world. Grabbing the cufflinks from his hands I secured them on the shirts wrist. " These go here,” I said looking him over from head to toe. I loved the look on him. I grabbed the blazer off of my garment rack and continued, "In this fashion thing we always look for completion. It's like how a handkerchief completes a blazer and tie. Or the way maybe in your world of bank theft a dufflebag isn't complete without dollars."
" Really Caroline?”
“ Say that any louder." I smiled up at Tyes handsome face, into his strong blue eyes. Never even noticed that they matched the cufflinks. " You look great. Are you ready for this debut?"
“I don't have a choice. This is saving my life. I'd rather be here than behind bars again.” And just like that I grabbed his hand and we left the dressing room and walked out into the backstage area with the other models.
6 Hrs Earlier
" Caroline we have to send the looks and models to the coordinator within the hour! What the hell are you doing in SAKS right now? Do you even have the a replacement set up for the model who canceled"
Red ... yellow.... blue. Hmmm. "That navy blue suit would look amazing with these on the wrist & those Cole Haan on the feet.” I eyed the topaz blue cufflinks intensly before making a final decision.
" Caroline!", My business partner Megan screeched through the phone.
" This look is perfect", I thought aloud.
"Caroline an hour! I'm giving you an hour to send me the final looks. As well as our new face."
Still holding the phone up to my own face well after she’d hung up, I made the purchase and quickly rushed out to the parking lot. I dropped the phone into my pocketbook.
I hated to feel pressure. Did Megan not understand that there was no rushing when it came to art? Creativity isn't rushed. So the coordinator could truly kiss my--. Rarrrrrrrr. Police cars zooming past me to the bank on the other side of the mini mall interrupted my thoughts.
" That's my cue", I said dropping the bags in the back of my BMW and slipping into the drivers seat. I checked my rear view and could see cops beginning to stop people in the parking lot to check the vehicles. I put the key in the ignition and suddenly my door opened and slammed shut in the back. Someone was in my car.
" Just drive, just drive. I don't have a gun. But I have loads of cash so just get us out of here NOW lady!" I calmly looked in my rear view and could see cops swarming the parking lot behind me, getting closer but not quite. I pulled out of the parking space and calmly asked " how much is this ride out of this lot right now? I am now an accessory to your crime Sir and I'm really not afraid to pull right up to those cops and have you removed from my vehicle."
I could see him panicking in the rear view but His face was covered by the hoody and ski mask he was wearing. " Take off the hoody sir, and the ski mask! It’ll be better if you look like you didn't just rob the bank with a big black hoody on" I shook my head at my life momentarily. And also if you can slide into the front seat because why the hellll are you in my back seat. I won't tell them I'm uber either"
I had driven a while without looking at the passenger side or speaking but I could hear sighs of relief ever so often. "Where is the money?" I finally broke the silence as I pulled into my driveway. We had literally rode a half hour without so much of a word or a look in the others direction.
This was unreal but yet at the same time something felt okay. Something felt right. So I just went with my intuition and decided not to panic that a bank robber was seated next to me after jumping into my car on one of the biggest days of my life.
This show tonight was so important and I still had a half an hour to send in the final looks and a model for the last walk. There was no way in hell any agents could get back to me that quickly with anyone.
"The money is in your backseat"
As I heard the smooth baritone voice shivers went up my spine.
I looked over and saw maybe the most gorgeous man I'd ever laid eyes on.
“Call Megan!” I yelled into my phone.
“What Caroline! There is nothing from you in my inbox right now!”, Megan’s voice screeched through my car speakers.
" I’ve got the perfect model. Can't wait for you to see him".
“He's not groomed. His hair isn't tamed.
He looks so different from what the coordinator wants on the runway. I mean, look at the other models.” Spreading the portfolios across her desk I quickly scanned the handsome yet robotic faces.
They all looked the same on.
“Megan he's gorgeous”, I said very frankly.
“Caroline. He is not a model. Sure he has a great body. Good height. Sexy lips…. Umm what was I saying again?”. We shared a giggle. “
Oh yes! He looks great but I don’t know if we’ll pull this one off…. He looks extremely different is all I'm saying.”
“So what? We’ve pulled people off the street before, remember!” There was a time when this was more fun than work. I like to keep it that way. Megan doesn’t like the way I work but im good at what I do and I do what I love in the ways that I see fit.
“Yeah that was years ago. Humble beginnings stay in the past . we are way ahead of that now. We can choose any models we want. “ She tapped on the faces spread out in front of her. “Besides I have a reputation to uphold.”
Tye was a mixed breed with light olive skin. His brown hair untouched and kinky curly. Beard full and untamed. He was perfect. Or at least In my eyes he was. He didn't need to be tamed. He needed to be an Alpha male in a clean designer. All the other male models Megan had chosen didn't have a facial hair in sight, they were manicured, clean-shaven and spa treated to death. They were prettier than me for Christ sake. And so the clothes looked too perfect on them. Like store mannequins ,the clothes wore them. They didn't give the clothes a personality. But Tye did.
He was awkwardly aware of his surrounding. But he was himself. He didn’t act like he was someone he wasn’t. He didn’t model the looks.
So, he just simply walked the runway, face straight ahead, eyes brightly complimenting the denim and navy blue themes of the season. The Blue Topaz Cufflinks seemed to stand out as it gleamed on his wrist as brightly as his eyes.
The show was amazing. I couldn’t wait to congratulate Tye. And my mind began to plan his whole career as my muse. I went back into the dressing room area expecting to see him amongst the other models, maybe even mingling but he was there. Maybe he’d gone to the private dressing room where my garment rack and personal belongings were. I quickly scanned the area and found nothing. Not my bag, none of the suits, and pieces I used to style the models were on the rack, nothing. Certainly there was no Tye. I chuckeled to myself. What did I really expect?
Scanning the place one more time I saw a small white envelope laying In front on the full length mirror by the door. I walked over slowly, my heels clicking away. I felt dumb but I also felt amazing. It was a successful evening for the culture. I’d worry about my credit cards and everything tomorrow morning. Picking up the envelope, I saw “thank you” written in chicken scratch across the front. Inside the fold was written, “ Your bag and wallet are in your car, I left half of the cash in the duffle. That should cover my new wardrobe. No more ski masks and hoodies. Oh and the cufflinks… *smiley face* “
I smiled. He reminded me of the ways in which I loved to steal the show. Secretly he’d stolen my heart.