The Calamity Girl – The Promotion
Melissa looked very slim and chic in her purple and black designer dress from Rodarte. Blessed with long legs, a size zero waist, and very tiny firm breasts, she looked like a fashion model. Her shoulder length brown hair had grown out from the short spiky doo she had before and now her bangs were long and they almost covered her lovely green eyes.
She had once mentioned something called an “Emo” haircut. Now I knew what she meant. I put my things down and we stiffly hugged one another. I felt awkward and ill at ease. You could feel the tension in the air.
Melissa said, “The guest room is down the hallway to the right, beside my office. I am going to throw your bowl of stew in the microwave. Do you want a dinner roll and a glass of wine?”
I said, “Yes, thank you, I am starving.”
I looked around the small room with its lime green, royal blue designs. A very bright room, with lots of artistic flair, it was somewhat loud for me, I am more the conservative type. Although I do love, bright pastel colors in my apt.
I placed my luggage in the corner and made a quick trip to the washroom, I was really feeling jet lagged. I splashed some water on my face and looked at myself. What had I had been thinking? It has been three years and Melissa is still as cold as ice towards me. Oh well, I would make the best of it.
I walked down the hall into a nice cozy dining room. My sister loved the modern designs. The black and silver table with a glass top was very elegant. The chairs a modern black design – like something out of a European magazine.
In fact, Melissa’s apt looked like a magazine cover shoot for Modern Life with everything neat as a pin and artistically inclined. Impressed I sat down and enjoyed my bowl of stew.
I asked, “Do you bake Melissa?”
She grinned, “From time to time. I do. I am taking a night school course on gourmet dishes. I figured it would come in handy with planning parties for the Fashion Designers and haute-couture events. I cannot believe how thin and bony some of the girls are even though they have a healthy appetite. They must have a high metabolism or something. They almost look anorexic.”
I smiled, “I wanted to be a fashion model once, but at 5ft 7 they said I’d be too short.”
Melissa grinned, “I know I had the same problem and I’m 5ft 8. Although some girls have managed to do, some work even though they are shorter. It all depends on the taste of the designers.
It is a hard market to break into. I got lucky with Pierre Cardone. He is a designer as well. He likes my work so he arranged my first fashion show for me. People love my new designs. They said it was “refreshing” I was actually inspired by an art show that I had attended. I started envisioning a work of art on a dress and well the rest is history. How about you Rachel; how is your writing coming along?”
I smiled, “My blogs are doing pretty good and they promoted me to head of operations at Global Data Services, but I’m thinking of giving it up and running the Gossip Tabloids myself. I’m at a cross roads in my career.”
Melissa grinned, “I can’t see myself doing anything else. I love the Fashion World – I found my niche, I belong here. Would you like a piece of homemade chocolate cake? I made it for your birthday. Sorry I missed it, I guess it was a few months ago?”
I said, “You’re so sweet, thanks, I’d love a piece.”
Melissa asked, “Would you like some tea?”
I said, “Sure, two milks, two sugars, please. I like to steep it for at least five minutes.”
She finally sat down and I devoured the cake.
I said, “This has got to be the best cake that I’ve had in a long time. What makes it so moist?”
Melissa smiled, “Vegetable oil, not very healthy but hey you’ve got to live dangerously every once in a while.”
We finished eating and I went and sat on her cream-colored leather couch.
I sighed, “Man this feels like a big marshmallow. I could just go to sleep right here. How did you meet Pierre?”
Melissa grinned, “I usually fall asleep on that couch while watching a movie. I met Pierre a few months ago at the Rodarte Fashion show. I was sitting outside waiting for the doors to open. I was busy sketching some designs in my book and he looked over my shoulder. He introduced himself to me then starting asking me a few questions.”
I asked, “What happened to the other guy you were living with?”
Melissa said, “My career was taking off and his was ending in a sad sort of way. His jealous fits were too much for me, we broke up a few years ago.
I’ve been single for sometime now, and working hard to complete my studies. Then I met Pierre and decided to tag along with him.”
I caught my breath, “Did he ask about your sister?”
She looked at me strangely and said, “I didn’t even mention you or anything about our past. I prefer not to talk about it to anyone.”
I nodded sympathetically, “I understand I’m the same way. I hate people prying into my personal life. I avoid it as much as possible. Lately I have been having many issues at work. Life’s been hell these past few days.”
Melissa looked at me, “I figured something happened. I have not heard back from you in months. I left you a few messages, but some guy named Tom, who I guessed was your boyfriend, said that you weren’t available.”
I was shocked, “Tom never once told me that you had called. Just for the record, he was not my boyfriend. I hired him as a personal assistant and fired him a few days ago. My boss Julie Cartland turned out to be a bad egg. She tried to frame me. She almost succeeded in putting me in jail for something I didn’t do!”
Melissa said, “My God why did you bother working for those people? A bunch of blood sucking vampires, they all want your money.”
I said, “Actually as far as I know no one knows of my true identity or anything about my personal life. They all thought I was some struggling bimbo trying to make a living for myself. Now they want me to run the company and if it goes down, they want me to take the fall. I signed a contract and agreed to do it. I almost sold Gossip Tabloids to Roy, but something stopped both of us.”
She looked at me expectantly and said, “What?”
I said, “We both had a dream of father telling us not to do anything with it. I followed my gut instincts and so did Roy. Now I’m debating on taking it on myself.”
Melissa asked, “Rachel have you ever thought of what you want to do in life? You seem to cater to father, or mother or whomever puts pressure on you? You have signed a contract. You should always give yourself more time before jumping into anything with both feet and making an impulsive decision.You might regret something someday that you cannot change at all. Then what will you do?”
I sat there looking at my sister who said a mouthful to me.
I asked, “Am I really like that? I never thought about it before. You my dear are the voice of reason. I cannot believe what you just said. You know you hit the nail on the head. Maybe father’s dream was not just a warning but also a sense of timing.
I was trying to get rid of the paper because they were planning to print some damaging news about the company and myself. I shut it down and fired everyone. I think that I over reacted. I bend over backwards trying to make Julie or David happy and I have been burning myself out over it.
I am supposed to go to Michael’s ranch for a few weeks then I was going to tell them that I would be giving up my job there at Global Data Services. I refuse to be their scapegoat anymore. They’ve been dumping on me for years and I’ve suffered emotionally from it all.”
Melissa hugged me, “Why didn’t you call me? You know I love you and I was just being stupid. I cannot hold it against you for the way that father treated me. You know I finally found out who my biological father is. I think father was insulted because of the type of man he is and Mother had an affair with him. You won’t believe it when I tell you who it is.”
I said, “Who?”
Melissa exclaimed, “Your boss, Julie’s father!”
She could have hit me with a Mack truck after that. I stood up; the color drained out of my face and hoarsely said, “How?”
Melissa sighed, “Father was close friends with Drew Cartland. Drew purposely played on Mother’s feelings of insecurity and loneliness. He set her up to ruin their marriage. You see mother and Drew were dating, they were supposed to get married. Our father stole her away from Mr. Cartland. Drew broke up their marriage out of revenge, only it backfired on him. Not only did he ruin our parent’s marriage, he ruined his own.”
I said, “Oh my God! Now I know why Julie is out to destroy me. She wants revenge for her father. But that means that she is your half sister.”
Melissa smiled, “Yes and it also means that I’m entitled to half of her fathers fortunes and she hates me because of it.”
I said, “So Julie has two reasons to hate our family. The problem now is how do we deal with it? How do we stop them from ruining us? Is Drew aware that you are his daughter?”
Melissa looked troubled, “That’s the funny thing about him. He wants me to be a part of his life but his daughter Julie tries to give me a hard time. He told me to ignore her jealousy. She was always daddy’s little girl. She hasn’t accepted me as her half-sister.”
I said, “Well it must be hard for Julie. She likes being the only girl in her daddy’s life. She used to brag about it at work. So maybe she just found out about you, and that’s why she’s been like a badger, attacking me.”
Melissa said, “She went after me too. She tried to give me a bad name to some of the Fashion Designers, but Pierre’s reputation is solid. He stood up for me. If he hadn’t, my career would have probably been toast.”
My eyes widened, “That will be our big story! I can print how and why she tried to frame me. I am sure she has given her story to the tabloids by now. So when they ask for a rebuttal I’ll have something to say about it.”
Melissa said, “But what about my relationship with my father?”
I turned and looked at her and quietly said, “I was told he’s the master mind behind the whole thing. You see if he ruins us, he ruins father in his own vindictive way. Father is not here to defend himself, but what he does not know is that I fight fire with fire and I do not care if I am burned. Just as long as I know, he will burn too! It is going to be more damaging to his career then mine.
I will make people sympathize; I will portray him as the evil villain with his daughter being his puppet, doing his every command so she can win his total devotion. If she ruins you, she knows he will avoid you and stop acknowledging you as his daughter. If we both team up, it will be the last time they ever come up against us; were going to give them a good roasting.”
Melissa said, “I’m scared what if this backfires on me? Pierre hates scandals; he might walk away from me.”
I said, “So what if he does! You have already become a success in the fashion world and you do have a fortune to work with? What you need is a flashy platform. We will get your name in every tabloid. Everyone will be interested to read about Drew Cartland’s secret love child! I will bet he will want to promote you!
It looks good on him to have an intelligent, successful daughter. Now I know why I am keeping the paper. I can do a write up about the fashion world. I can change the format. Instead of just doing Gossip, I can show off new talents, music, movies and become a Celebrity Paper.
I think father started out that way and somehow Jim turned it into a smutty newspaper. I think I should have paid more attention to what was being printed instead of only watching the financial reports. We will become the number one publishing giant and get the worlds attention.
I know just how to do it too. I will interview Michael Ferraras about one of his films. It could be a type of promotion for him. How he chooses his actors for the roles. Does he usually have someone in mind? Or are the actor’s roles strictly chosen by their screen tests?”
Melissa asked, “Do you think he’ll do it?”
I said, “I’ll talk him into helping me. He owes me big time for helping him secure some evidence for his case against Julie and Colleen.”
I proceeded to fill my sister in with the details of everything that had been happening to me at work. It was a few hours later and Melissa was starting to yawn.
I said, “You’re yawns are contagious now I’m doing it too.”
Melissa said, “Its eleven o’clock, past my bed time. I’ll see you in the morning.”
She hugged me then went off to her bedroom. I walked to the guest room, grabbed my toiletries, and started brushing my teeth. Things between Melissa and I had changed within a few hours. She was warming up to me and it felt good. Julie had tried to rip our family apart instead she had brought us closer together.
As I crawled into bed with my nice comfortable pajamas, I had a niggling thought. Was Melissa working with Julie? She had my confidence and now she knew what I planned to do. Was she going to be vindictive too, because of the way my father treated her all those years? I hoped not. I hoped that I was wrong.
I made a phone call to Mac, “Sorry to wake you. I have a big scoop for you to print. I am faxing an article to you and I want you to use Jim’s name as the reporter who broke the story. He will appreciate it I’m sure.”
I quickly got off the phone and wrote my story, edited it then quietly walked over to my sister’s office. I could hear her gentle snores as I passed by her door. I quietly closed the office door and used her fax machine. I decided to send a copy by email to Mac. It was a good thing I had wireless internet on my laptop. It was easy to connect to a service in New York City.
I asked Mac to courier me a paper to my sister’s address in New York City. Tomorrow morning Mr. Drew Cartland, Julie, and Melissa would be in for a very unpleasant surprise. I quickly posted a few videos about New York City on my blog then I shut my laptop.
Exhausted at 1 am; I finally fell asleep. I would not tell Melissa what I had done. I wanted to see the expression on her face when she found out that I had decided to reveal all of Drew Cartland’s dirty secrets…