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Chapter 13

The Calamity Girl – The Promotion

It was eight am on Monday morning.  I rolled out of bed.  I quickly showered and dressed.  The courier arrived with my parcel.  I pulled out the paper to see the articles that I had submitted – Julie’s deceit, my accusations, the arrests, Drew Cartland’s infidelities, and Melissa finding her biological father.

It felt good to give Julie, Drew and Melissa back their karma. Indeed what goes around, comes around and they were going to learn first hand how it felt to be the one’s gossiped about.

I wondered what Michael would say about it?  There was no turning back now.  I have always been the impulsive type.  Father always taught me to face my enemies head on and make them pay for messing with me.  I may not be ruined but Drew Cartland’s world was rocking to the core.

Mr. Perfect was a liar and I was the one to reveal his assortment of problems.  Jim was happy to have his name with a big story, until he saw, what it was all about then he was unhappy.  Now he would be shaking in his boots.  I got them all right where it counts – reputation.  Julie would never forgive Jim for running the story.  Her father would never forgive Julie for making him look bad.

I decided to attack him where it hurts the most – his personal life and his secret love child.  How he had ruined his friend’s marriage, and pressured his daughter to act out his revenge.  He had caused many people grief over the years.

My phone beeped, “You can be vicious can’t you?  I did not know you had it in you; striking him where it hurts the most.  Now maybe Cartland will have enough sense to leave you alone.  How’s your sister doing?”

I texted Michael back, “She’s not awake yet.  I’ll know soon whose side she’s on.”

Melissa’s house phone rang and I answered it.

A male voice barked, “Melissa how could you let her do this to me?  I am your father for god sake, I though you were on my side.  That blasted sister of yours is a bitch!  I never thought she had the guts to do it.  I am writing you out of my will!  I do not want anything to do with you!  Are you there?”

I said, “Hello Mr. Cartland, you’ll have to call back and leave a message for my sister.  Melissa is not home now.  Payback is a bitch.  You brought this on yourself.  Don’t mess with us again, or I’ll bring out the rest of the dirt on your family – daughter included.”

I hung up and thankfully, he did not call back.

I never told Melissa that Drew Cartland had called.  I put the paper away in a safe place.  Now that I knew that Melissa was a traitor; I would have to teach her a lesson.  I do not like it when family backstabs me, this time it hurt like hell.

I thought we were patching things up, learning to be sisters, enjoying each other’s company, perhaps going on a holiday together somewhere. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted.

Melissa was yawning when she came into the kitchen.

She asked, “What do you plan to do today?”

I said, “Let’s go shopping.  I feel the need to spend some of my hard earned money, how about you?”

Melissa looked at her watch, “I might step over to my office.  I need to make a few phone calls.”

I said, “Listen you told me you were taking a few days off and I’m leaving tomorrow morning.  Spend the day with me instead and forget about work.  I have not seen you for three years; surely, one day is okay?  Besides I’ll think you were lying to me, if you go into work.”

Melissa looked at me then sighed, “I guess it can wait until tomorrow morning.”

I said, “We are going to enjoy having the day off.  After we do our shopping, I’d like to grab a bite at one of the restaurants.”

Melissa yawned again, “Do you know where you want to eat?”

I said, “I’m not quite sure.  I’m going to Google the local restaurants and find out where they are located. I also want to check the online ratings and reviews. No point going where the food is crappy.”

Melissa yawned again and smiled, “I’m still tired.  I am going back to bed for an hour while you do your researching.”

I smiled and watched her leave.  I decided to do my early morning meditation first; then I did a few Yoga stretches to limber up my body.  I felt refreshed and less apprehensive. I sat down and started looking along Fashion Avenue in New York City on Google.  I was having fun figuring out how to use the streetwise option.

It was a virtual camera of the city streets and I looked for café’s and shops that would interest me.  I jotted down my notes and closed my laptop.  I could not believe that an hour had passed already.  Boy time flies when you are on the internet.  I went and had a shower and got dressed.

Melissa was just getting into the shower, so I went and sat down in the living room.  She was ready about an hour later, and dressed to the nines.

I said, “You look fabulous, is that one of your new creations?”

Melissa nodded.  I admired the pale blue suit and white blouse with a big baby blue bow.  She looked very smart in it.  Melissa looked at my navy blue pants and white blouse.

She smiled, “Still wearing yesterday’s fashions I see.”

I grinned, “Yes I seem to cater to the retro styles of the 80’s.  I like the side pockets at a slant.  I find that I look slimmer, don’t you agree?”

Melissa laughed, “As if you need to look any slimmer?  If you stand sideways you’ll disappear.”

I said, “You’re exaggerating.”

Melissa grinned, “I know I’m the pencil thin one in the family.  You have the nicer bosom, mine looks like a boys.”

I giggled and said, “Boys have penis envy and girls have boob envy.”

Melissa laughed at my joke and said, “I don’t envy your constant back aches.”

I said, “Yes they never go away.  There is a price for having a big rack.  I actually went out to dinner with this nice guy.  He totally turned me off when he said we could only be friends because my boobs were too big for him.

I told him he should meet my sister, because he likes his women tiny and petite, so you see there is a man for every shape and size of boob.  You have nothing to worry about!”

Melissa grinned, “When are you going to introduce me?”

I laughed, “The guy hates New York City, says it’s too crowded for him so I guess it would not work out between you two.  Besides he lives in Canada.”

She said, “Too bad for me!”

I laughed, “Well I decided that I want to visit a restaurant called Cosi.  It’s located on 37th Street and Seventh Avenue; they have an interesting breakfast menu.”

Melissa said, “Okay, let’s take the subway, its faster.”

We slowly walked down the street and followed the crowds below into the subway.  It reminded me of Toronto only busier.

I said, “It’s hard to believe that over eight million people live in New York City.”

Melissa said, “Sometimes I get tired of the crowds.  I think you’ll go into culture shock when you leave here and go a ranch out in the middle of nowhere.”

I said, “That reminds me, I forgot to tell Michael where we will be meeting tomorrow morning.  He has decided instead of making the trip back home we will leave directly from New York City instead.  He has a private pilot friend who is going to fly us there.  I still don’t know where were going.”

I texted Michael a message, “I’m free early tomorrow morning.  Shall I meet you at 10am?”

I waited but no message came back, then I got an unsent text error message on my phone.

I said, “Dam the reception down here, its going to be hard trying to get a hold of Michael.  I’ll have to wait until dinner time.”

Melissa said, “Why then?”

I said, “I’ll be eating on a rooftop surely I can get a decent phone reception there.”

Melissa laughed, “More than likely, but won’t that be too late for him?”

I said, “Not really, besides the man always seems to be available when I need him, we’ll see what happens.”

It was not long before we went in and sat down at Cosi.

I ordered the Veggie Quiche and a Chai Latte.  Melissa ordered the Baked Omelet Sandwich and an espresso.

I looked at Melissa and grinned, “I’m going to explore Fashion Avenue first and then I want to pop into the Macy’s store.  After that, I plan to browse the shops on Madison Avenue.

Barneys is in that area then we can visit The Columbus Circle Time Warner Center.  Next, we will go to Amsterdam Ave, and there is The Original Levi’s Store on Lexington Ave and 59th. I need some new designer jeans for the ranch.

Next, I am going to Broadway Ave and Prince St for a light lunch at Dean and Deluca, where they say that Food is Fashion.  Sounds like a cool place to visit.”

Melissa said, “It looks like were going to be eating a lot of food dishes today.”

I said, “It’s fun to have a progressive meal.  You eat a different dish at each restaurant.  Besides if you eat several small meals in a day it helps to speed up your metabolism.”

Melissa grinned, “So that’s your secret!”

We finished breakfast in record time and headed into the various shops and boutiques.  I mainly concentrated on buying myself some casual clothes for my trip.  I was buying a few pairs of jeans, some sweaters and blouses and t-shirts.

I was not hungry enough o eat at Dean and Deluca so I decided I would visit their establishment another time.

It had been fun going all over the city and seeing the vast number of designer clothes in the fashion district.

I asked Melissa, “Will you be selling any of your pieces to any of the bigger chain retailers?”

Melissa said, “Yes, I plan to do a business casual line of dress clothes.  I will keep you in mind as a model subject.”

I laughed and said, “Actually it would be fun to be in a fashion show.  However, I will not be available until next year.  I’ve got too many things to accomplish in the next few months.”

Melissa said, “I’m busy myself this year working on my evening wear and I plan to do some artistic creative shows.  You know something with lots of glitz and glam for my celebrity clients.

I really want to expand my horizons.  I was planning to donate a few pieces to Tyra Banks, for America’s Top Model.  You know as a prize or something.”

I said, “I love that show!  Those exotic Island photo shoots are something else!  I could not believe it when they had to do underwater shots in Cycle 13.  It was amazing how the models posed while underwater with their eyes open. I don’t think I could do something like that.”

Melissa said, “My favorite show was when they had to pose with exotic animals, in a jungle scene, now that was cool.”

I said, “I’m brave but I don’t think I would have been able to pose with a snake or a lion without being very nervous about it!  Those girls really have to be flexible it is a demanding job.  Long hours, tireless travelling, no wonder their all paper-thin.  They are constantly on the go.”

Melissa said, “It must be strange when they stop modeling and do something different.”

I said, “Tyra Banks has done well for herself.  She is gone from Super Model to Television Producer and she has become a mentor to models all around the world.  She’s a timeless beauty always radiant and beautiful.”

I said, “Yes let’s hope that we become tireless beauties as we age too.  I envy some women they never seem to look old, ever.  I want to learn their beauty secrets.”

Melissa said, “I get lots of facials and mud mask treatments, that’s my secret to staying young.  Later it will be Botox and plastic surgery.”

I grinned, “Mine beauty secret is Noxzema.”

Melissa laughed, “I’m a Clinique woman.”

I said, “To each there own.”

I looked at the time, “It’s six pm, and I’m good and hungry.  It’s time to head over to my next destination on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street.  It’s called the Rooftop Garden Bar and Restaurant.”

Melissa was excited, “I’ve heard about that place.”

We got back on the subway which was twice as crowded as before. I felt like I was riding in a sardine can on wheels, the guy beside me made my nose tickle, I wish people would shower.

Going up the elevator with our many parcels, I wondered if we should have gone there dressed as we were.  Within a short period, we arrived at the restaurant.  It was really crowded down in the lobby but upstairs it was different.

When the door opened and we walked out onto the patio, both of us gasped at the gorgeous view.  For miles, we could see the top of every building in New York City’s East and West side.  We decided to sit on the West side of the restaurant.  We sat at a corner table.

I grinned at Melissa, “I feel like I’m on top of the world.  Pun intended.”

Melissa laughed, “You know you have a pretty good sense of humor.  I have laughed more in one day that I have for months.  You know I wish I had not been so stupid and stubborn for all those years.  I think I’ve been missing out on having a great relationship with my sister.”

Melissa surprised me when she reached across and grabbed my hand.  I got a lump in my throat when I saw a tear slide down her cheek.

Melissa whispered, “I’m sorry.  I should have been a better sister to you.  There’s something I need to tell you.”

I said, “Its okay, I’m sorry too.  I should have tried harder to understand you and how you felt about everything.”

Melissa was quiet for a minute.  A fine looking waiter interrupted us.

I said to Melissa, “Do you want the Vegetarian Kari Curry Puff?”

She nodded, “Yes that sounds good.”

I said, “I would like to try your Chicken Kari Curry Puff, along with a Golden Dream Martini.  Melissa what kind of Martini do you want to try?”

Melissa said, “I think I’ll try the Passion Fruit.”

Then I said, “I’ll have a Mandarin Orange sorbet.  Dinners on me tonight sissy boo my treat.  Do you want some dessert too?”

Melissa looked relieved the menu was quite pricey.

She nodded and said, “I’d like the Mango Sorbet please.”

The waiter said, “Will that be everything?”

I said, “Yes thanks.”

It did not take long for our food and drinks.  We ate heartily and then we were just sitting there quietly taking in the gorgeous view before us.

Melissa said, “Rachel, I have something to confess.  I am feeling guilty.  Drew and Julie asked me to get as much dirt on you as possible.  They were going to use me to ruin you.  After spending the day with you I realize that I love you as my sister and I could never do anything to hurt you.”

I froze there looking off into space.  God how was I going to tell my sister what I had already done.  Would it ruin our relationship forever?  I had to think.

I hurriedly got up from the table, “Sorry Melissa I have to send a message to Michael about tomorrow but my phone doesn’t seem to want to co-operate today.  I have to go use a pay phone and call Michael directly.  Please excuse me.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

I walked away leaving Melissa with a look of dismay on her face.  She probably thinks I am too angry to forgive her.  Now what am I going to do?

I called Michael, “Hi!  Listen I’m planning to leave my sister’s place tomorrow morning.”

Michael was surprised, “How did you manage to spend the day with her, isn’t she furious over your articles?”

I cleared my throat, I felt very nervous when I said, “Well not really because I have managed to keep her away from the papers all day.  She does not know what I have done and I was not going to say anything just yet.  She has apologized for being such an ass to me all these years.  I’m sitting here wondering how the hell I’m going to tell her what I’ve done.”

Michael said, “I’m sure you’ll do the right thing Rachel.  You have a good heart, just be honest.  Now I will see you at the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue and 58th Street in the morning.  Meet me for breakfast at ten am in The Oak Room.”

I said, “Thanks for the advice.  I’ll see you then.”

I got off the phone and took a deep breath.  It was not going to be easy facing Melissa.  I slowly walked back to the table and sat down.

Melissa looked angry and she slammed a paper down in front of me and demanded, “When did you plan to tell me about this?”

Shocked I said, “Where did you get that?”

Melissa said, “I saw it sitting on one of the tables, I couldn’t help but notice the large picture of Julie, Drew and myself on the front page!  When did you have time to do this?”

I quietly said, “Last night I figured that you were working with Julie and Drew.  I wanted to know for sure, so I jumped the gun before you could warn them.”

Melissa cried, “So all day you have purposely kept me away from the office and the papers.  You did not really want to spend time with me; you make me sick.  I am leaving.  I expect you to be out of my apt tonight, bitch!”

I sat there shocked as my sister grabbed her parcels and headed for the door.  The people around us were staring, mouths gaping in shock at my sister’s poor behavior.  Then the murmurs started.  I could see some of them knew now who she was.

I went and paid the bill then grabbed my parcels and headed quickly down the elevator.  Luckily, for me, there was a traffic jam and Melissa was still trying to get a cab.

I walked up to her, put my parcels down, and raised my arm up.  A cab pulled up and we got in.  We were both silent all the way to her place.  I was racking my brains trying to figure out how to deal with this.  My mind drew a blank.  Funny I had no trouble dealing with strangers, but when it came to family, it was a completely different ball game.

Did I jump too fast?  No, I had to stop doubting myself.  I looked at Melissa, how was I supposed to know that she would change her tune?  How would I patch things up with her?

A little voice inside my head said, “You knew this would happen, you had a gut feeling about it.  You did it to see what would happen with Melissa.  You have not done anything to your sister besides cutting her off from Drew and Julie who are two bad apples and it was probably a wise thing to do.

Michael said to be honest with her.  If Melissa is going to run away from me after one disagreement then she was not serious about working on being a true sister in the first place.

Family is thick, because it is supposed to be.  We were like strangers a week ago and now we are back to square one again.  I did not have time to waste on this child.  She wanted to be selfish, then so be it.  It was then that I realized that Melissa would always want to hold onto her bitterness.  All that I had done was reveal the truth to the world.  Her secret was out.  No one could hold it against her, unless Pierre took offense.

I would have to make sure that my sister would continue in her success and maybe one day she would come to her senses and realize that I had to defend myself, and stand alone with everyone against me, including my own flesh and blood.  I was glad when we arrived at her apt.  I quickly gathered my things.

Before I left I said, “I really enjoyed having a sister for a day, it was fun.  As for the paper, I told the truth and revealed everything.  I am tired of Julie and Drew attacking father and me.  They will turn on you someday too.

When you realize that I am the only family that you have; you will come to me and be my sister with no hang-ups or bitterness.  You need to learn to forgive father, put yourself in his shoes.  He hated Drew for seducing Mum, and he was wrong to take it out on you.  I cannot change the past, but I can offer you a future with a loving sister by your side.

You were the one who wanted to ruin me.  You need to ask yourself why you would even contemplate doing something like that to me.  I revealed the truth about you, so that Julie can never blackmail you about it in the future.  I will ensure that your career stays on track and I will talk to Pierre if he has a problem because of this.  I love you…”

Then I walked out the door with tears on my face and a lump in my throat.  My cab was waiting for me.  I would go stay at the Plaza Hotel for the night.

I arrived there within the hour and I put everything in my room, and shut off my phone.  I did not feel like talking to anyone.  My whole world had come crashing down around me.  I could see it was hopeless where Melissa was concerned.

Maybe I should have told her about Drew’s phone call only it would have added fuel to an already burning fire.  Melissa would be too embarrassed to call Julie or Drew.  She would probably cut herself off from them.  That was her way of protecting herself when she was hurting.  In essence, we were the same, unified at the moment, yet poles apart.

I went outside for a walk and noticed the horse and buggy at Central Park.  I paid the driver and went for a lovely ride around the park.  It was dark now, and the city was lit up like a Christmas tree.  I thanked the man for working overtime and gave him a fifty-dollar tip for his trouble.  Then I walked into the Hotel and decided to go into the new champagne bar for a drink.

I was sitting there stirring my slice of orange around with the little umbrella when Michael came and sat down beside me.

He sighed, “I see she found out.”

I nodded, trying to hold in the tears.  I failed they came pouring down.  Michael grabbed my hand and squeezed it, then he handed me a Kleenex.

I dabbed at my eyes and said, “Thanks.”

The band started to play a slow song and Michael asked, “Can I have this dance?”

I smiled and took his hand as he led me to the dance floor.  It was nice to put my head on his shoulder.  I could feel the tension subsiding and the knots in my stomach were loosening up.  My panic and anxiety attack was weakening.

I danced around slowly, closing my eyes.  I felt safe, warm, and content in Michael’s arms; a feeling of peace had come over me.  The music had stopped.  I hesitated then pulled away.

Michael was looking at me and said, “Rachel, go have a hot bath and get some rest.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

I nodded, “Thanks for the dance it was lovely.”

Michael smiled, “I enjoyed it too.”

He took me to my room and said goodnight.  I walked into my room and headed straight towards the bathtub.  It felt good to submerge myself into the hot water and bubbles.  I was delighted when I realize it had air jets in the tub.  I pushed the button, the whirring sounds began, and the air propelled the water towards my body, hitting my sore spots.

It felt so good.  I lay back in the comfortable reclining tub and closed my eyes.  I pictured us dancing there, wrapped in each other’s arms, a feeling of contentment washed over me.  I took a deep breath and let out the stresses of the day.  I did some of the breathing techniques that I had learned in my Yoga class.  Soon I got out, dried myself off, and went to bed.  I closed my eyes and fell fast asleep…

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