"You're worried that your boyfriend would misunderstand?"
"I'm worried that a lot of people would misunderstand." Eve snorted. A sigh escaped her lips. She checked the perimeter for any suspicious person. "Even your presence can cause a misunderstanding."
Mikael gave her a skeptical look. "We're colleagues."
"And I am not your only colleague," she pointed out with a frown. Now that she thought about it, she realized that this conversation might lead to rumors. Her temple pulsed in pain. Did she need to stay alert like this? And this was just the beginning of this life.
That reporter might suspect that Mikael was her boyfriend—which would lead his admirers towards her. If any of them had ill feelings…
It could spark a fire of unnecessary drama.
A few meters away, the Rainbow Collection took over the spotlight. They had many to go through since there were seven colors. Each set both offered similar styles and different ones with the other six colors. All of them had trimmings within the range of gold, silver and bronze.
Three young women stood by the display. They'd walk and inspect each bag, debating which ones to purchase. Their focus went to the exclusive designs of each set since they held more value.
On the outside, they seem to be doing just that.
On the inside, their conversation sounded far different.
"Well, well… look at that." One of them remarked, her blonde hair falling like a curtain at the side of her face. Her deep brown eyes peeked through the strands. "Never knew a rookie could be so shameless."
"Which?" Her companion snapped her head and searched from the left to the right. The podium allowed them to stand above the crowd and to see everyone's faces. Despite this, it didn't make the search any quicker.
"Over there. By the mini bar, Harper," Nicole scoffed and rolled her eyes. "That Evangeline is talking to Mikael Davis."
Harper found the pair. She scrunched her dark eyebrows. They seemed to be talking like normal people. Their distance proved that much.
"They're in the same agency, right?" She asked.
Nicole gave her the side-eye. She grew impatient on the inside. "That may be true but Mikael doesn't mingle with a lot of female models. He dislikes being associated since it leads to rumors."
A magazine shared the exclusive scoop on this subject. It became a hot topic and increased the model's popularity among the ladies. His fans also became quite protective overnight,
"Isn't that a little too…" Harper trailed off. Her corner lip curled down, showing her left dimple. "I don't know. I mean, he can't avoid all of them."
"True but the only ones he ever talks to are the ones in the same project." Nicole moved on to the next bag. She divided her attention between the item and the mini bar. The mini lights illuminated her navy blue evening gown.
Harper nodded in understanding. "So that rookie is in the same project?"
"Probably." Nicole clicked her tongue and watched the pair. The way Evangeline had her body angled towards Mikael left a bitter taste in her mouth. "Except, Mikael Davis is way out of her league. Why do you think they'd be in the same project then?"
'The rookie got too confident,' she added quietly in her head. 'Couldn't Evangeline even pretend to not be a social climber? This sudden jump is way too obvious'
"Because the client liked her?" Harper guessed meekly. Projects worked that way from what she gathered. Her round glasses slipped off her nose. She pushed them back up.
"You are so naive," Nicole sneered. Her simmering blood turned into a boil. She educated her companion."There are only 3 possibilities for someone like her. She bought her way in, got a recommendation or used connections."
Red clouded the edges of her vision. Her tone turned into a taunt under her breath. "Whichever one, it's obvious that she's using Mikael to gain more fame."
"Oh. I see."
Harper pressed her lips together, choosing not to say more. Once Nicole was set on an idea, it was almost impossible to change her mind. She'd rather not waste her breath.
"What do you think, Charlee?" Nicole frowned when she didn't receive an answer. She peeled her eyes off the pair and glanced to the next display. "Charlee?"
Charlee Edwards had bitten her inner cheek. Her hot pink gown reached the floor with an asymmetrical hemline. The ruched bodice hugged her curves while the one shoulder neckline wrapped around her arm like a sash.
She hadn't heard their conversation.
Her senses had been captured by one man.
Nicole closed her eyes, taming her impatience. It took a great amount of will. "Are you still thinking about Ambryan Hathaway?"
Charlee's ears perked up at the sound of his name. A new glint shined in her indigo eyes as she faced her two friends. "What do you think is the best way to approach him?"
Harper tilted her head sideways. Her lips thinned out in disapproval. "I thought he didn't like it when women disturb him while he talked to other businessmen?"
"Well, it's not like I can get another chance." Charlee sighed. She walked over to them and they trapped the bag display from three sides. Her voice lowered to a whisper. "If I approach him when alone, he'll just shun me away. Now, if I approach him with his companions around…"
"He would have to play nice," Nicole finished for Charlee. The plan sounded solid. Her own mind raced for a way to approach Mikael. Maybe if she congratulated Evangeline along with a compliment… she could find an opening.
Harper clasped her hands together. Her eyebrows knitted at the bag, relying on her hearing. "But didn't you break up?"
"And doesn't he have a new girlfriend?"
"Silly, Harper," Charlee cooed. She patted her friend's head. "Did you believe those articles? If he really had one, he would have come with her. That's his style since his dates are not allowed by his side while he mingled about business."
"Maybe she couldn't make it."
"Oh, please!" She ridiculed. Then, she took out a compact mirror and a red lipstick. A little touch-up didn't hurt anyone. Her lips smacked together. "Who is she then? The princess of a foreign country? What better thing does she have to do?"
"So you'll get him?" Nicole questioned, doing the same thing. Her fingers ran through her blonde hair. She twisted one side and let it fall over her shoulder. Then, she tucked her side-bangds behind her ear.
"Of course." Charlee beamed. Her compact mirror snapped closed. She spun on her heel and narrowed her gaze towards Ambryan. If she wanted to do this, she needed the confidence. Only then would it work.
"Then, I'll go talk Mikael."
Harper widened her eyes. Her lips shook from a rising panic. She didn't come with anyone else. She knew none of the attendees. "You both will leave me alone?"
Nicole tapped the glass box and handed Harper a credit card. "I like this purse. Please line up for me."
"I like this other one," Charlee pointed to the previous bag. The violet hue appealed to her. It reminded her of Ambryan's eyes. She also took out a credit card and gave it to Harper. "Add me to the list of pre-order."
Harper watched as her friends parted ways. Nicole went to the left. Charlee went to the right. They braced the crowd and created their own path. Nothing could have stopped them from pursuing the men of their dreams.
Muttering under her breath, Harper hoisted up her emerald skirt and stepped down the podium. "Finally. They're gone. Now, I can go play on my phone while I wait in line."
"Would you like a refill, miss?" The bartender asked Eve. He pulled the martini glass away and placed it behind the counter. His gaze casted downwards as he cleaned it up. He made sure not to miss an inch.
Shaking her head, Eve declined the offer politely. "No, thank you. I think I had more than enough for tonight."
"Are you sure?" He insisted. A smoldering smile stretched across his face. "The night is still young."
Eve shivered, goosebumps crawling over her skin.
"Watch it, pal." Mikael warned, glaring at the bartender. His radiant blue eyes hardened into sapphires. "If the lady said no, don't push her into agreeing. I could report it as harassment."
The bartender raised his hands up in surrender. "I was only making sure. We also have water and other non-alcoholic drinks available if the miss wishes for another beverage."
Eve sighed in relief, swivelling her chair towards the crowd. "Thank you."
Mikael cocked an eyebrow. "Still think it's okay to be alone?"
That had been a close call. If the bartender had really wanted Evangeline, he could have resorted to underhand measures. Her rejections would have fuelled his desire even more.
It might seem exaggerated but anything was possible.
It was better to be cautious.
"Fine, fine. You win this round." Eve snorted. A blur of dark blue appeared behind Mikael. The woman fixed her hair and her dress as she walked towards their direction. She gulped, her instincts telling her to run.
She clapped her hands together as she hopped off the stool. Her voice rose in pitch and feigned innocence over what she witnessed. "I will be leaving you then."
"Oh?" Mikael blinked.
"Well, it was you who told me that I should be with my boyfriend." Eve smirked, throwing his words back at him. Her heels tapped against the floorboards.
"Then, I shall go find him."
Lmao. Yeah, sure, Eve. Leave him alone to deal with that psychotic fan. Does anyone actually want to see Mikael deal with Nicole? Let me know in the comments XD
Status check: There's 9 hours left before the Ranking Event ends! And we're at Top 146! Nice! A little more and that mass release for Sept 25 is sealed ;)
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love