Untitled. Chapter One: The Story of Us.
The Story of Us.
It all started so long ago, I can barely remember how the big break came to be. It was more or less a twist of fate due to someone taking a chance on me. I had some experience but not enough for the usual magazines to 'risk' hiring. Apparently when your portfolio is thin it means your talent must be as-well. Either way, I got given a chance to intern and jumped at it. Instead of embarking on a 'Devil wears Prada' adventure, my beginnings are more realistic. There was no make-over, no evil boss and certainly no co-worker betrayal. It was more or less shuffling paid casual work with an unpaid internship, with university. None-the-less, those days are what enabled me to get where I am today.
Staring into the mirror I put on my pearl earring, fixed my lipstick and realised I'm forty.
'Tonight is the big night darling' said Daniel from inside the walk-in.
I always love how he pieces himself together. Ceremoniously and stylishly, which is why he caught my attention those fifteen years ago. Stepping out in his Armani silk suit and black leather Gucci's, he gazed at me and knew exactly what I was thinking.
'Something's missing I know' he replied to my unspoken words.
'Maybe you should..' I suggested, '..get the Hermés hankerchief.' he finished. Quickly he paced over kissed me on the cheek and went to grab his final touch.
He'd be almost perfect, had I not already discovered he was sustaining a mistress on the side. What is it about men which has them embarking on youthful conquests? Perhaps that's what Colombus was after, after all. Perhaps he didn't want to discover an entire continent rather just discover a youthful maiden he could embellish himself with. Either way, Daniel was discrete with his infidelities, and he had no idea I knew. Tonight he would though, I'm perfectly fine with it as long as he doesn't get her pregnant and it's "just sex". We don't have a problem in that area, but men are like lions, no one lioness can tame them, they need to have a few in order to consider themselves kings.
The twenty-something year old from ‘Italia’, Francesca was slowly working her way up the fashion ladder. It can either be through networking or sex. Francesca had chosen sex as her weapon of choice. She knew she was beautiful and could seduce men without even trying. What she didn’t know was that once she reaches thirty she’d better have a personality or she’ll be cast aside. I observed her from show-to-show, in Paris she flirted closely with the big name photographers who were still bisexual or hadn’t crossed over yet. Of course Francesca didn’t discriminate between genders. I overheard her whispering to one of her friends ‘It’s all about letting them think they are using you when infact you are using them, men, women, gay, straight, it doesn’t matter, in this world sexuality doesn’t exist’. Unfortunately, her big mouth would soon cost her, her monthly support from Daniel.
Daniel, he’s not a stupid man, if he were, I wouldn’t have married him. He just can’t resist beautiful things. He has a modern appreciation of beauty much like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. I recall him whispering in my ear at the alter, ‘You’re so beautiful, no one is like you, you’re all mine and I’m yours’. That was certainly made clear when he began piecing models apart the first time he accompanied me to Paris fashion week. He scoffed at the statuesque clones as they walked down the runways. ‘Look at them, they are all the same just with different clothes. Everything is the same.’he whispered at one point whilst he placed his hand on my knee adding ‘You’re too beautiful to want to be like them, you’re better’. I believed him, he made me feel unique, and why shouldn’t have I felt that way? He was in a scientific sense, correct. There is no one with my eyes, hair, face, height, or body structure in this world aside from myself. My genes have been coded uniquely and will only ever be coded once.
The first outing we had was to a medical museum, he said he thought intelligence and an interest in science was a beautiful thing. He commented on the tragic beauty of fatal illnesses. I was mainly interested in the neurology exhibits. What many people do not know is that I studied psychology before I began publishing. At the end of the exhibit he asked me why I hadn’t become a psychologist, I hadn’t even mentioned my student history. That’s when I decided this man I’d stand still with for awhile. We had been seeing one another for a month.
Later on I discovered (because he was mysterious from the start), he came from a wealthy family of mixed professionals and mixed investments. Quite the bohemian mixture from the upper-class, his father was a university professor at Oxford, his mother came from a family of prominent racing horse breeders (and racers), his grandfather made his fortune working with his paternal great grandfather during the world wars assisting in importation and exportation or ammunitions and supplies. I recall being told of the scandal Gabrielle got herself into whilst she decided to date a Nazi Spy in WWII.
He laughed when he found out that I’d done some investigating of my own, he simply said ‘Well, you’ve got a harder history to locate, amor.’That was his nickname for me, I don’t know why he called me that, he simply loved to call me ‘love’but in Spanish. He was mixed French and British, and seldom paraded the fact. He would say, ‘to be ‘part’ french is a terrible cliché’ I thought it was terribly chic, but to tell him would be a mistake. I’m part Argentinean and German, he thought it historical. For some reason he was fascinated that my heritage illustrated the finale of WWII. He sung a simple line (which he’d use when something went terribly wrong) to a nursery rhyme melody as soon as I told him ‘...and all the Nazis never went home.’Anything to do with knowledge dazzled Daniel, which is why he went to Cambridge and studied philosophy and history (both contemporary and ancient world). Unlike the upper class sons, he refused to study in an institution where his name had already been made known by his father. So upon graduating he went to Cambridge and got as far as a PhD. He then decided he’d work in an art gallery but ended up becoming an artifacts dealer. I met him when he was a few months into his position at the Louvre. The day we met he was having an expresso at a small café around the corner, and this handsome well-dressed stranger caught my attention. His blue eyes sparkled and his dark-blonde almost light brown hair was a ruthless combination. I remember asking myself, ‘What is a rugged masculine man doing in the middle of Paris?’. I was sitting at a table adjacent to his and had my laptop, magazines, and moleskin spread out on the table. I’d just finished typing up collection reviews from Milan and had taken an extra day off for some R&R before heading back to the main office Saturday morning. I remember thinking, ‘Only in this industry would we choose to work weekends.’
Lost in my thoughts, I’d forgotten I was blatantly starring at this stranger, before I knew it, he was walking over and a Boss suit had never looked so good. He offered me a cigarette and I refused but thanked him.
He then wittingly said ‘That’s alright, I don’t smoke either.’while placing the metallic case back in his pocket. I laughed, he smiled and I recall smirking as I said, ‘Well, there’s nothing like cigarettes to pick up women is there?’ he laughed and was caught off guard by my remark but replied just as cunningly ‘There’s also nothing like shielding yourself with work to distract yourself from being alone in a cafe.’ Ouch. He got me back twice as hard but for some reason I didn’t care. We laughed and had dinner that same evening. We were separable, we were independent from one another, but we were emotionally monogamous (on my part sexually as well) and have been ever since.
I stayed in my apartment, he had his penthouse behind Champ D’Elysse. ‘Charming, I love it.’ he complimented the first time he saw my place. I had a shelf full of magazines, in order of issue and year and another shelf full of classical and modern literature including psychology and history. I had prints from Fafi and Audrey Kawasaki in my creative corner along with mini portraits of Pon and Zee. The child in me loved modern art illustrators and I didn’t care who knew it. I had no cable television, just my laptop and a dvd collection I could indulge in whenever I chose to. The welcoming area had a closet for coats and I bought a hat and jacket stand as well as a small wall table for keys and letters. Walking in further to your left there was a room where you’d have the balcony which extended the entire length of the apartment. The shelves propped up against the wall. I had a big oak table where I did my work or creative musings. To the left in the room, there was the flat screen, two leather sofas, and a large dvd storing cupboard. Walking out into the hallway you have a door to your right, which contains the dinning area and at the end the apartment’s kitchen. Finally at the end of the apartment a large bedroom (my sanctuary) and a spare bedroom. I’ve never gotten rid of that apartment because it represents the beginnings on my own. I still use it and live there especially during the busy seasons. Daniel lives in his penthouse when needed and his parents gave us our own home we share it and live there around ninety percent of the time. This is why I eventually turned my old apartment into a work studio and sometimes had clients, designers, and models come there to discuss and organise events.
The first time I saw Daniel’s penthouse was astounding. I’d never seen so much luxury pieced together without looking cheap. Velvet drapes, oak and mohogany furniture from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. He had crockery he’d tracked down from Spanish fleets on display and paintings that have so many replicas I’d no idea anyone could get a hold of the original. It smelt of a musky smoke I adored mixed with a cologne I couldn’t put my finger on. The smell of the place reminded me of the scene in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ where Bell is given the most amazing library in all existence. Mind you, he had shelves upon shelves of books and an enormous television in his bedroom.
Here we were fifteen years later, about to throw the biggest event of the year with our parents attending. His parents adored me, or so he reassured me. My parents didn’t give many opinions regarding my partners, as long as I was happy they were happy. I appreciated that level of detachment. I recall the first time I met his parents, the conversations were heated and tempers almost flared. They didn’t buy my somewhat politically correct stance on certain issues whilst they had tainted stereotypical biases. Yet somehow aside from the opinionated differences, they insisted they found me perfect for their Daniel. I didn’t mind, I thought it sweet but I knew they also knew their son as well as I did. So they knew before I did (back then) what I was getting myself into with the infidelities and somewhat independent marriage we would evolve into. I sometimes resented them for not warning me, but then again, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m about to do without having stood on my own two feet for so long.
My mobile rang waking me from my reminiscent daze.
‘Are you ready?’ a stern voice asked me.
‘More than ever, Jeremy.’ I replied.
‘Are you sure? There’s no going back you know. Once we head in there tonight it’ll be splashed on every tabloid from here to Sydney.’ He questioned.
‘I said, I’m ready. Unless you want me to stutter just make sure your people have everything set.’ I hated it when I was questioned, as if I were some delicate flower that needed to be carefully handled. I wasn’t the damsel, I never could be.
‘Who was that, amor?’ asked Daniel from inside the walk-in.
‘Nobody, just the caterer for tonight.’ I replied casually.
Everything needed to be preserved according to plan or there’d be panic and fleeing. I couldn’t have that. I needed everybody to be present, this included Daniel and the italian loud mouth Francesca. Everything was going to be set right tonight.
To be continued...