Unexpected Fate / Page 11

Page 11


He spins me back around and looks down at my chest. Oh here we go. Reaching up to my black blouse, he unsnaps the two buttons that kept me decent and nods to himself when my red bra is peeking through the opening.

“Perfect. Now give the girls a little tuggero and we’re done. I’ll make sure to put some more weight on you, Belle.”

“You do realize that this would be considered sexual harassment in most work environments,” I remind him. Again.

“It would. But lucky for you, I haven’t swung for the kitty cats once in my life. I think, for the harassment to be sexual, I would have to actual want to get in those pants, darling. The only pants I ever want to get into happen to be carrying far different equipment than you, sweet girl.” He laughs and smacks my rear when I turn to walk to my station.

“Good God, Pops! Do not talk like that!” I hear Stella yell as she walks in from the back room, where we do all of our color mixing. “That’s just . . . No, that’s just too much, even for you. I don’t ever want to think about my dad’s junk or my pops lusting after it.” She rolls her eyes and walks over to give me a hug. “Hey, you. I missed you around this circus.”

“I heard that, Stella!” Sway laughs and struts to the front of the studio in his glittery, gold heels—heels that, as predicted, are taller than mine.

“I wasn’t trying to hide it, Pops!” she yells at his back.

Ah. Never a dull moment at Sway’s.

I was busy doing Karen Oglethorpe’s hair for about twenty minutes before the cameras walked in. Of course. Film day. I must be completely off my game if I had already forgotten the filming rotation.

I loathe film day.

Not only are the cameras always in my way when I’m trying to do hair, mix color, and move between the washing station or the blower station, but the producer and his people are freaking annoying. Devon Westerfield. He’s been a constant presence around the salon since this time last year, and I think I might actually hate him more now than I did then. Not because he’s a bad person. He really isn’t. He’s doing his job just the same as I am. But it’s because of him that I might publicly, in front of millions, make a fool of myself when the reality series goes live.

“Ah! Danielle Reid. Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” he says and leans in to give me a light hug. “You know Don and Mark?”

“Hey, Dev. Nope, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure,” I respond with fake enthusiasm.

“Hmm. Oh that’s right. You weren’t here the other day when I brought them by to meet everyone. They’re my assistants this go-around. Here to help with the crew and also with anything small to large that I might just be too stretched thin for.” He starts looking around, and I can tell he has already forgotten about me.

“Okie dokie, Devy boy.”

Returning my attention back to Karen is effective enough in getting him off my back, but the two shadows-to-be stick around. I pause in my brushing of her color and look up.

“Is there something you two need?” I ask in annoyance.

“Well, Devon said you were the go-to person here. Manager and head stylist of Sway’s. We just thought—” the short one—Don, I think—starts, but I interrupt him before he can get started on his crusade to get me to tell him how to do his job. They’re all the same. Devon has been through more assistants than I can count in the year and a half I’ve known him.

“One thing to know and remember, boys: I don’t have time for you to act like you don’t know your head from your ass. Nice to meet you and all that, but please don’t act like the last few idiots who all but licked the ground Dev over there, walked on. It won’t earn you points with him. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s a little tunnel-vision prone, and I assure you that it won’t do you any good to try and fuse yourself to me.” Dismissing their shocked faces, I look in the mirror and give Karen a wink, earning a giggle from her in return. She loves it when the girls around here are sassy.

They mumble something under their breaths, and I turn to give them a sharp glare, which of course they miss because they’ve tucked their tails again to run after an order-barking Devon.

Two hours later, I finally have a chance to go grab a quick bite to eat. Well, I would have if Sway hadn’t yelled from the front that I had a call-in that would be here in fifteen.

I hate call-ins. Since I’m one of the best stylists in the local area, my appointments are booked weeks out. But there are a handful of people I always allow to call in, and Sway wouldn’t have said yes to them had it not been one of those select few.

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