Laughing, I roll my eyes. “That’s ridiculous.”
She shakes her head, “I know you’re new to this, but in the fashion world, Xellum Studios is it. Even though his stuff is really out there when he does shows, his designs are gorgeous and everyone loves them. He’s a huge deal.”
“I’m guessing you also didn’t tell me this so I wouldn’t freak out.”
“Maybe,” she grins. “I’m guessing you haven’t checked your social media pages today, have you?”
“No.” I grab my phone up the bar and open Twitter. I’ve always been a lurker on Twitter; following my favorite celebrities and friends. The only followers I had were my handful of friends. Tonight, I have over four thousand followers. The sight nearly makes me spit out my drink. “What the fuck? How did they even find me?”
“Welcome to the age of the internet. That transformation video is already going viral. You’ll have way more followers in the morning. Check your Instagram.”
I do, and there’s an even bigger jump. 6000 followers. “This is insane.”
“Absolutely, but use it. The more popular you are, the more money they’ll have to pay you,” she says with a wink.
There are no words for this, so I just take a sip of my drink.
“Oh,” she continues, “you may want to update those profiles to say who you are. Not just ‘retail associate,’ since you’re clearly not that anymore.”
I feel a little dizzy. If I had known this would change my life completely, would I have done it? Am I going to regret it later? Right now I don’t, but who knows in the future.
“I know that look,” says Fleece. “You’re starting to second guess yourself.”
“What if you’re right?” I ask her. “What if it is a bad idea?”
She shakes her head. “It was stupid of me to even bring that up. It’s not a bad idea. You’re going to make more money than you’ve ever made in your life and work with one of the most talented designers on the planet. Don’t worry, I’m going to be right here while you do it. Now drink your damn drink while I make you another one.”
I raise my glass. “Yes, ma’am.”
Walking in to this art gallery was the closest thing I’ve ever really felt to being a celebrity, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Sure, my social media accounts have blown up in the past couple of weeks, but people still don’t recognize me on the street. But the crowd waiting to get into the gallery where Andrew and his friend Heather are putting on a collaborative show? Those people know me. They’re asking for autographs and taking pictures and I feel anxiety rising up in my chest when May and a giant security guard fish me from the crowd and drag me inside.
“Do you ever get used to that sort of thing?”
She grins. “Never.”
“Perfect.” I supposed I’ll have to get used to it if I want to keep doing this though, and for now, I want to. So I have to suck it up and deal, even though the thought of any of those people just coming to see me makes me kind of want to pass out.
She starts walking towards the back of the gallery. “This way to hair and make-up.”
I look around as we cross the gallery. There’s definitely an aquatic theme going on with the art and the lights, everything drenched in teal and blue. Unlike the last exhibition, which was for an already existing Xellum line, both the art and Andrew’s new line of bathing suits are debuting tonight. I’m not the only model this time—which is a relief—but I still think he has something special planned.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been down to his studio so they could take measurements of my entire body. Now that I’m working with him, they’ll make the designs to fit me. Even though I don’t get to keep them, it feels amazing putting on clothes I know are going to fit perfectly. I’ve only seen Andrew in passing, but the spark between us is there. I can feel it.
Walking into the back room, he’s there. He smiles when he sees me, but it’s a professional smile, not at all like the sultry little ones I catch him sending my way. “I’m glad you’re here. Your make-up is the most complicated, and we need to get started, plus I want to see the final look. Trish,” he calls over his shoulder as he guides me to a chair.