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Thanks for Cutting Me (An original short story)

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“Hell found me,” I grumbled as I spotted her pulling up in her Fiat. She looked the same as first time I met her – spindly, stick legs, long, narrow face, and a look of indifference glittering beneath those phony colored lenses.

“Hey Ruby!” Fiona yelled as she pranced out of her apartment. She trotted over to Ruby and did air kisses with her like you see in fashiony films.

Ruby smoothed down her skirt, which was cinched in with a tight corset element at the waist. The frilly blouse she wore ballooned over the top of the corset. She peered over at me and I waved casually with a polite smile on my face.

“Love the punk influences today,” Ruby noted as she gestured to my outfit.

“Yeah thanks,” I said. I fixed my bowler hat to sit farther down on my forehead and I tugged at an area of my leggings that had begun to bunch at the knees.

Fiona opened the doors to her car and gestured for us to get in. “So glad you could join us today!” Fiona gushed as she turned the key in ignition.

Ruby had to lower her head close to her chest as she got in – she had to, since she had her hair teased to voluminous heights. The ends were perfectly curled – ugh she was ridiculous!

I shuffled into the backseat and I looked out the window as we left suburbia behind for the wild world of international comics and fashion culture of a popular convention. Why did Fiona have to invite her? Didn’t she know that I hated being with her? If Fiona worried about her appearance, then Ruby was the Princess from the Princess and the Pea – she always dressed over the top in girly fashions. She talked loudly about her possessions and the travels she made. Heck, she even modeled overseas!

“I can’t believe we’re both modeling for Liz Lisa!” Fiona blurted out as she entered the carpool lane.

“Me too! Oh my God, I wonder what they’re going to have us wear?” Ruby gushed. She turned around in her seat and asked me what line I was modeling for.

“I didn’t apply this year,” I replied. “The casting call conflicted with a work day with lots of meetings.”

Ruby shrugged and turned back to the front to continue talking about the show and the convention. I tapped my fingers on my leg and I sighed deeply as I watched the dreary freeway surroundings whiz by.

***

“I need Starbucks!” Ruby said after we parked.

“We should probably wait until after the show,” Fiona said as she locked the car. “You don’t wanna walk down the runway with coffee breath right?”

“You’re right, damn it!” Ruby cursed as she walked ahead of us.

Fiona walked alongside me and I shoved my hands into my jacket pockets. “Are you excited?” she asked.

“Yeah I am,” I said.

Fiona studied my outfit and commented, “It’s too bad you couldn’t go to the casting call – h.Naoto or Sex Pot Revenge would have loved you – especially with your look today.”

“I wish I could have gone too,” I said. “But it was the last day that my boss was in the office before she went on maternity leave. It was all hands on deck if you know what I mean.”

“Totally,” Fiona said as she carried her heart-shaped purse in the crook of her elbow. “I hope you can try out next year – then we can both be models!”

I checked my watch and noted that it was 10:54, almost time for Ruby and Fiona to head backstage to prepare. “You should be probably get going,” I said. “It’s almost 11 and I think they said they wanted models there around that time?”

Fiona picked up the pace and waved to Ruby to follow her to the fashion show area. “See you in a bit Kitty!” she yelled over her shoulder.

I scrunched my shoulders up after she left. Seriously, why did she call me Kitty? She knew that I hated that name – my real name was Kitrina, which was courtesy of my mother and father arguing between Katrina and Christina, but I preferred Kit. I stalked off to find the nearest Starbucks to grab something to get me through this day.

My Docs squeaked on the floor of Starbucks as I entered and scanned the menu. Tea sounded good to me – I wasn’t really in a coffee mood today anyways. I fished out my wallet from my jacket pocket and I felt someone jostle my elbow. I jerked my head up to see that a guy had cut in front of me and I gritted my teeth. Oh hell no…

“Excuse me, I was in front of you,” I said as I tapped the guy firmly on the shoulder.

He whirled around and shot me a sheepish smile before letting me move in front of him. “Sorry about that,” he said as he ran a hand through his short, mahogany locks.

“It’s all good,” I said as I straightened my jacket to hang straight on my shoulders.

The guy tilted his head to look more closely at me and he said, “Aren’t you supposed to be backstage right now?”

“Uh no,” I said. “I didn’t audition this year.”

“Oh well, sorry I just thought you looked like a model,” he admitted.

I looked like a model? Was this guy drunk? I thought as I stepped up and placed my order. I was barely 5’5″ but I was not built like a stick. My face was round, making me look like I was 14 when in reality, I was 25. I paid the clerk quickly and moved to the side to wait for my tea latte. The guy ordered something and sidled up to me once he was done.

“I like your style,” he said as he leaned close to me.

I backed away to widen the gap between us. “Thanks. Ever heard of personal space?” I asked. He looked familiar to me but I couldn’t place where. He had an accent – Scottish probably but he looked a little Arabian or Turkish to me. His teeth were ridiculously white and were currently on display in a slightly cocky smile. He was really good-looking – almost too good-looking – he didn’t seem human.

“One grande tea latte!” the barista called out. I stepped forward to grab my drink and I snatched a few napkins from the holder. I was about to walk away when the barista handed the guy his drink and he caught up to me.

“Do I make you nervous?” he asked before taking a sip. His dark eyes bore into me and I met them with my own, fiercely burning ones.

“I barely know you – you cut in front of me by accident and now you’re saying I look like a model?” I shot back.

The guy held his hand out and said, “Well then I’ll make things less weird between the two of us. Hi, I’m Tate.”

I took his hand and shook it. “Kit.”

“It suits you.”

“My name suits me?” I asked him as I took a tiny sip of my tea.

He nodded and began heading over to the room where the fashion show was being held. “I’m here to watch my sister,” he said. “You?”

“My friend and her friend,” I said as he held the door open. “Thanks.”

He made a mock bow and said, “Anything for you m’lady.”

I rolled my eyes at him as I entered. “How many have fallen for that line?”

“Practically none,” he said.

“Figures, that was awful,” I snorted. “Please don’t try that again.”

“Scouts honor,” he said as he held up two fingers.

I shook my head at him before I scanned the room for the best seats. Tate pointed to a row fairly close to the front and began making his way to it, motioning for me to follow him. I was tempted to find my own seat but then again, I wasn’t in the mood to sit next to the girls who were bitter about not being chosen. He sipped his drink and slid into the row, stopping in the middle. I took a seat next to him and made sure I wasn’t sitting too close to him. Where did I know him from?

***

“Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the 2013 Fashion Show!” the MC announced. “Up first we have looks from Liz Lisa.”

“What line are your friends in?” Tate asked softly.

“This one.”

I watched as the girls came out in a plethora of frills, floral prints, and soft colors. Ruby strode out confidently in a tall pair of over-the-knee boots, ruffled mini, and a long-sleeved top with a faux fur vest. Fiona glided down the runway with a winning smile on her face, with her girly dress bouncing every step she took. When she got to the end of the runway, she caught my eye and winked when she saw the guy with me. I looked down at my now empty cup and pretended that it didn’t happen.

Then the final girl came out in a flirty dress with a trendy peacoat on. Tate leaned forward and nudged me, “That’s my sister.”

I watched as the fiery haired model strode down the runway with a confident look on her face and it dawned on me. She was Vivianne Bremsley, the girl they had recently cast in an adaptation of a hot vampire novel. She had started out modeling for Seventeen magazine and an agent thought she was ideal for one of the characters. As for Tate, I remembered that a guy friend of mine had rented a film with him in it, ironically, also a vampire flick. He played a blue-eyed, tough-as-nails guy who is cursed to lead the legion of vampires after he slays the leader. My friend had ruined the film for me by picking apart the cinematography and the editing errors. Great huh?

I stared at him in disbelief and he grinned widely, much like the Cheshire Cat. “So uh, you figured me out, huh?”

“Why didn’t -“

“…I say something?” he answered. “Ah I didn’t want to ruin things by saying that I acted in a horribly shoddy film as a bloodsucker and now my sister’s doing the same thing. Well, almost.”

I snickered silently at his description and he stretched his arms up in the air. “So are you stuck clowning around with your friends after this?”

“Yup.”

Tate turned toward me and tilted his head. “Dunno if you want to ever see me again after our not-so-great introduction, but uh, I’d like to hang with you again – you seem pretty cool.”

I shoved my hands into my pockets and shrugged. As weird as it was to literally run into this guy and deal with his forwardness, it was a lot more fun hanging with him than sitting in the car with the pretty, pretty princesses. It was easy to talk to him and I didn’t have to try to be impressive.

“You know what? Yes,” I said. “Hanging with you made my day better than the car ride from Hell. So…thanks, I guess, for cutting me.”

“I’ll do that next time on purpose,” Tate joked.

I jabbed him with my elbow. “Dream on bloodsucker.”

***

“Whew! I’m beat!” Fiona sighed as we headed out to her car. After the fashion show, Fiona and Ruby hung around the room for a few more minutes because the designers wanted to allow guests to see the clothes up close. I milled around the room, waiting for them to be done. Tate had to meet his sister somewhere private but we exchanged numbers before parting ways. Ruby wasted no time spending crazy amounts of money on clothes at the boutiques on the convention floor and Fiona bought a new skirt and some socks. I picked out a funky t-shirt with angry phrases on it and a backpack with an awkward looking ghost/monster mascot on the pocket.

I stared at my phone which buzzed with a text from Tate.

Tate

Hey there pretty lady! U miss me already?

I shook my head and laughed at the text. Seriously? Before I typed back to him, I received another message from him.

Tate

Urgh! Viv thought it was hilarious to text as me – stupid little sisters…

Kit

Sure, blame the sister. 🙂

“Who was that guy you were with?” Fiona asked me as she changed lanes.

Ruby turned around in her seat and shot me a curious look. “Yeah I was wondering that too.”

“His name’s Tate,” I said casually. “We got into a brief disagreement over him cutting me in line but it’s all good.”

“You two were cute together,” Fiona said.

“Totes agree,” Ruby added. “It looked like you guys got along really well.” I thought I could see a touch of jealousy in her bright blue contact-lensed eyes.

“It’s kinda funny you say that,” I sighed as we exited the freeway.

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