Chapter 1: ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
Chapter 1: ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
I get out of my Scuderia Goretti.
Removing my helmet, I ruffle my short hair. Helmet hair- I hate it. I was a little bit behind my last performance : 1 hour and ten minutes. It seems long but with 71 laps, I was still faster than the other racers, and a reason why I head back to the building housing all the rich snobby people, who could afford to come here.
A few years ago, I would have waited on the side-lines for all the other cars to finish. After my first 5 wins, it was a usual thing to seem me walk down the halls of the Pit building,
I climb up the stairway getting many congratulations, some with the sincerity while others just want their shitty logo on my back.
Opening the door to the VIP lounge, I spotted my manager easily. Gwen sat with her laptop: timing me, “Briella, that was awesome but we need to beat that record.” I raised an eyebrow at her eagerness.
“Okay so maybe I bet on you again,” I rolled my eyes and took the cold chapman cocktail in front of me. I needed that sweet, heavenly goodness.
Gladly, I welcomed the ice on my tongue. I was trying to balance it there perfectly when Gee kept on pestering me on it. Pushing it into my mouth, I crush it easily- ouch.
I was off by one minute, one freaking minute. With my blank face, “I’ll work on it,” I replied.
Oblivious to my sour thoughts, “Don’t worry, we still have sponsors asking for you,” she said cheerily, “It seems like Mr. Montanelli has taken a fancy to you,” she knows how much I despise him.
Montanelli, that sick, old, bastard, paedophilia at its peak, although marrying his fifth wife, it seems like commitment isn’t in his vocabulary.
It’s like his wives get younger and younger, I should know because that’s my older sister that he’s wearing like new arm candy.
He’s always trying to talk to me, and I’m sure Guilia didn’t put him up to it. I need to leave before Guilia sees me. I don’t want another Beneventi family reunion.
As I rush downstairs, while the board counts the points, I hear a voice I never wanted to hear.
“Gabriella, so wonderful to see you.”
Just my luck, my perfect escape was foiled, “Oh hello Guilia,” I feign nonchalance, I was completely caught off guard, even though I knew the chances of her being here were so high.
Checking my watch, it was 4:35, “What a surprise seeing you here, I thought racing was an ‘unruly waste of time and energy,’” I said recalling her words when I last spoke to her about my dream- looking back, I’ve come a very long way.
“Well I said that back then when I thought you were just having a daydream,” replied my darling sister.
Once upon a time, I looked up to her: we had the same long ebony hair and we still have the same figure. I cropped my hair after I got mistaken for Guils for like the hundredth time. I thought our different eye colours were enough, but oh was I mistaken.
She’s very consistent in wearing her eye contacts. I noticed as I looked her in the eye- they were clouded with guilt. If she was things would have turned out differently.
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” I replied trying to speed up this conversation. I checked my watch unconsciously, 4:37, I wish this could go a bit faster- I don’t want to be here, she doesn’t seem to either.
“Aww little sister is quoting Disney shit,” she said laughing “Anyways, congrats on the win if you changed your mind on the offer, you know where to find us,” her Prada shoes clicking on every step. I guess the devil really wears Prada. Hmm, I wonder what Anne Hathaway is up to know, what movie is coming next.
Us, I hate that word, before this Montanelli shit, as cliché as it can be my sister and I were very close. She thinks they’re in love, but who am I to judge, I just feel like he’s going to drop her when he sees someone else who piques his interest, and when he drops her, I don’t think she can get back up, I’ve had my fair share of bullshit, but Guils’ is a boatload.
She wanted me to stop ‘daydreaming’ and help her with her clothing line. I love fashion but racing is where my heart is, speaking of that I think the points have been counted.
“If you’ll excuse me, I have an award to collect.” I rushed past her; not giving her a chance to speak.
I ran down the stairs. I passing an open room, filled with broad, tall men in dark suits. All with tattoes on their necks- a snake twirled around a metal rod.
I know that symbol – Amphigourique.There’s no way it can’t be.
I freeze as I lock eyes with one of them, the silent exchange lasted for a hundred hours, but in reality half a second- more than enough for me to run down the hallway.
I push open the second door, now in the open
I glance at the leader board, 25 points, the usual, first place. Which win is this for this championship? I think either 17 or 18, I lost count after 10, but Gwen does the math though- she’s like a genius at that stuff.
I don’t think she gets that though, she likes to down play herself, and it annoys me sometimes. And she’s so outspoken- she’s so talkative, cheery but talkative. I hate to admit it but during the last few years, she’s grown on me.
She’s the kind of book that you don’t really focus on, but if someone asked you for it, you’d never lend them. Gwen has been someone I’ve known for long time but became real friends a few years ago.
Anyways, where the hell is the podium, ah there it is, I wonder how I missed that huge platform. The metal flooring was about 10 feet high, the stairs around it were decorated in beautiful gold and silver.
“First place is Gabriella Beneventi Goretti,” the brand sounds like it’s part of my name, it is almost as important as my name itself. I switch based on how effective the race car is.
I don’t think they can keep up with the label I’m signed to. I can’t drive a shit mobile because the brand says so, hell no. I think I might stay with Goretti some more after my contract expires, they seem decent- but after that weird encounter with the stranger that though is still pending.
I go up the stairs, waving almost robotically, as I get to the top. It was a usual process:
1- Pick up the champagne on the left of the stage.
Shake the guest presenter’s hand. This time it was a minister in Australia.
2- Greet in his or her language. “Good afternoon,” I greeted briefly, a smile was my reply. They were rarely women presenters- misogynist bastards. Or possibly they never had the opportunity to reach the top of the business ladder.
3-Smile and wave to the camera. The practiced smile graced the huge screens littering the compound. I rarely genuinely smile- it’s just so hard to these days.
4-Collect the certificate and trophy. I usually keep the certificate in the trophy. Everybody cheers as I accept it. I struggle not to cover my ears. It’s so deafening; something that will just be an extra on my trophy shelf.
And then I spot Paolino Russo, the bane of my existence; although today was my worst performance, I still beat him by 5 seconds, it’s the relationship we have. I beat his ass and when I get my prize, he looks at me with those angry beaver eyes.
5-Thank the presenter briefly. I added this one, there’s nothing wrong with being polite. I leaned over and whispered a brief “Thank you”.
6-Pop the first champagne. It’s tradition and honestly, my favourite part. I start of a chain of champagne- an extra honour of winning the Formula One championship.
One minute my cork pops of, spraying the drink everywhere then the other- there’s champagne everywhere, I can’t have any because Gwen says I should wait for the after-party, which makes me pout inwardly.
I just noticed the beautiful sunset. It’s been about two months since I was home, and I have about two weeks left here in Australia, maybe I can go sightseeing.
“Briella, Briella, let’s go now, we have an hour to prepare, and you have to look dashing for the approaching events,” Gwen gushed, rushing me into the car.
One glance at her and I can tell that trip around Melbourne might have to wait.
As I stared through the window wistfully, I think I can escape on Monday. Hopefully, there are no more shit shows where I get paraded around like a new show dog; just because I’m the first woman in a long ass time to be a Formula 1 racer doesn’t mean I’m a Barbie doll.
I entered the penthouse suite, I dropping the keys on the centre table, the living room overlooks the beautiful cityscape that is Melbourne. I changed to a casual sundress.
I glanced on my watch it was 5 pm, I have about three or four hours before I leave. The party usually starts by 6, but Gwen likes to be fashionably late. Not feeling up to leaving the apartment, I head towards the balcony.
I sat on the hammock, enjoying the cool breeze. I think about how relaxing it is to forget every single problem, but I still wonder if Guils is truly happy, she deserves the best, although she wouldn’t win Best sister of the Year Award- hell I don’t think she’ll be the 1000th runner up- but she still is my sister.
Maybe it was the exhaustion of the race today, but I find myself easily lulling towards a dark slumber.
I hear the harsh slam of my door, ah Gwen has arrived. Trying to get off this demon contraption, why did I get on this thing in the first place?
“Gwen!” I shouted terrified of falling. “Could you please help me with a teensy little problem?”
“What do you need help with Briella?” her voice echoing through the walls of the long hallway.
“I might have gotten stuck in the hammock,” I said sheepishly.
“Again?” she asked exasperatedly, “I thought we agreed it would be better for you to never go there again.”
“I thought the view looked nice from here, and-and they were no other chairs so I took a seat,” I tried to defend myself.
I realised that arguing with my only way out of this mess isn’t the best idea “Please just help me out!”
She just laughed, adding more to my annoyance “What would you do without me?” Be stuck here forever.
After 10 minutes of struggling, it was just me, Gwen and a battered hammock that looked like it went through hell and back. Following that to my right you can see the exotic Gwenticus Nicholsticus, laughing like a crossbreed of a dying hyena and a pregnant llama giving birth. I was able to finally realise this distinct sound when we had a Friends marathon two days ago.
Note to self: bring a pair of earplugs for movie night tomorrow, maybe, we can watch a sad ass movie like Me before You or perhaps The Fault in Our Stars.
“Briella, it’s to 7 pm,” she said, finally done with laughing at my embarrassment “let’s get ready!”
I quickly rushed into the closet thinking we had a few minutes before being too late for fashionably late, that’s just outright tardy, the thought
of that makes me visibly shiver.
While I was running to my room, I passed by the grandfather clock, and I saw it was just 6:32 pm.
When you say it’s to 7 what comes to my mind is like maybe 6:57 or so.-but no we have more than 20 minutes. That’s perfect enough for me. I feel so annoyed that she rushed me.
Although the time is too short for Gwen, I think it’s just the right amount of time for me to get ready. I have to talk to her about this mistake before it might be too detrimental.
There’s a kind of unspoken dress code, the winner of the race wears a golden outfit, second place wears silver, third place wears a bronze outfit whilst the other racers wear emerald. Guests and investors wear black.
I wonder what golden dress I have to wear to this event. Gwen, who has great taste in fashion, has picked my outfits for so many social outings.
Last year, she went a little experimental and the golden dress I wore had a plunging neckline- a scandalous cleavage. I found out a little too late, I was about to reach for the nearest scarf when she pulled it out of my hand and said it didn’t match the outfit.
After the party, I reprimanded her like a mother talking to her little daughter who stole cookies from the jar, while she just sulked.
“Sorry Briella, I won’t dress you up like that again,” I actually felt bad for scolding her like that but she bounced back to her normal self “but you have to admit so many gentlemen came up to you,” she said wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
“One day those eyebrows will move so high, they’ll stay there,” I told her seriously, I was joking and I broke out into a laugh as she paled.
“Remember what we talked about last time,” I called out from my room. “No cleavage.” I looked over to see Gwen holding a guilty expression.
“There is no cleavage, right?” I asked exasperatedly. “Gwen- it’s like you want me to be the centre of attention”
“It’s your after-party,” hardly, “You already are the centre of attention,” she deadpanned.
“Exactly, I don’t need you bringing me more attention,” I whined, “luckily no one would hit on me.”
“What about Mr. Montanelli?” she asked, quite dumbly if I may add.
I just gave her that look that tells you; to realise what you just said, and how daft you are for asking such a question. That shut her up immediately, I think I should be using it more often.
As I entered the walk-in closet, I waited for Gwen to follow after.
“Makeup or dress,” she asked trying to redeem herself from her faux pas.
“The crew isn’t here yet, so maybe just maybe we should dress up first” I hinted sarcastically, while she just laughed. “Where is your dress, Gwen?”
She brought out a flowing, black dress that ended mid-thigh. She chose a pair of black and gold wedges- heels, I could never.
On the vanity desk was a velvet box, inside it was an intricately designed golden brooch, not for me but for Gwen.
Acquaintances of the winners would wear black and a brooch which is the same colour as the winners they were introduced with, and that is why Gwen has about 20 different golden brooches: she doesn’t like wearing the same brooch twice, and I’m the egotistic one.
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