Write A Prisoner [PREVIEW]

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8. The Glamorous Industry

The following day, life can’t be more thrilling than it already is. A few workers in TalkPeers office whistle flirtingly as they stare down at something behind the office window in this second floor.

“What these idiots doing?” Messie mutters, while eyes are still staring towards the computer, with hands actively typing on the keyboard.

“Should we find out?” Libby suggests, then she shouts over to those male peer therapists who are slacking off at the windowsill, “Wanna tell us what are you staring at down there?”

“Yeah, yeah, a hot chick with a glam silver car, and she’s looking right here with that shiny sunglasses,” Anthony says descriptively. “I thought I knew that chick from somewhere—”

“Oh, no, Messie. Are you thinking the same thing as I do?” Libby whispers alertly. “That can’t be your cousin, right?”

Messie rolls her eyes in annoyance, and then she says confidently, “No way. What would Olivia Jenkins be doing here?”

Then her phone vibrates on her computer table, distracting their conversation for a second.

“Hello?”

“Oh my God, it take you so long to answer my call, damn it, Messie!”

The girly high-pitched voice sounds familiar, and so she hurriedly checks on her phone screen to find out that apparently, it’s literally Olivia Jenkins. And she already leaves a lot of missed calls that Messie doesn’t aware of.

“Why are you calling?” Messie bewilders. “I thought you busy with—”

“Just shut up, okay?” She cuts her off, as if in such a hurry. “I have news! And I need your help with my outfit.”

“Oh, no, definitely, I can’t. I have a job to do. You have no idea there are a lot of clients already waiting in line at TalkPeers site—”

“I don’t know that you’re so madly in love with your job now, Messie?” Her words sound like a mockery, which deliberately annoys Messie’s feeling. “The news that I will tell you is way more important. So, prepare yourself.”

“So, you want me to be your personal advisor on choosing your outfit, is that it?” Messie bewilders again.

“Yeah, duh. You have a great taste, and now I’m confused, so I need help!”

Messie sighs, then she says sarcastically on the phone, “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not your guy.”

“How upsetting!” Olivia snarls. “But I’m not taking no as an answer. I’m already downstairs in your office.”

Suddenly, Anthony and his male co-workers seem excited. They clap their hands alertly to everyone in the room.

“She’s going upstairs!” Anthony shouts.

Every pair of eyes look forward attentively to the red-haired girl dressed in a green tosca tank top and white jeans that shows a perfect shape of her slim body.

“Messie, darling, I’m here” Olivia shouts with a very annoying high-pitched voice that annoys her so much.

Everyone begins to shift their stare towards Messie, who still sits at her own computer table. Libby also gives her a wondering look when Olivia approaches their table. And the male co-workers keep on doing their stupid whistle.

“Hello! Don’t you hear me coming already?” Olivia says, awakening their reverie from watching her charismatic entrance earlier. “Let’s go—”

Messie brushes off her hand, and says, “I told you, I can’t.”

“Why?” Olivia wonders.

“I just don’t care about your outfit, and whatever you want to do, okay?” Messie says cynically.

“Can’t you just stop building a wall from me?” Her voice shatters. “Don’t be a buzz killer for today. I really need your advice more than anyone, Messie.”

Libby pretends to clear her throat and adds, “I think it’s alright if you leave earlier. Lisa won’t find out. She’s still in the Plaza Hotel, having a hectic meeting for BizzKiss partnership, remember?”

Messie narrows her eyes wonderingly of why Libby’s on the same page as her cousin suddenly.

“If you won’t go, I can be your friend’s date for a night,” Anthony shouts, and all the male workers whistle naughtily.

Olivia smirks at them, feeling a disgust toward their behavior.

“Shut up, Anthony. And FYI, she’s my cousin that you’re talking about,” Messie says as she raises up from her chair to take her sling bag.

And sure, once Messie speaks very cynically, no one dares to talk back.

Libby escorts them downstairs, until those girls get into a shiny sport car that parks at the edge of the pavement road.

“Look at the car! So glam, just like the owner—” Libby admires, although it seems she’s only fooling around by saying that.

Olivia smiles awkwardly as she enjoys it, and says, “Oh, shush, stop making the vanity gets all over me. I’m already feel pretty, just by sitting in this glam car.”

“Sure, you are,” Messie mutters, and then rolling her eyes in annoyance towards Olivia’s narcissistic issue.

After Olivia starts the car machine, they both wave goodbye at Libby.


The first stop is one of those expansive mall boutiques in New York anyone couldn’t actually afford, except their daddies are conglomerates. And therefore, Olivia doesn’t buy the clothes with her own money, but she gets endorsed by the sponsors who are all affiliates with her boss.

“Pretty babies! I wish I could have them all—” Olivia almost dances herself in the middle of this expensive closets of an Italian boutique.

In other side, Messie can’t close her mouth once her eyes see all the beauties display in this extravagant room. She misses all the happy moments, and maybe in the parallel world she owns everything. But in here, she’s just another average girl, with ordinary paycheck, who can’t even pay her bills. And how could she have a selfish thinking of owning these pretty clothes?

“Are you sure you want to buy clothes in this boutique?” Messie asks bewilderingly, and when she peeps at the small label hangs in each of clothes, she mutters solemnly, “Look at the price tag! Oh, my Goodness.”

“Don’t worry. My boss will take care of the bill for me. It will be a special day, so I have to choose what gown I should wear—”

“You haven’t told me about the news,” Messie reminds her.

“Oh, how could I forget?” Olivia rolls her eyes in a flirty way, and then she grabs Messie’s hand and leads her to sit together on the white sofa that’s facing the big antique golden mirror.

“So—” She always acts flirty that annoys Messie, and too girly, especially with that high-pitched voice, making her looks like another clique girl back in high school.

“Please, to the point, just don’t waste my time,” Messie snaps.

She sighs peevishly. “Alright, I have news. I have told my parents, and your parents, and everyone in the Jenkins family. And—”

It’s just that Olivia can’t stop smiling and looking lunatic for a while.

“I will have my first TV appearance, for God’s sake!” She exclaims very happy, making some sales clerks at the front desk glance at them curiously.

Messie agapes. She can’t believe good things keep on happening in her cousin’s life. Flashing back to her own boring life, which she thinks poorly, this good news rather sounds sulky for her to hear.

“Oh, congratulation,” Messie sounds bitter.

“My boss chooses me to represent Poise Magazine in TV. I can’t wait to have my public speech, and settles everything, and maybe next, I can get promoted—” Olivia can’t stop bragging about her good life.

“Poise Magazine. Of course, you’ll have your part as a public relation,” Messie mutters.

It’s always be the place where she ever dreams of working. The biggest fashion industry comes inline through Poise Magazine. They can make models into divas, and workers into the elite professionals. Just everything, everyone ever dreams of for such a career, one of the great places in New York, is that fashion magazine known famously as Poise.

“You’re so… lucky, Olivia,” her eyes blink shakily as she speaks.

“Oh, I know,” Olivia says with overwhelming confidence, and she doesn’t aware of the sad emotion underneath Messie’s voice.

Subsequently, Olivia raises from the sofa and starts looking at each outfit.

“Just tell me, what kind of fashion I should wear for my first TV appearance?” She asks while her hands are exploring random dresses.

Messie raises from the sofa and follows her from behind.

Instead of picking up the dresses, Messie asks curiously, “So, how long it’s been since you working for Poise?”

“Two years, duh…” she answers, with eyes still focus on the dresses. “It’s around the same time after we both graduated from the same college when we lived in England—”

Then she stares at Messie, and says, “I miss our big family in that small village suburban. I bet, they must be so proud of me.”

“Yeah, sure. You can either call it a countryside backdoor,” Messie mutters. She never truly enjoys talking about family, as if she feels embarrassed or something with the idea.

“Did you just make up the term?” Olivia almost bursts to laugh. “A countryside backdoor sounds archaic, don’t you think?”

Messie shrugs. “Whatever.”

Until it’s time she has to find the idea of glamourous, she picks the purple dress adorns with glittery bling-bling.

As Messie hands over the dress, she says, “I think it will look chic with a blazer. You should represent Poise with the right vibe.”

“Oh, you know the vibe?” Olivia squints wonderingly. “Of course, Messie, because it’s always been your dream to work at Poise, right?”

As Olivia takes over the dress, she adds again, “Too bad, fate didn’t take you there. We would be a partner in crime, if you got the job.”

“I know, fate could be so cruel sometimes,” Messie mutters, then she lets her try on the dress.

While Olivia busy on trying the dress in the changing room, Messie wanders to see what she can get more from the boutique collection. There’s a strange shopaholic atmosphere when she touches the dresses. It’s like a heavenly feeling that she hasn’t been able to feel. She’s used to be so self-indulgence that she forgets about everything, especially about the excessive price tag. Life can be cruel. That may be definitive for her idea.

“OH MY GOD, MESSIE, YOU’RE A GENIUS!”

Olivia just gets out from the changing room, and she exclaims horrifically, making everyone’s eyes in the boutique literally bulges out.

“Just look at the curve of this dress, really shows the best in me,” she adds, while checking herself in the big mirror displays in the midst of this designer room.

“Can’t you act normal?” Messie peeves. “People are watching us.”

“No, they’re watching me.”

The diva vibe already gets all over her. Olivia’s narcissistic issue is just beyond anyone’s expectation.

While her cousin’s still being narcist in front of the mirror, Messie notices something’s vibrating, and that comes from Olivia’s silver glittery purse, then she reminds her, “Hey, you want to check that out?”

Olivia hurriedly grabs her purse and takes out her phone to receive the call. Just suddenly, the air changes formal, she talks very politely with fear fills her blue eyes.

“Shit. My boss just calls me. She wants me to go back to office, ASAP,” Olivia mutters as she takes her phone inside her purse again.

“Good, so now I can go back to my office too,” Messie says, still crossing her arms since the time her cousin takes the phone call.

“Of course, no!” Olivia pops her eyes madly, looking slightly panic. “You’ll come with me. I need you to assist me with the dress.”

“Why the hell should I do that for you?” Messie chuckles. “Alright, so we’re playing the brat princess and her poor waitress, is that it?”

“Messie, I’m being serious right now. My boss is just as scary as anything you can imagine of,” Olivia says before she gets into the changing room.

After she’s done with the dress and brings it to the front desk, she still talks about her boss, trying to be descriptive, “Remember the movie The Devil Wears Prada? Yes, I am that poor assistant, and she’s my boss with hair like the Queen of Dalmatian.”

“Shit, alright. Shit happens,” Olivia still mutters terribly even after she receives her dress folds in the shopping bag, and until they both get in the car again.

They are already in the car with the upbeat music plays on the background. Olivia drives in a hurry, like a pro she is, and she’s still able talking during this crazy drive in New York.

“You can’t be a slacker once you meet her, or you just outta of her league, like forever. You’re fired for sure. I’ve been witnessing a lot of new interns couldn’t get away with her diva attitude, and so only one percent gets accepted in Poise.”

Messie chuckles in disbelief, and says, “Crazy. Even my Curriculum Vitae didn’t make it in the first round, I couldn’t imagine if I had to deal with her.”

The hectic traffic jam is not so crazy compares to Olivia’s driving style. It’s a sweet and brutal drive. And yet, she’s still able to manage her elegant facial expression until they arrive at the parking lot of this skyscraper building.

It’s Poise office. Messie’s almost breathless.

The bitter memory when her application gets rejected already pisses her off, and now she can’t believe she comes here for Olivia’s sake.

There are two security guards greet them politely at the entrance door, and they continue walking concurrently toward a minimalist foyer of this blue building.

The receptionist desk establishes in the middle of this ground room. A man in gray suit greets Olivia in a friendly manner before he gives her a notebook and a pen.

“Thank you, Graze. Tell me, I’m not late,” Olivia seems panicking.

“Five minutes from now, she’s gonna walk out from the elevator. Just be ready,” he says alertly.

Olivia sighs, and then she tries to have a deep breath.

In the other side, while bringing Olivia’s shopping bag, Messie looks around the view, and she gets confused as she’s not familiar with how people work in this office. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, no, you don’t ask,” Olivia shouts, while she prepares her appearance to look nice as she brings a notebook and a pen in her arm. “As I already told you before, you can’t be a slacker for even once in here.”

Messie wonders. “So, your boss will think highly of you that you’re a diligent employee.”

Olivia stares at her in disbelief, and she rolls her eyes in annoyance. “You just wouldn’t understand, okay. It’s her thing. Like everyone has a thing for something, of course.”

Messie still doesn’t get the idea, and Olivia’s explanation sounds confusing and just repetitive.

“Yeah, everyone afraid of her. Manda Lieberman—the high empress of Poise Magazine since the beginning of time,” the male receptionist shouts over.

Messie stares at him, still bewilders. However, Lieberman sounds familiar somehow, reminds her of Libby’s surname. If there’s a chance they’re related, that’s probably just a coincidence since New York is a very mega city. Messie wouldn’t bother so much to give such a thought.

“You guys have been working here like prisoners, can’t even express your ideas or something with diva boss like that—”

“Shush, Messie, can’t you?” Olivia shouts, her voice still shatters from being panicked. “It’s not easy to work in here. The basic attitude you’ll have once you work here, is that you should be able to meet with all the highly diva people you can’t even bear to face with.”

The male receptionist nods, and adds on her behalf, “You will have to know how Poise is like if you really want to work here. People can be so cruel to get promoted or anything.”

“Really?” Messie squints at her cousin in wonderment. “So how did you get your part on your upcoming TV appearance?”

For a second, Olivia stares peevishly when Messie gives a negative vibe toward her greatest achievement.

“So, tell me about this Manda Lieberman, you said she has a hair like Queen of Dalmatian—”

“Oh, shush, it’s not something to brag about,” Olivia says, her voice shatters. “She looks just gorgeous every single day, I can’t even begin to say how amazing she is—”

“You’re afraid of her,” Messie points out the flaw.

Olivia gives her a surrender look. “Everyone does afraid of her.”

“I can’t believe that for a second,” Messie mutters.

Olivia smirks before she’s pointing her hand at the elevator, and finally says, “Ask the diva.”

After she says that, the elevator door opens at the same time, and a charismatic middle-age woman walks out among some employees.

She wears a set of white suits; a chic blazer and a knee-length pencil skirt that shows her perfect slender body curve, and she walks elegantly in a pair of shiny black heels. However, one thing for sure that looks strange from afar is that her hair, with a perfect volume of bun hairstyle, and the coloring that makes the hair less shabby but eccentric, that she has colored her hair half black and half white, just literally like Olivia says before; the hair of Queen Dalmatian.

She’s about to approach the receptionist desk, but then Olivia agilely walks ahead to greet her with a very wide smile that the woman doesn’t even bother to return the favor.

From behind the receptionist desk, Messie peeps at the view. It seems that Olivia really is frightened at the idea of failing at her boss’s attention. She opens the notebook and starts writing something quickly once that woman speaks.

Messie tries to guess, “Is that Manda Lieberman?”

“You got it right,” Graze says.

The tension emerges in the air once the woman known as Manda glances at her employees who follow her around. She speaks something to them, and one by one leaves the floor to get something that she asks for, including Olivia.

Once everyone leaves her, Manda walks toward the receptionist desk, with eyes are staring firmly at Messie.

Graze bows, and greets her, “Good afternoon, Ms. Lieberman.”

Manda hasn’t left her blue eyes at Messie, and she doesn’t even bother to greet him in return. She looks cold in the first impression, which kind of terrifies Messie.

“Do you work here?” She suddenly asks, and her tone sounds emotionless.

Messie gasps in surprise as she’s not ready to speak directly with the high empress of Poise Magazine.

“I… I… I am not, Ma’am,” she says tremblingly. “I’m just here to assist my relative with her dress—”

“Pity,” Manda mutters, and she seems thinking about something for a second. “You could be our model for the next issue. We need some young girls, the look of twenties, perfect fit for one featurette page. Maybe you want to join us?”

Never in her life she has imagined this to ever happen. Manda Lieberman—the owner of Poise Magazine asks her directly to be a model, and to be featured in the next issue. It’s beyond her expectation.

“Oh, I… I… really appreciate it. Of course, I accept the opportunity—”

“Good,” Manda shouts before she let her finishes her sentence. Then she looks at Graze and says “—assist her with the featurette editorial team, makes an appointment, and escort her to the wardrobe room.”

“Like today?” Messie bewilders.

Manda stares expressionlessly at Messie, and suddenly there’s a strange cold vibe that somehow feels frightening. It’s like no one can ever say no to her.

“Offer is limited. A chance never comes twice in Poise, Miss—” Manda pauses, and stares bitterly at her face.

Quickly, she understands and answers, “Messie Denver. That’s my name, Ma’am.”

For the first time, she sees Manda finally smiles at her. But it’s more like a victory smile.

“Alright, I will escort her now,” says Graze on the phone, and then he stares at her. “Let’s get you to meet the editorial team now, shall we? Miss Messie Denver?”

And once again, Messie glances at her to make sure whether this opportunity is real or not. Manda leans on the desk quietly, and smiles, although somehow there’s a mysterious cold vibe still lingers around that charismatic lady, with a really strange bun hairstyle, of literally looks like Cruella de Vil.

As soon as they leave her, there are a lot of questions hovers in the back of her mind, and she’s ready to attack Graze with her curiosity over the lady. But before she gets to ask a question, Olivia grabs her arm rashly.

“Hey! Watch out where you scratch my skin—” Messie snarls.

“No, no, no, literally no way anyone could talk to her,” Olivia sounds hysterical and lunatic for a while. “She hasn’t even laid her eyes on me, why would she talk to you?”

“You should see her face closer. Manda seems very interested in your beloved cousin. She even gets her a freelance job as a model,” Graze shouts.

“What?” Olivia’s eyes almost popped out deliberately. “That’s impossible. She never bothers to care about choosing a fashion model. We already have people to seek for a talent—”

Grazed suddenly laughs out loud, until he hurts his stomach, then says, “You should see your face, Olivia. You’re a jealous prick—”

“How dare you say that to me?!” Olivia snarls.

Messie follows to laugh along with him, since she finds this circumstance funny.

“I mean, you already have your slot. You will be on TV next week. How could you be greedy and not let your cousin have her way too?” Graze still laughs crazily.

Olivia feels awkward, and she pretends to clear her throat while Graze can’t hold his loud laugh that starts taking the attention of employees throughout this office corridor.

“So, why would Manda talk to you?” She asks again once Graze stops and sheds tears from laughing too much.

“I don’t know,” Messie shrugs ignorantly. “Ask the diva.”

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