Alana always kept her photos updated, and she did do a couple shoots a year. Being a model was easier to explain than being a cold, insensitive bitch who financially raped two husbands. When she was in New York, she dropped by the agency with Elle, and arranged a little representation along with an appointment for Elle’s photos. All of which explained why she was back in the Big Apple two weeks later.
The agency bundled Elle’s package with hers and bypassed the ad agency, sending them directly to Manet/Porcelain. The ad agency was Caldwell, Farmer and Ellis, and it would have been a waste of photographic stock to send it to them. Alana had once been Alana Ellis; Harold Ellis had married her right off the ad page. She was still technically an owner, Harold had two years to run buying back the stock she took home in the divorce. Harold, however did have her proxies, and had blackballed her as well as he could, and certainly at CF&E she was persona non grata. However, the client’s idea had to be accepted, and some big money waited on the campaign.
While Alana and Elle had too many lady parts to be successful runway models, the camera seemed to love them. The brand managers at Manet/Porcelain wanted a classic/new as tomorrow campaign centering on the mother/daughter duo.
Alana had been the most successful model for Manet/Porcelain for a number of years, and still received royalties as her photos were reutilized. She would be the face of the classic lines, while her ‘daughter’ Elle would be the new face of the company and the face behind all the new products. Manet/Porcelain was so hot on the project that it had CF&E burning the midnight oil.
Mikey insisted his ‘Mother-in- law’ stay in his guest room. His loft was an entire floor in Soho, thirty-eight hundred square feet. Though, to be fair, he was mildly opposed to the whole thing. Elle drew enough male stares when he took her out to dinner, adding a pack of paparazzi to that was less than thrilling.
Alana and Elle were invited to dinner before the first shoot, Mikey tagged along. Greg McCarthy was the photographer, again a client mandated holdover. Greg first won recognition photographing Alana, and they were old friends. The agency was represented by Harold Ellis.
“It’s been a while Al,” said Ellis as he was seated.
“Not long enough Harold,” Alana responded, without a change of expression.
The drinks were ordered and served before Harold tried again. Mikey was on a slow burn as Ellis continually leered at Elle.
Harold Ellis had a bad reputation. It was rumored that he bedded every model that ever appeared in a CF&E ad. A WWD editorial had called him Harass Ellis a few years before.
“So, let me explain the campaign to you,” Ellis said.
“We’re models Harold,” said Alana. “We’re not smart enough to understand ad campaigns. You need to talk to Greg, it’s his art that makes your ideas work, and it’s his job to make us look just the way we need to, to make it work.”
Ellis wasn’t to be defeated so easily, he turned to Elle and said, “Would you like to hear the campaign?”
His leer as he said it activated Mikey.
“You look at my fiancée like that just once more and I’ll rip off your head off and hand it to you. This is a business meeting, and you and I are just dead weight. They are the artists; they make it happen. I’m surprised you’re still around. You and I employ them, and keep the books. And our number one rule is don’t harass the creative staff. You’re a fucking Moron. Like my Mom always said, shut up, sit down and eat. Morons are best seen and not heard.”
“Jesus,” said Alana as they sat down in the cab. “You actually did rip off his head and hand it to him.”
“He pissed me off.” Mikey said and then noticed Elle was crying.
Mikey gathered her in. “What’s the matter?”
“You said I was your fiancée. I’m not. I really, really want to be, but I’m not.”
“I’m sorry. You’ve been that in my head all week, I was going to take you back to California and give you one of the family rings to make it official. It was planned as a surprise. SURPRISE!”
“Okay,” said Alana, “According to your father it is a major breach of Etiquette to propose without a ring. So, what he is saying is that he will propose to you. In Santa Maria, when?”
“After your photo shoots, I guess.”
“He will properly propose to you a week from Saturday. At which point it will be pre-considered and pre-thought over.
“You cannot accept until then, it is permitted, however to mention that you love him.”
“And you did this?” asked Elle.
“Well your Dad told me on the beach that he would propose to me in Tiffany’s. That was why I was busy that Tuesday. The rings took an hour. My ‘yes’ took considerably longer in the Sheraton Russell.”
He backed her into bed and licked her nipples. “Addictions,” he said, “are hard to beat when you don’t want to beat them.”
Like she told her mother, it was a place in time that was just a tear-filled jumble of sensations and feelings. There were orgasms, he came twice and blasted her nerves, and she just drowned in him.
The shoots went well, wrapped a day early. She packed and they took one of the stewardess supported jets to Santa Maria. She ended up a fiancée with a five-hundred-year-old ruby on her finger.
She had to explain to Didi why she had to fly back to New York on ‘Trailer Trash’. And her prospective sister-in-law arranged it.
The plane took off. She led him back to the bedroom. She threw off her blouse, and said, “We’re got four hours to see just how much of a good thing you can take.”