Nia, Jenna and I had been friends since we’d met at design school and we’d all been lucky enough to land jobs at MNY; the hottest new fashion house in New York City. We’d been there since September but it had quickly become clear to us that the job was hardly what we’d been dreaming of. The three of us had been assigned to the office of Carly Sioux; the creative director of the company. All we’d done for three months was sit at reception, answering calls, escorting visitors to various departments and sorting mail. Carly was an Anna Wintour wannabe but with a Southern accent that often broke through when she got stressed.We’d been planning the night of the party since the day Connor Dean had casually mentioned he needed one of us to transfer to his office since his assistant would be leaving in the New Year.“I’m sure you can figure it out between yourselves,” he’d said.We’d stared at each other, momentarily stunned. Working for Connor was everything we’d ever dreamed of. We’d openly fantasised about answering his calls while watching him walk in and out of the office. What more could a lowly receptionist want? Connor was late-night-fantasy attractive and he was always pleasant, even if it was in a mildly amused way. Besides, we were bored out of our goddamn brains. We hadn’t spent time and money at the NYC School of Design to answer goddamn phone calls. Of course, çankaya escort working at MNY was only meant to be temporary. Work experience. Something to put on our CVs. A little fun along the way didn’t harm anyone, right? It didn’t take long for us to come up with a fair way to decide which of us would get to move to Connor’s office.The annual Christmas party was to be a hotly anticipated masquerade and of course, we didn’t have invites. What we did have though, was our friend Courtney in the HR department who slipped us duplicate ID’s for some of the lower-key attendees on the guest list. Since it was a masquerade, we figured we wouldn’t face much scrutiny.We were right. We slipped into the party in short dresses, high heels and silver masks, supressing conspiratorial giggles. The masquerade was being held in the large open-plan office on the top floor of the MNY building and it had been fittingly transformed. Desks and chairs had disappeared and the lighting was dim and mysterious. Fairy lights and tinsel hung between the exposed beams overhead and the view out onto the city was breath-taking. Champagne poured freely. The long table against the wall was artfully arranged with delicate festive-themed canapés. A model of the MNY building had been built out of gingerbread, exuberantly decorated and stood in pride of place. Nia elbowed rus escort me surreptitiously.“Lois, I don’t even know what to say to these people.”“Say what you want. Nobody’s gonna recognise us.”It was true. A lot of the guests were from outside of the company; corporate donors, models, fashion photographers and well-placed journalists. Of course, most of the directors were there, as well as a handful of in-house designers and writers. We were the least qualified but who knew? I adjusted my mask. My heart was beating a little faster than usual. I imagined another year of working for Carly; taking the blame for mistakes I’d had no part in, answering marketing calls, fetching goddamn coffee in the goddamn rain with no budget for a goddamn umbrella. I’d have done anything for a change, even if it meant still doing the same job only for a different person.The game was simple. One point for first base. Two for second. Three for third. Four for fourth. It didn’t matter who we hooked up with, so long as it happened. The three of us were close enough to trust each other. All of us were single, free and wanted shot of Carly badly enough. Honestly, I quite liked my odds. Nia was confident and sassy, but around men she was almost painfully awkward. As for Jenna, her legs were pressed so tight together, she may as well have been a mermaid.I sipped champagne eryaman escort and looked for a target. I decided on a journalist. Marc Collins was British and wrote for High magazine. Whilst answering calls at reception, I’d read every single one of his articles. Surely, that gave me enough ammunition to hold a conversation. I walked over, belatedly wondering whether he might be gay. It was too late. He’d already seen me approach, had already smiled, was looking me up and down and trying to recognise me. Game fucking on. “Marc Collins? It’s such an honour to meet you!”His smile became a little wary. Overkill. At MNY parties, people were pretentious and aloof. I’d just paid him a goddamn compliment. Fuck.“And you are?”I quoted the name of my fake ID. “Jessica Lee.”His eyebrow went up.“Designer?”“That’s right.”He shook my hand.“I didn’t recognise you with the mask.”Thankfully, the real Jessica Lee wasn’t in attendance. She was a minimally talented designer who’d only hit the limelight by creating the most ridiculous outfits I’d ever had the misfortune of seeing. But in a world where art is so out of touch with real people, she was lauded as a visionary.“I’m sure you’ve been asked a thousand times,” Marc was saying. “But what’s your inspiration?”“People.”He smiled. “Specifically?”“I couldn’t tell you. It’s very personal.”“Oh? Not even off the record?”I rolled my eyes. “I’m extraordinarily secretive.”Marc nodded, like I was challenging him. He was fairly attractive, with the James Bond tailored tuxedo thing going on. First base. Huh. I could go there. Second too, maybe.“You know, I’ve always been very intrigued by your use of colour.

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