Sexy Back, Justin Timberlake.
This is Klara's favourite song. We are not ashamed.

This is a generic I've seen everywhere layout and it's been in my drafts save modifications for awhile but claim it if you want.

☆ Friday :
In a celebratory manner for tomorrow, Lo and Evie are hosting a cocktail party at their penthouse, holiday style! Peppermint martinis to go around! But not only is this any holiday party, but a Secret Santa give out is in order. Let's see what presents we'll get!

“I had peculiar dream again.” Veronique levels her stare, adjusting the paperwork without looking down. “I’m not Sigmund Fucking Freud Klara, go to this casting and stop making excuses. Plus you have the Victoria’s party tonight,” She pauses to shudder before regaining her composure, “And we’re having a private exhibition for clients tomorrow. And don’t you dare pretend you don’t speak English to get out of it like you did last year.” I frown at her, taking my book with a snappy motion. Elie Saab is casting for couture today, and I’m certain I barely need to walk for the casting directors. One wink will do them in.

The agency has a sleek black town car waiting for me, one of the luxuries of being a high seller and Veronique’s darling. If she even knows the word. I follow the driver and settle into the plush leather seat. The scent of champagne is seeping into my pores. The affairs held in the back of town cars are legendary: sex, drugs, and model catfights. It’s an interesting point to imagine what I’ve just entered into, drunken socialites or movie stars having a secret affair with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries or something more sinister, the Russian mobsters who practically own the littlest models with their endless praise and boundless bank accounts.

The casting director is different, and I want to frown, but the castings are not the place for childish expressions. I give him a death glare, nowhere near the power of Veronique’s, and hand him my book. He stares and I go sit uncomfortably among veterans I recognize and the newbies who have made the wrong choices to be brought here. Elite, Ford, Wilhelmina. Russian, American, Brazilian. Karolína is in the corner, flipping through Vanessa’s (Axente) book, and I walk over to them, stretching my legs out when I sit down. 

We form an elites circle, the ones forced to come to castings but still stars, the ones who managed to walk couture week before, the ones to want to be. I can feel the eyes boring holes in my sides. Karolína jokes about the latest in scandal behind me, laughing, as Vanessa motions us closer, whispering. “I was there when he did lines of coke off of Freja’s ass!” I smirk. “Shame they couldn’t get mine.” We erupt into laughter. The new girls look terrified.
Nearly two hours later the three of us are called, together, with Nimue (Smit) and Julia (Nobis), girls who walked alongside us last year. We form an impressive team, models with years and copious amounts of runway work and books bursting with Vogue shoots and covers and editorials. It takes less than a minute for us all to be cast again, Elie, on Skype, the most darling and sweet of all designers, so strangely innocent, smiles and waves at us. “I am glad to have you beautiful girls again.” We all coo our praises and walk away practically linked. 

My castings aren’t ordinary. In the front rooms, girls still wait, clutching large books and polaroids, testing their walk for the new director. It feels powerful to have bypassed them all, but in truth I feel what they feel. It was like that in the beginning, long, hellish waits and weight checks alike, the model apartments, scandals about age and anorexia, perpetually tired eyes and drowning in flights. I’m not sure it’s worth it. I wish the girls in there knew.

My phone rings with a text halfway to the curb, and I turn away to answer. Not Veronique, though I’m certain she’s already aware of the state of my casting. She knows everything. It’s Lo instead, with a simple, easy-to-read English message reminding us of the party, with an addendum. “Bring a gift for the Secret Santa exchange.” The sentence confuses me. “Secret… Santa?” Julia, the best English speak among us, a leggy Australian, laughs. “We don’t have that down under, but I know what it is.” We focus our eyes on her and her knowledge of American customs.

“Ah, well, a Secret Santa means you draw names from a hat or something, and then you give a small gift to that person, and they have to guess who had them.” We all nod. I still don’t understand. Why would I want to give a present to a strange model who wants to become an angel over me? I thank her, and she smiles, kissing my cheeks as her car arrives. “Stay safe, love. See you at Chanel?”

I leave third, Karolína and Nimue still standing, beautiful statues in icy wind, people on the street staring, on the curb, waiting for their cars. I don’t feel pity, we’ve all had to brave the elements, and I have to figure an acceptable and suitable gift and worse, outfit, out before the party. I despise my hotel room. My closet home, in Paris, the one in Prague, too, is filled with such lovely things, gifts from designers and agencies and the occasional male suitor. 

My closet in the hotel room contains very little, and I curse Victoria’s Secret for being based in New York City once more. Veronique hates me being here more than anything, as it means she has to mother and help me. She despises helping models, much less mothering them. She threw me to the wolves my first night in New York. Or rather to the model apartment, a hell that had two bedrooms, astronomical rent, ten girls, and cocaine stashed everywhere.

I go through bags, all of them, taking little things to stuff in the simple black and white Chanel bag that comes with shopping there. I add the camellia patterned paper again, and step back to admire my work. It’s simultaneously devious, and perfect. The neutral personalized adjustment foundations from MAC I stopped using when I found they had chemicals linked to ‘skin melting’; the lipsticks I had worn only once, over cold sores, that looked new, and, as the pièce de résistance, my precious DiorShow mascara. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but I knew as well as any optometrist what using another person’s mascara could bring on, hideous eye infections.

I had created a model’s fantasy and nightmare in one little elitist gift bag. I had reached a new low- or perhaps a high.


The party was simply chaos when I arrived, an hour late, quietly hanging my coat on Lo and Evie’s rack, holding my gift close to my chest to avoid thrashing models who, I assumed, were trying to dance to the bouncy pop beat. I made a note inside my head to ask whoever was in charge of music to play Sexy Back for me when I felt it was right. And Kanye West too, my precious lyric, the one that told me I had made it.

Lo sauntered through the stream of girls, many I recognized as minor models scarcely on the fringe of Victoria’s Secret, fit models for the show, girls used so rarely I knew any of their names, to me. And there were boys, too, movie stars and musicians and models, hook ups and husbands. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like most parties. Lo knew this, squeezing my tensing arm. “We already drew names Klara, here’s the slip with your partner.” She passes me the folded slip almost hesitantly, and I take it, not opening it. “Have fun, okay?” She kisses my cheek and wanders away.

(continued tomorrow, er, later today. when i finish this last final, that is. that’s when i’ll get to @teenidle and i’s collaboration part probably )

@sophiaspastic mentions of lo so far yo
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