The Billionaire's Toy(9)

By: Penny Wylder

Fully expecting her to be overjoyed, I’m surprised when her face is wary. “Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“I didn’t say anything because you really needed the work, but I’ve heard things about him. I’ve heard that he’s a bit cold and demanding and he can be hard to work for. There are rumors about why his last favorite quit. I don’t know, maybe he did something that was over the line.”

“You could have said something last night if you didn’t think it was a good idea.”

She sighs. “Why would I do that? You’re broke and about to be living in my apartment. You needed the money. I’m just saying to be careful. Things can be too good to be true.”

“I will admit that he’s really intense,” I say, remembering our conversation in the little closet, “but I’m going to give it a shot. I’m not signing a contract with him or anything so it’s not like I can’t walk away if I need to. Plus, so far he hasn’t done anything I wouldn’t expect from a highly driven man who works in fashion.”

Fleece chokes on a laugh and I follow suit. “Well,” she says, “I’m happy you have work. Free drinks all night in celebration.”

“Barbara is going to kill you,” I say, raising my eyebrows.

She nods to someone trying to get her attention down the bar. “Barbara better worship the fucking ground I walk on after all I’ve done for her this week. I think I’ll risk giving my best friend a few celebratory drinks.”

She hurries away, and I turn in my chair and lean back against the wall. During the exhibition I felt like I had nothing but energy. Now I feel like I could crawl into bed and sleep for a week. But at least I’ll be able to do that with money in my bank account. That’s a new feeling.

I’m zoning out, almost ready to bail and go home to sleep, when Fleece makes her way back over to me. “By the way, you know you’re basically going to be a celebrity now, right?”

Laughing, I roll my eyes. “That’s ridiculous.”

She shakes her head, “I know you’re new to this, but in the fashion world, Xellum Studios is it. Even though his stuff is really out there when he does shows, his designs are gorgeous and everyone loves them. He’s a huge deal.”

“I’m guessing you also didn’t tell me this so I wouldn’t freak out.”

“Maybe,” she grins. “I’m guessing you haven’t checked your social media pages today, have you?”

“No.” I grab my phone up the bar and open Twitter. I’ve always been a lurker on Twitter; following my favorite celebrities and friends. The only followers I had were my handful of friends. Tonight, I have over four thousand followers. The sight nearly makes me spit out my drink. “What the fuck? How did they even find me?”

“Welcome to the age of the internet. That transformation video is already going viral. You’ll have way more followers in the morning. Check your Instagram.”

I do, and there’s an even bigger jump. 6000 followers. “This is insane.”

“Absolutely, but use it. The more popular you are, the more money they’ll have to pay you,” she says with a wink.

There are no words for this, so I just take a sip of my drink.

“Oh,” she continues, “you may want to update those profiles to say who you are. Not just ‘retail associate,’ since you’re clearly not that anymore.”


I feel a little dizzy. If I had known this would change my life completely, would I have done it? Am I going to regret it later? Right now I don’t, but who knows in the future.

“I know that look,” says Fleece. “You’re starting to second guess yourself.”

“What if you’re right?” I ask her. “What if it is a bad idea?”

She shakes her head. “It was stupid of me to even bring that up. It’s not a bad idea. You’re going to make more money than you’ve ever made in your life and work with one of the most talented designers on the planet. Don’t worry, I’m going to be right here while you do it. Now drink your damn drink while I make you another one.”

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