B-Day Ch. 07
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I felt the faint booming of a subway train. It hurtled across the nearby bridge, narrowly grazing the far end of my office as it did reliably about five times every hour. In every instance, its arrival caused my desk and shelves to vibrate and hum. This was simply the way things were built.
When I first began working at Reese-Vinham M.M., these interruptions startled me. But I eventually came to not only expect them, but enjoy them. Somehow these small tremors that filled my office gave me a concept of motion, especially in those moments when everything felt too still, too quiet.
I heard a ring on my landline. I picked up quickly.
“Ms. Khaing, uh. You have a 9:15 appointment with a miss, uh, Armao-Jones?” said a mumbly front desk guard.
“Yes, send her right up,” I said, my pulse quickening. I placed the phone back on the receiver and stared out the window. It was bright and cloudless, but for some reason I didn’t want it to be.
My mind was completely scattered. Two seemingly disparate concerns—one professional, one deeply personal—had coalesced last night in the lurid glow of Evander’s phone. I had to give this just one try. It would be risky, but my desperation was at an all-time high. This could be a golden opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. I had to give it a try, no matter what.
I swayed nervously back and forth in my seat, digging my fingernails into the corky underside of my desk.
I’d dressed a bit more revealingly than I usually do, but within reason: patent leather peep-toes, a black skirt cut 2 inches above the knee, and a sheer red blouse with braided strings that caged my subtly hiked-up cleavage. My dark hair was clipped tightly to my head. And thanks to our company’s recent YSL sponsorship, my lips were a darker shade of red.
I heard a knock at my door.
“Come in,” I said, trying to sound as relaxed as possible.
Monette walked in. Her figure was nothing short of Junoesque, and even a fleeting glance could confirm her previously reported dimensions were, if anything, underestimations. But it was her penetrating eyes that took me off guard. They immediately held my attention hostage.
As our eyes met, I felt language slip away from me, as if my brain had been scrubbed free of pretense. I was struck truly speechless. I felt something dark and sensual rise deep within me, moistening at my centre.
“Ms…King?” she said with an innocent smile on her immaculate ebony face.??I shook out of my daze, hoping I hadn’t been staring too long.
“Oh! That’s Khaing, not King. You must be Monette,” I said, standing up and blinking rapidly. I came around the side of my desk, feeling her tower over me by nearly a foot, and extended my hand.??”Yes, that’s me!” she responded in a bubbly voice, her breath smelling of fresh mint. She meekly extended her hand, her shake surprisingly dainty—even a bit weak. I could tell that, despite her imposing looks, she was quite shy. “Sorry I mispronounced your name.”
“It’s not a problem,” I assured her a bit distractedly. My eyes fell a moment, and I noticed the ankle tattoo she had. It was a tiny black star with some kind of script writing around it. Against her deeply dusky skin, it would be easy to miss from farther away. But at this proximity, it was crystal clear—and very telling. The girl in the porn video I saw had the same tattoo, in the very same place. I was almost certain it was the same person now.
She was dressed fairly conservatively, with a simple cream-white sweater, roomy black slacks and suede loafers. A folder was tucked under her arm, and she clutched a small burlap handbag. She wore no jewelry, and sported no makeup. Not that she needed any.
Despite her show-stopping curvaceousness, I would have never figured her for an adult film star if I hadn’t already been tipped off. I was insanely curious. And I felt slightly intoxicated just standing before her. The nasty video scenes I witnessed over the weekend darted through my mind. But it wasn’t time to swoon. Not yet. I had bursa escort a job to do.
“Well, please, have a seat,” I said, releasing her hand and walking over to my desk and sitting back down.
Monette placed her things by her side, seeming to rifle a bit with her bag before placing it down with an unusual amount of care. She then sat down in the chair I had propped before me. She gazed around my room curiously. I smiled at her, and she returned with a demure lift of her heart-shaped lips.
“So! Tell me about yourself,” I said, crossing my legs and easing back in my seat.??She eagerly jumped into a well-rehearsed rigamarole. Some of it was easily ignorable filler, but other details stuck in my mind.
I learned that she used to sing in a gospel choir; that her favorite actress was Dorothy Dandridge, and her favorite model was Ajuma Nasenyana; that she grew up in a bilingual household because of her Brazilian godmother; and that she’d done more voice-over work since she’d sent her resume to me (though I hadn’t heard of any of the clients).
?I also learned that she grew up in Fort Wayne, which actually sparked an unexpected bit of extra informal conversation, as I’d lived there as a stopgap between Burma and Harlem for 2 years.
I opened up to her as we chatted about our former lives in Indiana. Hers was much more detailed than mine, but we found intersections, points of reference that made us comfortable around one another.
I told her I now lived in Harlem, which didn’t phase her. She told me she commuted from Patterson, where she lived with other two roommates who were also aspiring models (I could only imagine the cat fights!). We were hitting it off swimmingly. But I had a big bomb to drop, and I had to do it now.
“So…Monette. I noticed you have a little tattoo on your foot. What does that say?”
“Oh I’m sorry, miss! I know it’s not very professional to have that exposed—”
I laughed. “No, Monette, that’s not a problem at all. We’re quite casual here, if you haven’t noticed. I was just curious, is all.”
“Oh. Well, it says…’magical…star.’ I mean it’s nothing important, just thought it was cool, haha.”
??I nodded my head. “I see. Monette, I’ll be honest. I would normally be inclined to hire you right here and now, but there’s something one of my supervisors brought to my attention that gave me a bit of pause.”
“Oh,” she replied, blinking cluelessly.
“…this four-year gap here in your work history. Is there a reason for that?”
She feigned unknowingness, her hands rubbing nervously against her broad thighs as she sat upright.
“Oh. I was traveling abroad during part of that time,” she said in yet another calculated burst. I wondered if that was the line she’d been feeding everyone she interviewed for.
“I see. Where did you go?” I asked, smirking. She hesitated, her eyes dodging around before dropping to my chin.
“Um, I went to Europe, you know…France, London, etc.” she said unconvincingly. “I did some modeling work out there, and um, some networking and stuff. I just needed to get out for a while, but now I’m refreshed and glad to be back!” she said, raising her eyes to mine a moment only to look away again nervously.
My heart began to race. I needed to get this over with. “Alright. Monette, I’d like to believe that. But I just need to know. You wouldn’t happen to have done anything else of note during that four-year period…right?”
She let out a tight-lipped gasp, nervously hooking a foot behind her calf. She took a deep breath, then fell silent. Her eyes fell to the floor.
“Um. Monette?” I repeated, leaning forward over my desk.
“What?” she said, looking out the window listlessly. I could tell she was a bit irked, so I tried to tread lightly. I leaned back in my seat and gauged my tone.
“I’m sorry, honey. Is there something wrong?” I said as politely as I could. ??She looked up at me finally, and our eyes met again. I tensed up.
“No. Nothing’s wrong,” she said, conjuring up an unconvincing bursa escort bayan poker-face.
“Okay,” I said, feeling the awkwardness fill the office like poison gas. I needed to move things along, quick.
“Well, Monette. Like I said, I would love to cast you. But things are down to the wire here. Let’s just say that, given that…gap in your resume, I might have problems pushing you through casting. Clairvisia’s image is wholesome and family-friendly. We partner with charity initiatives…”
“But…” Monette began, sitting up in her seat, “Ms. Khaing, I really would like the opportunity,” she said, breaking her short-lived deadpan with an almost pleading tone.”I mean, I really need this right now! I’ll do anything to get this position…I know this isn’t any of your concern, Ms. Khaing, but…I’m really struggling right now, and a gig like this could really help me.”
Taken a bit by surprise, I looked her up and down and folded my arms. Now I knew that I had her. And in a way, she had me too. I was a bit moved by her sudden display of desperation, remembering what it was like only a few months years ago when I was looking for work.
“Okay, Monette. I just need you to know a few things. For one, Clairvisia is launching a full-fledged, transformative new campaign. Our goal is for the Clairvisia Girl to become iconic, like the Progressive Insurance girl. If we achieve this—and all projections forecast that we will—you could be employed with us almost exclusively for many years to come. We’d develop an entire concerted sales pitch based on you and your likeness. Everyone would recognize you on the street. You’d be a bit of a…star, really.”
I saw the girl’s sizable chest heave in anticipation, her eyes narrowing as she stared blankly out the window.
“Monette?” I asked, trying to bring her back into the conversation.
I slowly stood up from my desk and ventured to walk over to her. I put my hand on her shoulder.
“Monette, what else did you do during that period of time? Did you make any…movies?”
She raised her head, peering into my eyes searchingly, then slowly nodded.
“H-How did you know?”
“We have our methods,” I said. I felt douchey using the “royal we,” but it helped keep a safer distance between me and the line of inquiry, or at least I told myself that.
“I-I was that…way…but I’m not anymore…” she stuttered.
“What’s that? Honey, it’s okay. It’s okay. I understand we’re talking about the past. But it’s a very recent past, isn’t it? Your last film was released earlier this month, wasn’t it?”
“Oh god,” she said, standing up. I felt my hand slip from her. “Ms. Khaing, I know my past is kind of crazy, but it’s not like that now. I promise,” she said, stepping away from me. “I cut my ties with that recently. But stuff still gets out there, and now no one will hire me because of it. I just kind of fell into it…I never thought it would be my life. Don’t judge me by it, please…”
I took a step closer to her, trying to console her the way Evander consoles me when I’m emotional. I spoke in a soft yet unpatronizing tone, touching her hand gently.??”Monette, trust me. I am the last person to judge you for your life choices. In fact…it endears me to you.”
“What?” she said, looking surprised.
I looked around, then walked over to lock my door. Turning back to her, I lowered my voice to a whisper. “Yes, Monette. You see, I have my own secrets. I’ll tell you one. My boyfriend is…a fan of yours. And after he showed me some of your videos, I became one too,” I said, surprised that I managed to say those words with some semblance of professionalism still intact. I clamped down on my tongue and waited for the potential backlash.
“Oh…” she said, seeming supremely unsure of herself, but intrigued.
A small smile returned to her face, with an almost unbelieving raise of her forehead. “You uh, like that kind of stuff?”
I paused to consider my words carefully. “Well, you’re clearly very talented, Monette. The escort bursa way you—I mean the way Majika Starr moves on camera is really quite inspiring.”
She tittered nervously. She felt so unlike the down-and-dirty vixen I watched the other night that connecting the two in my mind was difficult.
“Thanks…” she said, looking me up and down in disbelief and biting her lip. “Wait…uh, what did you see?”
“A few things,” I said, feeling her hand grab mine a little more closely. “What were some of the titles? Oh yes. Dirtpipe Dreams, Backdoor Booty Brigade, Starfish Stretchers 4…”
I heard her swallow hard, but she remained still. I began to revel in the raunchiness of the situation now that I sensed she wasn’t offended by my show of interest. I continued, flashing her an intentionally strong look. “And a few others…Majika’s Mystery Tour, The Technical Virgin Diaries, Fudge Tunnel of Love…”
“Oh, wow,” she said, covering her toothy smile with her hand bashfully. “Uh, you really like my uh, butt-themed movies then…”
“Well, we didn’t get to sample your entire oeuvre. I can see you are—I mean, were—fairly prolific. I’m sure your other movies are just as good in their own way,” said, leaning forward so that she could see between the subtly parted ropes of my blouse.
My breasts are pretty small, but I’d like to believe they’re still eye-catching, especially when viewed at such an optimal angle. Her eyes scanned them for a split second, regarding them with what appeared to be interest.
“And you even won a few awards for that, didn’t you?” I said.
“Haha, wow. You really did your homework,” Monette said, stepping a smidge closer to me. “Uh, yeah.”
“Remind me what it was for?” I asked, needing to hear it straight from her mouth, loving the feeling of her hand as her thumb began to trace my outer palm playfully.
“Uh, just one…for, um.”
“Go on, sweetie.”
“Best Anal Sex Scene at the AVN Awards. But I did get nominated for Orgasmic Analist at XRCO,” she said with a weak, almost embarrassed smile.
“Well. I guess me and my boyfriend aren’t the only ones interested in your butt,” I said as lightly as I could. With a tiny hiccup of a laugh, her thumb began to move more rapidly across the side of my hand, her breathing deeper and faster. I ran my other hand up the side of her arm, feeling how smooth and warm she was. “I guess not…” she said, looking down at me. “But. You said my past would be a problem…does that mean I don’t get the position?”
I ran my manicured fingertips upward across her skin, settling in the pit above her long forearm. Her huge bust rested just inches from my face. Even the loose fit of her sweater couldn’t downplay it completely. I looked up at her and responded calmly.
“Monette, how about we strike a deal. I will do everything in my power to push you to the casting people. I’m pretty positive I can get your foot in the door as long as you completely downplay your sexuality. Do not mention your past. If someone thinks they recognize you, deny it. By the time your history is uncovered…which unfortunately is inevitable…you’ll already be the face of our product, and hopefully the world will be willing to accept your new role.”
She nodded and started to bounce on the balls of her feet apprehensively. ??”And…what’s the other end of the deal?” she asked. I could see goosebumps rise on her flesh.
“You do one last scene. For me and my boyfriend.”
“Oh my God. B-but, Ms. Khaing, I—”
“Shh…Monette, it won’t be a filmed scene. Think of it as more of an off-off-Broadway kind of thing. Underground. A one-time only thing, no refunds.”
“You mean like…prostitution?”
“Not exactly. We’re not paying you. Well…not exactly. I’m just going to ensure you have this Clairvisia gig, is all. You’ll still have to work hard as any spokeswoman once you get the position.”
Monette withdrew from me a moment, looking back out the window as if deep in thought.
My heart began to slow to a normal pace. I felt like I’d made my best pitch. Now all I could do was stand back and see if this crazy proposition would float.
“Alright,” she said, turning to me.
“So. Tell me about this boyfriend of yours…”
To be continued…
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