Old times

There's a lot of history in the characters. Just ignore the parts you don't get, and it'll explain itself as you read on.

Katie was silently cursing her boss, Mark, to burn in hell as she and Len walked up to their fashion studio in the day. Mark wanted them to do an extensive survey for the latest trends floating around in the fashion world, and write a ten-part feature article. Katie had jumped at the opportunity, without realizing how hard it was going to be. Len had it easy—he just had to take pictures of the designers, the stores, and the dresses. She didn’t think that she had the energy to sit through another irritating interview with a crazy designer, acting as if she was just so interested in whatever crazy stuff they told her.

She was a bit worried for her daughter too. Technically, Lanie was her niece, but after her sister’s death, she had adopted her. This was the first time a couple of her friends were taking care of her the entire day. Frankly speaking, she was a bit apprehensive about the entire thing. Granted that she had gone out with Chris for a couple of years and he was a perfect substitute dad, and Patricia was the greatest aunt anyone could ever get, she felt that this was asking too much from them.

This designer, Roman Kaczynski, was a great fashion giant, but she wasn’t going to his studio to interview him this time. She had heard a great deal about one of his protégés who worked here, Georgiou Wynyard. He was rumoured to be as famous at the parties as his designs were on the catwalk. Apparently, he was forever going out with models. She felt that this was kind of odd, considering that, people also said that he was an introvert.

“Roman Kaczynski” the signboard read in front of the store. Katie hoped that the receptionist had told him that they were coming. Len turned towards the dresses on entering, swearing how cool they were. She went towards the tall, young, anorexic, sleep-deprived receptionist.

‘Hey…um’ she started, ‘I rang up to get an interview with Georgiou Wynyard. I’m Katie Meyer from The New York Ledger…’

‘Yeah…yeah, the interview, right…’ the girl fumbled, ‘yeah…he told me to send you straight up when you guys came. He’s in the second floor. He’s…working on some fall collection designs…’

‘Thanks’ Katie smiled. ‘Len!’ she called out, ‘I’m up on the second floor. Come up when you’re done’ he nodded, signalling her to go up.

The second floor was way swankier than the showroom. She didn’t spot anyone at first, and looked around. It looked like someone’s home. She saw a dining table with a couple of takeaway boxes on it. There was a laptop with a bottle of water on top of it. There was a couch and a huge LCD TV with surround sound system in front of it. There was a small terrace to one side. The interior decoration was amazing, she felt, giving the illusion that the place was much bigger that it actually was. Then, she saw someone lying down in the couch in front of the TV, holding something in his hands.

‘Um…’she started, not sure of what she was supposed to say, ‘Hi’

He sat up with a jerk on hearing her voice. He wasn’t wearing anything so fashionable, just a pair of jeans and a blue shirt, and a pair of ultra-expensive aviator sunglasses. He was about six feet tall, and was kind of lean. An aquiline nose, she noted, and dark hair splayed all over messily. No wonder he was always going out with models—it looked like he had gone through a lot of pains to get that I—don’t—care—much casual look.

‘Hey, you must be from The New York Ledger’ he smiled. A warm, easy smile.

‘Yeah’ she said, ‘I’m doing an article on the latest fashion trends.’

She thought she saw him twitch slightly for no apparent reason, but he graciously offered her a seat, and he took an armchair. She gratefully sat down; her feet had been paining as if a hundred needles were stuck on the sole.

‘So, Katie, you’re doing an article on fashion trends?’ he asked suddenly.

‘Yeah’ she said, rummaging through her bag. ‘Wait.’ she said suddenly, ‘how do you know my name? I didn’t tell you my name.’

‘I know, Katie’, he smiled again.

‘Alright, do I know you?’ she asked, peering at his face, racking her memory.

‘C’mon Katie, don’t you remember me?’ he asked, still smiling.

‘Wipe that grin off your face, buddy, and quit repeating my name’ she snapped, getting irritated at his forever-smiling face. She regretted her rash behaviour the moment she said it. Would he complain to Mark? He would surely chuck her out of the job.

‘See…I’m sorry’ she said hastily, ‘I didn’t mean to say that. It’s just that, I get pissed very quickly—’

‘No, that’s okay’ he said, ‘it’s kinda refreshing to know that you haven’t changed over the years.’

‘So, mystery man’ she smiled at that ‘who are you?’

Then, just when he was getting ready to tell her, her phone started vibrating violently in her hand. She murmured an apology, and went near the window, as far away from him as she could go without making it obvious that she didn’t want him to hear anything, and answered the call. It was Chris; she knew that even before accepting the call.

‘What?’ she asked irritated at being interrupted.

‘I’m really sorry…’ he apologised, ‘But is it all right to give Lanie something to eat…like coco pops…without milk?’

‘Yes!’ she said, getting angrier by the minute, ‘anyway, what happened to all the milk?’

‘Sorry, Patty and I made loads of coffee and finished it.’ He said apologetically, ‘anyway, I basically called up to ask about the interviews. How are they goin’?’

‘Okay, I guess.’ She smiled at his concern, ‘just take care of Lanie till I get back home, would ya?’

She was still smiling a bit when she came back and sat down in front of the designer, and he immediately noticed the change in her mood.

‘So, if you don’t mind me asking,’ he began, ‘who was that?’

‘Oh, it's just one of my friends. He’s babysitting my daughter’ she said airily, ‘so, who are you?’

He didn’t say anything. She thought that maybe he was dramatising the entire thing, just to build up an air of mystery. He was just staring at his hands and she thought that maybe it would be apt to say something now, but had no idea what to say—she didn’t even know who he was. Then, he slowly raised his hand and took off his aviator sunglasses. At first, she still couldn’t recognise him. Then he turned his head up to look straight at her, and she just couldn’t believe her eyes. He had cyan-coloured eyes—in fact, the only ones she had seen on a dark haired person. Those eyes, that nose, that face structure, that hair—it could only be one person.

‘George?’ she whispered uncertainly, unable to decide if her mind was playing a trick on her.

‘How’s life, Katie?’ he smiled in his characteristic lopsided fashion, and there was no room left for doubts…

The End

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