Two

‘You never got around telling me who you really liked!’ he said, unsmiling, as if he meant business.

‘No one great’ she said in a small voice.

‘What have you been doing for so long?’ he asked again.

‘I’m a journalist’ she said, ‘And I have a three-and-a-half year old daughter. I nearly got married a couple of months ago, but I . . . broke it up. Therefore, my ex-fiancé stays opposite my house, and takes care of my daughter. We’re . . .  family, even if we didn’t end up getting married.

‘Messed up, ain’t it’ he said after sometime. He was staring hard at her face, as if trying to decide whether she was making it up or not. She may be telling the truth about her break up, he thought, but he was certain that she didn’t have kids. As far as he remembered, she hated taking care of kids.

‘So…what about you?’ she asked, not knowing whether she was supposed to ask or not.

‘Nothing as nice as you though’ he frowned, ‘Randy and I, we graduated fromHarvardLawSchool, and followed it up with a course in fashion designing from theArnhemArtAcademy. Then we ran after designers for weeks till I got internship here, and Randy got accepted as a junior designer in Prada. I got married, had a daughter, caught my wife doing drugs, and got divorced. She hooked up with a Greek billionaire soon after that—’

‘Was she…a model or something?’ she asked, swallowing.

‘Yeah’ he said dryly, ‘Anyway, I got the custody of my kidMyraand for all I know, Rayne’s dead.’

She didn’t know what to say, and it was obvious that he didn’t want to talk about it anymore. She did not think, even for one second, that he was telling her the truth about his daughter—he wasn’t that kind of person. He may have got married, but she was a hundred percent sure that he didn’t have any kids. They, being too immersed in their thoughts, didn't notice when Len came up. He saw the both of them, sitting at right angles to each other with pained expressions on their faces, and decided that it was time to change the mood.

‘Hey!’ he said light-heartedly, coming up, ‘why d'you have such a long face, girl?’

‘No, nothing’ George saw her face light up instantly, ‘I was just waiting for you to come up so we could start the interview.’

‘Yeah sure’ he said, sitting down next to her and taking out his pad full of questions.

He was kind of surprised as he went about asking questions. He had thought that all designers had a screw loose in their heads, but this person was so like Chris and him. No one would associate him with fashion designing at the first look. He was too…normal to be a crazy designer. He was presently surprised to know that he was younger than he was. Georgiou wanted to launch his own brand before he turned twenty-eight, hopefully within the next six months. Len noticed that he kept on stealing glances at Katie from time to time. Surprisingly, she too was letting him talk and was slipping into her dream world again, and this wasn’t a good sign—she tended to embarrass herself badly whenever she drifted to her dream world.

So he wound up the interview fast. Yes, Georgiou had always wanted to become a designer. Yes, he loved the parties, and believed that one should have most fun in life when one got a chance to do so. No, he did not think that fashion designing was a good option for those who just wanted the money, but didn’t have a passion for creation. And of course, bold colours and subdued makeup were in the season. He also had a passion for cars, owned a Lamborghini 599-4 now— Roman was incidentally very happy with his spring collections sales, and had gone on a salary-hiking rampage.

‘Gosh, you sound like Randy’s clone, man. Whatever’s happened to you?’ Katie asked suddenly, butting in.

Len wanted to be far away from there at that moment, because she had made a colossal fool of herself yet again. The poor designer looked shocked out of his mind. Len wondered if he could still salvage the situation by apologising for her, saying that she was undergoing a huge mental trauma now, and thus was a bit mentally unstable.

‘How can you say that?’ he asked in a scandalised voice, ‘I’m nothing like that, and you know that as well as I do. Are you mixing me up with someone else?’

‘No, Georgie, you’ve changed a lot. You used to just look like Randy’s clone, and now you’re behaving like him too.’ She said, standing up, ‘You’re pathetic. What happened to the George I knew?’

‘Now, now, Katie’ Len butted in before she could say any more and damage the already crazy situation, ‘You’re confusing him with someone else. I…I know that you have been going through a lot lately. Come, let’s go home.’

‘Now wait a second’ she said sharply, narrowing her eyes, ‘Don’t you dare to excuse what I’m saying by calling me mentally unstable! I mean every word!’

‘Katie, you don’t know him!’ Len said, frantic with worry, ‘You do NOT know him. You are confusing him with someone else, all right. Just shut up, and we can get the hell out of here before you know it. You’ve had too much fashion for a day.’

She looked like she was ready to cry. George couldn’t think straight. They met after so many years, and the only thing she said to him was that he was behaving like his brother, and she definitely meant it like an insult. That photographer, Len, took her away, near the elevator. He could hear him tell her to go sit in the car, and then they would “go home”. He said, “Go home”, instead of, “I’ll take you home”. Did they live together? Was HE the ex—fiancé? She had said that they were on good terms. He was evidently more worried for her than a colleague would be.

George collapsed on the couch, his mind going blank.  The photographer came back, apologising, ‘I’m really sorry. She’s been going through a lot in her personal life. She’s a single mother, and she broke up her engagement a couple of months ago. She just tends to slip into her own dream world, and sometimes mistakes people to be her high school friends. She’s slightly …deranged.’

‘No, she’s not’ George said, outraged, before he could stop himself, ‘She’s not crazy. Katie's not crazy. How dare you say that?’

He didn’t even know why he said that. He had no idea what had happened to her in all these years. Maybe the photographer was right—she was deranged, but the damage was already done. The photographer looked like someone had just tasered him. Len, on his part, didn’t know what to say. It looked like this guy actually knew her once. Maybe he had seen through his excuse.God forbid…

‘Are you George Callahan?’ he asked, uncertain. The designer nodded, feeling tired. ‘Oh my God’ Len couldn’t stop himself from saying, ‘I’ll…I’ll be…I’ll be leaving then…It …it was nice ….meeting you.’ He picked up his bag and got out of there before George could say anything. He closed his eyes wondered if the entire thing had just happened.

Was it okay on his part to shout at her as he did when she accused him of…being Randy’s clone? Sure, he had changed over the years. He had changed himself on purpose, and had been busy building up a playboy image over the last couple of years—it was for business. Nothing got you publicity faster than being a ‘bad boy’ and he knew that. That publicity would help later on, when he was establishing his brand. It was Randy’s idea, and he wanted George to do it, because he was at a better position. Moreover, truthfully speaking, he had actually liked it. Had he changed more than he had planned? Had he become a…womaniser in the process? Had he become what he wanted his image to be? Why did it have to be her who noticed it first? Darn it all …

 Then suddenly, he jerked awake, and called the receptionist.

      ‘Hey CC,’ he said when she picked up, ‘I need you to find me the residential address of this woman called Katie Meyer. She’s about twenty-six years of age, works in the review section of The New York ledger…’

The End

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