I frowned and stood up. "What?"
"We misplaced your clothes Ms, we might have to reuse–"
"You mean use those clothes?" I pointed to the rack of distasteful clothes.
I glanced at the rack again. I am not one to wear such disgraceful clothes. They lacked style, structure, and class. Those clothes fell under the 'rejects' classification in my book. I am known for my style. My fashion sense. I am not about to ruin my image because of missing clothes.
"You expect me to wear that junk?" I walked over to the rack and pulled two dresses which lacked structure and style. "This looks like a bag."
I'm not one for outbursts but when it comes to fashion and all the things related to it, expect me to turn into a monster. Fashion is one way I can express myself, plus I get to feel confident with what I wear. So to not be able to wear clothes that flatter me upsets me.
"There's a delay–"
"No no, I'm not wearing any of this!" I hung the clothes back on the rack.
Everyone was silent. Nobody moved, nobody made a sound, no one dared look in my eyes. I usually don't get this angry. But I feel like I know what fueled the anger more. Two things actually. That wretched person I call husband and the missing person in the family photoshoot.
"Do something about this." I looked at everyone in the room. "Now!"
All of a sudden, I was grabbed by the shoulders and was turned to look at someone. Someone who was the last person I wanted to talk to right now.
"What?" I asked through clenched teeth.
"Adrianne, calm down," he said slowly. I took a deep breath. "If things don't go as planned, we improvise." He looked around the room.
What the heck–
I'm over here losing my shit and he's telling me to calm down and improvise. What. The. Heck.
His eyes went from head to toe as he was deep in thought. Slowly, his hands reached out and gripped my leather jacket and slid them down, revealing my shoulders until they hung by my elbow. He tilted my chin upward and reached up to ruffle my hair, giving me a messy bedhead look. He looked at me again and smiled. "There," he said, exhaling. I gazed at him and he smiled once again. "Now, go and burn the camera with that death glare of yours."
The rest of my photoshoot passed by in the blink of an eye. As we reviewed the shots, I can't help but replay what Sebastian did. The way he gently slid my jacket off my shoulders, the warmth of his hand leaving fireworks on my skin. His smile as he styles my hair and tells me to 'burn the camera'. Somehow, it felt wrong to like the feeling he gave me. It felt super wrong to take delight in what he did. It's as if I'm forgetting this is all an act, a show for everybody to enjoy. I don't know what he did to me. Did he hypnotise me? Did he put something in my drink? Why is he making me feel like this?
Keanne entered the room wearing a white peplum dress, a dress which has fabric that is ruffled at the waistline, with white d'orsay pump heels, her hair up in a milkmaid bun.
"Goodluck Keanne." I approached her and pulled her into a bone-crushing hug.
She chuckled. "I missed you too. Oh, and you're rocking that look!"
I exited the room and entered my office which was next to it. My office remained how it was. Nothing changed, nothing was moved or replaced. Soft snores interrupted me and I averted my gaze to the man asleep on the couch. I didn't even see him leave the photoshoot room.
How tired is that man?
I grabbed a pillow from the single couch on the opposite end of the room and threw it at him. He awoke and glared at me and asked, "What the hell?"
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty." I smiled widely.
He threw the pillow back at me and covered his face with his arm.
"Get off, it's my turn to lie down there." I nudged him with the pillow.
"Suck it up, sleep elsewhere," he muttered.
I smacked him with the pillow and departed the room.
"Get changed, now." Olive appeared out of nowhere. "It's time for the family photo."
I smirked and saluted. "Yes, ma'am!" I headed into the changing rooms, carrying the dress and shoebox handed to me by the staff.
I changed into a white cotton off-shoulder dress which hung up until my knees, I wore gold metallic gladiator shoes and my hair was styled into a French braid.
Walking out, my shoes made an audible click on the floor causing people to look in my direction. I gave them a nonchalant smile and my eyes landed on my family seated in front of the camera. They grinned upon seeing me.
"You look like a goddess," Keanne told me, her eyes sparkling as she smiled brightly at me.
"Shouldn't her husband be the one saying that to her?" Elle winked at me.
"Well, true," Keanne said.
I love Keanne so much. She boosted my confidence and she doesn't even realise it. I sat beside Keanne and Elle.
"Now remember, etiquette," I reminded them.
Elle groaned. "You sound like mom."
"That's kind of my role now." I playfully smacked her on the head.
I placed my hands on my lap and crossed my ankles. Dad then entered the room and stopped when he saw us. He averted his gaze elsewhere. He was feeling sad. I can see it from the look in his eyes, despondent, crestfallen. This was our first photoshoot...without mom. It felt weird for him to partake in this alone when usually, he'd do it with mom. I smiled sadly and stood, came closer to him, and rubbed his shoulders.
"I'm still angry at you but we're all going through this pain," I admitted. "Talk to us, please."
"Isn't that what dads are supposed to do?" he asked, giving me a half-smile.
He took a deep breath and nodded for us to resume. We seated ourselves in our respective places and prepared for the photos. As we finished the formal family photo, the photographer spoke, "Another one?"
Dad shook his head. "Not today buddy."
The photographer bobbed his head. "I understand, Mr Chanelle."
I stood and felt tears rising. Tears threatened to fall if I blinked, inhaled, exhaled. I quickly excused myself and headed out. I entered the elevator and pressed the basement. The elevator doors opened and the hallway of photos greeted me. The hallway is filled with memories of the years. Years including my mother.
Stepping out of the elevator, a cold brush of wind swept across my back. A shiver went down my spine as I inspected every photo the hallway held. Memories flooded me and a tear fell. A tear fell and soon, new tears came. I covered my mouth to muffle my sobs. I stood in front of the family picture taken a year ago and silently wished. A wish I knew would never come true. A wish which would never come to life. A wish which would turn back the time to be able to tell my mother everything I didn't, to be able to do the things I didn't do with her. To be able to tell her I loved her. But everything I do, everything I wish for...it's all too late. I'm too late and I can't do anything about it. I can wish all I want, spend all I want. Nothing will make a difference.
I spun around on my heel and saw Sebastian walking towards me. Turning around, I quickly wiped away the tears that had fallen and took deep breaths.
"I've been looking for you," he said, sternly.
"I know." I sniffed.
"Wait, are you crying?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No."
"No, are you?" he pressed.
I stayed silent. Why, all of a sudden, is he caring?
For a moment, a flicker of sympathy flashed across his face. But it went as soon as it came. He had a hard look on his face again. "Fine, don't tell me," he paused. "Why don't you stop being a bitch and let's get ready to go back to the house?"
My eyebrows creased as I narrowed my eyes at him. What the hell is wrong with him? "No, you know what? You go back alone. I'm not staying at a place where a dick is."
He took a deep breath and said, "Fine." He turned his back on me and left me. And a coldness spread throughout my entire being.