If Love Were By Design, page 1
If Love Were By Design
Lacy S. Kinsley
Lacy S. Kinsley on Smashwords
If Love Were By Design
Copyright © 2011 by Lacy S. Kinsley
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced with this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
For my #1 fan and
your unwavering support.
I love you, Bub!
Veronica glared at the wall clock—it was nearly eleven and long passed break time. She was carefully inking red swirls on a black boot with a three–inch heel. Last night she dreamed of this spectacular boot and the instant she woke up she began sketching. She approached Marcus Yutan, couturier and owner of Saxton Hip, first thing this morning and asked his opinion. He told her to draw it more elaborately, because the rough draft made it look like an ordinary boot with an odd buckle and swirls.
Constantly blinking her blurry eyes, she finally took a well–deserved break at 11:30. She leaned back in her swivel chair, rubbed her eyes, and then stretched her fingers. The chair squeaked as she spun it around for a change of scenery.
Checking her make–up for smudges in the wall mirror, she studied her image: small button nose, plump lips, high cheekbones, and brown hair that she diligently straightened each morning. Often receiving compliments on her big brown eyes, she didn’t see how they were “exotic”. Turning her chair, she checked her calendar.
Lost in thought, she was momentarily startled as office door opened. Without looking she knew it was Kimmy, the only person who would barge into her office unannounced. Kimmy was not a shoe designer, and had no desire to make shoes. She was a clerk on the sales floor, which was where Veronica started out. It was a good job, and paid well considering she made a sales commission.
“My feet are killing me!” Kimmy groaned as she sank into the spare chair, removed her shoe and massaged her foot.
“That’s what you get for wearing my shoes. They’ve been formed to my feet.” Veronica smirked. “I should buy you a pair of my Yutan VM shoes. My new pumps are insanely comfortable.”
“Yeah, and they’re like six hundred dollars for the least expensive pair!” Kimmy said as she massaged her toes. “I’d much rather wear these,” she looked in the heel of the shoes, “New Journey? I’ve never heard of that.”
“I bought them on a whim.” Veronica bragged. “They were cute and less than fifty bucks.”
“No wonder my feet hurt. They’re cheap!” Kimmy said and laughed. “Oh, well, they went with my outfit.” Kimmy was the type of woman who was stunning with very little effort. Her long blond hair fell perfectly straight to her shoulders. She had naturally curly dark lashes, rosy cheeks and lips that were a beautiful shade of pink. Like Veronica, she was tall, which made her perfect for designer clothes, and because of it she was always immaculately dressed. Her only flaw was that her skin was very pale, but that was easily fixed with spray tans.
“By the way, Marcus said he’s calling the deli across the street to buy us all lunch.” Kimmy said.
“Really?” Veronica asked with piqued interest. She was famished and could probably eat three sandwiches. Looking at the clock, she noticed it’d been four hours since she had coffee. “I’m starving.”
“I’m surprised to see you’re in here. It’s Friday! You’re always at the warehouse buying supplies at this time.” Kimmy said. “Seriously, you have the best job! You draw all day, you’re at the warehouse every Friday for most the day, Marcus adores you and gives you free clothes, and you got the first Yutan bag of this year—which I’m still trying to steal by the way.”
“You make more money than I do off commission.” Veronica reminded her. “The clothes even it out a bit.”
Kimmy waved her comment away dismissively. She wasn’t about to argue pay with her. Half the time Veronica didn’t think Kimmy believed her, but it was true. She took a pay cut to become a shoe designer for Marcus. They both dropped it. “So why aren’t you at the warehouse?” Kimmy asked.
“I’m finishing a sketch so I can show it to Marcus. If he likes it I’ll start on it next week and make a prototype. If you ask me—it’s going to sell.” Veronica added, “I’ll go to the warehouse when I’m done here. I’ll probably be home late.” She sighed. “But it’s got to be done. I have a pretty big list.”
“Is that it?” Kimmy asked pointing to her sketch. “Oh, wow! It’s nice! You’re right! It is going to sell. Maybe I will let you buy me a pair of shoes after all.” Kimmy chuckled. “It’s completely different from your usual, kind of funky because of the width around the calf. I like it.”
“I dreamt of it. So, yes, it is unlike anything I’ve made before.” Veronica said.
Just then Marcus walked down the hallway, stopped, and then backtracked to come into her small office. “There are my two most favorite girls!” Marcus said with a grin. “It’s almost lunch. Dexter is dragging his feet; I asked him to get everyone’s order an hour ago. Because of last week’s sales, I’m going to get food from the deli. Veronica, what would you like?”
“A tuna sandwich on sour dough. Thanks Marcus. Oh, and can I get a soda? Diet?” Veronica asked.
“You got it!” Marcus said as he wrote it down. “I’m going to call them right now. It should be delivered by noon.” He walked to her desk, and picked up the sketch. “Hmm.” He examined it. “How many of these are you planning on making?”
“Maybe a hundred to start out with. See how they sell.” Veronica said.
“Make them out of leather, stitch it with gold instead and put lace over the leather. I’ll like it if you lose the buckle.” He paused, “On second thought, keep it red.” Marcus said, and looked at it a little longer. It was never a quick glance when he was looking at her work, which she liked. It meant he couldn’t easily decide improvements. It was as good of a compliment as it gets coming from Marcus. He wasn’t one to boast about your work. He simply expected you to do a good job. If he said nothing at all, you know you did a great job. “Okay, make the buckle lower around the ankle, add another, put leather straps around the boot like belts, and then it will look like a top seller, Veronica. We’ll start off with five hundred of these.”
“Thanks.” She added, “And you’re right, it will look good with the two buckles.” It was a lie. She didn’t actually think it would improve the shoe at all, but Veronica had ways around his “improvements”. She would simply make a shoe his way, and a shoe her way, and then approach him one last time to see which he liked better. Nearly every time he forgot what he had said, and chose her original design. However, it wasn’t wise to disagree with him outright. She’s seen nine people get fired for that very thing, and Marcus’s reason was always the same. It’s his name on the store, and it’s his clothes on the racks, therefore it’s his decision that matters. Veronica took his words literal
“Oh, I would buy it!” Kimmy said. “But it needs glitter, like the swirls should be glittering red thread.”
“Yeah, don’t do that.” Marcus said while eyeing Kimmy as if she lost her mind. Then he left the room.
“Well, he didn’t like that idea.” Kimmy said, smiling. “That’s okay. I thought his two belt ideas were ridiculous. It would ruin the entire shoe. You should have said so! He completely changed it!”
“He doesn’t like glitter on shoes.” Veronica said.
“Well, how am I supposed to remember everything he likes and dislikes? I’m going to school! My brain is full with stitching, angles, and sewing, I don’t possibly have enough room for Marcus’s do’s and don’ts list.” Kimmy groaned and went back to rubbing her feet. “You should have said something. Yeah, it’s his name on the shoe, but it’s your initials on the end. Yutan VM. People see those initials. I can’t tell you how many people ask me what VM stands for. You have a faithful fan base, too.” Kimmy laughed, “Some people come in to buy only your shoes, male and female alike. And before you say so, I’m not merely flattering you either.”
“I have my own ways of approaching him. I’ll have to make two shoes. Then when he doesn’t remember what he said to me, I’ll ask him again which one he likes better.” Veronica said.
“Well aren’t you sneaky!” Kimmy grinned maliciously. “See, that’s why he loves you. You’re talented and smart. Who knew you were so political!”
“Well, if you want be hired as a clothing designer, you’d better figure him out and start impressing him now,” Veronica stated bluntly. “That’s what I did, and it’s the only reason I’ve been designing shoes for a year. I worked on the floor for three and a half years, memorized everything he liked, and stayed away from anything he didn’t. He has impeccable taste. I decided then I wanted to work for him as a designer, and I mentioned I was in design school. He watched me like a hawk for the next year and constantly peppered me with questions. What shoes I liked best? Why? How would I improve them? Would I use leather or another material? Make them sleeker, smaller, warmer, lighter—everything! My responses got me the job. So, if you’re determined to design his clothing line you’d better get serious now. He receives hundreds of applications from designers, but you have a huge advantage by working here.”
“I’m trying!” Kimmy groaned.
“It helped me to write it down,” Veronica gently suggested.
“If I don’t get the job, I’ll do my own clothing line,” Kimmy affirmed. “Kimmy Hutchinson!” She smiled at the sound of her own name. “Kimmy Hutchinson opens the first ever Hutch store.”
“It sounds like your selling furniture, not clothes.” Veronica said. She laughed.
“You should be nice. I’m going to be as famous as Marcus, and when I am, you’ll be asking me for a job.” Kimmy said. “So be nice to your future boss!” Kimmy laughed.
There was a knock on Veronica’s open door and Kimmy jumped, her face momentarily frozen with fear. It was apparent she thought Marcus overheard their conversation. Lester Benazir, Marcus’s personal assistant, stood in the archway. “Mr. Yutan is buying everyone lunch from the deli and I’m noting everyone’s order.”
“Lester, he’s already taken our order,” Kimmy said, rolling her eyes. Kimmy disliked Lester because his break room conversations frequently centered on his sexual conquests; Kimmy was certain he was still a virgin—he wasn’t handsome enough to have been with so many women. His buzzed brown hair was kept short enough to hide his prematurely balding head. It was true he wasn’t a hunk; he was tall, lanky, awkward, and he possessed an odd sense of humor.
“He did?” Lester asked.
“I asked for a tuna sandwich on sour dough and a diet soda.” Veronica said.
He wrote it down. “Sorry, he asked me to get a hold of Marsha Loft before I got the orders. By the time I reached her, he had half of everyone’s orders, except I wasn’t sure who ordered what. He didn’t write down people’s names; he only wrote the orders.”
“I got soup, salad, and bread sticks, Lester!” Kimmy said.
“Okay.” Lester scribbled her order, and as he did he talked to Veronica without looking at her. “Oh, and Veronica, Mr. Yutan wanted to speak with you once he’s off the phone Marsha Loft.”
“Did he say what about? I saw him a moment ago. Are you sure he still wants to see me?” Veronica asked.
“Well, that was about twenty minutes ago. But maybe you should go talk to him, in case he does want to see you.” He glanced at Kimmy and then said, “Well, I should go get everyone else’s order. I’ll talk to you later.”
“I should go, too. I’m losing money sitting here. And that hurts worse than my feet.” Kimmy said and winked at Veronica as she left.
Lester stood in the doorway a moment. He had obviously changed his mind about leaving. “Is that a new shoe?” He asked with a nod in the direction of her sketch.
“Yeah. I had a dream about it.” She said and showed him.
“If I was half as talented as you I would have to warn you I was after your job.” He said with a smile. Veronica laughed.
“Well, then I would have to warn you I hate competing.” She said. “Or I should say I’m not competitive at all.”
“Me neither. Unless it’s for sports, games, battle of wits, the last word. Stuff like that.” He grinned.
“Oh, so everything.” She said. Veronica looked at the clock. She had a lot to do before lunch, and before she went to the warehouse. She dropped a hint to Lester by spinning slightly in her chair toward her desk.
“Yeah. I also hate coffee, especially around one in the afternoon on Saturday at The Coffee House.” Lester hinted flirtatiously.
“Dexter!” Marcus yelled from down the hall.
Lester turned to look before saying; “I think he calls me that because I’m like a rolodex or ‘Dex’ for short, and ‘ter’ because they rhyme. I’ll talk to you later.”
Veronica straightened her desk, and when she thought Marcus was done speaking with Lester she went to his office. His door was open. He was with Sasha Tradesman. They were looking at fabric, and from what Veronica could see he hated it. Marcus was straight faced and his brow was tight. It was never a good sign. She knocked on the door. Marcus looked up, and waved for Sasha to leave them. Sasha looked simply relieved for the interruption. “We can talk about this later. But next time have a better selection. I can’t work with this. I want something beautiful—fresh—new! This is none of those things. Show me why I hired you.”
“Yes, Mr. Yutan!” Sasha said looking white. She left the room with her arms full of fabric, and looked as if she was about to cry. Veronica gave her a small smile, but said nothing. It was hard to get attached to people who worked at Saxton Hip, because Marcus was constantly going through new employees, and from what Veronica could tell, Sasha would probably be gone in less than a month. It made it hard to look Sasha in the eye.
“You wanted to see me?” Veronica asked. She came into the room when he motioned for her to enter.
“Yeah. I got another shipment of clothes for you. It’s in the two boxes right there.” He pointed by his office door. “You can take them home with you tonight.”
“Thanks Marcus!” Veronica said. She was about to pick them up and leave the room, as she had done countless times before but he stopped her.
“I was wondering, Veronica, if you would look at this season’s sketch book for me. I trust your advice.” He said. Veronica was momentarily taken back. That was the second compliment of the day. Marcus turned the book around which was already open and lying on his desk. There was a sketch of two dresses, one on each page. Descriptive words littered the borders.
She looked at them. They were much looser than the usual dresses he drew. The pocket’s had bunches of draping fabrics at the hips. And the other had a midriff belt with pleated hips. Both exaggerated the female waist and hips drastically, and her honest opinion w
“What do you think?” He asked her.
“Marcus, I don’t know. I like shoes myself. I’m not a clothes designer.” She said. He stared at her, and waited for a real answer. She didn’t know his mind for clothes as well as she did his taste in shoes. “Honestly?” He nodded, “It’s not you. You use clean lines to draw attention to the hip and your garments are simple, elegant, and sexy. These designs aren’t bad…well; actually, they’re pathetic. These aren’t Yutan dresses. They’re almost trashy. But I’m not a couturiere and I’m probably not seeing their vision. I like wearing clothes, not making them,” she said, pointing to the boxes by his door.
He turned the book around. “You’re right it’s not me.” He flipped the page and then said, “Neither is that, or that.” He flipped the page again saying, “Or that, or that!” He continued on until the book was closed. “That’s why I’m going to send you to Paris, Veronica. Sasha is supposed to be giving me great fabric! Tracy is supposed to be weeding out designs for my approval, and this book is what she gave me. And the fabric! You’re not a clothes designer but you have a discerning eye and know when something is beauty or trash. You’re a natural and should be doing more than making shoes! That is why you’re going to Paris. I want you caught up on all the latest fashion. And when you get back we’ll discuss your future here. I want you as my second, Veronica. So I don’t have crap lying on my desk!” He growled and tossed the book in the trash. “I’ll have Dexter arrange everything. You’ll leave next Monday, and be back Thursday.”
Veronica was speechless. She looked at Marcus. She gaped. A momentary thought came to mind to correct Marcus regarding Lester’s name, but it was immediately discarded. She didn’t want to look through his sketchbooks or take on more work. She loved her job the way it was.