If love were by design, p.6

If Love Were By Design, page 6


If Love Were By Design

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  “What? I cashed mine the day I got it!” Kimmy said. “I’m going to pay my schooling with it during lunch. Speaking of lunch—I want pizza. Want to come?”

  “Of course. I have a lot to do.” Veronica said.

  “What’s with the box?” Kimmy asked.

  “It’s William Berks’ shoes.” Veronica said.

  “I’ll take it with me. The postman comes in about an hour. I’ll give it to him.” Kimmy said. “The address is correct and everything?”

  “Yeah, I called his assistant last week, and got his shoe size, address, everything. I was careful to get it right, because the last thing I need is to have to start over again, or have him come back.” Veronica said. “Besides I don’t have any more leather at home, and it’s expensive!”

  “No, you have almost one of everything at home. I swear you could work from there.” Kimmy said.

  “What?” Veronica asked, but she had heard her. The idea surprised her and it wasn’t a bad idea. If her apartment was bigger and she found someone to sell them, she might be able to make shoes in her free time. It would take up her weekends, but it might be something she was willing to do. She would have to think about it. “That’s actually a good idea.” She mentioned as she thought.

  “What?” Kimmy asked.

  “I’ll talk to you about it at lunch, but I’m seriously thinking about making my own shoes. Even if it’s on the side to start out with . . . ,” Veronica whispered. “I’ll talk to you about it later.”

  “Okay.” Kimmy said and took the box. “Meet me up front at noon, and we’ll go have pizza.”

  Veronica had her close the door when she left. She completely immersed herself back into her work, but a minute later the phone rang. She groaned, “What now?” Then picked it up, “Veronica Mitchell.”

  “Hi. It’s William, William Berks.” He added, “We had lunch two weeks ago.”

  “Oh.” She winced as if his name caused her physical pain. “Hello,” she wished she hadn't sounded displeased to hear from him. He caught her tone right away and it took him a moment to say why he called.

  “Did you get my flowers?” He asked.

  “Your flowers?” She asked and looked at them again. They sat on her desk impressively. She wondered why she hadn’t got that before. He was apologizing, and up to that point she was sounding put out and rude. “Those are from you?”

  “Yeah. I . . . I sent them as an olive branch to say I’m sorry. I called last week because I saw the paper and wanted to apologize but I was told you’ve been off since then.” He paused. “I’m truly sorry about the newspaper article. I didn’t write it, and I would never authorize it. It’s selling papers. Everyone knows to believe only ten percent of what you read. The only things true in that article is my upcoming line and we were spotted at the park.”

  “It called me a money shark.” She said with a laugh but she was genuinely upset about it. She couldn’t help but add, “My parents could have seen that. My boss did! It was pretty bad. Yeah.” She paused before saying, “But thank you for apologizing. You didn’t have to send flowers.”

  “Yeah, I did.” He said quickly.

  “No, you didn’t. But I am curious, what is, ‘Pier 54, June 3rd, 9:00 p.m. sharp, The Million Dollar Baby?’” She asked.

  “That’s my yacht and you’ve never been on a boat. I’m having a birthday party this weekend. It’s going to have about a hundred people. There’ll be food, champagne, DJ, and fireworks. I’ll be thirty. It’s a big one. If you want to come you can bring a friend—or a couple. As many people you want.”

  “I have one best friend, Kimmy, and that’s it.” She laughed lamely. “I’m not popular like you.”

  “Bring her.” He suggested.

  “I don’t know, William.” She said.

  “I promise you won’t end up in the paper.” He said.

  “That’s funny.” She said and laughed under her breath. “I’ll think about it.”


  The summer night was warm. It was twilight, and the sunset glowed orange and pink. It’s one of Veronica’s favorite combinations of hues. It was a perfect evening for a party on a boat, not that Veronica decided based upon the weather. It was Kimmy who talked her into it, begging more than anything, explaining how much fun they would have. So they went together.

  There was a sea of people on board the yacht by the time they arrived at a quarter of eight, more than one hundred as he had estimated, in fact a lot more than one hundred. Veronica was amazed how many people had showed up. He wasn’t being arrogant about having many friends and being an extreme extrovert. He was friendly.

  She was equally impressed with the size and grandeur of his yacht. It easily held the large crowd of chatty people already warmed up by champagne, proof that everyone came early and started drinking a long time ago.

  White lights decorated the bow of the boat overhead, and there was a DJ under the covered portion of the deck. A few people dressed in white suits served champagne. Overall, it was beautiful, and Veronica couldn’t believe she could be invited to such a grand event. She felt oddly out of place, but she knew it would go away after a few drinks.

  “Hey, you made it!” William said when Veronica and Kimmy stepped onboard. William had stopped talking to a small group when he saw them. He helped them onto the yacht, and eased Veronica’s feeling of awkwardness by genuinely smiling at her. She was supposed to be there. Veronica held out a white bag that was stuffed with excessive tissue paper, much more than was deemed necessary.

  “You didn’t have to get me anything!” William said, but began to dig into the bag like a kid at Christmas.

  “Its cheap cologne, but I like it. I didn’t know what to get you. So . . .” she said as he continued to dig into the tote.

  He finally found it under the wads of paper. “I’ll try it.” He opened it and smelled the aroma. “Hey! It’s not bad. You’re right! It does smell good. I’ll wear it!” He put it on and smiled, then shoved the box of cologne into his pocket for safekeeping. “There’s champagne and wine floating around, and chocolate covered strawberries with rum in them. There is catered food downstairs, more like a buffet, if you’re hungry.” He told Kimmy. Then he turned to Veronica and said, “But I want to borrow you, Veronica. I want you to meet someone.” He took her hand and led her through the crowd of people. “I want to introduce you to Andrea Thomas. She would be the ideal investor for you to get started. She has opened several stores, each more successful than the one before. She would be a perfect partner for you because she loves to be hands on with the business aspect of her stores and she has made publicizing an art form. In short, she’s brilliant, like you.”

  “William, wait. I’m nervous. I’m not sure . . .” She hesitated.

  “Nothing’s set in stone. I just want you to meet her. That’s all.” He said.

  “I didn’t even know you were still thinking about this.” She replied.

  “Well, I am.” He added, “It’s a meet and greet. No pressure.” He escorted her through the crowd looking for her. He waved at a woman with blond curly locks, who was nearly forty, and strikingly beautiful: bright gray eyes, thin physique, and warm smile. “Andrea!” William called out as they got close enough to hear each other over the music. “This is Veronica Mitchell, the woman I told you about. She works for Marcus Yutan, makes his best shoes and is extremely talented. I have twenty pairs myself. I had wanted to meet her for a while, and being covered in blood was probably my worst first impression ever, but it’s not a perfect world . . .” William laughed and said nothing more when he saw Veronica brighten from embarrassment.

  “Yes, I remember you telling me about her last week.” Andrea said. She looked at Veronica in one sweeping glance as if assessing her talent. Andrea smiled widely. “So, this is she.” She paused and talked directly to Veronica, “I went into Saxton Hip after William raved about you. I looked at your shoes, and bought a pair—that’s saying something! I’d be very interested in a lu
nch meeting with you. William tells me you want to make shoes, but need a backer and someone to run the shop.” She took a glass of champagne as someone walked by with a tray. William also took two and handed one to Veronica. “I think we should meet next week. I’m wondering how long it would take you to make a few to get us up and running. I’m thinking at least twenty or thirty different shoes to start. You’d have to begin right away if we were to open the store by fall. It would be hard work, but if you’re interested . . .” Andrea pulled out a card from in her purse and gave it to Veronica, “call me next week. We will hammer out our ideas, and see if it fits.”

  “I will!” Veronica promised and took the card. Before she had time to say anything else William spoke.

  “Thanks, Andrea. But she’s a bit apprehensive. She’s loyal, and that’s never a bad thing. We might have to convince her!” William said with a laugh. “Have you seen Jeremy King?”

  “Yeah, he’s talking to the captain—something about wanting to drive the yacht.” Andrea smiled.

  “Oh, no. We’ll crash!” William jested, and then whisked Veronica away. When they were out of earshot, William said, “Jeremy King is a good friend of mine. He would also be a good business partner for you. Not as good if you ask me, but . . .”

  “William, wait.” She grasped his arm. He turned around and looked at her. But she knew her nerves were showing. It didn’t help she had to look in the most gorgeous green eyes she’d ever seen. He was so attractive it was nearly intimidating. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate this. I am very interested in designing for myself, but I don’t do anything that doesn’t feel familiar. I’ll most likely call her. I mean I will, even if it’s only to find out what could happen. But I don’t do anything fast.”

  “I already figured that out.” He said, smiling.

  “I’d rather drink champagne and wish you happy birthday.” She shrugged, “So, happy birthday, William Berks.”

  “William! And thanks.” He corrected her with a smile. “I won’t introduce you to him then. I’ll help you find your friend. What’s her name again?”

  “Kimmy.” She reminded him. Together they tracked her down. She was by the DJ eating strawberries from a silver platter and holding champagne while looking very pleased about the taste of everything including the music.

  At exactly nine o’clock when the boat launched, fireworks shot off the stern of the yacht over the water after the setting sun fell behind the horizon. It was a great beginning to what Veronica knew was going to be an exciting, fun night.

  There were so many people that Veronica had to hold onto Kimmy or she’d lose her. The two times they weren’t paying attention, it took a half hour to find each other again. Even with the minor mishaps of losing each other, they were both having an amazing time.

  Champagne was everywhere, as several waiters with a tray walked around with flutes of wine and champagne. Despite the buffet downstairs there were also small plates of seafood hors d'oeuvres being served. And the biggest surprise of all, everyone was given a digital camera party favor. It made an easy icebreaker as freely drinking, loose–lipped people took pictures of total strangers and talked jovially. After a few hours people began to complain of seeing more buttons on the camera than they had remembered while sober. It was always funny.

  Veronica and Kimmy each ate over a dozen chocolate covered strawberries with rum, and countless glasses of expensive wine. They danced until their feet were sore and then finally stopped in a desperate search of the restroom.

  It was nearly midnight when they ran into William again. They bumped into each other on the stairs going down below deck, as he was coming up. “Oh, hi! Are you having fun?” He asked when he saw her. His hair was wet, and he had changed his clothes.

  “Yeah, I don’t think I’ve drank this much since college.” She laughed. “Are you having fun?”

  “I am, thank you.” He smiled. “My best friend Colin is here from Texas. He has to leave in the morning, unfortunately. But anyway, he’s kind of a clown when drunk, and thought it was funny to toss me overboard.” He explained when he noticed her curious expression because of his wet hair. “So I showered and changed.” He paused before asking, “Do you want to dance?”

  Veronica smiled and shook her head to say, “It’s okay.” She was tipsy and in desperate need of a bathroom. She disregarded his invitation and then quickly explained with a question. “Where is the restroom?”

  “They’re down one more flight of stairs. Third door on your left, last door on the right or straight back through the master cabin.” William instructed them.

  “Thanks.” Veronica said as she and Kimmy went down the stairs. They both groaned when they saw that there were long lines for the two restrooms. Kimmy quickly took her by the arm and marched her down to the end of the hall. The last door, the master cabin, was closed, but no one was lingering nearby.

  “Yes! No one’s in here!” Kimmy said as she entered. It was an impressive room, with a massive king bed with elaborate dark cherry finish. The walls, cupboards and built–in drawers had the same rich wood stain. In the very back was a large bathroom with a light on. “This guy is seriously rich if this is actually his boat.” Kimmy acknowledge walking into the room as she glanced around.

  “He mentioned it is.” Veronica recalled.

  “You know what else I think?” Kimmy asked. “I think he likes you. He asked you to dance and you turned him down!”

  “That’s all in your head, Kimmy. I think he’s naturally friendly. Don’t read too much into it. I’m not.” She said. Kimmy shut the bathroom door and Veronica fixed her hair in a round mirror on the wall.

  “He probably thinks you take everything slow, which anyone who talked to you longer than five minutes would figure out. Plus you don’t exactly drop a lot of hints when you do like someone.” Kimmy said through the door. “So do you like him?”

  “He’s extremely attractive. I won’t deny that.” Veronica admitted.

  “Oh, my gosh, I wouldn’t, either. He has that pretty boy look to him; the man is drop dead gorgeous.” Kimmy said. “You have my permission to date him.”

  “He dates models, Kim. Besides, the first time I met him I broke his nose, and the second time I didn’t leave my apartment for two weeks.” She added, “I would have stayed home longer, but I was getting bedsores, or is that cabin fever. Anyway, I was getting sick of it. So I put on the scarlet letter and went to work disgraced.” Veronica jested.

  Kimmy came out of the bathroom and they switched places. “I’m just saying . . .” Kimmy began to convey.

  “Well, don’t.” Veronica interrupted her as Kimmy continued to talk through the door. But this time Kimmy scolded Veronica for not mentioning the wind messed up her hair and that she needed to reapply lipstick. Veronica said nothing until she washed her hands and came out. When she saw Kimmy, she was laying on his bed. “What are you doing? Get off of there!” Veronica hissed. Kimmy simply patted the bed for Veronica to get on it. “No!” She laughed.

  “It’s a water bed!” Kimmy laughed, “Kinky, right?”

  “A water bed in a boat? Someone wasn’t thinking.” Veronica smiled. She ignored her previous reservations, and jumped onto it. They laughed because they were doing something completely inappropriate. “I can’t even sit!” Veronica said and laughed harder. “This is uncomfortable. Plus wouldn’t that make the rocking of the boat that much worse?”

  “Maybe he doesn’t sleep on it. He’s rich, and rich people usually do eccentric, asinine things. And this is about as asinine as it gets, unless he hits floating golf balls off the back of his yacht and has someone else retrieve them, and blames his reasoning for his ridiculous behavior on global warming and pollution.” Kimmy slurred. “I wouldn’t sleep here, anyway!”

  “Nor I. I would probably have nightmares about drowning in my sleep.” Veronica said. She laughed so hard it reminded her how much she had to drink. “Well, if I drink anymore champagne I’ll be crawling home.”

bsp; “Me too!” Kimmy laughed. “But I was under the impression the yacht didn’t get back to the harbor until at least three.”

  “Yeah. I heard someone say that, too. What time is it?” Veronica asked.

  “A little after midnight.” Kimmy announced pointing to a clock on the wall.

  “We are so lame if it’s only midnight and we’re complaining about wanting to go home.” Veronica said. “I’m having a blast, though.”

  “Me, too.” Kimmy agreed.

  “I’ve drank too much, it’s making me tired.” Veronica laughed.

  “Me, too.” Kimmy chimed. “Either we need to drink more or sleep.”

  “Do you think anyone would notice if we fell asleep in here?” Veronica asked.

  “You just said you wouldn’t sleep on this bed.” Kimmy teased her.

  “We’ll nap. It’s not the same thing! I can set my alarm on my phone for three in the morning.” Veronica said and started digging in her purse, which had her phone and new camera in it, but stopped when Kimmy interrupted her thoughts.

  “I wouldn’t sleep in here unless I locked the door and put a chair in front of it. What if someone came in while we’re passed out?” Kimmy asked.

  “Kimmy, that’s terrible! You have a morbid mind. No one would do that, and if they did accidentally come in, they would leave.” Veronica said aghast. Kimmy however, jumped off the bed, locked the door, and then put a chair in front of it before returning to the comfort of the bed to lie down.

  “It’s a safety measure.” She took one of the throw pillows for herself, and gave one to Veronica. “This was fun. You should stay friends with him, even if it is for the occasional boat party. But you’d have to invite me.” She said fluffing the pillow.

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