One Night With a Billionaire by Jessica Clare, now you can read online.
If there was a gift Kylie Daniels wished she could gift to the world, it would be the ability to pencil in a great pair of brows. The woman sitting across from her? Her brow game was terrible. She looked as if she’d Sharpied her thin black brows on in the dark while intoxicated and it overwhelmed her narrow face. And what were those little comma things she’d drawn at the end? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Not that Kylie was an expert on makeup, but . . . well, okay, she was. An expert on makeup, that is. She was a licensed cosmetologist, had worked with several singers and stage productions, and could make even the most heinous pores disappear with the right brushes.
And that was why she was sitting in the office of Dirty Dollar Records this lovely July afternoon, sweltering her large ass off as she waited to be called in for an audition. A friend who styled hair for several celebrities had mentioned a record manager who was looking for a makeup artist who was discreet, inventive, and ready to tour with his client. Through a friend of a friend, Kylie had gotten the job interview and now sat, waiting, and hoped that her own makeup didn’t sweat off by the time she got in there.
No one wanted to hire a fat makeup artist in L.A., but they really, really didn’t want to hire one if she looked like hell. Makeup was Kylie’s calling card, after all. She had to look damn good at all times or people questioned her ability. So instead of going for low-key and demure as one normally would for a job interview, she went all out. Kylie wore a tight navy dress with a square sailor top and clinging black mermaid skirt, along with bright red heels. The entire look was retro, and she’d curled half of her dyed blond hair into two fat sausage rolls that perched atop her head like a forties movie star, letting the rest dance on her shoulders. Her makeup was bold, too. Her brows had been penciled into a sweeping line above eyes that were lined with a deep black eyeliner extended to a dramatic point, and the rest of her eyes highlighted with a bright white to make her cat’s eyes pop. Her lashes had been stacked with fake ones to create a thick fan. She’d gone light on the blush to highlight the porcelain look of her skin and picked a dark, cherry red for her lips. Two cherry earrings and a cherry-decorated necklace completed the ensemble.
It was a little kitschy, but she was interviewing to be the makeup artist for Daphne Petty, and Daphne Petty wasn’t exactly demure herself. Known in music circles for her wild lyrics, her nutty stage costumes, and her party-girl attitude, she looked like she’d be a lot of fun to go on tour with.
Kylie hoped so, anyhow. Anything had to be better than the diva she’d recently toured Asia with. Chanteuse had insisted that her crew wear all white and not speak unless spoken to. Kylie couldn’t wait to get away from that job. She’d gotten the boot when she’d returned to the States because, as it had been explained, Chanteuse didn’t like that Kylie “didn’t take care with her appearance” and she felt it reflected poorly on her to have someone like that in her staff.
AKA, your fat butt embarrasses me. It still stung, but Kylie was doing her best to get over it. After all, she questioned the sanity of someone who had a diamond-encrusted toilet seat that she took with her on tour.
So here Kylie was, unemployed once more and hoping for the best.
“Miss Daniels?” a voice called, and Kylie got to her feet, her old-fashioned circular hatbox suitcase in hand.
She sucked up her nervousness and straightened her clothing as she strode forward, then offered her hand to the frowning man waiting for her. “Kylie Daniels,” she told him, keeping her voice cool and confident despite the look he was giving her. This man was clearly conservative, but hopefully his client wouldn’t be.
“Thank you for coming,” he said, and led her back into the office. “I’m Mr. Powers. Please follow me.”
She hefted her case of cosmetics and trailed after him, biting back her annoyance when he passed by the elevator and headed for the stairs instead. Oh sure, take the fat chick in high heels carrying thirty pounds of makeup up the stairs. She hoped he wouldn’t mind her being a little sweaty when they got to the top, then.
Mr. Powers’s office was on the fourth floor, so by the time they arrived, Kylie was breathless and perspiring. Not the look she wanted for her interview, but too late to do anything about it now. Mr. Powers hadn’t said a thing as he led her upstairs, but pointed her into a conference room and smiled politely.
She entered it, set her case down on the table, and sat down on a chair, waiting. Powers left and returned a minute later with a stack of papers and a pen. “We ask that you please sign these non-disclosure agreements, Miss Daniels, as the label is extremely concerned about public image.”
“Of course,” Kylie murmured, taking the pen. She’d had to sign something similar when she’d worked for the diva Chanteuse. She quickly signed and handed the papers back with a smile. See how accommodating I am?
Mr. Powers didn’t sit down at one of the eight empty chairs next to her. Instead, he hesitated, then tucked the paperwork under his arm. “Before you meet Miss Petty, you should know a few things.”
“All right.” Kylie clasped her hands in her lap and kept the smile on her face. She was ready for anything they could throw at her after working in Hollywood for a while. The client doesn’t like for her right side to show up in photographs. This client feels the color green offends her chi so doesn’t wear it. Don’t look this client straight in the eye. Always ask this client open-ended questions as she feels that her staff should challenge her. This client is in character at all times, so please play along.
“Miss Petty fired her last makeup artist due to personality conflicts.” He double-checked the signatures on the paperwork and then gazed down at her, though she got the impression he was fidgety. Uncomfortable. Weird. “The label is quite concerned that Miss Petty is happy. You understand this, yes?”
“Of course.” Where was he going with this?
“However, the label also likes to maintain Miss Petty’s image. In fact, we are concerned with that above all things. Miss Petty’s image must be maintained. That is where you come in.”
“O-okay?” What was the answer he was looking for?
“In short, people pay lots of money to see a vibrant, beautiful Daphne Petty on tour. I expect you to do your part, of course.”
“Of course,” she repeated. This entire conversation was bewildering.
“Which is not to say that Miss Petty has the liberty of firing you. That will be at the label’s discretion.”