Ooookay . . . Daphne wasn’t going to be allowed to fire her if they didn’t get along, but the last person was fired because they didn’t get along? It was all very confusing. She kept smiling, though she was starting to feel a little worried. “I think I can handle that?”
“Good. I see you brought your tools with you?”
She patted her bag. “Of course.”
“We would like for you to do Miss Petty’s makeup for her. Think of it as a screen test.”
It wasn’t the strangest request she’d gotten. “That’s fine. Any particular look you’re going for with Miss Petty on this new tour?”
A strange look crossed Mr. Powers’s face. “Healthy. Just healthy will be fine.”
Healthy? “I’m sure I can give her a natural glow.”
“Great.” He gave her a tight little smile. “I’ll let Miss Petty know that you’re here.”
“Thank you,” Kylie murmured, and Mr. Powers left her alone in the conference room. The air was on upstairs—thank goodness—and so it wasn’t quite so hot. Her sticky forehead dried, and as she waited for Daphne Petty, she eyed the posters on the walls of prior tours, the platinum and gold records. This was a big break and a good job, and she crossed her fingers under the table that Daphne wouldn’t have a problem with Kylie’s non-Hollywood-sized butt.
Eventually, though, she got bored. Time ticked away and the clock showed she’d been sitting in the conference room for a full forty-five minutes without someone stopping in. She freshened her own makeup, and then dug through her kit, mentally trying to put together a look for Daphne Petty. From what she remembered, Daphne had bright eyes, so she could highlight those. Eye makeup and lip color would depend on the shade of Daphne’s hair, and from what she’d seen in tabloids, Daphne tended to dye it all kinds of strange colors. Unless she went for a totally nude palette? She dug through her tubes of glosses and shadows, thinking. Of course, if Daphne’s hair was pink again, the colors would have to be really subtle—
Someone crashed into the door behind her, and Kylie jumped in her chair. She spun around, startled. A moment later, the door opened, and someone stumbled in. It was a woman with big round sunglasses that covered most of her face. Her platinum blond hair was cut into a short, messy bob that looked as if it hadn’t been washed in at least a week. She wore an old Ramones T-shirt over a pair of faded capri jeans and wobbled as she stood in the doorway. “You the makeup girl?”
It was Daphne Petty.
Her voice was slurred. Drunk. Lovely. “That’s me.” Kylie stood up and extended her hand. “My name is Kylie Daniels. It’s very nice to meet you, Miss Petty.”
Daphne looked her up and down. “You look like a fat Marilyn Monroe. Or Bettie Page. You know they don’t like big butts here in L.A.,” she mock-whispered. “Careful that my trainer doesn’t see you. He won’t let me eat anything but lettuce.” She dropped into a seat next to Kylie and pulled her sunglasses off, rubbing her face. “All right. I’m here.” She waved a hand in the air. “Make me beautiful.”
Kylie just stared. The once-lovely Daphne Petty was skeletally thin. Track marks lined up one arm and down the other, along with scars at her wrists from cutting. Her skin was blotchy and broken in a few spots, a bright red patch on the corner of her mouth. Her eyes were sunken and her color was extremely unhealthy.
She looked like hell.
And now, Kylie understood all the corporate-speak that Mr. Powers had given her. Daphne couldn’t fire her because she was a mess. And the label didn’t want a “look” for Daphne for her tour. They wanted Kylie to hide Daphne’s ill health. They wanted her to paint her up and make her look normal.
They didn’t need a cosmetologist—they needed a goddamn magician. Kylie gave Daphne a pitying look. Daphne, whose dilated eyes were glancing around the room but focusing on nothing. A magician, Kylie amended, or a miracle worker. She was neither, but she’d do what she could. She pulled out her airbrushing kit and plugged it in, then handed Daphne a face-cleansing wipe. “Once your face is clean, we’ll begin. Let’s start with a primer, shall we?”
An hour later, Daphne Petty’s thin face had been contoured to make her appear more robust. Her sharp cheekbones were disguised, her too-thin nose widened with a bit of shadowing, and then she’d pretty much airbrushed every possible inch of Daphne she could reach. The track marks on her arms were covered. The red spots on her face—dear lord, Kylie hoped they weren’t from meth—were concealed. Her eyes were artfully highlighted and emphasized to bring out their color, and Kylie picked out cheery, warm colors for her eyes and her mouth. When she was finished, she showed Daphne—who’d sat in a dazed high the entire time—the mirror.
At the sight of her face, Daphne had smiled and seemed to notice Kylie again. “Wow. I really like this. You do good work, Fat Marilyn.”
Wow. Was that nickname supposed to be a compliment? Kylie wasn’t sure. She snorted. “Thanks. I try.”
She gave Kylie a shrewd look. “So can I ask why you want this job? Touring is hard and brutal, and I’m going to be a raging bitch pretty much ninety percent of the time.”
“I like traveling,” Kylie lied. “I like seeing new places.”
“Bullshit,” Daphne said. “This is my fourth national tour, and I know the only thing you’re going to see is the back of the tour bus and my greenroom. So why not spit a little truth for me?”