Yet another oldie but goodie. This is the last of my old stuff short of the L Word fan fiction that I’m still debating on bringing over. We’ll see. It’s clear I’ll have to edit each chapter and by edit I mean practically rewrite because my older stuff was downright horrid. Eh, what can I say? I was young. Anyway let me know what you think.
Read, enjoy, comment!
Chapter 1: The Test
There are things that never last forever; the feeling you get from a first kiss, the butterflies a person can make you experience, that fire that draws you to someone that threatens to engulf you. Those, amongst others, are a few of the feelings that I know from experience do not last forever. They say that those other feelings, such as pain or loss don’t last forever either. In this very moment…
“I’m going to miss you so much, Angel,” I say as tears threaten to spill down my face. Looking up at the tall red head in my arms, I try to convey every ounce of my sincerity.
…I hope they’re right.
“I’m going to miss you too, Ash,” she returned, tears streaming freely down her face.
The two embraced for long moments, the finality of the moment washing over them. Angel had been Ashley’s make up artist for five years. Since Ashley graduated high school and started touring, Angel had been there every step of the way. She was close to Ashley’s age, only a few years her senior, and thus the pair became inseparable among the hordes of stuffed shirts and suits surrounding them.
Angel was an excellent make-up artist. Ashley was her only client and though she had no formal training she had a knack for making faces. She had known Ashley so well that she could do her make up according to mood, outfit, climate and circumstance. When Ashley would get trashed the night before and have bags the size of silver dollars under eyes, Angel could make it look like she had just gotten up from a full eight hours of luxurious sleep. When Ashley was in a particularly bad mood Angel could make her disposition seem sunny and bright.
Despite their history, things had gone off the rails over time. Their relationship had become…complicated and neither could really handle the consequences, so they each handled it in their own special way.
“Call me as soon as you go into labor.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be doing the calling, but I’ll have Jay do it,” Angel answered with a laugh.
Ashley rolled hey eyes. “Fine.”
Angel reluctantly pulled away to offer hugs to the rest of the crew. First she grabbed Simon the most hilarious, and equally as flaming, hair stylist. She then moved onto Libby the clothing designer. The entire group had been together for four years. They had done everything together. Whatever Ashley did she brought them along for the ride. Cliff diving in the Bahamas, News Years Eve in Times Square, skiing in Aspen, they were the fantastic four. Ashley looked after them and in turn they worked faithfully for her.
She and Angel were particularly close having had a year alone to really bond and learn to navigate the entertainment business together. This fact was making her departure particularly difficult for the twenty something rock star. Angel did have good reason to be leaving their long-standing group. She had become pregnant by her long time boyfriend. He wasted no time in proposing soon after he found out. Ashley gave them the most magnificent wedding anyone could dream of despite her distaste for Angel’s choice in life partner. She gave them everything she thought she might want in a wedding, if that were to ever happen. Now Angel was leaving the life of tour buses and hard partying for mini vans and play dates.
Ashley didn’t envy that one bit, but she did envy the undying devotion Angel and Jay had for each other. She had introduced them years earlier, in what she now considers one of the biggest mistakes of her life, before her career really picked up. They immediately fell for each other. Naturally as Ashley became more popular, gained more notoriety her schedule too felt the effects of that change. Ashley would need Angel to stay with her for months at a time throughout the year. Be that as it may, Jay stuck by Angel and supported her every move. He flew out to meet her when he could and Ashley did what she could to help arrange their meetings. Helping them be together helped compensate for the terrible guilt she felt for keeping them apart so often as well as unique brand comfort Angel would allow on particularly lonely nights.
After a sufficient amount of tears were shed and goodbyes and promises to call were handed out Angel got into the limo that waited in front of the NYC office and drove off. Ashley watched after it long after it had disappeared in the dense traffic.
“Fuck,” she cursed under her breath as tears threatened to fall.
“You okay, mamacita?” Simon asked in his heavy Hispanic accent.
She shrugged fastening a pair of large, dark sunglasses over her eyes to hide the fresh red rings forming. “I’m fine. Now who the hell am I going to get to do my make-up?” she replied still staring down the street.
“Come inside I’m sure Franky has something worked out.”
She followed him inside only when she was convinced the limo wouldn’t be turning around to bring her Angel back to her.
They rode the elevator in silence up to the twenty-second floor of the record label. Under the weight of her grief she couldn’t help but be a little nostalgic about her time at the label. After her father death and her graduation from high school Ashley had little direction. One day she picked up a guitar unable to express her feelings any other way. From that day forward she never looked back. Music was her savior and she dedicated her life to it. RockRite Records had been eager to sign her looking to cash in on the Davies name. She hated the suits and big wigs in the offices, but she found that once her first album went platinum she was given almost exclusive creative freedom from that point on. She still had to endure painful meetings such as these about the allocation of funds, staffing, etc. They needed a new make-up artist and this was company business. The right make-up artist is crucial to maintaining an artist’s image, especially one as volatile as rock royalty Ashley Davies.
Once they exited the elevator they were quickly greeted by the personal assistant that had been assigned to Ashley. At least they called her a P.A., but Ashley knew better. She was a watchdog, a spy, someone to report to the boss man. Hence Ashley hated her like poison.
“Finally, Ashley, Franklin has been on the war path looking for you.”
“Calm down Madison I was just saying goodbye to my best friend. I’m not in the mood for this bullshit today,” she replied blowing right by her.
“Well be that as it may, you need a new make-up artist pronto because the tour begins next week. I think we may have found someone though.”
Libby chimed in asking, “Who?”
The entire group was invested in Angel’s replacement. This new person would be with them seventy-five percent of the year for the foreseeable future. They didn’t need to just be able to do make-up well, they needed to be able to handle Ashley’s shinning personality and fit well with Simon and Libby.
“Well I just happen to be dating one,” she answered with a big stupid grin and a sing song tone.
Ashley whipped around. “Your girlfriend? I am not having my face done up by someone dating you.”
“Why not?” Madison asked incredulously.
“Because anyone dating you is clearly sight impaired.” Ashley got her answer out right before entering the conference room. Madison seethed as she grabbed a chair. She hated Ashley as much as Ashley hated her.
Ashley sat down at the opposite end of the table facing the CEO of the label. With him to his right sat Sandra the head A&R rep and the Senior Vice President, Arnold sat to his left. Out of the three Ashley favored Arnold the most. He was the most willing to listen to her and the only one who pulled for her on the big business level.
She never removed her shades as she addressed the executives. “Let’s get this over with,” she drawled.
“In some kind of rush Ms. Davies?” Franklin asked even as his eyes never left the paper work in front of him.
He hated working with the insipid tweens, teens and young adults that dominated the label. They were spoiled and hard to work with, but at the end of the day it kept his hundreds of acres manicured and his suits tailored so he put up with it.
“Well you know there’s this little three continent tour I have to prepare for, nothing major,” she shot back sarcastically.
“Right, let’s get started then.” He put his pen down. “It has been brought to my attention that our little search for a make-up artist has come to an end. Madison here says she has the perfect person for the job.”
Madison beamed at the attention.
“I highly doubt the search is over.”
“Well, the only way to know for sure is to try her out. Ms. Duarte could you please retrieve her?”
“Certainly.” She practically skipped from the conference room.
Ashley slouched in her chair as everyone in the room sat silently waiting for Madison’s return. The uncomfortable silence was lifted as Madison returned.
“Franklin, Ashley, I would like to introduce you all to Spencer Carlin.”
A blonde strode in behind Madison. She wore dark, tight, skinny jeans with a fashionably distressed t-shirt. On her feet were a pair of hemp Toms.
Spencer left arm bore bracelets and a watch of different colors and metal varieties, around her neck she wore a heavy nineties style silver chain with a make-up brush shaped medallion that lay prominently across her chest. She had her hair down in messy curls with black highlights running through her locks. Spencer was unlike Ashley and everyone else’s expectations.
“Yowza she’s hot,” Libby muttered under her breath.
Libby claimed to be bi, but she usually leaned more toward men. Ashley often wondered that maybe she was only pretending to like women for the sake of her job.
Ashley had to nod in agreement though. She was gorgeous despite losing a slew of cool points from being with Madison.
Once Spencer and Madison were seated Franklin continued. “Hello, Ms. Carlin. I’m Franklin Devlin. This is Sandra Atkins and Arnold Wilkenson. They are numbers two and three to myself here at RockRite. I’m sure you know Ms. Davies.”
Spencer turned her gaze to the other end of the table. “Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Spencer’s brow furrowed as she looked at the agitated rock star.
Franklin went on undaunted. “Along with Ms. Davies are the other members of her design team. You will have an opportunity to meet them later. From what I hear you come highly recommended by Ms. Duarte here. We hear you’re very talented.”
“Well Madison’s praises aside. I work very hard sir,” she responded with much less enthusiasm than Madison.
“I see that, certified by the Studio Makeup Academy. That’s a very formidable school. From the looks of it you seem to have the right credentials for the job. But there’s no better way to find out then to try you out.”
The smug grin on Spencer’s face fell immediately. “Now? You want me to do her make up now?”
“A good make-up artist is always ready,” Ashley chimed.
Spencer returned her gaze to the small brunette. “I am always ready.” Spencer never took her eyes of Ashley. “Mads get my bag from the car.”
Madison sprung from her seat and was to the elevator in a heartbeat.
Ashley’s eyes went wide behind her Dolce and Gabanna sunglasses. She was thankful she had them on at that moment. Ashley had called her bluff and Spencer wasn’t backing down.
Simon and Libby shared a look. This was going to be good.
Moments later Madison returned out of breath with a medium sized case. One far smaller than the average traveling make-up kit.
“Shall we work here?” Spencer asked Franklin.
“Sure. You can use that table and chair in the corner there. As you know an artist usually gets an hour before a performance to do their work, but our lovely Ms. Davies here has a horrid time management problem, so I think forty minutes will do.”
Spencer flushed. These were extreme circumstances. She had to do the make-up for this huge rock star in front of the CEO of the label with only forty minutes. She silently prayed she was up to the challenge. Spencer looked at Madison who gave her a smile and a thumbs up.
“Hurry up. I have things to do today.”
Spencer rolled her eyes as she rose from her chair and joined Ashley in the corner. She opened her bag and pulled a few things out. She gave them a nod when she was ready.
Spencer leaned over to get a closer look at Ashley. That was rather difficult with the large glasses in the way. When she realizes Ashley wouldn’t be removing them anytime soon she did it herself. Finally seeing the rock star’s face up close and personal she quickly surmised that she looked nothing like what Spencer saw on MTV. She was much more beautiful than Spencer ever expected. Of course she noticed Ashley was hot, but now that she was this close she realized that Ashley was downright gorgeous. After inspecting her face she noticed the red circles ringing her eyes and felt a wave of sympathy.
“Take a picture, maybe it’ll help you get this job.”
So much for that. After Spencer was confident she knew the right tone of her skin and the proper undertones she’ll need to accentuate the lines of Ashley’s face she got to work. She was able to push her nerves aside when she realized she’d done this a thousand times. If she just sticks to what she knows she do just fine and in the end if it’s not good enough then screw them.
As she worked she took some solace in the fact that Ashley had been worked on many times before. She knew right when to closer her eyes, look up, blot and suck her cheeks in. Considering her poor attitude, Spencer had expected this process to be far more difficult.
“Where’d you meet her Mads? She doesn’t seem like your type,” Libby asked quietly.
“We went to high school together. Lost touch during college then ran into each other in L.A. one day. We started talking again and one thing let to another.” Madison had a smile on her face as she watched her girlfriend from across the room.
“5 minutes left Ms. Carlin,” Franklin informed the young artist.
“Don’t need them.”
“Are you sure babe? Take the time if you have it,” Madison worriedly advised.
“I’m good. All done, Ashley.”
Spencer spun Ashley’s chair around and let everyone take a look. Simon and Libby were rushed over to inspect Spencer’s work. Franklin had final say, but their input was crucial to his decision. They needed to be able to work alongside Spencer.
Libby took an intake of air while Simon put his hand across his chest. Both of their eyes were wide as they looked on. They looked like jungle cats stalking their prey as they turned Ashley face this way and that. Spencer was beginning to get worried as several minutes passed without a word. She looked over to Madison who shrugged in response. She could never figure out the habits of the fashionistas.
“Well tell me something guys,” Ashley demanded.
Just as Spencer was confident she wouldn’t be getting this job Simon was first to speak as he looked from Ashley to Libby. “Oh my God.”
“It’s flawless,” Libby agreed immediately.
“Do you see the shading?”
“I haven’t seen her tan look this good in years.”
“She shaved a centimeter off her cheek bones.” He looked at Spencer. “Girl you’re a master!” Simon squealed like a little girl as he and Libby grabbed Spencer in a hug.
She allowed the strange, if not a touch inappropriate, show of affection. Spence couldn’t be too relaxed just yet, the test wasn’t over.
“Well it looks good to us from over here. Only thing left to do is see if Ms. Davies likes it,” Franklin intoned.
Madison offered a large hand mirror handing it to Ashley face down.
Spencer swallowed hard, all eyes on Ashley.
Turning over the mirror and quickly putting it down, she grabbed her sunglasses and put them back on while heading for the door. “Tour bus leaves here at seven A.M. next Monday. Don’t be late. Let’s go.” She walked out the door, Simon and Libby waving goodbye and say congratulations as they scurry behind her.
Totally unsure of what just happened Spencer turns to Madison.
“Looks like you got the job.”