Bought: Highest Bidder(4)

By: Lauren Landish

I take a deep breath and shake off the thought, taking the advice from my therapist to focus on the positives in my life. Black may be slimming, but it doesn’t do the spirits any good. I just read a study on colors and the effects they have on the psyche and mood. I huff a small laugh. It was an odd thing to be tested on in my History of Fashion Development class, but it was eye opening.

Today has been wonderful, though. Actually, the past two weeks have been a dream come true. Growing up, I was heavily intrigued by fashion. Christian Dior, Gucci, Prada, Michael Kors, you name it. If it had a name, I wanted to wear it. I dreamed of cutting fabrics and sewing them into gorgeous gowns. One of my favorite gifts my mother ever got me was a drawing pad and a huge set of colored pencils for sketches. I filled the entire book up in only a month.

Over time, my obsession morphed into a lifelong dream of wanting to work in the fashion world, and up until several weeks ago, it looked like that fantasy would never come to fruition. But I finally got my foot in the door, and I’m not going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers.

Now I’m sitting here with my own office on the top floor of Explicit Designs, working one of the most coveted internships in town, living out my wish. It’s unbelievable. Seriously, I absolutely love this job. I get to see all the latest designs and in-style fashions, meet quirky, interesting people and be involved in the entire creative process that goes into making these magnificent creations. It’s funny how things turn out.

Especially considering how I’d almost given up.

A surge of anxiety twists my stomach, and I frown. It chills me to know how close I’d been to abandoning everything, how close I’d been to letting the darkness overwhelm me. Thinking about it makes me shudder, and I try my best to push the unwelcome thoughts away. It’s a constant battle. Dark thoughts always seem to be waiting in the shadows of my mind--stalking me, haunting me, and then pouncing right when I think things are going good.

But things are better now, I try to convince myself. And I need to focus on being happy.

A clinking sound pulls me out of my reverie and causes me to look up. I see my boss, established fashion designer Debra Ferguson, through the glass window of my office, gathering her things and getting ready to pack up for the night.

This is the one thing I don’t like about the floor I work on. The whole area is a large open space with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the offices, and there’s virtually no privacy. Everybody can see everyone else. I suppose it isn’t so bad, but I do miss my privacy.

I watch as Debra, who’s clad in a fashionable red dress that hugs her matronly frame, slings her oversized Prada purse over her right shoulder and slides on her Gucci shades. For a woman in her late forties, she exudes the kind of sex appeal you would find in someone half her age, and it’s one of the reasons why she’s so popular. To me, she embodies everything I want to be when I’m her age: intelligent, confident, sexy and in complete control of her destiny.

As she makes her way out of her office, she doesn’t bother looking my way. For a moment, I wonder if I should step out and tell her goodbye before she leaves. It would be the polite thing to do, yet I stay rooted in my seat.

I shouldn’t, I tell myself, feeling a sense of self-consciousness wash over me. I’ll probably just annoy her.

I don’t know why I think that way. Debra has been mostly gracious to me. I suppose I’m intimidated by her. At least that’s what I think it is. I’m new, and still trying to learn my place. There are only a dozen or so people working here, and everyone has their own routines. I need to learn mine.

Feeling conflicted, I watch as she walks out of the large room and disappears from view. I let out a slight sigh when she’s gone. I don’t know why I get like this, why I let my own self-doubts cause me to miss out. It’s infuriating. And it’s a wonder I’ve even landed this job with all the insecurities weighing me down.

After gently folding and putting away the purple cloth before making sure everything is in order, I grab my vintage Chanel purse and sling it over my shoulder. The purse is a hand-me-down from my good friend and coworker Carla. We shared a class two semesters ago, and I know it’s only because of her that Debra even considered me for this position. I owe her so much already. But wow, this purse. I run my hand along the plush quilted leather, still in disbelief that it’s mine.

I nearly died when she gave it to me, as I’d never owned anything so expensive before. Let alone vintage Chanel. For the longest time, I refused to use it, scared I would somehow lose it or someone would steal it… or worse, I’d get wine or lipstick on it. Instead, I let it collect dust in my closet. I only started using it after Carla scolded me and said to stop being so worried about it. In her mind, it was just a purse, and what was the point of having it if I was never going to use it?