To Bebe, all she could focus on was dodging questions and answers. Each one of them shot at her, one after the other, almost never-ending, as she looked around the bedroom trying to find her things and realizing the choice colors didn’t look as good in the morning as they did at night.
Really, who would pick florals for wallpaper? Talk about tacky.
“You sure you can’t stay just a little longer?” Asked the man who’s name she conveniently forgot about.
Bebe shook her head as she hopped in place to slip on last night’s now torn tights. “No, sorry! It’s my first day, remember?” She was starting to realize that for a guy who had promised to ease for worries for a night, he sure seemed like the forgetful one considering her drunken stupor was her blabbing on about the only thing she’d had on her mind for weeks on end.
He’d already gotten out of bed and wrapped his arms around her waist as fast as he could manage as if the anchor of pale skin and a bird cage’s chest would be enough to keep Bebe back. “C’mon…” He purred in Bebe’s ear and it only made her want to get away, “They won’t mind if you’re a couple of minutes late…” The kisses up and down the back of her neck suddenly weren’t appealing anymore. “You’re just an intern. Who cares?”
Huh, would you look at that? Maybe Mr. Tacky did like to listen when he suited the moment.
“Yeah.” She huffed, searching the bottomless pit of her purse for fresh lipstick to smear on. Mascara was just too much effort if she wanted to leave five minutes ago. “And I don’t want to miss a single minute of it.” She decided she could fix her curls on the way out.
Tall, Dark, and Messy frowned, almost unwilling to stay far for too long. “I doubt they’ll miss you.” He was already ruining his chances of a quicky without even realizing it. “They probably pick up interns every second. If you’re a minute late then someone could just pick up for you.”
Bebe finally turned around to face him, more anger in her eyes than ever before. “That’s my fucking point!” If only her dear mother could be around to see her darling daughter curse and sleep around as she pleased. “It’s Vogue! Don’t you know who they are!?”
Lifting one foot, she began to fix the strap of her heel, another hand pressed against the disgusting cracked and peeling wallpaper. As ridiculous as she looked, she would never refuse to defend herself.
Well, really, she was defending Vouge but it’s the same thing!
“They’re the most influential fashion magazine of our time! Of course they’ll find someone to pick for me because--” She stumbled as she switched hands to put on her other heel, “because they have people throwing themselves at the company all the time! You think I can miss out on an opportunity like this just so I can spend ten more minutes listening to your stupid bed squeak!?” She stomped her foot down as she stared back at her disappointment of the night with a scowl.
Said disappointment of the night would’ve almost cowered at the sight of Bebe’s face had his head not been in the clouds with his hands reaching towards her chest. “Hey, I happen to have done a great job last night.”
She laughed as she opened up the apartment door and took one foot out, more than ready to not look back. “My hand does a better job. Goodbye! Don’t try to call me!” As if she would ever give a one night stand a way to find her, anyway. Maybe if he’d offered her breakfast.
A girl had to have standards, after all.
As Bebe ran down the rocky paths of the streets and sidewalks, praying with every fumble and stumble that her newly strapped heels were worn in just enough not to snap, she dashed past a cafe and only barely caught the time inside.
She only had less than an hour and she still needed to get back to her apartment and come back all the way around to get to her internship on time!
Really, as Bebe searched through her purse for her keys and a subway token or two to try to plan ahead for the way back, she thought of every single thing she could’ve done to prevent this.
As she pushed aside a hoard of businessmen, Bebe told herself that she didn’t have to have gone out last night.
But her apartment was so underwhelming. She deserved a night out, right?
As she stepped on the toes of a mother dragging her child towards the exit, Bebe argued with herself that she’d already gone out for a drink seven times. And she’d only been in Paris for two weeks.
But she needed to meet new people and make friends! She couldn’t spend her entire life just as lonely as she’d been on her family farm.
As her wild curls got caught between the closing subway doors, Bebe knew she wasn’t exactly making friends. Really, could any guy she’d met so far be called a friend?
But , she reasoned, she’d have to learn all about the new places to meet new people.
And as she stepped off of the elevator and finally got her hair out of the door before being pushed towards the stairs, Bebe decided it was reason enough to go out tonight again.
And standing in front of her apartment complex, craning her neck to see where her tiny little apartment window rested on the highest floor, Bebe reminded herself of yet another reason she oh so enjoyed her drunken nights out.
Sure, the spending money was meant to be for food and any extra necessities, but who needed necessities when there were plenty of cute guys more than willing to offer a free drink or two and a warm place to sleep.
Kicking open her apartment door, Bebe coughed when she was hit with a face full of dust blown her way. Waving it off, she tried not to cringe at the feeling of dirt collecting on her hands as she grabbed her portfolio and extra paperwork off the kitchen counter.
Really, any place was better than here.
But it was supposed to be her home until she made it up to those corporate ranks. And until she was living in the heart of Paris, she supposed this would have to do.
Taking off her heels to run down four sets of stairs and slam them back on to reach her subway trip back to the city center, Bebe knew she’d have to pass the cafe from earlier and get a glimpse at the hour when she could.
Little did Bebe know as she shifted her weight from side to side and nibbled on the nail of her left ring finger that her fate would be sealed one way or another with a Polish journalist visiting the country for his work.
Of course, Kyle Broflovski wasn’t there in hopes of running into a pretty blonde milkmaid and starting up a conversation about the weather in a desperate attempt to get a few words out of pretty lips and a pretty mind. Instead, he was there because his entire writing department decided to send out the only field journalist with four years and a half of French under his belt.
Logically, it made sense considering he was the only journalist there who could speak it but it still made him bitter to think about.
His accent was as thick as were his eyebrows but between the announcement and the plane ride over, he’d been cramming his French to Polish dictionary down his own throat like it was water and the fashionable streets of Paris were a desert.
So far, his exactly six days, five hours, and two minutes of tourism weren’t all terrible. He’d had a good cup of coffee for starters. And a decent muffin.
Even if the guy who served him seemed a little jittery.
Not to mention there was a radio playing music. Some were in English but he tried to focus on the French, writing down as fast as he could to test his translation skills.
Really, this was just an elaborate ruse on his side. He’d was doing whatever he could to not dare touch the topic. He desperately wanted to write about something else. Anything. Even farm life in France.
Writing article after article about milk curdling to turn into cheese would’ve been more interesting to him than writing a column about the fashion in the country. Suddenly a certain French designer becomes all the rage and now he had to know everything about the subculture.
Grumbling to himself, Kyle scratched out a few words in his leather-bound notebook angrily with his pen when he’d realized he’d lost himself in his thoughts and misspelled the word for ‘fashion’.
And caught the attention of possibly the last person he’d wanted to spot him.
“You can’t be here.”
Kyle lifted his head, something on the back of his neck pricking his skin and making him sweat. Turning his head, he came face-to-gut with a police officer.
His French was accented, heavily so, but it came with an edge almost foreign to Kyle.
“ I-I ’ m sorry, I don’t--” Kyle was flipping through his dictionary as fast as he could manage, scrambling for a way to speak. He knew what to say. He knew how to say it. The words were engraved in his mind at this point and yet in a wave of panic he couldn’t get himself to react fast enough.
It was like the words were the croissant he’d eaten in the morning, soft and stuck in his throat and he couldn’t cough it up. No matter what he did his mind couldn’t translate fast enough.
Kyle felt like time moved faster than his mind as the police officer grabbed his arm and dragged him from his chair and pulled him towards the doors.
Now, Kyle began to panic. “ No, no, wait! Stop! ” He began yelling in Polish, not knowing what else to do as he snatched up his journal from the table and began to try to pull away from the officer, kicking with what he could despite knowing it would just damn him further. “ Stop! I’m allowed to be here! ” He didn’t know why he was yelling despite knowing the officer obviously didn’t understand him.
As the doors to the cafe were opened and Kyle was thrown out of the place, he was pushed right into the direction of Bebe herself.
She’d been a little too focused on the clock by the window, counting down the minutes and trying to figure out the quickest route to her job as if standing still would’ve been quicker than walking her way there.
But, when he looked towards the door and the commotion, Bebe reacted just too slow.
So up her folder went into the air, papers flying everywhere and falling daintily to the rocky road as if they had all the time in the world, unlike their very frazzled owner.
Bebe was already moving from her butt to her knees, moving eventually onto her heels and hearing something in the material snap as she reached up to grab whatever she could out of the air to stuff it back into her folder.
Kyle was still speaking Polish, apologizing as fast as he could as he grabbed everything possible off of the ground, trying to ignore the semi scared look on Bebe’s face.
Growing up, her mother always told her to trust the police. That if they did something, it was with good reason.
Of course, her town (technically a village) had exactly three policemen. The rules were a little different there.
But still, in Bebe’s unknowing mind, if the police officer was kicking someone out of a normal looking coffee shop, they obviously had to be trouble.
In her haste, Bebe got up to her feet and ran off with whatever it was that she’d been able to grab out of the sky into sloppily painted nails before she could even look back and see Kyle yelling after her in French.
“Wait!” Kyle yelled, beginning to chase after her, “You left this here!” He waved in the air the thick stack of papers he’d gotten but he stopped when Bebe was out of his sight.
Kyle was more than willing to accept defeat. Well, in a way. How many people every hour, every minute, lost some important papers and figured out how to move on from the depression of no longer having something they wrote in a minute?
At least, that’s what Kyle would’ve reasoned to himself before deciding to snoop and figure out who exactly this girl was.
But it was there, written in a bold letterhead on waxen paper. It was like a chocolate factory and Kyle was holding the promise of his very own golden ticket.
The Condé Nast Publications Inc.
This women. The one with sex hair, a broken heel, and ripped stockings was also the one working for Vogue publications.
She was there.
Pulling the strings behind each issue about whatever fashion trends were the newest craze and whatever perfectly structured woman was the new face of this month’s article. She was the one helping organize the very existence of the magazine.
Pulling the page up a little higher, he found her name.
Bebe Stevens .
Grinning to himself, Kyle tucked away the packet of papers and began to follow where he last saw Bebe.
He began to walk without thinking, wondering if he saw her face here or there. If the speck of blonde hair in the distance wasn’t just his imagination as his mind was filled with written articles for publishing team. That maybe the sound of heels was her nearby and not just his own thoughts clouded by the praise he knew he’d get back home.
Soon enough, Kyle was realizing he’d been walking in a circle.
He was sure he’d walked past that flower stand more than once. The subway entrance was becoming familiar too. Not to mention he’d seen that police officer on a stroll and his dirty look more times than he could’ve counted.
Not sure where to go, Kyle decided to play his cards and test fate by making a left instead of a right.
As if that could help.
He only ended up running into someone’s back when he looked the wrong way and ended up falling backward. Not to mention his golden ticket began to bleed ink when it fell into a nearby puddle.
“ Fuck!” He groaned loudly, his head spinning from the impact of the unpolished road.
“Do yo… eed some… elp?”
“ What?” Kyle finally dared to open his eyes and found himself face to face… to face with a farmer. Or was it two? He wasn’t too sure anymore because the world was still spinning and a rugged angel was sticking his hand out to help him off the floor.
Oh. Right. French. “S-Sorry…” Kyle finally took the man’s hand and stood up, groaning to himself when he found most of the packet nearly unreadable and the puddle almost completely gone now. “ Shit …” Picking it up off the floor with his thumb and pointer finger, he watched the brown water drip down from a corner and back onto the road.
“Was it important?” The man asked, glancing down at the ruined papers.
It was. To Kyle, everything in his hand smudged and blurred was his savior. It was what was going to bring him food and water and help him not get his ass chewed out by his boss next year when he finally could go back to Poland. It was what was going to make him the saving grace of the dying print company so that he’d be the one calling the shots and sending people to foreign countries they only barely gave a shit about. But he couldn’t say all of that out loud let alone in French so he just sighed and said, “Yes.”
“Oh.” The man seemed uncomfortable now, unsure of what to say. “Why?”
“It... “ Kyle flipped the packet back to the front page where most of the page remained legible if barely. “It has an address. I don’t know how to get there, though.”
“You just go down the street and make a left. It’s a big building. You won’t miss it.”
“Do you need me to take you there?”
“N-No!” Kyle was already sprinting away. “Thank you! Thank you!”
Kyle could feel the tides shifting away from him once more. He wasn’t drowning. He was swimming and he was about to reach the shore.
Bebe, however, was sure she was in the middle of getting waterboarded.
All eyes were on her in the management office as she flipped through all of her papers in her file before turning to the bottomless abyss she called a purse.
Giggling, Bebe knew her cheeks were absolutely red. “J-Just a moment…”
She knew she had to have her papers! She didn’t leave them in the apartment and she didn’t even have them with her last night. Bebe could feel the sweat beading at the crown of her head and the baby curls of her scalp stick to her forehead.
The woman in charge of paperwork, was not laughing like Bebe was however. “If you don’t have your information, I can’t put you into our system. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“N-No!” Bebe shouted just a little too loudly. “No,” She lowered her voice, “I do have them. I swear. They’re just somewhere in here.” Her purse was small and shaped like a trapezoid. Both her and the woman in charge of said paperwork knew there was nothing inside aside from an empty lipstick bullet and a coin purse with exactly three subway tokens.
“Miss, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” The woman had her finger already on the rotary phone dial.
“But--” Bebe slapped the top of her file resting on the desk. “I’m here! I had all of my work written down! A-And I still have my portfolio here!”
The woman sighed, her already thin lips looking thinner as she gave Bebe a tired smile. “Look,” She finally dared to stand up from her chair. “I understand that you’re excited to work for us and that this is your chance to shine and work for a magazine and learn more about fashion.” She grabbed the file off the table. “But you are coming here as an intern .” She threw the portfolio in the trash can nearby despite the noise Bebe made. “Vogue as a brand is expanding all over the world every second that we write. We need employees who are organized and won’t lose something as important as their personal information.”
“I-I am organized! It was just that today--”
“And an employee who won’t make excuses for herself each time she messes up.”
Bebe shut her mouth.
“If you were ready for this job, you would’ve been prepared. If you were ready for this job, you would not have woken up in a stranger’s bed.” She smirked at the look of bewilderment on Bebe’s face. “And unless that entire 20 sheets worth of information we asked from you suddenly show up here on my desk, sent in by an angel themselves, I will need you to leave and we will find someone to replace you.”
And maybe Kyle really was an angel because the way he burst through the office doors made Bebe feel as though she was back at morning church hearing the choir sing before prayer.
“E-Excuse me--” Kyle fumbled through his words as he tried to hand over the filthy stack of papers to Bebe, “You dropped these back at the cafe.”