Ken placed the pen down on the table after he had planted his signature onto the offer letter in front of Mr. Xavier and Vic.
“Welcome to Modeling Academy,” Mr. Xavier said.
“Thank you… boss,” Ken smiled.
“Thank you to you too, Vic, for persuading him,” Mr. Xavier said.
“My pleasure. I am delighted to work with Ken,” Vic said, patting on Ken’s back, before he placed his hand on Ken’s shoulder.
“Now give me the best attire,” Ken jokingly said at Vic.
Vic pointed back at him, “NAHHHHHHHHHHHHH…” he laughed.
Mr. Xavier smiled at both of their antics.
“You guys are really best friends,” Mr. Xavier said.
“Yeah, for over 20 years,” Vic said, exchanging a smirk with Ken.
“Wow, great,” Mr. Xavier said as he took out something from the drawer. He then lifted up his head to see both Ken and Vic are basically whispering to each other happily as though they have just scored a goal during the first half of a football match. “Guys,” he called.
Ken and Vic turned and looked at Mr. Xavier.
“These are your tickets,”
“For?” Vic asked as both he and Ken leaned forward to take it.
“Modeling Academy’s Appreciation Night,” Mr. Xavier smiled. “Please pass these two to Winnie and Rainie as well,” he extends another two tickets.
“Oh, it’s that time of the year already?” Vic asked, looking at the ticket in his hand.
“Yeah, time pass by fast, Vic. It’s a year already,” Mr. Xavier said. “It is 3 weeks from now, so I supposed you have plenty of time to prepare for this event,”
“What’s that?” Ken asked.
“Oh, it is like a company’s annual dinner. In Modeling Academy, we term it as ‘Appreciation Night’,” Vic responded. “Will be attended by all models, customers, prospects and also media,”
“Wow,” Ken said.
“Yes, it’s a gala and it’s pretty exclusive,” Vic smiled.
“We call it ‘Appreciation Night’ because we appreciate all our staffs inclusive of our models, our customers who gave us a chance to deal businesses with them, our potential customers that we hope we can deal a business with, and since this is a gala, media will highlight all of these. This is a major event and everyone wants to know and be a part of it,” Mr. Xavier said. “And since this is a gala, there are people trying to attend the event. Therefore, we have this system where people can only enter with ticket, including our staffs. No tickets, no entry. Each ticket grants you entry with a guest,”
“A guest?” Ken asked.
“Yes, you can bring anyone you want,” Vic said.
“Then who are you bringing this year?” Ken asked.
“No one? Who do you bring last year?” Ken asked.
“I attend alone every year. This year will just be the same,”
“Because his partner is also attending alone too,” Mr. Xavier smiled.
Ken looked at Mr. Xavier before he turned to look at Vic.
Vic’s eyes strayed upon hearing what Mr. Xavier said. “Well, well… hmm. I… I have no one to bring so… I attend alone,” Vic immediately said to divert the attention.
“Well, do you want to break the chain this year?” Ken asked, looking at Vic.
“Bring a partner,” Ken said.
Vic just glared at Ken. “You know the circle of female friends that we have; unless you mean, snatching someone’s wife or girlfriend for a night?”
Ken smirked. “I know who you are talking about. But are you sure you want to go with Jerry or Vanness’ significant other?”
“Did you see my glare?” Vic pointed to his eyes that are still glaring at Ken.
“What I am saying is… there is no rule that states you must bring a partner of the opposite gender,” Ken said.
“You mean?” Vic asked.
Ken smirked as he looked at Vic. “We have 4 tickets,”
Vic frowned looking at Ken, and then the frown eases before he smiled as he understood now. “Great,”
Winnie removed her hand from supporting her head as she lifted up her head to look at the door, and Rainie turned to look at the door. Just at the same time, Vic opened the door.
“It just feels weird to knock before entering my own room…” Vic mumbled.
“Wah, this is your room? So damn messy!” Ken said, looking from the outside.
“That proves that I WORKED!” Vic snarled at Ken.
“How was it?” Winnie asked Vic as she looked at Ken enters the room after Vic does.
“He’s one of us,” Vic smiled.
Ken smacked Vic’s arm. “Why do you make it sound as though you’re a zombie and had just made me one as well?”
Vic, Winnie and Rainie laughed at the description.
Rainie then smiled at Ken. “You have accepted the job?”
Ken replied the smile and nodded.
“You mean, he already signed the offer letter?” Winnie asked.
“Yes,” Vic replied.
“That’s so fast!” Winnie said.
“Mr. Xavier already had the offer letter ready in his drawer, you see…” Vic said.
“Wow,” Winnie said, and then she turned to look at Ken, “Welcome to the club,”
“Thank you,” Ken said.
“But I hope you are not using Rainie to get this,”
“Winnie!” Rainie said.
“What are you talking about?” Vic asked Winnie with his jaw literally dropped.
“I was just stating the obvious,” Winnie said. “You know well about this entire thing, better than I am. And I am only concerned with Rainie,”
Ken swallowed a lump in his throat. “I need that press conference now,” he then squeezed his nasal bridge.
Winnie stared at him, though she doesn’t understand what he is talking about.
“Winnie,” Vic said. “Ken gets this all by himself. Even Mr. Xavier said the same thing,”
“I admit that I earned a partial of what I am today because of Rainie, but…” Ken said. “I look at you as a friend, Winnie, and I really wish this did not come out from you. I didn’t want anyone around me to tell me that I get this from Rainie, I didn’t want to drag Rainie into this matter,”
Winnie suddenly smiled. “I am just kidding,” she patted Ken’s arm. “I know you get the head start from Rainie, but I truly believe everything after that is all your own effort,”
Ken heaved a sigh of relief. “Gosh, you scared me,”
Winnie laughed. Rainie and Vic laughed along.
“You know, Ken has gotten a couple of jobs ever since the ads went viral. But his involvement into the projects will involve Rainie as well. So that means both Ken and Rainie will do the projects together,” Vic said.
Rainie looked at Ken. “Is it?”
“In some ways, I am bringing more jobs for you, Rainie. I know you like doing this, so… there is no reason for me to reject the offer, or for me to be selfish to say no,” Ken said.
“A part of Ken didn’t want the job. But it was me, and Mr. Xavier persuade him to take it,” Vic said.
“And Vic told me if I did not take it… Scott might grab it,” Ken glared at Vic.
“Ehhh, that is your interpretation. Not mine,” Vic said.
“I didn’t want Scott to have the opportunity to be near or have the possibility to hurt Rainie,” Ken said, looking at Rainie.
“You are making Mr. Xavier suspicious about your relationship with Rainie, alright?” Vic said.
Ken immediately glared at Vic. “So is yours,”
“Mr. Xavier already knows,” Vic said, deadpanned.
“About?” Winnie asked.
“Us,” Vic said, looking at Winnie.
“Us? What us?” Winnie asked.
“Our relationship,” Vic said. “That you are my girlfriend,”
“How come?” Winnie gaped. “How did he know?”
“I don’t know. He just knew,” Vic said. “But he is not against it or exposing it. You know Mr. Xavier is an okay person with everything,”
“Oh,” Winnie said, and then pressing her lips together.
“I guess it’s time for you to make it public,” Ken said. “Both of you have been together for more than a year, and she had already moved in with you, but yet you didn’t want to make it public?” he looked at Vic.
“It wasn’t me. It’s her,” Vic said.
“Why?” Rainie looked at Winnie.
“Actually he should take half the blame,” Winnie pointed at Vic.
“Fine, you half; me the other half,” Vic said. “She is worried it might affect her career,”
“He is afraid that people will look at him and say he is unfair in his work and gave me better outfit compared to others,” Winnie said.
“Isn’t that the same thing Mr. Xavier has just said?” Ken looked at Vic.
Winnie looked at Ken. “What?”
“And with Vic’s expression just now, he looks like he is going to trash Mr. Xavier’s office,” Ken said.
“Hey, not that bad!” Vic yelled at Ken.
“What happened?” Rainie asked.
“Mr. Xavier claimed that Vic always gives the nicest outfit to the both of you and Winnie,” Ken said. “But then, I believe that. I saw it from the fashion show,”
“Say that again, I will definitely go with favoritism and give the worst outfit for you to model,” Vic eyed him. “At the end of the day it is you getting embarrassed, not me because I am not a model,”
Rainie and Winnie laughed while Ken glared at him.
“Anyway… thanks, Ken,” Rainie said.
Ken turned to look at Rainie, “No problem,” he smiled.
All of them looked at Rainie.
“Don’t take it because of me. Take it because of you, and for you. You will succeed in this industry,” Rainie said. “So… it is for you, doing something for yourself,”
Ken smiled and nodded. “I will,”
“Right…” Vic said, practically interrupted their moment. All of them looked at him. He took out the two tickets, “One is Winnie’s, one is Rainie’s,”
“What’s that?” Rainie asked as she took the ticket.
“Ahhh… the gala dinner,” Winnie said, looking at the printed words on the ticket.
“Oh, time of the year again,” Rainie smiled.
“All of us will attend this year,” Vic smiled.
“Yeah, we always did,” Winnie said.
“No, I mean ALL,” Vic said.
Ken nodded in agreement.
“What do you mean?” Rainie asked.
“As you know, each ticket allows us to bring a friend,” Vic said.
“Yeah, so? We attend this event alone, as in, with our tickets, every year,” Winnie said.
“There are no rules that we must bring a friend from opposite gender though it is expected. We can bring a friend that has the same gender with us,” Ken said. “There are 4 of us; so we can bring Jerry, Barbie, Vanness and Pace,”
Winnie and Rainie looked at each other.
“Sounds like a good idea,” Rainie smiled.
“This will be our first time attending an event together,” Winnie smiled.
“But you need to call Pace and asked her to arrange her schedule so that she can join us for this event,” Vic said. “Do you think it is possible… since it is last minute?”
“I’ll call her now, I am not sure too but 3 weeks seems to be very impossible for her to arrange her schedule. Now I can only hope she is not working on that day…” Winnie smiled, as she took her phone out and walked off to make a call.
“So… looks like we need to go for shopping to get our attire,” Ken said.
“No, you will sit back and wait to see who will offer you their suit,” Vic said.
“Ah?” Ken asked.
“Yeah, we rarely need to spend anything to buy a dress or shoes. It is all accounted for. Someone will sponsor you from top to toe,” Rainie smiled.
“Unless… you are not popular. Then nobody will come,” Vic said.
“Well, I guess I need to go and get mine?” Ken said. “Since I am newbie, and the fact that I am… a nobody,”
“Hmm… let me explain, since you are newbie, and this is basically a part of my job,” Vic said. “If you are popular, people will come to you hoping you will wear their design and model for the night, right? But if you are not popular, you have two choices. One is to go and hunt them down as some companies aren’t aware of such event and they really wish a model will go over to their company and wear their design or brand and make a showcase at the event. But the bad thing is, this will be a long and messy procedure as you need to go over their place to get, or beg them to sponsor you clothes. And after that, you have to come back here, meet the management and seek their approval to wear these clothes for the event. As this is highlighted by the media, our company cannot simply let the models to wear some other designer brands not proposed or agreed by the management to the event, while the designers are happy that their clothes will be showcased in the media. So basically this is very complicated,”
Ken blinked a few times. “Damn complicated,”
“Option number 2,” Rainie said.
“Ah, yes, option number two. Sit here in the office and wait,” Vic said.
“Huh?” Ken asked.
“Well, we only have limited top models. So they cannot wear all the designer brands. Top models and some moderately known models are usually being approached personally by the designer to model their clothes for the event. These models will pick the outfit that fits and flatters them best. So, as not all designer brands will be selected, they then will deposit their outfits to me, and the rest of the models will come and pick them. At the same time, designer will not only provide one outfit for the event but a few. So, you always hear different models wearing the same designer’s clothes but of course different design. It is bad to be seen wearing an outfit identical with someone else in the same event,” Vic said.
“That sounds awful. It’s like we are selecting the leftovers,” Ken said.
“Not all clothes you will see in my room are leftover,” Vic glared at him. “Not all designers will deposit the ones not picked by the top models to me, to be selected by the rest of the models,”
“Why?” Ken asked.
“Some designers are pretty cocky. They deem that the outfit might probably be too exclusive to be deposited here. So they keep it and then find a better candidate,” Vic said.
“But it is also a risk to stay here and wait,” Vic said.
“Why?” Ken asked again.
“Because it depends on the amount of dresses or tux deposited by the designers. Sometimes it is not enough to fit all the models we have,” Vic said. “And some designers stated well in their contract that the dresses or suits they deposited cannot be passed to certain people, or limited to certain sizes and height and many, many more,”
“Yeah, you think those clothes are for you to keep?” Vic asked. “When the model selects that piece of outfit, they need to sign the contract and stuffs before I submit their selection for amendments,”
“That’s very complicated,” Ken said.
“Yeah, you thought my job is easy?” Vic asked.
“So… I supposed you are categorized as the one that is being approached by the designers and select from their range of designs?” Ken said.
“You can say like that. Vic forgot the part that some model’s outfit is custom made,” Rainie smiled.
“Oh yeah. Some models are approached directly and their outfits will be designed accordingly,” Vic said. “So they don’t have to select from the range given by many designers,” he looked at Rainie. “Rainie’s outfit is always custom made. Just that she selects different brands each year,”
“Thanks for the clarification,” Rainie smiled. “I am usually approached by designers and they will sponsor my outfit. It’s just that… I wasn’t being approached during the fashion show the other day because they didn’t know I will attend or walk down the red carpet until the very last minute. If they knew, they will definitely come after me,”
“Then what about Winnie?” Ken asked, all of them looked at Winnie still on the phone.
“She is also being approached by the designer brands and usually has a custom made dress,” Vic said. “Guy models like Brandon get to pick their suits, and then amendments will be done accordingly,”
“And Scott?” Ken asked. Rainie looked at Vic.
“Well, for the last 2 years he had been approached by designers. This year… it’s too early to say right now,” Vic smiled at Ken. “My job will be overloaded from today until the appreciation night. So… I won’t be free to entertain you,”
“And what are you going to wear, or going out to get brands to sponsor you?” Ken asked Vic as he took his seat at his desk.
“He has a fixed brand that he is going to wear every year,” Rainie said.
“Ah?” Ken asked.
“G.A,” Vic replied. “Don’t jealous,”
“Wow, that international brand,” Ken said, “So he is wearing the same suit every year?”
“No,” Vic glared at him. “It is a different suit from the same brand,”
“Why only that one brand?” Ken asked.
“I was tied on a contract with them,” Vic said. “I have a 5-year contract with them. They will custom made my suit for all the events that I will attend. So I am actually stress-free about what to wear to events for at least 5 years,”
“Oh, not bad. And surprisingly you are not a model but you have a contract!” Ken laughed.
Vic glared at him for a while. “I am not a top model but…”
“Vic is quite popular in fashion industry,” Rainie interrupted.
“Popular?” Ken’s laughter immediately fades. “Really?”
“He is not a top model, but he is a famous Styling Choreographer in Taiwan,” Rainie smiled. “G.A tying a contract with him is a guaranteed advertisement for the brand,”
“Seriously? You are popular?” Ken asked in disbelief.
“My name pops up here and there in the magazines once in a while so it is not easy to notice, but in this industry, yes, I am. People know I am THE Styling Choreographer of this agency,” Vic said. “But I don’t blame you because I have never told you and you are not in this industry to know. So don’t worry about it. Jerry and Vanness don’t know either,”
“Oh… wow. Brain overloaded,” Ken said.
“Good for you,” Vic sarcastically said.
“So… what should I do now? Where to hunt for the outfit?” Ken asked.
“You don’t have to hunt,” Vic said. “I thought I just told you to sit and wait,”
“You really want me to sit here and wait? What if the outfits deposited are not enough? Where can I get outfits then? You don’t want me to go out buy some branded suits, wear them to the event and promote the suit for free, and then keep the suit in the closet, never to see the light of the day again?” Ken asked.
“Why are you panicked?” Vic asked. “You don’t have to worry. You will definitely have something to wear,”
“Looks like Vic has something for you,” Rainie smiled.
“You just sit and wait. They will come after you,” Vic said.
“You are going to reserve something for me, as claimed by Mr. Xavier?” Ken asked.
Vic glared at him. “No,”
“Then? I am a newbie! The event is in 3 weeks time! Who is going to…”
“Just trust me,” Vic said. “Just sit back and relax. You will get an outfit for sure. If you don’t, I will give you my suit. Satisfy?”
“Seriously?” Ken asked.
“Yes. Just make sure your phone is on. That’s all,” Vic said.
“Phone?” Ken asked.
“YES,” Vic said sternly.
“Why not you tell me what do you plan to do?” Ken asked.
“About?” Vic asked.
“Me,” Ken said.
“I am not going to do anything for you,” Vic said. “Seriously, do I need to?”
“Then?” Ken asked again.
“Urgh… why do you have so many questions. I am not going to do anything to you or for you. I don’t need to. And you will get an outfit. So don’t worry. Just don’t f*cking worry, okay?” Vic said.
“Pace is free that night,” Winnie suddenly said as she kept her phone. “She is subject to land 5 hours before the event, so she can make it,”
“Great. Ken, you will contact Vanness and tell him about the gala dinner. And I will contact Jerry and Barbie about it and I supposed they will be fine with the dinner. Just you guys decide who will bring who as the guest,” Vic said.
“Pace said Vanness is around that night too, so Ken doesn’t have to contact Vanness. She will do it,” Winnie said.
“Sure,” Ken smiled.
“Are we splitting the couples up to enter the event?” Rainie asked.
“Yes. We have no choice. They can’t enter on their own with our tickets or if we passed them a ticket just like that. The security will definitely not allow that,” Vic said. “We will just use our ticket and enter with one guest, and once we are in, it will be fine,”
“Yeah, makes sense. Are we going in with the opposite gender?” Winnie asked.
“Doesn’t make sense for you or me to go in with Jerry since he is married to Barbie… right?” Rainie asked, looking at Winnie.
“Hmmm… awkward,” Winnie said.
“It is okay. I think we can go in with friends, not necessarily from the opposite gender,” Ken said.
“Yes, that is what Ken suggested,” Vic said.
“Sounds good. I’ll take Pace then,” Winnie said.
“I’ll take Barbie,” Rainie said, “Or Vanness,”
“I’ll take Vanness. Rainie take Barbie. You take Jerry,” Ken said, pointing at Vic.
“You leave me with no choice, right?” Vic asked.
“You have NO choice. I pick for you,” Ken said, and smirked at Vic.
“Bugger,” Vic said. “You are doing this for a revenge because I am not telling you what’s in store and you don’t even give me a chance to pick!”
Ken protrudes his tongue at Vic.
Winnie and Rainie laughed.