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Kurzgeschichte (4) - Closer Than Strangers

von Portrait von Natalie Huberto Natalie Huberto
Veröffentlicht am 21. November 2016

When life gets tough, be tougher. That’s something her dad always used to say. And now that she’d lost everything, it was time to get tough. She had one chance to turn her life around and she wouldn’t let that chance go to waste. Her mum left them when she was five. Her dad had been heartbroken and turned to alcohol for help. The problem was, he never turned back. So the people around her decided to take her away for him and put her into a proper family. She was so young, way too young to understand anything. She just wanted everybody to be happy, to not be mad with her. When she grew older she tried to understand, but she just couldn’t wrap her head around it. Instead, she got mad with herself, so mad that she started to hurt herself. It took them almost a year to find out. In only a year she had managed to bruise both, her arms and legs. For her there had always been a thin line between pain and pleasure. She would turn back time if she could, because all the scars on her skin disgusted her now and would always remind her of a broken childhood but she couldn’t. Instead, she tried to focus on a brighter future, something she could be proud of. A few weeks ago there had been a sudden email with a job offer. She didn’t even apply for anything, it just was there. She was a strong believer in destiny and that everything happened for a reason, so she decided to answer and within half an hour she had a job interview. She had a hard time growing up, was damaged to a point but her grades in school had always been decent. Shortly before her dad died she went to visit him in hospital. He told her that he believed in her, that she had always been the smartest child he knew. She hadn’t felt loved in a very long time, but that day she could feel the love rushing back into her veins and into her heart.

She was standing in front of a massive building. Everything was see-through and she could see people rushing around. When she stepped through the doors, there were at least ten women talking to people. They all had to show some kind of card and then were allowed through. The women were all wearing black fitted dresses with some sort of blazer on top of it and their hair was pinned to their heads in a tight bun. Scary, almost like female robots. As she walked up to one of counters the girl behind it smiled at her and she smiled back. She was the only girl not looking as posh as the others and she instantly felt a lot calmer. “Hi, I’m Rose Smith. I have a job interview at ten o clock.” The girl behind the counter smiled again and held out her hand. “I’m Olivia, nice to meet you. Do you know who your job interview is supposed to be with?” She asked politely and tipped something into her computer. Rose had no idea who she had the interview with. She didn’t even know for what job the interview was for god’s sake. The emails didn’t give anything way. “I emailed with a lady called Bella, but that’s all I know.” The girls’ eyes widened for a second. “Okay, just a moment.” She picked up the phone and dialed a number. “Hi…yes it’s me. The girl is here. Yes…she is beautiful.” Olivia gave her a small grin and continued talking away on the phone. She felt weird. Why would someone want to know what she looked like? Maybe they only hired good looking people. She never thought about herself as beautiful. She had long, strawberry blond hair, green eyes and a petite body. She was small. A size zero, maybe a two. Men had never really showed interest in her either so she always kind of just did her own thing. “Yes, I’m going to send her up. Bye.” Olivia put the phone down and took a deep breath. “Okay, your interview is on the fiftieth floor. Just type this password into the elevator and it will bring you up there immediately, without stopping anywhere else. Do you need anything else?” Rose listened and then shook her head. “I think I’m good. Thank you Olivia!” She took the password and marched over to the elevators. She got in, typed in the password and it swiftly set into motion.

The young woman suddenly felt nervous. This was one of her first job interviews and she didn’t even prepare properly. Maybe this was a bad idea. Why would someone even hire her? She wasn’t particularly good at something. But before she could do something that would bring her back into the foyer, the elevator came to a halt and the doors opened. Her eyes widened almost instantly as she stepped into a dream of white and black marble. She couldn’t remember seeing something that beautiful ever before. It was as if she had gone straight into heaven with beautiful flowers all around her and the greatest view over the city you could ever imagine. “Excuse me, can I help you?” A voice behind a desk brought her back to reality and her green eyes met dark ones. “I’m Rose. I’m supposed to have a job interview up here.” She said and smiled slightly. “Oh I see, just wait here for a second. I’m going to let Misses Bella know you are here.” The woman disappeared behind a glass door that for once wasn’t see-through. Her heart beat faster than usual. This whole situation was so bizarre that it almost didn’t feel real, more like a dream. But it definitely was real. She even gave herself a slight pinch just to make sure.

A few minutes later the glass door opened again and she got told to just walk in. That’s what she did. She took all the courage and strength she could find in herself and her body and walked in. She expected to see a woman in her thirties maybe forties. Instead, Misses Bella was at least sixty, but looked more like twenty-eight from far away. Her skin was firm, her lips plump and her body to die for. That was how rich people used their money, Body optimizing. The moment her heel came in contact with the expensive black marble floor the woman looked up and took her in. She didn’t just take a look at her face, no. She let her eyes glide from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet and back up. In a pace that would make anybody blush. She didn’t even dare to take another step. “Would you mind coming over here, darling.” She suddenly said and waved her over to her desk. Rose didn’t say anything; she just walked over to her and stood still as a tree. Her eyes were on her again, examine and remembering. The colors, the shapes. She never thought a company could take the appearance of their employees this serious. But she was wrong, obviously. “Okay darling, you can sit down.” Before the woman continued talking she wrote something down furiously fast as if she was scared to forget some of it. “Well, you are probably wondering why you are here, aren’t you?” Rose nodded. “Yes I am. I mean, I didn’t even apply for a job and then there was this email, your email and I’m just a little bit confused I guess.” The woman in front of her smiled slightly and folded her hands on top of her desk. “Of course you are confused, but it’s all going to make sense once I’ve explained it to you. About three weeks ago we posted an ad, looking for women who are not only beautiful but also smart. About two days later we got an email from someone called Kelly Morgan telling us about her best friend Rose. I emailed her back and asked her for a few pictures. She sent me a few and I must say that you are even more beautiful in person.” Rose eyes widened. Everything made sense now. Kelly. “Thank you Misses Bella, I really appreciate it. I must apologize for my friend Kelly. She is amazing, but sometimes she just doesn’t know when she’s going too far.”

She would just take her bag and go. No matter if Misses Bella thought she was beautiful, she already knew that this wasn’t her thing. “Stop thinking so much. I can see your thoughts doing flips in your pretty head. You can call me Bella by the way. I’m not a big fan of the whole “Misses” story.” She grabbed something from underneath the table and placed it in front of her, a white folder with pictures and descriptions. “Bella, I don’t really think that this is my thing. I should go and just let you look for someone else, someone who is way more beautiful than I’ll ever be.” Rose said apologetically and grabbed her bag. “I see. You are clearly one of these girls who doesn’t know how stunningly beautiful she really is. You are special and I’m not just going to let you walk out of that door, not until you listened to my offer at least.” Bella’s face told her that she was being serious. She was on the fiftieth floor so the chances of her escaping through a different door were as low as zero. She would just listen to her offer and then leave. It was probably just going to take a few minutes. “Just have an open mind with what I’m going to tell you now okay? Everything we do is totally legal and you can talk about it freely. We basically offer wealthy man the opportunity to choose a girl who attends different events with them, mostly charity events. That’s why the girls have to be smart as well. They need to be able to talk to people.  The men can only choose once and if it doesn’t work out they are out. They pay for everything the girls need, dresses, jewelry or food, whatever the girls like they mostly get. If the girl doesn’t feel comfortable and wants to end the business relationship we end it immediately and she just waits until a different man chooses her. That’s basically the whole concept. Just one more thing, most relationships are purely professional so you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. What do you say?” Rose had never been as shocked as she was in that moment. Bella basically offered her a job where she got paid for her looks. She didn’t even have to do anything. Maybe talk a few words but that was it. But the whole concept was so against her nature. She had always fought against men who thought they could just buy a woman and do whatever they pleased. But then Bella said that most relationships were strictly professional so she wouldn’t have to worry about that. And she could really use the money. Kelly always told her that she needed to go out more, meet new people. Maybe this was exactly the right thing at the right time. “Okay, I’ll try it. But if I don’t feel comfortable doing it I’m going to end it right away, no matter what you say. And you will let me go.” Bella grinned widely as if she just won the lottery. Rose actually liked her. She was a strong and independent woman and she was actually nice. She had always thought that people whose burro was on the fiftieth floor were meant to be bitches. But Bella wasn’t one.

“You’re going to have fun, darling. You’ll see, trust me. Now take a look into the folder in front of you and tell me which one you like.” Bella opened the folder with one hand and looked at a picture of a blond man with blue eyes. He was really attractive, she couldn’t deny that. He just wasn’t her type really. The guy on the second page had light brown hair and hazel eyes. He looked nice. Maybe she would choose him. But as she turned another page the second guy was forgotten in an instant. The third guy had dark brown hair and eyes. She just couldn’t look away; he was too beautiful for this world. It was as if he was looking right into her soul although she was only looking at a picture of him. She asked herself what it would be like in real life. She wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. So she read through some of his information’s. There wasn’t much though. He was 35, eight years older than her. He liked writing and spending time with his sister. She could hear Bella clear her throat. When she looked up, she could see the amusement on Bella’s face. “You found your guy, I guess. Show me.” Rose handed her the folder and Bella’s smile faded slowly. “Oh I’m so sorry darling. But Scott has been chosen by a new girl last week. I must have forgotten to take his picture out of the folder. Maybe he chooses you when it’s his turn to choose.” Her heart sunk for a moment. She had been really looking forward to meeting him, even though she had just looked at a picture of him for a few minutes. “Okay, I’m just going to choose someone else.”

Just as she wanted to take a look at the next picture both women could hear voices outside the glass door. One was definitely the woman behind the desk, the other one was male. Suddenly the glass door swung open. It took her a few seconds to realize it, but then it hit her. It was him, the guy from the photo. “Bella, I’m sorry to disturb you. I tried calling you a few times but you wouldn’t pick up. I can’t do this any longer. The girl who chose me is a complete nightmare. I told her right away that the relationship between us is strictly professional but she just doesn’t want to accept it. She tried to kiss me twice and whenever we’re alone she acts drunk and starts undressing herself. It doesn’t work like this, I need a different girl.” His eyes met hers and she could feel the heat rushing into her cheeks. He was even more handsome in person. His dark eyes bored into hers and she felt breathless, although she was sitting. “What’s your name?” He suddenly asked and her eyes widened. “I’m…I mean I’m Rose.” She mumbled and wanted to slap herself for how quiet her voice sounded. He would never choose her now. “Nice to meet you Rose, I’m Scott. Sorry for disturbing your meeting with Bella, I just really need to fix this until tonight.” He said and they shook hands slightly. “Oh no, don’t worry. It’s fine. Really, I don’t mind.” She smiled and could feel the heat rushing back into her cheeks. She was 27 for god’s sake. How could two sentences of a good looking man make her blush? This was pathetic. But it wasn’t just his voice. It was the way how he looked straight into her eyes, mixing green with dark brown. How he grinned when he felt how nervous she was. “There are only three girls available for tonight. You either choose one of them or you have to take Katie again, at least for tonight.” Bella suddenly butted in and looked at him, the expectation of a quick answer drooling out of her eyes. “What about you? Are you busy tonight? It’s just a charity event; we don’t have to stay long.” Before Rose could say anything Bella was standing on her feet and shook her head. “No, no, no she hasn’t even signed her contract. You can’t expect to come in here and just get whatever you want Scott. That’s not how it works. And remember, you can only choose once. If you choose her and you mess it up you’re out.” Bella was no longer standing behind her desk. She was leaning against one of the chairs and didn’t look too happy. “Bella, actually I’d like to join him. I can sign the contract now and everything is fine.” Rose said and tried to make her voice sound as strong and convincing as possible. It seemed to work somehow. After a little bit of thinking, Bella walked back behind her table and pulled another folder out from under her desk. “Sign here and here please.” She then said and offered Rose a pen. She took it, read a few lines and then signed two times. She felt relieved somehow. This was all so new but exciting for her.

After they had talked everything through, they left together. Scott thought that it would be best for them to have at least some lunch together before they attended the charity event. Just to get to know each other a little bit better. She had fun, a lot of fun. Scott was incredibly funny and smart. They talked so much that the hours flew by and she couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so comfortable. After Scott had paid, he surprised her with a dress. Within hours his driver had managed to find the perfect dress without even knowing her size. It was pale pink and hugged the few curves she had perfectly. The matching shoes were the challenging part. They were at least four inches high and a tad to big on her feet, but she would make it work. She always did.
 “Wow, you look stunning.” Rose grinned slightly and walked as well as she could into his direction. When she was almost in front of him one of her heels got stuck in the dress and she fell head first right into his arms. Not that she minded, he smelled nice and fresh. She couldn’t stop the heat from creeping up her neck though. “Sorry.” She mumbled and managed to get back up on her feet without falling again. “Don’t worry, it’s all good. Do you think you can walk in those heels even though they are too big? If not, just grab my arm and I’m going to make sure you don’t fall okay?” He smiled and held out his hand for her to hold. She took it without hesitation, her fear of falling again and embarrassing herself being too big.

The location of the event was beautiful. Everything was white and soft and it seemed as if clouds were floating around the room. At least that was how she felt. The marble floors in Bella’s building were stunning but this event played in its own different league. Scott and her had already walked the red carpet and were now sitting at a round table were their name cards were laid out. On her card in italic letters was the name “Katie” written down; the girl who was supposed to attend the event with Scott and it somehow bothered her. So she just turned the outer parts into a different direction so they were on the inside and put it back on the table. Now it didn’t say anything. Better. She thought and let her view glide over the entire room and the people until she felt someone’s hand on her upper thigh. She turned her head around and looked into these dark brown eyes that made her nervous without a reason. “Would you dance with me?” He asked softly and held out his hand for her to take. Her eyes widened and she swallowed. “Are we allowed to do that?” She asked and could see how Scott’s lips turned into a big grin. “Off course we’re allowed to do that. We’re allowed to do whatever we want.” She didn’t need to hear anything else. The moment her hand was in his he guided her onto the dance floor and pulled her close.


“Thank you for this beautiful evening. I had a lot of fun.” She somehow mumbled. The champagne she had drunk was still in her system and it made talking a lot more difficult than usual. She was leaning against a brick wall outside the building with Scott’s jacket around her shoulders and tried her hardest to think straight and to not do anything stupid. “Bella was right when she told me that you are special.” When she looked up Scott was hovering dangerously close to her and she felt sober in an instant. When did he come so close? Her heart started beating underneath her dress, so loud she was scared he would hear it. “Thank you. You are extremely funny and handsome.” Wait, what did she just say? She started blushing instantly. She couldn’t believe that she really said that. Of course he knew he was handsome, woman must throw themselves at him. But why did she have to say it out loud. She groaned in embarrassment and let her head fall back against the cold wall. Scott didn’t say anything for a little while, which didn’t make her feel less nervous at all. Just as she wanted to say something he pressed his lips against hers and kissed her. Just like that. She had no idea what to do. Kiss him back, push him away. The alcohol that was clouding her thoughts didn’t exactly help. The kiss was short, but sweet and she couldn’t help but smile when her eyes met his. “Sorry, I just had to do that.” He smiled shyly and took a step back, guiding one of his hands through his thick hair. “Don’t you think that it’s just going to make everything more complicated?” She stammered slightly and tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear. Something she always did when she was nervous. “It’s just going to be complicated if we make it complicated.” He said matter-of-factly and gave her arm a reassuring squeeze. “I just don’t want to ruin our business relationship before it has even begun. Don’t get this wrong, but I really need the money. I know that if this doesn’t work out someone else could choose me but I don’t know if I want anyone else to choose me.” She said truthfully and leaned back against the wall. Who was she trying to kid? It already was complicated between them. The second he had walked into Bella’s office it had started to get complicated. The way his eyes had bored into hers had left a mark on her, one that wouldn’t fade away in just a week. A mark that got stronger and stronger. She didn’t want to make a mistake. She was certain that Scott was great guy. He wasn’t only good looking, he was funny and smart and most importantly, he respected women. But they only knew each other a few hours and she didn’t want to ruin the chance they could possibly have. She made so many mistakes in the past and she promised herself, that this time she would actually give herself a chance to succeed. She didn’t want to jump, head first. She would only get hurt. “Look Scott, I think you are great and I know that I’m going to enjoy spending time with you so much but right now I just want to take it slow. We don’t even know each other a full day and you’ve already kissed me. I need some time. I had a hard time growing up and I’m not always as relaxed and happy as I’ve been today. There are dark moments too, visible ones. I need to know you better first, before I can give you anything from me. I hope you understand that.” Just in that moment a Taxi stopped right next to them. She kissed his cheek softly and then left him standing on the sidewalk while she was driving into the night. Just like Cinderella, with the difference that she knew that she would see him again soon.