Chapter 10: An Impostor
Ariella gaped in perplexity. She was both fascinated and horrified by the incident. Her initial motive was to talk some sense to Chloe, irrespective of the repercussion that would ensue. It never occurred to her that Denise would go this far to defend her honor.
Earlier, Ella had struggled extensively to hide her emotions when Chloe was busy taunting her. She had restrained herself from the desire to choke Chloe, especially when she ripped the first dress.How could anyone survive that girls madness she had pondered.
Inwardly, Ella was thrilled by the whole episode. Denise was both a hilarious and outstanding actress. Although she was impressed by Denises performance, she was also worried that Denise might have overdone it.
After Silvia had left the room, Ella walked over to Denises side. Her eyes glinted with genuine concern as she patted Denise back
“Are you alright dear” Ella bowed her head slightly to gaze into Denises eyes. For an unknown reason, her hands felt sweaty and trembled.
Denise took her by the hands and led her to the corner of the room still limping for everyone to see. Denise planned on using this as her defense when the right time came.
“Im fine sugar, there is nothing wrong with my legs,” she whispered with mischievously beaming eyes. “I just had to teach that high-class brat that no one messes with my friend and goes scot-free. Shes lucky, I didnt give her a high-class tattoo as promised,” she grinned.
“Oh, Denise! What will I do without you Youre such a great fairy godmother. But Im scared this could put us in real trouble, I overheard some of those makeup artists saying she is from an influential family. What if we are dragged into a lawsuit as she threatened” Ellas brows furrowed as her heart thumped louder
“Dont stress your beautiful head, pumpkin! Ive got you covered. Even if she wants to take us to hell, Ill give her a lovely ride. She just toyed with the tigress tail, and should be ready to be gnawed.”
“Hmm, sometimes I wonder who you truly...”
“Please, may I speak to Ariella Porter” A tall light-complexioned beautiful lad; who just stepped into the room, asked calmly.
Ariella and Denise gave each other a quick stare and returned their gaze to the unknown lady.
“And who is asking” Denise stepped forward glaring at the lady. She was suddenly healed from her limping and ready for a brawl.
“Oh!... Miss Porter, I am Susan.” The lady replied politely, offering a handshake. She was visibly shaken by Denises confrontational and scary approach. “My boss is captivated by some of your designs. I was instructed to specifically talk to you about it. He would like to meet you in person at the bar in this very hotel if that is ok with you.”
Ariella quickly stepped forward smiling and introduced herself formally. “Im Ariella Porter, and this is my very good friend, Denise. Thanks for the compliment. Can you give us a minute Ill be right back.”
Ella pulled Denise to the far end of the room to avoid eavesdroppers.
“What do you think, should I go with her to meet her boss Moreover, it should be Silvia or one of the directors interfacing with interested clients.” Ella spoke in a hushed tone, while her eyes darted around in mild panic.
“Ella, dare to take a risk. You know most of these designs are your ideas. If anyone should be talking about them, it should be you. Dont worry about Silvia or any other person, Ill cover for you. Go and market your craft and give me feedback when you return.” Denise gently shoved her forward.
Ariella walked up to Susan and spoke softly. “Nothing would make me happier, I would love to meet with your boss.”
Both ladies quietly exited the dressing room and walked to the bar.
When both ladies arrived at the bar, Ariella gawked at the bar room speechless. She was engulfed in the beauty and luxury of the place. She stole furtive glances at some of the guests seated, chatting and sipping their drinks. She felt misplaced, as she was dressed in very casual work attire.
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“Miss Ariella, this way.” Susan gestured towards a part of the bar that was close to the floor-to-ceiling window, where a young man was seated and reading a magazine.
When Ella got to the table for three, the man stood up to greet her.
He was a tall handsome-looking man, in his early thirties. He had an oval face with a short beard. He wore a branded gray three-piece suit that complimented his jet-black clean-cut hair and his copper skin.
“Miss Ariella, its an honor to meet the brain behind those exquisite designs.” The handsome mans smile was bewitching. “Please have a seat.” He gestured towards the seat opposite with a smile.
“Thank you, Sir, for the compliment,” Ella smiled politely and took her seat.
“No need for the formality, just call me Charles.”
“Okay Charles, its a pleasure to meet you.” Ella hides her trembling hands under the table. She felt irritated by her anxiety. Her heart was thumping so fast and loud, making her feel a bit faint.
“No, the pleasure is all mine.”
At this point, Susan politely excused herself.
Ella quickly scanned her environment for familiar faces as she was worried that Mr. Kyle, who was within the hotel premises could walk into the bar any second and rip her apart for daring to interface with such a wealthy client.
“Are you comfortable” Charles cut into her thoughts as he sensed a tensed and stiffened body.
“Yes, I am,” she released a gush of air and half smiled.
A waitress came over to their table, took her order, and left.
“So tell me, what inspires your design”
Ella feeling more relaxed, talked generally about her work, while Charles paid close attention.
On the other side of the bar, were Leon and Tom. They drank wine and watched Ella from a vantage position. Although, she couldnt see them from where she was seated.
“Thats one rare jewel over there, Leon,” Tom seemed hypnotized by the red hair beauty that stood out in the bar. “How come you always tend to find all the beautiful girls in this world”
Leon chuckled as he also couldnt peel his eyes off Ella. “I dont think that girl knows how beautiful she is or how she affects people around her. Just a little polishing and everyone here would be at her beck and call.”
Leon, unable to stand the distance and desire to speak to Ella, stood up and walked towards Charles.
Earlier, Charles had already been prepped on what to do. Leon stressed that he shouldnt use any form of formality in the presence of the lady.
On sighting Leon coming over, Charles took a sip of his drink to gain enough confidence, to act as a friend to his boss. To him, this was a rare privilege he wouldnt take for granted. Leon was the dreaded CEO, who no one dared to go against.
“Hey Charles, I hope I didnt keep you waiting” Leon spoke casually.
“Not at all, so good of you to join us.” Charles swallowed hard and smiled.
“And who is this beautiful la...Ariella” He pretended to be surprised on recognising her. “What a small world”
“Y...you!” Ellas eyes widened. “W...how... why...” Her mind scrambled for words that refused to come out properly. She was too stunned and embarrassed. She never dreamt of meeting this handsome tall drink of water, here, at this moment.
“I...y...you...w...what are you doing here” She stuttered in a soft but panicked voice. Her memory acting as an enemy quickly replayed her last encounter with him. This made her bow her head in regret.
When Leon saw how unsettled she was, he smirked. “its nice to meet you too.” Then he took the seat close to her and turned his attention to Charles.
Ella felt like melting into her seat. Her hands trembling syndrome returned with full force. She thought of standing up and running away. But her butt remained glued to her seat.
She stole stealthy glances at him, which Leon caught with the corner of his eyes. Leon smiled but didnt look in her direction.
“So, did you find any design interesting” Leon asked.
“As a matter of fact, I did and that is where Ariella comes in. But as I can see, there wouldnt be any need for introduction as you both seem to know yourselves.” Charles said taking another sip of wine.
“Yeah, weve met,” Leon replied which was Charless cue to leave.
Charless phone rang.
“Ariella, Leon, kindly permit me to take this important call, Ill be right back.” He stood up and left.
Ariella felt awkward being left alone with Leon and was at a loss of what to say.
Leon, who seemed to be enjoying her calmness decided to speak first.
“Lets start afresh, I am Leon,” he extended his hand.
Ariels looked at his hand briefly before extending hers. This was the second time he had touched her briefly and she still felt that burning desire within.
“Im Ariella,” she half smiled. “To clear the air, I apologize again for my awful behavior last time we met. I hope you dont judge me based on that,” She said looking more composed.
“Never, everyone has a bad day. So, youre a designer”
“Yes, I am,” she said proudly, trying to sound professional, and not allowing the lust deep within to overshadow her communication.
“And Im guessing you work for F&K fashion”
A regretful look crossed her face but quickly disappeared. “Yes, I do.”
“May I ask for how long” Leon took notes of all her expressions.
Ella took a sip of her drink feeling uneasy with the questioning, then replied, “five years, four months, and three days. Not that Im counting.”
Leon smiled at her response. He admired her calmness, her sense of humor, and her charm.
“Charles seems to be taken by your work and Ill like you to give me a tour of your latest designs. Would that be convenient for you”
“Ohh! I would have loved to, but that would not be easy. The company I work for has a department that handles that.”
“I dont want anyone from any department, I want only you to give me the tour, and I would compensate handsomely,” Leon gazed into her eyes.
Ella, unsure of what to say, and spellbound by his gaze, just nodded. When she thought about the handsome compensation and her plans of starting her brand, she quickly added, “Can I think about it and give you a call”
“That would be great,” Leon smiled and gave her his card.
When she looked at the fancy card and saw the name imprinted, she choked on her drink and started coughing. Leon stroked her gently on the back and offered her his handkerchief to wipe her mouth.
Ella was too embarrassed to speak. Could this be the same Leon Treshvire, the CEO of Treshvire fashions, or was this person an impostor, she thought.