Dreams Come TrueBy: KB Winters & Evie Monroe
A Dirty Billionaire Box Set
Alice And The Hatter
A Dirty Fairytale
By Evie Monroe and WSJ and USA Today Bestselling Author KB Winters
Blue and red lights whirled on stage as my models took their final walk. The view from the audience must’ve been spectacular, but mine from backstage was too revealing to be anything but practical: The exposed beams of the stage around me, the dust motes shining through the lights as I looked toward the stage, and of course, all the wires and cords which were carefully taped down so that the models didn’t bust their scrawny asses. They kind of killed the magic.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s give it up one more time for our designer, Johnny Hatter!” The crowd went wild, giving me a standing ovation as I stepped out into the lights and assault of camera flashes. I strutted down the catwalk waving graciously. The models were crowding out behind me as we took one last walk together.
Mandy, my hottest up and coming star model, pranced up beside me and took the large floppy hat which was a part of her outfit and slapped it on top of my trademark messy curls. I pointed across the crowd, from left to right, with as much character as a crazy game show host. It was what they all expected and who was I to not give them what they wanted.
I’d play the part at every show, slapping on that toothy grin, flashing my gold canine which was also a trademark as well as my sleeves of tattoos. I was known as a wild man, the face behind Mad Mode, but it was all an act; smoke and mirrors to sell the brand.
Okay, so maybe I was a bit eccentric in my day to day too, but what would one expect from a straight, spoiled, rich kid with a passion for fashion.
“They love you,” said Mandy as I took her hand and lifted it to the crowd, the big floppy hat falling back away from my face to expose more of my smile.
“Yes, they do, don’t they?” I gave her a wink. “They love you as well, darling. Give them a bow with me.” I took her hand and stepped forward, the two of us bowing as the cameras went even wilder and the music changed tempo.
We turned, and together, we strutted backstage, and everyone fell into their places in the dressing room. They stripped off the clothes and wigs and suddenly all of the magic was gone, the man behind the curtain had been revealed.
In those seconds, when everyone left my side to undo what months of planning had done, I felt completely alone. I learned to appreciate those seconds soon after, when I turned around to see Victoria crossing the room, pushing through the crowd of models like a linebacker at a high school football game. The scowl on her lips told me the kind of mood she was in and that it was no different than the last time we’d spoken.
“You can lose the stupid hat now, Johnny. I’m sure the whore who loaned it to you is looking for it. I’m sure her dumb ass has forgotten where she put it.”
“How about I give it to you, Victoria? I could show you where to put it if you like.” I knew how much she liked things there. It was the only perk of our now-ended relationship.
“You’re so vulgar.” She looked away to the crowd of half-naked women around me, all working with my staff to put their pieces of the line back into packing for the next run.
“What was it I could help you with, Victoria? Or did you come to kill my fun with your presence.” She’d dressed in a revealing long red gown that matched her hair so perfectly that I wondered if the dye had come from the same bottle and her lips were so swollen with collagen that she looked like a big-mouthed bass.
“Is it working?” The sly smile spread her lips slowly and so wide that they practically inverted.
“No, but I have things to do, and I don’t want to waste time hanging here looking at you and your failed plastic surgery attempts.”
Horror darkened her expression, and her eyes hardened. “Failed? Only the best with the money I used.”
“I have no doubt, but I’d check his degree.” Before she could open her mouth, Mandy came walking up and snatched the hat off my head.
“I almost forgot to turn this in.” She reached up and straightened my loose curls which had been flattened. “Hello, Victoria.”
“If you’ll excuse us, sweetheart. We’re having an adult conversation. You should run along back to the playpen with the other children.” Victoria always liked to hate on the younger models, and even though she was only thirty-three, she was a wash up in the industry, but that was more to do with her looks and not her age. She’d been beautiful back when I’d first met her until I’d learned of all the ugly she had churning and festering on the inside.
Mandy threw her arm around my shoulders and turned to me, ignoring Victoria and her failed attempts completely. “I thought that the two of us might go back to your hotel and celebrate in private. Maybe we could build a fort out of the bed sheets?” She gave me a wink, and I pulled her close and kissed her.
“I’ll find you in a bit.” I slapped her ass as she walked away and she cut me a smile over her shoulder.
“You really should go back to the drawing board and try to make some designs that are going to compete. My new line is going to do some serious damage.”
“To whom, the people wearing them?” Her mouth popped open, and she leaned forward, getting so close to my face I could smell the garlic and champagne on her breath.
“You think you’re so funny. We’ll see who is the last one laughing when my designs put yours to shame.”
“Shame? I’m surprised that word is in your vocabulary.”
“Chester!” she barked at her assistant who was staring off into the crowd, in the direction of the male models, of course. He wore a huge, toothy grin and I was surprised the guy wasn’t panting and licking his lips.
“What?” Chester wiped his brow and stepped to her side.
“You’re always disappearing! Pay attention! Go fetch our car; I’m ready to leave. We’re heading straight to the airport.” Chester hurried off, and she leaned in close to me. “Why don’t you just give me what I want and I’ll go away, or else I’ll continue to make things hard on you.”
“Fuck off, Victoria.” I turned and walked away, and she screamed out at me.
“I’m not giving up, Johnny.” I kept walking to keep myself from turning around and choking the life out of her. Keeping a safe distance was always best.
I went to the back and looked around for Nathan Hare, my right-hand assistant, who before the show had been a no-show. I was almost ready to call him, when he strolled up, carrying some of the clothes back to the area where they were being packed.
“Here’s this! Be sure to account for each and every piece, folks. We don’t want to get home without them.” He barked his orders to the crowd and turned around, starting when he saw me.
“It’s good to see you are working; I was afraid that you’d run off and married yourself a lovely French girl and had just about decided I should find your replacement.” Nate was one of my closest friends and most faithful employees, but his curse of being late had really reared its ugly head at the wrong time. Being late for a show was a huge deal, especially when you’re one of the top organizers working for me.
“I’m sorry. There was a bit of a problem in my hotel room this morning.”
“What would that be? Or should I ask who?”
“The girl I had in it had a bit of a hangover and well, let’s just say, it was a very interesting morning.”
“Not my fucking problem, man. You should’ve called me.”
“I did call you, I swear. But you had your phone off! If you don’t believe me, check it.” He pointed to my pocket I took it out and sure enough, it was turned off.
“My bad, but I’m not letting you off the hook. You’re going to have to start being on time.”
I saw Mandy waiting across the room, and when our eyes met, she waved me over.
“I’ve got to go. Finish up here, and we’ll talk later.” The least I could do was leave him working and then maybe the next time he wanted to hold someones hair up while they were sick, he’d make sure it wasn’t the day of my biggest fashion show in Paris.
“Will I see you before we board the plane?” he asked.
“Probably not,” I said over my shoulder as I walked away to meet Mandy.
She latched onto my arm as I stopped at her side. “I just have to turn in my jewelry, and then we can go.” She waited patiently for the handler to gather up the things from several other models, and then someone pointed to me, and the handler turned around.
“Please excuse me, Mr. Hatter. I didn’t know you were waiting.” The girl, Lila, who I’d hired the previous year, hurried to gather Mandy’s jewelry and put it in the silk bag that it went in for storage.
“It’s fine, let’s just get the return slip signed quickly so we can be on our way.” She answered a quick yes sir and Mandy signed the slip, and we headed out to my car, which was waiting in the back. The French driver opened our door, and we slid inside, me behind Mandy.
“It was a wonderful show, Johnny. You should be very proud.” She sat beside me, straightening her clothes, which I had every intention of removing.
I took her hand. “I am, but I’m mostly curious at the moment.”