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Runway Girl

John Marion Francis (Author) www.marionfrancisfiction.com


Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2009 John Marion Francis


License Statement

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writers imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental. The author does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content. This Smashwords book is DRM-free, without copy protection or encryption. eBooks are not transferable. All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The unauthorized reproduction for distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publishers permission.

Chapter 1 - Get ready its Fashion Week in Paris!

I am a free lance runway photographer for some of the top modeling houses in Europe. Its spring in Italy and the Italian fashion shows have been keeping me busy non-stop for the past month and Im ready to spend a few days of R&R. I was putting away my camera equipment when I got a call from my agent and good friend Jennifer LeSalle. Michael Hayden speaking I said pressing the button on my blue tooth and continuing to put my equipment away. Michael? Its Jennifer. You got a minute? The familiar voice asked. Yeah, go ahead Ive got a hot project here in Paris and the client asked specifically for you. Can I book you? Youre gonna owe me Jennifer. I was going to take a break and take my sail boat out for a week. I said looking at the picture of it on my blackberry. I know. Ill make it up to you I promise. The client has a new model and he wants you assigned to her for her runway portfolio shots. No problem. Send me an email with the details and Ill see you in Paris . Talk to you later. I hung up and took the last sip of my Merlot before finishing my packing. Paris is the city of fashion, fine dining, and drop dead gorgeous women from around the world. The fashion show Jennifer scheduled me for is the Mode A Paris Haute Couture fashion week. Its a fashion photographers dream project. All the top couture designers from around the world will be attending to display their latest designs using the top models from around the world. The super wealthy, celebrities, and international buyers will be in attendance as well. I took an early morning flight to Paris. While fingering through the magazines in the back seat in front of me I came across a Vanity Fair. The hottest new model Mishka Strova from Hungary is on the cover. Shes tall, slender, with shoulder length jet black hair, deep brown eyes and single. I flipped through the pages until I got to the article about her. She was discovered in Milan two years ago and has been moving up the hot model list. This year she is in the top twenty most sought after in the world. The article when on to say that she has penthouse apartments in Milan , Paris , and New York. Shes very private when not modeling, independent, wealthy, and doesnt date rich boys and that shes looking for a well balanced regular guy that will appreciate and love her for who she is as a person, not as a super fashion model.

I arrived in Paris in mid afternoon. After I checked in and went up to my room, and made dinner reservations for Jennifer and me at Au Trou Gascon for eight oclock to go over the details of the shoot. Its one of my favorite restaurants and well off the beaten tourist track. Its overseen by celebrated chef Alain Dutournier and his wife who runs the dining room. He does a refined take on the cuisine of Gascony -- a region renowned for its ham, foie gras, lamb, and duck. Most popular with the regulars are the surprisingly light cassoulet (all the meats are grilled before going into the pot) and a superb duck comfit. I went down to the lobby and out to the street to wait for Jennifer to pick me up for dinner. The night is calm and the city is bustling with fashion industry people. I heard my name being called as I was watching for Jennifers car. Michael, Michael, over here. Its Paul LaGassi a top couture designer from New York and a very good friend of mine waving at me from across the street. Hey Paul you here for the show? I shouted back. He crossed the street and came over to me. Yeah, I have some pieces Ill be showing. I am fitting the new hot model Mishka Strova he said pointing at a picture of her in a magazine featuring one of his pieces. Get out! I am doing her runway photo shoot all this week. I said with a big smile then gave him a high five. Man, she is gorgeous and has a body like a dream goddess. My dresses are fitting her like a glove. I cant wait to see her in them on the runaway. He said looking at the magazine again. I could see Jennifers Mercedes coming down the block towards us. Heres my ride. Call me tomorrow. You got my number I said waiving at Jennifer and stepping off the curb. Okay, talk to you later he said waving and walking back across the street.
Chapter 2 Day 1 at the Fashion Show

After having a caf latte and breakfast pastry, Jennifer picked me up at 9 am and we headed to the fashion show. We arrived at the Couture Fashion Show Palace where the fashion show is being held. Models, designers, stylist and prop people were moving about with a precision flare. Lets move faster people, we only have four hours until show! shouted one of the coordinators clapping his hands behind the models and stage hands. Jennifer, over here darling came a voice over the moving crowd. A tall gentleman in a dark Armani suit with a bright pink polka dot silk tie was motioning for us to come over to where he was.

Hello Jeffrey. How are you? said Jennifer as they both cheek kissed each other. Fine darling, just fine. You know this show is nearly driving me crazy! he said fanning himself with his matching pink and black custom hand made fan. It looks like it. Jeffery, this is Michael Hayden my photographer. Hes photographing the new model Mishka Strova for Victor Sheldon said Jennifer picking up a glass of Mimosa champagne from a passing waiter. Walk with me honey said Jeffrey. Mishka Strova? Jeffery said with an arched brow She is so hot now and the girl looks good in anything she puts on! Michael, you will be the envy of the photo gang on the runway ramp Jeffrey said sipping his champagne and pointing at me with hand fan. Follow me and Ill get you two all setup with your seat and full access passes he continued as we followed him to his office. Everyone greeted and complemented Jeffery as we strolled down the hall to his office. He clearly is the shaker and mover of the fashion show industry. He seemed like the type of person that if he likes you, youre in good company. If he doesnt, then you might as well pack up and go home. Here you go, one for you and one for you, now call me if you have any trouble Jen, you have my number. Ill be around, so dont be shy. Michael, it was a pleasure and let me know when you have an opening in your schedule for a photo session for me. I need to update my portfolio said Jeffery handing me my passes. Thank you, just call Jennifer and shell setup an appointment for you. It will be my pleasure I said slipping the lanyard over my head with the passes dangling. We headed out of his office and went to the main floor near the runway to check where our seats were. Jennifer looked at me with a big smile. You dont know how lucky you are to be selected to do his photos. He is one of the most powerful people in the industry and when he talks, everybody listens. You are on his good list! she said. I looped my arm under hers. Well I guess were even on that favor you owe me. Our seats couldnt have been more perfect. One third of the length down the runway and on the front row! I took out my camera and panned it a couple of times to get a feel for my shots. This is perfect Jennifer, absolutely perfect I said clicking off a few blank shots. Well, nothing but the best for the best said Jennifer sitting down and scrolling through her email on her blackberry. I got to make a call Michael, Ill be a minute she said standing up walking a few feet away. Okay, Ill just hang out here I said adjusting my lens.

I saw Jeffery giving some instructions to one of his many legions of help. I decided to take some candid moment shots figuring it would flatter him to see himself in action. He looked up, saw me and came over. Michael, you are creative, candid shots, I love it. Please take more throughout the week. He said fanning himself with his hand fan. I will. I think it would be good to show the working side of you so your clients can connect to you and your work I said putting in a new flash memory stick. Excellent, simply excellent darling. Well it seems youre just in time, here come the girls for a test walk said Jeffery pointing at the curtain with his fan.
Chapter 3 At last - - Mishka Strova

Just then a string of beautiful models came out onto the runway strutting like Egyptian Queens. As I watched them one by one come out to the end of the runway stop and turn on a dime, Mishka Strova stepped out from the curtains. I was spellbound. My mouth was open as I watch her slowly strut across the stage in long fluid strides. Her legs were long and perfectly formed. Her hips swayed in perfect modeling form with her slender arms. Her eyes were like emeralds and her smile soft and innocent. I poised my camera up at her and focused her perfect body in my lens. I snapped shots in unison with her steps. She stopped in front of me, looked down, smiled, waved with her left hand, and then pivoted away. You can close your mouth now honey said Jeffery tapping my forearm with his fan. I told you, she is as beautiful as a dozen pink tulips. Ill see you two later darling he smirked and began to walk away to meet with some arriving designers. So you got to meet your girl said Jennifer watching the spellbound look on my face fade away. Yeah and she is one beautiful woman and I mean beautiful I said still staring at her perfect apple bottom swishing away from my sight and dissolving into the curtains. Well we have a meet and greet with Victor Sheldon in half and hour, so stay close by. I have some more calls to make and some clients to chat up said Jennifer checking her blackberry. Okay, Im going to stay here and check lighting and shot angles. Call me if things change I said looking through my lens at the stage clicking off some shots. Okay I was looking in my camera case for my wide angle lens when I heard a soft female voice from over my shoulder, You are Michael, yes? said the soft voice.

Yes I murmured back as I found the lens and began connecting it to my camera then stood up to see who is talking to me. Hi, I am Mishka Strova. Are you photographing me today? she said looking intently into my eyes. I was stunned. There she was standing right before me like a gorgeous genie that popped out of a bottle in a pink plum of smoke with a soft gaze that melted me. Ah, yes I am, I will be here all day, yes Ill be photographing you I struggled and stammered to answer her. She broke into small smile. Good. I am pleased to be meeting you Michael. Victor my designer told me about you and your work. I am sure you will be making beautiful photographs of me she said in the cutest broken English laced with a soft Hungarian accent. Ill do my best Mishka I said with a bashful smile. Okay, I will be seeing you around then, yes? she said walking backwards then turning away. My heart is pounding as I watched her walk away. I am surrounded by beautiful women all the time in my line of work, but Mishka just rocked my world. Everything about her shook me to my core. Its going to be a long week and I am getting paid to look at her and take her picture. It doesnt get any better than this I thought to myself. I took some more pictures and did some light testing before putting away my camera. I checked my watch. It was getting close to meeting time with Victor and Jennifer. Now that I met Mishka up close, I can now somewhat talk intelligently to Victor about his star model.
Chapter 4 Take good pictures of my Mishka

Jennifer and I went to meet with Mishkas agent Victor Sheldon to discuss the photos he wants for her portfolio and website. We arrived at his private modeling suite promptly at 11:30am. Come in, come in my friends said Victor in a slightly heavy Swedish accent putting out a cigarette while blowing out his last puff of smoke. Good to see you. Victor this is Michael Hayden the man with the magic lens said Jennifer extending her hand to Victor. Ahhh, Mr. Hayden. So good for to be seeing you, please sit down you two he said with a bright smile pouring himself a shot glass of Vodka. Please be my guest, this is the best Vodka from my homeland he said setting out two more shot glasses. I followed Jennifers lead on this one.

Thank you Victor, to Mishka she said raising her glass. I followed suit, To Mishka, I said raising my glass. We all toasted our glasses. I must say it was very smooth and mellow. So, Mr. Hayden, have you been to the runway area for to see where you will be sitting yet? asked Victor. Yes we have. Jeffrey set us up with our passes and seating assignments. I must say, I have a great position for taking pictures of Mishka. I met her shortly after her test walk I said still feeling the smooth silky Vodka caress my throat. Ahhh good Mr. Hayden, you have seen her, she is very, very beautiful yes! he asked arching is brow and leaning back in his chair. Yes Victor, no doubt she is a knock out I said. Yes, yes, she is beautiful knock out. I told Jeffery I wanted you to have the best seat and position for taking photographs he said lighting another cigarette. Do you mind if I smoke? he asked realizing that we are not smokers. No, go ahead Victor said Jennifer. Thank you for your understanding. I know this is bad habit. Mishka hates it when I smoke. She is always getting on to me about it. Perhaps one day I will stop he said taking another drag. I am having private cocktail and dinner party at my suite after the show tonight, you will come yes? said Victor taking his last drag of his cigarette before putting it out. But of course Victor, I will be there said Jennifer standing and shaking his hand. Very good and you to Mr. Hayden? he asked while shaking my hand. Yes I will. I will be looking forward to it Victor I said releasing his hand. Good, I will see you later at the runway and thank you again for coming by he said opening the door for us. Thank you Victor. See you later said Jennifer as we walked out.
Chapter 5 ~ The Fashion Show Day 1

Cocktails were traveling around on palm supported platters drifting from guest to guest like honey bees pollinating flowers in spring. Everyone is dressed to the nines. It was twenty minutes until show time when we got to our seats. I got out my camera gear and setup for my first round of photos. Victor is two seats down from us smoking a cigarette and sipping his vodka. Ill be right back said Jennifer looking intently at her Black Berry. Okay I said setting up my tripod. A waiter approached me with a silver platter lowering it towards me as he got closer. Michael Hayden? he asked in a professional butler voice. Yes, I am Michael I said looking up. For you sir he said extending the silver platter. On it were three tulips tied together with lace and a note. Thank you I said handing him a five dollar tip. It was addressed from Mishka. I opened the partially sealed envelope. I am wishing good luck for you today Michael. I look forward for to seeing you tonight at Victors party. Always, Mishka Strova. I was speechless. I broke into a big smile. I couldnt believe my eyes. Her words lay delicately in my hands as I read them again. I looked up at the stage and scanned it starting from the far left. There she was peeking out looking right at me. I raised the tulips and note card up to her and mouthed Me too with a smile. She smiled and faded into the curtains. Well, well, where did those come from? asked Jennifer with a I bet I know smile. A secret admirer I said putting the note into my camera case. Well, it seems as though youre getting off to a good start. Can you stay focused enough to pull off your first day? she asked knowing the answer. As sharp as cupids arrow I said turning on my flash and focusing my camera at mid stage. The lights went low as a plum of white smoke creped across the stage. Purple and pink lights danced through the plum of smoke. A big flash of magician powder burst at the tip of the stage then out came Prince playing Lets go crazy (the theme of the first day of the fashion show). The place roared with cheering guest clapping their hands and dancing as Prince performed live like it was his first time on stage. It was a fantastic opening. I took pictures of him in his usual

awesome presences. After his performance the lights went low again. The stage is softly lit with plums of smoke hovering like a morning mist. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. Jeffery Ashton said a low slow deep voice. A spot light slowly pierced through the cloud filled stage and made its way to the center of the stage. There in all his glory stood Jeffery in a solid purple suit with a pink satin shirt and matching signature poke a dot tie and hand fan. He is stunning. The crowd burst into a loud applause as he stood taking it all in. I started taking pictures of him as he stood in his Bill Blass couture suite. Thank you, thank you. You are all too kind he started. Welcome to the first day of our annual spring fashion show. I guarantee you will be as stunned as I am over the next few days at the fashions that these wonderful top designers have in store for you. And now without further a due, the fashion show is officially opened he said fanning him self and cheek kissing Prince who started playing Lets go crazy again. The first models began to come out and strut across the stage. They looked like a string of the worlds most expensive pearls as they come out one by one. Thirty minutes had passed by until the lights went dim again. Andre Bocelli music began to play (Canto Della Terra). The crowd is quite and intently watching the stage. The stage lights slowly began glow. The heavy velvet curtains opened slowly, then out strolled Mishka Strova. Her beauty is breath taking. The crowd watched in awe as she strutted out in synchronized steps of Andre Bocelli wearing Red Diamonds, an exclusive couture design of Paul LaGassi. She walked with elegance wrapped in grace. I took what seemed like endless frames of pictures. She turned on a dime at the end of the stage then stopped. Turned again and posed for the hundreds of photographers and the attending guest. The crowd burst into the loudest applause I have ever heard. She stood in all of her elegance posing like a Greek Goddess frozen in time. The flashes from the photographers kissed her image like a dozen tinker bell ferries with magic wands. Jeffery was clapping his hands so hard I thought he would break his wrist. Victor is smiling from check to cheek as he knew he had the number one model that had captured the world. She broke her posed and walked a third of the way down the stage and stopped again right at my waiting camera shot. She smiled and winked at me then assumed her Greek Goddess pose again. I took picture after, after picture as I smiled looking up at her. There was no denying it, I was hooked even after she had left the stage I couldnt get her out of my mind. The rest of the fashion show went without a hitch. Victor is happy, Jennifer is smiling and I was looking forward to the after party and seeing Mishka.

Chapter 6 ~ The After Party The first day was coming to a end and what a day it was. The show went off without a hitch. The designers were writing orders and sketching new designs in a frenzy. The crowd slowly strolled out gabbing about the pieces they liked sipping the last of their cocktails while valets were rounding up their Limos, Mercedes, Ferraris, and Rolls Royces. Well, was it as good for you as it was for me? asked Jennifer sipping a Cosmo walking towards the valet with her ticket. All that and then some, I got so many great shots of Mishka and Jeffery I said toasting her glass. Well, Ill drop you off so you can get ready for the after party and pick you up say around 8:30? she said tipping the valet. Works for me I said slipping into the passenger seat. My tux was waiting for me in my room when I arrived. I hooked up my laptop and logged on to my email to check on messages and download the days photos from my hand full of memory chips. I poured myself a drink and casually watched the pictures download as I unwound. Mishkas pictures began to pop on the screen one by one. I took slow sips of my cocktail as I watched her pictures appear and slide into another. She is as beautiful as the moments I spent taking them. After making sure all my pictures downloaded, I finished off my second Jack & Coke and got dressed. Jennifer had just pulled up to the hotel when I got to the front door. The night was perfect and calm. Hubba, Hubba said Jennifer smiling as I got into the car. What? Its just a tux I said putting the coat in the backseat smiling back. Just a tux, ha, looks like a Jack Victor Estrato to me. Am I right? she asked waiting for the stop light to change. Yeah, youre right. You been in the business too long Jen I said adjust my tie in the visor mirror. That and I know when a man is dressing to impress a lady and not just any lady she quickly answered back. Well, I kinda have my eye on someone. Let me guess, your secret admirer with the tulips? Yeah, you could say that. And is her name Mishka by chance? Good guess. How you figured that? Victor told me she wanted to make sure that you would be at the party.

Well, youre being ever the accommodating host I laughed turning up the music. We drove through downtown to the Castille Paris hotel which is located in the rue Cambon nestled in the exclusive 1st arrondissement amidst the haute couture houses and boutiques of the Paris fashion district noted for having housed the couturier Channel since 1910. The Castille is nothing short of fabulous. The valet greeted us as we pulled up to the grand entrance. We are here for the Victor Sheldon party said Jennifer tipping the valet. Yes Miss LaSalle, through the double doors and to your right, hes expecting you. The valet responded. We went in as instructed. Guest are lined up being greeted by Victor and Jeffery personally. Ah, my friends, I am so pleased for to be seeing you said Victor with a glass of Vodka and a cigarette in one hand while extended his other one to shake. Victor, Jeffery said Jennifer greeting them both with cheek kisses. Look at you girl, turn around and let me see that Donna Karen. I am liking it! said Jeffery fanning himself. He is decked out in a Yves Saint Laurent black tux. And you look at you Michael in your Jack Victor Estrato tux. I am impressed he continued with his review of us Thank you Jeffery. Your first day was nothing short of spectacular. I said as we followed them both into the party. People were everywhere with cocktails in hand gabbing about the show. Lets have a toast said Victor signaling over his personal waiter. For you Miss Jennifer and for you Michael said Victor handing each of us shots of Vodka. To this wonderful day and my friends he said clinking our drinks and throwing back his first. Here, here we chanted back throwing back the shots. Please, please, go mingle, I will be around said Victor lighting up a cigarette nudging us towards the crowd. Well hes happy said Jennifer as we headed for the bar. Yeah and youve got one big client to add to your growing list. I wouldnt be where I am today without my friend and best photographer on my team. Well, like they say, it takes two and I got you babe. We laughed and talked about the show as we sipped cocktails and snacked on passing platters of delightful finger food. Jennifer floated away to chat up her clients as I held up the bar for another round of Jack and Coke. I had just finished off my drink when I heard a sweet soft voice.

Michael? I am so pleased to see you are here. I turned to the delight of seeing Mishka standing with a slender fluted glass of sparkling Champagne in her hand smiling with bright beautiful eyes. Mishka, you were stunning today on the runway I said adjusting my bow tie. You got many photographs of me today? Did I look good? She said looking down at your glass then back up at me. Miska, you were a goddess on the stage. I looked at your pictures before I came to the party and they all were excellent. Your poses were spot on and everything you wore fitted like a glove. I said looking at her begin to smile. You really think so? I know it without doubt. Please order another drink and celebrate with me she asked. We toasted our glasses and walked out to the patio over looking the city. The night air is perfect, the stars shinning and the moons glow lit Mishkas face and smile. So being surrounded by so many women you must be popular guy and have many girl friends, yes? she asked leaning back pushing her hair away from her face. I took a sip of my drink and looked up at the sky then back at her. Surrounded yes, popular, I dont know about that, but there is no one special. Its hard to find someone stable in the fashion business. They either have drug problems, an eating disorder, or too full of themselves. Her smile faded. Do you think I am these terrible things? she said in a low voice looking down. No Mishka. I dont think you are any of those things. Today on that stage I saw a beautiful confident woman. I smiled as I watched your pictures float across my computer screen. I couldnt take my eyes off you. I was wondering what type of guy could win your heart and how lucky he would be if he ever did. I said looking intently into her eyes. Her smile came back. She sat down her drink and moved so close to me I could smell her perfume. Our hands moved towards each other. Ahhh, there you are! said Victor taking a puff on his cigarette before putting it out. I have been looking for the two of you. Dinner is being served in five minutes. Come, come now and join me. I have much to discuss with you for my little Mishkas photographs. We broke our gaze as Victor hugged us both and walked us back to the party and to the dinning room.
Chapter 7 I cant get her out of my mind

Diner was awesome and the moments with Miska last night wasnt long enough I thought to myself as I sipped my latte while reading the reviews in the paper

about the first day of fashion week. They were all ten stars on the new designer collections and models. The reviews about Mishika and Victor were very good. The reporters were dead on about how beautiful and graceful she was in every since of the words. The phone rang breaking my trail of thoughts. This is Michael I said rubbing my eyes. Good morning Michael this is Mishka Strova she said in her sweet and potent voice. My heart pounded as I prepared to answer. Hello Mishka, is everything alright? I asked fearing something was wrong. I couldnt figure out any reason why she would be calling. Yes, everything is alright. There is no problems. I was calling for to ask if you are needing a ride this morning? I could come pick you up. She said in a hopeful tone. I broke into a big smile, did a fist pump before answering. That would be great. What time are you coming by? I asked. In an hour if that is good for you she asked. Ill be ready and waiting outside. I said doing another fist pump with excitement. Okay, I will be seeing you then. Ciao I went to the closet and franticly pulled out different outfits trying to figure out what to wear. Shes picking me up in an hour I blurted out loud as I set aside a semi dressy casual outfit. With five minutes left, I went downstairs and out to the street in front of the hotel. After a couple of minutes had passed I could see her driving down the block towards me in an awesome red Ferrari F430. She looked hot as she pulled up stopping in front of me smiling with large black Gucci sun glasses, a simple black DKNY one piece mini dress, with a silk red and black polka dot scarf draped around her shoulders. I opened the door and slipped into the luxurious butter soft leather seat. Good morning Mishka I said with a big smile looking at her glowing presence. Good morning Michael. Are you surprised for to be seeing me she said pulling away shifting into second gear. This is a very pleasant surprise Mishka. I am glad I get to see you before the hectic day starts. I said bursting inside. Well, I wanted to be the first girl you saw this morning. We didnt get much time together last night to talk with all the peoples around and of course Victor was consuming you with all of his details. She said pulling up to the stop light.

Well, seeing you now is the best way I can think of to start my day I said wanting to lean over and kiss her cheek. It is best way for me too. She said looking at me in the moment then back at the road smiling. We looked at each as we as if we both realized at the same time that our attraction to each other is becoming apparent to us. I reached out for her hand. She shifted gears then placed her soft delicate hand in mine. I cant deny it Mishka, you are a beautiful woman and I am very attracted to you. I have been thinking about you a lot and more so when we are apart. When the fashion week is over I would like to spend more time with you. I said not believing the words that were coming out of my mouth. I was terrified of what she would say. Did I reveal my feelings too early I asked myself? She pulled her hand away, shifted gears again then put her hand back in mine. My heart is pounding. She looked at me smiling then back to the road. I would like that Michael. I would like very much for us to be spending time together. I was hoping that you would very much be feeling that way. The truth is I was feeling somethings inside me for you when I was on the runway She said smiling, spreading my fingers with hers and slipping them between mine. From that moment on, I knew I was on my way to falling in love with a Runway girl named Mishka Strova. The rest of the week went smoothly. Day after day we were inseparable at the cocktail parties. On the runway she would wink at me and every day I wore a pink tulip to let her know that of all the beautiful girls in world she was the girl for me. The End