A Butterfly with BitebyEgmont0409©
Staring at the mirror, Camilla Young simply confirmed her bad face day: the mouth was down, lip coating very much in need of restoration and her eye surrounds were bloated and red-rimmed from recent crying.
"God, girl -- you are one awful mess," sighed Camilla, knowing no one was there was there to listen and that stimulated her anguish.
Almost overnight the vivacious leading female magazine writer had become a fallen butterfly, lying unwanted while everyone else was laughing, dancing, dining, boozing or banging their heads into the pillows in ecstasy, screaming amid unbelievable orgasms to attain crescendos that threatened crystal chandeliers as far as two blocks away.
That life that had slipped away from this raven-hair media reject who was a little too hawked-faced to be called beautiful. What engaged braver men was the way she confronted them, the sway of her butt and the suppressed power that lurked just below the surface and simmering, waiting to be tapped.
This fall from grace had cost Camilla her fabulous job at 'New York Chic' magazine as bar and club gossip columnist.
Earlier that day Camilla had arrived at her locked office door upon which was taped a note requesting that she make an appointment to see 'Bee-Bee.' B. B. Joyce was the wealthy publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine. She was widely known as a bitch, and loved her reputation.
"Darling," she greeted, taking Camilla cell phone call. "Don't wait for an appointment, come to see me now."
Bee-Bee didn't smile when Camilla entered the office, or invite her to sit. Lighting a cigarette in a bone holder, she spoke to Camilla coldly.
"Your stardom is waning, darling; you are no longer required. The money in this envelop means goodbye. You will find your personal items at Security. It's been so lovely having you on my team. Go now."
That cold-hearted termination drove Camilla into tears as soon as she left the publisher's office, feeling heel-squashed by that bitch Bee-Bee.
While reliving that humiliation, fight still dwelt within Camilla as she looked at the mirrored image of her bad face. Angrily she thought of finding a brick and smashing it into that mirror. "Who the hell needs a mirror when you look like that, you luckless cow," she hissed.
Camilla's phoned went.
"I'm in the media. Is it true you were fired today?"
"In your position, does it really matter?"
"A good point, smart bastard. Yes, it's true."
"Why were you fired?"
"Since it doesn't really matter me saying this, it's because in the three months since my divorce my whole social life has collapsed and I have become a nobody, probably like you. Any more questions?"
"Yes, will you come and work for me?"
"Oh yes, where at, Gutter Press Inc, home of fallen angels?"
"Actually the publication is 'Passion' and I'm Jay Rank."
Camilla dropped the phone and screamed, "Jesus."
The conversation resumed, with Camilla attempting to apologize but Mr Rank told her to stop dick licking.
Camilla could believe he'd used those words to her. Jay Rank had a publishing empire and its 'Passion' was the newest sensation in publishing.
"Sorry, Mr Rank. "My mouth tends to run away with me. I had no idea that there was a vacancy on 'Passion' for a proof reader."
Mr Rank ignored that pathetic response.
"Cindy Roberts last night over-dosed on drugs and is bad news in hospital. If she survives she's fired anyway. I've just come out of an emergency meeting and your name popped up. The feeling is you are potentially the best journalist around for the job as you are wounded, dangerous and ready to let rip. Cindy came to us like that, and look was she's done in five months? Her legacy is the market's most talk about publication in years, with a circulation going through the roof. The momentum must continue. For some reason -- although I understand it's because of your reputation as a bitch --no one volunteered to approach you, so I said I'd do it. That will make you infamous within the group, as I lied and said I knew you, intimately."
"Well, we did meet once at a cocktail party -- I spilt my orange cocktail down your shirtfront."
"Yes, I'd dimly recalled that encounter. I said intimately, but it's well known that I lie."
"Then come to me now. A car is waiting outside your apartment building."
Camilla went to the window and saw a Lincoln Town Car double parked outside the apartment entrance.
"I'm in a mess. I'll require an hour to look good."
"Now, Camilla. I don't care what your hair and make-up look like. My interest is your brain and intrinsic talent and cutting edge that allows you to go for the throat."
Eighty minutes later Camilla was back in her apartment.
At the international headquarters of Rank Media Corporation, she'd been shown into a room, Jay Rank came in smiling, kissed her cheek, asked someone called Al to take care of proceedings and left.
Al introduced himself as Al Marks, the company's senior attorney and manager of JR's team of personal assistants.
Camilla looked at Al closely and he reciprocated; the suggestion of mutual outright dislike was almost instantaneous.
Al, an overweight six-footer with a florid complexion and an over-sized nose, was dressed in a dark blue pinstripe suit. He looked at Camilla's casual clothing and woeful makeup with distaste.
Pointing to a chair at the small table, he invited Camilla to sit and gave her a contract to read. They went through it clause by clause.
Camilla was really pleased as it was almost as if she'd written the contract herself. She caught her breath at the size of the salary and allied benefits.
"Well, ready to sign?" asked Al, looking at his watch.
"I'm ready to negotiate."
"I've plenty of time."
"What clauses need clarification?"
"Oh not clarification Al. Two clauses need changes and I require a new clause to be added."
"Right, fire away."
"Contract term, two years; I require five."
"Two is standard."
"Fuck standard Al. It's only words and paper."
"Next." he said, scribbling something with shark-like ferocity.
"I want the salary notched up by 15k."
Al's face lit with an I'm-being-entertained grin.
"I want justified use of the Heli-Service, especially to JFK."
"Well, that's it, Al. Go get approvals from the boss."
"I don't know why he's taking such a personal interest in you Camilla. Has he shafted you?"
"Run along Al."
Al returned, trailing Mr Rank who handed Camilla a glass of champagne.
"Al says we have problems. You wouldn't give us problems would you sweetie?"
"No Jay-Baby," replied Camilla, watching Al's eyes almost pop out of their sockets and Jay himself looked surprised by this unexpected familiarity. "My role is to earn you big money, not to give you problems, but first we need to tweak this ill-prepared contract, don't we?"
Al was now smiling grimly, presumably expecting to witness the quickest ever eviction of a visitor from Jay's personal suite.
"Yes to your contract period extension and yes to higher salary but it's no to your use of the VIP Heli-Service. Do we have a deal? I'm late for an appointment, Camilla."
"I'm staying until you say yes to the chopper facility or alternatively you can toss me out the window."
"Be careful, we're on the 34th floor."
"You're the boss, Jay. I know other senior execs will rant and rave if I get a privilege denied to them, but so fucking what? We are not all equal. My task is to take your hot 'Passion' forward, so this hard-nose attitude is what's going to do the job - you have no choice but to accept, Jay.
"Jay must not be spoken to like that Camilla."
"Shut up Al. Jay is on a knife edge, wondering whether to strangle me or to follow his instincts."
"Agreed. Come on Al," said Jay, kissing Camilla on the cheek and whispering, "Bitch!"
All followed Jay from the room, taking a long look at Camilla. She raised her glass to him and smiled.
A woman hurried into the room.
"I'm Marcia, Al's associate. Please wait and I'll make the changes to the contracts and the Contracts Manager will come in for the signing. Ana will bring you refreshments -- juice, champagne or coffee?"
"Oh, I think all three, please Marcia. I'm celebrating."
When the contract was signed, Marcia offered to take Camilla down to the offices of 'Passion' on the 27th floor to meet her senior executives and to inspect her office suite, but Camilla declined with a stunning smile, saying she was dashing off to visit her folk in LA -- her contract did not take effect for another ten days.
"Do you have any instructions Miss Young?"
"Yes, I want the press release about my appointment deferred until 6:00 on the evening of the 13th when I'll be back in the city. I'll go to our West Coast Passion team in San Francisco to be interviewed for the next issue and I will email your publicity department here about arrangement of interviews including with Clive Manning on 'New York This Morning' on the 14th.
"Oh, I really don't think 'New York This Morning' would accept slotting you in at such short notice," said the older woman, with an apologetic smile.
"I'll get fifteen minutes for 'Passion' -- I'll ask for 10:00 am because that's when half of all office women take their coffee break."
"Forgive me for saying this, Miss Young, but the lead-in time for a possible placement is far too short and 10:00 is the Celebrity Spot."
"Thanks for your concern Marcia. It has been very nice meeting you; I must dash."
At JFK Camilla was told at the United Airways desk no seats were available for the flight about to leave for Los Angeles.
"Call Mr Nicosia please."
"You know Mr Nicosia?"
"Yes, intimately (which was true)."
"Er, we can hold back a United engineer and you can have her seat."
"Yes, women are into everything these days Miss Young."
Camilla's mom was delighted to have her youngest daughter, the problem one, walk in unannounced.
"We've been trying to call you since hearing about you being replaced as columnist on the magazine," said her mother, an older hawk-faced version of Camilla. "Your father and I were worried."
"You were mom, not dad -- he wouldn't care a twit as he accepts I can take care of myself. Sorry, I forgot the news would cross America. I've had my phone off as I'm on vacation before I start my new position."
"A position -- you've got a position already?" asked her mother, astonished. Then clasping her daughter's arm said sympathetically, "I'm sorry it won't half match your glamorous role of a columnist."
"I'll get by," Camilla said dryly.
"What is the nature of your new position -- still in journalism I suspect?"
"Yes mom. I've been appointed editor of 'Passion' magazine, but keep quiet about that until the 13th."
Her mother's face amused Camilla. Her mom was already thinking her daughter was an outstanding success, a national figure in journalism. However, fallen butterflies were expected to demonstrate their revival before they were recognized and perhaps glamorized.
"Congratulations darling," said Gwen Young, kissing her daughter. "But can't I tell my friends and ask them to keep it a secret."
"Do what you must, mom, but if the secret leaks from you it could harm my efforts to re-launch my career with a bang."
"Oh dear, I was hoping to be able to tell someone," sighed the former hospital senior administrator.
"Tell dad, he'll welcome the news."
Next day Camilla flew to San Francisco where she was interviewed in a restaurant, her business guests being senior writer Liz Merchant and photographer Rachel Keenan of 'Passion' magazine.
Liz told Camilla that Al Marks wanted her to phone him urgently.
After finishing her entrée Camilla went off to a quiet corner to speak privately.
"What do you think," asked Rachel, a butch-looking blonde with short-cropped hair and poorly maintained teeth. "She's not the glamour puss I expected."
"She has the reputation of being a super-bitch who brushes off men like confetti after she's got what she wants -- at least that's what the gossip is. I think she's okay but was surprised she should be promoted straight into the editorship. The New York office says Chris Geller is mad as hell that she didn't get the job."
"The deputy editor."
"Has she resigned?"
"Not yet, probably trying to get a new position first."
"Has Camilla been in touch with her?"
"No, the minute Camilla got her contract she left the office and hasn't been sighted until she arrived here twenty minutes ago."
"Hullo Al, it's Camilla enjoying the Californian sun. What's up?"
Al asked where the hell she'd been and why had she deferred the announcement of her appointment.
"It's really of no concern of yours Al but I can say the timing of the announcement of my appointment is important to me. That's all I have to say about that subject. As to where have I been, I've been on unpaid vacation Al as I'm not a company person until the 14th -- it says so on my contract that you so ably drafted."
Al said Camilla should be in her office sorting out the mess. Deputy editor Chris Geller was an emotional mess.
"That's why she'd not the editor, Al. Any more questions?"
Al wanted her fronting up in her office first thing tomorrow morning.
"No way Al. Have a nice day."
The call terminated.
Rejoining her guests, Camilla apologized to Liz.
"Liz I'll not be answering any questions about rival magazines or B.B. Joyce. This is off the record but our policy will be we make no mention of such publications: it's as if they don't exist. Our competitors are of course free to mention us. That's the only restraint I put on this interview. Please proceed when you're ready -- I've always found it profitable interviewing people at the table as their defenses are down."
Camilla arrived home to find her mother was still at golf.
"She drinks too much there and then drives home -- it worries me," said Stan, a retired engineer who'd specialized in bridge design and bridge inspections.
"Relocate to a house on the edge of her golf course -- there are some beautiful homes there, including smaller ones more suited to you two."
"She wants us to do that but I like it here."
"Does she like it here dad?"
"You are conservative, well-manner and have always acted like a gentleman with mom. What are your retirement interests dad?"
"TV, playing my CD collection and gardening I suppose -- oh, I like going to the mall with her and dining out."
"What are mom's interests dad?"
"Playing golf, drinking with her gang, playing bridge, going to the mall and dining out."
"Where's the mall dad?"
"Okay, I can see where this is heading -- by the golf course. We eat frequently at the golf club and the mall is within easy walking distance of the course. But I like it here."
"You've always been a gentleman dad. Just think about that. Would you care for a whisky?"
At the end of the vacation Camilla's parents took her to the airport to catch a night flight to JFK. They promised their daughter they would cooperate fully with the Realtor now working to sell their home.
* * *
At the New York offices of 'Passion' a very unhappy deputy editor addressed editorial personnel.
The red-eyed scruffy blonde said, "I've called this crisis meeting because the woman who has stolen my job is due to commence duties tomorrow," said Chris Geller. "As you would expect, I am very upset. I need to determine my strategy. As I see it I have three options: resign, fight it or submit. I do not find the idea of backing off palatable, so thought I would ask for opinions about this appointment and what I should do. Obviously to fight effectively I'd need support."
A long discussion following and clearly the majority opinion was conservative -- wait and see.
"Thank you for this feedback," Chris said stiffly. "Please return to your work."
The doe-eyes beauty went into her office, slamming the door, and those doe eyes filled with tears.
On the morning of the 13th as Clive Manning, co-host with Jenny Silverstein on 'New York This Morning', was signing off he announced that tomorrow's celebrity guest would be the so-called media fallen butterfly Camilla Young.
News of that announcement swept through the eight levels of the Rank Building occupied by Rank Media Corporation.
Marcia Betts, personal assistant of Al Marks, interrupted a meeting to make the announcement. Jay Rank just smiled while Al snorted: "Jesus, how could she pull off a coup like that? People with really big stories to tell virtually top themselves because they can't get on the show, even for a three minutes interview. This girl of ours is going to get fifteen minutes of prime time morning TV, viewed by millions. Oh God, that's worth millions of dollars in publicity to us. We got to get her, get the team around her and brief her. The stupid bitch will be unaware that temporarily she's a talking gold mine."
Jay said, "Listen everyone, I want no-one, absolutely no one, to approach Camilla Young about this. I want her to do her own thing, that's why I'm paying her over the going rate to run Passion. Al, your involvement with Passion remains intact, but you're not to row with her or upset her in any way, do you understand?"
"Of course Jay."
"And Al, never again refer to her as a bitch, even in jest. She's either Camilla or Miss Young -- take your pick. Everybody, we meet here at 9:58 in the morning to view 'New York This Morning'. Attendance is compulsory.
When the others had left Al said to Jay: "How the hell do you think she's got on to the show?"
"My bet is they used to fuck, and she called Clive to remind him of that and to ask for a slot. Some poor celebrity has been shunted off to make way for her. You shouldn't be surprised -- we do things like that all the time."
Al just shook his head.
In the Passion offices the grim faced Chris Geller called an urgent staff meeting.
"I've just had an email from our new boss via Marcia Betts. Miss Young wants a staff meeting at 8:30 in the morning. She apologizes for the early start but says she has an unavoidable appointment at 10:00 -- ha! -- but wishes to introduce herself beforehand and to answer any urgent questions we may have."
Angie a sub-editor asked wouldn't describing a newly appointed editor as a fallen butterfly on TV being syndicated throughout the whole country bring 'Passion' into disrepute?
"Yes, next question," said the unsmiling Chris.
"How can a nobody talk authoritatively about 'Passion' without a thorough knowledge of policy and business plan details?" asked Rebecca, the fashion editor.
"They can't, absolutely not," snapped Chris.
"Will she make a fool of herself?" enquired cynical Charlene, the gossip columnist.
"I don't think so," conceded Chris. "She is a superb writer, I have read her articles for years, and she is very much a political animal with undoubtedly an incisive brain. She'll wing through, at least that's my expectation."
The meeting broke up. About all that was agreed was their new editor was a very flamboyant and competent person.
"She's a super star," ventured young Maisie from reception.
"How can a fallen butterfly be a super star? She won't last a month here, mark my words," said Charlene.
Charlene went off to her work area and phoned her boyfriend on a major newspaper to give him the news tip.
"We've already got it going front page in the next edition -- the cunning bitch has rigged this whole thing as a leak to really stimulate interest," said Frank. "Everyone will be wanting to interview her, to get her story."
"Do you know what the heading of your newspaper's story is?"
"Yes, I saw the page proof on the city editor's desk -- but this is confidential. Promise?