It was love at first sight.
‘I have never seen anything
more beautiful,’ Cara said, as she stared through the window of the stylish
Chapel Street shoe store.
‘You simply have to have
them,’ Gracie agreed, her nose pressed up against the windowpane.
‘They are frivolous.
Certainly not a necessity.’
‘So be frivolous, while you
are still young enough for it to be charming.’
‘But they are Kate Madden
Designs!’ Cara pointed out, hoping that at least would be argument enough to
stop her from making such a rash purchase.
‘So, they cost more than my father used to earn in a week!’
Gracie turned to her. ‘Now
that’s the strangest reason I have heard for not spending one’s own hard earned
money. Even from Cara, the Queen of Thrift.’
Cara decided it best to keep
focusing on the shoes.
‘And how much do you earn a
week?’ Gracie asked as though talking to a two-year-old.
‘More than my father,’ Cara
‘So there you go!’ Gracie
grabbed Cara by the upper arms and turned her so they were face to face, the
shoes glistening on the periphery of their vision. ‘You have no choice. This
is the big time. This is not mucking about with styling mousse and safety pins
in converted warehouses, styling emaciated models for magazines. This is not
getting kudos for finding designer clothes at bargain basement prices. This is
gold credit cards. This is limousines. This is television!’ Gracie spread her
hands before her as though pointing the way of the future. ‘You want to make an
impression and these are the shoes that will do it.’
Cara’s gaze was irresistibly
drawn back to the stunning creations sitting atop their own black velvet stand.
The shoes were elegant, they were red, they were embroidered satin, and they had
heels one could use as a lethal weapon if ever one found the need. In a word
they were unforgettable.
‘And just think,’ Gracie
said, leaning her head on Cara’s shoulder as she returned to her vigil before
the coolest shoes ever made, ‘if you don’t get the job, at least you’ll have a
killer pair of shoes to console you.’
Cara nodded. The thing was,
she had to get the job. She would be twenty-seven in a couple of months, the
same age her father was the first time he filed for bankruptcy, and if her
serious plans to have the St Kilda Storeys apartment building paid off by that
time were to come to fruition, bar winning the lotto, this was the only way it
would be done.
And it would be done. There
was no two ways about it. The property would be hers. Every brick. Every roof
tile. Every grain of dirt. Only then would she be free of the constant feeling
that one of those bricks resided in her chest.
Gracie was right. The fact
that Cara was infamous for scouting out vintage pieces at op-shop prices would
not hold her in much stead in such a crowd. Television was about being cutting
edge not thrifty. And if she was going to be land the high-paying job styling
the star of the biggest television show ever to hit Australian screens, she
would have to be unforgettable or bust.
‘You have to be kidding me!’ Adam said, his voice a mix of shock and laughter.
‘Nope,’ Chris professed with
a big sunny grin. ‘I’m going to be on TV as the main attraction in my very own
Adam’s laughter dried up the
moment he realised this was no laughing matter. Though his friend and business
partner was practically a genius when it came to creating cutting-edge
telecommunications innovations, he was no practical joker.
‘The contract was signed,
sealed and delivered as of this morning,’ Chris said.
Adam shot from his chair and
paced up and down the room. ‘I wish you had told me you were considering doing
this, Chris. You really should have consulted me first.’
‘Ah, no I shouldn’t have.’
Adam stopped pacing and
glared at his friend. But Chris, who usually gave into Adam’s counsel, stared
right back. This would take some care. ‘You’re the one who put me in charge of
the public face of this company, and as such, if you plan on doing anything that
might...alter Revolution Wireless’s image in any way, you must consult me
‘This is not about the
company,’ Chris said. ‘This is about me. Thus it is officially none of your
business as Head of Marketing for Revolution Wireless. But as my friend, I
wanted you to know.’
‘Fine. Now, as your friend
I’m telling you it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. A television
dating show? Come on! If you are looking for a girl, I’ll take you out and
find you one. I know plenty of women who would be happy to escort one of
Australia’s most eligible bachelors.’
When Chris did not budge,
Adam grabbed him by the arm and made to tug him out the door. ‘There’s
literally millions of them out there in the real world. I can find you one on
any street corner right now!’
Chris shrugged out of Adam’s
grasp, his fists clenched at his side. ‘I don’t want some escort girl I can
pick up on any old street corner.’
Seeing how upset Chris was
becoming, Adam took a moment to settle his concern which was fast flying out of
control. ‘That’s not what I meant and you know it.’
‘I want a woman with whom to
spend my quiet moments,’ Chris explained. ‘I want a wife. So I certainly don’t
want one of your cast-offs. The women you date are the complete antithesis of
what any sane man would want in a wife. Any man apart from your father, of
course. While we are talking about relationships, let’s talk about that
Adam decided to ignore that
final jab and focussed on the bits he wanted to focus on. ‘This is about you,
mate, not me, and my point is you could have anyone you want. Where has this
all come from all of a sudden? Why now?’
Chris shrugged and softened
a very little, his palms flattening out until they hung straight by his side.
‘It’s time. I work too much to go the regular route of dating in numbers. The
years have slipped away without my even knowing it. I’m turning thirty-five
‘I’m thirty-five already.’
That earned Adam two raised
‘By the way you are acting
you would think that was middle-aged. We are still young men, with our whole
lives in front of us.’
‘Exactly my point. While I
am still a young man, I want someone with whom to share as much of that
remaining time as possible.’
Adam felt himself running
out of arguments and it bothered him to see Chris so certain. Sunny, cheery
Chris, always glued to his laptop, creating brilliant business solutions for
their hip, rising-star telecommunications company was suddenly searching beyond
the limits of his clever mind for satisfaction. The world outside had finally
And despite his
protestations about the effects Chris’s plans would have on the image of the
company, that wasn’t really what had him spooked. Adam was perfectly aware that
the big bad world could swallow a good-natured guy like Chris whole.
‘OK then,’ Adam said,
rallying his forces, focussing every lick of attention on his foolish friend,
‘please explain to me why you think you need to go on a TV dating show to find a
‘Because it’s the only way I
can meet women who have no idea who I am.’
Adam shook his head. ‘Run
that by me again.’
‘The producers have gone to
incredible trouble to pick out thirty women from all over Australia. Thirty
attractive, accomplished, interesting women who have been given extensive
compatibility tests. Thirty women who have no clue who owns Revolution
Wireless, and thus have no idea how much I am worth. They will get to know me
just for me. Chris, everyday Aussie bloke. Not Chris Geyer, richest single
Australian man under forty.’
And that Adam understood.
Being two of the young owners of the Revolution Wireless telecommunications
giant, one of Australia’s fastest expanding business empires, he and Chris were
prime pickings for the women in their regular social circles who knew exactly
what they were worth.
Chris’s earlier comments
slammed into his thoughts. So what if he dated women dripping in diamonds and
lofty aspirations, just like the ones who had taken his father to the cleaners
over and over again? That way at least he had no chance of ever mistaking his
feelings for any of them and therefore would never succumb to the same fate.
And he had no intention of allowing his kind-hearted, naive friend fall into
that trap either. Especially with some buck-toothed ignoramus chosen by a TV
exec with nothing on his mind bar ratings.
‘I’m on my way to the
television station now. Are you coming with me, or not?’ Chris asked as he
swung his jacket over his shoulder and headed for the door.
‘Oh, I’m coming,’ Adam
said. ‘But only so that on the drive over there I can do everything in my power
to talk you out of it.’
‘OK, but you’re not coming
into the meeting with me, mate,’ Chris said. ‘You’re too bloody good looking.
They’ll forget about me in a heartbeat and will do everything they can to snap
you up instead.’
‘Don’t panic, mate,’ Adam
drawled. ‘I wouldn’t be in your shoes for the world.’