Chanel winced in pain as the hair from her vagina was removed while undergoing her monthly Brazilian wax. The sting was so great that it brought tears to her eyes. She bit into her bottom lip as her usual esthetician finished and applied a cool mist to her skin to hinder the raw feeling.
“I tell you, I’ve been doing these for twenty years and I have never had one myself. I don’t know how you gals put up with so much pain!”
“It’s all in the name of money,” Chanel replied.
“Money? You mean beauty, sweetheart ... it’s all in the name of beauty. That’s how the saying goes,” the woman replied.
Chanel nodded, but she had meant it as she had said it the first time. She kept herself groomed because it kept her paid. Her men loved her bare assets and she gladly kept it that way because it led her to the money. Chanel was a girl who came from everything and had fallen from grace until she had nothing left. Growing up wealthy, Chanel was used to having it all. The best education, luxury clothing, stocks and bonds, vacation homes ... she had been afforded everything. The Stocker women had always been beautiful. They were bred up with doe-shaped eyes, long legs, and slim waists. She was from the high society for sure and it had been inevitable that she live her life among the lucky elite ... the wealthy. She had been spared nothing and in a family full of powerful women she was the next in line to inherit the throne of seduction and matriarch influence. She had learned to manipulate early in life, watching her mother charm her way through the world. Chanel learned to do the same with ease. No one, especially men, had ever told her no. It just wasn’t a word that was meant for her. Hearing it burnt her ears like gonorrhea did a French whore. As a little girl she learned to bat her eyelashes ... As a teen she perfected the art in swaying her hips ... As a grown woman she learned to spread her legs; all of her tactics always led her down the same road ... the road to riches. She always got her way, no matter what. Her mother and aunts ran the family because no male was ever quite man enough to take control of the affluent empire. Lavish living without regard for bank balances and an unexpected economic downturn caused the family money to dwindle substantially, but with looks that women would kill for, the Stocker women did not stay down for long.
It wasn’t until Chanel’s mother, Lidia, roped in the big fish ... did their luxury lifestyle become cemented in stone. Faugner Scott, a high-profile attorney, was the greatest catch in Lidia’s entire pool of men. He was the founding partner at Ryman, Lerner, and Scott ... the District of Columbia’s largest firm to be exact.
Before anyone ever noticed that her family was in dire straits, Lidia had married Faugner, under the terms of a very strict prenuptial agreement of course. Faugner was like a knight in shining armor, coming in on his white horse ... more like his white Phantom ... to save the day. His net worth was in the millions and as Mrs. Faugner Scott, Lidia no longer had to worry about her own finances. Chanel and her mother were moved into Faugner’s home immediately, and they took over the castle quickly, redesigning it from top to bottom and taking their places on their new throne.
At age sixteen, Chanel had a new father figure in her life. She took to him quickly because he treated her so well. She was sent to the best schools, drove the flyest whips, and literally wanted for nothing. Lidia was rarely around because she lived the life of a socialite and kept wife. She hosted charity events, threw dinner parties, and chatted it up at daily brunches with the other wives at the country club. Enjoying her secured spot at the top, she was never in the household. She was busy putting in work and making herself desirable in a network of wealthy men and women. That way if she ever fell off she could easily become the next man’s trophy wife. Networking was all in the game. She left out in the morning and returned well after midnight on most days. Not to mention the various vacations that Faugner allowed her to indulge in. She was away more than she was home and her new family barely saw her. Chanel had been the one to do the laundry and cook the meals. Upon moving in with Faugner, Lidia immediately dismissed the notion of a housekeeper. “No woman, no matter how old, how fat, how ugly, needs to be around my husband that much. I am the only queen of this castle,” she explained when Chanel asked why they couldn’t hire help. “That’s what I have you for, dear. I handle my part in the bedroom and you handle your part around the house. Between the two of us we will make sure that this power move will be our last,” Lidia said. Chanel fell in line and played her part, doing all the things that her mother neglected to do. She made sure that her stepfather’s briefcase was waiting at the front door and that his tie was adjusted neatly around his neck each morning. She had played her mother’s role for so long that she began to take her place.
Faugner and his stepdaughter went to dinners and plays. They had a movie night every week and grew close quickly. He was good to her and Chanel loved him dearly. She thought that he was the perfect man. He was strong, extremely handsome, rich, and so supportive. He treated her like a princess. Her mother had already given her an unhealthy relationship with money. There was no limit as to what she would go through to get it. Chanel’s happiness depended on her wealth and with Faugner spoiling her he only made it worse. She became accustomed to a certain lifestyle and she would eventually move mountains to maintain it.
As Chanel dressed herself she remembered how it had felt to be so well kept. To be taken care of and she remembered the day that it all was taken away.
“I can’t believe Lidia isn’t here to help me shop for a prom dress. She said she would be here,” Chanel complained as disappointment laced her tone. “I’m not even surprised.” Chanel’s eyes pooled with tears of frustration. She couldn’t even be mad at Lidia. Her mother had never been one to keep promises so Chanel felt like a silly kid for even allowing herself to look forward to the rare mother/daughter bonding excursion. It was foolish of her to get her hopes up and now that she had been let down she had no one to blame but herself. Lidia was only concerned about one person ... Lidia.
Faugner stood off to the side on an important call, but he could see the sadness that took over Chanel’s face. He adored her and hated to see the dismal look in her eyes.
“Hey, let me call you back,” he said abruptly. He sat on the Parisian leather furniture that decorated his great room. He patted his lap, suggesting for her to come take a seat. Chanel sat down, her bottom lip inadvertently poking out, revealing her crushed feelings. “You know your mother wouldn’t miss this unless it was very important,” Faugner whispered, trying to put a temporary bandage on Chanel’s scarred heart.
“Yeah, right,” Chanel scoffed. “She never makes time for me. I don’t even know why I expected her to take me in the first place.” Chanel rolled her eyes toward the sky while shaking her head back and forth. She folded her arms tightly across her chest as it heaved up and down from stifled emotion. Anger pulsed through her as she thought of the constant disappointments that her life had been. Sure she had never been denied any material possession, but since the day she was born she had been going through an emotional famine. “She’s such a joke. I can’t wait until I’m eighteen so I can get from around her. You can’t miss what you don’t see.”
She was noticeably upset, despite the fact that she was putting on her best poker face. Faugner hated to see sadness painted upon her face. “You’re too beautiful to look so angry,” he said as he arose from his seat and headed toward the door. “Let’s go.”
“Go where?” she asked.
“You have a prom dress to buy, right?” he asked. He held up the keys to his Phantom, the one car that he never allowed her to drive. “And you’re driving.”
Her eyes lit up and her frown melted away, giving way to a smile. “Seriously? You’re going to come with me? You hate shopping,” she said.
“I hate shopping with Lidia. You’re much better company. Let’s go,” he replied as he gave her a wink. She joined him and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close before escorting her out of the house.
Faugner was a young success story. He had started his own law firm right out of college after setting a precedent and attaining a perfect score on the bar exam. He was now the city’s most sought after attorney and at forty-two he was the youngest partner at his firm.
Chanel drove all the way into New York City, knowing that Faugner would never protest. He smirked at her as he watched the sly smile she displayed. She was dying to roll down the window so that she could cruise the streets with her pretty face on full display. “You came all the way to the city you might as well go on a shopping spree,” he said.
She beamed and replied, “I was going to anyway. You spoil me too much to tell me no.”
Chanel ripped up and down the streets of Manhattan like a young socialite with bags galore. The handsome gentleman whose arm she clung to looked more like her sponsor than her stepfather. He had only been in her life for a year and a half, but he contributed so much. They were friends and he understood her. He made her feel special and made time for her; things that her own mother was too busy to do. She loved Faugner’s attentive nature and she reveled in his presence because when she talked to him he spoke to her not at her. He treated her like an adult and listened when she opened her mouth. Her respect for him was immeasurable. Chanel wrapped her arm through Faugner’s and clung to him as they maneuvered through the city blocks. “I love it here. As soon as I graduate I’m moving here. Can’t you just see me in New York City? It’s where I belong. A loft apartment in Midtown ... midnight walks through Central Park... .”
“I can see it. It’s a fitting choice,” he replied as he admired the stars in her young eyes. He remembered what it felt like to have big dreams; to be young with the world at your feet and optimism in your heart. The reality didn’t always live up to one that was plotted out in your head, however. Life had a cruel way of beating you up no matter how much success one attained. There were so many other factors, so many things that could happen that could change things for the worse. Faugner wouldn’t tell Chanel that though. How could he? It was her right to fantasize about how grand her life would be. It was a part of her rite of passage into adulthood. He refused to kill that illusion of a perfect life. “I’m going to miss you though. It won’t be the same without you around, but if it’s really what you want to do I’m behind you. In fact, I know a Realtor up here who can help you find something. I’ll foot the bill and all,” Faugner said. “Just promise you won’t let some young Harlem nigga steal your heart and turn you sour.”
Chanel knew that the only man who had her heart was Faugner. She was infatuated with him and no boy could measure up to him in her eyes. She wanted a husband just like him one day and some knucklehead from New York shouting, “Yo, son!” wasn’t going to cut it.
“I promise,” she replied. “I’m not thinking about no dudes.”
After shopping they hung out in Times Square and dined at Faugner’s favorite upscale restaurant. By the time they were done half the night had passed.
“We may as well stay the night and drive back in the morning,” Faugner suggested, knowing that he had consumed too much wine to drive safely back to D.C.
“What about the firm?” Chanel asked, knowing that Faugner never called off work. He was all business all the time ... hardworking; something that she admired.
“I make my own rules at the firm. That’s why I’m the boss,” he replied. “They will survive one day without me. You need my undivided attention right now so that’s all I’m focusing on. I never want you to get lost in the chaos. Lidia and I can handle it, you shouldn’t have to.”
Chanel nodded her head, his words warming her because it was exactly what she needed; someone whose world revolved around her. She knew that Faugner couldn’t cater to her every day, but today he had been thoughtful and it had made her feel wanted.
They checked into a five-star hotel and Faugner handed her the key to her room. “I’ll see you in the morning.” He kissed her forehead and then retired to his own sleeping quarters to call it a night.
Chanel looked at all the shopping bags feeling overjoyed that Faugner never gave her a limit. Even Lidia would have limited her shopping and told her no at some point, but Faugner never did. He whipped out his black card effortlessly and without a second thought to cover her elaborate and expensive purchases. He didn’t treat her like a child. Seventeen-year-old Chanel always felt grown up in his presence. Looking around the luxury room she relished in the lifestyle that she was living. She wasn’t quite ready for the night to end, and as she walked over to the mini-bar mischief filled her mind. Faugner had already let her indulge in a glass of merlot at dinner; surely he wouldn’t mind if she kept the party going on her own. Chanel didn’t even particularly like the taste of alcohol, but she loved the way the slight buzz of the red wine was making her feel. She pulled a small single-serve bottle of chardonnay from the fridge and didn’t bother with a glass. She popped the top and drank it quickly as she made her way to the claw-foot tub to draw herself a bath. Picking up the cordless phone she ordered room service and then grabbed another small bottle of wine, this time pouring it in a glass, before she stepped into the warm, bubbly water. A long sigh eased out of her pursed lips as she enjoyed the heat while perspiration built on her face. She enjoyed the bath as she laid her head against the back of the tub while sipping on the wine. She couldn’t wait to get this type of freedom. She wanted to live by her own rules on her own time ... be responsible for her own life. She was ready to discover the world. Chanel had yearned for her mother to show her the ropes of womanhood, but she was too busy living her own life to give any direction to Chanel. Chanel’s only life lessons had been learnt by being observant. Her eyes and ears had taken in all that Lidia had done over the years and she interpreted her mother’s actions in her own naive way. Lidia had neither the interest nor time to teach her daughter anything. So Chanel was determined to get out on her own and find the love that her mother failed to give her.