Survival of the Fiercest

Free Survival of the Fiercest by Anna Carey

Book: Survival of the Fiercest by Anna Carey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Carey
stared at her. “He told me I need eye-replacement surgery!” she sobbed. Lola studied her face. Her eyes were extremely close together. Still, it wasn’t a nice thing to say.
    Panchito’s ex-friend consoled her, as the redhead model disappeared into the room. Lola adjusted her cloth headband, suddenly nervous. The Vogue article mentioned that Gunther Gunta was notorious for his mood swings, subtly suggesting he might have two personalities, like Jekyll and Hyde. Gunther would insist a model gain half a stone, then throw a tantrum when she didn’t fit into her couture jumper. Once he hurled a Diet Coke at a model’s head after she rolled her eyes at him. But he was supposed to be different now— better . The Vogue reporter said two years at an ashram in India had transformed him. Lately he’d donated fifty percent of his income to Models Without Borders, a charity that held fashion shows in the remotest parts of the world.
    A few minutes later, the redhead model stormed out of the room, shaking her head. “He told me I should break my own nose!” she cried, covering her face with her hand.
    â€œYou can go next,” the girl with the bumpy nose said, slowly gathering her bright yellow purse and sweater. “I don’t have achance.” Lola wrung her hands. The last thing she needed was Gunther Gunta: Man. Myth. Maniac? pulling off her headband and telling her she had elephant ears, or demanding she bleach away her freckles. She took a deep breath, remembering Andie’s words. You’re editorial. Gunther will love you . Lola hoped she was right.
    She opened the heavy oak door. The dining room had been cleared of furniture and the thick curtains were drawn. It was dark except for a single spotlight that lit up the wall, like a perfect glowing moon. “Stend on ze X,” a low voice hissed. It was coming from the far end of the room, where two shadowy figures sat in armchairs. Lola couldn’t quite make out their faces. “Do nut speek,” the man said.
    â€œDonut speak?” Lola furrowed her brows, imagining two chocolate Krispy Kremes talking to each other. She stepped onto the masking tape X on the floor and smoothed down the skirt of the black Gap chiffon dress she’d bought for her uncle Simon’s wedding last year. Andie had helped her pick it out, insisting it was the outfit most “in line with Gunther’s sensibilities.”
    â€œShhhh!” the voice hissed. The spotlight was so bright it was like staring directly at the sun. Lola shielded her eyes, trying to make out who was talking. “Lit me zee your face!”
    Lola braced herself, waiting for Gunther to sling his first insult. He would tell her to get knee-reduction surgery, to break her feet so they didn’t turn inward so much, or to splurge on fat injections for her arms. He would scrunch his nose in disgust, insulted she’d even come. Lola waited. The sweat pooled at the small of her back. There was only silence.
    In the back of the room she saw the flame of a lighter, then the glow of a freshly lit cigarette. Lola coughed, the smoke stinging her throat. She wanted to run out the door, down the ornate hallways of the Waldorf Towers, and up Park Avenue, not stopping until she was at home with Heath Bar, cuddled safe in her bed. She’d been so dim. Gunther Gunta was looking for a high-fashion model, not some twit who couldn’t walk to the loo without falling over her own feet. “Um…” Lola mumbled, staring at the carpet. “I’m sorry for wasting your time. I’ll—”
    â€œNo!” The man’s voice growled. “Evette. Ze lights!” He snapped his fingers in the air. The shadow with the cigarette walked over and flipped a switch on the wall.
    Lola blinked a few times, the room slowly coming into focus. There was an oak credenza next to her, decorated with two ivy topiaries. The woman on the far wall wore

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