Kitty slowly opened her eyes. White. Everywhere she looked was white. White sheets, white walls…where was she, anyway? She looked down at her hospital gown; the sight jolted her memory. Oh, that’s right. Someone shot at me. Was it a warning or a hit? Or just a freak accident, ’cause who the hell would want me dead? Her noggin was throbbing; she gingerly touched a bandage covering a shaved section of her head. Ouch!
“Oh, good, look who’s up,” a cheery, petite nurse said as she bustled into the room. “I’ll go tell the doctor. How are you feeling, honey? You were out for a while.”
“I’ve been better,” Kitty groaned. “What happened? The last I remember is being in a cab and I think I passed out.”
“Someone dumped you off at the ER,” said the nurse. “You were in some sort of car accident. Wish I knew more but whoever dropped you off didn’t stick around to answer any questions.”
Asshole cabbie. Kitty muttered, “So, what’s my prognosis?”
The nurse took Kitty’s blood pressure. “Well, you have a real nasty gash on your head. Needed ten stitches. You’re still pretty groggy from the meds we gave you, I’m sure, and we’ll probably keep you overnight, but you’ll be fine.”
The next morning, Kitty was released. Celeste had come to the hospital to drive her sister home.
“What am I going to do about you?” Celeste mumbled as she maneuvered her X5 through traffic. Her normally serene blue eyes were cloudy. “You have me worried to death, Kitty. You’re telling me someone was following you and shot at you? Who on earth would do this? Have you gotten yourself mixed up in anything illegal?”
Kitty shook her head. She figured it best to avoid the details of her drop off for Bobby. “No, and honestly, I don’t want you to worry about it. I’ll figure everything out.”
“Figure it out? Figure what out–that someone wants you dead?” Celeste shrieked.
“Celeste, please. For all we know, it’s a random incident. Stranger things happen every day.”
Celeste clucked her tongue. “You have me scared, Kitty. You’re not telling me everything, either, I know you–it’s all over your face. We should go to the police.”
“That’s not happening. No way.”
“And why is that?”
“The cops are the last people I want to see right now,” Kitty said, choosing her words with care.
“This has something to do with that Bobby Vitolli, doesn’t it? He is involved with the Mafia, isn’t he? Is that why you’re scared to go to the po–”
“I’m not talking about it any more, Celeste. Not now.” Kitty typed away on her phone; she needed to see Bobby and was texting him so. “I just want to rest; I have a splitting headache.”
“You’re coming home with me,” Celeste said with a clenched jaw. “I’m looking after you. And I’m not taking no for an answer.”
Within an hour, Kitty had passed out on Celeste’s couch. She woke to find a text, not from Bobby, but from Clarissa.
Kitty, call me when you get this.
She buzzed Clarissa. The agent answered before the first ring had cleared.
“Well, how’s my bruised and bloody supermodel doing?” Clarissa said. “And don’t bother asking me how I know, either; word travels fast in this city. I hear you have a gash on your head the size of Nantucket. How the hell are you supposed to shoot a hair ad in two days looking like a Manson victim?”
“Well, your source exaggerated, for one. And two, gee, Clarissa, I’m feeling fine, thanks for asking,” Kitty said wryly.
Clarissa snorted. “Kitty, I’m a business woman; I think money, I eat money, and at night, I dream money. That’s what I do. What happened, exactly?”
“Nothing to worry about. The cut isn’t that big of a deal.”
“Hmmm. From what I heard, they had to give you stitches. True?”
“But everything gets Photoshopped in the end, Clarissa, you know that,” Kitty sputtered.
“Photoshop can’t fix everything, Kitty. Look, of course I’m glad you weren’t seriously injured, but I don’t think you get it; I can’t have a jacked up girl show up on a client’s doorstep. It would make both of us look shitty, and I value my reputation above all else.”
Kitty swallowed. “Okay, so….”
“So I canceled your shoot–I told them you’re under the weather, and they booked another girl. But that’s not the worst of it. Trixie dropped you.”
“Their consumers are teens, and you’ve been getting tons of press involving shootings and murder and stuff. Can you blame them?” Clarissa paused before venturing on. “And, to tell you the truth, Kitty, this isn’t the kind of press I want for my agency, either. I’ve worked too damn hard to put up with this kind of crap. We’ve had a good run, you and I, but I think it’s time we parted ways.”
Kitty’s mouth dropped. A massive lump rose in the back of her throat but she managed to say in a steady voice, “I honestly didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I’m sorry, but we can work it out, can’t we?”
“You’re a good kid,” sighed Clarissa, “but you’re just not good for business anymore. I can’t just sweep it under the carpet, not when my wallet keeps getting hit. You get where I’m coming from, right? It’s not fair to me and my business. Money is–”
But Kitty had hung up. Tears were spilling down her cheeks and she didn’t want Clarissa to know how upset she was. She also had no desire to hear any more about what a disappointment she was, about how much money and clout the agency was losing. “What a hot mess,” Kitty said under breath.
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