Wadded papers littered my desk, the trash can near it overflowing with the same crumbled half-drawn or scribbled out designs hastily crumbled then deposited in the trash as quickly as they were thought of.
Similar to writer's block I was facing every designer's nightmare. A failed launch and the creative blockage to design anything worth sewing together or making a reality.
"Sir I am sorry to interrupt but you have that date this evening at 7, it is now half-past six" I looked up to see Ms.Harrison standing in the doorway her grey hair pulled into the same tight bun it was every day since she started working here. Acting as far more of a mother than a secretary she kept me on track for everything. Even this ridiculous pursuit to maybe find a girlfriend or even just a suitable date for the masquerade ball in a month.
I sighed thinking of the last dates I had been on.
"Perhaps I'll skip this one, I need to come up with something soon or we are all going to be going without paychecks"
"You will do no such thing so close to the time, that would be incredulously rude" She scolded me in response bringing in a suit jacket.
"I suppose you're right, thank you, Ms. Harrison," I said watching as she retreated out the door.
The only convenient thing about my office is in the downtown area was that it was near almost every major trendy restaurant.
I gave my keys to the Valet, quickly hurrying inside glancing to see the time was 6:58 p.m
I looked around the restaurant but didn't need long before spotting the pushy redhead that insisted we eat out after I bought her a coffee when she couldn't find her money the other day.
I quickly apologized for her having to wait and noticed she had already ordered a bottle of wine and finished it.
"Don't worry about it I don't mind, plenty of eye candy in here" she giggled popping a piece of gum in her mouth after which pushing me a menu.
"I'm sure you are soooo busy with your fashion designs and models." she grinned at the word models.
"I'm working through creating a new line - I"
I was abruptly cut off with her action of snatching a waiter's arm as he walked by and nearly past our table.
"A bottle of Merlot please, do you have Folk and Fable? " She asked smacking her gum most annoyingly, good thing she was asking for wine, by the look of it we will be needing it" I grimaced at prices and selection as I browsed the menu.
I gripped the gift certificate in my pocket from a silent auction earlier this year, the certificate one of the main reasons I didn't hesitate more when she suggested this restaurant.
"Sorry, we don't, I can bring you a fine 2019 Merlot if you would like though" The waiter responded looking just as annoyed as I felt by her grabbing his arm instead of just asking for assistance.
"That's fine, I guess"
"Be right back ma'am"
Another waiter took our order shortly after and Alyssa, or maybe Ava, I couldn't remember now as we hadn't talked much and she was now buried nose deep in texting on her phone.
The wine arrived and she quickly uncorked it and poured us each a glass.
"So what do you think ?"
I looked up at her seeing her full face without something in front of it for the first time since I sat down.
"I'm sorry, what do I think about what?" I inquired happily for conversation and the break in her gum popping.
"Could I be a model? More importantly, can I be a model for you ?"
I smirked picking up my wine, taking a drink quickly realizing why she was so insistent about this date, a drawback of the profession I suppose.
" It doesn't quite work like that, you are quite beautiful though, and if you're interested in modeling I suggest you find an agent and build a portfolio."
"Oh! I have a portfolio" she burst out loudly snatching her phone from beside her and unlocking it.
As she flipped through her phone I looked and watched. I could see this was important to her but truly couldn't help her. I can't just meet a woman then put her in clothes and say ok now there's the runway, go walk.
I downed the last of my wine just as I saw the waiter coming with our food.
"You're very creative Alyssa, however, I can't help you with that, modeling is a hard profession, it's more than just looking beautiful and wearing clothes. So many women work for years in the industry before landing a runway gig."
She huffed at my response rapidly sending a text off than setting down her phone not seeing the bowl of salad the waiter had just sat down.
Her movements quickly threw the waiter off balance who somehow managed to smoothly set both plates of our dinner down, unfortunately not smoothly enough as it sent her remaining glass of Merlot tumbling over and across the table only for the Merlot to splash out and run down the table all over her pure white dress.
"You need to watch what you're doing!" She shrieked.
"Ma'am I am sorry I didn't mean-"
She cut him off by holding her hand up rudely and stomped off toward the women's restroom.
The woman had an attitude, she also had an ass. So as she walked off in a huff still popping the same piece of gum I watched until I could no longer see her, as the waiter hurriedly wiped off the table I made a hast decision.
"Sir I am so sorry."
"No, I am sorry. Listen I normally don't and wouldn't do this but I'm going to take this chance and leave now, quietly " I mentioned pinching the bridge of my nose. Reaching into my coat pocket I felt the crumpled paper certificate and pulled it out.
"This has $250 on it, it should cover the food and wines, and here this is for you. " I mentioned handing him a $20 bill and the certificate.
Not my best moment, but I couldn't stay here and she just helped me with a breakthrough.
Weaving in and out traffic I was back in the office in no time, nearly 10 p.m so hopefully with any luck Crystal was still at her desk working late as she usually is.
I walked up the stairs to the top floor the hallways dark and offices empty. I came to a door with heavy metal music playing and knocked quickly realizing that was futile and just opened it.
Crystal was indeed here, behind her desk surrounded by a cheese and meat snack tray, wine, as well as fabric and color swatches littered everywhere as she moved the two pencils she was holding in rhythm with the drums.
"Mr. Adams! I'm sorry was the music bothering you " She squeaked quickly hitting the pause button on her phone looking at me surprised by my sudden appearance.
"Honestly Crystal I don't mind your music. If anything it's a nice distraction from how stuffy the design work can be. That's not why I'm here though. Do we still have those white dresses from the collection we ran last year?"
"The ones that didn't sell worth crap because nobody wants to wear white? Yeah, why?" She asked curiously
"I have an idea, a possibly horrible but hopefully brilliant idea " I grinned as I thought back to the glass of wine toppling over sending the dark red liquid flying all over Alyssa's dress.
"I'll grab them there are in the wardrobe."
"Just one for now" I mentioned sifting through the color swatches sitting in a neat pile on the corner of her desk.
"This one is perfect!" I announced grabbing the box of dye that matched the swatch. I found a box of dye. I came back to Crystal's office and grabbed her glass of wine from the side table near her oversized chair.
"I wasn't done with that" Crystal called out to me following me to the break room where I hastily dumped it in the sink.
If this works, I'll buy you an entire case of wine Crystal.
" You could just take me on a date" she mentioned stopping me in my tracks with the wet wine glass.
"A date?" I said bewildered as she handed me a paper towel to dry the glass"
"I was joking," She said looking to the ground
"I'm not, let's do it, but first let's do this." The smile on her face made me file away thought about how I had been incredibly stupid to not ask her out before.
I sifted through a drawer in the breakroom finally finding what I wanted. A plastic table cloth we used for employee birthdays.
Laying it on the ground I asked Crystal to grab the dress. I filled the wine glass 3/4 full with warm water, tearing open the packet of dye I mixed the powder into the cup until it formed a deep dark red color.
Crystal watched my moves from the side with curiosity and admiration.
"Well, here goes nothing," I said as I swirled the glass of liquid around before harshly and intentionally throwing it onto the white dress laid out on the table cloth in front of me.
"Wow," Crystal said with genuine disbelief at what I just created.
I grabbed another dress from a nearby pile and threw the first to the side.
"Almost but not quite, " I said grabbing the glass and another box of dye repeating the process this time moving the glass in a swift quick motion as I splashed it creating a beautiful design going up the dress and across the bodice.
"Do you like it?" I asked looking toward Crystal pleased with the outcome I see in front of me.
" I do, it's beautiful and unique. Both of which are trending right now" She grinned knowing we had a winner.
I thought about the restaurant from earlier, it was on the main street downtown.
"We will call it Merlot on Main, we launch this ASAP and have a show to unveil the designs at the masquerade ball, at which, you will be my date"
I grinned looking at Crystal who was standing there shocked still admiring the dress.
"Sounds great Mr.Adams and this is gorgeous the team is going to be blown away."
"Mmm you're a size 16 aren't you? "
" I am " she smiled
"Then you will wear this one ." I smiled glancing up. Red lights from a clock in Crystal's office glared at me with a 1 am time stamp.
"I'm sorry to of kept you so long Crystal please go home and get some rest take tomorrow off because the rest of the upcoming weeks are going to be busy ones."
"Ok tomorrow I will make a label for these ! I'm thinking a wine bottle wrapped in leaves maybe ?" She exclaimed excitedly.
"Sounds great, have a good night."
"Have a good night, see you Monday." She smiled leaving the office and me behind.
I admired the new design now hanging neatly on the wardrobe. Dry and beautiful. I managed to get out of the slump, while my first dates have been a disaster up to now it did lead to a marvelous breakthrough I remained hopeful for a better one with Crystal. Perhaps I just wasn't with the right people on the other dates and I wasn't the right one for them. One thing was certain Crystal will look breathtaking in one of the first Merlot on Main designs and it might just be the best thing I've designed to date all because of a beautiful oops.
About the Creator
Wife & Mom Fueled by ;
Caffeine & Gratitude, when I’m not writing you’ll find me raising awareness about our planet’s needs , in the kitchen ,outside with the family, taking photos or in a bookstore.