Most Eligible Billionaire: Chapter 10


THE PREBUYERS FROWN. “This is completely different,” a woman in mod stripes says. She’s rail thin like so many in the fashion industry trenches. “You can’t switch.”

“The old stuff was about women hiding their true personalities, and that’s not what I’m interested in anymore,” I say. “Jewelry should express something.” Even as I say it, I’m wondering if I’m committing too much to the cray. But I can’t deal with the old collection. It’s like I’ve developed an allergy to it overnight.

Her blue-haired partner, who looks like he’s eighteen, is not happy. He closes the case and slides it across to me. “We worked up a whole new biz-casual strategy for the other, and that’s not this.”

“We had this designated for a specific niche,” the woman says.

The main buyer comes in. They both look really nervous. “We might have to postpone this,” the blue-haired buyer says. “This isn’t the collection we were slotting. This new one…no offense.”

The main buyer frowns. “Usually when somebody says no offense, there is some. This I gotta see.”

“I brought one that wasn’t requested,” I explain, not wanting to throw the prebuyers under the bus. “I wasn’t thinking. I’ll go back through the channels.”

She makes a come-hither motion with her finger.

I slide the case to the middle of the table and open it. She pulls out the necklace and studies the animal faces with their weird little messages.

“Hmm,” she says, stopping on GrrrOwl.

I try my best not to slump or appear to crumble. Did I go overboard in all of my enthusiasm? Lose my judgment? Yes.

But it felt good while I was making it.

“What do you call it?”

“Smuck U,” I say.

She looks confused.

I pull out the sandal medallion. “Inspired by my dog, Smuckers.”

She tilts her head. “What’s the thinking?”

I look up and down. She thinks I’m crazy already, so it can’t get worse, right? I pull out the bracelet. “People have tried to push Smuckers around. Take things away from him. Smuckers wears bow ties, and he’s cute and fluffy, but he is so done with people pushing him around. So done.”

Everyone is looking at me now.

“Cuff bracelet. All metal is a pink alloy. This is what you wear when…” I pull out the choker and hold it up to my neck. “Well, it’s what you wear whenever you feel like it. It’s high-end, but not playing the high-end game.” I pull out a bracelet and lay it flat. On the front of each medallion, the size of a quarter, is a fun painted animal face. On the back are the various messages. Zoinks. Hell no. Hell yes. Smuck U. “It’s not about what the world tells you to be. It’s about what makes you feel alive. This is for a woman who’s so done with being pushed around.”

Do I sound like a crackpot? Probably.

The buyer gazes at the prebuyers. Back at the Smuck U collection. Back at me. “I like it, but it doesn’t work for us, and especially not…it’s not what we had slotted.”

I thank them for their time and get out of there, down the elevator, out onto the sunny sidewalk where I’m jostled by pedestrians and assaulted by the scent of diesel trucks and burned hot dogs.

I just blew the biggest meeting of the year.

I might be making sequined dog collars for the rest of my life.

And I feel…happy.


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