"Where are you?"
Chase hit send. She hated these bourgie brunch parties but the hostess was a family friend. Her sister, Liz, was supposed to be at her side verbally picking apart the hoi polloi of Bedford-Stuyvesant. She was running late and that was unlike her. Chase was furiously texting her to no avail and after a minute or two she threw her phone back into her purse.
"I hope everything is alright" She thought. Her face must have looked strained when a voice from behind said "I hate these things too but damn. Who died, Ma?"
His name was Tony and he introduced himself as the hostess’s brother. “I didn’t know Sunny had a brother.” Chase mused. “Well actually we have the same dad, different moms.” He replied. “We didn’t know each other until a few years ago” “Oh that explains it”. Chase had known Sunny since they were kids and Sunny had always been Super Bourgie. This young man could clearly not give two damns about whether the brie was imported or if the champagne in the mimosas was Andres Cold Duck or Vueve Cliquot.
Whether or not the occasion called for it, Sunny always maintained an air of pretention in everything she did. In high school she was infamous for her lavish birthday parties. One year she had an overnight pool party at the Grace Hotel in Times Square. Another year she shuttled the entire 10th and 11th grade classes to Big Boulder Lodge in the Pocono’s for an all-expense paid ski trip. The kids had free reign to the lodge privately reserved for Miss Sundara McClean and 149 of her closest friends.
"Wait, was that you in the silk pajamas at Sunny’s ski trip party?" Chase asked. "Oh you mean the red joints with the lipstick prints?" Shawn laughed, "Yep." He took the last swig of his bubbly like it was a shot of Henny. "I still got em too!" They cracked up. A few of the other guests looked over at them with obvious looks of annoyance. He had a hearty laugh that showed all 32 of his pearly whites. One of his incisors was rimmed with a gold cap. He was definitely from the other side of Sunny’s family tree.
"I’m bout to top up," Tony said, shaking his empty champagne flute. “Would you like another?" "Sure," Chase smiled as she handed him her glass. As Shawn turned on his heels and cut through the crowd she thought about her new friend. He wasn’t drop dead fine but his face was pleasant. His chestnut brown complexion was clear and even, his shapeup was fresh and he smelled nice. With his straight teeth and a good sense of humor he wasn’t half bad company at this stuffy ass brunch. Bed-Stuy was now the Washington D.C of Brooklyn. Upwardly mobile out of towners loved it and as a result the cost of living skyrocketed with each new wave of transplants. He almost made her forget she was still waiting for her sister. Liz still hadn’t responded to her text and now her calls were going straight to voicemail. Something was up.
Tony returned with two fresh flutes of bub with a plate of cheese, crackers and fruit delicately balanced on top. One of the fruits rolled to the edge of the plate, fell in one of the flutes and bobbed to the top. A couple minutes passed when Sunny came by their little corner to mingle.
“Tony! I hope you’re not harassing my company.” She chided playfully. “Chase let me know if he gets out of hand.”
Tony’s face was that of mock surprise. “Me? Out of hand? Never!”
Chase giggled before taking a nibble of cheese. “He’s good Sunny, he’s lucky he’s cute or I’d spill the beans on what he said about your look.”
Sunny’s outfit for the brunch party was a bright yellow romper with military-esque epaulettes on the shoulders, a belted waist and deep pockets. Despite the August heat her thigh high boots were the exact same shade of canary in suede. Her makeup was even louder than the jumpsuit: cobalt blue eye shadow, heavy lashes, blush, concealer, a contoured nose and a bright pink lip. Sunny was proof that money couldn’t buy taste. She was a sweetheart but couldn’t dress to save her life. Out of all her friends Chase and Liz were the ones who kept it real when she needed it. She had a tendency to get defensive though.
Sunny looked down and huffed up her shoulders. “What’s wrong with my outfit? I’ll have you know this romper was custom made and these boots are from Sak’s – they haven’t even been put on the sales floor yet.”
“Now, now. No need to get indignant, boo.” Chase purred, “your brother was just saying how much you reminded him of his favorite TV show character.” Sunny’s face softened. “Oh really? Who?” Tony smirked, unaware of where Chase was going with this. “Yeah, Chase. Who?” he asked.
“April O’Neil from the Ninja Turtles!”
Chase could barely contain her laughter and Tony spat out a mouthful of champagne as he doubled over in tears. Sunny’s face went from blank confusion to seething anger in seconds. Her nostrils flared as she wiped a glob of spittle from her brow.
“Chase,” she growled, “meet me in my room. Right. Now.”
“Ooooh” Tony joked, “You in trouble.”
Chase laughed it off. “Hush. I’ll be right back.”
Sunny’s bedroom was more than a room and less than an actual apartment. The bedroom itself was flanked by a full bathroom, dressing room and walk in closet. She might be a terrible dresser but that didn’t stop her from shopping. The ten-foot deep walk in closet was packed to the brim with expensive designer duds; sequined Cavalli gowns, floral Pucci silks, red bottomed Louboutins. Too bad the colors were off and the fits didn’t compliment her body type. Chase was turning the seams on a studded Balmain jacket when Sunny burst in the room.
“What the fuck, Chase?”
“Sunny I was just joking.” Chase started, “You know I get silly when I drink.”
“It’s not just that.”
Sunny went to her vanity and pulled out a mini train case, a vintage Samsonite. She popped the latches open and revealed a dozen or so small jars inside. A sliding top tray held a few varieties of rolling options: grape Dutchmaster cigars, White Owls, Zig Zag papers, Rizzler from her latest trip to Jamaica and a pack of vanilla Entourage. She reached for her grinder and motioned for Chase to hand her a folded postcard from her dresser.
“Girl Scout Cookies or Purple Train Wreck?” Sunny asked.
“Hmm. I’m not in the mood to pass out. I gotta meet Liz when I leave.”
“Girl Scout Cookies it is.”
“So what’s the problem, Sunny?”
Sunny began crushing. “I just got tapped to be the next lifestyle editor of Mixxy.”
“What? That’s great. What’s wrong with that?”
“The problem is I have to do a staff shoot and, as you so loudly put it, I can’t dress my way out of a paper bag.” Sunny looked deflated at her admission but she continued. “I trust you Chase. I just didn’t expect you to embarrass me at my own damn house. The Editor in Chief of Mixxy was standing right behind me.”
“Was she the light skin woman in the red fro?” Chase asked.
Chase felt a pit of shame welling inside her chest. “Oh fuck. Sunny. I’m sorry. I was just joking.”
Sunnys shoulders slumped a little. “It’s fine Chase. I was just really trying to impress Andrienne. I don’t even think she likes me but my dad golfs with her dad so….”
Leave it to Sunny to let nepotism work for her.
"In any event, Chase, since I obviously need help maybe you can be my stylist?"
It had been a week since Chase put in her unemployment claim. She had tried not to think about her overdue rent, empty fridge and the turn off notices for both the gas and the electricity. Sunny didn’t know any of that but Chase knew if she did she would never hear the end of it.
"I mean, that’s if you have time. I know you’re so busy at the agency these days." Sunny went on, "I could really use the help though, girl."
Chase took a pull and kept her responses cool and even. She didn’t need to raise any suspicions. “When is the shoot exactly?”
"Next week Friday. I’ll give you $400 plus expenses to pull 2 looks together for me."
Four hundred dollars would at least keep the landlady at bay. Lights, gas and food be damned.
"Sure, Sunny. I gotchu."
"Oh gosh, Chase, thanks so much. I really need this." Sunny looked down at her outfit, "How about you style me something right quick to celebrate our new venture? I can’t go back out there looking like this."
Chase smirked. Leave it to Sunny to be extra. “No prob, babe. Give me a second. I gotta make a call.”
Once in the hall, away from Sunny’s prying eyes and ears Chase checked her messages. There was a text from Liz:
GUESS WHAT? I GOT A NEW JOB!
Chase smiled and wrote back:
NO SHYT! I GOT ONE TOO!