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Stahl, Leslie
"If you must juggle many balls, the important thing to remember is which are rubber and which are glass."

Glass Balls

            We walked through the streets of Soho.  I had accompanied Wednesday on one of her many shopping trips.  The modeling world was so intense. All these appointments. I always had to go meet this person, go see that person, go take this picture, go take that picture. I always had to be at the gym. It felt good to just lay back and relax.

            "If you didn't like them, he should have the respect for you to throw them out, don't you think?" Wednesday asked.

            "I know. He just says he believes in me."

            "Well honestly, I feel like if he believed in you really, then he should believe that you can take better pictures then that," she replied.

            She was right. I felt my phone ringing even now. I looked down at the phone. It was Mauricio's number on it. I pressed ignore and shoved it back in my pocket. It had been the fifth time he had called me today.

            "It feels like you are the only one who understands where I'm coming from," I tell her.

            "Aw that's sweet."

            "I just wish I could do better you know. There are just so many things about me that I want to change. I feel like I won't feel any better until these things are gone...until I can honestly look at myself and say...beautiful."

            "Why don't you change them?" she said and smiled as she pointed the window, "Oh...that bag is so cute!"

            For a minute I let the thought sink into my head. I don't even think Wednesday realized what she was saying...but I turned around and hugged her.

            "God, you're a genius."

            "Really? That figures why people always said I was special..."




            I went to the gym and arrived back at the penthouse later that night. Kendall wasn't home but I saw Xi sitting there in the kitchen with Angelo. Xi was cooking something and Angelo was just hanging around.

            "Xi is cooking a traditional Asian dinner," Angelo stated, with a sense of happiness all around him.

            Xi picked the pot up and pushed it towards me. I could smell the oil on the chicken as he did so. It couldn't be healthy. I shook my head and moved away. A salad with no dressing would have to hold me up for the night.

"I already ate," I lied pushing my hands up, "Thanks though."

I went to the fridge and pulled out some salad, putting it in a small bowl. When I

turned around I noticed both Xi and Angelo were staring at me. I rolled my eyes as I moved over to the. Angelo held up some post it letters.

"Mauricio has been calling."

"So you want to talk about it?" he asked.

"Not really," I said, getting a fork and trying not to look to upset about anything,

"Do you mind if I use your laptop?"

            "It's in Caprio's room. That's the only place I get wireless connection."

            I huffed. I didn't want to go anywhere near Caprio. He was so damn annoying. We still weren't really communicating. It was going to be so awkward to talk to him.

            Still I had no choice. It was either sit around here and be questioned by a 14 year old or take my chances online in Caprio's room.

            I chose Caprio.

            "What?" he asked when I knocked on his door.

            His room was dark. I wondered for a minute if he had been sleeping. I just stared at him. We'd been giving each other such shitty looks back and forth for such a long time. I really disliked this boy and it was almost painful that I needed to go into his room.

            "I wanted to use Angelo's computer for a little while.  If you didn't mind," I told him.

            He shrugged his shoulders and moved aside. I walked into his dark gloomy room and he closed the door behind him. He only turned on a little lamp that didn't help the situation much at all.

            I sat at the desk and started using his computer. From the corner of my eye, I could clearly see Caprio hadn't been sleeping at all. He was flinging his clothes around looking for something to wear.

            The awkwardness between us was so clear. I guess he felt like he was being stubborn by not speaking at all, but I refused to speak first at all.

            I watched him take off his shirt, his beautiful body reappearing again, causing my dick to stir in excitement. Then all of a sudden he put on another shirt. Took it off and kept repeating the process over and over. He was obviously going out.

            "You got a date?" I offered.

            "You didn't want me to mind your business, so don't worry about what I'm doing either," he replied, with a quick smart response as though he had been planning to say that.


            I looked away annoyed. He was right. I didn't give a fuck about what he was doing with his life. It wouldn't make me any difference if he was to jump off a damn bridge that very same day and save us all the burden of putting up with him.

            I started to google average cosmetic surgery prices. That was what I wanted. I wanted surgery. It was the only way I could see myself being anywhere near as good as Kendall or Caprio or the thousands of other men who I was competing against in the modeling world.

            I wanted my nose done the most...no...I didn't know what I wanted. At first I looked around, reading descriptions of each surgery and I just seemed to be wanting more and more. I really didn't like my chin. I didn't like the color of my skin. I wanted my penis to be thicker so it looked better in underwear.

            "What the hell?"

            I turned around. I hadn't even been paying attention to Caprio.

            "Oh great...I thought we were minding our own business," I stated, rolling my

            Caprio ignored my comment completely and stared at the computer screen, "Pectoral Implants...$6,000. Rhinoplasty...$6,000. Chin Augmentation...$3,500. Penis enlargement $8,500! Wow. Stupidity...priceless."

            "Who are you calling stupid?"
            "You...you are a damn clown and you are going to actually to look like one after you finish doing all those things!"

            He was so serious. I shut the computer screen and got up, pushing him so hard that he fell up against his bed. Before I knew it he got back up and charged at me in the same way he did before. Instead of pushing me up against a wall though, he picked me up completely and slammed me hard against the floor.

            I could feel my back giving out and pain shooting throughout my body. Fuck he was strong as all hell.

            "I'm tired of you fucking hitting me!" he stated.

            I struggled to move up but he was obviously wrestling me to constrain me. He steadily tried to grab the one arm that he had free. He pinned one of my arms to my side and he was trying to get the other one, but I squirmed around trying to use the free arm I had to push away from him.

            "Get the fuck off me."

            "Not till you calm the fuck down!"

            I wasn't. I was pissed. I tried to kick away with my legs, but he seemed to be faulting all my chances of escape. He faulted this one by wrapping his legs around mine and squeezing them.

            The only thing I had free was my hand and since I obviously was stuck, I decided to start taking swings at his face with it.

             I got one good punch to his face before he finally grabbed my hand and pinned it together on his waist. I was completely trapped and even worse, I was tired. There was no way for me to squirm away from him.

            The door opened.

            Mauricio and Natalie came walking through the door followed by Angelo. They all looked surprised as fuck.

            "What the hell is happening?" Natalie stated.

            "Get off of him," Mauricio told Caprio.

            He did more then tell him actually. He walked over and plied Caprio off of me. As soon as he did I took another grab for Caprio, but I failed. I never had someone that made me so furious. He knew he was making me furious too! He was smiling even now, amused by this.

            "I didn't start with your boyfriend," I stated.

            "God...why are you guys always fighting," Angelo stated and then put his hand over his mouth.

            "This happened before?" Natalie asked.

            "Going to my room," Angelo replied.

            I took a look at Caprio. I hated him so damn much. Everything about him just pissed me off. I didn't know I would make an enemy coming all the way out here, but now that I did, I was really rethinking being out here for a whole different reason.




            "So what is all this about?"

            We ended up having to go back to Mauricio's apartment for privacy. Natalie of course tagged along. Mauricio had an apartment right above the Bella Verino office. I wasn't surprised at all that it looked more like an extended office then an apartment.

            There were two chairs. I sat in one and Caprio sat in the one across from me. Natalie was standing, next to Mauricio's desk. I hated the fact that Mauricio was my boyfriend and I was yet to even see his apartment.

            "Natalie, your brother is a dickhead!" I stated.

            Caprio found this so amusing. He started to really laugh, uncontrollably. God, I hated the fact that he found everything so damn funny. How could they stand being around him? He was annoying as hell.

            Mauricio gave me a look, "Ok, now Tatum...let's be civil about this..."

            "Civil? Why should I be civil?" I asked and crossed him arms, "I'm not some fancy American like the rest of you. Fuck civil. I'm leaving...I can't take this anymore. I want to go back to LA."

            "He can't go back...Mauricio, talk to him," Natalie responded immediately as though it was the most urgent thing in the world.

            "What do you think I'm doing?" he asked her, but then looked at me with calm, less annoyed eyes, "Baby...you can't go back to LA. You have a future in New York. You understand?  You can do big things. I won't add the pictures to your portfolio..."

            He folded. I calmed down a little bit. Then all of a sudden I saw Caprio step up.

            "No...what the hell? I was in those pictures too. I hope you are still adding them to my portfolio."

            Mauricio got silent and looked over at Natalie. She shrugged first but then nodded her head.

            "It's only fair..." she stated.

            "No, I wanted the pictures destroyed," I stated, "I don't want those."

            "Well the world isn't about you. You guys need to stop babying him and giving him his damn way," Caprio stated.

            "Can't you crop me out?"

            "You'll end up ruining the picture," Natalie replied.

            I crossed my arms and slouched in my chair.  Caprio always got his way. I hated how this always seemed to happen. We stared at each other. It was so obvious that there was this heat between us. There was this anger and resentment that could scold the Arctic Circle.

            "We can't leave this room until we solve this problem. We are all professionals. You guys are going to be working with each other. I can't have negativity."

            Caprio crossed his arms, "You want to know the real problem. How this started?"

            I looked over at him.


            "Your boyfriend needs help. He really does. You are all busy with starting this new branch that you aren't doing anything about it."

            I could tell Caprio had hit a nerve. I could see Mauricio get a little tense. Who was Caprio to embarrass Mauricio like this? This clown had a lot of damn nerve! I myself couldn't believe Caprio was making me out into some kind of victim. I looked at him and crossed my arms. I couldn't believe it!
            Mauricio spoke through teeth that were almost gritted, "I offered him therapy."

            "I don't need therapy. I don't need help," I stated and got up, "What the fuck is the matter with YOU PEOPLE!"
            I felt like I was in the twilight zone. They were really sitting around looking up at me like I was crazy. Natalie, who even remained silent had this real judgmental look on her face.

            "Ok, he doesn't need help, as long as he doesn't leave," Natalie stated.

            "How can you say that sis?" Caprio stated, crossing his arms, "I caught him online looking up surgeries. He wants to have something cosmetic done."

            Mauricio looked over at me, "Is this true?"

            I shrugged, "So? People get it done all the time."

            "Just give him what he wants Mauricio," Natalie stated, "He can't leave. There is too much talent there for him to just go back to LA."

            They kept going back and forth. It was giving me a headache. I wanted to throw something. This industry was too chaotic. It was too upsetting. I didn't understand the whole situation.

            "He's young. He eats all weird ass stuff. All that extra stuff in your body cannot be healthy. I've never seen someone take so many supplement pills in my life."

            Mauricio just looked at me again, "That true too?"

            I was pissed off, "I just want my body to look nice. Why can't I have a body like Caprio?"

            "What are you looking at? Your body is nicer then mine!" Caprio explained, "Are you serious? I picture YOU when I work out!"

            I didn't understand. I didn't understand what was his reason for lying to me. I had looked in the mirror time and time again. I had fat places that Caprio didn't have fat at. Caprio's body was a whole lot more toned then my body was. The scary fact was Natalie and Mauricio just sat around and fed into his lie. What were they getting out of feeding me this bullshit and never wanting to be honest about things?

            "Shut the hell up Caprio," I stated.

            I balled my fist. I hated the fact that he had to constantly tease me. Even though he had a serious face on now, I was pretty sure that was all this was. Caprio was just teasing me all over again.

            "What you going to hit me again? You going to attack me? Haven't you learned you can't beat me up yet? Maybe if you stop putting all that fake shit in your body you'll have some actual strength and not just look strong."

            "Caprio enough!" Natalie stated, slapping her portfolio on the desk.

            As she did that, the pictures of Caprio and I spilled all over the desk. Before she could gather them back up, Caprio went over to the table and grabbed them.

            "Look at these," he stated almost frantically, "Natalie, I know you see the talent. There is a lot. You're a business woman, you are concerned about making your money. He will make you money but there is a way you have to go about it! You have to see the fact that he doesn't see what we see mentally. He thinks he's ugly. Look how nice he looks in these. He looks...he looks...like an angel."

            There was silence in the room for a minute. I didn't understand why. I didn't understand these Americans at all. I didn't know what they defined as beauty. I knew what I defined as beauty though and it was completely different from this. Caprio was holding the pictures up to us. Mauricio and Natalie just stared at them. Something in the pictures seemed to draw their entire attention.

            "I understand that you are concerned, but Tatum is MY client...I'm with Tatum. I'll take care of him," Mauricio stated.

            It was clear Mauricio was embarrassed. He didn't even look Caprio right in the eye even though Caprio was staring at him with the most stern stare I'd seen since the lady from Weakest Link.

            "Maury, I know you. You can't lie to me. You won't do shit. You going to sit around wanting to please him all the time because you're scared he'll leave you. Truth is...if he doesn't get help now, he may leave you for the grave."

            There was silence again. I was silent because in my mind, I wanted to go after Caprio again. I did...but he was right. He seemed to overpower me everytime I went after him. Caprio was so fucking strong. I hated it. I hated the fact that there was nothing I could do to make him leave me alone.

            Now he was snitching on me to my boyfriend.

            "Caprio's right..." Mauricio said.

            I couldn't believe my ears. Since when did Mauricio take advice from damn Caprio? How could this be right?

            "Come on, let him do what he wants. He isn't hurting no one. He will be ready soon. Better late then never."
            "No...Natalie, I need to deal with this," Mauricio replied and he looked over to me, "Tatum, I am calling the doctor and I am going to get you an appointment for tomorrow. You don't have a choice Tatum."

            "The hell I don't."
            "I been paying for you. You don't have a dime without me. I don't want to make it seem like I'm forcing you, but you make it seem like that then its ok. I love you...I have to help you."

            "It's about damn time," Caprio replied.

            I started to cry.

            Mauricio had chosen Caprio's side. I got up out of my seat and walked out of the room. The truth was Mauricio was right. He did pay for everything. I didn't have a choice in the matter if he wanted me to go somewhere or not. I was completely and totally dependent on him.

            This was all Caprio's fault. There was never someone more annoying then him.






            A week had passed. I spent that week completely avoiding and ignoring both Caprio and Mauricio. Most of the time I spent working in the office, I spent working with Natalie. She was really annoying in a way. She kept saying that she wanted me to have more control of my career but then would always slip the idea of adding the pictures with Caprio into my portfolio no matter how many times I said no.

            Caprio kept playing his role as dickhead. He knew he would get to me and it seemed to bring him some type of pleasure. It was like he wanted more and more to get things out of me.

            Mauricio seemed to want me quarantined. He showed up everyday, demanding to watch me eat. I didn't understand it. I knew Caprio had to have had more talks about him about how I ate.

            Mauricio would actually sit there and watch me...LITERALLY. Then I would see Caprio walk by with a smile on his face. He was the mastermind of all of this and he seemed satisfied his conniving plan was working.

            On Sunday, he asked Angelo to take me to go see a therapist.

             The waiting room was crowded. I guess there was more then one therapist that worked in this building. I couldn't believe I was here with these people. I hated the thought of it. I didn't belong here. I didn't fit in.

            "She's a fake!"
            I saw who was making all the noise. It was a boy that was had these real dark features. The boy was being followed by someone who looked just around his age. They were probably early 20s or something. The boy who was being loud, crossed his arms and tapped his foot hard on the wood floor.                      

"Syn," his friend told him, "Please...please stop making a scene baby..."

            Baby? I guess this was New York huh? It would be a rare day in hell that guys would be so open calling each other baby in public. His friend was really attractive and masculine...not that Syn wasn't either of those. He just had a personality that seemed to trumped all his other featured.

            "Sampson, she was lying to me!" he stated, crossing his arms, "She's a fake! She's a god damn fake!"

            "Sir, please stop."

            Another woman came over and touched him.

            "Did I touch you? I don't believe I touched you. I have reasonable cause to be upset. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but that doctor is a damn fake!"

            Syn, I guess that was his nickname, was really carrying on the scene. He seemed pissed off for some reason. His boyfriend kept trying to calm him down, but it wasn't working at all. Syn went on ahead to start ringing the alert bell for assistance.

            "Sir, what is the problem?"

            "I wanted to know when it became to break the Doctor-Patient confidentiality. How is it that people know information about me that I only told her! What the hell is going on in this hospital."

            Angelo was laughing. He found the boy amusing. I just looked at the boy. He seemed so disgruntled about being here. Maybe he was more disgruntled at his entire life. Angelo was the only one amused by him, everyone else look disgusted really.

            "Baby...people are watching you," his boyfriend explained.

            The boy turned around. He looked from eye to eye. For a quick second he even caught my eye. He had so much confidence. God, I wish I had the confidence that he had. I wish he could meet Caprio. The intensity in his stare would make Caprio whimper away like a little brat. How could someone be so fearless? How could someone be so sure of themselves.

            "I don't give a damn!"

            "They judge me. They don't even understand the whole story," he explained and then continued, "What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!"


            He walked away from the scene, leaving everyone in shock, just as security came by to escort him out of the building. God...there was such a power to him. No one could tell him a fucking thing.   He was fighting his own struggle. The world was against him.

            In my own way...I felt the world was against me.



            They called me to the office. The doctor was a pretty female. She smiled as I walked into the room. The light faded onto the couches. It was on the sofa. It was everywhere. It was such a beautiful scene.

            "Take a seat Mr. St. Clair. Can I call you Tatum?"

            "Sure. Of course," I told her.

            I looked down on the seat, scared on whether I should sit or not. I was so scared. I didn't know exactly what to do. The idea of being with a therapist freaked me out.

            "I hope that boy out there didn't scare you. Syn...he's horrible. He's been to 10 different therapists in the last several years."


            "Wow what?"

            "Maybe I should leave."


            "What ever happened to patient-client confidentiality?" I asked and shook my head, "You had all those people looking out there at that boy like he was crazy. But he was right! Why didn't you come out and apologize to him? "

"That boy isn't exactly the straightest in the head..."

"Even now...you are telling me things about him. This is confidential? Doctor. No, this is horrible. Regardless of how rude or crazy he is. That is your job to keep his business secret."

I was upset. I was upset for a boy that I didn't even know, but it was really pissing me off. It was bothering me more then I'd been bothered for a real long time.

"Tatum, please just sit. Let's forget it ever happened."

The pressure was getting to her. She didn't have an argument about the situation. She wasn't even slightly trying to defend her actions. She just wanted to forget about it.

"But it did, how do I know it wouldn't happen to me?"

"I wouldn't tell your business out there."

"What is so different from that boy and I?"

"That boy is the devil."

I crossed my arms, "Well, I'll make you a deal. I'm not wasting my time coming to these meetings anymore..."

"They've already been paid for."

"You'll still get your money. I am just not going to come. I want you to keep telling the person that paid for it...Mauricio, that I am showing up to the meeting and I am making progress in whatever it is he wants me to make progress on."

"Why would I do that?"

"If you don't I'll go outside and I'll find Syn. I'll make a deal. He'll take you to court and I'll be his number 1 witness. You'll lose your right to practice you know?"

She nodded, silently.

I felt like someone else for that quick minute. Maybe Syn had a left a little bit of himself in the room or something. I had no idea. It didn't matter. I'd never meet the boy again for the rest of my life. I got what I wanted and I was free to leave.






            Before I got home, I got a call from Wednesday. I told her everything that had happened. I told her how Mauricio was now listening to Caprio. She was real supportive actually.

            "Where are you? I'll send a car. You can come visit me at my mother's house. I'll introduce you to her."

            I had agreed, only because I had no reason not to agree. I had done some research on Ms. Sania. From what I heard people would have died to meet a woman in her standing in the fashion world.

            I had decided to go home and get dressed in something a little better. I invited Angelo along, but he was too nervous and said would need notice if he was going to meet her. It scared me a little. If Angelo was so worried about then maybe I should be bothered or something.

            My hands started to sweat as the car came and got me.

The driver took me all the way across a bridge to Jersey. I hadn't known I would be traveling this far to go visit her. It took almost an hour to arrive at the location.


When I finally got there I realized it was a mansion. The place looked beautiful. It was pointless for some place to look so damn huge and just be a single house. I watched in complete awe as we approached the bulding.

I walked out and saw Wednesday standing by the building looking at me. She looked really pretty. She had a cute bowtie in her hair and looked like she was giving a modern day Sarah big and tall. She really was pretty.

She held my hand and brought me through these huge matching gateways into the mansion.

"Isn't it nice?"

The place was nice. The mansion was huge and yet had an emptiness to it. There were wide halls with family portraits. Everyone looked perfect hanging up on the walls. They might as well have been models. If not, they definitely seemed like they could marry some.  

 "When will I get to meet your husband? Rich Montague is a hero of mine," I told her as we walked up these grand staircases.

The emptiness of the Ms. Sania's house seemed to be haunting really. It was almost like I could hear our voices echoing throughout it. Everything in the house was Victorian however. It looked like an Old fashioned Victorian dream land. The fancy curves were everywhere. The pictures of huge gowns were lined from wall to wall. Then there was the smell. It smelled like rich cinnamon...

"Come on, I want to introduce you to my mother?"

We headed up the stairs where we saw the lady of the house standing there. She seemed to be waiting for us as though she was expecting us to arrive. Sania was an older woman but clearly had extensive surgery on her nose and cheeks. Her surgery was what happened when older women refused to let age catch up to them.

"Wednesday, darling...is that you?" she stated.

Ms. Sania's voice sounded lost and a little pathetic. I had expected a woman who was strong and full of determination, but instead she seemed weak...almost like she was slowly giving up on things.

Wednesday leaned over to me and whispered, "Mother hasn't been...feeling very well lately..."

"Darling I've missed you," Sania said, "You know you are the only child that turned out...right."

"Ok mother. Go to your bedroom. I'll bring you up some of your special soup. You know the soup I always make."

"Ok sure baby. I've had this fever forever. What did the doctor say?"

"He said it was just a cold, mother, I told you that. Just lay down. I'll take care of you."

Wednesday really was the perfect daughter. She smiled at her mother and gave her a hug, "Mom, I want to introduce you to Tatum."

Sania gave me a slight smile as though completely uninterested in me and then turned away rudely, "We have other company..."


"Your brother...Ethan has come over to visit."

All of a sudden Wednesdays face went white. It was almost like she had heard the names of a ghost. I didn't understand what this meant to her but it seemed like something someone had come back.

Then he came out of the shadows. God knows why he was in the shadows. He looked at his sister and then looked at me. The boy was such a dark, dark figure.

He had hell in his eyes and he seemed like he would be nothing but trouble.

"What's wrong?" he asked Wednesday, "Aren't you glad to see me"