The Billionaire's Trophy Bride

By: Kimmy Love

Chapter One

Rachelle slept in for the first time in three nights. She’d been working twelve hour days on a photo shoot on scene in Hawaii, trying to finish up before the photographer left for Fiji to try and get a picture of a movie star and his supposed girlfriend holding hands. Rachelle was lucky to find the time to shoot with the A-list photographer, but the late nights and crazy schedule left her exhausted.

While the coffee pot percolated, she called her mother in Detroit. She tried to call home from each exotic location she visited. First, because her mother loved hearing about her trips and travels, but also because calling home always reminded her of how far she was away from her old life. Sometimes it was nice to be reminded of what she worked so hard for.

The phone rang twice before Rachelle’s mother, Doris, picked up on the other end.

“Davidson residence.”

Rachelle smiled into her end of the phone. Something about her mother’s voice always made her feel twelve years old. She forgot that she was thousands of miles from home, working a stressful career that was always tied to how she looked or how hard she worked out. She didn’t have to focus on calories or photographers telling her she was fat or too old or that the wine she drank last night dried out her skin. As an African American model, she had even more pressure to perform well and be a role model for young women of color. But when she called home, all of that pressure was gone. She could just be herself.

“Hey, Momma.”

“Where are you calling from today?” her mom asked. She turned down the volume of the game show she was watching.

Rachelle took a moment before she remembered. “Hawaii,” she said.

Her mother clicked her tongue, as if Hawaii wasn’t exotic enough. Seemed she’d forgotten how far Rachelle had come. When you lived in Detroit, Upper Michigan seemed exotic.

“What’s Dad into?” Rachelle asked politely.

“You know, the usual,” her mom replied. Rachelle heard the volume return on the television. Seemed like she was cutting into valuable game show time.

Rachelle wondered if he was tinkering in the garage, or if his car and engine parts had taken over his workspace yet. “Tell him I said hi, okay?” she asked. Her mother grunted her acknowledgment.

After her phone conversation with her mother, Rachelle needed something to distract her from thinking more about her parents and the simple way they chose to live their life. She didn’t fault them for being working class, but as she’d risen up the ranks in the fashion industry, she had tried to help them as much as they would allow. She paid off the house they lived in now, because her parents wouldn’t think of moving out of the starter house they’d bought thirty years ago, even though she’d heard portions of it were becoming unlivable because of her father’s obsession with electronic junk. Her mother barely got out of the recliner massage chair Rachelle bought her for Christmas a few years ago, so she barely knew how bad the rest of the house had become. She just chain smoked her cigarettes and watched game shows, feeling some sort of power every time she answered a question correct before the television contestant.

Rachelle decided a trip into town would be a nice distraction. She hadn’t gotten to see much of the island yet and didn’t want to leave without saying she’d seen some of the area’s culture. Plus, she could count on a few new dresses or pairs of shoes to lift her spirits. She took a quick shower, applied a dollop of makeup to look presentable, and slipped into a frock and ankle-length skirt that complimented her dark, caramel skin tone. She added a pair of gladiator sandals with sparkly buttons. She marched out to embrace the sunshine and forget about the crappy little house on Lincoln Street. She needed to focus on her own future and couldn’t be worrying about her parents any more than necessary.

She let her feet carry her across the bright sidewalks, past the corner cafes and mom and pop shops. The sun shone bright and felt amazing on her shoulders. She tilted her head back to absorb all of the sun’s rays before remembering her SPF routine. She’d already been out in the sun most of the day, shooting against the wide sandy beaches as a backdrop, and if she wanted to make sure she had the flawless skin that photographers loved, she had to be mindful of the sun. She sighed as she dug a large floppy hat out of her straw purse and jammed it down on her head.

A man played the ukulele on the street corner. The smell of grilled pineapple and roasted boar wafted from a street vendor. Rachelle laughed along with the children playing soccer in the street. She sidestepped an errant ball and stepped into an air conditioned boutique. The clothes were beautiful, the shoes divine. The first pair she picked up was a pair of ankle boots. Suede straps crisscrossed up the foot for a sexy feel. The pointy back heel was covered in sparkly black suede. The second pair she skimmed her fingers across was a four-inch stiletto in vibrant colors. Black spots outlined each individual color.

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