------NEWS!------
If you enjoyed this story and it's companions and want more... We are currently adapting these stories as Audio Dramas! So, you can hear Chloe, Philip, and everyone else as these stories are woven together in an on-going radio play! And it's not just what we have of these stories, oh no... The audio series will go above and beyond what's on these pages. We're very excited about it and thought we'd share this with our readers who have been so supportive and patient with us.
For more information, please visit pendantaudio dot com and please have a listen to the other shows as well, the people at Pendant Audio are so multi-talented and their shows are very entertaining! (And you may hear me and Parsley acting in them, as well!)
Happy listening!

--Angel Sentier--


BECOMING THE FABULOUS MISS C

By Angel Sentier and Lady Parsley

Chapter One

"No, no, I already told you!" Chloe sighed and leaned back from the stationary bike's handle bars, legs still pumping. She re-adjusted the telephone headset that was starting to make her ear ache. "Ms. Carlyle can't have any appointments before noon... She already has commitments to make at that time."

"Yeah, like getting a massage on company time," said Tessa, from the cluttered table beside the bike. She reached underneath a pile of papers and retrieved a large bag of candy conversation hearts. As she filled up another plastic champagne glass, she shook her head at Chloe.

Chloe answered by rolling her large green eyes at her friend. "No, I can't move anything around. What about moving some things on your end?... What do you mean, he's booked through the end of the month?... No! No, he doesn't need to find another advertising firm..." She pinched the bridge of her nose to fight off the coming migraine. "What if I had someone working for Ms. Carlyle come meet with him?"

"You're already doing too much, Chloe," Tessa said as she tied a knot in the pink ribbon. "You shouldn't let Ginger work you like a dog."

How many times have I heard that? thought Chloe, but she was too busy scribbling in a fat appointment book to acknowledge what she knew was absolutely true. "Seven a.m; got it." She threw down the pen, grabbed the towel hanging from the handle bars, and wiped the sweat from her brow. "Alright, it's entered into the calendar. Thank you."

No sooner had she hung up the headset that a silver cell phone on the crowded table began deedling Close to You.

"I hate that fucking song!" Tessa groaned.

"Ginger programmed it like that, so I'll pick it up sooner," Chloe said before pressing the talk button. "Chloe Ashton." Closing her eyes, she groaned silently. "What do you mean, you're out of baby's breath? Baby's breath is always in season! Hold on a second..." Without pausing in her exercise, she leaned over the table and dug through the paper pile.

"I don't know how you can find anything in this disaster of an apartment," said Tessa, casting a glance at the small space that had obviously seen cleaner days. Wedding preparations were thrown everywhere, along with clothes Chloe just didn't have time to take to the laundry, folios from work that still needed proof-reading, and everything else that needed to be sorted through and organized.

She held the phone to her chest to muffle the sound. "It's not easy when I had to move into an apartment half the size of the one I was living in. I'll clean it when I move out of here and into Jason's apartment." Underneath a list of guests, she found the receipt for the florist. "Ah! Here we go..." She brought the phone back up to her ear. "It says right here, red roses, baby's breath... Yes, I'm looking at my invoice right now... How can you possibly think that it looks like 'yellow?'... Uh-huh... Uh-huh..."

"I told you not to use that florist," said Tessa as she ripped open another package of tulle rounds with her teeth.

Chloe covered the receiver with her other hand. "He's the cheapest one in town," she said before going back to the conversation. "Alright, alright, fine. Yellow, it is... No, I'm not going to pay extra!... Because you're the ones who screwed up my order!"

A black cell phone on the table began tooting Hollaback Girl.

"Ugh!" said Tessa. "It's like she reached into my brain and pulled out the songs I would hate the most!"

"Hold on," Chloe told the florist before flipping open the second phone with her teeth. "Chloe Ashton... No, mom, the guest list has been finalized, I can't add another fifty people... Because we won't have enough seats at the hall or food at the reception!... Who are these people, anyway?... Uh-huh... Uh-huh..."

"It's not too late to back out now," said Tessa. "You've still got five days until the wedding."

"Look, mom, this really isn't a good time," Chloe was saying. "Mom... Mom!... Mom, I've got another call, I'll call you back." She switched phones. "Mr. Salard? Can you hold on for just one more minute?" Switch. "Chloe Ashton... Hi, Ginger... Yes, you don't have to meet with him anymore. I'll just take the portfolio... What? The proposal's not finished?"

Tessa's head shot up. "Don't do it, Chloe."

"You want me to come in tonight?"

"Don't do it."

"I can't. I have plans. It is my day off." Chloe grinned at Tessa's thumbs up, but a moment later, her face fell. "How early tomorrow morning?"

"Don't."

"Are you sure there's no one else who can--" For a moment, she considered trying to strangle the phone, but her voice was perfectly calm when she spoke again. "Sure, six a.m; no problem." She flipped the phone shut and raised the other back up to her ear. "Mr. Salard, are you still there?... No, red was my original order, not yellow!" She sighed. "Okay, I can come down there... How about tomorrow, around one?"

"That's your lunch hour."

Chloe shrugged at her. "Okay, thanks, bye." She punched the end button and tossed the phone on the table. "AUGH!"

"I'm serious," said Tessa. "You're headed straight for a nervous breakdown if you keep this up. Not only is The Bitch working you day and night, but you're using every other spare minute planning this wedding all by yourself. You're marrying an asshole, you know that, right?"

"Jason isn't any good at planning things, you know that. And this way, I get the wedding exactly how I want it."

"That's what he told you to convince you into doing this, isn't it?"

"Well..."

"He's an asshole! He doesn't treat you right, he's a whiny, bitchy, little three-year-old, and he's been cheating on you."

"We don't know that for sure..."

"Riiiiiiiiight. And these suck, by the way," she said, holding up a candy heart filled champagne glass wrapped in tulle.

"It's... all I can afford right now."

"God forbid Jason should spend any money on the wedding."

"Look, Jason may be an asshole, but he's my asshole. And marrying an asshole is better than an endless stream of meaningless relationships, Tessa." Chloe gave her a pointed look. "You can't tell me that you don't feel empty."

"Of course, I feel empty. I can't have sex all the time..."

She tilted her head at Tessa in confusion. "What? I wasn't talking about--" At her friend's raised eyebrow and sly smile, the meaning clicked into her head. "TESSA! That's not what I meant!"

Tessa grinned. "I know. I just love to tease you. You're so cute when you pretend to be shocked. Come on, we've been friends for how long? You can drop the virgin act. I know what you've done. You are not a virgin."

"Yes, I am!"

"Oh, no, you're not."

"Technically, I am."

"Yeeeeeah. And technically, my bra is a thirty-six double-D. It just also happens to be every other size leading up to it, too!" She plopped the bag of candy down on the table to give Chloe a direct look. "Answer me this... Has his naked throbbing dick been anywhere near you?"

"TESSA!"

"Just answer the question."

"Well... Yeah, it's been near..." Her face reddened.

"That's sex, Chloe."

"It is not!"

"I'm not having the 'penetration argument' with you again!" She wagged a finger at her. "You cannot call yourself a virgin. You've punched your 'V' card so many times, it's like one of those old fashioned music box discs!"

"Fine... I'm the 'everything, but' virgin."

"Ugh!"

"I've got an idea. Let's not argue about this."

"Great." She set to work filling up the glasses again. "Let's go back to our first argument."

"Tessa..." she groaned.

"Come on, Chloe. Can you honestly tell me that feeling empty occasionally is worse than tying yourself to an asshole?"

"Don't you ever want something permanent, Tessa?" Chloe asked. "I do. I like the whole 'lasting' idea. I want someone to come home to. Someone I know will be there in the morning. Jason's not perfect, but neither am I. Sure, it's a risk, but..."

The timer at the head of the bike beeped and Chloe slumped off of it with a sigh. She grabbed the enormous water bottle from the floor and downed about half of the contents before climbing on the treadmill on the other side of the table.

"You're going to faint if you keep this up. Are you even eating? You're a twig!" Tessa asked.

"I've got a size seven wedding gown to fit into, and I will fit into it by the wedding, damn it!"

"At least tell me you're doing it for yourself." At the following silence, Tessa groaned. "Chloe! That asshole did NOT tell you to lose weight!"

"I'm doing it for myself, too... I don't want to look at my wedding pictures and think what a cow I was."

"Shut up, you were a size fourteen. You have no right to compare yourself to a cow until you have weighed as much as me or Teri."

"You and Teri are NOT cows."

"Here's an idea, let's not argue about this."

"Ha, ha..."

Next to the first two phones, a pink one began playing the theme from Titanic.

"Okay, this is really starting to push the bounds of what can be termed 'music,' Chloe," said Tessa.

"Chloe Ashton." She rolled her eyes. "Yes, she's here." She extended the phone to Tessa. "It's for you."

"Oh, God... If they're trying to reach me here, it can only be one of three people." She reluctantly took the phone. "Hello?... Hi, Princess," Tessa mumbled at her sister. Her forehead furrowed in annoyance. "What? No!... Because I'm busy!... More importantly, I don't want to... I just don't feel like going to a bar tonight, okay?"

Chloe knew instantly what Princess was trying to talk Tessa into. Chloe had been rejected as the Triumvirate's 'filter' ever since she lost the weight. While she still considered her looks to be somewhat unremarkable, as a cock-blocker she had lost her appeal to the three goddesses. She clasped her hands together in a gesture of supplication. Please? Please? she mouthed. If Tessa took them all out for a few hours, there would be three less people trying to call her.

Tessa hesitated, then sighed. "When do you want me to pick you up?" she asked, monotone. "Fine." She flipped the phone shut and scowled at Chloe. "You owe me."

"I already owe you."

She shrugged. "What's a few thousand dollars between friends? This is my sanity I'm talking about."

"Since when have you ever been sane?"

"Point taken." Tessa stood and grabbed her red jacket off the back of the chair she had been sitting on. "I'd better go. I should throw on some more clothes before I go pick them up."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you--"

"Yeah, yeah..."

"And thank you for helping me with the favors."

"When would you find time to do it? Besides, I only get to see you when I'm helping you with something."

"I'm sorry..."

"No 'I'm sorries.'" She smiled and shrugged into her coat. "I'll meet you and Teri for dinner tomorrow?"

She nodded. "Right. See you."

"I'd hug you, but you're all sweaty. And, to be honest, you smell. See you."

Tessa opened the door to the apartment... and standing in the doorway, fist raised and ready to knock, was the gray-eyed, black haired asshole Chloe was to marry that week.

"Jason," both women greeted him at the same time; one happily, one annoyed.

Pointedly, Tessa checked her watch. "You're right on time, Jason. The work's about done."

"Very funny, Tessa," he said, rolling his eyes. He aimed his thumb toward Tessa's car in the driveway. "Would you mind?"

"Don't worry, I was just leaving. Something that, for once, has nothing to do with your arrival." She looked back at Chloe who was just climbing off the treadmill. "Later, hon." The door closed behind her.

Chloe removed the headset and blotted her face with the towel. Fuck... she thought. I wish he would call before he comes by... I look like hell! "I wasn't expecting you," was all she said, smiling. "This is a nice surprise. If you give me ten minutes, I can take a shower and change out of these sweats. Maybe we could get something to eat..."

"Maybe," he said, his eyes shifting away from hers. "Uh, Chloe--"

Close to You cut off what he would have said.

"Hold on," she said, rolling her eyes and picking up the silver phone. "Chloe Ashton... Yes, Mr. Sebastian is confirmed for this Friday, I sent you an email on this... You never got it?... No, I absolutely sent it to you... Yesterday... Well, I have a copy at-- You found it." She sighed. "Great. We'll see Mr. Sebastian on Friday." She punched the end button and turned her attention back to Jason. "Sorry about that. What were you going to say?"

"Well--"

The theme from Titanic.

"UGH!" She picked up the pink phone. "Chloe Ashton... Yes, Tessa already left... Right after Princess called... She'll be there soon, okay?" She flipped it shut. "Seriously, I feel like the maid for those three."

"Look, Chloe, I stopped by because--"

The headset phone began ringing. A sigh of frustration exploded from him as she turned to answer it. "I'll come back later. You're obviously busy."

He always makes it sound like I make the phone ring on purpose.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart..."

He glared at her. It was always the expression he gave her when he was annoyed. "I'm never that important to you."

She put the phone down. "I'm sorry. You know I'm always doing five things at once, but that in no way makes you less important." She held up her hands. "No more answering the phone while you're here today, I promise. That's what voice mail is for, right?"

He didn't say anything. Again, his eyes slid away.

She furrowed her brows. "What is it?"

To be continued...