“MY GOODNESS! You are really a goddess of beauty!” The make-up artist exclaimed looking at her master piece. “Those violet eyes are so rare, they look exactly like Elizabeth Taylor.”
Romina smiled and sighed. She couldn’t believe how Caitlin got to convince her to do the calendar job. Growing up , she had been proving those around her that there is more of her than just beauty.
But Caitlin has different punto de vista.
“A woman’s beauty will always be affected by the ravages of time. Once it fades, you cannot bring it back. All you will have are memories. You have to have a proof that this goddess is the same you when all that’s left are wrinkles. And besides you have already proven to a lot of people that you are a smart woman, Romina.”
“It’s about time to make use of that look. Nature gave you that face, and it’s not against the law to use it for profit. All you have to do is pose in front of the camera, all expenses paid and you get to see Hawaii. Aside from that, this calendar you’re doing is for good cause. A part of the proceeds of the calendar will be donated to charity. You love kid’s right? You can help a lot of kids by posing for this calendar.”
Caitlin again continued.
“You don’t need to be naked. The theme of the calendar is more like a romantic fantasy. The company wanted you because of your ethereal beauty. This is just one time. I guarantee, you will not regret this job. This is a vacation! Three days and two nights in Hawaii!”
Caitlin nonstop talked about the incentives. In the end, she found herself signing the contract.
In a week’s time, Caitlin had hauled her to Hawaii.
“Since this will be your first time, I will come along with you. To ease you at least and to make sure the contract gets done smoothly. But next time you want another contract you have to go alone.”
From the airport, Caitlin sent her to the seaside where they are going to hold the photo shoot. A trailer was there waiting for her along with a make-up artist. After finishing up Romina stared at the mirror. Her first costume is a yellow floral bikini top and grass skirt made from coconut palm. Along with a flower necklace. That’s would be for the summer months.
After a few minutes, they were called from the trailer. Looking outside, Caitlin was nowhere around.
“She brought your thing to the hotel” Kyle the photographer explained. “So, shall we begin?”
She nodded. “ Okay so what do I do?”
“Just go to that area” Kyle pointed the coconut trees. “You partner is waiting.”
“Did Caitlin not tell you? This is a romanced theme calendar. How can this be a romance if the heroine has no knight eh? Of course there’s has to be a prince charming.”
“Who -” Romina stopped breathing, literally. From where she was standing she immediately recognized the man being paired with her.
He was wearing black shorts with an opened floral shirt. Romina’s eyes roamed to his muscles down to his washboard abs.
“Tall, dark and handsome.” Kyle ogled. Yep, they are in agreement.
“A real hero too.”
“Did they require the job for me to be paired with Marshall?”
“Of course. A lot of viewer wants to see the two of you in romantic poses. So, shall we begin the shoot?”
Oh I see, so that’s why Caitlin was so into her, accepting the job. Romina calmed herself. You better run Caitlin , run fast Romina promised herself. On the other hand, with this job she got to meet him again. Alright Romina just had to let this go this time but they should have at least told her, so she could get to prepare herself.
With the sudden turn of events, Romina was so nervous. Marshall knew her feelings for him.
No, not just him, everybody in that photo shoot knew it. It was evident how everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at her walking towards Marshall.
Romina once again felt the presence of camera focused on her.
“Hi!” Marshall greeted upon her arrival.
“H-hello.” She smiled back. Her heart is beating so fast Romina could swear someone would hear them.
“I thought you’d never go out of that trailer.” Marshall said lightly to her.
“Sorry, the artist was so fussy about my make-up”
Marshall stared at her. “You don’t need it.”
Romina blushed. She always hear that word from men around her, but it was different when he said it. I guess its effect is different when the man you love says it.
“Okay lovebirds, pause that sweet nothings, we have to start the shoot while there is still daylight” Kyle cut off the atmosphere.
Everybody teased them making her want to melt in shame, seriously, like disappear on the spot. She glanced at Marshall to see him unaffected by their banter. Of course why would he get affected. This is just a job for him. There fated meeting a consequence of the manipulations of Caitlin.
But her heart defied reason. For the first time in months after the FTV was show her heart started to erratically beat again. Because of this a burning ember of hope started to grow inside of her. Maybe this time, Marshall would also fall in love with her.
That day, the sun set was used as a back drop of the last picture they took. Romina’s role in that particular picture was a mermaid. A plaster was used to cover her breast and her hair strategically placed to hide the plaster. Never in her life that Romina imagined she would be doing this, but seeing Marshall beholden looks, was it worth it.
As much as she affected him ,Marshall affected her twice especially with him playing as a surfer wearing nothing but swimming trunks.
After the shoot and back to her normal clothes, Romina still could not find Caitlin. She began to worry. She doesn’t know her phone number and the hotel where she was billet.
“Are you looking for something?” Marshall asked her.
“Have you seen Caitlin? Do you know where she checked in our things?”
He nodded. “Yes, she charged me to take care of you, she had an emergency situation.”
“Really? She told you that?”
“Don’t worry. Our office had sent me here a couple of times so I’m familiar with the surroundings and where our hotel is. ”
“You have a blue collar job?” Romina asked suddenly. Now that she thinks about it, there are a lot of things she doesn’t know about Marshall. She should know about this.
“I am a department head of a food processing company. Our main product would be dried mango and we export it her in Hawaii. To tell you the truth this photo shoot isn’t only the reason I am here. I just had meeting yesterday. Since the photo shoot is scheduled on weekends I could go back home on Monday.”
So they would only be together for two days? After this who knows when will she meet him again. How can she make him fall in love with her in that span of time? Will it be even possible to catch his attention?
“Is something wrong?”
“Ha? Ah, nothing I was just thinking Caitlin really did match your business trip with this shoot.”
“Oh that’s because Caitlin is trying to match us up.”
Romina smiled amusingly. The youngest Hawkins is really something to behold. If she ever gets the chance to meet her again, Romina would give her hugs and kisses as thanks.
“She told you that?”
“Not exactly. Brenna was the one who proposed this to me while Caitlin was task to convince you in Venezuela.”
“So even if you knew Brenna was setting you up you agreed? Why? Because everybody believes I have fallen hard for you?”
“Romina hoe can you fall for me when from the very beginning you hardly know me. Our meeting on and off the camera can be said to be minimal or even nonexistence. It’s possible that what you have is only hero worship me. It only looks like you are really into me because of the editing done on scenes.
“Even for that polygraph test, that was possible because of strings emotions you had at that moment. Polygraph machines records any strong feeling. There a reason why these results are not accepted on court. Moreover, why would the most beautiful woman in the world fall for me? I’m sure that men courting you could reach up miles and miles long. ”
She stared at him with disbelief. He doesn’t believe her? Huh, why is she not surprised. All his life spent along with Sonya and he did not even for once see Sonya’s feelings.
“Marshall, I really did fall in love with you on Fantastic TV. And I’m still in love with you now.”
Marshall stood there silent for a moment. Romina readied herself for the rejection. After all Sonya is there beside him. She would be a constant in his life and that is a hard given fact.
“Are you hungry?” Marshall unexpectedly asked her out of the blue.
Romina was stunned. What the hell is he talking about?
“I know a sea food restaurant two blocks from here. Their food is great.”
Ahh, I see, so that’s how it is.
Marshall changed the topic to prevent her from embarrassing herself further more than she already did. Romina bowed her head. Maybe it’s better this way. Better than to directly tell her, her heart wasn’t reciprocated.
Marshall grabbed her hands. “There’s a wide selection of wine there. But it’s better to order champagne right? Champagnes a symbol for a celebration.”
“What are we celebrating?”
Marshall held her hand tightly and meets her eyes smiling.
“The start of our relationship.”
“You are now my girl, Romina. The moment you said you love me.”
Marshall? Hers? Romina smiled happiness reaching her eyes. Then she remembered Sonya.
“Sonya and I always be friend.” Marshall pulled her so close to him, Romina could feel his scorching gaze on her. His face close to her.
“We are more than that, Romina”
When they entered the restaurant they made a commotion, people started recognizing them as players from FTV. Some even came for autographs and some just came to ask what really there status. Marshall directly answered them.
“The goddess of Fantastic TV is now officially my girlfriend.” Marshall kissed her in front of those people. After that, the restaurant became frenzied it took some while before they could really be alone.
There dinner took four hour, they shared a lot on stories. There were so at ease with each other, as of they’ve known each other for a long time. Romina took notice that she and Marshall had a lot in common.
She felt like she was in heaven, that this is just a dream. She never thought the Marshall also loves her. He is just afraid to hurt Sonya, that’s why he kept his feelings at bay. But no one can stop him now.
After dinner, they checked on the hotel Caitlin booked them for. He accompanied her to her doors.
Romina chuckled. Hearing him use that name made her heart flutter. He lightly kissed her, it was simple and full of respect. Romina’s respect for the man deepened. Without a second thought, she hooked her arms around his neck and kissed him, hot and deep. And she wasn’t disappointed, he kissed her back. They stayed like that for who knows how long, all Romina could remember is her needing to breathe.
Marshall drew back.
“I-I should leave….” His eyes had a different light to it, even his breathing is harsh. He was obviously controlling himself.
“I you’d like to, stay for the night. Come.” She already gave his heart to this man, she could him more.
“No, I don’t want to take advantage of you.” He shook his head smiling in response.
“You know, you don’t have to be a gentleman.” Romina whispered.
He cupped her hands. “I know, but I want to. You are not any other girls. You are precious to me and if we ever do this that would be on our wedding night.”
Romina was rendered speechless. He is already thinking of marriage? But in her condition? Will he still marry her if he knew?
In the past she had had to be honest to the men she had dated. She didn’t want to deceive them. Her honesty had led to two men leaving her before.
But if Marshall leaves her, Romina knew she couldn’t take it this time.
“Goodnight, love.” Marshall bade his goodbyes then walked to the elevator.
Romina watched him get into it before she entered her room. Her conscience keeps poking her.
I will tell him someday. I just have to make sure he truly fallen for me before confessing, making him unable to leave me.
She spent ten minutes convincing herself that when the doorbell rang. When she peeps into the hole, it was Marshall.
It looks like he changed his mind. Smiling it herself she opened the door.
“Hmm, you already missed me?” she joked.
Marshall looked at her shyly
“Uhm, when I went back to the front desk to get my keys they told me my room number is six-one-one.” He pointed to the numbers in her door.
“Caitlin booked one room for both of us. We’re roommates.”