People say I’m crazy.
And maybe they’re right. Personally, I don’t really care one way or the other. Why would I? I’m the spoiled youngest child in a large Italian family who will no doubt someday give me a wedding even bigger and fatter than the famed Greek one.
But before I’m shackled with matrimonial bliss, I’m living the high life in Milan. Every morning I sashay into the kitchen and make a cherry limeade smoothie for breakfast, then put my footie-pj-clad feet up for a full day of money-making with my online jewelry business. I have live-in housekeepers, chefs, menu-planners and doctors (though they prefer to be called my best friends, Jena and Kris). All in all, I can’t complain.
The only flea in the ointment is my poofy, uncontrollable hair (my mom said I deserved to have hair as unmanageable as me—see what I have to live with?), but I suppose one can’t have everything in life.
“If you keep staring wide-eyed at the computer screen like that, your eyes will freeze that way.” My resident housekeeper, chef and menu planner (a.k.a. Jena) bops me on the head with a kitchen towel as she walks past.
I stick out my tongue at her retreating back. “Yes, mother.”
“I’m not your mother.” She smirks. “If I were, maybe you’d listen to me.”
“Naw, I don’t listen to my mother either.”
“Let’s be real, Stef.” Kris chucked her pencil at me from the couch. “You don’t listen to anyone.”
I laugh, even though that isn’t strictly true. I do listen to some people. I listen to Papa, my Italian grandfather who makes the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. I listen to Kris and Jena more than they probably realize. I listened to my professors in college. How do they think I actually graduated with honors?
I just have perfected the art of listening while talking and doing other things, since sitting still and listening is usually beyond my capacity. This has just served to reinforce my reputation as a flaky girly-girl with pumpkin for brains.
Frankly, I don’t care. People can think I’m pretty and stupid and shallow if they want. More free gelato for me cuz they feel sorry for me—hooray!
“Do I really have to go to that work social tonight?” Kris sighed. “I don’t know what to wear and that awful Dr. Brough will corner me and go on and on about inoperable aortic stenosis.”
I wiggle my butt more comfortably into my armchair, in preparation for the trial ahead. This is my role in our eclectic threesome. Fashion consultanting and making sure my introverted housemates have a social life.
“Show me what you have.”
Kris groans, but obediently heaves herself off the couch and disappears into her room. She appears moments later with two identical business suits and skirts.
I marshall my patience. “Great! For a business interview. Have anything with color?”
Kris’s expression turns deadpan. “I’m not wearing orange. Or green.”
“I’ll content myself with pastels,” I say, fixing her with my sternest look. “Your wardrobe’s paler than a vampire baby.”
She sighs. “I’ll just wear my scrubs. It’s professional, for a doctor.”
“You will not.”
“How about that blue dress you wore to graduation?” Jena hollers from the kitchen, turning over the omelets she’s frying for supper.
“A dress?” Kris grimaces.
“It won’t kill you.” I shake my dark curls at her. “With the blue glass earrings on my dresser, I think.”
Kris yields to my suggestion (it’s the only area she does, since she’s well aware she’s out of her depth) and fetches the dress and earrings. She stands for my inspection and I give an approving nod.
She groans again and heads back to the bedroom. “You have any perfume that would keep Dr. Brough at bay?”
“Second shelf on the left!”
Kris and Jena burst out laughing and I grin, turning back to my laptop and money-making.
Oh, they think I’m joking…
Special thanks to our model, Maria Nightingale. Photography by Katie Morford (http://storyforhisglory.com).