Whilst ungracefully positioned as a lotus, I sighed into the phone crushed between my ear and my shoulder. I was frustrated to no avail, wishing I could just lay back in bed and bury myself in its fluffy embrace, but I couldn’t do that, not with how my bank account was doing.
“Hey Julia,” her voice said it all, Cassie was going to blow me off. There was a lot of chatter and I could barely hear that over the obnoxious music blaring loudly in the background.
“Hey stupid, what’s up?” I swallowed dryly. Cassie and I hadn’t known each other for very long. I’d met her at an influencer’s meeting for Christ’s sake, so I couldn’t really hold it against her for calling me stupid, yet that didn’t ease the sting.
“I have an invitation to Glow downtown, I was wondering if you can join me, free drinks and everything?” I asked, fingers crossed and tense with nerves. God I was desperate. I could already imagine what a pathetic sight I’d make if I were to go there without any ‘friends’. I really needed this gig, and Cassie was amongst the few that I could rely on.
I might have had fifty thousand followers on ** but in real life it seemed I was not that popular.
“I’m kind of already at some party.” Cassie said back with the other girls screaming in the background. I shook my head, they had gone out and had not invited me, well, that was my life.
“I’m sorry babe.”
“It’s okay hon, thank you. Night, love you.”
“Love you!” Cassie shouted through the phone along with the other girls and the line was cut. I dropped the phone, she had been my last hope and now there was no one else to call.
My eyes slid to the digital clock on my bedside. I really wanted pass to out from a junk food coma in front of the TV, but I couldn’t afford to get pimples or gain weight. Literally. I ran a hand through my hair, tucking a few stray strands behind my ear. I hated my life, I hated everything about me, hated all this and I just wished I could just scream and keep screaming because maybe… just maybe I could go to sleep and wake up in someone else’s body.
My heart ached.
I could still remember the day my followers hit ten thousand, could remember how I had screamed, it had seemed like my life was finally on track. With just barely what could be considered a high school diploma, all I did was wear short skirts and serve people food wherever I could get a job as a waitress. My grades weren’t good enough for college but as my followers grew, brands started hiring me to promote their products and my life changed forever. Yet, here I was laying on my bed with the tears streaming down my face. My heart ached, I was tired of having every little thing I did judged and nit-picked at by the thousands of people over the internet, I hated how I always had to put my life out there only for people to point out how dumb and stupid I was-a dumb blonde, beauty with no brains.
Damn, I’d gotten so lost in my pity party and my make-up was ruined. I had to do a redo because I always had to be perfect, I was a brand, all I had was my beauty and without that I had nothing, I was nothing.
My chest moved up and down as the sob tore through my shaking body, might as well cry it out before I went out. I hated feeling like this, I hated how lonely I was, hated feeling this large hole in my heart. I brought my hand up, wiping away the tears for they never solved anything. I sat up, my legs swinging from the messy bed with all the clothes. I had to find something sexy to wear. After all the money spent on clothes it was still hard to find an outfit, took hours on hours. I walked to the bathroom, wiping away all the tears and re-applied my makeup. My fame had stirred with just a few makeup videos and soon I was getting thousands of likes just as long as I was not talking a lot. There was one person who said that I was pretty as long as I kept my mouth shut, imagine that, people could be so mean. Time was not on my side and I had to be fast on my feet. I did my hair quickly, putting on extensions to add some volume and bounce to my hair. My feet carried me back to the bedroom where the dresses were stretched out on the bed. There was no time to be picky so I went with the silky red dress. The dress had spaghetti straps with a very low cut V that dipped down to my belly and barely covering anything. I was, in a sense, naked. I slipped on a pair of Louboutins, then double checked my bag for my phone and power-bank. Check.
I had done this too many times, walked out of this house wearing such outfits so many times. I closed the door, turning only to freeze. My next door neighbour was opening her door with paper bags on hand. This was not my day even in the slightest. I sighed, not in the mood for this, she was not a fan. I could feel her eyes boring holes into my back, seriously, if looks could kill. I locked my door, trying to be as fast as possible so I could get the hell out of there. I could feel her disgust, her hate and utter disapproval. No amount of explanation would change how she saw me.
I heard her faint scoff, and her door banging closed. I walked to the elevator and took it to the first floor where I walked out of the lobby to the street to grab a cab. The weather was dewy with just a hint of mist. God, it was perfect for an intense cuddling session. Everyone had their umbrellas out, and I felt a bit silly standing by the side of the road in an outfit that didn’t exactly agree with the weather. I knew that in the club it would be hot and there was nothing as irritating as carrying a coat all night long. I saw a cab racing down my block and quickly flagged it down. I slid in as soon as it came to a halt next to me.
“Glow club.” I said as I closed the door. The car took off soon after and another sigh slipped past my lips before I could stop it. I was so done with the night.
The city was beautiful. The view still struck me speechless even though I’d moved here six months ago to promote some upcoming clothing brand. The money was good and the drinks just never stopped, well, until they found someone better. I shook my head as I slipped out my phone and logged into **, my eyes immediately caught the hundred and thirty new likes even though I had been offline just for two hours. My finger slipped to the camera icon with the front camera now on. I looked okay, the phone ring light brightening up my face. A smile was pulled on my face, it felt like I was stretching it, not in happy mood yet all I could do was pull up a mask as I pressed on the live icon to start one.
“Hi guys, I know it’s raining but it’s still a Friday night. We’re young, so let’s have fun and live our best lives. Tonight I will be at Glow club, partying with my friends. So come join and let’s all have a blast. There is nowhere better to spend your Friday night than at the Glow club. I love y’all.”
I cut the live video that already had two thousand viewers. I posted it on my story then went back to watch it. The sound of my voice was the first thing I heard and it just turned me off; it was squawky and irritating. I rolled my eyes, viewing the comments posted with some sending hearts, love and saying how beautiful I was but of course there were those that said I was sexy, and wanted to bend me over some surface and f**k my brains out, you know, the regular internet predator. It was creepy because these people actually knew where I was going, but I was hoping my luck wouldn’t run out. It had worked well so far in my department. I hadn’t actually considered this when starting the path to being an influencer, but the whole thing was pretty dangerous. Most of the time I had to tag or say where I was and people could just come and follow me home. Reading some of the comments posted, I was sure that people were sick and twisted out there.
The cab came to a halt and I could just see the flashing lights of the club along with the very long line outside, people getting wet in the light drizzle.
“How much is it?” I asked as I opened my purse.
“Twenty,” the man said back as I looked for a twenty but did not have one so I went counting my coins, trying to be fast but I kept messing up the numbers, maths had always been my worst nightmare, held me back in so many classes having me graduate out of high school quite late. Frustrated, I poured all the coins in my hand and gave them to the man who looked at me like I was crazy. His eyes turned back to the coins where he started counting them and was soon giving me a whole lot of them back to me.
“You can keep the change sir, thank you.” I said slipping out of the cab and closing the door. Of course I did not want to give him all that money but I did not want to bare through the shame of him seeing how I did not know how to count money. I turned, fixing my dress which was really short, so short I was sure with just one lift my butt would be out there for all to see. My heels clicked as I walked to the bouncer who was buff and scary with a lot of tattoos and muscles. I swallowed, walking past the long line with a lot of eyes snapping to me.
“Hi, my name is Julia, an influencer.” I said to the bouncer who just looked at me, his eyes going up and down my body as if I was some snack or something. A shudder went through my body, seeing the lust in his eyes before he looked down on his list then undid the clip so that I could walk by.
“Thank you.” I said, walking past him only for another man right before me came wrapping his arm around my waist having me jump up. I bit my tongue, my body shuddering wishing I could tell him to get it off me but that was the issue with me, I could never speak up for myself. I always kept my head down and bit my tongue which was why I had been cheated in so many deals. I hated this about me, hated how I could just never say ‘f**k off’ or ‘get your hands off me you prick’.
“Follow me to your table.” The man in a dark suit said as he pushed me into the club where I came face first into a large crowd. Glow was one of the hottest and upcoming clubs in this part of town, they had in house DJ’s who were always turning up the place. They had beautiful lights that were dim yet sexy and alluring, mist came from the floor having the place one to be. I really liked it but did not wish to be there at that point. We were basically squeezing through the crowd, my dress moving up so many times with my butt showing now and again I am sure. Why had I not worn something more consoling, I did not know but I always wanted to please the customer, thought this would get me more likes and followers so I did just like everyone else, less clothes and more skin.
People were dancing, the crowd moving up and down to the music. Everyone was having the time of their lives with drinks in hand, guys everywhere and just waiting on someone to pounce on. My skin was burning by the time we got through, being scratched so many times with it being such a luck that my dress had not torn.
“Here is your table, where are your friends?” The man asked as we walked up two steps to the table that was at the middle of the dance floor. The table was big with all kinds of drinks there. I could see three black couches with the table holding so much booze it could knock out a whole heard of cows.
“They are coming.” I lied, no one was coming, I was truly screwed.
The man slipped his hand away from my waist and it felt like I could finally breathe. I took steps away from him and sat down on the couch.
“Okay.” The man in the black suit said before turning and walking away. I sat there, everything seeming to go on slow motion, the music drowning away as I turned my head all around taking everything in. I took a deep breath, my chest rising up only to exhale and everything came crushing back. The music was too loud, the smell of alcohol and sweat in the air nearly having me vomit. My hand slipped in my purse, taking out my phone and holding it in my hand. I had to do this, had to get this over and done with. The phone was brought up as I logged into ** and started a live. I turned to the back camera.
“Hi guys, this club is just on fire,” I showed the crowd, showing all the people dancing with the lights and mist. It was truly beautiful, I moved on to show all the booze on my table deciding to change to the front camera only to scream.
“This is going to be the best night ever!” I screamed, seating down as I took a bottle of cider with my other hand and bringing it up to the screen as a toast before I cut the live video and posted it into my story. I could not do this alone, I had to get people. I took my bag and slung it over my shoulder before walking out of the box. The crowd was so vibrant; I was just throwing myself into the sharks. I started dancing to the music while my eyes scanned around. I moved into the crowd, moving my body with guys pressing on me now and again having me groan in irritation. The sooner I did this; the sooner I could get out of here. I danced and danced, looking around for about twenty minutes before I saw the perfect group. There were about five girls dancing together wearing short and nice dresses. I moved up and ended up joining their circle and dancing with them. The music was nearly bleeding my ears away having my head pound with such intensity.
“Hi guys!” I shot out, wanting to get their attention, they all turned to me, smiling.
“I have a box in the middle of the dance floor, would you like to join me, and there is free alcohol. A lot of it?” I asked, my fingers crossed they would say yes because I just could not be in this brutal crowd anymore. I watched as they looked at each other.
“Are you serious?” The one with short red hair asked.
“Yeah!” I shouted back.
“Hell yeah,” The girl with the red hair said back as my heart went drumming. I was so happy, nodding my head.
“Come.” I said back, turning to make my way through the crowd, turning now and again to catch them following me. We got to the box, walking in through the red ropes that kept everyone away.
“Wow.” One of the girls with a yellow dress said and no one had to tell them as they went taking up bottles and opening them. I sat down, watching as they danced all around. I wished I could be that enthusiastic, lord I was such a party popper. I brought my phone up, doing a boomerang of their crazy dance moves which were so cool. It was not so bad, they were nice and in no time were dragging me from the couch. We danced, me staying away from the alcohol with them drowning it as if it was water. Smokes were taken out, weed in abandon supply. They did all kinds of drugs even having me scared as they sniffed up cocaine, I was scared someone was going to drop dead I swear. I took some selfies with them, took some dancing videos and pictures then retired from my work. I sat down on my couch, wanting to leave but thinking of how I had to squeeze my way through the crowd and I just did not have the energy for that.
My head lay on the edge of the couch, my eyes to the roof before I closed them feeling so tired. I lay there for what seemed to be an hour when it was just below a second. My phone kept buzzing with likes and comments rolling through, too tired to even put it on silence. What I would do for a plane that would take me from my seat straight to my bed. I opened my eyes, not really sure why, and met an argentine gaze that had me frozen in place with my heart drumming as if it would escape me.