Some days she would find herself laughing that a woman who gets nervous at events was in fact a model. She had taken a new stand on her life, and in doing so, had found happiness that she never thought she would.
“I saw Hunter speaking to you earlier.”
“You know him?” she asked. She knew of Hunter Reynolds, and even though his firm pretty much told her she was too fat, she hadn’t felt any anger or resentment. They were not the first, and wouldn’t be the last firm in the world to turn her away.
She refused to change who she was to suit their needs. Women were all different shapes and sizes, and she was tired of women with curves being put down because they ate. She was healthy, exercised regularly, ate healthily, and also enjoyed some of the comforts in life, which extended to ice-cream and fried chicken. Life was too damn short to waste it being afraid to do something with it.
“I know of him. This has been a fantastic event.” He held up his cell phone, and she chuckled at some of the selfies he’d posed with her and some new friends. “Already getting massive hits on social media. Listen to this, ‘totally rockin’ that dress, babe, want to marry me?’”
“I do get those comments a lot.” She shrugged. She got marriage proposals all the time, and brushed them off as quickly. The evening wore on, and when Harold came and asked for a dance, she was more than willing. He was a nice man, charming, and he’d been kind to her.
He led her onto the dancefloor and placed a hand at her hip. This was what she adored about him. He was a gentleman who was happily married, and didn’t forget that he had a wife in the background.
“I saw the way Hunter was looking at you, dear. I think you should be careful with that,” Harold said.
She laughed. “You think I should be careful with everyone.” He was one of the few men who had been kind to her, and had offered Rick endless advice.
“Well, I know your history, and let’s just say I know from personal experience how difficult that could be. I’m sorry about your sister.”
Payton didn’t tense up, or well up. “Thank you. Did you lose someone as well?”
“No. We got her the best care, and she’s five years down the line.”
“That’s good to hear. It’s nice to know there is hope.”
“Do you mind if I cut in?” Hunter Reynolds asked.
“Certainly not. Payton, it’s always a pleasure.” Harold kissed her hand, and she watched him go.
Hunter took his place, and she smiled at him. “I saw your flattering donation. You’ll help a lot of kids,” she said.
“I saw the pictures you had taken. You look amazing.”
“They were taken as I was in an orphanage that had opened downtown. I wanted to help, and the guy there asked if he could take some. I don’t see why not. I’m always getting my picture taken, and it was nice to do it for a good cause.” She believed in helping others. Hunter was a sexy man, and he knew it as well. The confidence he displayed she found more than appealing. Usually she was indifferent to most men. With her generous curves, she was used to be told that she was pretty for a fat girl, or other crap like that. It was like her curves somehow took away from who she was as a person, which she hated. “Are you here with your partner?” she asked, recalling the man she’d seen him standing with.
“Daryl is my PA, and I’m not in a relationship. I’m also not gay if that is what you’re asking.”
“I wasn’t asking anything.” She chuckled. “I wouldn’t mind either way.”
“What about the man you’re with. Is he someone special?”
“Rick is my everything that is important. He’s my agent, manager, and all around best friend. We’ve known each other since high school, and well, he’s the one that has had the most faith in me.” Without Rick, she wouldn’t have a clue what she was doing. He was always there at the photo shoots making sure she was taken care of, and that no one took advantage. Some of the things she had been offered over the past few years were just scary. A porn company had asked her to sign with them. Sex tapes were all the rage, and then a reality show. Nope, not happening. Her life displayed for all to see was not what she wanted. She liked to keep a healthy balance of privacy and sharing on social media.
“Any husband? Boyfriend? Lover?”
The way he said “lover” sent tingles down her spine. What didn’t help was how his hand moved to dip in the curve of her ass, drawing her closer. The tension mounted between them, and for her everything else faded away.