THE ORIGINAL MELISSA
Saying who I was now was like the words of a spell, turning reality around and blurring what had been true minutes before.
I knew it wasn’t real but it felt like I truly had become someone else, from the absence of the weighty omnipresent glasses to the feel of the different fabric gracing my form, to my curly blond hair and even the wildly different environment we were now in: the heat and the ostentation of the hotel room. Every single thing I was seeing and feeling was different from my old life and nothing more so than this woman before me who had just identified herself using my… my former name.
She wasn’t Dahlia anymore. She just wasn’t. With her dark bobbed hair and glasses, her cheap and curiously quaint outfit and her slightly overripe features and silhouette, she was as far from being a super model it was possible to get.
I felt fabulous, and it didn’t matter that I wasn’t in any way a duplicate for the former Dahlia. I was still someone better than I had been and maybe… just maybe… I could lose all this weight and really… It didn’t bear thinking about too thoroughly. It was a fantasy that couldn’t really come true. But what did it matter? This numpty had just handed me her purse strings and her identity. I wasn’t a super model but I sure as shit was suddenly rich! I couldn’t wait to go out and start throwing it around!
“Well,” said this new mousy Melissa, as she crossed to the window and absently looked down at the street. “The next thing to do is to decide what the next move is – which hotel we’re going to move to and how to work out the plan for the first month or so.” She started to turn back to face me. “I think we should—”
I cleared my throat, cutting her off. “Actually Melissa,” I said, pausing to allow that use of her new name sink in, “it’ll be me who makes those decisions from now on. I am your employer after all. Aren’t I?”
The new Melissa lowered her gaze, her face colouring. “Uh yes. That’s right.”
I grinned broadly, hoping she wouldn’t notice but not much caring. She was such an idiot she’d no doubt interpret any humour on my part as being good-natured. “I was kind enough to bring you abroad with me to act as my… assistant… but that doesn’t mean you can start throwing your weight around and thinking you can tell me what to do.”
She met my gaze and smiled a secret comradely smile. “Yes. You’re quite right Dahlia. That was rude of me. Obviously you are in charge of what happens. I’ll leave the decisions to you.” She was playing along, obviously enjoying the game of it. The way she spoke wasn’t quite normal; it was exaggerated and frisky. It made me wonder if she’d really let this go on long enough for that playfulness to disappear; for the difference in our statuses to stop being a game and simply be the established dynamic between us. I ached for that to happen and thinking about that now made the fizzing that had been building in my nether regions increase in intensity.
The fact this was turning me on made my own cheeks colour. That was plain weird.
“You can do your own thing for an hour or two,” I said to her, getting into the swing of this but noticing that my own voice, as yet, was equally staged, “but we’ll be moving on this afternoon after I’ve made a decision.”
“Yes Miss Western,” she said. I smiled at the use of my new name.
She went to leave the room but I stopped her. “Before you go, tidy up in here would you,” I said.
The new Melissa stopped short, a little put out, but I kept my eyes on her and she nodded. “Yes miss.”
She got to work, straightening the cases and ensuring everything was in order and I watched her, enjoying myself greatly. She went to leave again, taking up my former handbag.
“Oh, and order me a salad from room service,” I said.
“Yes. Of course.” She backtracked again and went to the phone, dialling reception. She made the request, eyeing me tentatively as she did, requesting it me sent up to “Dahlia Western’s” room, and I realised that the room had become mine because the name had.
It was a good job we were moving on today as the changes in our appearances and names would raise eyebrows with the staff here. I couldn’t wait to start off somewhere new, where our identities as they now stood would be set from the start. Everyone there would know me as Dahlia Western and her as my employee, Melissa.
It was too delightful for words. And too hilarious.
I thanked “Melissa” for ordering the food then said, “You can go now.”
A crackle of electricity passed between us; of further shifting statuses and a setting of this new status quo, and then she went to the door finally and left without another word.