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Cover to Cover - Chapter Six

Chapter 6

On Monday the phone began to ring. A lot of people had seen the news Friday night and I was suddenly a very popular architect. I had meetings all week with prospective clients and my calendar was filling up for the next several months. I figured I’d be busy for a while and then drop off as people began to forget. I’d forgotten about the Cosmopolitan article.

The magazine came out about a week after the news piece. I bought a copy but I never read the article about us. The magazine just sat on the corner of my drafting table where I could look at the beautiful woman on the cover.

Fortunately for Alex she was in her last semester and was due to get her MBA in a few weeks. She was having to turn down offer after offer for modeling jobs so that she could finish her thesis, but some offers were for the future and she agreed to a few to keep money coming in. One of the offers that she turned down, and the most lucrative, was from Playboy. She had agreed to do the covers of Glamour, Elle, Fashion, Cover Girl and Vogue. She decided to rake in as much money as she could before she quit modeling, but was going to be interviewing for corporate jobs in the meantime.

Life was very hectic for both of us for quite some time after that, and we were only able to see each other a couple of times a week. Alex was able to squeeze in one modeling job while working on her thesis and her teaching job. That was for the cover of Elle, and it was done one day in a studio.

I had so much work that I had decided to hire an architect to help me with the drafting. There was room in my workshop for another person and while I was interviewing applicants I spent some time setting up another drafting table. Fortunately there were a lot of qualified applicants and I hired a young man with two years experience. Within a few weeks he was working effectively and I was able to focus more time on meeting with clients and doing proposals.

Alex completed her MBA and simultaneously began sending out resumes and picking up modeling work. She was making very good money, probably more than I was. One evening when we were walking down the street on our way to dinner at a nearby restaurant, we passed a homeless man who caught her attention. Alex was very aware of the quality of clothing, and this man was wearing well worn but expensive clothes. She stopped and stared at him with a furrow in her brow.

“What’s the matter Alex?” I asked.

“That man over there,” she said, “there is something familiar about him.”

Alex started across the street and I quickly followed.

As she came up to him he turned to look at her, and a broad smile spread across his face.

“Thomas Redmond,” she said. “I haven’t seen you in years, what’s happened to you? Weren’t you managing a bunch of banks or something like that?”

“I was a branch manager, but with the downturn in the economy the company reorganized, closed some banks, and I got laid off. I looked for a job but I was over qualified for most of them and for one reason or another I just couldn’t get hired. The bills kept mounting and I wasn’t able to pay the mortgage. Tensions between Sue and I mounted along with our debt. We had to walk away from the house and tried renting a small apartment for a while, but with 3 kids we still couldn’t make ends meet. Sue eventually took the kids and moved in with her brother back east. My parents are both gone so I no longer have any family other than my wife and kids.

I had lived in my car for a while but had been forced to sell it in order to survive. I have been living on the street for a month.”

I could see that Alex felt sorry for him and wanted to help, but she didn’t know what she could do. We went to dinner and talked about it.

“How do you know Tom?” I asked.

“He is a friend of my Dad’s; both of our families knew each other back east. He got transferred out here a couple of years before I moved out to get my MBA. I knew he was out here somewhere but I never saw him before today.”

After further discussion she decided to get him into a cheap apartment, some place where he could bathe and shave and become presentable for job interviews. She could tell from talking to him that he was feeling down on his luck and had given up.

He was still there when we left the restaurant and she told him what she wanted to do. He tried to refuse at first, a matter of pride I guess, but she convinced him that it was not a big deal to her financially and her only requirement was that he at first takes any job that would pay enough to keep him off the street, and to keep looking for a job that fit his qualifications.

The following day was Saturday, and while I usually worked on Saturdays, I took the day off and Alex and I found a cheap apartment for Tom. Alex required that he give her a daily summary of his job search efforts to make sure that he wasn’t being lazy. She felt confident that if he tried hard enough he would eventually be successful in finding a job.

The first thing he did was to take a job working at a fast food restaurant. It was a full time job and he worked the late shift so that he was free to interview in the mornings.

Alex was also confident that she was going to find a job, but although she was getting a lot of interviews, many of them because she was known from her modeling, no offers were received that she was interested in. She had set her sights high and was not going to accept anything less.

Weeks went by and Alex’s modeling jobs were becoming more and more lucrative. On the positive side her bank account was growing rapidly, but she was having to travel all over the world and I was seeing less and less of her. It was beginning to look to me that she was going to stay with modeling and give up on her job search, in spite of her assertions to the contrary.

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