Shades Of Darkness: Kari And Zoey (Part 1 of 3)

As she lie on the couch Zoey Walker’s eyes kept darting between the eviction notice on the coffee table and the want ad she had circled in the newspaper that was spread out before her.

For over half an hour Zoey had been trying to figure out a way to tell her kid sister Kari about the eviction. It had been a bad year for the Walker girls filled with heartbreak and tragedy.

A little over year ago a drunk driver had run a red light and broadsided their parent’s car killing their father instantly and severely wounding their mother.

As she lay in the hospital their mother made Zoey promise that she would always look after Kari who had taken the death of their father especially hard.

While they waited for their mom to recover life seemed to be on hold consisting mostly of visiting mom at the hospital and both girls getting ready for college. Then suddenly their mother died unexpectedly during what should have been a routine surgery and almost immediately the money problems started piling up.

First off, the drunk who hit their parents turned out to be driving on a suspended license because he – surprise, surprise – didn’t have any insurance. While the bastard was in prison for two counts of vehicular manslaughter it did not do anything to help with the girl’s sudden growing financial woes.

A big part of the problem was that their parents had never gotten around to updating their wills. Their father’s life insurance had been made out to their mom and when she died things got – complicated.

Both of their parents had been single children leaving the girls with no other close family to contest their parent’s estate. However for reasons that neither Zoey or Kari fully understood it seemed to be taking forever for the courts to get anything done and settle the estate.

Meanwhile the bills kept coming in: the hospital, the funeral home, their home’s mortgage not to mention the tuition for Zoey’s sophomore and Kari’s freshman year at the university.

At their lawyer’s suggestion the girl’s put their home on the market. That had been especially heart-wrenching for Kari to have to sell the house they had grown up in. Even Zoey had to admit that it had been like losing their parent’s all over again but even worse it seemed to drive Kari further into a kind of deep funk and isolation that these days consisted only of school and her constant exercise routines.

Fortunately their lawyer managed to secure the girl’s an advance on the sale of the house which took care of most of their immediate needs like the funeral home, and that year’s tuition. It also paid for the first six months rent on a nice apartment that was only a fifteen minute walk from the campus which was a real plus as neither of the girls had a car. The advance also had enough money left over so that the sisters wouldn’t need to be eating ramen noodles and spaghetti-o’s every night.

But that had been just over nine months ago and the money was getting tight. The insurance company and the hospital were still going round and round with their haggling and their old lawyer who had seemed to care about the girls had died; meanwhile the new guy didn’t seem to act like the Walker case was a high priority.

To make matters worse the house still had not sold. The realtor kept insisting the market was slow, that it was a bad time to be selling. He did suggest though that if Zoey and he could ‘work together’ then maybe they might be able to help move things along.

Zoey knew what the guy wanted, but the jackass was married. Well okay, that wasn’t the real problem. Two of Zoey’s professors with whom she had a very special ‘student-teacher relationship’ were married, but the realtor gave her the creeps. On top of which he had a bad toupee, breath that could knock over a horse and was so out of shape he’d probably stroke out on her before he got his fly half way down.

Zoey had half a mind to turn the guy in but damn it she and Kari needed the money now! She never expected the estate to take this long to get settled or that the house wouldn’t have been sold by now.

A big part of the problem was that Zoey just wasn’t that good at managing money. She wasn’t used to being the one who had to pay for things or to be the one who had to keep track of exactly how much money she had.

When she was a kid mom and dad had paid for stuff.

Then after she grew tits guys started falling all over themselves to pay for stuff.

Guys paid for meals.

Guys paid for movies and the popcorn.

Guys gave her rides when she needed to go somewhere and paid for the gas.

It wasn’t like she demanded the guys to do that but when your five foot six and blessed with great skin, long blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, long dancer’s legs, a tight ass, narrow waist and – most importantly – a pair of firm, rounded 34 DD breasts that just screamed to be displayed with deep, deep cleavage that was just how the world worked – wasn’t it?

To help make ends meet Zoey had gotten a part time job tending bar at a nearby pub owned by a friend of her dad’s. She was a natural as a bartender and she used her looks to make some pretty decent tips, but the money barely managed to cover the day to day expenses like groceries and school supplies.

She wasn’t making enough to pay the three hundred and fifty dollars a month rent and she was now two months behind and soon to be three hence the eviction notice.

So Zoey sat there trying to figure out how to break the news without causing her sister to have a panic attack or worse sink even deeper into her shell of isolation.

Kari had always been painfully shy though Zoey could never figure out why. It certainly wasn’t because of her looks. While Zoey knew that she was attractive she had always thought that her sister was the prettier one. It wasn’t something that Zoey was jealous about because Kari looked so much like their mom.

While Zoey had taken after their tall, nordic, blonde father, Kari definitely took after mom’s Irish side of the family. She had bright red shoulder length hair and at five foot four their mom’s petite frame. However, after years of sports and constant daily workouts Kari had a tight firm hardbody that somehow didn’t look overly muscular.

Kari also had an insanely flat stomach that even Zoey envied and her small frame made her firm C-cup breasts look larger than they really were.

Looking at her sister as she worked out on the mat Zoey thought that Kari didn’t look like a bodybuilder or some fitness geek but that she looked even more like a fashion model than she herself did.

Which brought up the second thing that Zoey had to talk to Kari about. They had a way out of the eviction, that is if Kari would go along with it. Though Zoey wasn’t too sure if Kari would even consider the idea let alone go along with it.

Unfortunately the offer they had to earn enough cash to pay the rent was only good for another day at the most.

Knowing that Zoey took one last deep breath, let it out slowly, cleared her throat and said, “Um, Kari? Honey? We, um, we need to talk, okay? It’s kind of, um, important.”

Across the room Kari was doing one of her Yoga stretching exercises, her back arched and her eyes shut in deep concentration. For several seconds Kari didn’t move, she didn’t even seem to breath.

Zoey wondered if Kari had heard her and was about to repeat herself when Kari’s eyes snapped open and she spun around to sit on the mat facing her with a worried look on her face.

“It’s about the eviction isn’t?” Kari said with a little quiver in her voice surprising Zoey that she knew about it. “I saw the notice Zoe. Are…are we going to have to move? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

Despite her sounding nervous and a little upset Zoey was relieved that Kari seemed to be taking the news better than Zoey had expected her too. That was good so Zoey decided to press on, “I’m sorry Kari, but you know I didn’t want to worry you. I really thought that either Dad’s estate would be settled by now or at least the house would be sold.”

“How bad off are we?” Kari asked as she stood up to face her sister, “Are we broke?”

Zoey shook her head as she also stood up clutching the newspaper, “No, well no, not exactly. I’m earning enough at the bar to pay for food and stuff but I just don’t make enough to cover the rent is all.”

“How much are we behind?” Kari asked biting her lip.

“Two months,” Zoey sighed, “seven hundred bucks. That’s the back rent. Next week we’ll need three hundred and fifty more.”

Kari looked crestfallen as she did the math, “Oh my god Zoe! Where are we gonna come up with a thousand dollars in a week?”

Yeah, Kari was definitely taking this a whole lot better than Zoey had expected her too so she decided to tell Kari about the job offer they had. Holding up the newspaper Zoey said, “Yeah, um, about that. We’ve got kind of a job offer that just might get us enough to pay the rent.”

Walking over to her sister Zoey handed Kari the paper, “It’s the ad I circled.”

It only took Kari a few seconds to read the advertisement and then look up at her sister with a confused look on her face, “A modeling job? Are you serious? You and me? I mean yeah sis, you could do something like that, but how do you know that you’d be the one too get picked? There’ll probably be dozens of girls, maybe more, who’ll answer that ad. Besides how much would it something like that pay….”

Zoey cut her sister off with an up raised palm of her hand, “Okay, first we already have the job and if we both show up they’ll pay us twelve hundred dollars!”

For a second Kari stood opened mouthed in shock, then she shook herself and blurted out, “What? What do you mean ‘we’? How - how could we… I… get a modeling job if they don’t know what I look like? That doesn’t make any sense!”

To that Zoey just smiled, “They know what you look like Kari, I showed them your picture.”

“Showed who?” Kari asked an edge of panic slowly creeping into her voice.

Kari looked like she was starting to lose it so Zoey decided that she had better plow ahead and quickly tell her story, “Take it easy kiddo, let me start from the beginning. This guy, his name is Jason, Jason Black, he owns a studio. I didn’t know that until yesterday by the way. Anyway he’s a semi regular at the pub and he seems like a nice guy.

“So he comes in yesterday before dinner. He’s leafing thru a big portfolio that has a bunch of pictures of girls modeling swimwear, lingerie and stuff like that. He gets this call on his cell and seems to get pretty upset about something. I ask if everything is okay and he explains that he and his partner own this studio and run a small modeling agency. Anyway he had just found out that he lost two of his models.”

“What do you mean they lost two models? How do you lose a model?” Kari asked seeming to calm down some as she listened to her sister’s story.

Zoey gave Kari what she hoped was a reassuring grin, “Well, one got pregnant so she won’t be able to fit into most of the clothes. The phone call he got was his partner Jon telling Jason that their top model had just eloped and had just up and quit on them.

“Jason and his partner have this huge contract with their biggest client to shoot their new clothing catalog. Now they are a couple of girls short and if they don’t have enough different models for the line up they could lose the contract.

“So one thing lead to another and Jason asked if I would consider replacing one of the girls. He took my picture on his cell, sent it to his partner and Jon said he liked my looks. Because they need to get some preliminary shots done real fast, like before this weekend, he said he would pay me five hundred dollars for my time.”

“Okay, I get that, but how did I get involved, and…” Kari said hesitantly then squinted her eyes as she considered something, “why would he pay us twelve hundred dollars if he was only going to pay five hundred just for you?”

“Well at least she’s still listening,” Zoey thought to herself, then continued telling her story, “Well first Jason showed me the want ad to show me that he wasn’t pulling my leg. They put the ad in the paper the day before when the first girl said she was pregnant and they thought they were just one model short. Jason told me I could go ahead and check them out. They’re not in the phonebook yet because they just relocated here a few months ago, but they do have a web page! I checked it out at school this morning. They’re legit!”

“Okay, so maybe they’re the real thing,” Kari said warily. “But how did I get involved?”

To that Zoey smiled, “So when I said I’d do it Jason said, ‘Well that’s one down!’ Then he asked me if I had a friend as good looking as I was or even better if I had a twin sister! So naturally I told him that I didn’t have a twin but I did have a kid sister who was even better looking than I was.”

“Oh god Zoey! You didn’t! Tell you me you didn’t say that!” Kari blurted out and Zoey swore her sister started to blush in embarrassment.

“Of course I did!” Zoey said shrugging, “You are good looking Kari, you know that you take after Mom and you can’t tell me she wasn’t beautiful! Anyway I showed him your picture, the one I carry in my purse. You know that one of us one the beach.”

With a little sadness Zoey added, “You know that one that Dad took that last time we were all together, before….”

Zoey could see that last bit had gotten to Kari but Zoey couldn’t let Kari slide back into her depression so she switched gears and tried to sound more upbeat. “Anyway when Jason saw your picture he got real excited!”

“Why would he do that?” Kari asked a little alarmed but maybe Zoey thought just a tad curious.

“Well, for one thing,” Zoey said as she reached out to stroke her sister’s hair, “you’re a redhead. The girl who eloped, their top model, was a redhead and he said that the client had a thing for redheads.”

“So okay I’m a redhead, big deal, lots of girls are redheads, lots of girls better looking than me!” Kari said but not with a lot force behind it.

“Oh that’s a bunch of bullshit and you know it Kari!” snapped Zoey but not too sharply though the curse word did get Kari to look her in the eye. “C’mon sis! With all that exercise you do everyday you’ve got a kick-ass hard body and you know it! More importantly Jason thinks so and he says you’ve got the body that most swimwear designers dream about. You’d make anything look good.”

“Okay, so he likes the way I look, but why is he willing to pay me seven hundred dollars and you only five hundred, you’re better looking than I am.” Kari asked trying to find a flaw in all of this.

To that Zoey shrugged, “ A couple of reasons I guess. First I told him you would be pretty reluctant to do the shoot. So he tacked on the extra two hundred as kind of signing bonus if I could talk you into it.”

“Plus,” Zoey went on before Kari could interrupt, “he actually seems to be a nice guy. He knows we’re in a bit of jam. So if we are willing to help him out, he’s making things easier for us too. Like you I think six hundred each is probably more than is normal, but then, how much do professional models make?”

It was Kari’s turn to shrug, “I haven’t any idea, but six hundred still sounds like too much.”

“Yeah maybe, but Kari we really, really need the money.” Zoey said with just a small amount of pleading as she looked at her sister. “This money can get us thru most of the summer. I also think Jason offered more than usual because he thinks we might get picked up for the main catalog. So maybe he thinks that being helpful to us now we might feel obligated to sign with his agency later, I know I would, I will.”

Zoey could see that Kari was mulling things over so she decided to go for broke. “Look Kari, baby, I know you’re not crazy about any of this. But Kari I’m sorry I did the best I could but we’re stuck! I promised Mom that I’d do my best to see that we both got thru college. I just never counted on the estate or the selling the house taking so damned long!”

Then looking down at her feet Zoey quietly added, “Kari I don’t know what else to do I really need your help little sister.”

For what seemed an eternity Kari didn’t say anything. Zoey was afraid to look up because she thought she might start crying.

Then finally in a small voice she heard Kari say, “Okay Zoe. I’ll do it, but probably just this once. When do you think they want us?”

Zoey snapped her head up and smiled, “Um, tonight, we got to be at the studio around eight or so.”

“Tonight!” Kari squeaked. “How - how did you know I’d say yes?”

Zoey shrugged as she pulled her cell out of her pocket, “I didn’t Sis. Actually I was pretty certain that you would say no, but I went and made the appointment at least for me. Hey, five hundred bucks is five hundred bucks. I figured at least maybe it might buy us another month’s leeway.”

A little dumbfounded that she had actually agreed to her sister’s plan Kari watched Zoey dial her cell phone and then have a quick but excited conversation with deep male voice who also sounded excited.

Finally Zoey hung up and gleefully said, “Okay! It’s all set. We’ve got a little over three hours to get ready and get there!”

“What should I wear?” Kari enquired having no idea what one wore to photo shoot.

“I know!” Zoey said matter of factly. “Why don’t we wear those dresses we wore the last time Mom and Dad took us to the theater? You looked real grown up in that dress and it shows off your legs.”

“Okay, yeah that sounds good.” Kari said still in a bit of a daze as Zoey dragged her off to the bedrooms to look for the dresses.

In spite of her sister’s enthusiasm Kari couldn’t help but have a small feeling of foreboding. All of this just seemed to good to be true. She couldn’t shake the feeling that in front of this silver lining there was a dark cloud waiting to rain on their parade of good fortune, or worse….

To be continued….

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