“Oh, what do you use? The alpha hydroxy acids? Good, that’s good,” he said, his eyes beamed. Tessa had never seen this man before, but he seemed familiar.
Tessa stood and shook his outstretched hand, his eyes the consistency of warm almond butter and never absent from her deadlocked gaze.
“I used to work for Chanel,” he said, with Tessa supplying the typical nod of admiration and awe. “Now my partner, you know he works for Disney. He has multiple patents supporting the poly. Two is better than one, yes? Remember science class? Let me show you something.”
He did say he worked for Chanel. Did he work here now, she wondered, studying his requisite all black attire, the fedora hat a stylish touch. If he did work here, there had been no announcement or recognition that Sultrix had an in-house expert. She teetered behind him as he led her by her wrist.
“Look now at this,” he said, pointing to an expensive line of skin care products called Radi-Essence, displayed in glowing, blue bottles.
The man in the fedora hat flashed a smile, radiating warmth and a set of pearly white teeth, set in a jawline quite possibly chiseled from Michelangelo himself. He could have been a poster boy for the blue bottled products or anything for that matter. His olive complexion and mysterious accent hinted at the exotic. He rubbed a cool white cream on Tessa’s hand, a seamless transition as she had never let go of his grasp.
“These products are made from all natural ingredients. Green tea, grape seed, aloe, cucumber, ginseng.” Each of her fingers received a generous massage with each reference to plant, food, or herb.
Tessa hoped she wasn’t drooling. A heavy tug-of-war played in her head, pounding back and forth between her temples. The price for last night’s drinking was rearing its ugly head. She tried to concentrate on the soothing scent and its known properties to erase and purify, two things Tessa wished for at that moment.
The man in the fedora couldn’t have noticed, as she closed her eyes and appeared tranquil, smiling, the massage working wonders, escorting Tessa to a sunny, white sandy beach.
“Now this,” he said. He picked up a smaller bottle filled with a clear liquid. Tessa fluttered her eyes open. “This is a bionic serum with a targeted pigment control system. It has a triple boost of collagen. It’s going to help you with any redness in your face. Here.” He rubbed the jellied serum on the top of her hand, one of the few remaining untreated spots. The redness left her hand, replaced by a yellow hue.
“Would you look at that?” he said. “Smell this. Mmm.”
“Wow,” Tessa said.
“It’s like nectar from the gods,” he put the container up to his nose. She smelled a tangy sweetness, followed by an urge to hurl.
“Wow,” Tessa said. His manicured hands, smooth like silk, touched hers. Tessa then realized it was the only word she had spoken to him for the entire hand-holding session. It seemed natural for him to touch her, and she didn’t want him to let go.
“You could start with this kit,” he told her. “You would have your daily moisturizer with sunscreen, and the restorative cream for night, and then there’s this.” He had one last trick to perform. Tessa held up her other hand. Instead, her dotted her cheek with a small amount of cool gel. “This is the bionic serum,” he lightly patted her cheek and now dabbed an infinitesimal amount on her nose and the other side of her face. “Antioxidants to repair any existing damage. You look radiant.” He put the kit in her hands with a smile.
She looked down to study its contents, and the man in the fedora vanished, almost as if had never been there at all. She closed her eyes in exhaustion, remembering she had yet to work. Maybe with enough points and her employee discount, she could afford the box of magic potions. She didn’t want to let down the man from Chanel. Radiant, she thought.