Galactica, Chapter 71 (Group Fic) - TheDane/Veronica
A/N: Fun fact: this rewrite is now the second-longest fic in the Drace Race RPF section of AO3. (Second only to the original story, lol.) So if you’re looking for a lot of content…we’ve got you. ;) Click here if you’re looking for previous chapters (or here if you’d rather read on AO3). 💫
Previously: Violet revealed her estranged relationship with her family to Sutan, and Courtney struggled to live up to Miss Fame’s demands.
This Chapter: Some uncharacteristic vulnerability from Violet, Met Gala meetings and morning television.
“Do you want more marshmallows?”
“I always want more marshmallows.”
Katya grinned as she got up from the kitchen table, grabbing Trixie’s mug to top them both up. They were decorating gingerbread men, Katya pulling them from the oven last night. Trixie was doing clothes, drawing in the lines and putting details on them, one of his favorite jobs.
It was a tradition of theirs, spending the Sunday before Christmas in their pajamas, preparing cookies and watching Home Alone, the leftover icing always ending up in the bedroom for some sticky afternoon fun.
“Oh god,” Sutan groaned, rolling onto his back and spreading out like a starfish. “I’m dead.”
When he had jokingly asked if he could join Violet for her yoga session, he hadn’t figured she’d say yes, and he definitely hadn’t expected that it’d be this hard, those last few breaths of extended child’s pose essentially torture where he could feel his bones bend and creak.
“Stop being so dramatic,” Violet grinned, his girlfriend sitting back on her knee, the leg with her cast spread out to the side. “We only did 40 minutes.”
“You’re not even sweating.” Sutan looked at her, Violet’s hair in a high ponytail, the Sunday look of one of his shirts and a sports bra quickly becoming a fave.
“Some of us remember to do more than weights and cardio, Mr. Amrull.”
“I’m texting my trainer right now,” Sutan reached over his head, grabbing his phone that he had left on the floor next to their mats, Violet giggling as she laid down next to him, putting her head on his shoulder.
“There,” Sutan pressed send, his trainer probably falling off of his chair when he read the message, Sutan always attempting to get away with the bare minimum when it came to exercise, but he refused to be humiliated by being unable to reach his toes.
He was just about to put his phone down, when Violet reached up and tapped the screen, his front camera opening up, both of them in frame as they were lying on the floor.
“What are you doing?”
“Taking a picture?” Violet smiled, her sarcastic tone never wavering. “To document the moment.”
Sutan looked at the screen. It was so incredibly tempting to say yes, to keep this moment in the private password protected collection that had steadily grown since Thanksgiving, Violet really and truly trying to let him take pictures, but he couldn’t say yes, not when he knew why she was so confident.
“And can I post it?”
“Post it?” Violet raised an eyebrow, sitting up on her elbows. “Why? Isn’t your hair...?”
“A mess?” Sutan didn’t want to smile, but it was impossible not to, Violet knowing him way too well if she had already figured out that he was sometimes embarrassingly vain about his hairstyle, the mess on his head looking like he had been fucking for an hour. “Yes, but I still want to post it.”
“I-” Violet had pulled away completely now, not a single trace of the sweetness left. “No.”
“Violet,” Sutan sat up as well, putting his phone down, “I know you hate social media, but you’re my girlfriend, and I don’t think what I ask for is unreasonable-”
“Sutan. Please” Violet grabbed her mat and rolled it together in an attempt to avoid him. “I said no.”
“And I’m pushing because I don’t understand.” Sutan could feel the annoyance build, the hurt and the rejection. It stung every single time Violet denied him, hurt every time she neglected what they had.
“I’m not saying we have to announce it with a workout selfie,” Sutan hated that they were fighting, but he couldn’t help himself, “but I want to tell the world that we’re together.”
“And I don’t-” Violet looked at him, her brown eyes filled with hurt. “If the world knows, they know, and I don’t want them to know where I am or what I’m doing.”
There it was. The they, the them, the family from Atlanta that was haunting his girlfriend's life like a shadow that had slowly started to creep into his too.
“Violet, I hate to be the one to tell you,” Sutan didn’t touch her, simply putting his hand down on the floor next to hers, telling her that he was there. “But the internet exists. If they have your name, they can find you, no matter what you do to hide.”
“Have you taken a moment to consider that they might not have that?”
Sutan paused, Violet’s words like a bomb.
Did her family not have her name? It was true that Violet Chachki barely got any hits on google, that it was Parson’s assignments and internships that popped up, the Galactica employee directory right at the top, but Sutan had never considered that possibility, had never even toyed with it.
“This wasn’t how I planned on telling you. Actually, I probably wasn’t counting on telling you at all, but I’m not…” Violet was fiddling with the tiniest hole in her yoga mat, her fingers tugging on the foam. “I wasn’t born Violet. Wasn’t even born a Chachki. Hasn’t it ever seemed weird to you that my last name literally means trinket?”
“Mmh,” Violet smiled, the same heavy sadness he had seen in the hospital in her eyes. “I needed to not be… Blair anymore.”
“Yes,” Violet nodded. “Blair Dardo. It was my birth name. I never liked it, and I changed it the moment I turned 18, left it behind the second I could. That’s why I can’t,” Violet gestured vaguely to Sutan’s phone. “Changing it meant that they can’t, that they can’t find me, and I-”
Sutan didn’t know what to say, but it felt like he had just been given another puzzle piece in the mystery that was his girlfriend.
Violet’s head snapped to attention, her eyes widening in confusion. “...What?”
“I’m sorry.” Sutan said it again, making sure he put his genuine emotion behind the words. “I should have realized that you weren’t saying no to be difficult, and yet I kept pushing.”
“Sutan-” Violet still looked confused and a little suspicious, like she didn’t really understand what he was doing. “You don’t have to-”
“No but I do.” Sutan smiled. “I get it now, and I’m sorry, but next time you have a deep dark secret, maybe you could just tell me instead of this charade-”
Sutan was cut off as Violet threw herself in his arms, knocking him down on the floor and kissing him like her life depended on it, gratitude rolling off of her in waves.
Alyssa held out the plate of croissants, Raja waving it away since she didn’t want one. The entire senior management team was gathered in the conference room, Fame for some ungodly reason always insisting on a full breakfast spread for their Monday meetings, even though only a fraction of them ever actually ate any of it.
“So,” Fame looked around, a gold fountain pen in her hand, a black moleskin notebook open in front of her. “Any updates?”
The theme of today's meeting was the 2015 Met Gala, Raja barely hiding a groan when Courtney had sent out the meeting agenda.
It wasn’t that she disliked the Met Gala, the first Monday in May a spectacular party, but it was such a hassle getting there, the gala the fashion world's version of the Oscars.
“Yes,” Pearl smiled, turning around in her chair. She was weirdly chipper, her blonde hair collected in a clip, her signature leather jacket exchanged with a cropped black fur. “We have the final confirmation from Jessica Chastain’s team. She’s in.”
“Good,” Fame nodded, making a note in her moleskin, the fact that Fame was actually writing herself more than enough to cement the severity of the situation. Courtney was standing against the wall, Ivy sitting at the table with her computer open, typing away, but when it came to the Met, Fame left nothing up to chance.
“She’s looking forward to working with us, and she says she’s honored-”
“Yada yada yada,” Fame made a hand puppet, and Raja had to hide a smile, Pearl leaning back in her chair with a roll of her eyes, mouthing at everyone else that she’d send a follow up email.
It was Fame who had requested Jessica, in her own roundabout way, her friend casually mentioning to Raja that she had a good smile, which was more than enough for Raja to make Pearl offer her up as Galactica’s celebrity face.
It wasn’t every house who did it, but the big ones always had a celebrity at the gala, wearing their clothes and repping the brand.
“Does anyone know if they’ve moved away from the terrible theme yet?”
“It doesn’t seem like it,” Alaska offered up, the promotional material the Met had sent out at the start of the fall in the middle of the table thanks to Ivy’s forthsight. “It’s December, and since we haven’t heard anything, they’re sticking with China's influence on western fashion.”
“Good god, I was really hoping they had come to their senses.” Fame breathed out through her nose, and Raja had to agree with her. Sure, ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ made sense as an art exhibition, but there was really no way to convert it to fashion without being culturally insensitive at best and offensively appropriative at worst.
Besides, Galactica had never been a brand that sought inspiration from the east in their designs and aesthetics, which made the entire situation quite the predicament.
“I’m sure we can work with it,” Trixie gave a small smile, the stack of papers by his elbow indicating that he had probably already put his senior designers to work coming up with concepts.
“And how,” Fame turned, looking directly at Trixie. “Are we supposed to work with it? Raja’s the only one who could possibly get away with being theme appropriate.”
Usually, Fame and Raja were the ones who walked the carpet together with their celebrity, Fame a nervous wreck for weeks before the gala because of all the strangers, while Raja enjoyed it because of her modeling days, seeing old acquaintances without the stresses of fashion week, a delightful yearly treat.
“I’m Indonesian.” Raja knew Fame didn’t mean anything by it, and she wasn’t that concerned about being politically correct herself, but everyone knew what it could mean for a fashion house to misstep, Dolce and Gabbana somehow walking directly from one scandal and into another one. “Not Chinese.”
“See?” Fame sighed, leaning back in her chair. “It’s a controversial time bomb. Either, we stay on theme, which I refuse since I look terrible in Chinese red, ”
“So we’re going off theme?” Trixie had picked up his papers, sorting through them, and Raja felt a moment of gratitude for their head of design, Trixie of course coming prepared with off-theme suggestions as well.
“Unless they get a grip and change it? Yes. Yes we are.”
“There!” Everyone held their breath as Maxwell pointed at Violet’s screen, an email from Ivy just ticking in, the Met Gala meeting still in full swing.
“Open it, Chachki!” Blu was practically biting her nails, hopping from one foot to the other, her red hair in a braid over her shoulder.
“Alright, alright-“ Violet clicked on the email, Bob standing right behind her, his eyes flying over the screen before he called out.
A collective sigh of relief went through the floor, a loud ‘yes’ coming from Kiara who was clapping her hands together, the group breaking up, chatter filling the air.
“Thank god,” Maxwell groaned, putting a hand on Violet’s shoulder and giving it a squeeze. “I knew having you here would be worth it Chachki.”
“Right.” Violet raised an eyebrow, looking up at him, clearly not understanding why no one had thought to simply ask Ivy for updates before, the suggestion just casually slipping from her during morning coffee, the entire department running with it instantly. “But I still don’t-“
“Get it?” They turned to look over at Jovan who was sitting at his own desk, the man one of the few who hadn’t gathered around Violet’s computer.
“Yes.” Violet nodded. “If you needed information all this time, you could have just asked-”
“Like we could have just asked you?” Bob said, cutting her off and Violet opened her mouth, only to close it again. “Exactly.” Bob grinned. “You would have told us to fuck off.”
“I see your point.” Violet tapped her fingers on her desk, a small smile on her lips since everyone knew she would have said those exact words directly to their faces when she had been in Fame’s front office. “But, why is it such a big deal if a celeb is confirmed or not? The gala isn’t until May, that’s 4 months away and it’s three outfits. A whole collection is usually done in that time.”
“A collection doesn’t have to be approved by the celebrity,” Maxwell counted on his fingers, “the celebrity’s stylist, Vogue and Anna Wintour personally on top of Trixie, Raja and Fame. Alexis usually starts producing concepts in October.”
“As soon as they reveal the theme girl!” Alexis yelled over her shoulder, already pulling her sketches from their shelf, the confirmation meaning that she’d be in a meeting with Trixie for the rest of the day, working out the details of the first round of negotiations with the celebrity.
“Huh…” Violet looked around, the puzzled expression still on her face. “And what about-“
“Fame and Raja?”
“You’d think Fame would be the difficult one-“ Maxwell smiled.
“But make something gorgeous and custom in ivory and she’s on board,” Jovan grinned, putting the pen he was using behind his ear as he turned around in his chair. “Every year, she pretends like she’ll follow the theme, and then never does.”
“Exactly.” Maxwell nodded. “Fame is demanding, but consistent. Trixie has an entire drawer of Fame-appropriate outfits that we all contribute to whenever we have an idea.”
“That makes a disturbing amount of sense,” Violet looked mildly impressed, and if any of the rumors Maxwell had heard about how she had managed Fame’s front office, that approach wasn’t too far off from how Violet herself had attempted to tame the beast.
“Rule one of surviving at Galactica: Never disappoint Miss Fame. For once, however, Fame isn’t the problem.” Maxwell sighed, taking a seat on the edge of Violet’s desk. “Raja is.”
“Raja?” Violet looked genuinely surprised. “Really?”
“Yes really.” Maxwell crossed his arms. “Every year, she tells us that she’s chill, that she’ll wear whatever goes with the spring collection or the theme-“
“And every single year, she changes her mind at least four times.” Bob chimed in, the drama loving smirks on his lip. “More if you’re lucky.”
“Which is why,” Maxwell nudged Bob’s side with his elbow. “We’ve unanimously decided that you have the honor of dressing Raja for this year's Met Gala.”
“Me?” Violet’s eyes widened. “What? Why?” Violet looked at them, confusion painted on her face. “I’m the most junior member of staff.”
“True, but you’re also sucking her brother's dick,” Maxwell grinned, “so we figured she can’t kill you during the process, unlike the rest of us mere mortals.”
It should have been one of the most exciting mornings since Courtney started at Galactica--Miss Fame and Raja were being interviewed on a talk show, and so she got to go to the famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza building, and be on the set of a real television show. Unfortunately, it was such a whirlwind of activity and Miss Fame was in such a demanding mood that she didn’t have a second to enjoy it.
She felt like a chicken with its head cut off, running around in a hectic scramble to meet every request. Today was the last day before their holiday break, and even though Courtney knew that spending her break with Bianca would be incredible, she also knew that she had about a billion things to do before that could even start. Today was supposed to be a half day, but with how packed the schedule was, she’d be lucky to leave by 5.
She entered Miss Fame’s green room, silently handing her the coffee she’d asked for and then leaning on the wall to catch her breath. Miss Fame took a sip and then immediately spit the coffee back out.
“What is this?” she asked, holding the cup out like it was a bag of dog shit.
“It’s your usual-”
“This is not my usual. This is weak, and not hot enough, and-did you just roll your eyes?”
“No, Miss!” Courtney insisted, praying that she was telling the truth. She was tired, having arrived at the office at 6 am to drop off her stuff for Bianca’s, and there was a teeny tiny chance that she may have (accidentally) rolled her eyes. “Would you like a new-”
“Let me tell you something, Courtney. This may be the last day before a vacation, but I expect you to be fully present and accounted for. We have too many important things going on and I will not accept anything less than your absolute very best. Is that clear?”
“Now. Please go find me some decent coffee before I get a migraine.”
“And after you come back, I need you to go to the dry cleaners. I’ve decided to wear my ivory Valentino suit to meet the investors later.”
“Yes, Miss, will do.”
“That’s all,” Miss Fame said, waving her hand, and Courtney took off back down the labyrinthine hallways of 30 Rock to hunt down a coffee that would meet her standards.
“Good morning! Welcome back to Coast to Coast. I’m Nina West, and today we are positively blessed to have with us the icons of fashion, Miss Fame and Raja Gemini of Galactica, here to talk to us about dressing to impress in the new year, and their exciting new business ventures. Thank you so much for being here, ladies!”
“Thank you, we’re thrilled to be here,” Fame smiled, the lie easily falling out of her red painted lips.
Raja could see the way her hands were clenched in her lap, her wedding ring turned inward and digging into her palm, and knew that she was at her tensest.
Raja had long ago gotten used to giving live interviews. She had a laid-back attitude and while she always wanted to represent the company in the most flattering light, she tended to relax and let the conversation flow naturally.
Fame, however, had never quite gotten the hang of it in the same way. She was just so brand-conscious, almost to a debilitating degree, written interviews so much more her speed.
She always looked impeccable, very much the ice goddess she was so often called, but Fame had never gotten the same confidence in her speaking skills as Raja, who had been dragged through developing them in her modeling career.
Even though Fame hated being on live TV, they occasionally got an offer they couldn’t turn down, and between the makeup line being released in January and the overhaul of their website and online store, they had a lot to plug.
The whole thing was so stressful Fame had asked Raja four times to check her pits for sweat stains, her papers with facts from the makeup department and pointers from Pearl not leaving her hand until they literally had to go on.
Raja leaned forward, giving Fame’s shoulder a reassuring pat, and added, “This is our favorite show, we never miss it!”
“Aww, thank you!” said Nina, grinning. “Now, I’ve heard through the grapevine that you have an exciting announcement.”
“Yes, and we’re so happy to be able to share the news with your viewers first-”
“An exclusive!” Nina exclaimed, eyes comically wide and mouth open as if this was news to her.
“Yes, exactly. Early this year, we released a limited makeup line, and it’s been doing just wonderfully. So in 2015, we’re going to be rolling out a full line of makeup and skincare, with special edition palettes and colors all throughout the spring.”
“All natural, vegan, cruelty free...I always want the very best for my own skin and I wouldn’t offer our customers anything less,” Fame cut in, and Raja felt a surge of pride at how natural she sounded. All their rehearsing had clearly paid off.
“If you use it, I’ll use it!” Nina said with a chuckle. “You both have the most gorgeous skin I’ve ever seen.”
“We expect the first batch to sell out quickly,” Raja said, “So go straight to our website, Galactica dot com, and sign up to be part of the mailing list to receive alerts on all new product launches and where they’ll show up in stores.”
“I’m doing that, the second we go to commercials,” Nina said. “But first, I heard that there’s more news about your spring line...”
Patrick reached for the remote, turning off the TV as Nina West rounded out the segment with Fame and Raja.
He was sitting in his office, wrapping up the last details before the firm could close down for the holiday break.
Fame had done a great job, the nerves he knew she had felt not showing on her beautiful face. Patrick picked up his phone, a smile on his lips as he started to type out a text.
Fame would probably not read it until she left work for the day, but he was proud of her, and he hoped that she was proud of herself too.
Fame collapsed onto her dressing room sofa, completely emotionally drained, the crystals she had stuffed in her bra digging against her skin.
Being on camera for live television always took up every drop of energy, and left her with nothing to spare. Unfortunately, she knew that she didn’t have much time to rest, since she was due at the Russian Tea Room to meet her potential investors in less than an hour. The makeup artist they’d hired was standing by for touch-ups, and her ivory Valentino suit hung in its dry cleaning bag on the clothing rack. But first, she knew that her blood sugar was dangerously low, so she needed…
She looked around. Where on earth was Courtney? Fame had never met someone with such a tendency to be underfoot at the worst times and completely MIA when her presence was required. She walked to the doorway, spotting Courtney having a casual chat with a girl in a headset, carefree as anything.
“Courtney!” she snapped, and Courtney looked up, surprised, even though she was literally here for the sole purpose of taking care of Fame’s needs. “Come!”
Fame turned and walked back into her dressing room, irritated, the rapid click of Courtney’s heels as she ran over grating on her nerves.
“I need to eat.”
“Oh…” Courtney’s gaze shifted to the table, where a fruit basket sat amongst assorted pastries and other snack food.
“Not that sugary garbage,” Fame explained. “Violet always had- Don’t you have any protein bars?”
“Oh, of course!” Courtney exclaimed, rummaging through her purse.
Fame rolled her eyes, sighing. That girl truly was useless. What Bianca saw in her, Fame would never understand. She took one of the protein bars that Courtney had carefully lined up on the arm of the sofa beside her.
“I think you’d better head back to the office and prepare the conference room for the investor presentation.”
“Oh, but did you need anything el-”
“No, I’m much more concerned with the meeting,” Fame said. “Everything needs to be perfect. These people will be paying attention to every little detail.”
“Oh, and take this back with you…” Fame handed over a large manila envelope. “It’s some sketches I’ve been working on.”
“Sure.” Courtney began to put the envelope into her bag, and Fame’s eyes widened with alarm.
“Don’t bend them! For god’s sake…”
“Sorry Miss,” Courtney said, biting her lip, holding the envelope at her side. “Is there anything else you need before I-”
“No. That’s all.”
Courtney sat in the back of a cab, eyes squeezed tightly shut, using the time in traffic to center herself and go over her massive to do list. She had to make sure that all the presentations for the meeting were set up, work with IT to test it, messenger out the holiday gifts that Miss Fame added at the last minute, make sure the schedule for January was in order, set up her out of office reply…
Plus, the meeting with the investors wouldn’t begin until they were back from the restaurant, so the “half day” was looking more and more like a full day. At this point, settling in at Bianca’s felt like it was a million years away--and traffic crawling at a standstill didn’t help anything.
She pulled out her phone. Maybe she could set up some of the gift deliveries now, while she was stuck in the cab.
When they were finally in sight of the Galactica building, her phone started buzzing. She looked at the screen. Miss Fame. That couldn’t be anything good.
Courtney took a deep breath and answered, stomach tightening.
“Courtney!” Miss Fame’s voice was sharp, sharper than usual. “Do you ever use your head? Or do you just go through life without a shred of critical thinking?”
It was fairly obvious that it was a rhetorical question, so Courtney kept her mouth shut, wondering what had gone wrong, what mess she’d have to clean up now.
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