Elle by Najood Al Terkawi

Posted on October 15, 2012 by

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Who is Elle? Learn a little bit about her here.

 

She gets called bitch at least five times a day. It comes with the job. She isn’t trashy or out of control, but people have a habit of making assumptions when it comes to her perfect curvy frame, large chest, and tattoo-covered arms. What people don’t realize is that Elle looks quite marvelous, mysterious, and alluring. Her honey-colored eyes and long, thick eyelashes make her seem almost doll-like. Her straight, pearl-blonde hair cascades over her shoulders and falls across her back and her rosy, red lips look like the kind that leave a kiss at the end of a love letter.

 

Elle looks around the small, yet chic, tattoo parlor she works in. This has been her life for the past year and she’s learned to accept that she’ll never settle down. Life has been hectic ever since she was 19 and now at 23, she’s gotten so used to the constant inconsistency, she can’t remember ever living life normally.

 

The parlor isn’t crowded much today. There are a few young men leaning over the counter flirting with Elle’s coworker, Monica.

 

“If anyone is a cliché, it’s Monica,” Elle chuckles to herself

 

Elle has her chin propped up on her hand as she gazes out at two white pigeons sitting on the window pane. She’s in two places at once; physically behind the counter of this tattoo parlor, but mentally drifting between dream and consciousness.

 

“Miss?” she hears a voice, and she debates for a moment whether it’s in her head or real.

 

“Excuse me, miss?”

 

“That’s definitely not in my head,” she thinks to herself.

 

Elle turns her gaze just in time for the young man to say “miss?” once again. She blinks twice and straightens up.

 

“Hello sir, sorry about that. How may I help you?” Elle tried to mask her shock back into reality.

 

“Monica said you have a portfolio of tattoos and designs…?” the man states with a hint of uncertainty.

 

“Right, I do. Hold on a second,” Elle gives a small, unintended wink

 

She walks a few feet and turns to the shelf behind her and pulls down a semi-thick book that resembles a photo album from the outside.

 

“Here you go, sir. This is the latest one and the one with the largest variety of designs. Check ‘em out and give your request to Tracey over there, she’ll be doing the artwork.” Elle gestures to the woman sitting across the parlor, in the far left corner.

 

“Thanks…miss?” the young man says hesitantly

 

“Vivian,” Elle states by default.

 

The man gives a tight-shut smile and a friendly nod of gratitude. As he strides back over to his group of friends, Elle glances at her watch to check how many more hours of ‘pretend’ she has to play. It’s almost 6 pm.

 

“Hey Monica, I’m going to slip out for a cigarette break,” Elle says as she pulls a leather jacket over her tank top. Without much acknowledgement of the response, Elle swings the door open, causing the small bell above the doorframe to rattle. She stands still for a moment to breathe the cool October air.

 

She lights a cigarette and watches as the first puff of smoke leaves her mouth and gets swooped away with the wind, disappearing into nothing. Elle manages to finish her cigarette and walks back to the front door of the parlor and steps in to resume her whorish-persona.

 

After two uneventful hours pass, Elle rearranges the books on the shelf, grabs her coat and leaves the tattoo parlor. Once she’s far enough away from view, she slips on her mink coat and walks to the black limousine parked a few blocks away. She reaches the car door, and her fingers linger on the cold steel handle for a few second before she gathers herself together, pulls the door wide open and slides across the leather seat, pulling the door shut behind her.

 

“Good evening, Elle” says a handsome gentleman sitting on the opposite side of the car.

 

“Hello William,” Elle says “do you have any bad news for me?”

 

I’m afraid so,” William replies

 

“They think I’m Vivian…what’s this about?”

 

“That’s just it, we have a hunch they know your real name, profile and occupation.”

 

“They’d have to be killed if they knew that,” Elle says wickedly

 

“You’re changing identities. Vivian no longer exists from this moment forth. We have a new identity, job, and look set up for you,” William replies bluntly.

 

“Fine fine, you ruin all the fun; I swear you do, William. Today was dull as it is,” Elle says stubbornly.

She swiftly removes the long pearl-blonde wig off her head and lets her natural red curls loose.

 

“Your name is Audrie J. West. You’re from Los Angeles, and your new job position is a newspaper editor in New York. You fly out in four hours.” William says as if it’s a checklist of chores to be done.

 

“Hand me something to wipe this paint off of my skin, will you?”

William hands her a folded wet napkin which she uses to wipe the tattoos off the length of her arms. She almost seems sad.

 

“You know we’re trying our best to find her…” William says softly

Elle gives no response.

 

“We will find your daughter, Elle. It’s just a matter of time. You just need to focus on getting into your new identity and time will take care of the rest.”

 

“I know. I just want to know what she looks like. I haven’t seen her since I was 19. I can’t believe she’s four…” Elle puts her fingers to her lips, choking back a sob.

 

“I know,” says William “It just wasn’t the right time for you to raise a child. But you’re getting out of this soon, you’ll be able to leave this alias life behind and be a real person again. As soon as we know that no CIA agents are on your tail, you’re free to go”

 

Elle knows that William’s words are truthful and sincere. She leans her head back against the leather seat, and stares out the window drifting into her dreams again. Somewhere, a little girl who has the same honey-colored eyes and perfect lips that could leave a kiss at the end of a love letter, was living with a family who would never be her biological one. Elle quietly sits for the remainder of the ride, until they arrive at the airport, where she boards a flight to New York; a new place, a new job, the only way to save her soul.

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