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In which Stella discovers that Tyson is full of surprises.


Ever since I'd first realized that modelling was where my heart truly lay when I was sixteen, fashion week had always been the ultimate dream. It was the goal I strove towards in each job I worked, doing my best to prove that I belonged at such a prestigious event, but now that I had actually been called to the big leagues, I'd never been more terrified in my life.

Which was why I ended up staring at the ceiling in the early hours of the day of my first runway show. We had flown in a few days before so I could attend fittings and dress rehearsals and during my down time, I'd wandered the beautiful city with my boyfriend and my son, taking in the incredible sights and just generally realizing that I'd finally gotten everything I'd ever wanted.

Until this morning, when I realized there was a good possibility that I could catastrophically screw up everything I'd worked so hard for. What if I tripped on the runway? What if my nerves got the better of me and I ended up projectile vomiting on all the celebrities in the front row? I'd never work as a model again. There was no way to recover from dropping the ball at fashion week, when every major designer and celebrity and pretty much everybody who was anybody was in attendance.

Sighing, I wiggled out from beneath Tyson's arm, pausing after I'd swung my legs over the side of the bed to listen intently to the baby monitor, ensuring that Cooper was still fast asleep in the adjoining room. After thirty seconds of not hearing a peep, I pushed myself to my feet and padded out of the bedroom towards the kitchen, hoping a glass of water would help calm my nerves.

Making sure I opened and closed the cabinet doors as quietly as possible, I slowly turned the faucet to fill one of the small glasses our hotel suite provided and walked towards the window which looked out onto the street below. It was early morning at the sun was just beginning, lightening the colors of the sky and further confirming that I would be getting no more sleep. In a few short hours, I'd have to be headed to the venue anyway, for last minute fittings and adjustments before I was sent to hair and makeup.

I sipped the cool water from the glass, allowing the liquid to flow slowly down my throat and inhaling deeply to calm my nerves and release the tension from my muscles, my eyes not entirely comprehending what I was sure was an amazing view.


Tyson's hoarse morning voice rang out from behind and I drained the rest of my water before turning to set the empty glass on the coffee table and smiling at him softly over my shoulder. "Hey."

"Are you alright?" he asked, taking a step forward and lifting his hands to rub his sleepy eyes. "What time is it?"

"Early," I laughed softly, lifting one shoulder in a shrug and turning my attention back to the view. "I just couldn't sleep."

His arms wrapped around me from behind, pulling me into his chest as he kissed my bare shoulder and mumbled against my skin. "Nervous?"

"A little," I admitted, allowing myself to melt backwards into his embrace, my head leaning against his shoulder as he squeezed me tight.

"How come?" he whispered.

I didn't get nervous for photoshoots; probably because there were so many chances to get it right. And I'd done runway shows before, but this show seemed to be in an entirely different league and I was having trouble processing how to mentally approach it.

"It's just a big one," I sighed, laying my arms on top of his. "And I can't afford to mess it up."

There was a moment of silence as he pondered the best way to make me feel better, finally speaking softly with his lips still pressing against my shoulder. "Maybe you could find something to focus on? Something to help you keep your mind off of messing up and overthinking everything. Something that will keep you centered and calm."

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