Secrets - Book cover


S. Fern

Chapter 2




Shay dragged herself from her bed—she needed to get ready. She had a photo shoot today for her new collection of sportswear.

Since the night of the accident, her dreams of becoming a doctor had dwindled away. She’d been unable to get the picture of the woman out of her mind, and to this day she could feel her cold hand in hers.

Shaking away her thoughts, Shay made her way to the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror.

Her body still ached from last night’s workout. She’d had to film a few workout routines yesterday, and it was more than she was used to.

Turning her body to the side, she noticed a bruise on the back of her ribs. Sighing, she reached back and touched the bruise. “God, I hope the body paint can cover this,” she mumbled to herself.

After brushing her teeth, she climbed into the shower. As she washed her hair, she went through the list of things she needed to do today. People didn’t realize how much it took for a person to be an Instagram model.

In addition to the time and effort that it took just to take good photos, she was an ambassador for a few products and had recently launched her own brand of sportswear.

Once she got ready, she checked her reflection in the mirror once again. She could already hear movements on the other side of her door indicating that her staff have arrived.

Arching her back a little, she stared at her glutes in the mirror, ensuring that there were no visible panty lines.

Her hair was curled and her makeup was done. She hated makeup, but on days she had to shoot, that was one thing she couldn’t escape from. Grabbing the body makeup from her desk, she went out of her room.

And was instantly hit with the smell of food, making her stomach growl. Almost everyone was there setting up the big living room for the photo shoot.

“Hey, can someone give me a hand with this?” she asked, holding up the small bottle of body paint.

“Yeah, let me,” Dario said.

She smiled as she handed Dario the small bottle, then walked back into her room. Dario had been with her for over a year now, had been there for her through thick and thin. He was the most loyal photographer she could ask for.

“How did you get that bruise anyway?” he asked as she heard the pop of the bottle cap.

“I think I hit the weights a little too hard yesterday, and I fell. I remember feeling the pain, but we were trying to get a shot, so I told myself to just get up and finish it,” she confessed.

He shook his head, then walked over to her makeup table and grabbed the brush, smearing some paint on the tip as he approached her. She lifted the hem of her sports bra, using the other hand to cover her nipple.

She felt the cold texture as he brushed the paint on the bruised area of her back. She winced a little whenever he pressed the brush a little harder against her skin.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“It’s okay,” she assured him as he evened out the edges of the paint. She watched his actions in the mirror, ensuring all of it was covered for the shoot.

“All done,” he announced as he stood up straighter.

“Thank you, D,” she said.

“So, when are you going to let me take you out?”


She knew dating Dario would turn into something great, seeing that they were constantly together. They’d spent countless hours taking photos, working, and just hanging out because they enjoyed each other’s company.

Placing down the body paint and brush, Dario took a step closer and gently cupped her cheek. “I like you, Shay.”

“Dario,” she warned, and he instantly nodded and took a step back.

Even though she couldn’t blame him for trying, she just wasn’t looking for a relationship.

She’d recently ended her relationship of one year, and even though there’d been a momentary lapse between her and Dario, she wasn’t ready for another one.

“I know your stance on things,” he said, “but I’m not just in it for the sex. I know that you plan on saving yourself, and I respect that.”

She felt so lucky to have found someone who understood her, who would never pressure her into doing something she didn’t want to do. But sadly, she wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with Dario.

Extending her neck just a little, she kissed his cheek. “Thank you,” she said before pulling away. Tugging his arm, she dragged him out of her room.

Everyone was doing their own things as they got ready for the shoot. Her sofa had been shifted to create more space and to allow natural light to fall on it, and she knew it was going to be the center of her photo shoot.

“We’re going with this outfit first,” she announced as she walked to the sliding door and opened it up, allowing the wind to enter.

“Which shoes?” Karen, her assistant, asked her.

“The nude ones.”

Karen quickly nodded and placed the nude-colored Adidas on the floor. Shay slipped into them and put a huge smile on her face.

“Let’s start,” Dario announced, and everyone else huddled behind him. He could instantly switch to being a professional, something she admired about him.

He never broke character when he was working, which was one of the things that made her continue to use him as a photographer. He was both talented and business minded.

Standing with her entire body facing the outside of her balcony, her hands holding the rails, she looked backward and stared straight at the camera.

Positioning her legs to look as natural as possible, she made sure to arch her back just a little.

After four different sets of outfits, multiple reapplications of makeup and body paint, and thousands of pictures, she was finally done. She’d spent hours on just this one photo shoot.

Although to many her job might look simple, it truly wasn’t. The number of hours it took for her to come up with ideas and plan everything while maintaining her image was staggering.

Her following had increased to 7 million, from a mere 970 thousand, since the accident. Her mugshot had been leaked to the public, and her popularity had shot through the roof.

No one seemed to care about the accident or the fact that someone had died—they only cared that she looked amazing in the photos. She was labeled #TooHotToBeBehindBars.

Because of that, her fame shot up instantly. She knew she took the easy way out by capitalizing on her looks, but she could no longer pursue her dreams. Everything was too tainted now.

When someone would look her up, there would be articles associating her name with the accident and the death of the driver.

She knew the articles were mostly wrong—falsifying evidence, some even claiming that she had purposefully hit the other driver just to gain fame—but there wasn’t much she could do about it.

So instead of dwelling on it, she built an empire on it, turning her situation into something else entirely. And she tried to do good in the world, donating 70 percent of her earnings to various charities.

All while dreaming every night about that woman’s cold hand in hers.

After a long afternoon of meetings, she finally had some time to relax. Dario stayed back to edit some photos while they lazed around her house. Music played in the background as she tapped her feet against the floor to the beat.


Lifting up her head just a little, she noticed Dario getting up to answer the door. She continued scrolling Instagram on her phone, saving whatever looked interesting for a review later, just another idea.

This was her daily routine. She set aside time in the evenings just to scroll social media, interact with some of her fans, and post content.

“Dinner is here,” Dario announced.

“What did you order?” she asked, getting up to meet him at the dining table.

“Chinese. Gong bao chicken for you,” he said.

Her smile widened. He’d ordered her her favorite food.

“Thank you.” She took the square box in her hands, then plopped down at the dining table.

He joined her, and they talked and joked and decided on their upcoming plans for work.

Bzzz, bzzz. Her phone vibrated, and she checked it instantly. It was a text from her brother.

IvanHave you spoken to Sky?

Sighing, she locked her phone and put it away. She didn’t want to talk about her twin. Not after the long day she just had.

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