Interlude: Milestone

“Okay, make a wish!”

Hope leaned forward, her face softly illuminated by the candles’ orange glow. She had no idea what to wish for…. Every year, she drew a blank when the time came to blow out the candles. Wishing wasn’t something you were meant to do under pressure anyway, was it? She’d certainly never thought so.

Her mind had gone completely blank, so in the end, she wished for the same thing she always did — Happiness.

She lifted a forkful of cake to her lips. It was so dry and flavorless. Even the frosting tasted like cardboard… Or worse. Hope suppressed a wince as she swallowed. If there was one thing she missed on her past three birthdays, it was the special cake Zayne always made for her every year, with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting… The thought of it made her feel strangely sad.

Am I seriously getting emotional over cake? She shook her head at her own foolishness. But part of her wondered whether it was truly the cake she was missing.

“So, what’d you wish for?” Carmen’s voice called her back to the present.

The party had been her idea, despite Hope’s protests.“It’ll be a fun night with friends… why not?” She’d argued. Hope was reluctant to call Carmen a ‘friend’, let alone any of the other models who now filled the balcony of her apartment. It wasn’t exactly the ideal way to spend her 30th birthday… But it also beat spending it alone, didn’t it?

“Yeah!” One of the other models agreed. “What was your wish?”

Hope forced a smile. “If I tell you, it won’t come true, right?”

“Oh, you’re no fun!” Another of the party guests laughed. Hope wasn’t even sure of her name, but they’d done a shoot together once. “Fine… We’ll guess then.” She smirked.

“I bet I know what her wish was.” Carmen replied playfully. “To finally book a job other than a department store ad.”

“Right? Or actually do a cover shoot again!”

“Ha! Yeah, or go back to being San Martín’s favorite little pet…”

Hope narrowed her eyes at the other models. Seriously?!

“Wow. Cute.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. “What the hell is your problem?!” She asked the room at large.

“Oh, come on… We’re just messing around, babe.” Sean smiled. “Lighten up!”

Hope felt her face grow hot. He’d been so quick to ask her out after she’d broken up with David a few weeks ago, but she’d only gone on a handful of dates with Sean. They weren’t even official yet… Who the hell did he think he was he was calling her ‘babe’ and lecturing her about ‘lightening up’?!

Before she could say anything, the other party guests had begun chiming in.

“It is pretty scary to be turning thirty though, isn’t it?” One of them asked, her tone more serious than before. “Especially with things already going downhill…”

Carmen nodded. “My agent’s always telling me every model has an expiration date… So I definitely know what I’d be wishing for in your shoes.”

“Honestly, when I turn thirty, I’ll probably like, die or something.” One of the youngest partygoers cried. “I mean like, it basically means your career is over, right?”

Hope rose to her feet. She’d had enough. “That’s it.” Her voice was practically a hiss. “The party’s over.”


“You heard me.”

Sean shook his head. “Jeez, can’t you take a joke?”

“Please, just go.” Hope narrowed her eyes at the others. “You too, Sean.”

“But –”


Hope dropped down on to the bench and held her face in her hands for a few moments, grateful to be alone at last. Worst birthday ever… What the hell was I thinking?! She’d known from the get-go that the party would turn out to be a mistake…. So why had she agreed to it?

There used to be a time where she’d have fun at get-togethers like this. When she was away from home and missing Zayne and needed to take her mind off things. Or after their breakup, when she needed a distraction for the very same reason.

But things had been feeling different lately. Those other models were so young and perky and bitchy. Was that what she’d been like when she was their age?

No, Hope decided. She wasn’t. But maybe she’d had a little more patience. It used to be so much easier to put up with their shit…

Still, there was something that felt different this time around… Something that went beyond their normal catty behavior. And Hope was fairly certain she knew what it was.

As much as their words had hurt her, they were right, weren’t they? There was a terrible truth behind their cruel jokes. She’d just been too stubborn to let the truth sink in, until now.

How many female models had she ever known to keep going past thirty? Almost none. The oldest fellow model Hope had ever met was thirty-three when she retired… And that was considered old by industry standards.

Jesus… Am I really ‘old’ now?!

She’d already started feeling the shift during the past year or so. No one had booked her for a cover shoot in months, and she had been going a week or more between shoots lately.

What happened to the way things used to be? When designers and photographers were practically fighting over her. When her photos were on billboards and magazine covers around the world…

Hope had gone from being one of the most sought-after models in San Myshuno to fading away into the background, tossed aside in favor of those newer and younger than her. It was just like what had happened when she hit her first major bump of her modeling career, back when she and Zayne had first gotten together. But unlike back then, she knew there would be no bouncing back from it this time.

She still remembered how excited she’d felt for Zayne when he’d celebrated his thirtieth birthday last summer. It was already over half a year ago now… Where had the time gone? Everything had changed so much since then, it seemed. He really seemed so happy now  — even happier than he had been last year, when he decided to move on from Greg and start over. And now, his new restaurant was already set to open in less than two months.

Being thirty seemed to be treating Zayne pretty amazingly so far. It was a huge milestone for most people… But for models, it was a dreaded one. And Hope hated that.

Your thirtieth birthday was supposed to be exciting, wasn’t it? A turning point in your life. The start of a new chapter. That’s what it had been for Zayne. And that’s what it would be for her too. She could feel it.

But what kind of story would this new chapter tell? A comedy? A tragedy?

Hope rose to her feet and walked to the edge of the balcony, her eyes drinking in the thousands of twinkling lights that glittered in the city below.

Despite everything, it didn’t feel right to just give up and retire. Not yet, at least. Hope loved modeling too much to say goodbye to it right now. But it suddenly hit her that something needed to change. She needed to let things slow down naturally, let her career run its course, and start thinking about the future.

And something told her that future didn’t lie in San Myshuno.

I don’t really belong here anymore… Do I? Hope couldn’t shake the strange feeling of déjà vu that washed over her at the thought. This was not the first time in her life that she’d found herself faced with this same conclusion… And it was a conclusion that led her to the exact same question as last time.

If she wasn’t meant to be here in San Myshuno, then where did she belong?

It was strange just how easily the answer came to her.


55 thoughts on “Interlude: Milestone

    1. Hahaha well, she’s going back to *Windenburg* where Z-man just happens to be 😛 Can’t be sure whether she actually has romance on her mind, or just wants to be close to somewhere and someONE safe and familiar right now (Zayne/Windenburg 😛 )

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so true! I hope she is able to settle down and find what she’ll do from here with her life and career 🙂 We will see if the answers truly lie in Windenburg!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I hope she cuts contact with those so-called friends. And especially hope she dumps Sean’s disrespectful ass. He sounds like a douche who treats women like dirt.

    As for whether Hope goes back to Zayne…I still have my doubts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh don’t worry, Sean AND the “friends” were promptly kicked to to the curb after this one. Hope isn’t gonna let herself associate with people like that!

      We will see what happens after she goes back to Windenburg 🙂 I think right now she’s not even thinking of actually getting back romantically with Zayne anyway — just going back to someone/somewhere that is safe and familiar. ^_^ But we shall see!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, did anyone else compare Hope to Zayne when she gets angry? #TeamHopeStandsUpForHerself
    Hate Sean already. I think this is the appropriate time for that song that i’ve been holding back for the last month and a half(i’ll post it on the forum). So Zayne & Hope’s paths will cross again. I sense a possible Hozay reunion coming soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha it was a little Zayne-like, huh! Sean is totally a dickhead. Or WAS. Hope said goodbye really quick after this one 😉


    1. Hahaha are you surprised at how mean her “friends” were? Or the fact she might be going back to Windenburg? 😛


      1. Oh, random question. When Zayne and Hope talk, are they talking in English or German? Sorry, this question has been bugging me. I don’t know if the answer to this is in an earlier chapter, but I don’t want to go searching for it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha this is a good question 🙂 Zayne and Hope speak to each other in English, because Hope never became 100% fluent in German (most people in Windenburg speak English pretty well, including all the Rosebrooks)

          Basically, imagine that Zayne is writing all his journals in German, and is talking to anybody in his family in German haha but with Hope, it’s all English 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Dark WitcHazard: You smart Hope let them leave the house cause it would be hell to clean up! But when you find them in the street you cut a bitch and leave them bleeding out by the dumpster! It’s okay to be going though a somewhat midlife crisis at thirty you just going through hanged that all!

    Lover WitcHazard: I’m glad you know where you’re going however don’t be expecting things to be okay when you get there if Zayne looks happy and I mean he’s happy none of this I think I saw him and some chick have a moment crap I’m talking concrete evidence he’s happy with someone else then you got to smile through the pan not that crust fake smile when your in laws show up unannounced I’m talking been wearing heels for ten hours straight and still smiling! Cause it’s the righ things to do and if they don’t work out it has nothing to do with you being messy it just didn’t work okay!

    Anti Shipper: This guilt play you’re giving Hope isn’t going to work! I still stand firmly that they should be with other people! Zayne’s probably better since he’s got his business up and rolled ng by now he doesn’t need distractions!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dark can go back to the Uptown comment section with that crazy shit 😂

      Haha Lover has good advice about what to do if Zayne has taken Anti’s advice about seeing other people. We will see! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heyyyyy girl. I see you’re maturing and growing up. But did you guys said you wouldn’t wait around. What’s Zayne up to that maybe he hasn’t told you? Just don’t get cocky assuming he’s ready and waiting. Zayne’s a catch, especially now. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, the complicated and painful world of modeling. I know Hope has her head on straight enough to know this was coming, so she’ll be just fine. And hopefully, just fine means getting on the next plane to Windenburg.

    Gah, those models! Ass-hole (you have to imagine me saying it like the little kid in the Meet the Parents sequel, haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think Hope will be okay! She’s a little lonely and sad, but she’ll be fine… She just needs to get away and find some of that happiness she wished for 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gah – if 30 is old, I never want to be a model. 😛

    Loved the comparison of this birthday cake to previous ones – I’m sure it wasn’t just the taste that was all wrong, I doubt she’s had to wish for happiness before. Patience, yes. But Happiness? Poor thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha well, actually, Hope always wishes for Happiness as her default, when she can’t think of anything else. But I definitely think she needs it more now than ever before! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Apart from the obvious questions about her love life, I’m actually interested to see where Hope will take her career after she stops being a model. Will she continue working in fashion? Create a clothing line, maybe a magazine? Will she go a completely different route? I’m curious! I don’t remember her mentioning any passions other than modeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her two passions are fashion and traveling/exploring 🙂 We will learn eventually what she chooses to do once her modeling career comes to an end! But I think she’s hoping to hold on to it for another year or two. 🙂


    1. Hahaha I love that you have a vision for their futures! We’ll see… (also omg you’re almost caught up! Yay! You are awesome for binging!)


      1. I think it would work out well. And they could be linked together and you could go right next door from the store to the restaurant.

        Definitely worth binging!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Is interresting to see how much age seems to matter in terms f modeling…unfortunate, but true, models don’t work that much, if you compare to other types of work…Now, about the real thing: yay! Fianlly she is getting back to Zayne, but I hope it isn’t liek ”Well, my career is starting to go down, and since I really don’t have anything going on…yeah, I’m going back to Zayne.” I hope she came to realization, and not that other thing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if she’s 100% going back with the intention of getting back with Zayne, but her feelings are definitely a genuine desire to go back to somewhere/somewhat safe and familiar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome back! I missed you!

    I LOVED this chapter. It was so poignant and insightful, and I love both seeing Hope struggle with something, and then summon her trademark grit to make a hopeful plan for the future. Loving this part of the story for Zayne and Hope both. Seems like they’ve really earned this season of peace and productivity in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you! I missed everybody too. I’m really glad you’re enjoying these chapters since my return ^_^

      This chapter was really fun for me to write. I felt so bad for Hope, but I was also proud of her for being proactive about it too 🙂 They both still aren’t perfect (but who is? Haha) but they’ve definitely come a long way!

      Thank you for reading ❤️


  10. YESSSS it’s strange though. She was flourishing, Zayne was not. Now Zayne is flourishing, she is not. Will they run into similar problems or will now finally be the right time for them? God I hope it’s the right time for them XD

    Liked by 1 person

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