The next day was a blur for Adam. His parents cried, many discrete doctors were called, in the end there was nothing to be done. That was his face now. Adam locked himself in his penthouse alone. Convinced he would stay that way forever.
Soon there was a media frenzy. Where was Adam Brunswick? What happened to the city's poster playboy? Adam watched all of it unfolding. He called the people he thought were friends, but it seemed that he was out of sight out of mind. Several days passed with no change, until a summer evening with a moon hanging low in the sky. Adam was watching the city, missing the bustle of it all when he heard a voice.
"Beautiful isn't it?"
Adam turned sharply to face The Enchantress who had slipped in silently with the moon beams.
"You. What did you do to me?" Adam was retraining himself as best he could.
"A favor, whether or not you see it that way."
"A favor? You made me a monster."
"Oh no, you were a monster before, I just made it more apparent." She said slipping gracefully onto the ledge to look at the lights of the city. "You my dear boy, you were bought everything except, it seems decency."
"Fix me. Please. I'll pay you whatever you want."
"For once it's not about the money. It's about the lesson. Once you've learned it you'll change back."
"Love. You need to learn to love."
"I know how to love, I've loved tons of women!"
"There are so very many things wrong with that sentence. Let's deconstruct, shall we? First of all you have slept with tons of women that is not love, it's trashy and tacky. Secondly love is a reciprocal agreement you must love her she must love you. Do you see how that works?"
"Fine what do I need to do?"
"You have one year to find someone to love you for who you are."
"That's going to be impossible! There has to be another way."
"Sorry, that's the way's it's always been."
"And what if I can't find someone in a year?"
"Then you'd better get used to that reflection." And with that the Enchantress faded away into soft breeze and away into the night.
Adam walked to the hallway mirror and stared at his face. He stared so long that all he could see was shapes and lines. Then for the first time in Adam's adult life he felt like nothing.
The media attention wasn't dying down and it had been almost three weeks since Adam went into hiding. The day after his encounter with The Enchantress Adam told his parents how he could break his curse. They set about setting up all kinds of online dating, matchmaking services, even a reward. However, Adam wanted no part of it. He just wanted to be left along to wallow in self pity.
The other big change in Adam's life was the addition of a new staff member. A P.R. rep to handle Adam's sudden disappearance hired at his father's insistence. His name was George Cayhill and he was arriving in ten minutes. Adam had spent the morning pacing nervously awaiting his arrival. Finally the door opened and Adam heard the sound of high heels on the tile foyer. That was odd. He decided to take a peak at the intruder.
"Hello?" Called out a woman with wide eyes, "Is anyone here?"
"You're not George Cayhill." Adam called back into the cavernous front room and it echoed back to him.
The woman jumped, "Very astute, no no George Cayhill is a bit higher up than me so they passed your account on to me. But I assure you I'm very capable and I'll do an excellent job with your account."
Adam couldn't quite see her, but her voice sounded familiar "What's your name?"
"Oh... right I'm sorry. I'm Bethany Charles. And you are... hiding? Why are you hiding? Come out here."
Adam walked out just barely into the light, "It's you! So this is what happened to Adam Brunswick" Bethany said smiling, "I was wondering if you were okay, but I didn't have a name and I..."
"I said get out. I won't work with you."
"Well that's just too bad, because guess what? No one else will. Adam Brunswick is not a desirable boss, your reputation precedes you."
"Yep that's right. So it's either me or no one. And believe me at the moment you could use someone to handle this mess. And another thing, you are severely ungrateful for a guy who I helped out. But if you'd rather handle this yourself, fine. Stay in your tower and rot." Bethany turned to leave and Adam quickly thought it over.
Bethany stopped in the doorway and turned. She let out a big sigh, "What?"
"What's your plan?"
"How are you going to fix this? Explain my disappearance."
"You've got to be kidding."
"No, if you're going to stay I have to be sure your going to do the job well. So... explain."
"Okay. First off you're headed to rehab. Not actually you, the media version of you that I am going to create."
"That explains three months tops."
"Will you let me finish. First rehab for drinking, then for gambling. After that you're headed to a Buddhist retreat far, far away. That should get us at least a year and a half then we'll discuss further plans. I've got all the paper work filled out for both rehab centers and have a look-alike prepped to be sent to the first, with a signed confidentiality agreement. If he talks we can almost legally kill him . He's been instructed to keep to his room and keep appearances to a minimal. The staff would be told the he, or you, is to be left alone. He'll be you for the next year. We'll leaked the story to at least three entertainment new corporations and every tabloid you can think of. Trust me, the question of where Adam Brunswick has gone will not only be answered it will become a reality. I can have all of this ready to go by six am tomorrow. Why? Because I am very, very good. Still want me to go?
Bethany set up and office in the penthouse and soon was sending out all kinds of press releases and publicity photos that were released at precise intervals. The world soon believed every word she fed them, and Adam was safe once more from the prying eyes of the media machine.
The longer Bethany stayed, the more Adam found he liked her. She was straight forward, always said what she meant, that was so different from the women he usually dated. He also noticed little things they had in common, the music she listened to while working and the magazines she'd bring with her to read on brake. The way she'd take off her high heels by noon because they pinched her feet, the fact that at lunch she'd always offer to pick him something up made him want to know more about her. Yes, Adam liked everything about Bethany. He started to change just a little here and there. Attempting to tell bad jokes just to see her smile or getting her coffee or just cleaning up after himself in general. Bethany even started to stay after hours just to have dinner with him or watch a movie. Soon they even started talking to each other on the phone at all hours.
As bad as the curse was before, it was unbearable now. To have finally found a person he could really talk to, a girl he really liked and wanted to be around for more than an evening and have no way to be with her. Bethany was sweet, but the only reason she could be there was because she was nice and it was her job. And as the months passed Adam became more and more depressed.
"What's wrong?" Bethany asked Adam
"Well that's just not true. I know when you're in a pissy mood. Spill."
"I'm fine. Really."
"Is it about the banquet thing?"
"No that's.. wait... what banquet thing?"
"You're parents didn't tell you?"
"My response to you're question should've filled you in that they didn't."
"Your parents are throwing this big banquet for charity next week. I thought you were bummed about the fact that you weren't going."
"Well, that wasn't it, but it is now."
"Why can't you go? Come on, I'll rent you a tux. I'll get a dress we'll crash. It'll be fun."
"Aren't you forgetting something?"
"What?" Adam hid his head in his hands, "Oh you mean your hideous face." Adam looked up sharply, "Oh come on, I was kidding. I don't know you care, it's not about what other people think. If you like you who cares about everyone else."
"That's east for you to say, your hot."
"Thanks, but I still think you're being really stupid about this. It's at your parents house. We'll go and just hide and watch from upstairs. Is that a possibility? "
" I guess so. Do I still have to wear the tux?"
"You bet your ass you do."