just Aife O’Connor swallowed hard and thought: you pompous shit.
Her professor stood at her feet, looking down at her from behind her inescapable college desk that squashed her. A slender five-four she didn’t appear to be much of a threat, but she was sure that if she thought hard enough, she could clearly imagine Professor Grady grimacing as a marvelous mixture of teeth, gums, and blood fell from his mouth and into his shaking hands — what a punch.
They both fit the teacher-student stereotype. He, an educated man at the beginning of his career, willing and eager to teach...no, save the young adults of the future. She, the unbothered student. If only she would budge an inch, Grady would think. If only she would climb out from her parents’ warm, tight asshole.
As Aife continued to listen to the noise that trudged out of the Professors mouth, she truly thought that there was no one else she wished pain for quite like him. But she would never admit it.
“Everyone has submitted their piece on Bach, yet I’m still to hear from you. Can we expect it by the end of day tomorrow?”
“Sure. End of day tomorrow,” Aife said, and flashed the most rehearsed smile she had.
She wasn’t too bothered to be failing music class. Sure, she enjoyed music just like the next kid, but she wanted to do things with her life that didn’t involve wasting her time
(Like writing a piece on faching Bach)
learning about music that she could not relate to. Music from a time where women were second class. Where women were expected to respect every man — a thing that unsettled Aife considering that this societal rule still applied. It’s not that she respected Professor Grady, but she couldn’t let him think that she didn’t. That would be unkind; she didn’t want people to dislike her. Men don’t like bitches.
Suddenly aware of silence, she had brought herself back to the dusty classroom. The smell of stale piss lingered in through the door that Professor Grady insisted be kept open (“it’s much too stuffy in here to concentrate, don’t you think?” he asked rhetorically and to no one in particular). Out of his own satisfaction or not, it brought in the unwelcome stench of the disabled toilet directly opposing the classroom.
“Top of my desk tomorrow — before the end of the day. I mean it. I have a total of 37 students in this class, another 48 in the year above, and don’t even mention the year below. This is not secondary school, I shouldn’t have to run after students every time a paper needs submitting. I have better things to do,” Professor Grady frowned with a helpless sigh. A sigh of boredom. A sigh of annoyance that he was now going to be late to his game of checkers with some members of faculty. Aife shuffled herself out from behind her
why are these desks made for people half the size of a normal human?
desk, and gradually began moving out of the narrow row, catching her bag on the chair along the way.
“Sorry. See you tomorrow, sir” she said as she untangled herself from the conversation; and the chair.
But she wouldn’t see him tomorrow. She clumsily pulled out her phone as she exited the classroom. It lit up with two text messages and one email (her inbox stated she had 62 new emails, but she knew that the latest one was legit — they had spelled her name wrong). Excitement filled almost immediately. How intriguing it is to have your emotions change so rapidly, she thought.
In a hurry now, she walked as fast as her legs would allow without looking deranged. Privacy, she needed privacy. And although the smell of urine was still niggling at the back of her throat, the ladies bathroom would have to do. All Aife wanted to do was to sit down in private and read her email — for better or worse.
On entering the ladies, four older girls were gathered around a mirror like ponies trying to poke their heads from out of a gate. Long lashes and tongues alike, Aife marvelled to herself.
“Oh my God, make sure you send that to me. That picture is goals”
“I will, but wouldja wait until I post it first. You’re a hound Fiona,” the girls laughed at this and flicked through the rest of the photos (how many were taken, not even they really knew).
“Wait! Go back to the last one? Are you naked!”
“It’s what keeps Daniel on the leash, and no, I’m not naked. I have my knickers on, not a total slut. I might put it online if his jaw drops as much as yours just did,” the owner of the phone giggled. Aife thought she could sense a truth in there too, the girl probably would put it online for all eyes to ogle at. But as soon as the girls noticed her enter the room, whatever Aife sensed was gone. The room turned quiet and Aife slid into the first available cubicle, hoping that they would leave her in peace. She didn’t want to open her email with people around, just in case she wanted to cry.
“His jaw wouldn’t be the only thing dropping. You may wear a chastity belt. You can have mine, I swear that’s the...,” the voices trailed off as the girls emptied the bathroom. This was the perfect time. Aife pulled down her pants and sat on the toilet — she didn’t need to pee before getting here, but just being in a bathroom triggered her bladder.
Slightly shaking with eagerness, Aife crouched over and put her elbows to her knees, phone in hand. From sender:
Thank you for your submission. We have received countless amounts of applications over the coming weeks. Firstly, we want to thank you for your patience. Secondly, we are sorry to inform you we have decided to go with other applicants this time around. Please look out for our future openings in fashion modeling.
Her excitement turned into disbelief. Another swift change of emotion, what would come next? She stared at the email hard — as if she could change the result.
We have decided to go with other applicants this time around
“This time around?” she thought, or did she speak? Her focus was totally fixated on this one jumble of words on a screen. “ ‘This time around’ doesn’t make sense if you’ve never chosen me at any time, or at any damn round”.
Instead of feeling upset like she thought she might, she felt a rush of resolution. She directed the screen away from her emails and opened up the remaining two texts she had gotten.
U wanna come to mine later? Just a few drinks, nothing crazy x
She opened the second text in the same manner — sitting on the toilet with her frilly thong around her ankles.
LeT me know soon x
Typing back, her nails violently danced on the phone’s screen. In the most seemingly fragile position she could be in, she felt very powerful at this familiar sound.
I’ll be over in half an hour. I’ve got some bad news so brace yourself! X
She pulled up her underwear, straightened herself up, and left the cubicle. As she began washing her hands, she caught her reflection. Aife was a tall girl compared to her friends. She was slim and resembled Ava Gardner in many ways except her curves. With long silky black hair that compared to a night sky, other girls envied her (it was either envy or jealousy, Aife hadn’t quite known). Her skin was pasty pale — which didn’t make it easy trying to hide her arm, leg, and facial hair — but clear of blemish.
She hadn’t said it out-loud, but it was hard to make new friends in college when girls saw you as a threat. Whether they were aware of this or not, it came pouring out of their body language when Aife walked into rooms. Groups of girls were the worst at hiding it. They would stop their chatter and stare. Sometimes, that was intimidation enough to leave a room completely. Once, she had asked a guy for notes to a class she had missed. Within an hour, his girlfriend had promptly left her a message online warning her to back off. That she was a whore. That she was a homewrecker. That she was a whore. But when she met Martin, they clicked from the get-go.
Martin was a secretly flamboyant, 22 year old man. They had taken a Spanish class together and equally agreed that saying ‘tengo veinte anos/I have twenty anuses’ was a much better conversation filler than saying ‘tengo veinte años/I am twenty years old’. At six-five, he towered over anyone else she knew. His skin was a caramel brown, and had dyed his hair purple in the last week — a thing he called ‘colourful expression’. He had announced his sexuality at quite an early age. Growing up in a small Irish town as a gay black guy was tough, but he was extremely athletic and didn’t think twice about getting into a brawl.
Aife admired him. She loved him in a platonic sense, but knew that if he were straight, they wouldn’t be friends. Her imagination liked to whisk her off to an alternative reality where they were romantically involved. They lived on a private island and had plump squishy babies. In this alternative reality, she also drank pina coladas and ate pizza because it was healthy.
Truth is, Martin is the only friend that Aife really has. So when she received the email from Moodlemefash, he was the one she wanted to tell. Although they had never been romantically involved, they both knew how attractive the other was. In fact, Martin was the one to suggest — or argue, depending on how you listened — to Aife that she apply for modelling.
“You’re like something out of a Fairyland. I should know, being from the land of fairies myself” he snorted about a month ago. “You’d be unreal at it, a photographers wet dream!”
Maybe Aife was blinded by the compliments and the confidence that followed. Maybe she thought she was better looking than the average girl. Fuck it, she knew she was sexy. But modelling?
“I don’t know about this. They want me to pose in lingerie? But they’re a jeans company? I’m not taking my kit off for my first ever time modelling, Martin”
“Well then don’t! Pose in a pair of their jeans. My sister has some the same size as you. I’ll take the pictures. Not the exact requirements, I know, but once they see you, it won’t matter.”
She took head shots and posed in the jeans — all taken on her phone, what college kid had money for professional pictures? Martin helped her to press send. That was that. Four weeks had passed since then. Her expectation of being accepted had thinned out with each week that went by. So why was she so upset?
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