That Monday walking into work, it seems like I’m doing the walk of shame. It’s almost like people know I have some dirty secret. Of course, no one knows, but it’s almost like the filth of what happened at the club is written all over my skin.
Ethan with his extensive experience in the filth department seems cool as a cucumber as he struts into work like a million bucks. I mean, he is worth that much, but you catch my drift. The ride to work was as normal as ever. We lightly chatted why eating breakfast sandwiches I made. We checked emails and I preplanned his schedule for the day. Nothing seemed out of place. I don’t know why I thought things would be different just because I had sex….in a club…with two people.
At my desk, I start my computer and check the messages on my phone. As Ethan settles into his office, Anna comes strutting in with two cups of coffee.
“Good morning, deary.” She smiles, sitting one cup of coffee on my desk.
“Good morning, dear. Thank you for the coffee. How was your weekend?”
Anna shrugs, “Uneventful.” I was going to text you, but you said you had those plans so I just flew solo.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe we can do something Friday night. Movie night?”
Anna claps her hands.
“Yay! And shopping. I need some knew sexy things from that lingerie store.”
Rolling my eyes, I snort.
“Yes, we can go shopping. I need to spend a little money on myself.”
And personally, I can use a little Ethan free time just to think about everything. Anna is the only one I know who isn’t all mixed up in this. It’ll be nice to think about stuff other than masks, dressed, drinks, and sex. I just need to decompress.
When Anna leaves, I take a deep breath and reach into my desk for a hair tie. Pulling my hair back into a mid-high ponytail, I get to work on the 50ish emails for Ethan. One by one I reply with either, “I’ll schedule it with Mr. Sawyer.” Or “I will get back to you after consulting with Mr. Sawyer.”
Answering the emails is probably the dullest part of my day. I’ve been working here for a few months now and this job went from being the most intimidating task ever to being the most normal. Just think about that first interview with Ethan makes me cringe. Red box dye….eww.
Shaking my head, I take a sip of my now lukewarm coffee and get back to work.
As I’m reaching the last few emails, I get to one I don’t recognize. I usually get the same email addresses in rotation every week. However, this one is new. When I read over it, I frown. It’s from a modeling agency requesting me for a shoot.
I’m not a model though. I did one spread for Ethan’s magazine and that’s it. I mean A few people were interested in me, but I thought Ethan put the work out that I’m not actually a model.
They include a number so out of curiosity, I decide to call.
“Lotus Modeling Agency.” A sweet chipper choice answers.
“Hi, I’m Thea Washington, calling for Ethan Sawyer.”
“Oh, yes, let me redirect you to Mr. Kingston.”
I wait a few seconds, tapping the front of my wedge heel on the floor. Hopefully, I can get this sorted out.
“Kingston here.” A dominate male voice surprises me.
“Oh, yes. This is Thea Washington. I received an email for Ethan Sawyer requesting me for a photo shoot. I honestly think there’s been a mistake. I’m not a model. I’m his secretary.”
“Yes, I’ve spoken to Ethan about that. I tried to argue him down on the subject, but he won’t budge.”
“I know. I told him not to accept any offers, because I’m not a professional model. It was honestly an accident that I even ended up in the magazine spread.”
“Yes, I’m aware, but I see potential in you, Ms. Washington. I would like to shoot you. I’ve gone over the spread dozens of times and I think you’d be perfect for the vision I have. I don’t usual pull out my camera often, but I’ve come across a project that I want to take on. Can you just please consider?”
I’ve never had someone sound so desperate for me to stand in front of a camera before. I want to say because being a model has never even crossed my mind and it’s not something I want to do, but something inside of me is curious.
“Mr. Kingston, I’m not a model. I don’t want to be a model. I’m happy with my life and job, but if you are personally requesting me then I guess I should be flattered. So I suppose I can don this one shoot for you.”
I hear his clapping through the voice and his voice booms with a chuckle.
“Thank you so much, Ms. Washington! I promise you will not regret it.”
“It’s no problem. I’ll just have to let Mr. Sawyer know that I will need a day off. Um, what day do you actually want to do this shoot?”
Jesus, thank God, I didn’t ask for time to think about it. I wouldn’t have had time to even let it cross my mind twice.
“Yes, can you still do it?”
“Uh.” I scratch the temple. “Sure. Please, email me the address and time.”
“Will do, Ms. Washington. Thank you so much for giving me a chance. I highly appreciate it.”
“No problem.” I say.
When I get off the phone, I lay my head down on my arms and groan. What the hell did I just get myself into?
“Shit. Shit. Shit.” I shake my head.
The high pitched ring startles me and my head shoots up to answer.
“Mr. Sawyer’s office.”
“Uh, Thea, are you okay?”
I sigh. “I’m fine. I just need to come to talk to you for a minute. Are you busy?”
“Not too busy for you. Come on it.”
I hang up and slowly drag into his office. As soon as I open the door, I let my head fall back.
“I fucked up.”
Ethan chuckles, clearly not taking me serious.
“And how did you fuck up, my dear?”
“I took a modeling gig for tomorrow.”
Ethan looks genuinely surprised.
“Oh really? Lotus?”
I nod. “I should’ve said no.”
“Why? I think it’s a good opportunity. You should do it. It’s a great agency. They take really good care of their girls.”
For some reason, Ethan’s support makes me feel a little better about it.
“I guess. I just feel weird. I’m not a model.”
“But you’re beautiful. Any agency would be happy to use you. Maybe you’ll work with the magazine again.”
“Eh, I don’t know.”
“Thea, I know you don’t plan to be my secretary for the rest of your life. It’ll be good to have some other experiences under your belt. It can open up a lot door for you.”
“I didn’t look at it that way.”
“I know. That’s what I’m here for.”
After he gives me the day off tomorrow and we talk for a few more minutes, I go back to my desk feeling a lot better about taking the job. I mean, Ethan is right. This could open some doors for me if I ever choose to follow a different career path. Clicking open my emails, I see the information for the photo shoot. I save it on my phone and get back to work… or at least try to, because honestly, I’m scared shitless.
I make it through the rest of the day without putting too much thought into it all and by nightfall I’ve pep talked myself into actually being excited about it. I mean I really enjoyed doing the shoot for Ethan’s magazine despite being so nervous about it. It was quite the experience and gave me a confidence boost. Also, it has apparently put my name out there for agencies. I guess I should feel lucky to have the chance to do this.
The next morning, I wake up to the sound of my alarm blaring. When I pick up my phone and see the photo shoot reminder, my heart jolts with a reminder.
Holy shit, I actually agreed to do this.
I set the phone back on the nightstand and throw the covers over my head, groaning loudly.
“Why the fuck did I agree to this?”
After 10 minutes of regretting this, I roll out of bed and throw myself in the shower. I might as well be squeaky clean for whatever the stylist has planned for me. The whole shower, I think of ways to get out of this as my nerves toss and turn in my stomach. I feel like I’m going to throw up.
Getting dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I get Ethan’s driver to take me to the location. In the car, I text Ethan and he sends me reassurance as well as kind words. It’s nice that he believes in me this much. It’s nice to have the support. I need all I can get.
The ride takes me a few blocks away and is not long enough for me to mentally prepare for this. I tell the driver to be back in an hour or so and when he leaves, it dawns on me that I have no way out now. I’m standing right in front of the building.
“You can do this.” I whisper as I take a step up the stairs.
In the elevator, my heart beat matches the fast paced rhythm of the blues song playing overhead. I could hyperventilate right now if I wasn’t afraid of passing out in an unfamiliar building with strangers.
My hands start sweating when the number reaches the top floor and when the door open, I’m greeted by the chaos of models walking around with makeup and minimal clothing as they wait to be dressed. Panic takes over and before I can hit the close button for the elevator, a tall older man spots me.
“Ahh, Thea! You made it.”
Fuck. No going back now.