I try to make it seem as if I’m actually excited about this when on the inside I’m trying to locate my exits.
“Yeah, I made it.” I smile as the man I assume is Mr. Kingston walks up to me.
“You are even more gorgeous in person. Come on in.” He takes my hand and pulls me in.
Around the room there are people calmly scurrying around, doing their jobs. Models are sitting in chairs, chatting about whatever while getting their hair and makeup done. They look so comfortable in their roles and here I am, completely out of place. I know I agreed to this to broaden my horizons, but this just isn’t me. Or maybe I just think it’s not because it’s madly intimidating.
I want to be comfortable doing things out of the box I placed myself in, but it’s hard to be out of the norm. I didn’t exactly like the person I was when I first moved here, but when Ethan gave me the job, I felt like I’d found my place. Now I have people telling me that I can do something I never saw myself doing. I never even thought of myself has being pretty enough to model.
I let Mr. Kingston show me around and after a few moments, my heart rate slows. I’m offered some water or wine and of course I gladly accept the wine. I’m going to need liquid courage to get through this shoot.
When I’m done with the grand tour and meeting everyone, I’m taken to a side room to see the stylist who’ll be dressing me. His name is Dion and he’s obviously of the gay variety seeing as when I walk in the room, he smacks his lip and points his acrylic designed nail at me.
“Oh, honey, you’re figure is to die for.”
My figure. The figure I got from starving a few months ago from being terribly broke.
“Um, thank you. What am I supposed to be wearing?”
“Today, we will have you in this.” He smiles and holds up swanky lingerie set with a silk robe.
“Okay.” Doesn’t seem so bad. At the last photo shoot I was in a shirt and underwear.
Dion pulls something else from the rack and holds it up.
“Then you’ll put on this dress for the second set.”
The dress is long red and silky. The low neckline shows a ton of cleavage so I’m assume no bra will be involved. I glance over both outfits and I feel comfortable with them both. I’ve worn more revealing outfits at the club.
When I’m done with Dion, I go to hair and makeup. The woman fluffs and teases my hair before doing some swanky updo that no one really wears in this day and age. It looks vintage and I feel like I need a cigarette on one of those long pipes women used to smoke out of.
“You have great hair.” The woman mumbles.
“Yeah, most of the girls here roll in hear with split ends out the ass, but you’re seems well taken care of.”
“I go to the salon every few weeks. The woman who does my hair threatens me into coming back. She saved me from a red box dye catastrophe.”
The woman laughs.
“We’ve all been there. When I was in cosmetology school, I thought it would be cool to make my hair look like a rainbow. The blue, green, and purple section fell out.”
“Yikes.” I starts laughing as she stick a few more bobby pins in my hair.
“I was forced to wear hats and low ponytails for months. I learned my lesson fast. Well, you’re all done girly. Go over to Tara. She’ll get you all dolled up.”
“Thank you so much.”
Having my makeup done doesn’t take nearly as long. Tara only spends 30 minutes turning me from plain to sultry pin up. When she finishes, I can sort of see the theme of this photoshoot. It’s giving me these 1920’s vibes. I like it.
The longer I’m here, the more relaxed I feel about this. Technically, this isn’t my first time around the block so I sort of know what to expect. Now that I’m here, I see that it doesn’t really differ from one photoshoot. It’s hair, makeup, clothes, and cameras. Sometime on the news, I hear horror stories about girls in modeling and that may be the case, but I don’t intend on letting myself get sucked into this life. I have a place in this world and it’s not here.
When it’s almost time to shoot, I put on the first set of clothes. The lingerie fits like a glove and I feel classically sexy in it. When I slip on the silk robe, I feel sensual and seductive in it. I may have to ask the stylist if I can have it or buy it. I’d walk around the house eating pizza in this outfit.
As I’m standing in the mirror, I see the door open out the corner of my eye.
“Thea, I’m ready for you.” Mr. Kingston smiles at me while holding up the camera.
Taking a deep breath, I smile and check myself in the mirror one more time.
“You look marvelous, my dear. Come, come.”
I exit the room and follow him to where the shoot will be.
A few other models see me walk out and tell me how pretty I look while others give me looks that should kill me. I ignore them and focus on while I’m here.
“Okay, dear, here we are.” Mr. Kingston takes me forearm and pulls me closer and when I finally see the set, it’s like I’m 9 again when I was obsessed with pink. On the floor is a few dozen pink pillows on top of pink sheets. Spread all around are tons of fake feathers. It looks like something out of a dream. I can’t help but smile just looking at it.
“Wow.” Is all I can say.
“Yes, dear. I just want you to relax. Just be yourself and play around in the feathers a bit. I looked at your photos from the magazine shoot and I want to see the exact opposite. Don’t pose, just be free.
I nod and when he let go of my arm, I slowly make my way over to the set up and sit down on my knees. Just as I’m wondering when he’s going to start, I already hear the first click of his camera. Well, that was fast.
Thankfully, the soft music playing drowns out the whispers of everyone around and I can focus. Slowly, I run my fingers over the feathers and tilt my head as if I’m observing what they are. Picking up a few, I smile as I tilt my hand and let them trickle into the air and cascade to the floor like snow.
“Yess, give me more. Really have fun with it, Thea.”
Mr. Kingston snaps away and I pick up more feathers. Cupping them in both hands, I look right into the camera with a sly smirk before taking a deep breath and blowing them out of my hands. Scooping up more, I toss them into the air and watch them fall over me. A few fall into my hair and I giggle, pulling them off one by one, causing little pieces of my hair to fall into my face.
“Awesome! Now, lie down in them for me. Keep playing with the feather.”
I do as I’m told, lying on my back as I pick up feathers in a lazily manner. The robe slips off my shoulder a bit and I hear the approving hum of Mr. Kingston.
“Okay, let me get two guys over here. I need you two,” He points at two models and they spring into action, “to pick up feathers and toss them over her. Do not throw them at her. Let them float and fall over her.”
They do as they are told and he snaps the camera at warp speed, wanting to capture every second. I shift into a few different positions, not exactly knowing what I’m doing, but just winging it. Mr. Kingston hasn’t told me that whatever I’m doing is wrong so I guess I’m doing an okay job.
Finally when it’s over, he praises me for two seconds before pushing me off to wardrobe to change into the dress. The makeup woman comes into the dressing room and fixes my hair a bit while the stylist helps me with the dress.
When I’m all put together, I’m back out on the floor with in minutes.
Instead of bubble gum pink and feathers, this time there is a guy involves. He’s dressed up in an old timey suit at a makeshift bar. I get directions to sit down and look relaxes.
“Feel free to take a drink.” Mr. Kingston says.
Shrug, I pick up the glass for brown liquid and take a sip expecting it to be apple juice or something. However the immediate burn of my throat lets me know that it’s definitely not juice. The guy I’m shooting with chuckles at my expression.
“Didn’t expect real whiskey, huh?”
“Not at all.” I laugh.
“Okay you two, I want this to be a guy flirting with a girl at the bar. Thea, you’re not falling for it though. You know his player ways and are entertained by the shear fact that he’s trying. However, I want you to also find his efforts endearing if that makes since.” Mr. Kingston looks confused by his own directions, but I understand them just fine.
I’m starting to realize that Mr. Kingston is a very….eccentric man.
It takes another 40 minutes of fake flirting, laughing and real drinking to finish the shoot. When it’s done, Mr. Kingston gives me a hug.
“You did wonderful, dear. For someone who is not a model, you sure are a model.” He nudges my chin and I blush.
“Thank you for having me.”
I go off and get dressed and when I come back, Mr. Kingston is standing there with an envelope.
“Mr. Sawyer requested that I give you copies of the best shots.” He hand me a large manila envelope.
“Of course he did. I’m sorry.”
“No problem. Mr. Sawyer and I have known each other for years. His last girlfriend worked for me for 6 years before she left us, God rest her soul.”
“Oh, you don’t know about Marianna? She and Mr. Sawyer were together when he first started the magazine. She was a model. He was just making big money. Unfortunately, Marianna developed quite the addiction to cocaine as many young models do. He found her in her apartment dead from an accidental overdose.”
I cover my mouth and gasp.
“Yes, Mr. Sawyer was devastated. Became quite the private man after that. No more public dating or anything, but I’ve said too much. Take the shots to Mr. Sawyer with my highest praise.” Leaning in, he kisses me cheek.
“Thank you so much for the opportunity. Maybe we can work together again one day.”
I leave the shoot feeling 100% better than when I came. Once I’m outside, I breathe in the fresh air as the driver gets out of the car to open my door. Inside, I start to call Ethan, but I cancel the call. What the hell am I supposed to say? Oh, I had a great shoot and found out about your dead model girlfriend? God, no.
Just when I thought I was really knowing Ethan, this comes out of nowhere. Clearly, he didn’t want me to know about this seeing as I’ve never heard a peep about it.
So should I tell him or not?