Exposure

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Summary

Isla Hayes, an English model and part-time graphic designer, gets a call from her agent that places her in the arms of a Scottish model by the name of Rowan Cameron, if only for a photoshoot. Their chemistry is so convincing that they are offered a brand contract as a couple, and they are pushed to get engaged as a publicity stunt to increase their following. Hesitant at first, Isla considers the contract. What does she want more- to be seen and loved fully by one, or to be viewed by many? Rowan left the family farm to chase his dreams- now that he has found success, will he make sacrifices for those most important to him? Follow Isla and Rowan as they navigate the world of modeling, living in the public eye, setting boundaries, and learning what it means to truly love one another above all else.

Genre:
Romance
Author:
mirandac43
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
9
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1: Pose

~Isla~

I stared out the window, watching the drizzle turn into a light mist and letting my pour over cool before taking a long sip. The hot coffee warmed me to my core as it slid down my throat, with nothing to slow down its descent.

I’d forgotten breakfast again.

I turned my attention back to my screen to continue my work. The nice thing about working as a model and a graphic designer is that I can basically work from anywhere with WiFi and coffee. My usual hang out, Papercup Coffee Co., was as busy as usual on a Tuesday morning, and I desperately needed to get some work done on a logo design for a local gift shop. The playlist in the coffee shop wasn’t doing it for me, so I pulled my headphones out and shuffled my Spotify playlist.

Restless Heart by The Sea The Sea. Nice and calm.

I scrolled through my emails from earlier in the morning, and noticed that my agent sent a short email asking if I could get on a video call around 12:30pm. I glanced at my watch- 12:10pm.

“Shit!” I muttered under my breath, loud enough that I could hear it, but not loud enough to disturb other patrons of the coffee bar. I shoved my iPad into my backpack, grabbed my keys from the outer pocket, and scurried to my vehicle. Fortunately, my flat was only 10 minutes from Papercup so I made it in time to set up the video call.

I grabbed a protein drink from my fridge and took a long drink from it… apparently coffee isn’t a meal, so protein shake it is. I grimaced as I realised that it’s my least favourite flavour… but it’s the only protein shake left in the fridge. Boring vanilla it is, then.

“Hi Amara, how are you?”

“I’m well, and yourself?”

“Working hard on a logo design for… ah, well, a local company. Can’t say much about it yet, you know? It’s looking so good though,” I replied as Isobel hopped up on my lap and made herself comfortable. Nearly a year old and still a kitten, she was still small and her grey fur had a few spots of white. She curled into a ball between my knees.

“That’s so good to hear! I love that you have so many creative outlets, Isla. Speaking of, I have a photoshoot that I would like to set up for you, if you’re interested! You’d be doing a commercial shoot for Zara, and you’d be paired up with a male model. We would all meet first to go over details, confirm measurements and fit, and be sure that you’re both comfortable with the shoot.”

“Why wouldn’t I be comfortable?”

“This shoot is going to be pretty intimate for a fully clothed shoot. I know we’ve had you in solo lingerie shoots before, but never with another model. I haven’t met or seen him yet… you never know!”

“Okay, fair enough. We’ll see when we meet!” I smiled, though inside I was a bit apprehensive. I wanted to get a read on this guy before getting up close and personal with him.

“How does Thursday at 3:30pm sound for the fitting, and Saturday at 1pm for the shoot?”

“Great! Need me to bring anything?” Amara paused, looking at her notebook for any notes pertaining to the fitting.

“Mmm… nope, just wear a plain white tee and denim trousers, and your black heels. Usual outfit for fittings.”

“Will do. See you on Thursday!”

“Have a lovely week. See you!”

I waved and ended the call. Isobel jumped off of my lap and bolted to her food bowl to shove her face into her breakfast. Choking down the last of my protein shake, I looked up some of the designs on the Zara website. I wondered what size they went up to.

“Is this helping me, or hurting me?” I muttered under my breath. I exited the page and decided to wash my face and put on a face mask to prepare for the weekend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Rowan~

I picked up the photo frame of my family that sat on my desk and blew off the dust that had built up over the last few months. I hadn’t spoken to Lillian since I left Aberfeldy two years ago; she seemed to be bitter toward me due to my decision to pursue modeling here in Glasgow. I may have been helpful to have on the farm, but there wasn’t any passion in it for me, and it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted for my future.

I set the photo back in its place, and opened my most recent email. Robert, my agent, had sent me an email regarding a photoshoot. I clicked on it faster than my fingers could move, and he instructed me to call him.

“Hey Siri, call Robert.”

Calling Rob.” It rang twice before he picked up.

“Rowan! How are ye?”

“Braw! What’s this about a photoshoot? We got something on Saturday?”

“Aye! There’s a shoot fer Zara that I’d like tae confirm fer ye. A fitting on Thursday at 3:30pm an’ the shoot is Saturday at 1pm. Ye’d be paired up wi’ a lass, whom ye’ll meet on Thursday. Bonny?”

“Aye, sounds bonny!”

“I’ll let the team know, an’ send ye the address. See ye Thursday at 3:30!”

“Later, Rob!” I hung up and entered the date and time into my calendar. Fortunately, I work on Friday night at 6:30pm. No conflicts on Thursday.

I made myself a wrap for lunch and cracked open the book I had been working through The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I couldn’t explain why I was so excited for Thursday, since I had been in many photoshoots by now; this one had me itching with anticipation.

Maybe even a wee bit of… hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Isla~

Thursday

I looked at my watch and looked at Amara near the registers at Zara. We were to meet there and head back to the fitting rooms for our private fitting. It was only 3:25pm, so we had a few minutes.

“Wonder where he is?”

“I’m sure he’s—“ Amara cut herself off as a tall, redheaded, broad shouldered Scot walked through the doors, followed by a grey-bearded man whom I assumed was his talent manager. Amara and I both stared for almost a second too long.

“H… Hi,” I stuttered, my eyes meeting the stunning eyes of the attractive younger man.

My face felt hot and I knew I must have been blushing. Did I put on deodorant this morning? Perfume?

I breathed in sharply, and the light scent of peonies from my perfume confirmed that I had, in fact, put some on this morning. Thank god.

His stupidly perfect lips curled into a smirk, and he reached out his hand to shake mine. I did the same, and the heat of his hand engulfed mine.

God, they were soft. And strong. Solid handshake too, very professional.

“What’s yer name, lass?” He asked, his swoon-worthy Scottish brogue making my heart beat in my throat.

“Isla. Isla Hayes.”

“Nice tae meet ye, Isla. Th’ name’s Rowan Cameron. Looks like we’ll be shootin’ together?” He put his hands back in his pockets and looked around.

“Yeah, should be fun!”

A smooth lo-fi beat played over the store’s speakers in the silence between our glances. His eyes held mine, temporarily blocking out all of my other senses- I only noticed Amara trying to get my attention when she tapped my shoulder.

“Ready, Isla? This way.” I followed her and the wardrobe coordinator to the back of the store, Rowan and his manager following behind me. We each had a room with our name on it in our respective dressing areas, and four outfits in each room.

I glanced over to Amara, and she immediately knew I was concerned about the sizing; had she spoken with the wardrobe team?

“Don’t worry, Isla. I already had them black out the sizes with a Sharpie after I gave them your measurements. I’ve got you,” she said reassuringly. The look of worry that I knew I was wearing disappeared from my face. I walked into my dressing room, locked the door, and tried on the first outfit.

~

After I was done with the fitting and had consulted with the wardrobe coordinator myself, I met back up with Rowan outside the dressing area.

“Hey! Um… I’ll come right out and say it, I guess. Do you want to get to know each other a bit before the shoot? Apparently it’s kind of intimate and it might be good to—“

“Brèagha, I’ll give ye my number so ye can text me, aye?”

“What did you just call me?”

“Oh, I meant no offense! It only means ‘lovely’.”

“Oh! Thank you.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket and unlocked the screen, blushing as I handed it to him. He typed quickly, and switched to the camera to take a selfie.

“Hey!!” I reached for my phone across his chest and he pulled it further away from me.

“What? My contact needs a picture.”

“I think I’ll remember what you look like, Rowan.”

“Weel, hopefully tha’s a good thing!” He chuckled, handing back my phone. Amara came up to us with Rowan’s manager.

“This is Robert, Rowan’s manager. Figured I’d introduce you two! Now, we are going to meet the photographer at the location for some test shots, okay? We can carpool in my vehicle.” She pulled out her keys and we all followed her to her car. Rowan and I sat in the second row, with Robert in the front passenger seat.

Amara’s car didn’t have a middle seat in the back so Rowan and I had very little room between us. Once we were seated, his leg leaned against mine.

Neither of us moved.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that he looked at our point of contact and then at my eyes.

“Yer eyes are the colour o’ the forest, ye ken?” He whispered as he leaned over to my side. His voice was husky and his warm breath against my neck made me shudder. He smelled faintly of cedar, coffee, and a scent that I couldn’t place… but whatever it was, it seemed to be uniquely Rowan.

"Och, that sounded daft... ferget I said 'forest,' I'm sure there are other green things tae compare yer bonny eyes tae--"

"It was sweet, Rowan," I replied, smiling.

By now, most guys sitting next to me would have moved so I wouldn’t think that they liked me. But this guy? He seemed to be doing the complete opposite. He has known me for all of 20 minutes, I have his number, and there’s already some unexplainable magnetic pull between us.

Twenty minutes later, we pulled into the driveway of a modern and luxurious house on the other side of Glasgow, on top of a hill with a view of some munros that I couldn’t quite identify yet.

Rowan nearly ran out of the car, and by the time I had asked myself why he had done that, he was opening my door for me.

“Oh. Thank you, you didn’t have to—“

“Brèagha, I’m a modern man. But I was raised wi’ traditional values, ye ken? Like opening doors fer people.”

“Well, looks like you were raised well, I suppose.”

“Aye, I’d like tae think so,” he agreed, following me up the steps to the front door. Amara typed in the code on the lock pad and we entered the well-decorated foyer.

“In here!” shouted the photographer, who sounded like they were in the room next to us. We turned the corner and saw a living room that looked like it belonged in a magazine.

“Hi! Isla.”

“Rowan.”

“Robert.”

“Hi, I’m Amara, we spoke on the phone!”

“I’m Casey, nice tae meet ye. She/they,” they said, adjusting the lens.

“Where would you like us for the test shots?” Rowan asked, setting down his bag and moving to the staged area, and I followed suit. He motioned for me to join him.

“Right here,” they pointed. “Okay, I’ll have ye two sittin’ right here on th’ sofa, close tae each other. Bonny. Alright, Isla, ye’ll have yer hands here an’ here, an’ Rowan, put yer hand around her waist here, lean back against the sofa. Aye, perfect!”

My right hand was on his shoulder, and his arm was wrapped around my waist. My other hand gently rested in my curls while my elbow was propped up on the back of the sofa. He was leaning toward me, with one foot on the coffee table to raise his knee and one foot on the floor. He pushed his shoulders back to allow his chest to show a better angle to the camera. I moved my hand a little closer to his chest than his shoulder, and I nearly stopped breathing when I realised just how perfect his pectoral muscles seemed to be.

I wondered what they would look like without a shirt.

Get a hold of yourself, Isla. You just met this guy.

“Okay, braw. Now look away… now at each other. Bonny!”

Following instructions, we looked at each other, and his free hand came up to hold mine. He moved it to the center of his chest, which pulled me closer to his face.

I gasped at the sudden and intimate movement.

It didn’t matter how thick the fabric of his shirt was- he radiated heat through his clothing, and for someone who was usually cold, I knew I didn’t want to stray far from this human furnace.

“Oh my. That’s beautiful!” Casey exclaimed quietly from behind the camera, encouraging us. Rowan leaned forward and allowed his forehead to touch mine.

“Do ye feel it?” he whispered, just loud enough for me to hear him.

It was beating so fast that I honestly wasn’t sure whose heart it was; mine was beating just as quick. He squeezed my hand reassuringly.

“Y-yes,” I whispered back, my breath hitching.

“These look sae good! One more.” Casey took another two shots.

He rubbed his thumb across the hand he held, our breaths mingling in the space between our lips.

I couldn’t have told you how long we stayed that way before we heard Casey’s voice again.

“Alright, yer good tae go fer today! See ye Saturday, then?”

We came back to the present moment and let go of each other.

“Yep, see you then!” I exclaimed, getting up from the sofa and smoothing out my shirt. I mentally thanked myself for wearing a shirt that didn’t make sweat marks obvious.

“See ye Saturday Casey, thank ye!” Rowan said as he shook their hand. He picked up his bag and handed mine to me.

We left the house and headed back to Zara, arriving to our cars.

“Talk tae ye later, Brèagha?” He stood about a metre away from me and tilted his head to look at his boots, then looked up to find my eyes again.

“Sure. I’ll see if I have the time,” I teased, smiling at him as he smirked at me.

“Mebbe I’ll answer, then.” He opened his car door and slid into the driver’s seat. Closing his door, he looked at me once more and waved goodbye.

God, he was… almost too good-looking to be real. And he was ridiculously kind too. I let out a breath that I just realised I had been holding in. I started my car and made the quiet 15 minute drive home, not remembering if I hit a single red light on the way there.

~~~~~

I finished putting away my supper leftovers and pulled out my phone to text Rowan.

Oh, that goofball. He added winky emojis to his name in my phone and that selfie. I sent him a funny gif of a photoshoot and announced myself.

7:38pm Isla: *gif* Hey, it’s Isla!

7:45pm Rowan: Hey there! :) Did you like my wee selfie?

7:48pm Isla: I did :) So, what do you do besides model?

7:51pm Rowan: I bartend on the weekends. I like it fine, but ultimately it’s to get me by while I get enough modeling gigs to pay the bills.

7:54pm Isla: oh nice! That’s me with graphic design.

We continued getting to know the basics about each other for about an hour or two until I fell asleep. When I woke up I saw two texts from him.

10:45pm Rowan: I’m sure you’re asleep already. Sweet dreams, Brèagha. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you and hope we can video chat or something tomorrow, aye? *sleepy emoji*

7:30am Rowan: Mornin’, Brèagha. Hope ye have a great day. Talk later?

8:20am Isla: Hey! Just now saw these texts. God, you are so sweet. I slept well, thank you. Good morning, you ;)

hmmm call me around 12:30pm?

I tapped the side of my phone, impatiently awaiting his response. I would talk to him all day if I could.

8:30am Rowan: 12:30pm is perf. See you then, Brèagha. *wink kiss emoji*

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