Thursday, 16 July 2015

Chapter three (segment six), 2016, August, Christina

Make or break. This was the kind of off season, off setting shot that had built her career all those year ago. They were doing a late autumn set, and she was supposed to spend a chilly day by the beach with one or more out of numerous boyfriends or love interests. It all tied in perfectly with the last years' fad with a gaijin prize, in this case with her being the exotic foreigner claimed by a Japanese man.

She didn't care. Successful fashion was reading fads expertly in the first place, and she had built her empire that way. She did care about this August being even hotter than anything she could remember from Japan.

Christina threw on a horrible flimsiness pretending to be an overcoat and made certain to wear it just a little bit wrong to bring out her legs underneath it. Then she willed herself to early November and walked along the waterline. The guy holding her hand, a tall and drop dead gorgeous man in his early twenties, lacked her experience and they had to retake the shots. It was about that time she found out that he was drop dead gorgeous only until he opened his mouth and spoke.

Shit, he's a moron on top of being an amateur! She frantically wished Ulf had been there. He'd have been a guaranteed first timer and would have done exactly what she told him. Not this idiot who believed he was a professional model just because someone equally incompetent paid him to be one.

It took them five tries to get the initial shots right, and by that time the camera crew smiled apologetically at her. One of the executives, probably the brain-dead agent of her partner, was breaking down and making an absolute arse of herself when she started screaming demands to the producer.

Christina's agent made a point of sitting at a distance, drinking tea and let her unexpected superstar rookie do the job.

Further down the beach an assembly of middle aged men in swimming trunks gathered, and Christina felt her face splitting into a wide grin. Let's see what the kid will do with this.

She saw Ryu waving at her from a distance and waved back. Some of the management droids were bound to know the advertising firm that had raked in a contract with Uniclo. Top tier material wouldn't have cared, but most of these were second rate executives with unrealistic dreams of one day becoming corporate management. Worst case they didn't even dream any longer.

Then there was that hungry looking mid thirties guy. He was dangerous, and she had misgivings about how Ryu would handle him. Still, he wasn't alone. He had his sister and Yukio and Kyoko to share his burden with. They are trying to their job, and I have to do mine. For a moment loneliness crept upon her, but she waved away that thought as a sign of weakness she couldn't afford now.

She quickly changed for the second set and came out of the bus in a body hugging cardigan that was ludicrously hot in the morning sun. Closer to noon they'd pay respect to the weather and do some more normal bikini shots for a late summer campaign, even though she harboured a suspicion that it was mostly a ploy to make her take off her clothes. A test of her audacity rather than any want for nudity. They needed to see if she would balk at the thought or not.

Ryu led the business drones helped by Kyoko and Yukio. Christina saw Noriko walk from one group of middle aged men to the next. She's clarifying the concepts, just like in class. Strange, what is he up to now? She saw Ryu leading the groups up the walkway and into the small town on the other side of the road.

They had time to finish the second set without any major mishaps and Christina slipped into a decently designed party outfit. She could have made use of it herself but for the all too reddish tinge where hints of earthen colours should have been. When she came out of the bus again she saw Kyoko hanging over the railings to a bluff overlooking the beach. They waved to each other and after that Christina walked to the beach for the third set of shots this morning.

She slapped away the first two hands sliding up her trousers and the owner of the third received a hard glare from her together with the slap. “Enough of that. I have a boyfriend.” That means go burn in hell, but that's beyond your tiny brain. “Let's get the shots finished, shall we? Christina conjured up what she hoped was a shy but determined smile. Playing the diva this early in her career would have her popularity stocks plunge.

Back on the beach she noticed that Ryu had taken everyone down the hill road to the stony part close to the waterline and led them over a stretch of rock walking. She knew it emptied on a narrow stretch of sand a bit south, and from there group after group of men in swimming trunks came onto the main beach. They talked excitedly, each group converging on the tablet Yukio or Kyoko must have equipped them with.

You cunning bastard, Christina smiled. She hooked arms with the model who had been last in turn to try to grope her, pretended she had been dating him for a few weeks and ran laughing over the sand with him trying to catch her. It made for a few good shots.

Behind her she heard the voices from the groups of businessmen as their discipline evaporated. It was soon followed by Noriko's admonitions. Ryu, you really planned to have them walking in on us. I bet you're going to give them a water break now as well. Whatever he was, he wasn't nearly as stupid as his little sister believed.

It was well played. More so than she hoped he had truly envisioned, because at his age that kind of human knowledge would make him callous rather than just bright.

Christina decided to make the most of it. She moved so the camera crew would have the crowd throwing envious stares at the male models in the background. One of the camera guys grinned at her. So there's at least one full bloodied pro here. She gave him a discreet thumbs up to let him know she had noticed and pranced for the cameras again. I want the pros speaking well of me. They were the best to work with as well, and they carried a lot more clout than people in the business gave them credit for. A crew could make or break a shot, so when a good one wanted a specific model they tended to get what they asked for.

Giving the camera crews and her fellow models the best she had she played along, sliding from pose to pose without making it look like she did so. She could feel ten years' of experience mix with the nervous freshness from restarting her career. And all the time her thoughts went not to Ulf, but to Yukio and Kyoko who had the thankless task of being errand boys.

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