King Size, page 1
Copyright © 2019 by Celia Crown
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are from the author's imagination or folklore, legends, and general myths.
The book or any portion of the book may not be reproduced or used under any circumstances, except with the written permission from the author. Public names, movies, televisions, and locales, or any references are used for atmospheric purposes. Any similarities and resemblances to alive or dead people, events, brands, and locales are all complete coincidences.
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by Celia Crown
I used to think that maybe the problem is with me.
I wasn’t tall enough, pretty enough, strong enough— just not enough.
A man like Aiden is sweet and kind; he’s everything wrapped in a perfect package. Being with him had been my most treasured memories, but nothing lasts forever. Maybe I was the only one into the relationship, and I was the one that held on too tight.
Then fate decided to throw my misery in my face again.
One month, two locations, three photo shoots; I knew I still love him.
At least this time when he leaves, it’s not going to be my fault.
Two years ago, I left.
It’s the biggest regret of my life, but I was a coward and a cruel man too.
Without any communication or answer, I left with a pathetic letter on the kitchen counter.
I loved her, and I never stopped doing so; she’s the light to my soul that’s been darkened by the modeling industry. In her eyes, I could do no wrong, but this mistake formed a barrier around her heart.
It’s going to take time and effort to earn her trust back, and I will take on the wrath of the world if I have to.
This time, I’m staying forever.
“Tom, stop staring at naked pictures of men.”
Another voice calls, vexed and offended. “I’m admiring my clothing designs, Donna.”
“They are only in briefs, you promiscuous animal.”
Being a photographer with a team that broke through the social ladder of the modeling industry has opened the door for me to meet very eccentric people.
The team was the first one who had reached out to me after seeing my work when I was a freelance photographer. They took me in as their own, and we all have been inseparable for two years.
They are my family.
There is the flamboyant Thomas, who is the wardrobe stylist and makeup artist and Donna, who is the hairstylist. Those two are the foundation of the group as they are the ones that founded the company.
There are other employees, but they aren’t too involved with the photo shoot.
Those two aren’t the weirdest people I have met. Once the door was opened for me, I was able to see the insanity that goes on behind the scenes. The higher the price on models, the worse attitudes they have.
One beautiful A-list actress had a photo shoot about a couple months ago, and she was by far the most difficult client we all had to meet. She was uncooperative, angry, and bratty; she demanded that she had to look a certain way but did not want Photoshop. It was hard to get what she wanted when she didn’t have the things that were required to make the pictures perfect.
She wanted boobs the size of watermelons although she was average-sized, and then she wanted her butt to be two more melons. The actress refused to use props such as inflatable adhesive bras or anything for that, and she expected her body to be an hourglass with all the limitations she set on the team.
The team did a miracle that week; I don’t know how but we did. Ever since then, the actress wanted another gig, but Donna and Thomas refused. They have a policy that any client who is unwilling to cooperate will not be tolerated, and future contracts are not signed.
Nothing funky happened in the months following that one, and we kept ourselves busy with more models, and then one day, Donna announced that she was thinking of a new project.
A project pertaining to men. That had gotten Thomas’s attention way faster than people touching his clothes; that man has no shame when it comes to men.
She had proposed the idea of non-traditional male models. She wanted men who were built like warriors and looked as if they were about to absorb the souls of Roman gladiators. I was the youngest and the newest to the team, so I didn’t have much of opinion even when they asked me what I thought of it.
Soon, the project was to begin, and there was so much preparation to be done ahead of time.
The premise of the project was one month with the same models, two different locations that are basically on the opposite of the earth, and three different styles of themes.
We’re going to be in close proximity for a whole month; it’s best to have a positive attitude and a welcoming presence. First impressions are everything. I want this project to go smoothly.
I would hate to have that one situation with the A-list actress happening again. I don’t think I could ever survive another difficult client with unreasonable demands.
“Violet, what do you think?”
I look up from my phone to meet a pair of tight briefs, and a very huge bulge right in my face. I lean back to let the headrest of the private plane rub my hair. Blinking several times to let my eyes get used to the closeness, I feel a slight wave of dizziness hit me when I bounce with the turbulence.
Thomas moves back just an inch, and I scan the magazine. It features his latest underwear line and who knows why he thought it was a good idea to suddenly find interest in underwear.
“I like the left better,” I comment lightly.
Honestly speaking, I did the photoshoot, and I think both pictures turned out amazing. The models were respectful and quite easy to work with. The air in the studio was fun and energetic, so everyone felt great when they left.
“Not the right?” Thomas raises an eyebrow; his feathery pink scarf lays dashingly loose around his neck.
“I thought he would look better posing with his chin down a bit more, but he liked his own vibes.” I shrug my shoulders.
He hums while everyone in the plane bounces again when we land. I look over to the window to trace the thick clouds. It’s dark and rumbling occasionally while the plane maneuvers on the airstrip to get it to the private hangar.
I gather all my things, shoving my headphones into my pocket and sliding my water bottle into the backpack. I have my laptop for work in there along with some other junk that makes too much noise when I move.
Sometimes, I would find random recipes, and I wouldn’t remember when I had brought strawberry milk. I love strawberry milk. It’s my favorite drink, and I drink it so often that Donna makes sure there is a mini-fridge filled with them.
She’s the mother while Thomas and I are the children she looks after. I think she had unofficially adopted us, but she would never admit that because she is a superwoman who keeps saying she needs no man to live her life.
She never said anything about children though.
“Ready?” Donna asks.
I nod, “Yeah, r
We step off the plan, and I had a moment of fear when I walk behind Donna. Her heels are thin and long. My mind keeps thinking they are going to snap in half. I am not ashamed to say that I looked like a gorilla swaying my hands back and forth to be ready for the fall.
It never came, and I am too relieved.
The town car waits for us; it’s a simple black SUV with a slight tint to the windows. These types of cars are specifically made to not get in trouble with the law and provide privacy for those who rent them.
It’s warm when I scoot into the leather seating; the interior is dark with the bare minimum items as the car is for convenience rather than a luxury.
Donna is that type of person. She doesn’t need to waste money on trivial things, and neither Thomas or I are much into materialistic things. Well, Thomas likes fancy things, but they all have to do with his work as a clothing designer and stylist.
I grew up in a home with not much for status, and I’m fine with it. It taught me the value of money and self-sufficiency. I worked hard to get to where I am, and money doesn’t deter me when it comes to something I love.
Photography has been my biggest dream. I always loved taking pictures, and my parents saved up their money to buy me a camera when I was younger. When I moved out after graduation, I got a newer one for better quality while I kept my first camera in good condition and up on my bookshelf.
“I know you’re a weird girl, but you’re too weird today.” Thomas’ voice reaches my ears, and I turn my head from the window.
“What?” I ask.
“You’re awfully quiet and not demanding to get your strawberry milk,” he squints his eyes in skepticism.
“The trees are interesting.” I grin at him, flashing my dimples while he grins back.
“Gosh, you are too adorable,” his fingers pinch my cheeks; it doesn’t hurt as he never puts too much strength when he does that.
As soon as he lets go of my cheeks, we arrive at the hotel that we would be staying in for two and a half weeks. Donna had booked each of us our own room on the top floor; they are the most expensive rooms.
I feel odd to be treated as if I am royalty every time we travel somewhere. I’m a girl who does things by herself, so it’s weird for me to let others do my work.
“The men are already here and settled. They know the schedule for the week. The first two days are to let our explorer find other places. We have the main setting, but I would like more interesting places to get some pictures,” Donna says as the elevator moves upward.
Thomas shuts the screen to his phone off, “I want to get to know the area. I find that exploring my environment sparks many inspirations.”
“You, Violet?” he asks me.
I want to explore too. The more familiar I am with the area, the better I can grasp the lighting and other unpredictable factors that could ultimately ruin a set of photos. I need to make sure that the locations are best suited for each model. Even though everything looks good on them, there are one or two things that would not work.
Pinpointing those problems shouldn’t be an issue when I have the two days off. I can explore the area and tweak the settings on my camera to make sure it’s in the best interest of the models.
The elevator opens. I have my card key ready when I realize that I don’t have everything in my room. The suitcase has all my clothes, and my extra-thick padding bags for my camera equipment are stored properly in a work office that Donna rented, but the most important isn’t there: my strawberry milk.
It’s perishable, and I wasn’t sure how long they could last in the airplane, so I didn’t bother to pack any, and I wasn’t about to stack them in my suitcase with my clothes. I’m left without my milk, and I have no idea where I could buy it, but I need to find the closest convenience store.
“You guys go. I need to buy my milk,” my fingers are pushing the close button rapidly, willing it to go faster as the two of them wave me goodbye.
It’s only four in the afternoon, so the stores have to be open. I have a couple more hours to run around if the first store doesn’t have it.
I pray it does.
I don’t like regular or chocolate milk; it’s too bland and too sweet for me. Strawberry milk hits the spot in both freshness and sweetness. I have been drinking it since I was a child. It’s not that I don’t try anything else or that I have a picky mouth, it’s just that if something isn’t broken, then I don’t fix it.
Strawberry milk does fine with me, and other milks have not lived up to my standards.
I run out of the elevator and locate the nearest exit. The people around me are dressed to impress while I’m running around with a sweater and black pants that could be passed as jeans, but it’s actually really comfortable, thick leggings.
Clothes are complicated with the hybrids and changes in styles, but my comfortable outfit finishes off with a pair of tennis shoes. I was not about to wear a dress and heels on the airplane; that’s just asking for discomfort.
In the event of an emergency, I would rather not poke a hole in the floatation device when I slide down. I would also like to avoid having my dress go over my hips from the friction or wind. Besides, it feels better when I can curl up into a ball and sleep.
Taking advantage of the fact that it hasn’t rained just yet, I find one of the stores just across the street, and I silently pray that it’s my lucky day and I don’t have to pull out my phone to find other shops.
The air conditioning hits me in the face. I understand that it’s a warmer day, but there should be a limit of how hard the store manager can blast the machine.
I shudder and go straight to the soft drinks area, my eyes looking for a specific brand while keeping an eye on things that have the word milk in it.
My heart drops when there is not a single milk product. I turn away dejectedly and accept my fate as I pull out my phone to find the next location.
I narrow my search down by typing in strawberry milk. I know my chances are slim, but I have to try it. I’m running low on fuel, and I need it to survive the rest of the day. I plan on buying a whole bunch and stay in my room to call for room service while watching a movie to pass the night.
A roar of thunder smacks down and the floor practically vibrated. I snap my head up to see the sky pouring down rain.
Why couldn’t it just wait until I got back to the hotel?
It’s not my lucky day. I have no umbrella or the right type of shoes to walk around when the amount of rain coming down can flood the streets.
A massive figure comes near the store, and I move aside to let them in. They probably need it more than I do as I watch them come forward.
Call me someone who stereotypes, but the clothes the man is wearing can only be purchased with thousands of dollars and a long wait list. It’s Thomas’ newest line for menswear, and the only way this man can have it before it even before it came out is through being a model for our company.
He must be one of the models for this month’s trip.
Donna was not kidding when she said she wanted men the size of a behemoth. This man fits the description; broad shoulders, wide chest, thick thighs, and a height that brazenly screams dominance.
It’s a shame that I can’t see his face because of the tilted umbrella. Something funny hits me the wrong way; it’s the way this man holds himself that sparks a sense of familiarity that I cannot get rid of. I look down and pretend that I wasn’t just admiring his frame. I’m human, and it’s hard not to be amazed at the perfectly sculpted body through the simple shirt and pants.
They are tight and leave no room for imagination, but imagination is all I have when I look at the man.
All the models I have worked with are slender and tall; they have a fairy presence and a sense of royalty. The better word I can think of to explain the difference is that they are physically weak and slow, but this man is strapped with muscles and ready to tackle me to the ground if I accidentally looked at him in the wrong way.
I keep my head down. I pretend I don’t see him when he stands in front of me. His shoes aren’t the typical leather shoes; they’re black-laced boots that are indicative of soldiers.
Slowly and very hesitantly, I drag my eyes up and away from those thick muscles on his thighs and the space between his legs because I’m a big girl and a professional. When I get to the hand that’s holding the umbrella, the strikingly beautiful tattoos on his arms have my hand clenching painfully around my phone.
No. it can’t be; it’s not possible.
All the details that I have taken in from this man come rushing with familiarity. I throw my eyes up, and my throat closes.
The same pair of dark eyes, scruffs around the sharp jawline, and the perfectly combed black hair.
“Here,” his brassy deep voice grunts.
The bottle of strawberry milk in his hand comes near my face, and I stay frozen under the cold air conditioning air vents.
My palms are sweaty and clammy. Blood pounds obnoxiously in my ears as I feel an itch in my nose. I think I’m going to cry, but there’s nothing in my eyes.
I’m too shocked to see this man again.
My former fiancé.
Aiden frowns, “Take it.”
I scramble to take the bottle, and I mentally curse my body for listening to his words. I hate how it affects me and makes me obey his commands even two years later.
The coldness from the milk lingers on his fingers as he grips my arm to pull me down the little step of the convenience store. His scent washes over my body, and I bite the inside of my cheek to prevent the tears from forming.
I’m a big girl. I can handle being in his presence since he’s going to be one of the models.
I edge away from him while the rain thumps loudly above the umbrella. I clench the bottle to my chest and hope that the coldness can distract me.
“We’re going back, sweetheart,” he said.
There it is again, the little skips in my heart when he speaks. I missed his voice, I missed him, and I miss the way he calls me.
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