|Learning to be Beautiful
Author: AwkwardDani PM
"Tu es belle, ma chère, tant à l'intérieur qu'à l'extérieur." Aislyn Palmin is surrounded by beautiful people. Her mother is the owner of a successful modeling agency, and she works for renowned designer, Pierre Darling. But despite being surrounded by beauty, Aislyn doesn't feel beautiful herself. It's time that she learned what beauty is.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Chapters: 31 - Words: 55,845 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 02-17-13 - Published: 01-30-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3096749
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
If you have ever felt worthless, hated, and ugly then you know what I was going through while I hid in the curtained off dressing rooms, tears streaming down my face. My pitiful attempts to quiet my sobs only made them come out like a strangled hiccup. I may not have had many in my life, but this certainly was not an attractive moment for me.
When I heard shoes clacking against the pure, white tile, I panicked. I scurried over to a small, cream colored bench that hung on the side of the thick, dressing room wall. I set myself on it as silently as I could, and pulled my knees up to my chest so that whoever walked by wouldn't be able to see my legs. In order to silence myself, I regulated my breathing; taking air in deeply and letting it out very slowly.
The footsteps moved past, and I let out a sigh of relief; but I was relieved too soon. The breath came out as a ragged hiccup, and the clacking sound of the shoes on tile stopped ten feet away. My heart-rate increased at the thought of being discovered in this embarrassing situation, so I curled into an even tighter ball.
The bench creaked underneath me, and if my hiccup hadn't alerted whoever was in the room to where I was, then the loud squeak definitely had.
Slowly, but surely, the footsteps made their way back towards my booth. They seemed to stop every three steps, so I assumed that the person was checking each and every stall.
I saw no other option than to be discovered, and the very thought made my stomach twist in outrage. I may have run away, fighting tears, but my pride wouldn't let me give in to be found looking like a small child whose toy had been taken away by a bully. Summoning the last of my dignity, and holding onto whatever scraps of self-esteem I had left, I sat straight up and raked my fingers through my hair quickly, wiped my face of my tears, and did my best to make myself look at least a bit more presentable.
The feet stopped in front of my room. I could see the person's shoes peeping out from below the curtains. Men's shoes. He seemed to be hesitating, like he knew I was in here and was not very keen about finding me. I heard him take a deep breath, and a hand reached into the curtains and pushed them back.
Linc stepped into the small room as soon as he saw me, his face as blank as a sheet of paper. That made me angry; how dare he not care about what he had done? How dare he humiliate me like that and then waltz into here showing absolutely no sign of emotion? I wanted to stand up and push him out of my way and make a dramatic, almost theatrical exit.
I stood to do just that—and managed to trip over myself and slam right into him. He grunted, but didn't fall down. Long, strong fingers wrapped themselves around my arms and set me upright. My face burned from the intensity of the blush that was spreading itself across my face, and I quickly realized that whatever dignity and pride I had left had just been scattered in the wind.
Grimacing, I pulled myself out of his grasp and tried to move past him, only to notice that his large frame was completely blocking the exit.
"Move," I growled, glaring up into surprisingly intense green eyes.
If I had been in a cheesy romance novel, I would have gotten caught in the beautiful emerald green and my anger would have dissolved. For a moment, I was captivated by the intense grassy color, but my anger did not dissolve. Instead, the beauty of his eyes only made my fury that much more intense. It made me mad that a man was more beautiful than I was.
"Move," I demanded again, prepared to shove him out of my way if I needed to.
He didn't say a word, but inclined his head slightly and moved aside, his hands gesturing towards the outside. "Of course, your majesty," he mocked in that infuriatingly beautiful British accent. Even his voice was more beautiful than mine! I was halfway out of the hall of small changing rooms when he added something on, "Just know that I will never try to apologize to you again."
I hesitated for a moment; did I want him to apologize? I turned back to look at him, one eyebrow arched. "Apologize?"
Linc moved out of the dressing room, the red, velvet curtains brushing his dark brown hair back momentarily before it settled perfectly back into place. "Obviously," he said, rolling his eyes. "Why on earth would I have followed you in here otherwise?"
I had no answer for him; I didn't even know that he had followed me in here.
"You followed me?" I snorted, "What the heck are you? A stalker?" Definitely not one of my best come-backs, but under the circumstances, I thought it was pretty good.
"Would you like an apology or not, Ms. Palmin?" He sighed, words rolling smoothly off his tongue and sounding sweeter than honey. I wondered how many times he had practiced it on other people to make it sound so sickeningly perfect.
"That really depends; will it be sincere?"
"The sincerest." He assured, dipping his head again.
Liar, ran through my head.
"I'm not completely devoid of gentlemanly tendencies, you know," Linc commented casually; leaning back against a wall, arms crossed over his chest. "It's not just my accent you American women find charming."
I frowned at his arrogance, "Who would ever find you charming?" I sneered; I may not have known him any longer than an hour but he already seemed to found all the wrong buttons to push on me. He irritated me to an extent which I couldn't believe.
"Shall I list them alphabetically or in order of attractiveness?" He smirked, "If it is to be the latter, then you are definitely at the top of the list." Linc made a great show of looking me up and down, and I would have been flattered if I hadn't known it was an outright lie.
"Stop lying through your teeth and just get the dang apology over with already." I groaned, pinching the bridge of my nose between my thumb and forefinger and closing my eyes. I was worn out from arguing with him and my crying bout and I still had to report back to Pierre for the real outfit 27 photo-shoot.
When I reopened my eyes, Linc was surprisingly close. He was standing about a foot away from me, and yet, I could still feel the heat radiating off of him and could smell his scent. "Ms. Palmin," he began, softly at first, but as he continued his voice rose in volume, "you have my very deepest and most sincere apologies. Could you ever find it in your being to forgive me?" Okay, so maybe I could understand why others could find him charming. "If your heart is as beautiful as your exterior, the forgiveness that I seek should not be hard to find." And his 'charming' status has been replaced by 'liar' again.
"I'll think about it," I replied, a little too haughtily than necessary, and moved back into the dark room with pounding music.
As I walked away I could have sworn I heard him laughing.
"Aislyn! Darling! There you are!" Pierre shouted over the blaring music, "Come along, get yourself onto the backdrop." He pushed me onto a plain, black backdrop, and as I stumbled snapped a picture. "Gorgeous, love, gorgeous. Act natural, don't seem stiff! We want to capture your natural beauty, love, not the stiff, posing you! Just act like I'm not even here!"
Yeah, right. I thought, Kinda hard to ignore you when your camera's flash is blinding me every five seconds.
Pierre snapped what seemed like another thousand pictures before letting camera settle against his chest, the thick, black plastic contraption hanging from his neck by a strap. I thought we were finished and made to evacuate the backdrop so that the next model could come on; but Pierre frowned and put me back to where I was. "You stay there, I'm not finished with you yet." He looked back over his shoulder and beckoned to someone who I couldn't see because of the blinding lights surrounding me. "Linc, get yourself over here!"
Reassuring myself that Linc was just Pierre's assistant, I tried to calm myself down. There was no way he was a model… There was just no way.
"Put your arms around Aislyn." Pierre commanded, waving the tall brunette over to me.
He must have been just as enthusiastic about this arrangement as I was, because as he walked over to me to put his arms around my shoulders, his face was twisted up into a very unattractive grimace. His long arms wrapped around my waist, and I had to restrain myself from squirming out of his grasp.
No one had ever done something like that before, and his touch felt foreign and uncomfortable. I wanted to run away from him, rid my skin of the sensation of his touch. He must have noticed my discomfort because he frowned down at me, "Don't think this is a rose-garden for me either, Ms. Palmin."
"Wouldn't dream of it," I muttered, grudgingly following Pierre's shouted order to wrap my arms around Linc's neck like we were dancing. I did it stiffly and probably looked more like a mannequin that an actual person.
"No, no, no, no, loosen up, Aislyn! Loosen up!" Pierre practically screeched, arms flailing above his head like the inflatable men in front of car dealerships.
"Yes, Ms. Palmin, loosen up; this is like hugging a wooden board." Linc teased, one corner of his mouth lifting in a half-smile.
"Better than hugging a jellyfish." I retorted, though I did let myself relax just a bit; just enough to look a little less like a plastic person and a little more like a living, breathing human being. I wasn't sure if it worked well.
"Touché," Linc chuckled, pulling me a bit closer to himself according to Pierre's loud instruction.
I squirmed a little bit again, and my face must have been one of pure revulsion because Pierre came running over, "Aislyn, darling, you're supposed to look in love. In love, Aislyn. Not like you're constipated."
Linc laughed loudly at Pierre's imagery, and, for the second time that day, my cheeks were on fire. "S-sorry," I said, looking down, my thin, blond hair hiding my face from view.
"That's perfect!" Pierre shrieked. "Hold that, right there!" He ran back to where he had been standing before and snapped a series of photos, the flash not blinding me this time through my curtain of hair. "Such innocence! It's beautiful!"
Pierre had us pose in multiple other ways: me sitting, and Linc towering behind me; Linc holding me in his arms as I pretended to laugh at his antics. I don't think neither Linc nor I were very happy about the arrangement, but we continued on like we didn't mind it.
The level of insincerity in the room was sickening.
When we were finally done, I couldn't have been more relieved. Pierre shooed me away, and Linc hurried away out of sight. I let out a sigh as soon as I was out of the dress and safely back in the elevator going to my mother's office. Pierre had asked me to come back again tomorrow to model another few outfits; I had told him that I would think about it.
I had promised myself that I would never go back after that horrific experience, but a feeling deep in the base of my gut let me know that I most definitely was going back.