January 1, 2003
"I'm sorry, you're just not what we're looking for."
"I'm sorry, you don't have the attitude we need."
"I'm sorry, you don't have the look we are after."
Yeah, they say they're sorry, but deep inside, I know that they find joy in ripping my heart into two bloody, pulsating pieces. I wondered then, why I even tried. What's the use if I'm just going to get rejected, again? I wasn't one to give up easily, but I had been trying for over two months, not one single yes. I stood in front of the office, trying to catch my breath. I pressed out the wrinkles in my skirt that really weren't there and I fixed the strands of hair on my head that really weren't out of place. I needed to look perfect because perfect was the look they were after.
You'd think it would be easy. I mean, you don't have to be smart to become a model, you just have to be beautiful. You don't have to be thin; you don't have to have breasts, but just need to be what they want. Maybe if I knew what they wanted, I would be able to get a break, but no such luck. I kissed the necklace that he had given to me and knocked on the door.
"Come in!" a voice called, and I cringed, noticing the irritation. I held my portfolio in my hands, clutching it tightly against my chest and looked back and my mother who smiled encouragingly. My mother, she was too hopeful for the both of us. I had already been rejected once that day, but she said that this job would be better, and this job was going to be the one I would get. If only I had that kind of outlook on life. I did a quick sniff to my armpits, making sure I still smelled fresh, and opened the door.
It was your typical office, window at the end, desk in front of you with two chairs on either side. A woman sat at the desk, mounds of papers scattered atop of it and a phone glued to her ear. I shut the door behind me and walked over to the desk. I wanted to shake the woman's hand before I sat down, something my father told me that would make them look at me as an adult instead of a seventeen year old, but the woman wasn't even looking at me.
So there I stood.
I watched the woman as she rummaged through her papers until she found the one she desired. Finally, she looked up at me, "I'll call you back," she said into the phone and hung it up. "Hello, hello," she sounded a little better. I shook her hand and she smiled at that gesture. "Sit down."
I did as told, tucking my feet under the chair, straightening my back. I looked around her office for a moment, noticing framed magazine covers of beautiful young women, the women I longed to be. I wanted to be on the cover of a magazine, I wanted to be able to go down the catwalk in designer clothing that were worth more than my life. "You must be Rivers."
"That's right," I said with a smile. "Thank you for seeing me on such short notice."
"Thank you for coming on such short notice," she came back, and I nodded my head. Hell, I was desperate; I would have done a strip tease for her if she asked me too. "You can call me Vivian." I nodded my head again, and all was silent. I wondered if it was my turn to speak or something, but I didn't have anything to say. The silence seemed ominous; covering over me and gagging me like a thick cloud of poison. Vivian cleared her throat. "Well, what position are you after here?"
"I'm interested in your modeling position," I said, as I handed her my portfolio, full of pictures of myself, and a resume of some sorts that explained my cans and can'ts if I were hired. I think that's what scared people away the most, because I was still interested in finishing school, and that I still had a year to go. They were looking for someone who would be more accessible, and be able to fly over to Europe for a week, making a two day pit stop at Africa on the way home. She took my manila folder and set it in front of her, not even looking at it.
"Why do you want to be a model, Rivers?" Her question came so awkwardly, that I was caught off guard. I was never really asked that question before, well, I never gave it a serious answer. My friends would ask me why, and I would give some stupid reason like, 'I wanted all the boys to be in love with me and all the girls to be envious of me', but I knew that wouldn't cut it with Vivian. I gulped. Shit.
"Well, I," I stuttered, seeing my opportunity being flushed down the john, along with my hope of ever getting a modeling job. "It's something I've always been interested in."
"What made you come here, looking for a job?" She folded her hands on top of my portfolio, intimidating me even more. I could feel the beads of sweat start to form in my hands and on my brow, my throat running dry.
"Your magazine has always been a favorite of mine, and I've always wanted to see myself in the pages or on the cover. Modeling, beauty and fashion have been a passion of mine for years now, and it's something that I want to seriously consider and make it a career."
Vivian cleared her throat as she sat back in her chair. "Rivers, you're just not what we're looking for." After that, I didn't even bother to listen to what she had to say. That was the twentieth rejection. I was probably staring, knowing that I was ranting inside my little brain, cursing myself for being so ugly. Once I was sure the woman had shut her mouth, I stood up.
"I'm sorry for wasting you time," I said, taking my portfolio. I remained professional and shook her hand, but I could feel tears start to prick at my eyes. I left her office and shut the door behind me. My mother was sitting in a green plastic chair, looking at a magazine. My mother had been a model for a magazine, but I could plainly see why. She was so beautiful. Her legs were slim, her hips were narrow and her hair was perfect. She never had a blemish on her face and she was always smiling. Once she caught sight of me she stood up and walked over to me.
"So, how'd it go?"
You'd think she'd realize by now that I was doomed. My eyes were getting puffy and my throat was starting to throb. I shook my head and let a tear fall down my pale-freckled cheek. My mother embraced her arms around me. "Don't worry, Riv, others will come along, you'll see."
I wanted to tell her that I was giving up. I mean, rejection after rejection can really start to damper one's spirits, after twenty or so, but she wouldn't let me give up. She knew that I had what it took to be a model, but I guess she saw something no one else did, not even me.
We got into the car and I threw my portfolio in the back seat, not even concerned with the fact that the papers had scattered. I put on my sunglasses and we drove off. Sometimes I hated California. It was just too sunny all the time, too happy for me. I mean, I was usually a cheerful, happy-go-lucky person, but when I was down, I was really down. Seeing people being happy when I wasn't happy made me even more unhappy. "Do you want to go to the diner?" my mother asked me, and I nodded. She turned the corner and headed towards the diner, a place I spent a lot of my time at.
There weren't many cars in the small parking lot when she pulled up, but she spotted my brother's car, so she said I could get a ride home with him. I just shrugged as I left the car in silence, unable to say anything. I hated rejection. You'd think I'd be used to it by then, but it still hurt me every time they said "no". They could at least lie and say, "We'll consider it" or something and never call back. They don't even try to soften the blow.
I opened the door to the diner as my mother drove away. I saw a couple people sitting at the tables, sipping on drinks, eating their food, all of them smiling. Oh, how I wanted to just rip their smiles off their faces. I turned to the counter and saw my brother and another guy sitting at the stools. I walked over to them, sulking, I guess, and slumped in the stool beside my brother.
"How'd it go?" he asked me. I knew he could see the disappointment on my face, but he wanted to hear me say that I had been rejected again. It's not that he liked it when I failed, but he wanted to hear it come out of my mouth.
"Shut up," I glared at him. I dropped my head on the counter and groaned. "It's not fair," I whined, "why do I have to be ugly?"
"You're not ugly," the guy behind the counter said. He smiled sweetly as he set a chocolate milkshake in front of me, with two straws. "Don't say stupid things like that."
"Well, I must be damn ugly if people keep screwing me over." I complained still before I took a sip of the milkshake. He always made them just right. I tried to hide my smile. When I was mad, I wanted to stay mad.
"Don't let that get you down," he continued, being hopeful – just his nature. "You just haven't found the place for you yet. You've got years to find the right place."
"I guess," I sighed.
"Order some fries?" he asked.
"Sure." I turned in the fifty's style stool and looked around the fifty's style diner. It wasn't a real fancy place, but it still managed to stay in business. A lot of high school kids hung out there, to do their homework and get a cheap bite to eat. I knew a lot of the people that went there being that I was always there. Secretly, I had a crush on the guy behind the counter, Jackson. I can't really explain it, but he's just so great. He's a good friend of my brother's and the first time I saw him, I was hooked to him. He had the perfect smile, his teeth always white, high cheekbones, and his light brown hair always looked flawless. His blue eyes just set the whole deal – I'm a sucker for blue eyes. Jackson was just such a nice guy, always there when I needed to talk to him and he always had an encouraging word for me.
A few minutes passed, and my fries were set before me, crisp golden brown, with catsup on the side. I sprinkled some salt atop them and threw two in my mouth. "Mom drop you off?" my brother, Rivin asked me. As I'm sure you can easily guess by our names, Rivin and I are twins. I don't know what evil daemon had possessed my mother when she named us, but I was stuck with it until I turned eighteen and could legally change my name to something normal, like Kate. He didn't look much like me, but I suppose you would be able to guess that we were twins, same reddish-blonde hair, same green eyes, same pale skin sprinkled with light freckles underneath our eyes.
"She said that we need to be home for dinner at six." I answered, eating my fries. Rivin took a fry as well and shoved it into his mouth.
"I have plans," he said stupidly.
"Why are you telling me?" I asked, becoming irritated until Jackson walked over to us. He leaned over the counter from the other side. He too, took a fry from my plate, but that didn't bother me. I stole a glance at him as Rivin spoke again.
"Do I have to bring you home?"
"Mom did drop me off."
He groaned as he stood up. He told me that he'd be back in fifteen minutes and left the diner. I watched as he sped out onto the street, but didn't say anything. I reached for another fry, just as Jackson was reaching for another fry, and our hands collided. I felt my heart start to flutter like some dying butterfly as I felt his skin rub against my skin. I looked at him and he laughed.
"Sorry about that," he brought his hand back and dropped it to his side. "I haven't had my break yet."
"Oh, that's fine," I insisted as I pushed the plate, half-empty, towards him. "I'm not really hungry anyway." I stood up and walked to the bathroom. It was a small, unisex bathroom, cramped so that you could barely move in it. I locked the door and looked into the mirror. I cursed the face that stared back at me, blushed red now from my encounter with my infatuation. I wanted to break the mirror right then and there, but I knew that would just result in my reflection being multiplied because the mirror would still picture my face, smaller, in a million pieces. So, I did what I always did in that bathroom after a bad day, chocolate milkshake, and a plate of fries – I puked. I stuck two manicured fingers down my throat and started to gag as I felt my stomach flip-flop, and then empty into the toilet bowl. I still wasn't used to the sound of myself regurgitating my own food, or the smell so I was sure to flush the toilet a couple times and let the sound of the water drown out my own gags.
I washed out my mouth with the water from the sink and dried my watery eyes with the brown paper towels in the bathroom. I looked back at the mirror and nodded my head. That's better.
A/N: Kind of a weird start, I know, but things will get better, believe me. Please leave a review on your way out and tell your friends to come and read my story! I really, really appreciate your reviews!