Orion's Shoes - 01 - One

Orion's Shoes - 01 - One

A Chapter by M
"

An introduction to Orion, Sebastian and Pius as they move into a new apartment. Pius begins his first day of high school and we find out where Sebastian has secretly been modeling.

"

ONE

 

Orion released his grip on the ladder.  It was a short drop, but his head was pounding, and he pressed a hand against the wall to steady himself after landing.  He closed his eyes as he waited for the dizziness to pass, and could hear only the rattling leaves that filled the alley.  It was barely September, and the bricks were warm under his palm.

            Turning from the building, Orion collected his plastic lunch bag from the box of a nearby truck, then made his way to the shaded sidewalk beyond the alley.  For a Friday afternoon, it was practically deserted, and Orion made it to the corner in seconds.  Stopped at the light, he couldn’t help but eye the shoes on display outside a nearby store, and he soon edged closer.

            After glancing inside to see if anyone was watching him, Orion frisked one of the shoes with narrow, dirty fingers.  It was the colour that attracted him most: a dark violet adorned with glittering jewels and a narrow black heel that he couldn’t resist.  He lifted it, feeling the weight in his hands, and turned it over to ascertain his guess: size eight.  He smiled, and after checking again to see if anyone was watching, he slipped the shoe into the plastic grocery bag he’d used to carry his lunch.

            Orion turned back to the corner and hurried across the street when the light changed.   Heart pounding, he prayed that no one had seen him, and cut a worried path down the sidewalk.  It wasn’t often that he stole, and it was all he could do to stop himself from breaking into a run.  His long strides carried him halfway down the next block before he realised that someone was calling after him, and a hand suddenly clamped around his wrist. 

            Orion spun, white-knuckled around the grocery bag, and his assailant said in an exasperated voice, “Slow down, wouldja?  I’ve been trying to catch up with you forever!”

            Orion sighed in relief while his brother, Pius, laughed at him.  The youngest of three, Pius was fifteen, and at times painfully animated.  He was the only one who’d managed to avoid their Japanese father’s black hair, and had instead ended up with their Irish mother’s red.  Despite the teasing that had been incessant since his birth, he wore it long like a badge of honour.

            “Maybe if you grew a bit, you wouldn’t have try so hard,” Orion teased as they continued along the sidewalk, and he was careful to shorten his strides.

            “Maybe if you weren’t freakishly tall, you’d walk like a normal person,” Pius retaliated.  “You smell gross.  What were you doing today?”

            “We just finished tarring a roof,” Orion muttered, seizing the front of his tattered shirt and lifting it to his face.  “Is it bad?  I can’t smell anything.”

            “It’s bad,” Pius assured.  “But you can be the first to try the shower at the new apartment " unless Sebastian’s already used it.”

            “I thought he was working today?”

            “He left early to help me move the last of our furniture,” Pius explained.  “Good thing, too, since I probably wouldn’t have finished on time by myself.”

            “Did you come out here just to meet me?” Orion asked, and Pius looked up at him, smiling.  He was tanned from working outside all summer, but his freckles were still visible, and his expression was as comical as always.

            “’Course I did.  Otherwise you’d have to walk by yourself, and you don’t know where you’re going.  You don’t care about seeing the old apartment again, do you?  I already handed in the keys...”

            Orion looked down the street and thought, while Pius dodged around a parking meter.  He couldn’t think of a single memory of the old apartment that he’d like to relive, so he shook his head and said, “Tell me about the new place.”

 

 

            For weeks, his younger brothers had been searching for a new apartment " something better than the dingy basement hole they’d been living in for years, which had twice been invaded by Child Protection workers, and once by the police.  Orion hoped their new home would share no similarities; however, Pius wasn’t helpful with details.

            “No way; we’ll be there in no time, and you can see it for yourself,” he taunted, and Orion heaved a sigh.  What followed was a series of grumbles from his stomach, and he bent to silence it.  Pius raised his eyebrows.

            “Hungry?” he laughed. “I’ll start making dinner while you’re in the shower.  Sebastian picked up some more groceries, and we got you a scale so you can pay attention to your weight this year.”

            “Seriously, Pius?  I don’t need a scale to do that...” Orion sighed, and stopped short as Pius stepped in front of him, giving him a stern look.

            “It’s really important, Orion!  It’s not good for you to be so skinny, and since you won’t be working as much this year, you have to eat and sleep more,” Pius said, talking with his hands as much as with his mouth.  “Now that you’re done your construction job, all your work is gonna be inside, have scheduled breaks, and won’t take a lot of physical labour " and Sebastian’s gonna keep working, so you won’t need as many hours, and " ”

            “Okay, okay, I get it,” Orion sighed.  “Let’s keep walking.”

            “But it’s here,” Pius said, and a smile crept onto his face as he pointed at the ground.  Orion looked around to find a small park he’d passed a hundred times before, surrounded by a black iron fence and a number of small apartment buildings.  They were cramped and narrow, but clean, and he raised his eyebrows.

            “Here?  Which one?”

            Pius turned around and silently led the way into the park.  It was mostly empty, but there were a few benches and some tall trees lining a cracked pavement path.  Most of them were already half-naked, their leaves littering the ground, their silvery trunks casting long shadows.  Orion looked around at the buildings as they walked, trying to guess which one might be his, but hadn’t reached any conclusions before they had passed through the park, and were walking along the opposite sidewalk.  Pius reached into his pocket to find the keys, and soon they stood on the front steps of a four-story brick building. 

            Orion looked up while Pius struggled with the keys.  The windows were all covered by unmatching curtains, and their white frames needed fresh paint, but the entrance seemed secure.  Inside, the hall was quiet; the furnishings old but in generally good condition.  There was a small room to the right, a long hall and a set of stairs straight ahead of them, all with dark red carpet.  Somewhere behind him, Pius was explaining, “The mail’s in there, and the rent’s due through that slot on the first of every month.  Sebastian and I already paid for September, and the damage deposit and all that.”

            “What floor are we on..?” Orion asked vaguely, fixated on the staircase, which crisscrossed overhead.  He glanced down at Pius to find his brother grinning again.

            “Fourth,” he said, then heaved a dramatic sigh.  “The stairs take some getting used to.”

            “They’re only stairs,” Orion shrugged off, starting to climb.

            “Yeah, well you didn’t have to go up and down them with boxes all day,” Pius grumbled, but when they reached the top, he practically skipped over to number 47, and opened it with a flourish.  Orion stepped inside.

            Blinded by the sunlight that was streaming into the room, it took him some time to adjust, and it was a few seconds before he could identify the living room, bedroom, and a door that must have led to the bathroom.  All of it was clean and bright and airy; sparsely furnished, but much bigger than their previous apartment.  Everything about the place felt new.  Orion stared, carefully stepping out of his decrepit shoes, and placing them neatly against the wall, as was his habit.

            “Wow...”

            “You two took a while,” came a dull voice from the kitchen, and Orion looked over to find Sebastian, surrounded by grocery bags, one careful hand on the open fridge door.  The middle brother, seventeen, was handsome and tall, though still a head shorter than Orion.  He kept and wore his clothes well despite their low-digit price tags, and he sometimes modeled, though Orion hadn’t seen any photographs for some time.  He was pale from working inside all summer, but never seemed to mind.  “I’ve practically got everything put away already.”

            Clearly in a foul mood, Sebastian shut the fridge door, and Pius immediately took to the bags on the floor.

            “Thanks for shopping, Chin.  Did you get " ?”

            “Don’t call me that,” Sebastian snapped, moving past Orion and into the bathroom.  He shut the door, and Orion raised his eyebrows.

            “He’s been like that all afternoon,” Pius said very quietly.  “It’s been a lot of fun.”

            Orion entered the kitchen, and it didn’t take long for them to put away what remained of the groceries.  Eventually Orion made his way to the table, smirking as he recognised it from the old apartment; it only had three chairs.  He gratefully collapsed into one of them, and when he looked up, it was to find Pius holding out the debit card that the three of them shared.  Orion looked at it but didn’t move.

            “We decided you can have this back,” Pius said, but Orion made no motion to take the card.  It was technically his " it had his name, and was probably his responsibility " but he’d already found that he wasn’t very good at managing it.  He shook his head to decline.

            “I think things work out better when you keep it, Pius,” he said, letting his gaze wander into the living room, which was filled with more sunlight than furniture.  Allowing Pius to keep the card during the summer had been a successful experiment, if a little shameful.  “Thanks, but I don’t really need it back.”

            “Okay,” the red-head accepted quietly, then his tone changed completely as he went on, “What do you want for dinner?”

            “Doesn’t matter,” Orion replied, slouching into the chair, but he sprang to his feet when he saw Pius heading for the bag he’d left in the hall.

            “What’s this?” the younger boy began, but Orion was there in a flash, and snatched up the bag. 

            “Just some work stuff,” he invented, and was relieved when Pius returned to the kitchen without any fuss.  He remained still in the hall for a moment, but then ducked into the bedroom.  What he saw there made him halt in his tracks; to his right was Sebastian, reading a book on the lower bunk of a set they’d brought from the old apartment " but straight in front of him was another bed that he didn’t recognise.  Sebastian seemed to guess his thoughts before he could voice them.

            “The bed was here when we got here,” he explained practically in monotone.  “Probably someone died in it, but it’s better than the air mattress you were sleeping on before.”

            “Wow,” Orion breathed again, and another grin found its way onto his face.  He searched the room for a closet, and after checking to make sure Sebastian wasn’t watching him, he stowed the unpaired shoe up on the highest shelf, where his brothers had already relocated most of his things.  After that he sat down on the bed to test it, his smile getting wider as he stretched out on his back.

            “How’s it feel?” Sebastian muttered, and Orion heard him turn a page of his book.  He sat up to look across the room, though his younger brother’s gaze didn’t stray.

            “You alright, Sebastian?”

            “Why do you ask?”

            “You’re just quieter than usual.  Work was okay?  Do you like it here?” Orion pressed, and finally Sebastian glanced at him.  He sat up, folding his book but leaving his thumb inside.  For a moment he looked at the floor, but then his dark eyes found Orion, and he shrugged.

            “It’s better than the old place, and to be honest, not much more expensive,” Sebastian began, and then he looked down again.  “I was actually thinking that, as long as you don’t spend money like an idiot, like before, that you could probably afford it yourself.  I really hate working at Walmart, is all, and I don’t know if I’ll have enough time for schoolwork if I stay there.”

            He glanced up again, and Orion forced himself to nod, despite the sudden nausea that had found his stomach.  While he didn’t know the cost of rent, he didn’t want to think about trying to pay it on his own.

            “I’d have to get another job if you quit,” Orion began, but his brother cut him off.

            “Not if you just get some more hours at your other jobs; there’s no need for you to work four.  Besides, we’ve got money saved up from summer, from my job and from Pius’ " and you have always told us that school is more important than working.”

            Orion nodded again and was forced to agree, “If you haven’t got enough time for schoolwork, then we’ll have to think of something.  Sound fair?”

            Sebastian looked at him again, but his eyes seemed to be fixed on something far away, as though Orion were an ant, way down on the ground.  He took a breath and said, “I already gave my two weeks.”

            “What?” Orion said, but his head clogged with panic and his own voice sounded underwater.  Everything he had felt up to that point was suddenly and mercilessly stripped away from him; the bed was hard and the room was small, and how he could even afford such things was beyond him.  He saw Sebastian stand, and tried to meet his brother’s gaze.  Sebastian, for his part, tossed his book onto the bed and shrugged again.

            “Anyway, it’s nothing to worry about, like I said.  Just ask for a few more hours in the mall and at Sev, and it’ll be fine.”

            “Sebastian " you could have told me about this,” Orion said, and his voice came out half furious, half terrified.  “I have expenses other than food and shelter, you know, and " ”

            “Like what, your cell bill?  No one calls you except us,” Sebastian laughed.  “And you shouldn’t have any expenses other than that, right?”

            Here he paused, as though leaving time for Orion’s rebuttal, but the older brother was too stung to even look up from the floor.  He swallowed back whatever emotion was trying to escape from his throat, and Sebastian went on, “You should have a shower; that smell’s giving me a headache.  I’m going to help Pius with dinner.”

            With that he left, and the sun seemed to leave with him, for the room was suddenly dim and quiet.  Orion was still for long moments, his eyes glued to the floor, his stomach knotted.  In the kitchen, he could hear Pius’ happy chattering and Sebastian’s muttered replies.  He wondered if the middle brother even felt any guilt at all, and he wondered how they’d managed to talk him into moving.  His stomach turned, and he realised he was no longer hungry.

 

** ** **

 

“Sebastian " are you coming?  Can we go?  We’re gonna be late!” Pius called from the open doorway.  Shoes on, he was ready to leave, but Sebastian was still in the bathroom " probably fixing his hair.  “Seriously; I don’t want to be late for my first day!”

            “Who cares?  It’s just school.”

            “Yeah but it’s my first day of highschool,” Pius pointed out, and, finally, Sebastian emerged from the bathroom, looking cool and collected, as usual.

            “Don’t worry about it, Pius, it’s just the same as every school,” he muttered, and Pius moved into the hall, hoping to lure him out.  “Boring, loud, obnoxious...”

            “Well it’s boring for you because you’re so smart,” Pius said, “Now come on!  Let’s go!  I really don’t wanna be late!  Please?”

            Sebastian laced up his shoes, then closed and locked the door on his way out.  After that they were on their way; Pius dodged a hasty line through the busy sidewalk and hoped Sebastian would keep up, as he didn’t want to arrive alone.  When they got there the bell was already ringing, and inside, Pius became immediately overwhelmed.  The building seemed massive; two L-shaped floors that enclosed a foyer-like cafeteria and stage, and all of it was filled with noise and motion.

            “So many people...” he murmured, looking around, then followed Sebastian to a small table, where he traded his name for a timetable.  “Sebastian " where do I go?  Where’s room two-forty?  Where " ?”

            Pius looked up only to find that his brother was gone, and as short as he was, he had no chance of seeing over anyone’s head.  Sebastian and Orion had got their father’s height " he’d got none of it, and so he floundered for a time, lost amidst a swirl of backpacks and faces and chatter.  His heart was pounding, and he struggled to collect himself " there were too many distractions; he needed to focus.

            “Um " sorry " can you tell me where this room is?” he eventually asked a girl sitting at the table.  She pointed down the hall just as another bell rang.

            “Go all the way to the end of the hall until you get to the gym, then go upstairs.  It’s right there; the numbers are above the doors.”

            “Thanks!” Pius called, then started to force his way through the mobs of students.  As he moved down the hall, the people thinned out, and it was easier for him to walk.  Still, the yellowed corridor stretched on forever, and he hoped he wouldn’t be too late for class.  It was English, he saw, checking the timetable.

            The stairs were easy to find and so was the classroom, but by the time Pius approached the door, he could see through the window that someone was already standing at the front: a blond boy with dark, thick-rimmed glasses and torn jeans, hands in his pockets, eyes seemingly glazed.  The teacher was standing to the side of the room " a bland woman in a tan-coloured suit-jacket and skirt, with her hair tied back in a bun.  Pius watched for a moment, wondering when the blond boy might finish speaking, but suddenly everyone was looking at him, and the teacher motioned for him to enter.

            “Good morning.  Nice of you to join us, mister..?”

            “Um...Yoshida.  Pius Yoshida,” he muttered, feeling heat coming to his face.  Chancing a quick look around, he recognised no one from his old school.  After that, he tried not to look, but was very aware, for some reason, of the blond boy’s gaze.

            “Ah, yes.  And why are you late?”

            “My " sorry " I had to wait for my brother.”

            “Oh, you’re Sebastian’s brother, aren’t you?  I remember; he told me you’d be here this year,” said the woman with a nod.  “Alright.  Hurry and take a seat; you can go next.  Sam, please continue...?”

            Pius collapsed into the closest chair he could find, wondering if the kids behind him could tell his ears were red.  The boy at the front of the class sighed and said in a dull voice, “I don’t have much else to say, Mrs. Delary.  I don’t have any pets or hobbies, and I’m already sixteen because I was at private school for a while, and homeschooled some.”

            “Your favourite book?” the teacher prompted automatically, as though reading from a script.  Pius glanced up only to find that the blond, Sam, was staring at him.

            “Nothing in particular... I like magazines, and old books like Justine by the Marquis de Sade, but I wouldn’t say either of those is my favourite...” he drawled.

            “The Marquis de Sade..?” Pius heard the teacher repeat, and he hadn’t deciphered her tone before she asked, “Anything else?”

            “No,” said the blond, and he fit more self-importance and intelligence into the single syllable than Pius thought he could muster in a lifetime.  He didn’t particularly want to go next, but Sam took a seat, and Pius was forced to stand at the front of the class.

            “So, Pius " tell us about yourself,” Mrs. Delary prompted.  “Do you read as much as your brother does?”

            “Um " no " not really.  I like drawing,” Pius forced with a smile, and his teacher nodded, looking less interested than before.  “Um... I... don’t have any pets either, but I did just move into a new apartment!  And... my favourite book is... ...probably the story of Miyamoto Musashi " my dad read it to me when I was a kid.”

            “Do you enjoy writing?” the teacher prodded, and Pius shifted his weight, aware that he was wringing his hands, but unable to stop.

            “I like it,” he said, “But I’m not good at it.”

            “Very good; we can fix that.  Please sit down,” Mrs. Delary ordered, and Pius gratefully retreated to the anonymity of his seat.  A blond girl was called to go next, but he could still see people whispering about him and stealing glances at him.  Students always seemed to think there was something wrong with him " mostly due to the fact that he tried to cover any abnormal mood swings with excessive cheerfulness.  He hoped that at least it would take most of them a while to notice.

            Sam, who was sitting two desks away, wasn’t looking at him at all anymore, and was instead staring at the blond girl.  Pius studied him for a moment, and just as he’d begun to feel that maybe he wasn’t special at all, Sam glanced his way.  Two clever golden eyes sent a bolt through him, and Pius snapped his attention to the front of the room.  He didn’t let his attention wander until the bell rang at the end of class.

            “You said your name was Pius Yoshida, right?” came a smooth voice, and Pius jumped, having looked down only momentarily to pick up his backpack.  Sam was leaning over his desk, staring at him again, so he merely nodded.

            “Your brother " his name’s Sebastian?”

            “Yes...”

            “He’s a model, isn’t he?” Sam asked, and Pius felt as though he were in the middle of an interrogation rather than in a classroom.  He feebly nodded, and Sam smiled.  “Does he still go to school here?”

            “Yeah...  He’s in grade twelve.”

            Sam straightened, and a broad smile stretched his thick lips.

            “Perfect.  Thank-you,” he drawled, then turned his back to leave.  Pius stood up.

            “Wait " why’d you wanna know?” he asked, and Sam glanced back.  He shrugged broad shoulders, still smiling.

            “No reason, really, I was just curious.  I think I’ve seen his picture before, that’s all.  The name rang a bell.”

            “You’ve seen his picture?  Like, in a catalogue?” Pius asked in surprise, for it was rare that Sebastian even showed any photos to him or Orion, and they were all boring clothing advertisements " nothing anyone should recognise or recall.

            “A magazine, I think,” Sam said, and there was something dark about the way he said it that Pius couldn’t quite put his finger on " like Sam was lying, or just patronising him.  He forced a smile, and Sam walked away.  Pius watched him only for a few seconds before collecting his things and leaving the room as well, not feeling any less nervous than he had that morning.

 

** ** **

 

Sebastian shoved his hands into his pockets, trying to keep the warmth inside his jacket.  The bus stop was uncovered and the bench looked wet " who knew from what " so he remained standing.  A week in and he was already sick of the grey weather and sick of school.  Thankfully, he only had to last one more year.

            He heard the bell ring from across the field and prayed the bus would be on time, but it wasn’t, and soon Pius, bowed under the weight of his backpack, had caught up.

            “Hey " Sebastian " I looked for you at your locker; where are you going?  Aren’t you walking home with me?”

            “Not tonight.”

            “Oh.  Are you working early?  I could walk you to work instead, and then go home, or maybe " ?”

            “Pius, I’m not working at Walmart tonight,” Sebastian growled, trying not to let everyone and their dog find out where he worked " it was bad enough that he still had a few shifts left.  Pius looked a little stunned, but that was nothing unusual.

            “Oh,” uttered the younger brother, then for a moment just watched him.  Sebastian looked away and tried to calm himself, knowing that Pius would easily figure out how nervous he was.  He did, and guessed, “Oh, you’re modeling tonight?”

            “Yes,” Sebastian replied dully.  “Go home, alright?  Don’t hang around, or Orion will be worried about you; he’s home tonight.”

            “I dunno how you always manage to memorise his schedule and yours,” Pius muttered, but then smiled and waved.  “Anyway.  See you later I guess.  When are you coming home?”

            “Not sure,” Sebastian muttered, willing Pius to go away.  He could see the city bus, blockaded by traffic a few blocks down.

            “Oh.  Okay.  I guess I’ll see you later then,” Pius forced, and he hitched a smile onto his face.  Sebastian glanced at him, feeling only a little guilty.

            “Sorry, Pius, just go home, okay?  I’m not mad at you, I’m just nervous.  Now go, and have a good night.”

            Pius nodded and ambled off, and a few minutes later the bus arrived.  Sebastian spent the entire ride standing, staring out the window for a stop he wasn’t familiar with.  The address was new to him, and he wasn’t even sure what else was in the area.  As it turned out, nothing looked particularly clean or safe outside; not only that, but it started to rain as they entered what seemed to be a warehouse district.  Sebastian watched the streetsigns and eventually pulled the stopstring.

            Outside was wet and cold and darker than before, and the streetlights were already on.  The bus roared away, accelerating slowly like an old dog getting up off the floor.  Sebastian moved away from the stop, careful to avoid stepping in any puddles.  The ground was uneven, and once the bus had moved around a distant corner, everything was quiet aside from the rain and Sebastian’s own breath.  He wrapped his coat as tight as possible and peered through the weather at the tall black numbers painted on the warehouse doors.  Why they had moved out of a clean basement and into this place, he couldn’t guess.  He hadn’t shot much at all in the summer, and now they’d moved on him...

            Something rattled in his peripheral and Sebastian stopped, his breath catching in his throat.  He could feel himself beginning to sweat inside his clothes, and was glad he’d worn his coat.  He was always nervous before a shoot, and having to find the place in a maze of dark warehouses wasn’t helping.

            Eventually he came upon warehouse number twelve, and searched around the side until he’d found a smaller door.  It was open, as he’d been told, so he let himself in and then shut out the rain.  Inside was hardly any warmer than out, and was most certainly a little darker.  Sebastian worked his way around tall black tarps of inexplicable shape, wondering briefly what they were hiding before trying to push the thought out of his mind altogether.  He could hear voices near the back of the warehouse and so headed towards them, finding himself a little more relaxed as he recognised the excited chatter of Jeremy, the gay photographer, and the sultry drawl of Lady Lorraine, the magazine’s co-owner.

            Sebastian ducked around a pile of what looked like bicycles, avoiding their outstretched metal arms only barely as he came in sight of the shoot.  It was bright and warm, and Sebastian forgot all about the rest of the warehouse as he took in tall facades of bedrooms and dungeons, a large, sumptuous bed with red blankets and scattered crates of unnameable fetish paraphernalia.  There were at least a dozen people there, either working to set up or patiently lounging on couches.  Jeremy, whose shaved head and bright eyes were turned his way, spotted him first and beamed, throwing his arms in the air as he waved off whatever Lorraine was telling him.

            “Sebastian!  Here’s the man of the evening.  Come here, my boy.  How are you?  I haven’t seen you nearly enough this summer,” he raved, taking long, black strides to eventually wrap his arms around Sebastian.  He gripped the boy’s shoulders and shook him a little.  “Well?  Smile!  Aren’t you happy to be back?  What do you think of the new location?  It’s very noir, don’t you think?  Lorraine loves it of course, the rest of us all think it’s a little dreary...”

            Sebastian was forced to smile, and shrugged as Jeremy let him go.

            “I guess it’s alright...  The inside’s nice, anyway.”

            “Well of course you’d side with her,” Jeremy replied, rolling his eyes in exaggeration and turning back to Lorraine.  “You’ve got him scared of you!”

            “Most people are, Jeremy, it’s just you who still dares to get on my nerves,” Lorraine murmured, and despite the fact that she never spoke very loudly, everyone heard her.  Sebastian moved in to join the group while Jeremy shouted orders at his assistants.  Lorraine smiled at him, holding out her jewelled hand, which he promptly kissed.  She was tall " aided by the fact that she nearly always wore heels " with long brown hair and vivid crimson lips.  Her clothes were always bordering on costume; today she wore a corset with red lace and a pair of sleek pants.  “Good to see you, Sebastian.”

            “And you, Lady Lorraine.  What am I modeling today?”

            “Surely you must have noticed it?” Lorraine queried, and when Sebastian hesitated to answer, she smiled like a snake.  “The bed, Sebastian.”

            “The " sorry " the bed?” he stammered, feeling his insides squirm with nerves.  Lorraine’s smile turned into a grin.

            “Yes.  But not first.  First, take off your shirt; I have a cute new collar and cuffs for you.”

            Sebastian dropped his near-empty backpack and took off his coat as more people began to move around him.  A green screen was rolled in front of the camera and he worked to remove his shirt; it was stuck to his body with sweat.

            “Nervous, my pet?” came Lorraine’s voice, and Sebastian jumped, then laughed.

            “Of course.  Aren’t I always?”

            The warehouse was surprisingly warm in that corner, and Sebastian wondered if they had heaters plugged in somewhere.  He could feel that his skin was tacky with sweat, but forgot about it when Lorraine snapped and buckled a stiff leather collar around his neck.

            “How do you like that?”

            “Smells gross,” Sebastian replied with a smile, certain it would annoy.  Lorraine smacked him lightly upside the head.

            “You should at least pretend you like the smell of leather.  Even the people here will think you’re weird if you don’t,” she drawled, then grabbed his wrist and started locking a thick leather cuff around it.  “And stop blushing, or they might start to notice how attractive you are.”

            “I thought they already did, Lady?” Sebastian remarked quickly, then cringed, sure he’d be hit again.  As it was, Lorraine merely narrowed her eyes at him, still smiling.

            “I always forget how cheeky you are.  You be careful.”

            Sebastian was quiet, knowing not to push his luck.  Lorraine cuffed his other wrist, then pointed to the green screen and ordered, “Go stand in front of that.  First with your back to us.  Lower your head so Jeremy can get a shot of the collar from the back.”

            Sebastian obeyed, standing square in front of the green screen.  He heard the familiar snicker of Jeremy’s camera, and the flash stands flicked lightning around him.

            “Alright, good, now turn around,” said the photographer, and just from his voice Sebastian could tell he was smiling.  He turned, glancing briefly at Lorraine, who smirked.

            “Hold your arms up, Sebastian.  Like this, against your chest.  Not high " right " good, like that.  Glare at the camera like Jeremy’s being his usual tiresome self.”

            Sebastian laughed, and had to wait a few seconds before he could stop smiling.  The shutter flickered anyway, and Sebastian narrowed his eyes.

            “Quit that; I know those aren’t for the magazine,” he said in annoyance, shifting his weight.  Behind the camera, Jeremy was still grinning.

            “Oh, Sebastian, you have no idea how much I’ve missed you.  Lorraine’s been making me shoot skinny girls all summer, and they’re such a bore...”

            “Well we needed someone to do a cover!” Lorraine countered.  “Speaking of " Sebastian, darling, tilt your chin up a little?  Good.  Speaking of, we’re going to need to schedule someone for March’s cover.  Are you interested this time?”

            “Does it say that in my contract?” the model retorted, then answered his own rhetoric, “No.  Therefore, no.”

            “Why not, Sebastian?  I’d make you look gorgeous, you know that!” Jeremy whined.  “And I’m sick of having girls on the cover, or macho men, or " ”

            “Jeremy, I can’t do a cover.  We’ve talked about this,” Sebastian reiterated.  He glanced at Lorraine, feeling trapped more than angry.  “I really, really can’t.  My brother works at a convenience store that sells the magazine, and he doesn’t know " and I don’t want him to.  I’ve told you that before.  I can’t do it, okay?”

            “Alright, alright,” sighed Lorraine.  “But I’m keeping you on the list anyway, just in case you change your mind.  We won’t be shooting it until after Christmas at least.  Jeremy, that should be good enough for the cuffs.  Michael, take them off of him, then Sebastian, take off your pants and lie down on the bed.”

            “Uh " ”

            “Just your pants, Sebastian, keep your panties on,” Lorraine mocked, strutting away to order someone else around.  Sebastian sighed and let one of the casually-clad helpers take off the cuffs and collar.  He then slid out of his pants, stepping on each hem.

            “Boxer briefs, black.  You owe me five dollars, Lorraine,” Jeremy laughed, and the woman’s only answer was to stomp about some more.  Sebastian rolled his eyes but couldn’t stop himself smiling again as he flopped onto the bed.

            “Sebastian, don’t mess up the spread,” Lorraine hissed, marching by again.  Jeremy had some of the other helpers move the tripod and camera, while a thin woman with blunt-cut blond hair and cat-eye glasses arranged Sebastian on his back, feet apart, hands together, above his head.

            “Lorraine, what exactly " ?” Sebastian began, but before he could even get the question out, Lorraine had leaned over the bed and slapped his cheek.

            “What did you call me?”

            “Lady " Lorraine " sorry " what’s going on?” Sebastian stammered, feeling his heart rate pick up.  Lorraine merely smiled.

            “Monique is going to tie you to the bed.  That’s what you’re advertising, so be a good boy and stay still, or I’ll be keeping your cheque.”

            Monique, the blonde, cuffed Sebastian’s ankles with what felt like Velcro to each corner of the bed.  Then she set about tying his arms together above his head.  She kept stealing glances at him, and Sebastian did his very best to attract her attention " angled his ribs and hips, tensed his abdominals " all the while looking away in feigned curiosity at Jeremy’s helpers.  He jumped when Lorraine dragged her fingernail up the arch of his foot.

            “What?”

            “Stop showing off, or I’ll let her have her way with you once you’re nice and secure,” Lorraine threatened, “And this one’s rough, Sebastian, much too nasty for your delicate liking.”

            Sebastian glanced up to find Monique smirking as Lorraine marched off again.  Little did either of them know, and more important than anything else, Monique was much too female for his liking.

            “Alright people these will be our last shots, then we can all go home,” Jeremy shouted.  Sebastian shifted, trying to get semi-comfortable, but he stopped when Lorraine came back.  She tossed a red sheet over his hips, artfully arranging it " Sebastian assumed " until it looked as though it hadn’t just been placed over him for the sake of covering his boxers.

            “You have goosebumps,” Lorraine remarked quietly while the others continued to move about with the flash stands.  “Are you cold?  That’s the only problem with this warehouse...”

            “A little cold.”

            The woman smirked.

            “We’ll get you properly naked one of these days,” she said into his ear.  Sebastian leaned his head away.

            “My contract, Lorraine.  I’m a model, not a porn " ”

            “For God’s sake, Sebastian, I know, even if I don’t like it.  You’re going to have to learn to trust me eventually,” the woman reasoned, calm and quiet, then straightened and went on in a louder voice, “Alright, the bed’s part of a bedroom furniture collection we’re shooting for next month, and it’s new, so look hot, okay?  Shouldn’t be too hard.  The creator asked for you specifically " goes to show how many people are learning your name, Sebastian " so don’t f**k this up, and I’ll take you for hot chocolate after, alright?”

            Sebastian smiled and nodded, forcing back what he really thought about people learning his name.  Jeremy sidled a little closer with his camera and Sebastian relaxed, feeling more at home than he often did at home.  He could have fallen asleep there, even tied to the bed, but Lorraine wanted to get it all just right, and it took over an hour to do that.  The storm only got louder, and it was a good thing they didn’t need sound to shoot photos, Sebastian thought.  When the last photo had been taken, he closed his eyes and lay still while Monique untied him.  Her fingers were cold.

            “They sure put you through your paces, huh?” she asked, and Sebastian realised she couldn’t have been much older than him.  He shrugged as his hands were released, wincing at the ache in his stiff shoulders.

            “Yeah... guess so.  I’m sore and I didn’t even move...”

            “You’ll have to stretch more next time,” Monique giggled, then removed the Velcro cuffs from his ankles.  Sebastian slowly sat up, stretching too late as he pulled his sheet further into his lap.  Monique wandered off to help with something else, and Lorraine ran a hand through Sebastian’s hair.

            “Hot chocolate?  Coffee?” she offered, taking a seat on the edge of the bed, and Sebastian nodded.

            “Cheque first.”

            “Ugh, models are so greedy!” the woman ranted, then stomped off.  Sebastian found his pants and shirt, then slipped into them as hastily as possible.  His hands were cold too, he realised as he fumbled with his belt buckle.  Lorraine shoved a folded cheque in his face.  “Now hurry up and let’s go, I’m thirsty, and if you want a ride home, you’d better come with me or I’ll make you take the bus.”

            Sebastian wormed his way into his coat, scooped up his backpack and followed after Lorraine.  He was joined by Jeremy as he unfolded his cheque.

 

            Sebastian Yoshida                   $2000.00

 

He halted.

            “Lady Lorraine... this is more than we decided.”

            She glanced over her bare shoulder.

            “Yes, Sebastian, it is.  I decided to give you a raise,” she said, and the model shifted, glancing at Jeremy, at the cheque, and then at the Lady again.

            “I’m not sure I can accept this...” he said quietly, but even as the words left his lips he doubted their truthfulness.  They had made it beyond the sight of those still working around the camera, into the jagged clutches of masked crates.  Lorraine walked back to him, her heels clicking ominously into the depths of the floor.  She put a hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eye.

            “Sebastian, I said I decided to give you a raise.  Don’t you want it?”

            “Yes " but " ” Sebastian swallowed, annoyed.  “I haven’t done anything to deserve it, and I expect you’ve got some reason for giving it to me..?”

            She squeezed his shoulder, and Sebastian was forcefully reminded of how like family she was to him.  They all were.

            “Of course I have.  I want you to be our March cover.  I really, really do.  I have the exact vision of what I want, in my head, and I want you to do it.”

            “So then I should give this back,” Sebastian half-asked, half-stated.  Lorraine smiled her snake-like smile.  “Because that’s not in my contract.”

            “No.  Keep it.  I don’t expect money will be the only thing to win you over, Sebastian.  You’re smart, very smart, and despite how much you might enjoy being told what to do, I know you won’t do anything you don’t want to, no matter how much I want you to.  So keep the money.  Buy your brothers something nice.  Just think about the cover.  There might be an interview in it for you, as well, and probably a centrefold.”

            “An interview?” Sebastian repeated, incredulous, and Lorraine winked.

            “Let’s go for hot chocolate, and not get too far ahead of ourselves, alright?”

            “Lo" Lady Lorraine, I’m only a model.  I advertise.  I’m not " ”

            “Please be quiet now,” the Lady ordered, and Sebastian knew not to push it, so instead just pocketed the cheque.  It would go into an account that was swelling with every photo Jeremy took " an account that no one knew about except Sebastian. 

            He wondered if he could also get away with being on the cover of SMart " the biggest fetish magazine in the city.



© 2011 M


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Are you thinking of getting this published? It really great, guess the idea had been at your palm all along. Well, it's good, but it's kind of long making it hard to be read..

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on July 13, 2011
Last Updated on July 13, 2011
Tags: poor, poverty, brothers, brother, Japanese, work, Walmart, apartment, school, highschool, high school, English, fetish, magazine, model, modeling, photographer, photography, camera


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M
M

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



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I'm an engineer-in-training from Canada - though whenever I'm not manipulating physics, I've got my head in the clouds and firm hold on a pen or pencil. Aside from writing, I love to draw and pra.. more..

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