The Model - Part 1


The Model - Part 1
by Melanie Brown
Copyright  © 2014 Melanie Brown

Kirk let a little issue of being mistaken for a girl go a bit too far.


“So you want to set up an appointment next week with your mom?” asked the woman who runs the salon in the mall. Mom had never been there before but had heard enough about it she’s been wanting to try it.

“Yes,” said my sister Gina. “I’d like to get some highlights. Last time I tried doing it myself it was a total disaster.”

Pointing at me, the woman said, “And what about your other daughter, ma’am? Want to schedule her as well? I really think it would help her hair a lot.”

Mom said, “Hmm. Er, what? Oh!” She looked over at me and smirked. “That might not be a bad idea.”

Looking horrified, I said, “Mom!”

Mom laughed and said, “Not this time.”

Nodding, the woman said, “See you next week then, Ms. Sullivan. Take care.”

As we left the salon and entered the flow of the masses walking in the mall, Mom said, “Your father keeps telling you to get a haircut. I swear Kirk. With your hair long like that, you look just like your sister did when she was sixteen.” Looking at me a bit closer, she said, “You could probably wear some of her clothes.”

“Cut it out, Mom,” I said as I stuffed my hands into my pockets. “I don’t want to get a haircut.” I really hate it when Mom says that I look like Gina. She’s a very pretty girl and was in the popular set in high school.

Gina said, “Then don’t get mad when someone mistakes you for a girl.”

Staring at the floor and sulking, I muttered, “I don’t look like a girl.”

As Mom led us into one of the multitude of clothing stores inside the mall, she said, “Let’s see what they have here, Gina. You’ll want some new clothes when you start college at the end of August.”

Frowning, Gina said, “I wish I could go to a real college like Sandra.”

Mom said, “Just be grateful you won that two year scholarship. That’ll get you started at least.”

As we entered the store, a smiling saleslady came up to us. “Good morning, ladies. Welcome to Jacque’s. Is there anything I can help you find?”

Mom just said, “We’re just looking for something new for my daughter.”

Nodding, the saleslady said, “Surely. Misses sizes are over there.” She looked at me and said, “And Juniors are right here behind you.”

The saleslady looked slightly confused when Gina laughed. Giggling, she said, “Yeah sis. See if you can find something you like here in the Juniors. Come on Mom, let’s look over here.”

The saleslady gave me a slight disapproving glance and said, “If you need any help finding what you need, Miss, just let me know.”

I wanted to scream that I wasn’t a girl. But Mom had lectured me that there’s no point in embarrassing a stranger as well as myself with an outburst on something that’s really my own fault. In a way, I guess Dad is right. He keeps saying I look like a girl and demands I get a haircut. Of course, I just feed the monster by becoming more defiant the more he yells at me.

As much as I really hate haircuts, I probably should make my life easier and get one. It will make my life a bit easier as it will avoid situations like this one with the saleslady. It was bad enough a few weeks before school ended for the summer when the girls coach stopped me in the hall and suggested I try out for cheerleader. She wasn’t being funny. Rather than create a scene for her honest mistake, I just told her I’d think about it.

I wandered aimlessly about the clothes rack waiting for Mom and Gina to finish. Shopping for clothes with Mom and my sister was a terrible waste of the waning days of June. Mom looked over at me and gave me an encouraging smile. I’m sure I looked miserable. She walked across the store over to me.

Mom said, “You okay, honey? You look like a fish out of water over here.”

Gesturing slightly I said, “I am. Can I just wait out in the hall?”

Mom nodded and said, “Of course. We won’t be much longer.”

As I started to walk away, Mom pulled a dress from a rack, looked at me and said, “Oooh! Now don’t get mad, but honey, you’d look absolutely adorable in this!”

Seemingly appearing from nowhere, the saleslady said, “That’s on sale this week. It’s really cute, isn’t it? Very feminine.”

I started walking away. I heard Mom sigh.

“We’ll think about it,” Mom said as she put the dress back on the rack.

Sulking, I walked across the hall to the game store. I’ve been mistaken for a girl before, especially out with Mom and Gina. But today was especially bad. I looked down at myself as I stood before a rack of Xbox games. I couldn’t see anything especially girly about me. It’s not I was wearing one of my sister’s shirts like I accidently did once or twice.

I was lost in thought looking at the games when I heard, “Hey, doofus. Come on. Mom’s waiting.” I turned to see Gina standing next to me holding a shopping bag with one item in it.

“You spent twenty five minutes and only bought one little shirt?” I said shaking my head.

“It’s the shopping part that’s fun,” said Gina. “I hated going shopping with Dad. He’d just go straight the thing he’s looking for, buys it and go home.”

I laughed and said as we exited the game store, “That’s just when he was buying a new shirt for work. You should’ve gone with him when he was shopping for a new screwdriver. He could spend days looking in a hardware store.”

As we walked up to her, Mom said, “You guys hungry? The food court is right up ahead.”

Gina said, “Seems like there’s some kind of commotion going on there. There’s a crowd starting to form.”

As we approached, we could see several crewmen setting up some lights and putting up some kind of background. A photographer was unpacking his equipment. People were gathering in a mall entrance near the food court.

Part of the food court had a rope blocking off part of the area of tables. The only empty tables were in the roped off area. Mom just went past the rope and picked a table near the activity.

“You guys stay here and hold the table,” Mom said. “I know what both of you want.”

As she turned to go order our lunches, a guy stepped up to her and said, “I’m sorry ma’am. Did you not see the barrier? We need this area clear. I’m going to have to ask you to move.”

Mom looked confused and said, “Move? We’re not in your way or anything…”

A man with a thick Australian accent said from behind us, “Don’t worry about it. They’re fine.” His eyes lingered on my sister and he said, “They’re just fine.” He flashed her a toothy grin.

Gina’s eyes went wide as she said, “Oh my God! Mom! It’s him! Lucas Williams! That singer from Australia!”

Grinning from ear to ear, Lucas said, “That’s me! That singer from Australia.” I had recognized him when he first spoke to us. Some teen singing sensation from Australia trying to make it in America.

The man who had spoken to Mom said, “Mr. Williams. Your producers wanted this area cleared for the pictures. We only have an hour.”

Lucas Williams said, while staring at Gina, “There’s no reason these lovely ladies should have to move. Just move the barrier.” He smiled broadly at my sister and said, “They’re fine just where they are.”

Gina’s cheeks reddened and she looked away for a moment before her eyes returned to the singer. She said, “Thank you Mr. Williams. That’s very kind of you.”

Lucas Williams knelt on one knee while resting his weight on the other leg. He said, “Call me Lucas or Luke if you prefer. Mind if I ask your names?”

Turning redder, Gina pointed to Mom and said, “That’s our mom…”

Lucas bowed his head and said, “A pleasure to meet you, Mom.”

Having forgotten about going to get us lunch, Mom sat in one of the chairs. “And you…Luke.”

Lucas smiled and turned towards my sister and said, “And you my lovely?”

I’ve never seen Gina so embarrassed before. In a low, embarrassed voice she said, “My name is Gina and that’s Kirk.” She pointed at me.

“Court?” asked Lucas. “Is that short for Courtney or something?”

Gina giggled and said, “Yeah, or something.” She gave Lucas a nervous smile.

Lucas started to stand. He said, “Well, it was just brilliant meeting all three of you.” He hesitated for a second before turning back to Gina and said, “Oh. Do you mind if I borrow your little sister? Just for a minute.”

Gina gave Lucas a quizzical look and pointed at me.

“You mean me?” I asked, shocked.

Nodding, Lucas said, “Yes. Just for a few minutes. You see, we’re gathering a group of girls your age here in your lovely mall to get them to sit in front of me and a few to stand behind me for a publicity shot to represent my fans. And now that we’re all such great friends, I’d love to have you sit right in front of me. We can’t pay you, but you do get a copy of my latest CD.”

I said, “Um, no. I really don’t think so! Thanks, but no. I mean really.”

Gina glared at me and said, “What a wonderful opportunity! To have your picture taken with Lucas Williams! Come on…Court. Go get your picture taken!”

Mom smiled at me and said, “Sounds like fun. I think you should do it.”

“Thanks for asking,” I said. “But this is a mistake, I’m not…OW!” Gina stomped on my foot.

Lucas shrugged and said, “It was just a thought. Since my producer just wants girls your age, I can’t use your sister, but you’re just as beautiful as she is and…” His voice took on a conspiratorial tone. “…quite frankly, I’d like to have at least one really pretty girl in the picture.”

Gina gave me a shove and said, “Don’t be a dork, dork. Go on. It’s just a picture.”

I stood up and said, “Okay. I’ll do it. I mean, it would be kinda cool to have my picture taken with a celebrity.”

Lucas grinned and said, “That’s the spirit! Just go over to that lady in the purple blouse and she’ll try to do something with your hair and give you a little make-up.”

“Make-up?” I said, feeling apprehensive.

Lucas said, “Just a little. Mascara, blush and maybe a little lipstick. That is okay with you, isn’t it Mom?”

Mom was trying hard not to break up into a fit of laughter. She said, “Oh, no. Be my guest!”

“Brilliant!” said Lucas.

“Thanks, Mom,” I said glumly. I walked over to get in the short line to wait for the woman in the purple blouse. I turned to look back at Gina and Mom. Lucas was sitting backwards in the chair I’d vacated chatting brightly with my sister. She looked totally star-struck.

When it was my turn before the purple shirted woman, she pointed at a chair in front of her. She said, “Have a seat, Miss. Well, aren’t you a pretty one. I can see why Mr. Williams went over to ask you. We already had more girls than we needed for the shoot.” She winked at me.

I flinched when she attacked me with a long brush with short bristles. The woman said, “Hold still, Miss while I apply your mascara. I don’t want to poke you in the eye.” She leaned back and looked at me and announced, “You can use some liner too.” I didn’t even breathe when she ran that thin brush around my eyes. After dusting my face with some powder of some kind, she then brushed on some lipstick. Gak. How do girls wear this crap?

Finally she pulled my hair back into a pony tail and tied it with a hair thingy. The woman held up a mirror and said, “Not bad if I say so myself, Miss. You are one pretty young lady.”

My jaw dropped when I saw my reflection. I could be Gina’s twin. I started to get a hard-on looking at myself. I screamed in my head, “Stop it!” This was terrible! I was turned on by looking at myself while I looked like my own sister. This was going to scar me for life.

“Okay, everyone,” called out the photographer. “Let’s get everyone over here to get seated.” The photographer pointed at me and said, “Okay, honey. You’re right here in the front where Mr. Williams will be seated.”

I felt humiliated. Everyone was treated and talking to me as if I was a girl. My hair in a pony tail and wearing make-up definitely wasn’t helping me any. I looked over at Mom and Gina and saw Lucas finishing his conversation with Gina and started walking over towards us.

As he stepped over some other girls to get to his seat right behind me, Lucas pointed at me and said, “You are the spitting image of your sister.” He grinned at me as he sat down.

The photographer said, “Okay, everyone. Eyes over here, not at Mr. Williams.” A wave of girlish giggles erupted at his comment. “I’m going to get several shots from this angle, and then from a different angle.”

And that he did. He raised the camera. He lowered the camera. He changed positions several times. It was quick as he finished up in around fifteen minutes. Finally, the photographer picked five girls…and me…to get a picture of Lucas handing us a signed copy of his CD.

When we were all dismissed, Lucas shook my hand and said, “It was a pleasure meeting you, Courtney. And your sister, of course.” He waved towards Mom and Gina. When I looked over at them, the man identified as Lucas’ producer was having Mom sign something. He flashed me a toothy grin and said, “Take care, love, alright?” He turned away and started talking to some woman holding a notepad.

When I walked back up to Gina and Mom, Gina was grinning like a fool. She said, “That was so cool! Let me see the CD!”

As I handed the CD to Gina, I said to Mom, “What were you signing a minute ago?”

Mom was looking at me with the oddest expression. She said, “It was just a release form so they could use your image in advertising. That was the whole point of the photos.” She touched my hair and ran her fingers down the side of my face. “That’s uncanny. With your hair like that, and make-up on, you look exactly…and I mean exactly, like Gina did at your age.”

“Cut it out, Mom,” I said with a frown. “That’s right, I’m still wearing make-up. Can we just go home now so I can wash my face? I just had the most traumatic and embarrassing moment of my life. I’m going to need therapy.”

Gina said, “Don’t be such a drama queen, dork. You’ll live.”

Mom said, “We haven’t even had lunch yet and there’re still a few stores I want to hit before we leave.”

“Maaaaaahm!” I whined. “I don’t want to go through the mall looking like this! People will think I’m a girl!”

Mom and Gina looked at each other and laughed. Gina said, “And…? Geeze Louise, dork. How many times were you mistaken for a girl BEFORE you had on make-up?”

“Sheesh, Gina!” I exclaimed. “You don’t give a crap how I feel about this do you?”

Looking annoyed, Gina said, “Do you see anyone caring how you look? Has the Earth gone spinning off into the sun? Anyone raising their arms and shouting ‘oh my God! Look! There’s a boy with eyeliner on!’” She laughed and pointed at a group of Goth teen boys going into the arcade across from the food court. “Look at all those boys wearing far more make-up than you! Deal with it.”

I looked for Mom for support, but while Gina was verbally abusing me, Mom and gone to order our lunch.

I looked back to see Gina staring at me with an odd expression. She said, “Not to be funny or anything, but Mom is right. You do look just like me a couple of years ago. Shit, you look just like me now. With better make-up, you’d have boys eating out of your hand.”

Smirking I said, “Just what I’ve always wanted. Not.”

Gina picked up her purse and started rummaging through it. She said, “Let’s try some eye shadow and you can borrow my lipstick and…”

Standing up and looking shocked, I almost shouted, “No! No no no. Just stop what you’re thinking.”

Frowning at me, Gina said, “It’s just a little make-up. Come on, it’ll be fun!”

“No,” I said sternly. “You can just put that shit back.”

“Kirk!” said Mom as she returned to the table. “What have I told you about saying words like that?”

Looking wounded, I said, “You should hear Gina! She talks like that all the time!”

“I do not!” growled Gina.

“You did just a minute ago!” I said seriously.

“Mom! Courtney is lying about me,” said Gina with a straight face.

Mom said, “Listen for number forty-two. And Gina, stop harassing your brother. And you need to watch your language too.”

*          *          *

I was so glad when Mom drove the car into the driveway. I got so tired of hearing “What a pretty girl!”, “I thought you were twins!”, “You mean you three aren’t sisters?”, “You know ma’am; she’d look just darling in this outfit!” I thought I was going to puke!

As soon as Mom unlocked the front door, I pushed past her and raced for the bathroom. I grabbed a washcloth and started scrubbing my face clean. I probably should have taken a shower as I felt I had girl cooties all over my body.

I plopped down on the couch after grabbing a controller and turning on the TV and Xbox. I said to no one in particular, “What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!”

Gina lounged on the couch next to me after grabbing a green tea from the fridge. She said, “I had fun today. I got to meet an international celebrity and I liked having a sister for a change. It wouldn’t have hurt you to do a little girl talk with me.”

As my favorite game loaded up, I said without looking at her, “I draw the line at recommending which tampon you should buy.”

Gina chuckled and said, “That was funny you have to admit. Those boys standing behind us in the grocery store staring at us and I held up two brands of tampons and asked you which one is your favorite. Have you ever seen three boys walk away so quickly?”

“That was embarrassing!” I said as I glanced over at Gina. “Do you get your jollies humiliating me?”

Gina stopped before taking a sip of her green tea, the bottle almost to her lips and said, “Is that even a real question?” She laughed, took a sip, and said, “What do you think, dork?”

“Well, enjoy it while you can, sis,” I said while taking out three opponents with one rocket. “I’m getting a haircut tomorrow. I’m tired of being mistaken for a girl!”

“No you’re not,” said Mom not looking up from the magazine she was reading on the kitchen counter. “At least not for two weeks. That paper I signed said that you’ll be available for additional photos for at least two weeks. After two weeks, they’re probably not going to call.”

“Mom! Are you crazy?” I shouted and looked back towards the kitchen. “I finally decide to get a haircut and you tell me no? If only Dad was here to hear this…”

Gina frowned and said, “Dad’s not dead. He’s just overseas. Want to bring up Skype?”

Frowning when I saw some other player come upon my currently inactive character and stick a knife in me. I said, “He’s still not here to see me, now is he?”

“He can on Skype. Want me to call him,” asked Gina. “You know he’d just think it was funny and to teach you a lesson, he’d insist you don’t get a haircut.”

Mom looked up from her magazine and said, “She’s right, you know.”

“Yeah, whatever!” I said as I returned my attention to my game. “I’m in the middle of a fire-fight anyway…”

*          *          *

Mom answered the phone. She said, “Hello? Yes, this is she.” She went several minutes with only useless nods of her head sprinkled with a few comments of “Really?”

When she hung up the phone, Mom had a strange, faraway look in her eyes. She said, “Troops. Gather ‘round. We have something to discuss.”

I got up from my watching TV and Gina got up from her Sims game and we all sat down at the barstools around the kitchen counter. “What’s up, Mom?” asked Gina.

Mom could barely contain her amusement as she said, “That was the agency representing both of your favorite Australian pop singer. After going through hundreds of photos of teen girls from around the country, they have selected five for a big photo shoot in New York. One of the five is…” Mom paused for effect though I was already expecting it was going to be bad news. “…our very own COURTNEY Sullivan!”

Gina laughed and said, “Congrats Courtney! You’re going to be famous!”

I folded my arms defensively and said, “I am not because I’m not going. No way, no how!”

Mom said sternly, “Oh yes we are. We’re all invited up for the shoot. They expect it to last two days and we can make a long weekend of it.”

Scowling, I said, “He picked me only because he wants in Gina’s pants! I’m not going to be globally humiliated just so she can get a date with a pop singer!”

Gina’s eyes flared as she shouted, “How dare you say that!”

Frowning I said, “Well, it’s true! I saw the way he looked at you and you were all giggly and bubbling.”

Gina’s face flushed as she said, “Well, I’m flattered that he finds me attractive.”

I said, “You know he has a girl in every town he goes to.”

Gina smirked and said, “Apparently not in New York.”

Mom said, “Anyway, it’s in two weeks. We need to get Courtney some clothes. And she needs to learn how to wear make-up, walk and talk and all that.”

“Hey hey hey now,” I said. “What’s this ‘she’ business? And saying ‘Courtney’? That ain’t me and I’m not going!”

Gina shouted, “Oh yes you are! I’m not missing out on a date of a life time just because you’re afraid of people thinking you’re a girl.”

“Because I’m not!” I shouted.

Mom slapped the kitchen counter with the palm of her hand and said sternly, “Knock it off, you two! Kirk, you’re going. I know it may be a bit dishonest, but it’ll good money for you and a great opportunity for the three of us to see New York. Who knows when we’d get to go again? Anyway, listen. Kirk gets his photo shoot Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is open, but…and this is a big but. We’ll be having dinner with Mr. Williams at some posh Japanese restaurant called Masa and on Saturday night, we’ll attend the Broadway musical ‘The Katzenjammer Kids’. We fly back home Sunday evening.”

Gina’s eyes brightened as she exclaimed, “Oh wow! A Broadway musical? That’s so cool. And that show has been getting rave reviews.” Gina suddenly reached over to me and gave me a giant bear hug. “I have a gold mine for a brother!”

“I can’t breathe!” I said as I tried to push my sister away from me. When she let go of me I said, “I don’t know why you keep thinking I’m going. It’s a lie, it’s a fraud…”

“It’s ten grand…” said Mom.

I stopped in mid-sentence. I looked at Mom. Then I looked at Gina. I said, “I hope they get my good side.”

*          *          *

“This is embarrassing,” I said glumly as Mom and I exited the mall beauty salon.

Mom lifted some of my newly styled hair and said, “No, seriously honey. Your hair is just gorgeous now. That style frames your face perfectly. You are most definitely a pretty girl now.”

I shook my head, my hair cascading about my shoulders as I said, “Nooo. I just look like one. I still have all my body parts.” Not only did I just get my hair styled, but before leaving the house, Gina had made me up pretty much the way she does her face. Mom said I have to start wearing make-up every day.

Mom grinned and said, “Speaking of body parts, how’s that gaffe feeling? I followed that YouTube video on making one as close as I could. I think it looks good. Those are pretty tight in the crotch jeans and you’re looking pretty natural.”

I frowned and said, “It feels okay. It’s a snug fit. Can we go home now?”

“You need shoes, remember?” said Mom. “You might look exactly like your sister, but your feet are a bit bigger. And a few blouses and another pair of pants.”

We entered Mom’s favorite shoe store and after a few minutes of browsing (I kept looking at boy’s sneakers), Mom handed me a box and said, “Here. Try these on.”

I opened the box and inside was a pair of black, patent leather three inch pumps. I put the lid back on the box and said, “This is a joke, right?”

“Try those on. They’re going to expect you to know how to walk around in heels,” Mom said. “You need to spend a lot of time in those until we leave Tuesday.”

I sat down on a nearby bench and took one of the shoes out of the box. I studied it for a moment, wondering just why the hell a girl would want to wear such thing. I took my shoe off. I was wearing knee high hose instead of socks. I slipped the high heel on. Mom has a really good eye. The shoe fit perfectly. I tried on the other and stood up. I was a bit wobbly at first, but it wasn’t too bad. I took a few steps around, expecting to go crashing into a rack of shoes, but managed to stay on my feet.

Mom smiled at me and said, “You’re a natural!”

“I just have good balance, Mom. I don’t see the point in shoes like this,” I said as I strutted around in the heels.

“Well, they look sexy. They make you feel sexy. They make your legs look longer and they make your calf muscle more pronounced to make your legs shapelier,” said Mom as she watched me walk. “Are you going to tell me you don’t feel more feminine wearing those?”

I didn’t reply as I walked up and down the aisle. I didn’t want to admit it that I did feel feminine wearing high heels. The shoes changed the whole mechanics of walking, from the size of my step to even how my toes were pointed. With each step, my confidence grew that wearing heels wouldn’t be a big problem.

“Is that a smile I see?” asked Mom as she watched me walk.

I stopped walking and just said, “No.” I sat down and took the shoes off.

Mom said, “You did very well, sweetie. I don’t think I took to heels that quickly. I think this photo shoot is going to be a breeze.”

I laughed and said, “Just because I can wear high heels?” I looked around and lowered my voice and said, “Mom, I still think this is crazy! I think we’re all, especially me, facing some jail time for fraud.”

Mom frowned and said, “We’ve had this discussion before. We never told them you were a girl. They just assumed that.”

In a whispered shout, I said “Bullshit!” I looked around to make sure I didn’t gain any unwanted attention. I continued in a whisper, “On that form you signed, you lied about my gender and my name. That makes this fraud. It’d be a scandal for them if I was found out.”

“They’re not going to find out, are they?” said Mom looking stern. “I’ve already stipulated with them that you won’t do lingerie or bathing suit pictures. They said they weren’t interested in those kinds of pictures. They see in you a fresh-faced girl-next-door type. You’ve seen those ads where it’s just some model’s face or even a body, but they’re not holding a product or anything. That’s all they want to do and then we go home. How many times do I have to repeat this to you?”

I held one of the black shiny pumps and rolled it in my hand. I said, “I also think you’re enjoying dressing me up as a girl way too much. You’ve been brushing my hair out every night. You tell me I have to wear make-up. I have to wear a bra and panties. You’ve turned into a pageant mom or something.”

Mom smiled and said, “I just don’t want them to have any reason to doubt you, honey. There’s a lot riding on you being convincing.”

Frowning I said, “Yeah Mom. A lot riding for you and Gina. I get money, that they pay you, we get a trip to New York, a free over-priced dinner, a Broadway show and Gina gets banged by a pop singer.”

Looking incensed, Mom said, “That is not true at all. And don’t say things like that about your sister. Do you honestly think I’d allow my own daughter to…well, Mr. Williams isn’t interested in…he’s just being nice to us. And your sister is just trying to help you.”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, because she wants to get banged by Lucas!”

“Put those back in the box,” Mom said through gritted teeth. “We have more shopping to do.”

*          *          *

I’d felt weird the whole flight and now that we were walking through that long tunnel from the plane to the terminal, I felt even weirder. I honestly thought that after a week of wearing girl’s clothes and make-up every day that I wouldn’t notice it any longer. But having my hair bouncing around my shoulders, my large, hoop earrings dancing against my neck, the make-up, then nail polish, the short denim skirt, I just felt completely weird. I know it was my imagination, but I felt that every eye was on me. Well, there was a boy that stared at me the whole time. And that dirty old man kept staring at me the whole time too.

Mom and my sister walked on either side of me as if trying to protect me. I liked to think that, but I know there was only one thought bouncing around in that vacuous, empty skull of hers and that was Lucas Williams. With Mom, I could almost hear those cash register bells going off inside her head. As for me, aside from feeling weird, I just watched all the strange looking people you see in airports. And I hoped everything was secure and wouldn’t pop out at an embarrassing moment.

It was more than a bit unnerving to see guys, especially older men, turn and watch Gina and I pass by them. More than once I noticed some young guy talking to a friend nod his head in our direction and then they both turn to watch us walk by. Having people notice you and watch you go by was a new experience for me. When I mentioned it to Gina, she just told me to get used to it and just be glad they weren’t pointing at me and laughing.

After we picked up our luggage, which was probably suspiciously less than what you’d expect for three women, we saw a man standing in the lobby holding a sign. Actually, there were several such guys, but only one holding a sign that said, “Sullivan.” He must be our ride as he was dressed in what looked to me like a chauffeur uniform.

As we approached him, he lowered his sign and said, “Miss Sullivan?” I nodded. He looked at my Mom and said, “Ms. Sullivan?” She nodded and he lastly looked at my sister and said, “Miss Sullivan?”

Instead of nodding, Gina said, “We’re the Sullivans if you haven’t guessed yet.”

Coughing a short chuckle, the man said, “I just wanted to make sure I had the correct party. Last week I was already leaving the airport when I discovered I had picked up the wrong family. Please come this way.”

There was a limousine parked by the curb waiting for us. As the driver loaded our bags in the back of the limo, I said to Mom, “Wow, Mom. This is so cool. Free limo service all week!”

The driver looked up from behind the trunk and said, “Oh, I’m sorry Miss. I’m just to take you to your hotel. I have a Quinceanera party to pick up in an hour.”

Mom shrugged and said, “Well, according to the email I got before we left, our hotel is only a block from the studio where they’ll be doing your photo shoot.”

I frowned and said, “I was hoping for more perks.”

Gina laughed and said, “It’s not like you’re a star, sis! You just have a face they like. MY face, by the way. Apparently I’m too old for their demographic.”

I made a motion like I was playing a violin. I said, “What are you complaining about? You’re getting your dream date.”

Gina gave me a sly look and said, “Sounds like someone is jealous!”

Scowling, I said, “Don’t be stupid. Why would I be jealous of that?”

Mom was silent as we climbed into the back of the limo. After the car entered traffic, Mom said, “Oh, Courtney. There’s something I need to tell you. I didn’t mention it before because I was worried you’d try to back out again. Friday night for the dinner and probably for the Broadway show as well, the studio is providing you with a date. They thought it’d look bad if you didn’t have an escort of some kind and there’s a boy they’re promoting as well. So you get a dream date as well.”

My jaw dropped in shock. “Mom!” I squealed. “How could you keep that from me? That’s not a dream, that’s a nightmare! I…I…I don’t want to have a date with a boy!”

Gina grunted and poked me in the ribs. She said, “You’re not sleeping with him, dork. It’s just a photo op.”

“This is just great!” I whined. “Now I’ll be worrying about that all week.”

“It’s no big deal,” said Mom. “It’s not like a real date. And I have a date too. The producer will be escorting me to the dinner. And don’t get excited. I’ve cleared it with your father.”

Furrowing my brow, I said, “Dad knows about this little adventure?”

Mom shrugged and said, “Sort of…”

Gina said, “Besides, Court. He’s probably some pimple-faced little dweeb who’ll have his head glued to his iPad the whole time.”

“This just isn’t worth it,” I sighed.

Mom said, “Oh yes it is.”

*          *          *

“Okay, here it is,” said Mom as we stood outside the entrance to the building where the studio was. We were up pretty early and I was surprised at how many people were out and about. I wasn’t wearing any make-up per the instructions that had been sent to Mom and dressed just in jeans and a t-shirt. I was wearing a bra, but no padding. I had nothing up front when I was selected in the first place.

As Mom started towards the door, I just stopped and said, “I don’t want to go. I’m scared shitless, Mom. I mean, now it’s real. People are going to be taking pictures of me, thinking I’m really a girl and paying me. It’s fraud on a grand scale!”

Mom frowned at me and said, “No time for cold feet now, honey. Besides, they picked you. It’s not like you were trying out for this.”

Looking sheepish, Gina said, “Oh. I really thought you had seen the ad in the newspaper. I didn’t’ see it until we had gotten back from the mall that day. All the girls there, well except for Kirk, were basically trying out for this big ad campaign. Lucas kinda cheated a bit when he selected Kirk…or rather Courtney to be in the contest without registering first. While you were getting your picture taken, Lucas confided in me that I was the one he really wanted for his ad campaign, but the contest was only open to girls twelve to sixteen – his main fan demographic. He said that since Courtney looked exactly like me, that he’d pick her and the contest was just a formality.”

Several conflicting emotions passed through me. Oddly, it bothered me that Lucas had really wanted Gina and I was choice number two. It also bothered me that I didn’t really “beat out” thousands of girls from across the country. The decision had been made in the mall that day of the pictures.

“That makes this easy, doesn’t it?” I said folding my arms. “I’ll go back to the hotel and watch TV and you can just call yourself Courtney and you get your picture taken.”

Gina said, “I really don’t look sixteen anymore. And besides, it wouldn’t work because I have a lunch date with Lucas. Sorry.”

Scowling, I said, “So I’m just a pawn in your social life. Is dating a celebrity so important that you’ll prostitute your own brother?”

“You’re not being prostituted, dork!” said Gina. “You’re just being photographed.”

Mom said, “I wish you’d mentioned that contest thing sooner, Gina. But that’s water under the bridge now. Let’s just go do this. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day.”

*          *          *

“Okay, people. It’s going to be a long day. Let’s get this started!” shouted a man who I learned a bit later was directing all the photography and video we were shooting today. “Where’s the girl? We’re already behind schedule.” I was in the changing room with Mom and Gina.

Gina was helping me into my first costume change. It really wasn’t hard to put on the dress, but she helped with the zipper in the back and helped smooth out the skirt. The first place they had taken me was for hair and make-up. Wow. I had never worn so much make-up before. Not that it was heavy, but so extensive.

Gina opened the door and said, “You’re on, Courtney. Break a leg or whatever models do.”

Mom said, “Wait just a second!” She took a picture of me with her cell phone. Tears started forming in her eyes as she said, “You are just so beautiful! God I’m lucky to have such gorgeous daughters!”

I looked at Mom and said, “Mom. You only have one…”

Gina said, “Scoot! They’re waiting for you. They’re going to start billing us if you don’t get out there.”

I walked into the main studio. Lucas Williams was standing there casually looking suave in his coat and tie standing on green flooring and in front of a large green wall. He waved at Gina.

I learned later they’d insert whatever background they wanted using the green screen. When I saw the ads on TV a month or so later, I could really believe we had been at those locations.

Looking at me, the director, a Mr. Sweeny, said, “First we’re going to shoot the Los Angeles promos, then you’ll change dresses for the New York promo and change again for the Dallas promo, etc, etc. After that, you’ll change into a bikini for the beach ad video and finally before we break for lunch, the Disney World contest promotion.”

“Bikini?” I said, shocked.

Looking impatient, Mr. Sweeny said, “Is there a problem, sweetie?”

I pointed at my chest and said honestly, “I don’t have any boobs.”

Mr. Sweeny allowed a smile to flash on his otherwise impatient face and said, “That’s perfect, honey. We’re selling cute, not sex. Now stand next to Mr. Williams, please.”

I stepped over to where Lucas was standing on the green floor. He took my hand and kissed my fingers. Nobody’s ever done that to me before!

Still holding my hand, Lucas said, “Good to see you again, Courtney. Let’s have some fun today.” His smile and attitude made me feel suddenly more relaxed.

I was handed a book and a pen by one of the staff. Mr. Sweeny said, “Okay, we’re going to take some shots of Mr. Williams and the girl running up to get his autograph. And a few shots of Mr. Williams and the girl looking like they’re sight-seeing.”

I frowned for a moment. Why was Lucas “Mr. Williams” and I was just “the girl?” Well, I was a nobody after all I guess.

For the next several hours, I went back and forth to change into different dresses. We did basically the same thing each time with me pretending to ask for his autograph and checking out invisible sights. Lucas was all pro. He could instantly turn on his smile on cue and he would always say something funny to make me laugh during the shoots.

Then came the set of pictures I was dreading the most. Thank God the producers decided that a bikini sent the wrong message for their ads and changed it to a one piece. Mom had been worried that she’d be able to trim the edges of the gaff down enough for it to hide in the bikini bottom. Even though I still had no boobs, I felt a lot more comfortable in the one piece bathing suit.

When I came out of the dressing room, Lucas had changed into a surfer’s wet suit and was holding a surf board. I was handed a board as well. They took several pictures of us as if we were standing on the beach. Then they did something unexpected. They dumped water on both of us. They didn’t bother to warm it up, either. To my dismay, I now had nipples showing through the wet bathing suit.

The staff brought out a couple of stands to elevate the surf boards and then we were told to stand on top of them and pretend we were surfing. As we stood there posing, a couple of staff members sprayed water on us. From his posing, it was evident that this wasn’t Lucas’ first time on a surf board.

Laughing at our soaked condition, Mr. Sweeny said seriously, “Okay. One last costume change and back to hair and make-up for this last shoot before lunch. This will be the last shoot that we’ll need Mr. Williams.”

After drying off and getting my hair dried and make-up touched up, I was sent off for a costume change into a pink tank top and a short denim skirt. While I had been changing clothes, they had brought out a small bench painted the same green as the wall and floor. A microphone stand was sitting on top.

As I walked up, I heard Mr. Sweeny talking to Lucas. He said, “We can use this video for all the promotions. After I say action, act like you’re singing one of your songs on a concert stage. The girl will run up to you on the stage. You’ll look down at her and then pull her up to stand with you. We’ll have a step there so you won’t have to actually lift her. At that point she starts dancing with you.” He looks around and said, “Is the girl here? Ah, good. Think you can handle that, honey?”

“Sure!” I lied. I don’t dance. And I certainly never danced like a girl. I tried to picture what Gina looked like when she would dance and prance around the house while listening to Lucas Williams’ on her iPod. I looked over at Mom and Gina and both were biting their lip, looking worried.

We waited for what seemed like forever, but were probably only fifteen minutes or so for the videographer to set up his camera at just the right angle to make the bench seem like a stage. Lucas had gone off to a dressing room to change into one of his concert costumes.

When Lucas returned, the director said, “Mr. Williams if I can get you up on the stage and the girl, I need you camera left right where I’ve marked the floor with black tape. When I say action, Mr. Williams will start singing. We’ll play a recording so you can get the lip sync right. We’ll dub in the sound later along with actual concert footage.” Turning to me he said, “When I point to you, I need you to run screaming and excited up to the stage right next to the step. Mr. Williams will point at you and you’ll reach up to him. He’ll take your hand and that’s when you put a foot on the step and then step up on the stage. Once on the stage, scream and act excited and then start dancing with Mr. Williams. After the shot, we’ll move the step to the other side of the bench and you’ll do the exact same thing from the other direction. I want this right the first time. I’m up against the clock here folks.”

Mr. Sweeny put on his head phones, then pointed at the camera operator and said, “Start rolling…” He then pointed at Lucas and said, “Action!” He then held his arm up, ready to point to me. I was trying to watch both Lucas and Mr. Sweeny. His arm came down and he pointed at me. I ran excitedly, arms waving around, up to the mock stage. Lucas smiled down at me as he sang. He then pointed at me as I continued to scream excitedly. He reached for me and took my hand and pretended to pull me onto the stage.

I shouted, “Oh my God! I can’t believe it!” I shook my head excitedly, my hair flying. I then started to do my impression of a dance along with Lucas which seemed to amuse him.

“Cut!” called Mr. Sweeny. “Okay, great job. Let’s get that step moved, and sugar if you’d move to that mark on the floor on camera right, where you’ll be out of frame. Great, perfect. Okay reset the music, positions, camera and action!”

We then repeated everything we’d done before. When he yelled, “Cut!” Mr. Sweeny looked exhausted.

Mr. Sweeny said, “Thanks everyone. Great job!” He shook hands with Lucas and said, “Great working with you again, Mr. Williams. You’re done for the day. See you next time.”

Lucas said, “The pleasure was all mine, Tom. You always do great work. And you always get my good side!” He laughed.

Mr. Sweeny turned to me and said, “Thank you. Great job. This is your first time to model? Really? Well, I’d be willing to bet this won’t be your last. Go get lunch and be back here in about an hour and a half. You’ll be working with a new photographer for the afternoon session. His name is Chad Bolin. You’ll also be working some with your male counterpart. You’ll be working with Chad and the boy all day tomorrow too. Chad’ll take you around to various places here in the city tomorrow. Today it’ll be more green screen work. It’s been a pleasure.” He shook my hand and turned and left.

Lucas walked up to Gina and said, “Are you ready? I know a great place right across from Central Park.”

As Lucas took Gina’s hand, she turned to me and said, “You did wonderful, sis! I’m proud of you. You almost looked like you knew what you were doing.”

Lucas acted like he was tipping his hat, although he wasn’t wearing one and said, “Ms. Sullivan. Thank you for letting me take your other gorgeous daughter out to lunch. If it’s okay with you, I’ll show her around Times Square and other points of interest. I’ll bring her back to the studio about the time Courtney should be wrapping up her shoot.”

Mom gave Gina a hug. She said, “Be careful and have fun.”

Lucas laughed and said, “Isn’t that an oxymoron?” He stopped laughing when Mom gave him a stern look. Gina waved and flashed me a knowing grin as they walked away.

I looked at Mom and said, “I guess we’re on our own, huh. I saw a McDonald’s just up the street from here.”

Mom looked horrified and said, “We’re not going to come to New York City and eat at a McDonald’s! My taste buds are set for Italian.”

*          *          *

The cab let us out at the studio’s entrance. I looked at my cell phone and said, “If we’d gone to McDonald’s, we’d be back by now and we could have walked there. Now we’re ten minutes late getting back.”

Mom shook her head and said, “You’re not my daughter if you’d prefer Chicken McNuggets to what we had for lunch. That was the best I’ve ever tasted!”

I frowned as we entered the studio. I said, “I’m not your daughter and yes, I like junk food.”

“You barely ate just one slice of your pizza,” said Mom.

“How was I supposed to know one slice was bigger than the plate!” I exclaimed.

We walked into the room where we had had my pictures taken that morning. It was largely empty. A couple of the crew were milling about towards the back. A young man, probably in his late twenties was sitting in a metal folding chair. He stood up when we entered and walked towards us, his hand extended towards Mom.

“Hello. I’m Chad Bolin. And you must be the Sullivan sisters,” Chad said, flashing a smile.

Mom giggled at the rather blatant compliment. She said, “This is my daughter, Courtney.”

Chad shook Mom’s hand as he said, “You’re her mother? I could have sworn you were twins. Anyway, it’s nice to meet you both. Oh, here comes the boy model.”

Mom and I both turned to see a guy around my age walking in with his mother. At least I guess it was his mother. I was expecting a drooling, unwashed mouth-breathing geek with oily, unkempt hair and pasty skin from playing video games in their parent’s basement for months on end.

“You must be Josh Peterson. Glad you could make it,” said Chad. “This girl standing next to the pile of clothes is my lovely assistant, Angie.” Angie grinned at us and waved.

While Chad was introducing himself to the new arrivals, Mom whispered in my ear, “I was going to just go back to the hotel room after getting you started here. But oh myyy…that Chad is just gorgeous! Don’t you think so?”

I grunted and said, “You’re married, Mom! What would Dad say? And I’ll agree that he’s a good looking guy.”

Mom waved her hand dismissively and said, “Oh, your father is over-seas. There’s nothing wrong with looking.”

Grinning at how my mom was behaving, I said, “You’re drooling.”

She wiped her chin and said, “I am not.”

Chad was looking at us as he said, “If you’re done, everyone gather around. I’m going to fill you in on what we’re going to be doing today and tomorrow. We’re going to have some fun, but we need to stay professional and work hard to get this done. I have a tiny budget to get our client the pictures they need for their ad campaign. Like I said, we’re going to have fun. It’s going to be fast. If you’ve modeled before…oh neither of you? Well, if you had, it’d be a different experience.”

“Who’s the client?” asked Josh Peterson.

Chad allowed a flicker of annoyance to cross his face. He said, “I was going to get to that, but since you asked, it’s Cover Girl cosmetics. Don’t frown, Josh. You’re going to have fun. I guarantee it.”

Chad cleared his throat and took a deep breath. He said, “Like I said, I have a razor thin budget, most of it going to rent this studio for this afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll meet outside this studio and I’ll take you all around various places in the city for some pictures that we just can’t create in a studio. The final shots late in the afternoon will be at a cathedral during a wedding ceremony. The wedding party has graciously allowed us a few minutes to use them as background.

“What we’re doing is shooting a year’s worth of advertising photos in a day and a half. The pictures in these ads will tell a hopefully humorous story of a young couple going through the trials and tribulations of dating culminating in a marriage.”

With a curious expression I said, “So you’re just using twelve pictures?”

Chad smiled and said, “Oh no no no. Each month, in magazines you’re familiar with, like Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, Teen Vogue, etc, there will be at least six pages interspersed throughout the magazine with the pictures of you two doing something funny or odd with humorous captions. Of course it also involves the client’s products.”

Josh wiped his nose and said, “Are we being paid for this?”

Looking annoyed again, Chad said, “The agency is paying you. You should have already signed your contracts and stuff. I’m not paying you myself. In fact, I had to pay the agency a fee for the rights to shoot you kids. I’m contracted with Cover Girl. Cover Girl wanted to get in on this whole Lucas Williams promotion stuff. I don’t think you’d be really interested in all that legal crap. I know I’m not. Oh, while Cover Girl isn’t paying you directly, you do get some benefits. For Courtney, she gets a year’s free supply of Cover Girl products. And for you, Josh, you get your pick of two games every month from GameStop for the next twelve months. Sixty dollar limit on each game.”

I said, “Hey, I like to play video games too!”

Chad shrugged and said, “I suppose you can swap with Josh, but I have a feeling he’s not going to want a year’s supply of make-up.”

Josh laughed and said, “You’re right on that!”

Chad stood up, clasped his hands together and said, “Okay, team. Let’s spend an hour doing a bunch of goofy pictures. We’ll take the ones that are the best as well as come closest to the story we’re trying to tell, and add the backgrounds, etc later.”

Chad’s assistant would stand by with a new costume change as we went through first a rotation of just acting goofy, both individually and together with Josh and I. It was fun, but got a bit tiring, always changing clothes. Then he started having us pose with objects. Some were just regular objects like a radio or a vase. Some items I couldn’t tell by the shape as they were painted green like the background.

“Okay, this next round is going to involve touching,” announced Chad after another change of clothes. “I want to get a few shots of you guys holding hands, then hugging and then a few kissing.”

“Say what?” I said with a shocked tone. “I don’t remember anything about kissing.”

Chad frowned and said, “It’s all in the contract you signed. This isn’t like real kissing. If you’re going to be a professional model, you have to expect something like this. I mean, it’s like acting, right? We’ll start off with a few kisses on the cheek.”

Frowning I said, “And then what?”

Getting annoyed, Chad said, “Yes, you’re going to have to kiss him on the lips. The story we’re creating requires it.”

Josh grinned like a fool and said, “Alright!”

My stomach starting to turn in knots, I said, “Can I get a stunt double?”

Chad growing angry said, “Look. I don’t have the time or the budget to replace you with another girl and re-shoot all this. It’s just a kiss for Christ’s sake. There’s nothing to it.”

Scowling, I said, “You kiss him then!”

Chad started to say something, but Mom waved him off and came over to me. She said, “Courtney, honey. Just kiss the boy. You’ve kissed your dog, so kissing a cute boy should be easy.”

Josh frowned and said, “I’m not sure, but I think I’ve just been insulted.”

I sucked in a deep breath and said, “Okay, okay. I’ll do it. Don’t everyone get their panties in a wad. I’ll do it.”

Chad looked relieved and said, “Okay. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to business. We only have an hour left today.”

The hugging and hand holding went by without any problem. I could handle hugging and even snuggling with a guy. Him holding my hand was pretty painless. But I did hesitate when it came to giving Josh a kiss on the cheek. I rationalized it by telling myself that it’s just skin and until Josh grows facial hair, I can’t tell the difference between boy skin and girls’ skin. Except that girls’ skin is smoother, softer and girls smell better.

Chad said, “Okay. I need you two stand right there and let me get into position. When I say ‘go’, count to five and then kiss him on the cheek. Remember, you’re kissing your boyfriend, okay? Okay…go.”

I closed my eyes, not to be sensual but because I didn’t want to see who I was kissing and leaned in and gave Josh a light kiss on the cheek. My lips didn’t burn off and I didn’t feel nauseated. Thankfully there were no sparks either. I’d have to have a serious talk with myself if there were. It was just my lips against someone’s face. It really could have been anyone. That’s what I told myself anyway. I also hoped my lipstick would act like a protective barrier. I heard Chad’s camera clicking away.

Frowning, Chad said, “Okay so maybe Josh isn’t your type. It doesn’t matter. Just pretend he’s every boy you ever wanted to kiss and how much fun that’d be. Okay? Let’s try again.”

At his unspoken signal, Chad’s assistant, Angie, came over and wiped my lipstick mark from Josh’s face and then touched up my lipstick. How wonderful I thought. I get to kiss Josh again.

Chat said, “Positions. And…go.” The camera started clicking.

Well if that idea didn’t make things worse. I hesitated for just a moment, and then I smiled slightly amused that Chad would have no idea that I never ever had any desire to kiss any boys. I closed my eyes as I leaned in with the slight smile still on my lips and kissed Josh again on the cheek. I hoped that was good because I knew Chad would have me kiss Josh over and over until he got what he wanted.

Chad grinned and said, “Okay. That was perfect! Get ready because now Josh gets to kiss you. Does this bother you any, Josh?”

“Not one tiny bit, Chad!” grinned Josh. Chad’s assistant cleaned Josh’s cheek again as well as fixing my make-up again.

“Okay. Positions and…go!” said Chad.

I twisted my face up when I felt Josh’s lips against my cheek.

Chad actually laughed. He said, “I like that. I’ll find a use for that image. But for now, Courtney, I want you to act like Josh’s lips aren’t coated with acid, okay? You want him to kiss you, okay? Okay. Positions…go!”

Just as his lips touched my cheek, Josh goosed me and I laughed because it tickled.

Chad said, “That’s more like it. Now just one more thing and we can quit for the day. I need you two to kiss on the lips. No tongue, no open-mouth kisses. Just an innocent little kiss. I see that look on your face, Courtney. Just act professional, okay?”

I looked over at Mom for support and she just laughed.

Chad said, “Okay. Now face each other and stand pretty close. Angie will fix your make-up between each kiss. I want about five takes. Remember Courtney, he’s your boyfriend.”

Josh licked his lips and grinned at me. He said, “Yes, I’m your boyfriend.”

I wanted to rip those lips right off his face, but instead I said, “Let’s just do this. I’m tired.”

Chad said, “Okay…go!”

I leaned in towards Josh’s face, closing my eyes. Just as our lips touched, everyone was startled by, “Oh my God!” Gina had chosen that exact moment to return from her lunch date with Lucas.

Looking pissed, Chad said, “Who is this?” Angie just shrugged.

Mom said, “That’s my other daughter, Gina.”

“Bad timing, Gina,” frowned Chad. “That shot was going to be perfect. Angie, go lock that door and come back to fix Courtney’s lipstick.” Angie waved a salute at Chad and ran over to the door.

As Angie was walking back, Gina leaned over to whisper in my ear, “Oh my God. That photographer is gorgeous! I sure wouldn’t mind kissing him!”

Impatient, Chad said, “Gina. Would you mind standing over there with your mother? Thanks. Okay, let’s try this again.”

As she walked away, I said, “Thanks sis. Now I have to kiss him again.”

Gina grinned and said, “Anything I can do to help!”

Chad looked sternly at me and said, “Are you done?”

Looking annoyed, Josh said, “Am I so terrible that you can’t bring yourself to kiss me?”

Feeling suddenly ashamed, I quickly said, “Oh no, Josh! Of course not. I’m just not used to doing this is all. You’re actually pretty cute.” I expected my tongue to burst into flames for saying a boy was cute, but nothing happened.

Gina smiled from where she was standing next to Mom and said, “He’s very cute, Court.”

Chad said, “Okay, guys. Focus. Let’s get this shot done so we can all go home. I think we’re all tired.”

I smiled at Josh to reassure him. He grinned back at me. Chad lifted his camera.

Josh said, “The blow job pictures are tomorrow, right?”

“That’s not funny!” I said, laughing. I pretended to whack him on the side of his head.

Chad said, “Okay…go!”

Grinning, I leaned in and we kissed. Just a light kiss. There were no tingles and oddly no feelings of disgust. For a moment I was just numbed from knowing I had just kissed a boy. The cheek kisses didn’t really count. Josh gave me the oddest smile. We repeated this kiss with Chad changing angles both of us changing our approach to each other.

Chad said, “Okay. That wraps up things for today. I think you two are finally friends enough to make tomorrow’s shoot go smoother. It’s going to be fun tomorrow. We’re going to hit a lot of places around the city and have the big finale at that cathedral.”

We all said our good-byes and left the building. It was a little after seven o’clock and still light out, but I was totally beat. As our hotel was close, we decided to walk to give our legs a stretch.

As we walked, Gina turned towards me and said, “That Josh is pretty cute. Maybe you should ask him out or something?”

I stopped in my tracks and said, “Seriously? You’re going to start that crap?”

Gina shrugged and said, “Sorry. Looking at you it’s so easy to forget you’re not really a girl. When I was your age, I was like totally boy-crazy. I guess I just keep thinking you’re the same since you look just like me!”

I started walking again as I said, “Well I’m not the same.”

Gina couldn’t stop. She said, “You kissed him. How was it? Did you like it?”

I shrugged and said, “It was just a kiss. We weren’t doing it because we liked each other. It felt weird kissing someone while wearing lipstick. If you think that now I’m going to want to start kissing boys, you have another think coming.”

Gina glanced over at me and said, “Well, I can tell you something for sure. Josh really liked kissing you. It was pretty obvious.”

I frowned, “That’s his problem.”

Trying to change the subject, Mom said, “How was your lunch date with Lucas?”

Gina grinned a mile wide and said, “It was wonderful, Mom. He’s such a nice guy and very funny. He had a lot of stories about crazy things that happened on his tours and concerts.”

“You were gone long enough,” I said. “Did you get laid?”

“Kirk! What an awful thing to ask your sister!” admonished Mom.

Frowning at me, Gina said, “No, dork. I didn’t. And, unlike my little brother, I didn’t even get a kiss. So when it comes to the men in our lives, you’re way ahead of me.”

I closed my eyes and put my hands over my ears and said, “Make it stop!”

When we made it back to our room, Mom and I were really too tired to go out anywhere so she ordered room service. I barely finished eating before I fell asleep.

*          *          *

“Good morning everyone!” said an overly cheerful Chad standing on the sidewalk next to a motor home parked outside the studio. “Thanks for being here on time. Everyone is welcome to come along, but it is going to be a bit cramped.” He patted the motor home and said, “This baby is loaded with clothes. Okay. Let’s go. We have a busy day!”

Chad opened the door on the side of the motor home and waved each of us in. He wasn’t kidding about the space. The bed and other spaces that made it a home on wheels had been removed and racks of clothes put in their spaces. We found a place to sit and Chad closed the door and worked his way to the driver’s seat and started the engine.

I really wasn’t ready for a day like this. It was quite a whirl-wind jaunt around New York City. Chad really knew his way around so we didn’t get tied up in traffic. We hit all over Central Park. Chad shot pictures of Josh and me eating at charming little sidewalk bistros, pizzerias with the biggest slices of pizza I’ve ever seen! We went to an office building and went through the motions of getting a marriage license with Chad’s camera snapping away. Every place we had to change clothes. I felt embarrassed to stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building while wearing a bright red evening gown with long white gloves and matching three inch pumps. No matter where we went or how we were dressed, everyone around us acted like they see this every day.

We did a lot of different poses at each location. Some serious and some silly. And of course, we had to kiss. We had to kiss with me hanging upside down, laying in the grass in Central Park and while holding hands looking out onto the New York skyline from the Empire State Building.

Finally, getting towards late afternoon, Chad pulls the motor home up to a very ornate looking church. There are already a lot of cars, but Chad actually has a reserved parking spot. After he kills the engine, he turns to face us and said, “Okay. This is our final shoot. Welcome to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Josh, this is where you and Courtney will be getting married.”

I said, “It’s so sudden…”

“Isn’t it though?” said Chad. “Okay. While we’re going to take a little more time than we have for other locations today, we still need to do this quickly. We’re delaying an actual wedding.” He got up and went to the back. He started fumbling around in the racks and said, “Angie, do you know where the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses are?”

Angie rolled her eyes and said, “I already have them out, boss. Here’s Courtney’s jewelry as well.”

Addressing Mom and Gina, Chad said, “Okay. Ladies, I’m glad you came along. If you’d like an unpaid cameo in the pics, I’ll need a mom and someone to play a maid of honor for pics of our lovely bride getting ready. Your bridesmaid dresses match the actual bridesmaids for the wedding so I can have them in background shots. Okay. Everyone grab an outfit and let’s go inside. Be very careful with the dresses. They’re rented and they are very expensive.”

Mom picked up the wedding gown and held it up and said, “Oh my God. This dress is gorgeous! You are going to look just beautiful in this dress, Courtney!”

Gina laughed and said, “The top even hides your lack of boobage.”

Angie laughed as she gathered up some equipment said, “It was really hard to find a really nice gown for such a flat chested girl. I’ll use make-up to fake some cleavage.”

I was suddenly self-conscious and said, “I guess I’m lacking a bit up here.”

Angie set a box down on the side walk and looked at me. She said with a grin, “I was a late bloomer myself. Don’t sweat it, hon. You’ll get there.”

I glanced around at Angie, Gina and even Mom all with their nicely shaped breasts. I self-consciously touched my chest. I was wearing a bra of course. There just wasn’t anything in there. I found myself heaving a sigh at my lack of breasts and how wrong Angie was about me eventually getting some. There was something magical about boobs and I didn’t mean that in the way most guys would.

We all turned towards the cathedral and took one step and stopped. Gina said, “What a beautiful place! How did you manage to get a shoot here?”

Chad chuckled and said, “I made a hefty donation to the parish, and a heft monetary gift to the couple who actually are getting hitched here. They were more than happy to allow me fifteen or twenty minutes. But not much more than that. I’ll come back at a later date to get the exterior shots. Okay. For now, I need you guys in the room where the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready.”

“What about me?” asked Josh. “Where do you want me to go?”

Chad said, “Change in the motor home. I left your tux on the table. Lock the door when you come out. I need you to head to the sanctuary when you go inside where the real groom will be standing.”

I carried my dress, holding the hanger high so the dress wouldn’t drag the ground. Mom and Gina could gently fold their dresses over for easier carrying. Angie struggled with a box of equipment.

As we entered the cathedral, we were directed to a room at the back. Inside the room were bridesmaids adjusting their dresses and checking their make-up. I looked around, confused as to where I was supposed to go.

A woman who looked annoyed that we were there pointed to a door in the back of the room. She said, “Miss. You can use that room to change. Please make this quick.”

“Yes ma’am,” I said as I headed to the door. Mom and Gina followed.

The room behind the door was little more than a glorified closet.

“Isn’t this exciting?” said Mom with a giggle as I stripped down to my bra and panties. “This is a famous cathedral and you’re getting married in it!”

“Mom, cut it out!” I said with a frown. “I’m not really getting married. But it is cool we get to do a shoot here. This place is awesome.”

Less enthused, Gina said wearing only her underwear, “Yeah. Awesome. This must be the only room in the whole building without a vaulted ceiling or capacity for a hundred people.”

While we really had no choice, it struck me as very odd to see Mom, my sister and myself all standing in a small room wearing only bra and panties. Back home, if I’d walked into Gina’s room while she was only in her underwear, she’d scream and throw things at me and of course, who wants to see their mother in their underwear. But this all seemed somehow normal.

We were all dressed and Mom was pulling on various parts of my dress when Angie cracked open the door and said, “Okay, guys. We’ll do your make-up out here where there’s more room. Make it quick. We don’t want to make these nice people wait longer than needed. And careful with the jewelry. Don’t forget it’s rented.”

Mom stepped back from me and said with a grin, “That dress is gorgeous! So lovely. You’re a beautiful bride, Courtney.”

“Thanks, Mom,” I said. I saw no point in making an issue about whether I was a bride or not. There’s no doubt the dress was pretty with a lace neckline that hid the fact that I had no boobage. Well, this was going to be my last modeling gig, so I didn’t have to worry about boobage any longer.

I could no longer deny to myself that I felt pretty in this dress. I’ve been dressing solid as a girl for the past several days and of course around the house for the past couple of weeks so I’d gotten more than a bit used to girl type compliments like “you’re pretty”, and “I love your hair”, and “nice shoes!” But when I looked at myself in the lone mirror in the small room, before the finishing touches had been made to my hair and make-up, I finally just gave up and admitted to myself that I was one pretty girl. Not to brag or anything. That disconnect that I had always felt before between what I saw in the mirror and the person I knew I was had evaporated. The dress was gorgeous. I felt so feminine wearing the white, three inch pumps on my feet. The dangling pearl earrings and the beautiful pearl necklace just set the image of me as a young woman about to be married.

I looked over at my mom and sister. Mom’s dress was a bit different. Apparently she wasn’t a bridesmaid. She was beautiful. Funny that I’d that never really thought of her as a woman. She was just always “Mom”. She really was a beautiful woman and feminine. It was then I noticed that I shared many of her facial features. And Gina, in her dress was beautiful as well. Don’t ever tell her I said that. You see the pictures, but don’t really make that connection with people you see every day, especially those you might have a slight adversarial relationship with, but now, it was obvious. Gina looked exactly like Mom when she was young. And I looked just like Gina…

“Courtney, over here,” called Angie, waving as we exited the small, almost airless room. Angie handed Gina a video camera and said something to her. Gina then started recording Angie and me as well as taking some general shots around the room.

Angie started fussing with my hair as I sat down in front of her. She said, “Ordinarily, if you were actually getting married, I’d suggest putting your hair up in an elegant style. But Chad wants to see this gorgeous mane you have. And let’s make your eyes a bit more dramatic. I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed working with you, Courtney. Some of the girls we have to work with…ugh…you wouldn’t believe.” She rolled her eyes and shook her head. She then applied a dark pink lipstick on my lips. I was going to miss being fussed over like this.

I stepped aside while Angie quickly worked her magic on Mom and Gina. Gina handed the video camera to Mom.

“That’s a beautiful dress,” said a voice from my right side I turned and saw the real bride at this wedding. I did a quick look at her and couldn’t believe the thought that she wasn’t as pretty as me flashed across my mind. She was pretty, but just a normal young woman. But then I noticed in her smile, an inner beauty, almost a radiance extending from her emotions from her very special day. A radiance that I doubted I’d every attain myself.

I smiled at her and said, “Thank you. And you too. That dress is so pretty and you’re gorgeous in it. And at least you get to keep your dress.”

She smiled, almost a laugh. I could see she was nervous. She said, “Thank you. And don’t worry. As beautiful as you are, I doubt it will be too long before you’re walking down the aisle in your own dress.”

“Somehow I just don’t think so,” I said wistfully. It was an honest sentiment.

The bride laughed and said, “It’ll happen. You seem like a sweet girl. Trust me. The right guy will come into your life before you know it.”

Before I could respond, Angie stood up and pocketed her cell phone. “All right ladies. That was Chad. It’s showtime.”

As we stepped out of the room, there was Chad straightening the tie of an older guy. Chad turned to look at us as he continued fussing with the tie. He said, “Okay, good. You’re done. Guys, I want you to meet my dad. He’ll walk down the aisle with you, Courtney. Like I said, my budget is way tight and my dad will literally work for peanuts.” Chad laughed as he backed away from his father.

Chad’s dad frowned and said, “You still owe me for the last two gigs.”

Under his breath, Chad said, “Not now, Dad.” A little more loudly, Chad said, “Okay. Positions everyone. Angie, set up the video on the tripod up by Josh. Dad, you stand here and take Courtney’s arm. Ms. Sullivan, I need you in the front pew. Gina, you’re the maid of honor so I need you up front with those bridesmaids standing there. And wow, Courtney. You look stunning, doll. Stand right there and let my dad take your arm. He’s had his shots.”

I laughed and as the elder Bolin took my arm he said, “Is he paying you?”

I looked at him funny and said, “No. An agency has paid me.”

He shook his head and said, “Lucky.”

I looked around the huge interior of the cathedral. It took my breath away. It was absolutely gorgeous. There was a large group of people here to watch the real wedding. It made me wonder just who these people were. And down at the front stood Josh, looking very handsome in his tux. A little boy who I had never seen before stood next Josh and held a pillow. The pillow held a ring.

I started to grow nervous and I wasn’t really getting married. All these people watching me. I felt like I wanted to throw up.

Suddenly Chad popped out of nowhere and pulled my veil down over my face. I’d forgotten about the veil. It’s not like I wear a wedding gown every day.

Chad snapped a dozen or so pictures of me from various angles with me just standing there. He ran up and took some shots from where Josh was standing. He then shouted, “Okay, cue music!”

And then this beautiful, huge pipe organ began playing the wedding march. In a stately manner, the elder Bolin and I slowly walked towards Josh and the priest. People in every aisle we passed looked at us. Josh was smiling at me as we approached. Behind him, Angie stood with a video camera. I looked to my left and there was Gina looking beautiful and actually crying.

We stopped just before the altar. I smiled nervously at Josh and he grinned back. I felt really weird. The priest smiled at us and then addressed the group behind us. He said, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of Josh Peterson and Courtney Sullivan in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, that is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly. Into this estate, these two persons present come now to be joined. If any one can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace. Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

The elder Bolin said, “Her mother and I do.” The priest nodded and the elder Bolin took his seat next to my mom. Mom had a tissue out and was already daubing at tears. I stood next to Josh and he took my hand.

Oh my God. This was seeming just all too real to me. Sweat ran down my inner thigh. I kinda stopped listening to the priest. I started to feel a bit dizzy. I took a deep breath. There was no way I was going to faint at my own fake wedding. Josh was talking. He was saying his wedding vows. Oh my God, I was next. What do I say? I forgot...oh yeah. Just repeat what the priest says. I’m going to throw up…

I took a deep breath and forced a smile as Josh said, “…in love, honor, and cherish, ‘til death do us part.”

The priest said his part. I just stood there a moment, tears welling up in my eyes. This was nuts to be emotional about this. I straightened my back and said, “Josh, I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, and cherish, ‘til death do us part.”

The priest then explains the rings and I watch Josh reach over and pick up the ring from the pillow the little boy is holding. For the first time, I notice a little girl standing next to me. Has she always been there?

Josh took my hand and as he slid the ring onto my ring finger, he said, “I give you this ring as symbol of our vows, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you. With this ring, I thee wed.”

I looked at the ring for a moment. It was a very expensive and very beautiful diamond ring. It fit my finger perfectly. Mom started to cry. Gina started to cry. And dammit, I started to cry. Looking at Josh’s earnest face as he put the ring on my finger was just too much. I didn’t know we’d do the whole wedding. In fact, I didn’t think we were supposed to do it all. Chad just let it run.

I picked up the ring from the little girl’s pillow and positioned it at the tip of Josh’s finger. I hesitated a moment. I looked into Josh’s eyes and he smiled nervously at me. I slid the ring onto his finger and repeated the same vow.

The priest, smiling broadly said, “You may now kiss.”

Josh slowly lifted the veil from my face and looked at me intently. He bent his head slightly towards me. Even in my heels he was taller. His lips parted as his face neared my lips. Without thinking about it, I parted my lips slightly and closed my eyes. By now I was a veteran at kissing Josh, so one more would be no big deal.

But it was…as his lips touched mine, I felt it. Like I had never felt one of Josh’s kisses before. Or anyone’s. The intensity and emotion behind his kiss was electric. My knees suddenly felt weak. I put my arms around his neck and he supported me by placing his arms around my waist. He kissed me with a passion that I had never before known. God help me. I did not want the kiss to end.

The audience was cheering loudly and over the din, the priest said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Mr. and Mrs. Peterson!”

Snapping away with his camera, Chad said, “Oh my God. Even I felt that.”

I read Josh’s lips more than heard what he said, and Chad’s camera caught every word as he said, “I love you, Courtney.”

Chad slapped Josh on the back and said, “Great adlib kid.”

Josh and I stood at the altar, smiling and turned towards the crowd whose cheers seemed genuine.

Chad said, “Thank you everyone for your kindness and your time. I really appreciate you helping to make this happen. I wish the real bride and groom much success and I apologize that you will have to sit though this a second time.” To us he said, “Okay, let’s gather everything up. We need to get out of here.”

Gina frowned and said, “No reception?”

Chad said, “That’s funny. I do have a cake you two can shove into each other’s faces back at the studio, okay? I have some stock pics of the bouquet and garters being tossed that I can use. Angie, gather up the jewelry now and secure it. I have to turn that stuff back in tomorrow morning. Guys, stay in those dresses for one last shot at the studio. Just be very careful with them. Thanks guys. It was a great shoot.”

I said, “Why did you do the whole wedding? I thought you were just going to get a few shots.”

Chad grinned like an idiot to me. He said, “That wedding was pure gold. Pure gold!”

I said to Josh, “You can stop holding my hand now.”

Josh smiled and said, “Sorry.” He brought my fingers with the ring to his lips and kissed my hand. He said, “You are such a beautiful bride. I really do wish this was real.”

I smiled at him and said, “Thanks. I appreciate you saying that. You’re a very handsome groom.”

He suddenly pulled me close to him and gave me another kiss. A brief, dreamy kiss.

All the way back to the studio, Josh held my hand and just stared at me with an odd expression. He finally said, “Was that marriage legit? He used our real names and we have a marriage license.”

I pulled my hand away from Josh as a bolt of cold shot down my spine.

Chad laughed from the driver’s seat. He said, “Sorry bud. But the license wasn’t legal in this state. It was a license I cooked it up in PowerPoint.”

*          *          *

“That was a beautiful wedding, little sister,” said Gina when we got back to our hotel room. “And that kiss he gave you! Oh my God! That cheering was real. Everyone felt that kiss.”

Mom said, “It was a wonderful ceremony. Both my daughters were gorgeous. Don’t argue with me, Courtney. You looked absolutely gorgeous as a bride. You must have felt it as well. You were actually glowing.”

Gina, sitting on her bed, grabbed a pillow and cuddled it. She said, “I noticed that too, Mom. She was a perfect blushing bride. You’re just a natural, Courtney. What can I say?” I just sat there and didn’t respond. After a few minutes, Gina said, “Why so quiet? He got to you, didn’t he? You loved that kiss and you love being a girl, don’t you?”

Frowning, I said, “Kissing Josh and getting married in a dress doesn’t make me a girl.” I paused for a moment knowing what I was going to say was a bad idea. I continued, “But I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t love being mistaken for a girl.”

Mom laughed and said, “Come here. Let me hug my beautiful daughters!”

*          *          *

The End Part 1

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