Trashed / Page 47

Page 47


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“Do you want to be on Sports Illustrated?” I ask.

She looks up at me and her expression is one of disbelief. “Of course. You think I go on this diet and spend so many hours in the gym to look this way for to get a date or some shit? No. I am a swimsuit model. The swimsuit edition is what every bikini model wants. But to do what he wants me to do to get it, I don’t think so. I have standards.” She glances at me again, curiously this time. “I’m sorry. Did you do something like this to get here? I don’t mean to insult you, if you did.”

I can’t help but laugh. In trying not insult me, she insults me. I shake my head. “No. I’m only here because he’s hoping I will.”

“And will you?”

I dig my heel into the sand, trying to disguise the anger and disgust. “Fuck no.” I wiggle my toes. “Not if he was the last man on earth.”

“Then we have at least that in common,” Anya says, and stands up, brushing sand from her ass.

Another backhanded insult. I try not to let it bother me as I wait for my turn in front of the camera.

Hours later, as the sun is lowering into the sea, and I’m bored out of my mind all the other models have left, except Li Fei. And then she’s shoving her feet into sandals and leaving without a word to anyone, and it’s just Ludovic, me, and the crew.

I try to leave space between me and Ludovic as I pass him, but he moves toward me, puts his hand on my arm and turns me.

“Just there, yes.” He snaps a few shots, checks them, adjusts his settings, and snaps a few more, dropping to one knee.

With no direction, I just stand there, hands at my sides, weight on one leg, unsmiling. My skin tingles where he touched me, and I want to rub at it, slather hand sanitizer on it. He lets his camera hang from his neck and puts his hands on my waist, guiding me toward the sea. I step out of his reach, and I see a flash of irritation cross his features. He closes the space between us and his hands go to my waist again, and he positions me. His hands linger, and his eyes search me.

“Don’t play coy, Des,” he says to me in a low voice only I can hear. “You know your options are limited.”

And with that fury-inciting statement, he backs away and starts snapping, kneeling, bending, standing up, twisting the camera to portrait, changing a setting, shouting pose instructions. The next hour passes slowly, my muscles stiff and sore from changing positions and poses so frequently, holding a particular pose as long as I can every now and then.

He gestures at me at the end of an hour. “Nice, nice. Now change to the other bikini.”

There’s no screen, and a small crowd is still watching. “Um. Change where?”

He has to stifle a leering grin. “Here, here. They can shield you with your cover-up, if you’re so worried.”

Two girls on the makeup crew take my cover-up and the light reflector, positioning themselves between me and Ludovic and the crowd, so there’s only the ocean to see me as I strip the top off and stuff myself into the halter top. Fortunately, there’s no one out paddle boarding or jet skiing at the moment. I feel Ludovic watching me, and I know he can see my feet and calves, and my shoulders. He unashamedly lifts up on his toes to try to watch, winking at me.

When I’ve changed into the other bikini, we spend another hour going from pose to pose, until the sun is half-buried in the rippling horizon and we’re losing the light.

Finally, he waves at the crew. “Good. We’re done. You can go.” He looks at me, and his expression is dark, hungry. “Des and I are going to finish here alone.”

The crew exchange glances, and one of them fixes me with a questioning gaze. She knows his reputation, and what he’s trying to do. But they can’t do anything about it; assistants and camera crews are even more replaceable than models.

I pull on my cover-up as the crew packs up and drifts back to the hotel. Ludovic is scrolling through the previous shots, nodding now and then.

When he realizes everyone is gone, the crowd of curious tourists included, a smile crosses his face. “Alone at last,” he says, his voice low with promise.

I hold my chin high. “I have to go.”

He just shakes his head. “No, you don’t.” He gestures at the restaurant not far away. “We should have dinner, I think.”

“I’m not hungry,” I lie.

He just grins. “Yes, you are.” He steps toward me and I tense, feeling my skin crawl with his proximity. “You’ve lost weight. It looks good on you. Or off you, more like. Now, if only you would drop, oh, ten more, you’d be truly striking. I could do amazing things with you, Des.” He winks, making it a double entendre.

I don’t bother to hide my disgust and anger. “I’m leaving.” I turn away before I do something rash, like put my fist down his throat.

He jogs after me, leans into me, and his finger hooks in the halter strap of my top, tugging at it. “Come on, Des. You think you can get anywhere in this business on your own? You really don’t want to walk away from me.”

“Yes, I do.” I keep walking, refusing to look at him.

He keeps pace with me, and his mouth is beside my ear. “You wouldn’t even have to do much, you know. Not unless you wanted to. Put those plump lips of yours around my cock, Des. You’ll like it, I promise. Just that, and I can make you successful. I can get you out of that shoebox apartment you share with all those other girls. I have a big apartment, and a big cock. You can have both.” He drifts a hand across my waist, down to my ass. “You know you want to. You know you won’t ever get anything better than me.”

Everything boils up and out. Rage is hot, and blinding. I spin away from him, take a step back. “Fuck…you.” I spit out the words, hissing in blind fury.

And then I do something even more stupid: I take one step toward him, and slap him with my open hand as hard as I can. He blinks at me, a hand to his face, and then starts toward me, anger in his eyes. I shove him away from me. Pussy that he is, he goes flying backward three or four steps, stumbles, and lands on his ass in the sand. His camera thumps against his chest, and he rolls to one side, the Nikon dragging through the sand.

I stalk away, and ignore Ludovic as he shouts.

“You’ll regret this, you bitch. I’m calling Sidney right now! You’ll never work again. You’re finished! FINISHED!”

Trying to make an angry exit across the sand isn’t easy. I want to run, but I don’t. My tits would smack me in the chin, for one thing, since this stupid bikini top provides absolutely dick for support. And for another, I don’t want to give Ludovic the satisfaction of knowing how upset I am.


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